Spark Plugs and Compression Tests – Tuning Session #1

OCTOBER 24, 2011 – We’re constantly working on learning new things in the Gasoline Girls – and that includes skills for every level. All of us could use to learn more about tuning engines. To make a start with this, we decided to begin with the basics during our October meeting – changing spark plugs, reading spark plugs, and compression testing our engines.

Pati’s been needing to do a tune up on her Datsun 240Z, so she’d brought a set of new plugs. Pati taught, as newcomer Pat learned how to change spark plugs.

Meanwhile, Rebecca was due to read the plugs on her ’55 Chevy. She and Kristin have the same motor in their cars (Chevy 383,) so they had previous experience wrestling to reach the plugs in tight quarters underneth and between the headers.

Upon pulling one, it was wet – but not too bad. The girls compared the plug to their handy-dandy spark plug reader chart.

With images and explanations taken from NGK spark plugs website, Kristin compiled these onto a toolbox-ready laminated handout.

They thought getting to the plugs on the 383 were hard! Next, Kristin and Rosa ventured to pull the plugs on Kristin’s Explorer…if only they could find ‘em! Situated way down at the bottom of the engine block, Kristin eventually got a distributor wire pulled, but there was no way that plug was coming out unless they took the front tire off!

After trying to reach the plugs on the Explorer, turning to the straight six on Pati’s Datsun was a cinch! Kristin and Nancy learned how easy it was to do a compression test…

While Pati had fun just turning the key! Unfortunately the results weren’t so fun! The first three cylinders were in the 90s (already too low) while the last three read 70, 100, and a whooping 25 psi respectively! So Pati is going to have to decide what to do next on the Datsun, because its going to need more then a simple tune-up!

All-in-all, we had a fun time together learning and exploring our cars. Next month at our meeting we’ll be diving deeper into tuning lessons – we can’t wait!

Other happenings of the weekend included:

  • Lori and Kristin headed out to Gene Winfield’s for his annual Winfield Watson Car Show. You can check out the story Kristin wrote about it on MyRideisMe.com. Lori also wrote about this special landmark trip for her truck Bondorella. Read all about it!
  • In other parts, Adele and her friend headed out to Palm Springs for the Casual Concourse de Elegance. Check out that and more pictures on our Facebook album of the weekend.

Until next time…

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