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Old 09-15-2006, 04:11 AM   #1
97sleeper
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Question ignition, plugs and wires

My dad and I are junkin the 97 SL2 due to too much work and $ and not enough buget for both cars and we turned the 02 SC2 into the project. We are lookin to put a new ignition, plugs and wires in the car. What is the best set-up for a good daily driver but also good enough to smoke friends at the track???
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Stock

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Old 09-15-2006, 09:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

the brightest blue wires you can fine, the plugs made of the most non conductive metal out there, and nawsssness
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

But seriously, stock. Copper NGK plugs, and stock plug wires. Unless you upgrade the whole ignition system (MSD coil packs, and all) anything else will be of ZERO benefit.
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

This raises a question I've had for some time. What benefit do you get if you upgrade the entire ignition system? If the stock plugs are igniting the mixture, what do "upgraded" plugs, wires, coils, etc. do? If they do give some increase in performance, do they also improve fuel economy?

And most importantly, HOW MUCH?
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Upgraded ignition on a stock engine is not going to do too much. You might get a little better performance, and or better fuel economy just because of some more completely burning of the mixture. I doubt it will out weigh the expense of an upgrade......as to How Much?......depends, partly on how good your stock system is, your engine condition and state of tune. Some one may have more info then me, but there's just too many variables for me to give you an estimate.
Cars are being built anymore to get pretty optimum fuel economy, I don't think your going to see a worthwhile improvement in upgrading ignition.
My suggestion is to use good quality oem grade parts and get her as close to new as she was, well, when new.
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Old 09-15-2006, 12:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

I say leave the ignition as is, unless it's high mileage and needs a tune-up. Then get some OEM wires (or aftermarket low-resistance ones if you prefer), clean the contacts on your coils, and get some nice iridium plugs. Iridium conducts electricity as well if not better than platinum, and is more resistant to heat, so they last longer. They also have a smaller center electrode, which I know does something good for the spark, but I forget what. I doubt you'd see more than a 1hp gain with these over a stock setup in good shape, but on an old, busted setup, it would make a difference.
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkius
They also have a smaller center electrode, which I know does something good for the spark
Not in a Saturn. And Iridium is a much better conductor than Platinum. Copper is a far, far better conductor than both. Only Silver is a better conductor than copper.
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

The car has 106k and the plugs and wires have never been changed
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97sleeper
The car has 106k and the plugs and wires have never been changed
Then just do a normal tune up. Get a set of replacement wires from Advance or AutoZone, some NKG plugs (BKPR7ES I believe is the stock replacement), and clean under the coil packs/ignition module all the built up corrosion so its shiny and makes a good ground conection.

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Old 09-15-2006, 02:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjd83
This raises a question I've had for some time. What benefit do you get if you upgrade the entire ignition system? If the stock plugs are igniting the mixture, what do "upgraded" plugs, wires, coils, etc. do? If they do give some increase in performance, do they also improve fuel economy?

And most importantly, HOW MUCH?

Upgrading the entire ignition system can have great benifits. Engine don't ignite the air fuel mixture 100% of the time. rather it ends up somewhere around the high 80 to low 90 pertcential. Upgrading your ignition systems components can raise the likelyhood of ignition. This can increase power and economy. To simplify: If you had a 90HP engine and only ignited 90% of the time increasing you ignition rate to 100% would yeld about 10HP; if the world was perfect of course.

Ignition upgrades can make more power!!!!

But..Most upgrades people proform are little more than maintance. There are no magic wires, no magic plugs. Many times people saying they noticed increases with such parts simply have replaced shoddy parts and have brought their car to stock levels. Most ignition upgrades are gimmicks. Any company that claims their one ignition part can produce a significiant change in your engine are trying to trick you out of your money.

I don't have the time to go overly indepth in this post. But I'll give you some tidbits.

Use quality wires. Not Hotwires, splitfires or anthing like that. Don't buy into wire that claim antything other then simply being made well. Magnacore is a great company to trust, but there are other as well. I tend to lean towards Autolite because of price. The idea here is quality, a big core diameter is fine, but what you really want is to insure that the charge out of your coil makes it to your plug.

Buy good plugs. Bargin plugs are Ok, but are little more than OEM and many times are questionably made. Name brand, noting fancy plugs work great. NGK and Champion both make great plugs. Choose your heat range carefully. On an N/A engine stick with recommended. Side gapping has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. The theory make logical sense, but the jury is still out.

Coils, running a hotter coil is great, but remember to open up that spark plug gap by a couple of hundriths. Even on a stock coil a slightly larger gap should help. Be careful not to go too far or things will get worse. The idea here is to maximise the size of the spark, without cooling it off too much. Gap plays a huge role in how the ignition system works. If you upgrade to coils, crack the gap open.

Multiple dischage setups. Many companies make them and they are great. The idea is that you fire of the plug more than once in attempt to ignite the mixture. The first firing goes at your engines timing, but it could fail to ignite the mixture. If the second or later shot ignites it, the mixture will start burning a little late, but you will still get some power out of the stroke, and it will be more efficiant. A larger percentage of fuel that goes into your engine will be burnt, and you will make more power; A more effient engine is a more powerful engine.

No mater what modfications you do to an ignition system you won't get 100% ignition, it just won't happen. But with a few tweaks you can gain a few pecertage points when it comes to likelyness of sucessful ignition. On a car like a Saturn that can be 2-5 hp. In terms of making power there are more economic ways, but there is power to be found in an ignition system.

I'd recommend if you want to know more that you pick up "The Doctor's Step by Step Guide to Optimizing Your Ignition" from Jacobs Electronics. It is a great read and goes into much more depth.
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Old 09-15-2006, 02:27 PM   #12
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprint
Stock

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damn! you beat me to it...

+1


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Old 09-15-2006, 02:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud819
Upgrading the entire ignition system can have great benifits. Engine don't ignite the air fuel mixture 100% of the time. rather it ends up somewhere around the high 80 to low 90 pertcential. Upgrading your ignition systems components can raise the likelyhood of ignition. This can increase power and economy. To simplify: If you had a 90HP engine and only ignited 90% of the time increasing you ignition rate to 100% would yeld about 10HP; if the world was perfect of course.
Yeah, but only old, busted engines with 100K+ miles fire 80-90% of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud819
Ignition upgrades can make more power!!!!
Yes, but on new engines it's insignificant!!!! (2 sounds about right, I seriously doubt you'll make 5 on an N/A saturn)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud819
Side gapping has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. The theory make logical sense, but the jury is still out.
What's "side gapping"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud819
Multiple dischage setups. Many companies make them and they are great. The idea is that you fire of the plug more than once in attempt to ignite the mixture. The first firing goes at your engines timing, but it could fail to ignite the mixture. If the second or later shot ignites it, the mixture will start burning a little late, but you will still get some power out of the stroke, and it will be more efficiant. A larger percentage of fuel that goes into your engine will be burnt, and you will make more power; A more effient engine is a more powerful engine.
This might help on boosted engines, but why would the factory engineers design the stock ignition to NOT ignite 100% of the time? I only think you'd need an MSD setup for a Forced Induction setup, or REALLY crazy N/A (ie high revs, ITBs), where there would be substantially more air and fuel coming into the combustion chamber.

I'll have to pick up that book you're talking about, though... It sounds interesting...

Last edited by Monkius; 09-15-2006 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 09-15-2006, 04:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkius
Yeah, but only old, busted engines with 100K+ miles fire 80-90% of the time.
No, even brand new engines have measureable misfire rates. Using an OBD2 computer scan tool on my friends 20K mile Focus we saw his car logged roughly 26 million misfires.

Quote:
Yes, but on new engines it's insignificant!!!! (2 sounds about right, I seriously doubt you'll make 5 on an N/A saturn)
2-5 is reasonable on an engine the size of ours. Every engine is a little different, some may respond better than others. My point is that ignition systems are a place in which you can find power. You can't count of how much power you'll find and it may not be economicly fesable to search for it, but it is there.

Quote:
What's "side gapping"?
Grinding the top electrode to increase exposure of the spark to the cylinder. run it through google and you'll get the idea.


Quote:
This might help on boosted engines, but why would the factory engineers design the stock ignition to NOT ignite 100% of the time? I only think you'd need an MSD setup for a Forced Induction setup, or REALLY crazy N/A (ie high revs, ITBs), where there would be substantially more air and fuel coming into the combustion chamber.
Engineers do design ignition systems to ignite 100% of the time. But that doesn't mean it happens. Ignition is a chemical event started by an electrical source that must be repeated in rather rapid succesion. There lots of ways it can fail and it fails often enough to concern many people.

Automakers don't like that their systems don't fire off 100% of the time, but from a cost/performance standpoint a stock ignition does great. Spending the money on getting ignition percentage closer to 100% isn't worth the money for them (especialy in an econocar like a Saturn). It isn't really worth the money for most people.

Forced induction can require more time and money to be invested in ignition to insure high ignition rates, but normal N/A engine can be improved upon too.

The more stressfull the ignition environment is the less likely an underdeveloped ignition system will be able to light off a charge. Every engine out there fails to ignite the magical 100% of the time. Many are closer to others to perfect than others,but they all fail to be completely perfect. Upgrading and tuning ignition components can get an engine closer to the mark. More extreme engines normally do require more powerful ignition systems, but don't think that normal N/A engines can't benifit from better ignition components. Forced induction can require more time and money to be invested in ignition to insure high ignition rates, but normal N/A engine can be improved upon too.

People say to use stock parts instead of buying $120 plugwires because they don't like to see good people get screwed out of money; It's not because there is no power to be had in upgrading ignition components. The truth is that there is power there, but for most it is not worth chasing. You can make much more power down other roads.


Quote:
I'll have to pick up that book you're talking about, though... It sounds interesting...
It is a great read and a great book to have on a bookshelf.
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97sleeper
My dad and I are junkin the 97 SL2 due to too much work and $ and not enough buget for both cars and we turned the 02 SC2 into the project. We are lookin to put a new ignition, plugs and wires in the car. What is the best set-up for a good daily driver but also good enough to smoke friends at the track???
NGK plain spark plugs and Magnecor KV85 ignition wires work great. OE coil packs are fine or you could get fancy yellow Accel coil packs for less money.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by eRic 02sc2
NGK plain spark plugs and Magnecor KV85 ignition wires work great. OE coil packs are fine or you could get fancy yellow Accel coil packs for less money.
^ That is the right answer most people need to hear. You will do plenty fine with this combo. Remember you can gain a few more horses with some ignition upgrades, but most times your dollars and time are better spent elsewhere.
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Old 09-16-2006, 03:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
Only Silver is a better conductor than copper.
gold is better than both.
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Old 09-16-2006, 03:50 AM   #18
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

where can u get Magnecor wires? is it something u can get at a parts store or do u need to order them? also what is the difference b/w normal nkg plugs and the ones that say saturn on them? in performance and price?
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Old 09-16-2006, 07:50 AM   #19
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

Quote:
Originally Posted by xupthree60
gold is better than both.
No actually it isn't
At 20 Celsius, based on copper as 100 Silver is 106 (more conductive) and gold is 65 (less conductive). Platinum comes in at a whopping 15
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:18 AM   #20
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Default Re: ignition, plugs and wires

I put NAPA wires on mine, they are Silicone jacket, and are OE replacement. They were exactly the same length as the Packards I took off so they fit perfectly with no tight spots, or extra wire hanging. They are made by Belden, and have a LIFETIME warranty, so if they ever malfunction, take them to any NAPA store and get a new set....forever. I think retail is about 30.00 bucks!
DON'T BUY CHEAP 16.00 WIRES!..........You'll be sorry!!
I've also used Magnecore wires on other vehicles, and they work great also.

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