Sunday, August 9, 2015

Side Gapping - Spark Plugs

There is just too much to say about what to do to your spark plugs.
For the most part you will have to do the reading.

But for here I am talking about side gapping your spark plugs.
I also have to note if you side gap your plugs it's best to index them also.
Indexing the plug is having the open end of the plug facing the intake valve.
And with all that done you should run a higher octane to slow down the
combustion that might be going on far too fast being the plug modification.
It's worth it!

SOLUTION: First, obtain a high quality over the
counter version that carries an economical price.
Motorcraft and Autolite come to mind for their
performance and safety features of inherently melting
before the piston does. Then carefully shorten the
electrode arm by taking a die grinder with a small
cut-off wheel and remove a small portion from the end.
*Do not* nick any part of the center electrode or
porcelain! As seen in the photos below, nearly the
entire center electrode can be seen from the bottom
of the plug as compared to the standard version being
completely shrouded from view. This modification will
expose more of the generated spark to the

combustion chamber, there by more completely igniting the air/fuel charge instead
of the spark being forced to propagate in a sideways direction and not directly into
the majority of the combustion mix. This procedure of exposing the electrode is called
"Side Gapping", and has been a well kept secret for many years in the racing circles.
While some may debate the amount of Horsepower, Torque and Fuel economy
increases, there is no disputing that side gapped plugs significantly improve spark
propagation as well as reduce plug fouling and loading up, with no sacrifice to
your wallet.

The sharper edges also encourages the spark to ignite quicker and stronger, much like
striking an arc with a welder on an edge rather than a flat surface. However, there is one
minor drawback, and that would be the center electrode will wear one side sooner due
to the spark now being directed to one specific area on the plug edge, rather than a
random path all around the electrode point. Even though the plugs may wear slightly
quicker, since your home-modified plugs can cost up to four times less than that of
"premium" versions, they can be more readily changed, leaving you with fresh new plugs
during your engine's operation more of the time than with the costly premium versions.

As the photos show, the side gapped plug exposes more of the spark path to the open
combustion chamber than the Standard version, as well as even the
Splitfire or Bosch+4 types. And this can be done to any of your favorite brands of plugs
you already like, to make them better!

To gap the new plug, slide the feeler gauge in at a 45 degree angle to read the tightest
clearance between the center electrode and the arm. Slightly tighter than OEM
recommended gaps can be taken advantage of, measuring the actual space between
the closest surfaces of the two electrodes. Reduce gaps by approximately .010".
Closer clearances will yield the same if not more of the spark front, and at the same time
resist the flame from being "blown out" when using Nitrous Oxide injection or
supercharging. The closer "sharp edged" surfaces will more easily propagate the initial
spark while the main mass of surface area being farther away, will increase the
spark travel (volume). Re-gap periodically, as the accelerated wear on the
electrode edges will increase the gap sooner.

I use side gapped plugs in my car also. Luckily I have many options for my kind
of car. The standard plugs is a NGK BKR5E-11 or BKR6E-11 types.
Also you can use NGK ZFR6F-11 They are projected into the combustion chamber.
And because of being able to use the "ZFR" types you can also use NGK BKR6EK
being they are the same size!

But with those plugs you will need to go up to a colder plug. Standard in my car
is a "5" type heat range so with the "EK" type you need a "6" or else!

So really the "EK" types are better off not used unless you know what you are doing.
Heat range is everything! And that is also a good tip to use in your personal life!
Life gives you a huge wave of amplitudes sometimes, so just get some cooler spark plugs,
or else!!!!!

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