Our old plug wires had burnt through their protective sheilding in just 5 hours of usage.
It’s a deplorable action, a sin amongst sins, an outrageous, awful, appalling act of omission. You take the time to put two coats of wax on your rig, you spend the extra $18 on the really good engine oil, you may even go as far as buying the really high performance tune up parts when you maintain your rig. Yet, many of us don’t change spark plug wires as often as we should. Oh, sure, we’ll take the time to put a new cap, rotor and spark plugs in our engine, but plug wires? Forget it.
Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’ve been that guy too. They’re a pain in the butt to change, especially in a cramped engine bay. Yet, they can-and do-make a world of difference in how your engine performs.
After a recent engine build project, I chose a set of high-performance, custom fit spark plug wires that allowed me to bend the spark plug boots to clear the headers, which, much to my chagrin, didn’t work out so well (see picture; top-left). In less than 5 hours of engine run time, the plug boots melted completely through and were arcing against the header tubes, causing the engine to stumble like Ellen DeGeneres going on about some dog. The multi-angle spark plug boots didn’t have enough space between them.
I needed a set of spark plug wires that would clear my headers and could take the high heat that my engine produced, so I put a call into our friends at Accel. They turned us on to a set of Accel Extreme 9000 spark plug wires, Accel Pro Sleeve wire guards, Mallory wire separators and an Accel 300+ professional crimp tool.
The Extreme 9000 spark plug wires feature silicone spark boots with a heat-reflective coating and stainless steel spark plug terminals-all of which are designed specifically for high-temperature racing or towing applications. How do they do it? The ACCEL Extreme 9000 Ferro-Spiral heat reflective wire sets uses some advanced, super-secret technology that creates an ultra high-temperature barrier that acts as a heat mirror. These spark plug wire sets can withstand up to 1,000 degree F heat from an exhaust manifold only 1/2 in. away from the boot. Their 8 MM design provides very low resistance for maximum spark. Their complete suppression, and double silicone construction is exactly what the doctor ordered for our application, and would probably work just fine all by themselves.
Just to be on the safe side though, and to maximize the plug wire life – God knows I’m “that guy” who will put off changing plug wires again later – we sourced a set of Accel 170081 Pro Sleeve wire guards.
These double layer fiberglass boot guards are designed to protect the spark plug boots and wires from heat and abrasion. The Accel Pro Sleeve Guards feature an adjustable ring at the end of the boot, which allows you to rotate the entire boot every once in a while away from the exhaust manifold, which will extend its life. The material also expands and stretches over irregular shapes.
Lastly, the Mallory wire separators will help to keep the rest of the spark plug wire away from high heat surfaces too.
Ringing in at around $85 for the wire set, and around $65 for the Pro Sleeves, they are pricey, but as my ol’ man used to grumble… “Ya get what you pay for, son”. While our headers are ceramic coated and do a great job keeping the engine bay cooler than your garden variety header, I know that deep inside, I’m still “that guy” that will ignore his spark plug wires until something goes wrong with them. And, if you’re like me, this is a small price to pay to get maximum performance, maximum spark, maximum life and maximum heat resistance from your spark plug wires. So how did they perform?
After several hours on the engine dyno, running the engine under high load and at high RPM, the headers were almost hot enough to burn through space shuttle tiles, yet the spark plug wires and Pro Sleeve boots stood up the heat. The wires also provide very low electrical resistance, which improved the performance of our engine, as expected.
While the Accel Extreme 9000 spark plug wires and Pro Sleeve guards were exactly what we needed, we need to mention the Accel 300+ professional crimp tool. Make no mistake, this is not some cheap tool that will be good for one or two uses. This is a very high quality crimping tool constructed of a heavy duty hardened steel frame with comfortable, non-slip hand grips. The crimp tool has a ratchet mechanism which produces consistent, factory-style high quality crimps. It also comes with three removable stripping/crimping die type jaws; one for 7-9mm spark plug wires, one for primary wire terminals, and one for preinsulated terminals.
I’ve now used the Accel 300+ professional crimp tool to crimp over 100 wires on a re-wiring project that I am working on, as well as two sets of spark plugs. Since these projects, I have thrown away every other set of crimping tools – yes, they are THAT good! They’ll set you back about $60, but believe me when I tell you that the Accel 300+ crimp tool will last a lifetime and is worth every penny.
|ACCEL Ignition, Division of Prestolite Performance|
|10601 Memphis Ave. #12
Cleveland, OH 44144