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Oni 01-15-2006 11:13 PM

Spark Plug Wires and Grounds Question
So, I'm considering some minor modifications to just the wiring on the car. I'm wondering, though, how does this fall into SCCA regulations for autocross?

Basically, I want to redo the ground cables to chassis for the battery and engine, I might do the alternator cable as well, and I might possibly change out the spark plug wires to a Ford Racing 9mm set. I've considered the Screamin' Demon Coil and LiveWires, but the money to purchase it just doesn't seem worth it.

My question is, I'm looking to stay in SCCA Solo II STS class, and I did not find the rule stating whether electrical wire is illegal to modify or not. I was wondering if one or any of these wire "upgrades" would actually place me out of STS.

Also, when upgrading to the Ford Racing spark plug wires (or any better ones for that matter), do you need to reset the gap on the spark plug or leave it at the normal setting? The reason I ask is because of the Screamin' Demon requires the gap to be widened on the plug due to the increase spark, so I assume you'd get an increased spark on the Ford Racing wires as well.

Part of the reason (and please correct me if I'm sadly mistaken) of these changes is based on the fact my audio has been picking up static on quick volume drops (reason for the ground cables), and I have also had the problem with the car almost stalling when braking from high speeds to an almost stop. I have read it will give a minor (almost unnoticeable) performance increase, but more importantly, it can help to improve the driveability of the engine and increase its fuel mileage (the spark plug wires).


03OrangeSVT 01-16-2006 09:41 AM

The screamon demon coil and live wires are WAAAAYYYYY over rated. Personally I dont believe they perform any better than STOCK.

You can open the gap on your plugs while using the stock setup and get the same results..... seems like SNAKE OIL to me.

The SD setup was misfireing under load when we were tuning the SVT, put the stock coil and wires back on and everything was just fine with no more misfire.

I do use the FRPP wires, and they do seem to help smooth out the car some.

MISVTfocus 01-16-2006 10:21 AM

Well I'm running the MSD ignition+wires on my car gapped at .065 now, seems to run a little nicer. I have seen better gas milage though (for now) on 3 tanks already after installing it. The only downside is when it's really cold it has rough idle until it warms up.

The ford racing wires are just bigger wires, I don't know if that means you're going to get a bigger spark though. You might just be getting the benefit of having a larger wire able to carry a little more voltage.

I don't know about the Solo II rules though man, sorry can't help you out there.

WD40 01-17-2006 12:28 PM

Groundking Kits

Check this from the 2005 Rules (PDF format)
Stock Class:

A. Accessories, gauges, indicators, lights and other appearance,
comfort and convenience modifications which have no effect on
performance and/or handling and do not materially reduce the
weight of the car are permitted. This does not allow driver’s seat
substitutions, or the removal of “tow hooks”, a.k.a. “tie-down
loops”. Delayed shutdown devices such as the “Turbo Timer”,
which perform no function while the car is in motion, are permitted.
This does permit the installation of an additional mirror (e.g. a
“Wink”), but does not allow the removal of the original mirror.
“Grounding kits” specifically designed to support sound systems
are permitted but may serve no other purpose.

Oni 01-17-2006 07:37 PM

Hey Doug, thanks for the response. However, I'm interested in STS class rules rather Stock rules, which is the section 14 of the SCCA rules (2005 and 2006 pdfs).

My car just died when I was braking to turn into a parking lot. I've had it stutter and almost stall, but tonight was the first time it actually just died on its own. I'm hoping the culprit is a weak ground as I have read, but I'll take suggestions if someone knows possibly why else this problem occurs.

Carrera26 01-17-2006 11:03 PM

Honestly, this is something that you should go to your Solo Events director about. For a modification this small, with such a minor effect, and at a regional level, I HIGHLY doubt that your Solo authority would snatch you out of class for it. It's one of those things where people don't really start to care that much until you are in a serious contest for a trophy in a class populated by very competitive people. Even then, I doubt that anyone would care, and only a bitter and narrowly beaten competitor would demand any action on it. Mine said he wouldn't care if I got a lightweight battery (shave 25lbs right off the top of my front-left corner!)

Now if you were hitting up the Divisional, National, or Pro Solo tours then they would care. At Nationals they are really stingy. I know of one guy who actually got eliminated from a 1st place National trohpy becaue the cat on his Honda was 6" back from where it should be...

Until you're there, don't worry about it but to be on the safe side, as I said, talk to your Solo II board member and get their approval.

Oni 01-18-2006 12:56 AM

Thanks, Aaron. I posted up the question on the local forums, and if I don't get a response from the director, I'll be sure to e-mail him about it.


"The ford racing wires are just bigger wires, I don't know if that means you're going to get a bigger spark though. You might just be getting the benefit of having a larger wire able to carry a little more voltage."

From my understanding, a larger wire will allow more current flow (not voltage since voltage is a potential difference) through the wire. I've been told the electrons on the outside of the wire flow rather than the electrons that actually compose the wire. The larger surface area therefore increases the number of electrons (a larger charge density) to reach the spark plug (more amperage = "hotter" spark). A lower resistance wire will not impede the current flow as much also allowing a for a greater charge density, and a larger surface area on the wire allows for quicker dissipation of heat (not really a mentionable factor for this part).

While I may sound like I know what I'm talking about (or not), I still don't understand why you widen the spark plug gap. The current will still arc the gap with the given the increased potential arriving to the plug, so why is it widened? Does the increase of several thousandths of an inch create that much more time for spark "exposure" to burn more fuel/air? Does the longer gap allow for the spark to be applied to the larger area around it to burn more fuel/air? Does the gap even have a profound effect on the time duration of the spark as to whether or not it will cause combustion over detonation (and I'm not talking about detonation due to a lack of spark not being able to arc the gap)? Am I just dumb and the answer is obvious...?

The only thing I can really think of is that the wider gap causes the spark to burn the fuel/air for a slightly longer duration optimizing the most out of what was pulled into the cylinder. It just seems that the speed at which electricity can travel through the fluid present in the cylinder would not be sensitive enough to be affected by a gap difference of just a few thousandths of an inch. I think I'm just making the explanation too complicated and overlooking the more practical answer.

MISVTfocus 01-18-2006 01:55 AM

My mistake, I meant to put amperage.

By widening the spark range and allowing a larger spark you're going to "create better burn" because more of the mixture will ignite at one time, supposedly. I don't know how much of a performance increase it creates but I have been seeing better milage.

VNMOUS 01-18-2006 08:03 AM

Are the FRPP wires the same for the SVTs and ZX3s? Like they are the same for all 2.0L Foci? Sorry for such a newb question.

Oni 01-18-2006 11:05 AM

I believe so because when you look on, it only mentions the wires for the ZX3 2.0L Zetec. They're just wires so they should work just fine. I doubt SVT modified the coil on the car just for the SVT Focus.

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