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Spark Plug Read

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  • Ignition: Spark Plug Read

    Here is a Champion H14Y plug from my 56 Hawk: 259, but bored 60 over, 9:1 compression, bigger valves and Cadillac valve springs, Edelbrock 600, and electronic points . They look a bit hot to me. I have not checked the timing yet.
    Perhaps I ought to richen the mixture, retard timing, colder plug?... or is this OK as is.
    I've driven the car 2000 miles so far, runs great, but occasionally keeps running when I turn it off unless I run premium in it.
    Also attached is picture of valve spring. Previous owner said he ran to 5,000rpm at drag strip.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Rafe Hollister; 07-12-2021, 12:53 PM.

  • #2
    What year is your Hawk? Anyway the plug in the picture shows signs of oil burning as the deposits on the plug tip are deposits from the additives in the engine oil burning off and coating the plug tip. Could be bad valve seals or worn rings or a combination of both. Bud


    • #3
      My dyslexia got me, it is a 56, not a 65 (also corrected in original post). Yes, looked like oil burning to me also. But not too hot? I don't want to hole a piston. I suspect valve seals and that is up on my list of things to do. I will begin checking oil consumption, I suspect a quart every 1000 miles?


      • #4
        I went thru a quart a day in my first Stude (the front seal was practically nonexistent). A quart every 1000 miles is not too bad for a 65 year old car.


        • #5
          Your plugs look pretty good with very minor oil burning to me. I would just make sure to use a good octane ethanol free fuel and take it out for 30 miles and don’t baby it on the drive. You could add a fuel additive to help remove carbon buildup.
          1963 Studebaker GT Hawk R1 63V-33867
          1964 Studebaker Avanti R1 R-5364
          1970 Avanti II RQA-0385
          1981 Avanti II RQB-3304


          • #6
            DON"T add more fuel. If you want even semiaccurate information, DO NOT use that spark plug.
            Other than the excess oil that you have there, that plug looks close to good...but...

            FIRST, you need to put a fresh set of plugs in the engine. Put some around two miles on them, then about 30 minutes (total) time on an open freeway (no traffic) at 70 or so mph.
            THEN...take a look at the plugs.

            The white/light color needs to be on about 90% of the plug end. The outer ring should be pretty much bare, clean metal. Looking deep into the porcelain, it should still be very light to white.

            Reading and understanding how to read oxygen infused gasoline fed spark plug is not as simple as it used to be. And well used plugs are NOT the way.

            Your BEST bet, before doing ANY carburetor tuning, is to go buy an air / fuel ratio meter. That's the BEST way to understand what's happening and how to fix it.
            I have an Innovate brand in two of my Studebakers. There are a varying prices. The best are three wire assemblies, NOT two wire.



            • #7
              Yep, do what Mike said. Given todays fuel, reading plugs is not like it use to be. I will cruise the freeway then cut the ignition at speed, pull over and swap plugs. I know my car runs a bit rich at low speed, but leans out at speed. I too have installed an AFR meter with heater circuit (3 wire) which confirms what I'd already determined from the plugs. My over bored R1 runs great, but its AFR is best at about 3200 RPM, any slower and it gets richer, faster it gets leaner. The problem with a carbureter.

              If you have issues with "Run on" (dieseling), you may be running too hot, your timing may be a bit advanced or your fuel is not sufficient for your compression ratio.


              • #8
                Thanks for all the advice. I checked my timing and it is about 4 degrees advanced. The AFR meter sounds real interesting. I plan to put it back to stock and see how it does on regular. My car had been in the previous family 3 generations. Son is not a gear head, Dad & Gramps were. A month after I bought it I got to talk with Dad, real mechanic, tuner, drag racer... so I will be real careful about changing his set up.
                I used to be real good reading plugs on motorcycles in the 70s & 80s, but I understand gas has changed and reading plugs in not so obvious.