Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: spark plugs

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    4

    spark plugs

    Does anyone have any information and or experience using automotive spark plugs with electronic ignition on a Lycoming engine (O-320) ?

  2. #2
    dewi8095's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    74
    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. Art View Post
    Does anyone have any information and or experience using automotive spark plugs with electronic ignition on a Lycoming engine (O-320) ?
    No experience with the Lycoming, but I use them in an O-200A with electronic ignition. No problems.

    Don

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    780
    May I ask why you would want to do this? I watched the webinar on spark plugs and it seemed Aviation plugs are just a better plug then anything in the auto industry.

    I understand they cost way more, so is this a cost thing?

    Fly Smart

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    780
    I use Auto plugs on my 1/2 vw and do not like them for how the plug wire just snaps onto the plug. I would much perfer to use a plug where the wire is attached to the plug as an aviation plug does.

    I am not sure if an aviation plug can be used in a small 1/2vw, and then how does one hook it up to the mag.

    My mag is like that of an old tractor. Not that its old, the wire just pushes into the Mag. I safety wire my wires onto my mag using black wire ties. From what I have seen of aviation wires they screw to both the plug and mag.

    I am opposite of you. I want to use aviation plugs in place of auto plugs.

    Fly Smart

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Tustin, CA
    Posts
    66
    Auto spark plugs are used with electronic ignitions such as Lightspeed because they can tolerate larger gaps that go together with the higher voltage that these systems produce. Both spark plugs and caps can be found that have solid ends or threaded ends. Just be sure to match the caps and the plugs.

    The auto plugs work well and they are MUCH cheaper than aviation plugs.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 1600vw View Post
    May I ask why you would want to do this? I watched the webinar on spark plugs and it seemed Aviation plugs are just a better plug then anything in the auto industry.
    I understand they cost way more, so is this a cost thing?
    Fly Smart
    The reason for the massive electrode aviation plugs is to maintain the small gaps on the plugs. As one electrode burns away, the plug starts arcing to the other electrode. It fires to whichever gap is easiest, allowing one to maintain closer gaps in the plugs. So the question becomes, why do we need small gaps on the spark plugs. The less gap the spark has to jump, the cooler the mags will run. Larger gaps cause high heat loads in the magnetos, and firing a big gap can cause the magnetos to overheat and damage the coils internally. I can't count how many times I have seen failed Slick mags due to damaged harnesses that were creating more resistance to fire through and ended up causing the coil to fail.

    With an electronic aircraft ignition, you'll note that the coils are always mounted externally where they can be easily cooled. Overheating isn't so much of an issue, although one might note that companies such as E-mag put a tell tail marker on their ignition systems so they can verify that they are not overheated and that the installation included the requisite cooling tubes to the ignition coils. Anyway, with the electronic ignition, the only heat source is the coils themselves and they are much easier to cool with them mounted externally. It isn't going to hurt them to arc across a larger gap, and in fact, a larger gap with a higher energy source will light off in your cylinder much better than a tiny gap with a weaker spark from a magneto. So, even though they cost significantly less, the automotive plugs really are the right answer for your electronic ignition as the larger gapped plugs will fire better. However, automotive plugs and larger gaps are a bad idea for a magneto fired ignition.

    Companies such as E-mag will allow you to choose, and will provide the proper harness to run whichever plug you like. It isn't like it's going to hurt the electronic ignition to fire across a smaller gap on a massive electrode plug.

    FWIW, I do maintain one plane with dual P-mag ignition. I like it so well I plan to convert my planes over to P-mags and automotive plugs. The fact that the plugs cost less is just one of those few bonuses I'll have to learn to live with.

    -CubBuilder

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Prizio View Post
    Auto spark plugs are used with electronic ignitions such as Lightspeed because they can tolerate larger gaps that go together with the higher voltage that these systems produce. Both spark plugs and caps can be found that have solid ends or threaded ends. Just be sure to match the caps and the plugs.

    The auto plugs work well and they are MUCH cheaper than aviation plugs.
    Also note that Electroair has certified fine wire and massive electrode plugs with a large gap, 035 IIRC. SO, lots of alternatives! :-)

    Paul

  8. #8
    Aaron Novak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oshkosh, Wi
    Posts
    302
    I guess my only concern would be quality control of automotive type spark plugs. There are bad ones that get through and fail in short order, you probably would not get one...but you never know. One of the reasons aviation plugs are designed the way they are, is for mechanical durability both from engine vibration and abnormal combustion. Automotive plugs are much less durable in this area. All plug manufacturers are not equal either. NGK is the leader in ceramics. Good Luck!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    FA40
    Posts
    436
    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. Art View Post
    Does anyone have any information and or experience using automotive spark plugs with electronic ignition on a Lycoming engine (O-320) ?
    Yes. Electroair and Autolite 386 in O320E2G and E3D. No plug hole adapters needed. About 500 hours so far. I asked all the dumb questions, Jeff Rose (he used to answer the phone when he ran the business) very patiently answered them all with "it will make your plugs fire." It does. They work fine. yeah, i searched for platinum and all that stuff, but they just plain (plane) work but at about two bucks a pop i am really bummed out because i bought the first 4pak at napa for $2.87 plus tax. Yep, kept the receipt. Darn inflation!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    16

    Auto spark plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by cdrmuetzel@juno.com View Post
    Yes. Electroair and Autolite 386 in O320E2G and E3D. No plug hole adapters needed. About 500 hours so far. I asked all the dumb questions, Jeff Rose (he used to answer the phone when he ran the business) very patiently answered them all with "it will make your plugs fire." It does. They work fine. yeah, i searched for platinum and all that stuff, but they just plain (plane) work but at about two bucks a pop i am really bummed out because i bought the first 4pak at napa for $2.87 plus tax. Yep, kept the receipt. Darn inflation!
    Running dual electronic ignitions on a O-320 Longez using autolite 386 plugs. No problems and cheap enough to change every condition inspection.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •