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You can the entire collection of Safety Tip articles in a 33 Megabyte PDF Portfolio

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 How To ...
 Preventative Maintenance
 Spark Plugs a Key to Preventive Maintenance
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1668 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Kawasaki

2006 VN900

Posted - 06/29/2009 :  6:36 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
There are many things we can do, without any particular mechanical skills, to stay on top of any problems that can be developing with our bikes. One of those is periodic checking of our spark plugs.
We should check to ensure the boot of the spark plug wire fits snugly over the spark plug and that the plug hasn't vibrated loose.
We should as well remove the spark plugs and check them to ensure they have the proper gap and how they are functioning which can provide a clear insight into the overall operation of our bike as evidenced by the information contained in this link;

http://www.spark-plugs.co.uk/pages/...iagnosis.htm

Indicators provided by our spark plugs can save countless dollars in future repairs by catching a problem in it's early stages before they develope into something serious.

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 06/29/2009 :  9:33 PM
I used to have to deal with spark plugs all the time when I rode 2-stroke dirt bikes. In fact, with a couple of motocross bikes that I owned I had to always carry one or two spare plugs with me. I've changed one plug on my 4-stroke XR650L, and it probably was not what the bike needed.

I've found no need at all to even look at the plugs on any of my street bikes. Maybe I just haven't put enough miles on them yet, since I'm barely past 35K on my highest mileage bike.

I guess I'm saying that I'm not sure that I agree with you. At least I feel that it is more important to keep track of tires, chain, sprockets, brakes, electrical connections, light bulbs, batteries, and probably forks and shocks too before I start worrying about spark plugs.
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1668 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Kawasaki

2006 VN900

Posted - 06/29/2009 :  11:31 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I hear what you are saying Scott, and you are quite right indeed in respect to their being a number of other more important aspects of Preventative Maintenance. I am intending on touching upon most aspects in various posts that will discuss each one individually along with accompanying links that illustrate how the aspect being discussed is performed. I chose spark plugs as my first, not because it is number one on my list but rather due to the fact that a lot of novice riders on older bikes don't realize the importance of checking their spark plugs, especially when they are experiencing their bike acting differently than they feel it should.

I have historically ridden mostly older bikes, or at least those with a fair amount of mileage on them before they came into my possession. Because of this, I have gotten into the habit of checking the seating of my spark plug wires during my daily visual inspection, and pull the plugs at each oil change, to inspect them for gap and condition. With the electronics of the newer bikes, that necessity becomes somewhat diminished but I think in situations where the machine is performing differently, it doesn't hurt to be versed on the importance of the spark plugs as an indicator of the possible cause. Although I purchased my Night Train new, I have followed this procedure throughout it's current 80,000 mileage. In the case of this particular bike, it has simply served to re-assure me that all has been working well.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 06/29/2009 :  11:58 PM
Some care has to be taken with reading spark plugs on emissions controlled bikes. The latest models burn very lean mixtures and plugs can appear to be too hot using usual charts. I personally would not put a colder plug than stock in a late model liquid cooled bike.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 06/30/2009 :  1:19 AM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

I've found no need at all to even look at the plugs on any of my street bikes. Maybe I just haven't put enough miles on them yet, since I'm barely past 35K on my highest mileage bike.
I guess I'm saying that I'm not sure that I agree with you. At least I feel that it is more important to keep track of tires, chain, sprockets, brakes, electrical connections, light bulbs, batteries, and probably forks and shocks too before I start worrying about spark plugs.



He's talking to me Scott ... one without any particular mechanical skills.

If you want to have some real fun, just video a sequence of me changing out shocks, sprockets and fork oil (on someone else's bike).

I have no problem checking my spark plugs ... all four of them are still there !!

~brian

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madjack
Male Junior Member
98 Posts


Lakefield, Minnesota
USA

Honda

2000 Valk, 85 V65

Posted - 06/30/2009 :  7:02 AM
And don't neglect the plug wires, Mine seemed to fit a little loose on my V65 Magna, pulled one, found green corrision inside the boot where the wire makes contact with the plug, pulled the rest of the plugs and found out the same, I cleaned the green gunk off them, started the bike up and it ran much better than before. The plug wires were put in new when I bought the bike 2 years and 12,000 miles ago. I decided just to buy new wires, put them in, started it up, WOW! what a big difference, the bike has never run better! The ends of the wires were also all green at the other end, I will keep a watch on them as well as my plugs in the future.
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Indiana Randy
Moderator
2118 Posts
[Mentor]


Fort Wayne, Indiana
USA

Honda

2000 Magna V4 750

Posted - 06/30/2009 :  11:12 AM
A discussion of pulling plug wires and checking plugs ought to contain this tidbit (IMO); Always apply a good glob of dielectric grease in the plug wire end that covers the plug. It will prevent corrosion, maintain a good electrical connection and make for easier removal next time.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2271 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  2:10 AM
Rocks in your head ....

I rolled the bike in the 'barn' here at work one night last week and wiped the dew or rain off it before looking over the plug wires. I was going to check the wires and plugs but realized a significant amount of tiny stones or pebbles are now recessed in the circular area of each of the four plugs. The motor is an IL-4 with the heads sitting almost straight up.
I decided against getting into that project until I devise a good method of clearing the debris ... and by the way ... is there any good method of clearing the debris?

I'm concerned about high pressure water and suds and I think my leaf blower will do little if anything to lift the debris, possibly forcing it farther into the recesses of oblivion. I'm thinking of shimming up a vacuum hose with a tiny suction tube after using a jewelers small screwdriver to 'pick' stuff out. I welcome other thoughts or ideas though !!

~brian
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  7:28 AM
Compressed air is typically used to blow debris out of a plug well. It's common for plug caps in overhead cam engines to seal the top of the well nowadays.
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