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Old 05-18-2005, 10:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

Lately my engine has been running rough now and again. Feels like it has a slight miss sometimes. Today after changing the oil I fired it up and checked for leaks. Looked good, but I heard a clicking, and it wasn't that bad lifter (that's another story! ).

Look around and I saw one of my wires arcing at the boot onto what seemed to be the heater core hose. So I moved that out of the way and it was arcing less, but still arcing to the manifold. Well you can probably figure where this is going... Stupid me reached out to make sure it was on the plug nice and good. Well, my arm muscles decided to tighten real quickly like, sending my elbow bashing back into the hood. D'oh! Gee Cory, that was real smart! Can't do that anymore with the Pertronix II and the MSD coil!

Anyhow, I suppose these wires have about 20,000 miles on them. Does that seem reasonable for them to go kaput after that long? How long should wires typically last? Anyhow, I figgure I'll do the wires, cap and rotor tomorrow. I just changed the plugs a couple weeks ago so they're good for a while.
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Old 05-18-2005, 10:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

I never heard that you should change your ignition wires after a certain number of miles.
Unless they are really realy old... and in bad shape I would change them.
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Old 05-18-2005, 10:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

They are about two years old I think. I have never heard anything about how often to change spark plug wires. I just change them whenever they seem to be a problem, like now. heh heh No one ever seems to want to say how often they need to be changed. Not sure why. In any case, hopefully new plugs will get rid of my missfiring problem.
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Old 05-18-2005, 11:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

For every foot of wire, there should be no more than a certain amount of resistance measured with an ohmmeter.
Sorry, but I forget how much the max. ohm reading should be. Hopefully, somone else will know the answer for you.
That's how you test them though
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Old 05-19-2005, 12:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

some cheap brands have a few thousand ohms of resistance per foot. I've heard of some race wires only having a few ohms in the whole wire. I'd have to look around to verify but I think this was on a mustang magazine.
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Old 05-19-2005, 01:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

Sounds more like a bad boot seal to me - did you cut them to length yourself? I'd just pull that boot off and put a new end on it, and make sure your not burning it on a header or something.

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Old 05-19-2005, 09:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

If you are getting fire through the wire to the plug: The first thing I would check is the Plug. If the plug is good, Check for crud, paint or oil around the threads and the torque on the plug.. Sounds like the plug is not grounded to the head..
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Old 05-19-2005, 09:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

Very common to see arcing after moving them to change your plugs - this is why most shops won't just change plugs but insist on Cap rotor & WIRES. The wires were probably servicable before you changed your plugs, moving them around to change the plugs was enough to break up the conductors inside the insulation and cause arcing through said insulation.

Remember, suppression wires (what all of us run to avoid radio/electrical interference) aren't a METAL conductor (wires like under the dash) surrounded by an insulative layer of rubber, plastic, or silicone. Supression wires are a Carbon fiber conductive element inside multiple layers of insulation. CARBON FIBER is brittle (compared to malleable metals) and when flexed will crack.

BTW that burning sensation in your arm go away yet?
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Old 05-19-2005, 12:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How long do spark plug wires last?

Get a digital multimeter, and if your wires 8 or 7 or 6mm have an ohm reading with a higher ohm rating if .07 or higher (for instance anything with a 1.000 or higher I would replace them) I change anything that comes my way with .014 resistance (ohm's) or higher. The readings on multimeters differ so check a brand new supression core 7 or 8mm wire at a parts store, and use a rule of thumb off that one....

If you have arcing I'd replace them period. You're loosing efficiency... If you want to know if anymore wires are bad go get some isoprophyl/rubbing alcohol and dilute slightly in a squirt bottle. Start your motor/engine, (in the dark or dusk) and spray the wires from the plugs to the cap. If you see little blue balls of light then you have bad wires and they need replaced... The dilluted alcohol won't blow up or catch your car on fire. (that's why you dilute it....)
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