A typical spark plug consists of a metal shell surrounding a ceramic insulator. A metal electrode extends downward through the center of the insulator and protrudes a small distance. Located at the end of the plug and attached to the side of the outer metal shell is the side electrode. The side electrode bends in at a 90- angle so that its tip is just past and parallel to the tip of the center electrode. The distance between these two electrodes (measured in thousandths of an inch or hundredths of a millimeter) is called the spark plug gap.
The spark plug does not produce a spark, but instead provides a gap across which the current can arc. The coil produces anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 volts (depending on the type and application) which travels through the wires to the spark plugs. The current passes along the center electrode and jumps the gap to the side electrode, and in doing so, ignites the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
The spark plug wiring used with electronic ignition systems is a carbon impregnated cord conductor, incased in 8mm diameter silicone rubber insulation. The silicone jacket withstands very high temperatures and provides an excellent insulator for the higher voltage of the electronic ignition system. Silicone spark plug boots form a tight seal on the plug.
The factory plug wires used on these applications are numbered and routed to their respective cylinders according to engine layout.