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Old 03-12-2019, 07:37 PM   #1
Davidw04
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Spark plugs and lack of power

What are the best plugs for an almost stock Mach. All I have is an intake, off road x pipe and weld in mufflers and an sct tuner. My car feels like it lagging in the mid and upper range. I’m replacing my fuel filter this week and was thinking about going back to the motorcraft plugs from the ngk v-power plugs that I have in it now. Car smells really rich which the fuel smell is normal without cats but I think this is a little excessive to where it burns your eyes and your clothes smell of fuel. And occasional puff of grey smoke on startup. Pretty sure it’s not oil and that it is fuel which could also be an injector. What do you guys think?
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:08 AM   #2
j rick kirby
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

I think your car stinks because of not having any cats and the puff at start up is usually caused by a little oil that has puddled in the intake after having been drawn in thru the PCV system. I use the regular copper NGK TR6 and they work just fine. Unless you have a cracked or broken plug or they are completely worn out you probably won't notice any driveability difference by changing them. If your plugs, and filters are good and you really are feeling a lack of power then your problem is likely one or more coils that are weak. A fresh set of coils on my 150,000 mile motor that was fish biting really woke it up and it feels new again. Coils can work fine when cold but as they warm up and the components expand then sometimes a gap will occur in the windings and they fail to function properly.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j rick kirby View Post
I think your car stinks because of not having any cats and the puff at start up is usually caused by a little oil that has puddled in the intake after having been drawn in thru the PCV system. I use the regular copper NGK TR6 and they work just fine. Unless you have a cracked or broken plug or they are completely worn out you probably won't notice any driveability difference by changing them. If your plugs, and filters are good and you really are feeling a lack of power then your problem is likely one or more coils that are weak. A fresh set of coils on my 150,000 mile motor that was fish biting really woke it up and it feels new again. Coils can work fine when cold but as they warm up and the components expand then sometimes a gap will occur in the windings and they fail to function properly.

Also, the stock tune ford put on these is pretty rich. At least mine was. I’m not sure if there was any difference between 03 and 04.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:44 AM   #4
j rick kirby
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

A number of tuners have told me there's not much power to be had from tuning a basically stock engine so that tells you that the factory tune is pretty good. Now you can always lean it out some more and maybe bump the timing a little but that's how you screw up a motor and get very little for it. A little on the rich side is safe. I track my car so that means that I am turning it hard for extended periods of time so I use a plug one step colder to lower plug temps and give me a little safety margin against pre-ignition.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

I’ve been using NGK Iridium ix for the past 10 years or so, haven’t had a problem so far
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:07 PM   #6
Davidw04
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

My car only has 56k miles on it so it does sit a lot. And I am running a Bama tune I gotta try to datalog it to see if that shows anything.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:27 AM   #7
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

You guys who have cars that sit a lot please be careful. The alcohol in the fuel will ruin your fuel system due to its hydroscopic nature. Keep Stabil or something in it. Many a fuel pump has been replaced because the moisture killed it.
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:24 AM   #8
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

I stayed with the factory Motorcraft plugs when I did mine, and my car runs like a scalded dog. It surprises people how quick it is for a 16 year old 99% stock car.

I also have a SCT tuner and I don't notice any fuel smell. I've actually been told that some "canned" tunes run too lean at high RPM on these cars, so I've been meaning to get mine on the dyno to make sure it's safe, but I just haven't had the money to do it yet.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:58 AM   #9
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidw04 View Post
My car only has 56k miles on it so it does sit a lot. And I am running a Bama tune I gotta try to datalog it to see if that shows anything.
If its a Bama tune that is most likely the problem. There has been a lot of talk of the race tune being fueled too aggressive for the street.
I run NGK TR6 plugs ..the fine wire plugs run too hot and are for EPA lean burn
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:02 AM   #10
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlloyPony View Post
I stayed with the factory Motorcraft plugs when I did mine, and my car runs like a scalded dog. It surprises people how quick it is for a 16 year old 99% stock car.

I also have a SCT tuner and I don't notice any fuel smell. I've actually been told that some "canned" tunes run too lean at high RPM on these cars, so I've been meaning to get mine on the dyno to make sure it's safe, but I just haven't had the money to do it yet.
You don't need a Dyno ,get an AFR meter for $ 150 bucks and data log it.
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UPGRADES...Tokico Illuminas Borla SS Catback , Steeda Underdrives , Strut Brace , HPM Lower K Brace , L /C Arms , U /C Arms , HPM PanHard Bar, K&N FRPK 2, GOODYEAR GT1 , MRT- H-Pipe , JLT VaporTraps , SLP-12'" Tips! , FRPP Shorty 1 5/8 Headers , Brembo D/S & PBR D/S Rotors ,FRPP Alum.DS ,Roys 3/8 Spacer , SVT Focus 255 pump SCTsw Chip PRO-DYNOjet NA 300.01hp /315tq (Auto) ,Innovate W/B ,Compucar Wet Kit (90jet) + Heater and E Gauge * 360 hp/385tq 12.5 -1/4 @112
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:08 PM   #11
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by rich1 View Post
If its a Bama tune that is most likely the problem. There has been a lot of talk of the race tune being fueled too aggressive for the street.
I run NGK TR6 plugs ..the fine wire plugs run too hot and are for EPA lean burn
My Bama tune was abysmal, after many iterations (with data logging and plug changes), I still had pinging they couldn't figure out. They didn't seem to know what the hell they were doing at that time (late 2012). I went with LaSota Racing. TBH, I should have just gotten an AFR meter (like you mentioned) with a reading from my off road midpipe via its own bung.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:56 PM   #12
Davidw04
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

So would the fuel smell be too rich or lean? If I start the car and itís at idle the fuel smell is strong
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:18 PM   #13
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by j rick kirby View Post
You guys who have cars that sit a lot please be careful. The alcohol in the fuel will ruin your fuel system due to its hydroscopic nature. Keep Stabil or something in it. [bold]Many a fuel pump has been replaced because the moisture killed it.[/bold]
I can definitely attest to that! My Mach sat for about two years, after I finally got her fixed, she didnít want to turn on, and if it did turn on it didnít want to stay on lol. I swapped out the pump and problem solved! Only problem that arose after that was/is my ďdeadĒ fuel gauge. I posted a while back about it, Iím hoping I can get to it soon!
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:33 AM   #14
j rick kirby
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidw04 View Post
So would the fuel smell be too rich or lean? If I start the car and itís at idle the fuel smell is strong
It is supposed to be rich at start up when cold and under WOT to protect the motor. Without cats it's going to smell rich all the time. It's the way all cars smelled up to 1975 I believe and we never noticed. Now I can smell a catless car from across town.
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:51 AM   #15
AlloyPony
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by ab_mach1 View Post
My Bama tune was abysmal, after many iterations (with data logging and plug changes), I still had pinging they couldn't figure out. They didn't seem to know what the hell they were doing at that time (late 2012). I went with LaSota Racing. TBH, I should have just gotten an AFR meter (like you mentioned) with a reading from my off road midpipe via its own bung.
Same issue on my '01 GT. Multiple tune revisions through e-mail with Bama and the car kept pinging.

I finally got sick of it and bit the bullet and paid for dyno time locally and the car ran like a sewing machine after that.
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Old 03-24-2019, 08:56 PM   #16
Davidw04
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Re: Spark plugs and lack of power

Today I replaced my fuel filter and now it seems I have more power in the mid and upper range where the car previously felt like it was falling on its face. I was able to blow through the filter but no where nearly as easily as the new filter
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