Toyota Tercel 1984-1994 Repair Guide

Spark Plug Wires



See Figures 1 and 2

When installing new spark plug wires (cables), replace them ONE AT A TIME to avoid mix-ups. Start by replacing the longest one first. Remove the wire from the end of the spark plug by grasping the wire by the rubber boot. If the boot sticks to the plug, remove it by twisting and pulling at the same time. Do not pull the wire itself or you will damage the core. Install the boot firmly over the spark plug. Route the wire over the same path as the original. Insert the nipple firmly into the tower on the cap or the coil.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Remove the spark plug wire from the coil by pulling straight up

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Fig. Fig. 2: Be sure to reinstall the spark plug wire holddown clips


See Figure 3

At every tune-up, visually inspect the spark plug cables for burns, cuts, or breaks in the insulation. Check the boots and the nipples on the distributor cap and coil. Replace any damaged wiring.

Every 30,000 miles or so, the resistance of the wires may be checked with an ohmmeter. Wires with excessive resistance will cause misfiring, and may make the engine difficult to start in damp weather. Generally the useful life of the cables is 30,000-50,000 miles.

To check resistance, remove the distributor cap, leaving the wires attached. Connect one lead of an ohmmeter to an electrode within the cap; connect the other lead to the corresponding spark plug terminal (remove it from the plug for this test). Replace any wire which shows a resistance over 25,000-. Test the high tension lead from the coil by connecting the ohmmeter between the center contact in the distributor cap and either of the primary terminals of the coil. If resistance is more than 25,000-, remove the cable from the coil and check the resistance of the cable alone. Anything over 15,000- is cause for replacement. It should be remembered that resistance is also a function of length; the longer the cable, the greater the resistance. Thus, if the cables on your car are longer than the factory originals, resistance will be higher, quite possibly outside these limits.

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Fig. Fig. 3: Checking the spark plug wire resistance