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fouling of spark plugs

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  • fouling of spark plugs

    Both Ed and Bess are fouling their plugs. It's getting to be a real pain taking out and cleaning the plugs every few days. What causes this problem and how can I stop it? I soooo wish that there was a competent mechanic (with Studebakers that is) available to me. But I'm stuck with lil' ol' hammer-mechanic me. By the by, Bess has taken to smoking and using oil. Could this be because the valves are so far out of adjustment (she sounds like one of Dad's threashers, or a model T)?


    Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
    Lotsa Larks!
    K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
    Ron Smith
    Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?
    Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
    K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
    Ron Smith
    Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

  • #2
    Usually oil fouling, valve seals may help unless the engine is just worn out. Hotter plugs are a temporary fix.

    64 Commander-64 Daytona
    64 GT R2 clone-63 GT R2
    63 Avanti R1
    63 Daytona convert-63
    63 Lark 2 door
    62 Lark 2 door
    60 Lark HT-60Hawk
    59 3E truck
    52 & 53 Starliner
    51 Commander

    JDP Maryland

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    • #3
      I'm currently running Autolite 437s. NAPA doesn't have anything else in stock for my cars (they say). What would you suggest?


      Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
      Lotsa Larks!
      K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
      Ron Smith
      Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?
      Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
      K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
      Ron Smith
      Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

      Comment


      • #4
        Ron; Look in their spark plug catalog; NGK, Bosch, Autolite probably NOT Champion, for a plug 1 or 2 heat ranges hotter than your 437 (first you cross the Autolite 437 to their #). It should be a 14mm thread, extended tip, 7/16 in. reach, but a 3/8 in. reach Avanti/Chev. Plug will work. I really don't think it will prolong the inevitable for very long, if it needs rings and valve guides.

        You could do a dry compression test, engine warm, throttle blocked open, plugs out, record readings, then do it with a tablespoon of oil squirted in on the upper side of each piston to see if comp. increases meaning bad Rings. If it's low (under 120 PSI) and does NOT increase it's Valves.


        StudeRich
        Studebakers Northwest
        Ferndale, WA
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, Rich. I'll take that information down to the NAPA store and see what we can come up with. As to the compression test, I don't have the equipment to do so. The only mechanic that will work with me around here is rather unreliable,though willing to pay attention to the manuals when he is willing to help.

          Hey Mr. Biggs! Where did that mechanic move to in Oregon? Was it up north or in the southern part of the state?


          Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
          Lotsa Larks!
          K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
          Ron Smith
          Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?
          Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
          K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
          Ron Smith
          Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

          Comment


          • #6
            Remember, it takes three things to make an engine run.
            Compression
            Spark
            Fuel

            Fouled plugs can be caused by a weakness in any three of these.
            What are the plugs fouled with?
            If it is gas, then you need to check your carb, and your distributor (spark)
            If it is oil, then you should suspect your rings, or valve guides.
            If it is soot, then you should check your carb..
            Kind of a basic respnse, but the diagnosis routine is always the same.
            How does it fire off when you crank it?
            Hit right away..instantly?
            Grumble to life?
            What does the exhaust 'smell' like? (rich/lean)
            Are all the plugs the same?
            What is the dwell set at? (assuming you still have points)
            What is the timing set at?
            What is the vacuum reading at idle?
            What does the vacuum gauge needle do at idle?
            What happens when you adjust the carb idle mixture screws?
            How is the choke set?
            Since you mentioned oil use and smoke, It suggests oil fouling.
            A good reading of the plugs might suggest upping the heat range of the spark plugs one range to see if the hotter tip can be kept clean of oil.
            What number/brand of spark plug do you have in it right now?
            Loose valve adjustment won't change oil burning except by changing your idle vacuum, and that won't be by very much.
            You can check for loose valve guide induced oil burning by having someone follow you.
            Run it up to 30 some mph, and downshift and coast down, using the engine compression to slow the car.
            If it smokes moreduring the pull down, it is most likely the guides (very high intake vacuum sucking oil into the cylinders).
            Just some thoughts...
            Jeff[8D]


            quote:Originally posted by studeclunker

            Both Ed and Bess are fouling their plugs. It's getting to be a real pain taking out and cleaning the plugs every few days. What causes this problem and how can I stop it? I soooo wish that there was a competent mechanic (with Studebakers that is) available to me. But I'm stuck with lil' ol' hammer-mechanic me. By the by, Bess has taken to smoking and using oil. Could this be because the valves are so far out of adjustment (she sounds like one of Dad's threashers, or a model T)?
            HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

            Jeff


            Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



            Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

            Comment


            • #7
              What Jeff said and...If they are fouling very quickly look to the carb. If the choke is staying closed, or it's just too rich, idle mixture, floats high etc. Raw fuel in the cylinders will foul the plugs and dilute the oil causing it to get past the rings and guides a little easier. Oil fouling takes some time and is more commonly seen on 1 or 2 plugs pointing to a weak cylinder. If they are all wet, chances are it's fuel.

              BTW, if you are just starting the cars and letting them run for awhile and not driving them some distance, it may just be a result of idling with the choke not fully opened.

              Comment


              • #8
                You other guys have covered everything quite well. Loose valve guides or worn valve stem seals usually cause a lot of blue smoke on start up which then diminishes somewhat. That's from hot oil leaking down past the valve stem after you shut it down. My car had the old "umbrella" stem seals which are ok on a new engine but totally inadequate for worn guides. In fact, some engines only used seals on the intake valves and not the exhaust. Use 350 Chevy stem seals that actually slip down over the top of the valve quide. They'll have a little wire spring to hold them on and I like the ones with the Teflon inner seal. They can be changed without removing the head if you have a air compressor. Use either a compression tester hose and nipple to attach to the compresor hose or bust the porcelin out of a plug and braze a piece of pipe to it, then connect an air chuck fitting. Crank the engine over by hand until both valves are closed for the cylinder you're working on and turn the air on. It'll pressure up the cylinder and you can then remove the valve keepers and springs and old seals. You'll hear air leaking past the rings but that's normal for an older engine. Just make sure your compressor stay running because it you loose air pressure, the valve fall into the cylinder. If for some reason you must leave it for something, clamp a close pin or two onto the stem just in case.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ron
                  What John said. However - if you don't have an air compressor use a short length of 1/4 inch diameter rope. With the piston part way down the cylinder, stuff as much of the rope as you can into the cylinder through the plug hole. Turn the engine by hand until the piston pushes the rope up against the valves to hold them in place and change the stem seals. It's slower than the second coming, but what the hey, in a pinch it works.

                  Terry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I prefer Terry's method to compressed air.
                    Compressed air is noisy, smelly, and electricity cost's money.
                    Rope is slow, controllable, and easy...
                    (Just remember to take out all the spark plugs, and crank it by hand).
                    Parsimonious to the end![]
                    Jeff[8D]


                    quote:Originally posted by dictator27

                    Ron
                    What John said. However - if you don't have an air compressor use a short length of 1/4 inch diameter rope. With the piston part way down the cylinder, stuff as much of the rope as you can into the cylinder through the plug hole. Turn the engine by hand until the piston pushes the rope up against the valves to hold them in place and change the stem seals. It's slower than the second coming, but what the hey, in a pinch it works.

                    Terry


                    DEEPNHOCK at Gmail.com
                    Brooklet, Georgia
                    '37 Coupe Express (never ending project)
                    '37 Coupe Express Trailer (project)
                    '61 Hawk (project)
                    http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock

                    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

                    Jeff


                    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



                    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ron, Terry has a good idea but to add a little excitement to your life, try using garter snakes instead of rope or if you really like to live on the wild side, baby rattlesnakes!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No, John, no snakes. No matter what kind![:0][}] Be nice now, I think Terry was trying to help. It sounds easier than modifying a spark plug to act as a pressure regulator. At least I wouldn't have to buy a lot of equipment either!

                        Ok, forgive me please, for quoting both the '56 and early Lark manuals (bolding in text mine):

                        quote:Oil Fouling
                        Oil fouling (see Fig. 61) is usually identified by wet, sludgy deposits, tracable to excessive oil entering the combustion chamber through worn rings and pistons, excessive clearance between intake valve guides and stems, improperly installed or worn out valve stem seals, or worn and loose bearings, etc.

                        Gas Fouling
                        Gas fouling is usually identified by dry, black fluffy depositswhich result from incomplete combustion (see Fig. 62). Too rich an air fuel mixture or an improperly adjusted Automatic Choke can cause incomplete burning. In addition, a faulty ignition system can reduce voltage supplied to the spark plug and cause misfiring. If fouling is evident in only a few cylinders, sticking valves may be the cause. Excessive idling, slow speed, or stop and go driving can also keep spark plug temprature so low that normal cumbustion deposits are not burned off. In the latter case it may be desirable to install hotter range plugs.
                        Well, I'm getting a black, powdery buildup on cylinders; 1,6,&7. So, I would think it's some sticky valves? It would also account for the noise that the engine is making. That sounds a lot better than bad rings! Any thoughts here?


                        Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
                        Lotsa Larks!
                        K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                        Ron Smith
                        Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?
                        Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
                        K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                        Ron Smith
                        Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          GM top end cleaner. works well might have to go to chevy dealer to get it. if it can be fixed from a can that can can do it.
                          so i have my say i prefer air compressor method very simple.
                          if you were closer to indiana i would say bring it over lets fix it.

                          Erin Hays
                          1961 Hawk
                          1962 Lark
                          1963 Wagonaire

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