[V8] more weird weirdness

dsaad at icehouse.net dsaad at icehouse.net
Mon Mar 28 12:25:37 EST 2005

Last week I drove to work. All went well - the car ran "normal".
I went to go home and suddenly had a very noticeable miss.
WTF I says.
I surmise an "Italian tune" up is in order. I am first in line at the next stop
light - and it is a good mile to the next light. I figure I will just wind it up
in 1st and 2nd and things will clear up just fine. The mullet head in the
Pontiac next to me thinks its race day. While I bruised his ego badly, I
realized I had to work hard to beat a POS V6. This needs to be fixed.

Yank out plugs. #4 is pretty white, while the others are much darker. They look
OK - but do have some carbon buildup on them. I decide to mechanically chip off
the big carbon bits, and a chunk of insulator falls off on #4 plug. I am pretty
sure the insulator was already cracked but who knows. Maybe I am just clumsy.
I put in a new plug and cross my fingers but the miss is still there - perhaps
not quite as bad but this is probably just wishful thinking.
I finish my Becks and ponder the next move.
Next I do a compression test. 120 to 140 PSI is the range. My gauge is not that
great so I call this good. I am suspecting a bad (clogged) fuel injector in #4
but as a sanity check, I check for spark on all cylinders first because it is
Now I find that #3 is totally dead - no spark at all.
WTF I says again. Another look at the #3 plug shows that it is wet. #3 plug goes
to the left distributor cap - so off it comes.
WTF I says again - this time with emphasis. The tower for #3 is totally cracked
all the way around at its base. The only thing holding it on is the metal
conductor. There is a huge carbon track and lots of the cap has been eaten away
- this has been going on for a while. It turns out that the black cover over the
cap is an RFI shield - and it is conductive. This is what provided the path to
ground for the spark.

So how did the cap get broken? It was either defective since new, or my old pals
at the tire shop broke it when they did my last alignment. I am betting on the
tire shop. They are very consistant about screwing something up.

Anyway, good old Bow Wow auto parts had a real Bosch cap complete with shield in
stock on a Saturday for $60. Now I am out in front of the mullet heads before I
hit 2nd gear. All is right with the world again.


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