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Cleaning Spark Plugs

  1. #1
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Cleaning Spark Plugs


    Need a little help...my plugs are fouled. Running too rich. Pic is missing #1 cylinder plug, cuz I cant get the socket to fit down the hole for some reason...tho the same socket took out the other 3. Anyway, what do you use to clean them up? Im thinking a fine sandapaper, like a 600 grit, or are there products, like a spray, that'll remove the shyt? I remember back in high school, the car shop teacher had this device where you stuck the electrode end into this opening, hit a switch, and a fine sandblasting agent cleaned the plugs. Pretty neat. Pic is sort of dark, but you can see they arent exactly what you'd wanna run!!

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...r/_C290157.jpg

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  2. #2
    recluse Dangerz0ne's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    not trying to be a smartass, but why not replace them? you already have them out.

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  3. #3
    Unsafe At Any Speeds Jim's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    spark plugs are less than $10 each, just replace them

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  4. #4
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dangerz0ne View Post
    not trying to be a smartass, but why not replace them? you already have them out.
    I understand your point...but they were put in new this past summer, and Ive put on maybe 500 miles since then. Low mileage, I know, but that's due more to my free time being taken up, etc. I should've expalined this in my original post. Theyre basically brand new, and are being fouled by other factors like a possible carb problem or oil blow-by with a leaky valve seal or piston ring(s). I just want to clean em up so I can check my carbs without dirty plugs possibly masking the real issue. It would be pointless to put in new plugs when I can clean these up since theyre so new, mileage-wise. Sort of a six of one, half dozen thingy. Who knows...maybe I'm being too anal about this. lol.

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    Last edited by greenmonster; 02-02-08 at 12:12 PM.

  5. #5
    recluse Dangerz0ne's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    I hear ya. I guess it's better to find the root of the problem before putting in new ones if possible.

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  6. #6
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dangerz0ne View Post
    I hear ya. I guess it's better to find the root of the problem before putting in new ones if possible.
    Yep...w/o knowing whats fouling the plugs, new ones would be fouled too. Think I'll take some fine grit and lightly go over them. Get 'em all nice and perty!

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  7. #7
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    AH-HA!! Wire brush and brake parts cleaner!
    Caution: "Jon" speaks in a sleep-inducing monotone. Barack Obama he aint!

    How to Clean Spark Plugs: Free Online Auto Repair & Maintenance Tips | ExpertVillage Videos

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  8. #8
    JACKASS hammadown's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    I would also check the gap on the plugs after you clean them. Scrubbing w/ the brush may bend them a little. That way you dont introduce another issue.

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  9. #9
    Lifer Currently's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Replace the plugs with the cheapest ones you can get till you find out the problem.

    Case in point.

    When I had my YZ250, I went out and bought those 10+ dollar iridium plugs. Every fricken time that I ran that bike for more than 5 or ten minutes at half or quarter throttle, (due to trail conditions), the damn things would foul up.

    Went to Kmart, got a 99 cent copper tip Champion plug and ran that SOB for over a year with no fouling issues whatsoever. That bike started on the first or second kick every time and I had no performance problems whatsoever.

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  10. #10
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by Currently View Post
    Replace the plugs with the cheapest ones you can get till you find out the problem.

    Case in point.

    When I had my YZ250, I went out and bought those 10+ dollar iridium plugs. Every fricken time that I ran that bike for more than 5 or ten minutes at half or quarter throttle, (due to trail conditions), the damn things would foul up.

    Went to Kmart, got a 99 cent copper tip Champion plug and ran that SOB for over a year with no fouling issues whatsoever. That bike started on the first or second kick every time and I had no performance problems whatsoever.
    Good ol' Champion plugs!! I'm not surprised they lasted so long and performed so well. Sometimes I think the new plugs are overengineered and overhyped. You've got the Splitfire, the Platinum and the Iridium, etc. Just keep it simple. Heres the NGK's my bike uses:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...GKStandard.jpg

    Theyre not platinum or iridium...just the standard model with two posts instead of the traditional single. Problem is...I cant find the gap tool online that would be used to evenly bend both posts for accurate gapping. Or is it done another way? Anybody use this type and gap them?

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  11. #11
    KB KB's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by greenmonster View Post
    Good ol' Champion plugs!! I'm not surprised they lasted so long and performed so well. Sometimes I think the new plugs are overengineered and overhyped. You've got the Splitfire, the Platinum and the Iridium, etc. Just keep it simple. Heres the NGK's my bike uses:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...GKStandard.jpg

    Theyre not platinum or iridium...just the standard model with two posts instead of the traditional single. Problem is...I cant find the gap tool online that would be used to evenly bend both posts for accurate gapping. Or is it done another way? Anybody use this type and gap them?
    Open box, remove plug, install. Eff gaping.

    KB

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  12. #12
    Leo loridin64's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    I've used a wire wheel and some carb or brake cleaner for lawn equipment plugs, I wouldnt do it to your bike or car.
    Those champions are cheap enough until you get it sorted out.

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  13. #13
    Member yzedf's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by rmbbikes View Post
    Open box, remove plug, install. Eff gaping.

    KB
    very true. spark is just going to go the the easier path anyways....

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  14. #14
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Fouled plugs = get new ones

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  15. #15
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by bergs View Post
    Fouled plugs = get new ones
    Nope...like I said earlier, new plugs will get fouled also until the issue of whats causing the fouling is eliminated. The plugs in her now are virtually brand new, only 500 miles on them. I'll clean them with carb cleaner and reinstall. Most likely its a too rich condition. Or oil blow by. Gonna pull the carbs and lean out the air/fuel screws a bit, and see if that helps.

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  16. #16
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Easy-off oven cleaner will remove the carbon chemically without any effort or damage to the plugs.

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  17. #17
    Junior Member silverbullet03's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    seems odd for the bike to be running rich in this weather... unless the choke is sticking on, or your floats are f*cked... as far as plugs, I've always found that after cleaning a fouled plug the bike will still run like a shit box, no matter how new the fouled plug is. In this case I'd just buy a couple sets of plugs while figuring out your problem. Its not like a couple sets of NGK's are going to break the bank.

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  18. #18
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by silverbullet03 View Post
    seems odd for the bike to be running rich in this weather... unless the choke is sticking on, or your floats are f*cked... as far as plugs, I've always found that after cleaning a fouled plug the bike will still run like a shit box, no matter how new the fouled plug is. In this case I'd just buy a couple sets of plugs while figuring out your problem. Its not like a couple sets of NGK's are going to break the bank.
    Tuned it this past summer. New plugs, coil, cleaned the jets, synced the carbs, adjusted the fuel/air screws, etc. Rye helped me out a lot with his know-how, and at the time, it ran like a top. Over the next few months, I started noticing more of a raw gas smell after running it this summer, but I was damned if I could find any trace of it. Restarts (engine hot) would take longer for the engine to catch before it fired up. Thats why Im thinking rich condition. May explain the plugs being fahked. A few years ago I shimmed each needle with two .5mm shims. Maybe thats part of the prob. Time will tell. Thanks for the input.

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    Last edited by greenmonster; 02-06-08 at 05:33 PM.

  19. #19
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    It just occurred to me...since all of my plugs seem to be pretty much equally fouled, that would indicated a carb/fuel problem, rather than oil blow-by. I mean, unless oil is somehow getting into the combustion chamber of all 4 cylinders, it has to be gas fouling, right? Does that make sense? I just dont think its oil causing this kind of fouling...

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  20. #20
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    They don't look equally fouled in the photo you posted. #3 looks borderline normal and #2 appears less fouled than #4. I'd look into the ram air plumbing; that Kawi ram air design is really touchy. My 9R's system is kinda complicated with little pitot tubes and such in the ducts, thinking your 7R system would be similar. One kinked hose can screw things up.

    Oops, that's a 9R in your avatar.

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  21. #21
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by stoinkythepig View Post
    They don't look equally fouled in the photo you posted. #3 looks borderline normal and #2 appears less fouled than #4. I'd look into the ram air plumbing; that Kawi ram air design is really touchy. My 9R's system is kinda complicated with little pitot tubes and such in the ducts, thinking your 7R system would be similar. One kinked hose can screw things up.

    Oops, that's a 9R in your avatar.
    What year is your 9R? Yeah...my plugs arent equally fouled, youre right. But I'm still inclined to think that 2 or 3 cylinders arent getting oil seeping in...I didnt get #1 plug out yet, but I'll bet its fouled too. My ram air system...how would that play a part? Mine just comes from the front intake tubes and then into those big ass round sections that clamp to the sections which bolt to the front bottom half of the air box. I'm not aware of any pilot tubes in the intake duct work. The only tubes I see are the ones at the back of the air box; the small vacuum hoses, etc. Are you talking about those?

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  22. #22
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by 04ZRX View Post
    Just a question for you:

    Is your fuel selector on all the time I.E. vacuum operated to stop the fuel flow when the engine is off?

    I know that on my Kawi, they have a problem with the fuel valve leaking.

    You have carburators on your bike right? You did say you shimmed the needles.

    Open your oil fill opening & check for a smell of gas or a over fill condition.

    Good luck!
    I have to plead ignorance...I'm not familiar with the term "fuel selecter". (petcock?) I'll check the oil for any gas smell. Good idea. Since the gas has been treated w/Sta-Bil (several months ago, and the bike hasnt been ridden since then) will the gas in the float bowls be shyt by now? If so, Im facing de-gumming them. A thankless job!! Otherwise, I'll drain them asap. Hope that doesnt lead to any components drying out...

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  23. #23
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs



    That's your ram air system, and it's similar to my 2001 design (and substantially more complicated than it would seem, eh?).

    The pitots (not pilots) are part numbers 32151. I'm pretty sure they poke through holes in parts 14073A and 14073B. I think their purpose is to equalize fuel bowl pressure with ram air pressure to prevent lean conditions when running at speed. If they are working, but something else in the ram air system is amiss, the bike can run rich.

    It might be as simple as too much oil or dirt on your air filter.

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  24. #24
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    First thing I'd do is take the shims off the needles. These things are set rich at the factory, no need to fatten them. If you've adjusted the pilot screws at all, put them back to stock too. Mine are one turn out from stock to cure a part throttle lean condition. I don't think it's blow by unless you've got over 100,000 miles or it's been abused. Mine's got 60,000+ miles with 6000 mile or so oil change intervals and no blow by issues.

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  25. #25
    Lifer greenmonster's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Spark Plugs

    Quote Originally Posted by stoinkythepig View Post
    First thing I'd do is take the shims off the needles. These things are set rich at the factory, no need to fatten them. If you've adjusted the pilot screws at all, put them back to stock too. Mine are one turn out from stock to cure a part throttle lean condition. I don't think it's blow by unless you've got over 100,000 miles or it's been abused. Mine's got 60,000+ miles with 6000 mile or so oil change intervals and no blow by issues.
    Thanks for the schematic, Dave. They sure seem unnecessarily complicated is right! Ive alwyas heard that kawi's (and others?) are set lean at the factory to meet emissions standards, etc. Thats part of the reason I shimmed them, drilled out the pilot screw caps, and adjusted the fuel/air mix manually. I think thyer out about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 turns. air filter is new..500 miles on it. Oil changed every 3000 miles. Bikes never been abused...has 17K on it. But I do think youre right...bike may be running rich, and I'll have to check out those pitots. The other thing I mentioned...think the gas in the bowls will still be good after months of not running?....gas is stabilized....

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