Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spark Plug Gap: The Controversial Side

Auto Bravado, author of has been told time and time again by auto store attendants, shop teachers, and others with the performance and efficiency hobbyists, such as me, that you look up the spark plug gap recommended by the manufacturer and you unerringly stick to it.

This is usually correct, but I'm going to offer you the the other perspective, even the controversial spark plug gap. I bring up to you case A, a 1999 Mercury Sable. Recommended material? Platinum. I bring up platinum as some mid 1990's and earlier Fords, Mercury is manufactured by the same company, don't work well with platinum. This station wagon, with every spark plug at exactly 0.044 inches went from running weak but smooth on its old not gapped spark plugs, to running rough and shaky on its newly gapped spark plugs! In order to balance this engine out, because anything but perfection is insufficient to please me in such a matter as the smoothness of an engine, which leads into its longevity, I had to balance the different amount of electrical resistance from each spark plug wire with the resistance in each spark plug. You see, the longer the wire, the more resistance, just as the bigger the gap in the spark plug gap, the more resistance. The 3 wires that went to the far side of the V6, which had longer wires, each required a spark plug gap of 0.042, while on the short side, the spark plug gaps had to vary between 0.046 to 0.048.
side of spark plug gaps. If you'd prefer an article which covers the basics first, see

In case B, I was testing whether a weaker sparking plug, like an NGK spark plug could function at the same level as a Bosch spark plug. You see, though NGK makes a longer lasting spark plug, Bosch makes a stronger one, but they have a higher fail rate in the manufacturing (complete article: The NGK Spark Plug Advantage). In every balancing case in a 2004 Nissan Frontier, V6, not turbo, a spark plug gap of 0.042, made the platinum NGK run as strong as the Bosch, proven by it running smoothly side by side with its counterpart under the same hood! Please note that the manufacture recommends a spark plug gap of 0.044 inches in the 2004 Nissan Frontier, V6, not turbo, and this should also be true of most other Nissan Frontiers.

Happened to me in Jan. of '09: I've just finished being glad that I bought 10 for a 6 cylinder. Confused? I'll explain. I lost 1 under the hood somewhere and I measured the ohms of resistance on all of them to find 3 pairs of equal ohms resistance plugs, which I set on opposite sides of the V engine so that the lowest resistance plugs matched with the longest wire, which makes more resistance. And vice versa, the highest resistance met up with the lowest resistance, or shorter wires. I found this new new technique to have quicker results than tinkering with the spark plug gap in every plug off of the manufacturer specifications, but sometimes on tougher jobs you'll still need what your learned here on the controversial side of gapping to obtain the smoothest engine you did ever hear or feel. I know many mechanics that tell me I do too much when I do a tune up, but maybe they just need to realize that's why I'll make an identical car beat theirs off the line!

This rounds out my discussion on the controversial side of spark plug gaps, but feel free to check out related articles on wires on: spark plug wires and dodge hemi spark plug wires.
Above, I couldn't balance an engine with spark plug gap like I normally do, instead I had to judge how it was running and alter it accordingly. It worked out for my 1989 Yamaha XT600, but since I did go with a tighter gap, it was a sign of a stator going out, which I didn't realize until it did! (Stator, an internal component in alternators usually not replaced on their own, but it's normal to on a Yamaha motorcycle).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Synthetic Motor Oil on Valentine's Day

I just bought a rose for my Valentine today. The poetic words that came to mind were, "One rose for a singular passion, YOU!" Unfortunately, as Auto Bravado, author of, I also have a passion for cars. And before tonight's well wishes and truly meant words, "I love you," will come the all important fully synthetic oil change, none of that blended stuff, because I won't drive my love (my girlfriend) in my other passion, the car, one more mile without a synthetic motor oil change! You can soon check out my full article on the subject at my website on this page: (Coming soon! Hey, now it is here! Synthetic Motor Oil).Go ahead click here now, unless you'd like to hear more about my passions on this lovely Valentine's Day!

~To those of you who think of today as Single's Awareness Day, I've been there, don't give up hope!

This may be from a man's point of view, but one of the most fun experiences I have in my car is when my Flowmaster muffler, and Magnaflow exhaust rumble when I speed off and my date says, "Wow! That was fun!" You see, you really can be passionate about both. To read this full articles check out: Magnaflow Exhaust and Flowmaster Muffler for more details. As much as I enjoy this experience, my Flowmaster exhaust may still be loud, but the acceleration just won't be as fast without my synthetic motor oil being changed.

Haven't you ever wondered why that is? Why does your car or truck spend more gas when it needs the ol' lube job? No matter how good my synthetic motor oil by Mobile 1 is, it'll still get sludge in it over time. Sludge increases the friction of numerous important parts in your engine. Also, given too much time, that filter will actually slowly decrease the flow speed of any great synthetic motor oil, because its metaphorical arteries will be too clogged while the Mobile 1 filter will be trying too hold that sludge back out of your engine. And when you're clogged, where's the passion?

Why synthetic motor oil? Some people can't feel their car run smoother using synthetic motor oil, but trust Auto Bravado's experience, it's making it smoother and for the better whether you can feel it or not, and that means longer engine life, less fuel consumed, and less frequent oil changes than the usual every 3000 miles rule. Some cars can go safely as much as 7000 miles with Mobile 1 synthetic motor oil and a Mobile 1 filter, but I usually recommend 5000 miles to be on the safe side because there are engines out there like mine that sludge up a little faster.

Why Mobile 1? I've tried Valvoline, Coastal, and other big names in the synthetic motor oil varieties, and even more brands in the mineral based variety, and nothing prevents sludge build up and causes longer lasting performance than Mobile 1. Now, I realize there are even more brands out there, and if you'd like to tell me about them I'll even post a quote from one of you to make the reader's of this and Auto Bravado more broadened, email me at

Remember; check out my website for an article on this subject and more: (coming soon!) now here! Synthetic Motor Oil. Or, check out what's newest to AutoBravado, learn more about synthetic motor oil, and how other fluids effect fuel mileage.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Oh, and check out 2009's Valentine's Day work: Nostalgia about long ago love is in the comments, and reflections on old work in The High Performance Air Filter because of recent work with K&N Performance Filtration.