Couple of questions about engine products

spstan

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2023
Messages
125
Reaction score
31
Location
Rochester
1975 New Yorker has been running very smooth (almost like fuel injection) but I've been thinking about trying a couple of new items to see if they improve things. Has anyone tried 1) Restore or 2) NGK plugs. Restore is an oil additive that is supposed to bind to metal and fill in small cracks. Manufacturer claims it restores compression to older engines. Guy on YouTube claims it really works.

I've heard a lot of guys rave about NGK spark plugs. I'm currently running Autolites and the engine runs fine. I'm wondering if changing to NGK plugs with the V shaped tips would improve things.

Anyone have experience with either of these products? Paul
 
Restore used to be advertised much more than in more recent times. Not sure if it might work, never have used it. Their ads used to have testimonials of higher compression readings and such. ONLY thing is that a higher compression reading will not typically translate into MORE power or fuel economy.

When I first discovered NGK V-Power spark plugs, it was from a parts counter pamphlet I got at a Toyota dealership parts dept. Made perfect sense that they were OEM on some Toyota engines, back then. With the V-shaped ground electrode surface, but not the "V-Power" nomenclature. I got into the back of an NGK catalog and crossed one of the Toyota plugs into Champion, then found one which would work in my '80 Newport 360 2bbl. I had my friend get me a set of them.

The '80 Newport had had some Autolites in it when I got it and they were burning clean. I was skeptical the NGK V-Powers would be any better . . . but after checking the gap and putting them in, as soon as the engine started, I could HEAR the difference. Sharper throttle response. It just sounded better. Very minor improvement in fuel economy, but the engine sounded happier, so I expanded my use of them to be in everything else I had.

Observation was that in an open chamber head combustion chamber, with "lazier air", more improvement than in a wedge combustion chamber. Still, they all sounded and acted better.

Now, some might cover their eyes, the car I was driving most back then was my '77 Camaro 305 w/Holley 4160 (later 4175) on a Holley Z-Line intake manifold. That car seemed to not care the V-Powers were in there, but it made a minor difference in all areas. Especially when the engine was cold, I could tap the throttle pedal, hit the starter, it started almost immediately, put it in "R", as I had the choke set to come off quickly, it might act like it was going to falter, but one tap of the throttle pedal and it was running again (still in gear), continue to back out, and drive off. Now, when I say "tap", that's what it was. Just enough for a drop of accel pump output, no more was needed.

Before I got the NGKs, I had tried some other new, high-tech spark plugs with more efficient gap designs. The highly-hyped, later discredited, multi-electrode plugs of the time too! Those plugs' electrodes were soft and wear-eroded quickly, plus I almost choked when paying over $50.00 for 8 of them. Those went in the trash, put the prior plugs back in the '80 Newport, and it ran better.

The ACDelco RapidFire plugs had all of the "bells and whistles" as to gap design which were available back then (or later). The "fine wire" electrodes were just being talked about. They looked neat and had solid engineering regarding gap design and the resulting flame kernel which resulted, getting more of the kernel exposed to the air/fuel mixture in the process. Plus, a variation of the old Champion "J-Gap" ground electrode "racing plug" from the middle 1960s, except with the corners cut back a bit, for a point on the end of the ground electrode. I put them in the Camaro and I did log about 2% better fuel economy over many miles. They, like the later NGKs, had a different heat range nomenclature.

Still, the favorite was the NGK V-Power plugs. They were available locally at a decent price. I could get them to last about 30K miles in the Camaro. Their claims to fame included that they forced the spark to the edge of the ground electrode, putting the flame kernel origination THERE, rather than being shrouded by the ground electrode itself. I liked that approach better than NipponDenso's similar U-Groove plug. Knowing full well that the spark would jump ONCE to the nearest electrode area.

Through all of this, I was intrigued by the fine wire electrode plugs. As even Champion had something like it in their "Easy Start" lawn mower spark plugs. Those particular Champion spark plugs DID start easier in my lawn mower.

When the fine wire electrode NGKs became available, I got a set for the Camaro (which now had a set of L98 '86 Corvette aluminum heads on the 355 it now had). Better throttle response, which I liked. A bit improved cold start performance, too.

There are a couple of YouTube videos on them, usually in a lawn mower engine. One has a special cyl head where the combustion "fire" can be seen and othes where the engine is run out of gas and timed, for several plugs. The "light" from the NGK Iridiums is brightest of them all and the run-time until empty is longest with the NGK Iridiums, too. PLUS I like the seemingly "forever" life of the Iridium plugs, too.

NOW, conventional wisdom claims that as long as you get one, solid spark (Fire in the Hole), that's all it takes to ignite the fuel/air mixture, which is certainly true. But as things have evolved, the additional quality of the spark and the exposure of the resultant flame kernel will contribute to the burning of the fuel/air mixture efficiently for more power and economy. THAT is where the NGK V-Power and Iridium plugs are better.

BUT, knowing the hows and whys of them, in my lawn mowers and such, I gap the plugs, then take a wider pair of normal pliers, grasp the ground electrode firmly on each side, then rotate the end of the ground electrode to expose about 1/2 of the center electrode in the process. Then stop and recheck/adjust the spark plug gap. There might be some additional reasons of which direction to twist the electrode, but I haven't worried about that yet. End result, better exposure of the flame kernal on a normal spark plug.

Back in about 1968, when I first read of the Champion J-Gap racing plugs, I liked that orientation. So I bought a point file and proceeded to spend a Sunday afternoon filing the ground electrodes down so that they only covered 1/2 of the center electrode. Then regapped the Champion plugs in the '66 Newport. I could tell a difference in off-idle response, plus the added time of rh rr tire sounds on quick acceleration. Maybe another second, but I was not counting. That it lasted longer was more important to me, at that time.

In later times, I used a pair of diagonal cutters to snip things shorter and then dressed the electrodes with the point file. This can be done to ANY brand of normal spark plugs you might be satisfied with. Just not double-platinum plugs, as it would destroy the platinum area on the ground electrode by removing it.

NGKs are allegedly "easier to fire", but with the same 5K ohm resistance for a resistor plug, I don't see how that might be. From an engineering point of view. I don't see how the gap design might make the spark have an easier time of jumping the gap, either, as that is related to cylinder pressure and such.

I will say that, if the NGK Iridiums were not better-performing spark plugs, they would not be being re-packaged by ACDelco and Motorcraft for their current OEM engines. Which means they'll pass the 100K mile CA emissions warranty requirements and also possibly help the OEMs meet the emissions and fuel economy standards they have to meet. BTAIM Sure, these OEM-branded plugs still come with their respective markings on them, but look below the hex and you'll see the stampings of NGK on them. GM started using them in the supercharged Buick 3.8L V-6s back in the 1990s. Now all of the GM OEM Plugs are re-packaged NGK Iridiums (in a ACDelco box). Similar, as I understand it, with Ford spark plugs in a Motorcraft box.

If you want to try some NGK V-Power plugs, go ahead and do that on your next spark plug maintenance interval. Cost is not that much more than normal resistor spark plugs, as I recall. Look at the gap design and you'll see what is going on there. You might gap them closer to .040" than .035", if you might desire, too. Just do NOT expect massive improvements! There will not be any, but you might notice a bit sharper off-idle throttle response and such in normal driving, which can be noticed. IF you re-adjust your driving to use that added response with less throttle input, you might notice a bit of fuel economy improvement too. Again, more like "tenths" rather than larger, by observation. Which some might claim "Is not worth it", which is accurate, but to me, the "happier" we can make a stock engine sound, the nicer it is to drive it. "Happier" through little tweaks rather than big monetary outlays.

Sorry for the length, several decades of experiences and observations.
CBODY67
 
Last edited:
Restore is an oil additive that is supposed to bind to metal and fill in small cracks. Manufacturer claims it restores compression to older engines. Guy on YouTube claims it really works.
IMHO, that type of stuff is snake oil and the only thing it does is remove money from your wallet. YouTube guys get paid to sell that stuff, so act accordingly.
I'm currently running Autolites and the engine runs fine.
You answered your own question. Don't fix something not broken. If you really want to try them when it's time to change plugs, great...
 
I like the NGK plugs, some Mopars now come from the factory with them. I had a set in my mower for a few years and then when I tuned it up 2 years ago it got some Champions put in. I had to change the plugs out last week because one of the Champions was oil fouled, I put NGK's back in. Now maybe the engine is getting worn or maybe it's the plugs, but time will tell
 
Engine Masters (a television show that does back to back dyno testing all sorts of performance "stuff") recently did a test of plugs, featuring all the usual suspects.

Results? Zero hp and torque difference for ALL variations of plugs at ALL RPMs. Zero. All. If it fires, it will cause the piston to push downwards, period.

Also: I have a very distant, non-business relationship with E3. They themselves know that their fancy electrode is a marketing strateegery.

And on this forum, if we're talking about longevity, why ARE we talking about longevity? Who here puts over 4000 miles on their CBod a year? The FSM calls for plugs to be removed and inspected every 12000 miles. And that was with leaded gas. Longevity is not an issue with collector cars.
 
I concur, "longevity" might not really be an issue with "limited use" vehicles. But considering how hard #5 and #7 usually are to get to, especially on a B-body, NOT having to even worry about doing spark plugs, to me, is definitely an issue. Yes, in my younger days, when I could slide under the '72 Newport to get to those back plugs (being thin enough to just slide under the car and clear the hard plastic starter shield!), doing spark plugs was just a part of the deal. In a time well before any of these fancy gap designs were normally available. It was also "cheap entertainment" to pull the plugs out for inspection, checking their condition, and re-gapping them on a Sunday afternoon, too. And, when I might have the '66 into the local dealer for a check, seeing the mostly flat line of the spark firing traces on the scope made me feel proud that I'd done a good job. But that was 45+ years ago, now. Forearm bruises are much easier to happen now and take longer to go away.

By observation, a "dyno run" is a "dyno rum", ONLY checking the basic things at WOT, between about 2500rpm and 5500rpm, or so. We trust the dyno operator to know if the adjustments on the total mechanism are where they need to be. Those adjustments can affect how the numbers are on the print-out, too. Even with the computer-controlled units.

Now, what we might see on Nick's Garage or Enginemasters relates only to WOT. Nothing about how responsive the engine might be off-idle or part-throttle going up a hill. Which is "normal driving" for many. Which is where "chassis dynos" might come in, to simulate "road load" conditions. FWIW.

How many drag strip tests did Split-Fire use to sell their products, back then? Every test that was published in magazines showed an increase in speed and lower ETs, in the 1/4 mile. Yet, those plugs had poor longevity and did not have similar increases in my '80 Newport 360 2bbl, back then. Nobody talked about "throttle response" or "feel" back then, just drag strip performance, just as some now talk about "dyno runs".

There was on Enginemasters segment where they did dyno runs on two close-matched 383 engines. One a small block Chevy 350 stroker and a Chrysler B-383. Similar cams, intakes, carbs, and such. You would expect similar power figures, which they did produce, but the Chrysler 383 had more lower and mid-range torque than the lower-rod-ratio Chevy motor did. Their explanation?

The Chrysler motor, with its taller deck height, but shorter stroke, has more distance between the cyl heads, for longer runners in the intake manifold. Hence the torque increases for "same spec" motors. Yet the Chevy people rave about the power from their Chevy 383s.

For me, I'll continue to use fine-wire electrode plugs because they produce a bigger POW! for the same amount of spark energy. To me, that's more efficient use of resources. Or on something I'm not going to drive every day, the NGK V-Power plugs (or Motorcraft normal plugs I've twisted the ground electrodes on). "Motorcraft"? Yes, Ford Motorcraft. I determined long years ago that they would last at least twice as long before needing attention than OEM AC Spark Plugs could, in a '69 Chevy 350 or the Champions in my Chryslers. back in then. And I could buy them at local auto supply stores at a good price, back then, too. Just as everybody local used FL-1A oil filters on their Chrysler motors, too.

So . . . consider me "aged-out" of the orientation of doing spark plug changes/checks as we used to, when all we had was "normal" spark plugs. In those YouTube videos where the tester uses a lawn mower engine to test spark plugs on (amount of carbon on the cyl head and run-time-until-empty), the NGK Iridiums test to be better in the tested attributes. AND, I used lots of my used Chamption J-14Y and J-13Y spark plugs from the Chryslers in my B&S lawn mower engines with great success, especially after I started twisting the ground electrodes. Just as using full-syn oil in them increased their longevity, too.

From MY own experiences, I know what has worked for me. Just as y'all know what has worked for you, too. Everybody has their own orientations, whcih I respect.

My apologies for the length. Enjoy!
CBODY67
 
CBody; thanks for the dissertation on spark plugs. A lot of good information. I think I'll stick with the Autolites until they fail but I don't know how many miles I can expect with them. Like my racing neighbor told me "if it's running fine don't screw with it".
I think I'll back away from the Restore. I've been using Molybdenum (moly) oil additive in my cars for a long time and no problems so I think I'll stick with it.
Thanks for the replies. Paul
 
I concur, "longevity" might not really be an issue with "limited use" vehicles. But considering how hard #5 and #7 usually are to get to, especially on a B-body, NOT having to even worry about doing spark plugs, to me, is definitely an issue. Yes, in my younger days, when I could slide under the '72 Newport to get to those back plugs (being thin enough to just slide under the car and clear the hard plastic starter shield!), doing spark plugs was just a part of the deal. In a time well before any of these fancy gap designs were normally available. It was also "cheap entertainment" to pull the plugs out for inspection, checking their condition, and re-gapping them on a Sunday afternoon, too. And, when I might have the '66 into the local dealer for a check, seeing the mostly flat line of the spark firing traces on the scope made me feel proud that I'd done a good job. But that was 45+ years ago, now. Forearm bruises are much easier to happen now and take longer to go away.

By observation, a "dyno run" is a "dyno rum", ONLY checking the basic things at WOT, between about 2500rpm and 5500rpm, or so. We trust the dyno operator to know if the adjustments on the total mechanism are where they need to be. Those adjustments can affect how the numbers are on the print-out, too. Even with the computer-controlled units.

Now, what we might see on Nick's Garage or Enginemasters relates only to WOT. Nothing about how responsive the engine might be off-idle or part-throttle going up a hill. Which is "normal driving" for many. Which is where "chassis dynos" might come in, to simulate "road load" conditions. FWIW.

How many drag strip tests did Split-Fire use to sell their products, back then? Every test that was published in magazines showed an increase in speed and lower ETs, in the 1/4 mile. Yet, those plugs had poor longevity and did not have similar increases in my '80 Newport 360 2bbl, back then. Nobody talked about "throttle response" or "feel" back then, just drag strip performance, just as some now talk about "dyno runs".

There was on Enginemasters segment where they did dyno runs on two close-matched 383 engines. One a small block Chevy 350 stroker and a Chrysler B-383. Similar cams, intakes, carbs, and such. You would expect similar power figures, which they did produce, but the Chrysler 383 had more lower and mid-range torque than the lower-rod-ratio Chevy motor did. Their explanation?

The Chrysler motor, with its taller deck height, but shorter stroke, has more distance between the cyl heads, for longer runners in the intake manifold. Hence the torque increases for "same spec" motors. Yet the Chevy people rave about the power from their Chevy 383s.

For me, I'll continue to use fine-wire electrode plugs because they produce a bigger POW! for the same amount of spark energy. To me, that's more efficient use of resources. Or on something I'm not going to drive every day, the NGK V-Power plugs (or Motorcraft normal plugs I've twisted the ground electrodes on). "Motorcraft"? Yes, Ford Motorcraft. I determined long years ago that they would last at least twice as long before needing attention than OEM AC Spark Plugs could, in a '69 Chevy 350 or the Champions in my Chryslers. back in then. And I could buy them at local auto supply stores at a good price, back then, too. Just as everybody local used FL-1A oil filters on their Chrysler motors, too.

So . . . consider me "aged-out" of the orientation of doing spark plug changes/checks as we used to, when all we had was "normal" spark plugs. In those YouTube videos where the tester uses a lawn mower engine to test spark plugs on (amount of carbon on the cyl head and run-time-until-empty), the NGK Iridiums test to be better in the tested attributes. AND, I used lots of my used Chamption J-14Y and J-13Y spark plugs from the Chryslers in my B&S lawn mower engines with great success, especially after I started twisting the ground electrodes. Just as using full-syn oil in them increased their longevity, too.

From MY own experiences, I know what has worked for me. Just as y'all know what has worked for you, too. Everybody has their own orientations, whcih I respect.

My apologies for the length. Enjoy!
CBODY67
CBO; what's your opinion of re-using fouled plugs? I've heard you shouldn't re-use a fouled plug but when I have a gas fouled plug I just clean it up on a wire wheel and put it back in. Seems to work fine. Paul
 
If it's just gas-fouled, from a non-working plug wire or a too-rich fuel system (for whatever reason), cleaning it with brake cleaner (to get the residual fuel out and to wash some of the carbon out from around the insulator), then knock any deposits and soot off of it, run a wire gap gauge through it a few times to clean the two surfaces of the gap, then put it back in and see if it works. NO wire wheel action, as many used to say it damaged the porcelain of the insulator. If it is of the correct heat range (which it should be), normal running should clean up anything else, I suspect.

Now, many mechanics will just replace them and go on down the road. But for a DIY who has some time to do things, they can do what I mentioned above. Whatever works and you want to pay for.

From my experiences and observations,
CBODY67
 
Just use a good synthetic oil and gap your normal plugs correctly .
Some of those additives ( slick 50, energy release , restore ?) do work …. But how they work is the problem ! They may contain chemicals ( ammonia) that harden and brittelize the surface of the bearing and cause catastrophic engine failures down the road .

I sold German cars for many years and BMW sent out an internal memo warning about use of such additives… they flat out stated the issues and said if they worked the factory would use them from day 1 .

Dodge sent out a similar memo about using crapy oil filters in 1st gen Cummins . They listed approved filters… shitty ones like Fram suffered from filaments shredding due to high oil pressure and that would clog the oil galleys.
 
Last edited:
If it's just gas-fouled, from a non-working plug wire or a too-rich fuel system (for whatever reason), cleaning it with brake cleaner (to get the residual fuel out and to wash some of the carbon out from around the insulator), then knock any deposits and soot off of it, run a wire gap gauge through it a few times to clean the two surfaces of the gap, then put it back in and see if it works. NO wire wheel action, as many used to say it damaged the porcelain of the insulator. If it is of the correct heat range (which it should be), normal running should clean up anything else, I suspect.

Now, many mechanics will just replace them and go on down the road. But for a DIY who has some time to do things, they can do what I mentioned above. Whatever works and you want to pay for.

From my experiences and observations,
CBODY67

I went through plugs often with my 73 NY, due to oil getting past the rings. I used Autolites because they were cheap and I went through a lot of them, but started cleaning the plugs at my friend's shop with the jet wash and glass bead blast cabinet. They came out like new. I would never use a wire wheel because steel becomes deposited on the insulator cone and causes the spark to take a different path, often over the porcelain and arcing from the cone to the body.

As for NGKs, I like them a lot. Just by holding them in your hand and inspecting the packaging, you can tell they are a high quality part. The metal plug body is alto plated so it won't rust like standard Autolites or AC plugs.
 
I got some MSD iridium plugs laying here that ill put into my 360. Only because holley had a sale where I got 4 of them for 10 bucks!?
 
When the NGK V-Groove plug was first introduced in the mid 1980s I was asked to give them a try by the Rep. At the time we were using AC Delco and Motorcraft plugs in all our tune ups. In order to see if they actualy made a difference as claimed I first put a freash set of Motorcraft plugs in my 86 Bronco II 2.9l fuel injected SUV and checked them on my Allen Smart Scope for required voltage, spark duration and firing line. Drove for three days and rechecked. I then repeated with the AC Delco and again with the NGK. The result was that the NGK required voltage to ionize and iniate the spark was lower by 3-4 thousand volts which resulted in a much longer spark duration and flatter more consistant spark line. The Dura Spark II ignition was Fords version of GMs HEI with both high current and high voltage with an E-Core ignition coil. Gaining 1/4 to 1/2 of a milli second firing duration is a significant amount. Seat of the pants observations were easier, quicker starting and better off idle responce. After this testing we swithched to NGK plugs and used them exclusivley. The other selling point for us as a shop was that the heat range of the NGK plugs overlapped the other makes and allowed us to reduce our on hand inventory by 1/3. Still use NGK today although at 70 I use iridium plugs because of their 200,000 km Life span. Changing spark plugs is no longer as much fun as it was back in the day.
 
I don't really want to hijack the thread, but maybe you, Retired auto tech, can shed light on a question from the mid 70,s. My mum had a local shop do some work on her '72 Coronet with a 318. They installed AC plugs. When I arrived home a couple weeks later, she said I should look at her car, adding it might not get me home.
The car started ok and ran well for a couple miles. When I lifted my foot off the accelerator to slow down, the engine stalled and I had a difficult time restarting. To shorten the story, the center electrodes on the AC plugs were gone (burned off) up nito the porcelain insulators. I installed a used set of Motomaster plugs from my stash and the engine ran A-1. Can you explain this? Thanks! Lindsay
 
I would suspect that they were the wrong heat range of plug. If the plug is running way to hot the center electrode is going to erode way to fast. It may have been detonating as well which would also contribute to the deterioration. Lucky that there wasn't a hole burnt through the the piston heads.
 
Back
Top