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Thread: What Are The Best Spark Plugs For A Ford Mustang?

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    Coyote Power Inside. Minaccia's Avatar

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    Post What Are The Best Spark Plugs For A Ford Mustang?

    What Are The Best Spark Plugs For A Ford Mustang?
    Written By: Josh Honeycutt

    Choosing the right spark plug for you Ford Mustang requires a bit of knowledge about the plugs you're currently using, as well as the performance level of the car. When finding the best plug for your application, these are a few things you'll need to consider.


    Facts About Mustang Spark Plugs

    Factory plugs are used for their durability and emissions qualities
    Proper heat range is important to remember while choosing a spark plug
    A larger spark plug gap is desired in a naturally aspirated Mustang, but a smaller gap is desired in a forced induction engine
    Spark plug electrodes are made using iridium, platinum, silver, and gold which causes the electrodes to last longer and created a consistent spark

    One of the most often overlooked items on the Mustang is the spark plug. Most Mustang owners don’t give their spark plug selection a second thought, but this can end up being a costly mistake. Ford rolled the stock 4.6 engines out with Motorcraft platinum tip spark plugs. These plugs are gapped from Ford’s factory at .055 inches. In recent years, many after market companies have researched and developed better spark plugs. These plugs allow for a more complete and efficient burn.


    Are the Mustang’s factory spark plugs good?

    The factory plug was mainly used because of its durability and emissions qualities. Ford was required to hit 50,000 miles for the emissions warranty as dictated by the federal government. The factory plugs work quite well on stock and mildly modified cars. However, there are some gains to be made through the aftermarket. There are also situations where plugs with different heat ranges are needed.


    What are spark plug heat ranges?

    The heat range is the temperature at the tip of the spark plug electrode in a running engine. The heat range does not affect the temperature of the combustion chamber directly. However, the heat from the combustion chamber can cause the temperature of the electrode to rise. Spark plugs with a lower heat range are set to be “colder” and vise-versa.

    The Importance of the Proper Heat Range

    It is important to choose a spark plug with the proper heat range for your Mustang. For example, with forced induction a “colder” spark plug should be used. This is due to the increase in pressure inside the combustion chambers. Using a spark plug with a higher heat range will cause detonation or “pinging”. This is also the case in high combustion engines.

    Spark Plug Gapping Explained

    The spark plug gap is the area between the ground strap and the electrode. This is where the spark jumps from the electrode to run to ground, lighting the air fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. In naturally aspirated Mustangs, a larger gap is desirable as it provides a “fatter” spark. In forced induction engines, the opposite is true. The gap must be reduced because of the increased turbulence and pressure in the combustion chamber. If not, the spark could be blown out causing a misfire.

    Different Spark Plug Material
    The primary change in spark plug material in recent years has been in the electrode of the plug. In the past, the electrodes were made of nickel or copper. These materials eroded quickly with in town driving and were less than desirable at the track. Modern aftermarket companies use far more durable materials for the electrode. These materials include iridium, platinum, silver, and even gold. The primary advantage being they last longer and produce a more consistent spark kernel. This results in better fuel economy and better throttle response.
    Aftermarket Options For Mustangs

    NGK is one of the most popular aftermarket spark plug producers. They offer a great iridium spark plug for the mustang with noticeable gains in off idle throttle response. These can be picked up for around $70. The stock Ford Motorcraft plugs can be had for around $30. The E3 spark plugs resale for roughly $50 and use a nickel alloy electrode.

    What spark plugs should I put in my Mustang?

    Choosing which comes down to your needs. A stock Mustang will benefit from an upgraded plug, but will not need the most extreme options available. A basic Motorcraft plug will do just fine, but an upgrade will help throttle response and MPGs. High horsepower applications (especially forced induction) certainly want to consider a high quality plug, like a cold range NGK iridium, to complement their other mods. Skipping out on a quality set of plugs could damage your motor and cause significant repair costs.

    All things considered, choosing the right spark plug for your Mustang comes down to what modifications you currently have, and what you plan on doing in the near future. With all the options out there, it’s easy to jump at the first spark plug with the most promises. However, the best spark plug is the one that suits your engine with the right heat range and gapped correctly.

    www.GTAMC.com
    In the Garage: 2011 Mustang GT, Auto, 4.10 gears, CAI, LT's, X-Pipe, HP Tuners, nGAUGE, some suspension parts and a small diet

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    Knight of Badassdom Lips's Avatar

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    good article, and applies to many vehicles, not just stangs. plugs are often overlooked.
    Future303® - " good production values considering it's about choking the chicken"

    KCCO

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    pist'n broke member

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    who wrote that article?...an automotive journalist?...ridiculous!

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    pist'n broke member

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lips View Post
    good article, and applies to many vehicles, not just stangs. plugs are often overlooked.
    put 20 grand into an engine build...& get the plugs wrong

    guess what...?

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    pist'n broke member

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lips View Post
    good article
    no its not...its vague at best & teaches nothing

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    Coyote Power Inside. Minaccia's Avatar

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    Written By: Josh Honeycutt, from what I gather he's a Dewy, Skunk, Ryan or Trevor type guy who's connected some how with A.M. and seems to write a bunch of their tech articles. I haven't read anywhere that he is a journalist but I also didn't read that he isn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by dewworm View Post
    who wrote that article?...an automotive journalist?...ridiculous!
    In the Garage: 2011 Mustang GT, Auto, 4.10 gears, CAI, LT's, X-Pipe, HP Tuners, nGAUGE, some suspension parts and a small diet

  7. #7
    Knight of Badassdom Lips's Avatar

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    it is a good article, it gives a basic idea of why changing plug types is a good idea, most people don't know anything about spark plugs, so this gives them a quick and dirty lesson on them, so they can see why more research is needed to have the best plug for their own build. not everyone is super informed about all aspects of an engine, so simple written articles like this are a great start to get an idea into someones head on how they can learn more and improve something.
    Future303® - " good production values considering it's about choking the chicken"

    KCCO

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    pist'n broke member

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    guys...seriously plugs is a science...ground strap...how to read it...what fuel?...how the fuel reacts on the plug

    heat range...why its critical...gap...what determines gap...chamber size...chamber shape...longer tip plugs

    why to use them...where they work...where they dont work...where iridium plugs work...why to use them or not

    tons to know...just find something thats practical & works for your particular engine based on combination...

    ask the tuners where to start...or ask others with similar set ups what is working


    & just for fun...lets see who the real hot rod guys are on here...so Im calling you out...simple question

    what causes spark "blow out" on a forced motor?

  9. #9
    Coyote Power Inside. Minaccia's Avatar

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    I'm not Hot Rod but from what I learned years ago on a forced induction motor if the spark plug gap is too large at high RPM's there can be spark plug blow out due to the added fuel and pressure inside the cylinders. On a supercharged/turbo motor the gap should be reduced to avoid this from happening and you should also use cooler running spark plugs..

    Quote Originally Posted by dewworm View Post
    what causes spark "blow out" on a forced motor?
    In the Garage: 2011 Mustang GT, Auto, 4.10 gears, CAI, LT's, X-Pipe, HP Tuners, nGAUGE, some suspension parts and a small diet

  10. #10
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    Lou..... Thanks for including me with those Inspirational brainiacs!!

    OK Dewy.... Spark blow out is caused by inproper thread engagement of the plug into the head. The pressure of forced induction blows them out of the head once they ignite. LOL

    Did I guess right?
    John
    1987 Thunderbird Turbocoupe 306, Ported E7s and Cobra Intake/ported lower, Holset H1C T4 22cm Turbine Housing Turbo, 42lb Injectors, PMAS MAF, Tweecer/Binary Editor Tuned.
    222 hp/ 259 tq NA.........383 hp/ 453 tq Boosted
    1989 Mustang Convertible 2.3L Turbo

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