XR4Ti Archived Tech Articles

    Rick Byrnes on Spark Plugs and Aftermarket Ignitions - Originally displayed with permission on Ryan Mattson's www.merkur23.com, this information, provided by Rick Byrnes, is great info about the stock Ford ignition system.

Post Date:    Unknown (1999?)
List:         Old IMON List

I have said it many times, but we do not need aftermarket ignition systems 
for the 2.3 Turbo for almost any application. I have, until last year used 
all stock parts including wires and made sufficient power to go 200 MPH a 
number of times, 11.53 in the quarter, and 175 in the standing start mile. 
There may be some parts that might have provided several hp more, but I 
didn't need it. (sort of)  
In spite of the claims by the manufacturers, you DON'T need it. I'm not 
shouting, just emphasizing. Last year I even switched back to a Ford coil 
after suspecting a problem with the MSD part. It ran better. I know the 
logic of these people sounds good, but we must not forget, they want to sell 
us something....They get paid to convince us we want their product. Now, 
that said, I did switch to MSD 6AL last year. Partly because it came with 
the DFI system I inherited. It was a proven system and I wanted to change as 
little as possible. Keep in mind that none of us spins the engine above 7000 
RPM. and factory systems have always been pretty good below that speed. This 
year I will be running the engine to 8500 or higher and suspect that the MSD 
may be helpful. Don't know for sure until we run.  
One last thought. Not all that is new is necessarily better than that which 
precedes it. Just different. Our older technology EEC IV factory turbo cars 
are more responsive to upgrades to allow higher boost and air flow levels. 
Save the money and buy one of Nicks charge air coolers. Its the best 
investment for the money that your gonna get.
By the way, I had to buy a spare 6AL unit just to have confidence that I 
would not be in the middle of the salt with "No Spark" . Winston cup cars 
carry two ignition boxes, because one fails.  

Post Date:    Unknown (1999?)
List:         Old IMON List

Spark Plugs - My Personal Holy Grail 
When beginning my MERKUR project I went to the Ford engineer responsible for 
coils and wires and asked for advice on ingition systems. HE SAID..... use 
production parts. The Ford coil produces more energy than anything 
aftermarket and is more reliable. (I was considering MSD, and had already 
purchased some parts.) I followed his advice and have had no difficulty. Plug 
gap .030" to .035" and change plugs frequently. The key to ignition system 
working is that engine speed does not exceed 7500RPM I think most street 
freeks fill that bill. 
PLUGS ----I have used Autolite from day 1. Never had a problem, and never 
I agree new is better. Usually smaller gap is better, particularly at high 
cylinder pressures and temperatures. Colder is better as long as they do not 
fowl .......AWSF22 is production Heat ranges hotter to colder Motorcraft 
AWSF 22, AWSF 12, 901, 701, 501 Autolite #s for the last three are 474, 473, 
472.....I used 472 with an Iron head from 90 till 93 and went 186 MPH 
consistantly...... The only problem that I cannot attest to is life. I gave 
a set to a good friend with a street SVO Mustang, and he said they went away 
in 6K miles...... And I dont think he saw a difference in performance. 
My point really is, the production, new condition ignition system is more 
than adequate. All the parts I use are real production OEM stuff. No special 
parts hand built or anything like that.... 


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Published by Chris Anglin.