The ignition system is a critical part of engine operation. It is important to always make sure all parts of your ignition system are properly set up and maintained.
Below are some of the important setup and maintenance concerns for different parts of the ignition system.
Of the ignition refers to when the spark plug fires for each cylinder. Timing is measured in degrees before top dead center (BTDC), which is when the cylinder volume is at its smallest.
As the timing is further from the ideal point, energy and fuel will be wasted. Regardless of ignition type, it is always good to often check the timing of the engine with a timing light to make sure the actual timing matches what is expected.
Play an important role in ignition performance as well. The following items are worth some special attention.
Resistor vs non-resistor spark plugs - “Resistor” spark plugs, often marked with an “R” or “Q”, have an internal resistor that helps cut down on electrical noise.
Spark plug gap - Engine and ignition manufacturers will have a recommended gap for the spark plugs.
The gap can be checked quickly and easily with a spark plug gap tool. It is important to always check the gaps of the plugs when installing new ones.
Spark plug temperature - Each plug should have a temperature rating which should match the engine manufacturer’s recommendations.
Tightening the plug– Using a torque wrench set to the proper torque for the plug will prevent over-tightening the plug during installation.
Noting plug wear - When changing plugs, it is a good idea to look at the plugs being removed. They should all have a relatively similar amount of electrode worn away evenly.
There are two main types of ignition wiring – primary and secondary. “Primary” wiring is the wiring from the ignition module to the coil.
This requires to be secure and insulated. “Secondary” wiring is from the coils (or distributor) to the spark plugs. Inspect this for breaks or exposed wires.