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Old 01-14-2011, 11:52 AM
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Ignition Arcing, Need Help

Hello,

I have a 2002 Chevy Express Van with a 4.3 L V6. I replaced the distributor because the gear on the shaft and the top bushings were worn after 139,000 miles.

It runs fine, however, there is intermittent arcing going on. You can hear the snapping sound from time to time and it can cause the engine to stumble.

New cap, rotor. Wires are 2 years old.No burn marks are evident anywhere and it sounds as if it is coming from under the cap.

Any ideas. I am stuck in Denver until I can resolve the issue as I don't want to do the I 80 Breakdown shuffle on the way home.

Thanks for any and all help in advance.

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Old 01-14-2011, 12:04 PM
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2 easy ways to find it. 1, take a test light and ground it as usual. Run the point along the wires and all and anywhere the voltage is leaking it will arc to the test light. It won't hurt the bulb or you if the cord is grounded.

2, put some water in a spray bottle and squirt along the wires in a dark area while watching for arcs. Make sure there is no tire cleaner in the bottle or you'll get a bonus when finding an arc. (long story...)
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:51 PM
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Found It!!!

Nothing like cheap parts to set your vacation back!!!

The wires I replaced 2 years ago were recommended by the counter guy at Glendale Auto in Livonia, MI. "You can spend more but these are just as good".

Apparently not. The boots are all cracked and the spark is jumping to the heat shield. Luckily I don't throw everything away and save for a jam. Replaced the cracked booted wires and no more arcing.

So, if I may impose, what wire set would be recommended for replacing these bamboo chute specials?
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:14 PM
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By The Way ... Thank You

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMatch
2 easy ways to find it. 1, take a test light and ground it as usual. Run the point along the wires and all and anywhere the voltage is leaking it will arc to the test light. It won't hurt the bulb or you if the cord is grounded.

2, put some water in a spray bottle and squirt along the wires in a dark area while watching for arcs. Make sure there is no tire cleaner in the bottle or you'll get a bonus when finding an arc. (long story...)
I forgot to thank you for your speedy response. Thank You!
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:21 PM
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Moroso spiral core or another spiral core except accel.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:21 PM
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If Moroso's are not available, try GM Performance, MSD 5577, AC Delco 746KK, Bosche 09791, Autolite 96871 (graphite, not spiral core).

Some are pricey, HP, others daily driver, less expensive. I've always liked MSD.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:02 PM
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Also, buy a tube of dielectric grease, and put a smear inside each boot before you put it on the plug. This helps with the heat disipation by the boot, the usual "cooking on" of the boots to the plugs, and can prevent arcing in the future.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:33 PM
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Guys ... Thanks to Everyone

The van is back together and runs better than at any time I have owned it.
The worn gear on the distributor was just one part of the issue. I lost around 4 MPG on the trip out. She's not so good to start with so that additional fuel consumption was crippling. (4.3 dist. gear wear is a known issue)

New distributor, cap, rotor and wires. The power curve on the vehicle is dramatically better, and never better, even past 70 MPH.

The wires we settled on are the Borg Warner Select. They appear to be of very good quality.

I will try to post on return home and advise the final judgement.

Thanks to all!!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:50 PM
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Final Verdict

Thanks for all of your help on this guys. Everything worked great on the return trip home.

The van ran better than any time I have driven it. My fuel usage took a huge jump from 10 MPG on the outbound trip (not running well). Running with the worn distributor gear I was averaging 14 MPG at highway speed before this trip. After replacing the distributor and a new set of wires I got an amazing 16.8 MPG! Pretty good for a 3/4 ton Chevy with a 4.3 L V-6 and 4:10 differential at, ahem, highway speed.

I am considering replacing that 4:10 differential for a 3:73 for gas mileage, but would it be enough of a difference to justify the work involved? The guy will swap straight across for the 4:10.

Input requested ... and thanks for the help while away from home. Great Site. Rock On!
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