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Old 05-10-2004, 09:12 PM
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spark plug wire lengths

hey everyone.

i was wondering if the varying lengths of plug wires has a slight adverse effect on engine performance. it would seem to me that a longer wire would take a split second longer to deliver a spark than a shorter wire. and if you have 2 or 3 different lengths of wires on your car, wouldn't split seconds make at least a small difference to engine performance, considering how many sparks there are every minute.

just curious

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Old 05-10-2004, 09:24 PM
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got an experiment for you. get two different lengths of spark plug wire. not old wore out wire, but good wires......

Measure the resistance with a vom. i'll bet there isn't much difference.

if that doesn't convince you, attach the wires to a distributor, hold one end in either hand, say short wire in your right hand, and the long one in your left, have someone to turn the crank and see if you can tell if it takes the longer wire anymore time to shock you.....
if it was me, i'd get one of my boy's to hold the plug wires.....

i guess i'm trying to say that there isn't enough difference in a couple of feet of plug wire to really affect performance.
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Old 05-10-2004, 09:32 PM
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i didn't think it would make much of a difference, but i was watching some F1 racing where the engines are revving near 19,000 RPM. it would seem to me that varying lengths could slightly effect performance.

but then i also think about speaker wire. i can have one speaker hooked up to a 50' wire, and the other to a 10' but i sure as hell can not tell a difference :-)
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Old 05-10-2004, 09:58 PM
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Electricity travels at about 186,000 miles per second, anyone care to compute the lag time for a few extra inches of wire?

There is so much slop in the valve timing, distributor gear slop and such; the most exact part of the equation is the speed that the spark arrives at the plug regardless of the wire length.
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Old 05-10-2004, 10:07 PM
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186,000 miles per second......

it would only take electricity about .0000013 seconds to run the 1/4 mile :-) thats only about 100 million times faster then i'll ever go!
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Old 05-10-2004, 10:36 PM
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its amazing how our world works!
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Old 05-11-2004, 06:06 AM
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Electricity traveling the speed of light? Hmmmmnn. I'll have to check the books on that. But I do agree that you would never worry about the minute difference the length of wire makes.

Trees
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:34 AM
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You could always advance the timing a smidgen to compensate
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:07 AM
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I was asked the same question the other day.
The lower the OHM resistance the better the wire, 40 is the lowest on the market today.

The rate of electron flow in ft/s, the "drift speed" of electrons, dependson a variety of things. More current through a wire means more electrons per second. This can be due to an increased number of electrons or an increased speed. Which it is depends on how tightly packed the free electrons are:
the number of electrons per unit length of wire, or electrons per foot.
Divide the current (i.e. Coulombs per second) by the
charge of an electron (1.60x10^-19 Coulombs) to get the number of electrons per second. Divide this by the linear density of electrons (electrons per foot) to get the average drift speed of the electrons (feet per second).

Other source:
Taken from Jacobs Electric.
Jacobs' true metal core wires have superior radio noise suppression while still conducting electricity 280% better than old-fashioned spiral cores.

NOTE: 8.5mm is the optimum thickness. It retains all the spark energy. Wires thicker than 8.5mm slow down spark travel because they introduce too much capacitive loading (the electrical equivalent of inertia).
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