Champion Sparkplug Specificationsby Theresa Custodio
Spark plug designs generally attempt to strike a balance between two goals: improved performance and long life. A variety of materials and specifications are used to create spark plugs that make starting your engine easier, improve power, increase fuel economy and last for a longer period without replacement. Champion offers an assortment of spark plugs that meet specific needs.
Champion offers two types of center electrodes: fine wire and tapered. Fine wire designs are more efficient because they use less voltage to create a spark. This causes less misfires in your engine and will increase gas mileage and horsepower. Electrodes that are fine wire are less likely to absorb heat created by the spark; this is referred to as "quenching." Less quenching allows more heat to ignite the air-fuel mixture causing the engine to operate more effectively. Tapered center electrodes offer the same benefits of fine wire but are available with platinum electrodes for increased durability.
Several styles of ground electrodes affect the performance and life of Champion spark plugs. Quenching is lessened with V-trimmed types due to less surface area between the electrode and the spark. Both cut back and angled ground electrodes provide better engine performance by allowing the air fuel mixture to be exposed to the spark more easily. Quenching is also reduced with these types. Some engine specifications call for a spark plug with multiple ground electrodes. These types of spark plugs have the electrodes positioned on either side of the center electrode instead of below. If you are working with a rotary motor, multiple ground spark plugs are likely to be recommended by the manufacturer. Spark plugs of this type do not last as long as traditional designs and will have more misfires as they wear down.
Two basic types of resistors are used with Champion spark plugs. Basic resistor designs are common for automotive engines as they reduce electronic noise caused by the spark that can interfere with your car radio and other electronics inside the vehicle. An engine with a capacitive discharge ignition (CDI) will require a specific resistor designed into the spark plug. Spark plugs with these types of resistors are common in outboard marine engines and should never be used in non-CDI motors. Furthermore, using normal resistor type spark plugs with an engine designed with a CDI can destroy the spark plug.
Platinum electrodes improve the performance and life of Champion spark plugs due to the materials high tolerance to heat. Spark plugs designed for longer use have a small amount of platinum bonded to the center electrode and, in some cases, the ground electrode. Fine wire designs with platinum electrode tips also have increased performance. Spark plugs made with iridium electrodes have a tolerance to heat above that of platinum types. Iridium is a much harder and stronger metal, making it capable of conducting electricity more effectively. Iridium is an expensive material, adding increased cost to these types of spark plugs; however, this kind of plug has an ultra-long life. Another type of electrode is made of gold and palladium for better electrical conduction and increased durability. Champion Spark Plugs P.O. Box 772 Sun City, CA 92586 888-800-9629 championsparkplugs.com
- old engine image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com