Restoring Spark Plugs

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2013: Restoring Spark Plugs
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Schmidt on Friday, September 13, 2013 - 10:59 pm:

I've just purchased some Champion X spark plugs with Ford script. Where might I find information on how to restore them for use in my Model T?

Thanks, Steve


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown on Friday, September 13, 2013 - 11:30 pm:

Hi: Do you mean restored to like new condition or just to good running condition. I have done some in the past. I useally just glass bead them on the threaded end. Pay attention to the area inside the tip. Reset the gap to .035 (there has been discussion on the gap but .035 is a good overall gap) That useally is good enough to run OK. If you want to fully restore them, you will need to take them apart. I take a old six point deep well socket and weld it to a angle iron that I can clamp in a vice. I use that to hold the big end of the plug. Then with a good wrench (prferably a six point) take the plug apart. Be very, very carefull not to break the porcelain. When you take it apart be carefull to save the mica packing washers. I do not know where to buy them at this time so you will need them. It also helps to have some extra old junk plugs to salvage the mica washers from. I have also seen copper packing washers used but not often. You will have to be very carefull cleaning the packing washers, they are sometimes very delicate to work with. After everything is apart it is best to glass bead all the steel parts. The porcelain can be cleaned with a scotch brite pad, steel wool, or ?? Just be carefull and procede slowly with the cleaning. The porcelain glazing is very durable but it will scratch or chip, so be carefull with them. Look for hairline cracks after they are clean. as cracks in the porcelain will short out. The cleaned metal parts can be painted with a high temp semi-gloss black engine enamel or you can "blue" them. You can find "bluing" at your local gun shop, some wal mart stores or some pawn shops have it. If none of these has it check e-bay. Follow the directions on the bluing product you find to use. Remember that for a good bluing to work that the metal must be very clean and almost a shiney mirror like surface. After everything is clean, and painted or blued just reassemble the plug, paying close attention to the packing washers. I have had to add a extra washer or 2 to get them to tighten up well. That is where the junk plugs for parts comes in handy. If anyone out there knows where to buy the packing for the plugs please let us know. Just remember to take your time as the "Ford" script plugs are not being reproduced. Good luck


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Friday, September 13, 2013 - 11:31 pm:

You can take them apart and clean them with a pocket knife. Steel parts could be wirebrushed and painted. I suppose if you are purist you could get some phosphoric acid and parkerize the steel parts.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, September 13, 2013 - 11:42 pm:



You don't say whether it's one of these or one of the later types with the crimped on brass cap, but the process is similar for both kinds. The steps are pretty basic.
1 Dismantle; 2 Clean; 3 Pretty up the pieces; 4 Reassemble; 5 Adjust.

1 Put the collar (#4) in a vise and unscrew the base (#1) with a 15/16" deep socket.


2 Remove all rust (Evaporust, wire brush).

3 Obtain some gun bluing from your local firearms merchant and use it on the steel parts.

4 Put the parts back together. Don't over tighten.

5 Set the gap at .032" (You may get differing opinions on this.)



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 12:13 am:


I should add a little about the washers. On the left is one of the current Champion X plugs. As you can see, the copper washer they're using now doesn't amount to much. On the right is a circa 1921 plug. It has the copper washer that originally was lined with asbestos. These are not available new, and good ones are mighty scarce. In the center are a couple of the copper crush washers I got as replacements from an aircraft supply in Paso Robles. They're 1/2" ID and 3/4" OD. I'll be trying them in my plugs to see how they do.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erich Bruckner, Vancouver, WA on Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 03:57 am:



These are great plugs and respond well to restoration efforts. This is what my car has been running on for years now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erich Bruckner, Vancouver, WA on Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 04:03 am:

I use a 13/16 and 15/16 set of box end wrenches to open and close these plugs as I find the small ring is to easily deformed if put into a vice. It helps to have broken plugs that are good for spare parts as noted above. I agree with the above advice and differ only in that my gap of choice is .025 on these plugs. I run stock ignition system with coils. Wire wheel is great on the steel parts, just not good for the porcelain. Clean that with "barkeepers friend" or such.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Schmidt on Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 11:15 pm:

Thanks to everyone. So, my being a novice shows - where do I buy a glass bead cleaner? Are there different abrasive grits and which is recommended for cleaning spark plugs?

Thanks, Steve


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money - Braidwood, IL on Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 11:40 pm:

Has anyone tried any of the copper drain plug washers in these? I wonder about the size.


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