PT Cruiser, 2001 - 2005

Spark Plugs & Wires

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Spark Plugs



Inspection and Gapping

Cold Fouling/Carbon Fouling: Cold fouling is sometimes referred to as carbon fouling. The deposits that cause cold fouling are basically carbon. A dry, black deposit on one or two plugs in a set may be caused by sticking valves or defective spark plug cables. Cold (carbon) fouling of the entire set of spark plugs may be caused by a clogged air cleaner element or repeated short operating times (short trips).

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Fig. Cold fouling/carbon fouling spark plugs

Wet Fouling or Gas Fouling: A spark plug coated with excessive wet fuel or oil is wet fouled. In older engines, worn piston rings, leaking valve guide seals or excessive cylinder wear can cause wet fouling. In new or recently overhauled engines, wet fouling may occur before break-in (normal oil control) is achieved. This condition can usually be resolved by cleaning and reinstalling the fouled plugs.

Oil or Ash Encrusted: If one or more spark plugs are oil or oil ash encrusted, evaluate engine condition for the cause of oil entry into that particular combustion chamber.

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Fig. Oil or ash encrusted spark plug

Electrode Gap Bridging: Electrode gap bridging may be traced to loose deposits in the combustion chamber. These deposits accumulate on the spark plugs during continuous stop-and-go driving. When the engine is suddenly subjected to a high torque load, deposits partially liquefy and bridge the gap between electrodes. This short circuits the electrodes. Spark plugs with electrode gap bridging can be cleaned using standard procedures.

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Fig. Electrode gap bridging

Scavenger Deposits: Fuel scavenger deposits may be either white or yellow. They may appear to be harmful, but this is a normal condition caused by chemical additives in certain fuels. These additives are designed to change the chemical nature of deposits and decrease spark plug misfire tendencies. Notice that accumulation on the ground electrode and shell area may be heavy, but the deposits are easily removed. Spark plugs with scavenger deposits can be considered normal in condition and can be cleaned using standard procedures.

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Fig. Scavenger deposits

Chipped Electrode Insulator: A chipped electrode insulator usually results from bendin