spark plugs and wires...quality

JP

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#1
Is there a significant difference between replacement plugs and wires? I need to replace my plugs and wires on my 02 Astro, and don't want to spend more than I have to, but don't want inferior quality parts.

I know that certain parts make a huge difference in quality; others not. Years ago I replaced the clutch plate in my 75 camaro, and was teaching my wife to drive a manual tranny at the time. She kept chattering the clutch...and I kept get frustrated that she was doing it wrong. Turns out the clutch plate wasn't as good a quality as the GM OEM. Funny how her clutching improved dramatically when I put in a proper clutch plate... :ROFL
 
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#2
I and most others here prefere OEM wires and secondary ign parts ...DO some searching the price of varies- greatly...
 

JP

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#3
You mean AC/Delco for Chevrolet?

Any difference in plugs; platinum, split-fire, OEM, etc?
 
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#4
big differance in plugs... just ask for AC delco..

AVOID..... bosch-spitfire-K&N - tornado- that is the SH** they push on you.
 

wap

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#6
Stay away from 'come on' advertising. OE does seem to function properly more often than not, but there are some good aftermarket manufacturers. Many of which make the oe parts. Standard Ignition, Borg-warner, and Belden Wires are good choices because the are actually the makers of the product. Not a 'Brand Name.' Many A/C delco, and MotorCraft plugs are actually made by Champion. Funny. The main thing is to get a quality set of plugs and wires. You probably won't find these at a giant retailer. Stick to a local guy. He will know more about what he is offering you. Many of the mechanics that post here like OE because of the time involved researching/testing aftermarket parts. Many of the same mechanics have had bad experiences because they bought price or availability vs quality. OE is not better, definitely not less expensive, and generally not more readily available. It is simply one of the solutions.
 

Connie

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#8
generally, with OEM parts you know you aren't getting bit. The vehicle was made and engineered to run efficiently and effectively and those specific parts were the ones they put in it to begin with so why wouldn't you want to put the same parts back into the vehicle it was designed to run with?
True, there are some aftermarket parts that may be of a different/better quality but in my years I have found that those were the high end high performance modifying type parts that you use when you are trying to hot rod a car and getting away from stock. Stick with OEM and you'll almost always come out better in the end. It may take awhile sometimes to realize the cost effectiveness in paying a little more for OEM parts but things just seem to balance out in the end if not come out better. My $.02.... Connie
 
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#9
With a spark plug, talking standard electrodes, single or double platinum, and now irridum spark plugs so that also plays a roll in which quality of plug to buy. And most major brands give you a choice and that depend whether you want to spend a buck or over ten bucks a plug.

All the chain department stores in town use to sell spark plugs and were open on a Sunday, AC Delco, NGK, Champs, Autolite, now the only one left is Wal-Mart with a shelve about two feet wide, odds of finding your plug there are nil. And Wal-Mart tends to favor Bosch, not my favorite plug. One advantage of going to a dealer is the odds are greatly improved that he will have your type, but not always, come back in two days. Champ use to offer a wide range of heat ranges so you can choose the plug for the type of driving you do, that is also history. The proliferation of plug types today is astronomical, but you can find them on the net.

Just saying, it's not easy to find your plug in town anymore. Being somewhat frugal, would get a lot of life from even standard plugs with my old Champ plug cleaner and tester. In electrostatics to lower the ionization potential in a plug need a sharp edge on both the center and ground electrode, careful filing takes care of that, but double platinums seem to ease that problem. But nothing has been done to eliminate the carbon build up on particularly the center electrode insulator, that carbon grounds out the spark quicker than you can shake a stick at it. Dead give away on dirty plugs, if your engine doesn't start the instant you hit the key, your plugs are dirty, also can feel misses on acceleration, time to open the hood.

In comparing one top name plug against another, hard to visually tell the difference, but prefer a plated plug over the black oxide type, they are easier to get out. But they all carbon up, and that is the major problem.

On plug wires, they use to jam a piece of 20 AWG bare wire in the end of that carbon string for better contact folding it over to contact the terminal. They don't do that any more just relying on a piercing triangular tab to make a tiny point contact. That leads to arcing within the wire and as time goes by that arc gets larger, plug may still fire, but most of it is in that arc. If you want that bare wire, you have to do it yourself as long as the rest of the wire is good. Okay guys, pros don't have the time to do this and willing to bet very few of you have a spark plug terminal crimper. For the rest of it, feel the holders are the major problem for grounding out the spark before it reaches the plug. Distance is the best solution for spark grounding, one inch gives 60KV of isolation.
 

autodr

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#10
List of plug wires I trust: OEM, AutoLite Pro, Autolite (if Pro not avail), Packard, Standard Ignition, Carquest (which is standard ignition), Napa's Belden, Bosch.

Plug wires that I've found to be junk: Duralast, Napa's Mileage Plus, Accell, Split Fire, Exact.

Plugs that I trust in order of priority: OEM, AutoLite (Standard, Plat, and double Plat), NGK, Bosch Super

Plugs that I've found to be junk: Split fire, Bosch Platinium (any design of Bosch Plat)
 

olejb

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#11
Also:Never EVER use platinum plugs in a system that they were not OEM. Once had a 280Z that was only
firing reliably on two cylinders. When the platinum's the owner had installed in the other 4 cylinders were replaced with standard Champions it ran like a sewing machine. They will not fire well on anything less
than 50 to 60kv which rules out almost anything but late model solid state systems.
 
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#12
675*C appears to be the best plug temperature, 125*C hotter and the ceramic and electrodes break down plus detonation, 125*C colder, then you get carbon build up with misfiring. But the heat range of the plug used is only one variable to contend with, the other is how the vehicle is driven, I feel the Bosch needle thin electrodes was a good concept, but their plugs are just too cold. Okay if you could drive 120 mph on the Dan Ryan, but that 2-3 mph stuff carboned up those plugs quickly. Had to be cleaned every 3,000 miles, just pitched them. Maybe you can drive 120 mph in Germany, sure can't here.

Gap plays a huge roll in the ionization or firing voltage and platinums are normally gapped too large, with conventional plugs, you can bend the ground electrode to reduce the gap, but not so easy when that ground electrode with that small slab of platinum on it has to be directly under the center electrode. So in this case, conventional plugs may be the better choice.

OE's really don't give you much of a choice in heat range, one size fits all, good to pull all the plugs at once and compare either the melting or the carbon build up, also shows if a cylinder is misfiring. Most pronounced problem is carbon build up, ha, have to cut down on that city driving, or just pull them more frequently and give them a blast of ground up walnut shells, that really gets them clean without hurting the plug surfaces. Listening to how your engine runs, starts in cold weather, and watching your fuel economy tells you when it's time. I have yet to go beyond 30K miles with any kind of plug, that darn city driving and short trips, anything less than 20 miles is a short trip.

Depending on that big fat application book each plug manufacture recommends for your vehicle, seems like some just use the thread size as the parameter, hell, as long as it's a 14 mm plug, can use it anywhere. Who do you trust? History is your best bet and study your old plugs to give you that whether they are running too hot or too cold.

Having a one lunger two cycle Italian motorscooter as a kid really develops an appreciation for how important a spark plug is. With a clean plug, could go 57 mph, but after 50 or so miles, would slow down to 40 mph tops. Always carried extra plugs and a wrench in that thing.

If you purchased a vehicle where it's easier to remove the engine than change a plug, should ask yourself, why did I buy that thing?
 
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#13
i just replaced the plugs in my 02' gm van 5. 7 with 76,4?? miles had factory a/c delco platnium plugs. still had exactly . 060 gap :eek: so, i installed new a/c delco plugs! i was impressed!
 

JP

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#14
Same here; I decided to go with the OEM plugs. The old ones looked pretty good.

One question, though...how the #*$^ do you get at the #1 plug (driver's side at front of engine)to get it out? I got the others out OK (driver's side from below) and the passenger's side from the doghouse. I did get a socket on it, but not enough room to turn it.

This looks like a job for Mechanic-friend!
 

PC

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#15
Try raising the front end a bit, support with a stand and remove the splash shield from the wheel well. I noticed that AFTER fighting the plugs AND wires on a AWD model.