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Thread: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

  1. #1

    Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    I was told by a fellow today from one of the well known Buick vendors that they have had customers complain of using "modern" suppression spark plug wires, (carbon wires i suppose??) and that those guys complained of having misfires?

    Anyone every have this problem or have heard of this?? I know my local NAPA guy tells me that they can get the "make-your-own" wiresets for me in what they say is listing in their catalog as "all metal wire" supression plug wires? I know this is a stupid question concerning plug wires of all things, but I just want to choose the absolute right thing for this car!

    Thanks in advance!
    Jason

  2. #2

    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    Jason
    You must use copper core wire. If you use the new supression stuff the car won't run right. I have a National set that is still made with the copper core in black which works really well. I have the number at home, I can give it to you and you can pick up a set or I can buy a set and mail it to you. Email me for the number steveclassic@earthlink.net
    Thaks

  3. #3
    Sr Mbr -- BCA 20811
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    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    Are we dealing with a 6volt or 12volt system? What about radio noise and possibly the need for resistor plugs to kill it?

    Now, there are "carbon" wires and "magnetic suppression" wires, totally different breeds of wire. Carbon wires are typically 1K ohms/foot whereas the magnetic suppresion wires are 100 ohms/foot.

    Just curious,
    NTX5467

  4. #4

    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    I don't believe the voltage of the primary circuit would have anything to do with it. My car has the spark plug wires collected together with a ring. I used to get a missfire if the ignition got wet (my dist and plugs are directly under the hood hinge and a heavy rain caused many misses). I have used carbon core since it first came out and the newest kind (kevlar or whatever) in my Pontiac daily driver. I have noticed no difference in the running of the engine at all except that there dosn't seem to be any misfiring in the wet any more. However you do have to be very carefull in handling the non copper wires as they are very fragile. Also if you have or wish to install a radio you sure need the suppression plug wires. Having driven my car 380,000 miles in the last 46 years I wouldn't use anything else.
    By the way I once had three Buicks a 28 a 30 and a 53 but when push came to shove the Pontiac had to stay as it had been in the family since new. I sure do miss the straight eights though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rooster's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    A simple choice. If you do not use or have a radio / cassette / CD then put in solid copper wires. If you do then get the latest technology stuff. I think they can make them out of silicone now.
    Ken.
    Ken ( aka Rooster --- from Down Under )

    1929 Tourer model 25
    1954 Roadmaster Riviera model 76R ( Irene)
    1934 converted pick up under modernized construction

  6. #6

    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    Quote:
    Are we dealing with a 6volt or 12volt system? What about radio noise and possibly the need for resistor plugs to kill it?

    Now, there are "carbon" wires and "magnetic suppression" wires, totally different breeds of wire. Carbon wires are typically 1K ohms/foot whereas the magnetic suppresion wires are 100 ohms/foot.

    Just curious,
    NTX5467



    12 Volt system. Yeah I was just looking at my Cars Inc. Catalog. I called them and asked what type of wire set they have in their catalog for sale under their "electrical" section, they said copper cored wire, then I said I wanted something that would hold up better and was looking for modern wire instead of cloth covered that can wear through. That guy told me I HAD to go with copper core only on the engine or I'd get misfires. HOWEVER,.....

    Why is it then that they sell carbon wires and the modern wires for the Petronix kit for a '53 then? I could be wrong but after noticing that I just figured that it was just a selling ploy to get me to buy theirs out of fear that I'd waste money on "new" modern wires.

    So then I if I buy a set from NAPA that are the "Make your own" set tat are listed as being "Alloy" cored suppression wires, they should be fine to run with the old radio intalled in their??

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    In my experiance either copper or carbon fibre cored wires will work just fine to fire your plugs. Radio noise may be another matter. If you are rewiring a Buick V8 (nailhead) you must be carefull to place the wires in the proper spots in the wire looms and covers otherwise you may get cross/misfires........Bob.
    Bob Beck
    39 Chev PU
    69 big block Corvette
    55 Buick 66C
    57 Buick 46C
    55 Olds S-88
    56 Chrysler St. Regis
    AACA, USHGA

  8. #8
    Sr Mbr -- BCA 20811
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    Re: Copper Core plug wire VS. Modern suppression plug wires??

    Back when we just had AM radios, having the hood closed was usually enough "shielding" to keep ignition noise from getting to the radio antenna (which used shielded coax to convey the signals to the radio itself). Open hood, ignition noise, closed hood, little noise if any.

    BUT it's different with FM radio, which is what most police and emergency bands were back then (before UHF bands were allocated and used for those purposes). From what I've read, when wire-wire is used, then resistor spark plugs are needed to get rid of the radio noise -- radio noise that might not bother your AM radio, but COULD bother an emergency vehicle that might be nearby. Seems like I recall seeing some FCC intervention regarding that (in the early 1960s)? This was back when FM radio was a high luxury situation and not in very many cars, if at all, or very many homes either.

    Therefore, it would appear that some resistance is needed to decrease radio noise, whether in AM or FM. Wire-wire wires need resistor plugs and resistance wire can use regular plugs. Yet, when FM radios were in more cars, the resistance plugs were used with resistance wires.

    It could be that the "misfires in wet weather" issue cold be more related to the wire insulation (and protetion thereof) and its related condition. Not to mention the necessity of routing the wires such as to decrease the possibility of conductive misfire (cross-firing). In doing this, typically, any adjacent wires that go to plugs that fire consecutively need to cross paths (somewhere) at close to a 90 degree angle, rather than being parallel all the way from the distributor and through the wiring loom/standoff insulators.

    In a 6V system, which might generate less total KV to the spark plugs, plug and wire condition might be more critical. Too much resistance might not leave enough "fire" for the plugs do get a good spark off.

    Unlike modern carbon-core resistance spark plug wires, it seems like the ones I saw on early '60s cars (in the later 1960s, when they were causing problems) were akin to a piece of special rubber tubing filled (packed?) with a black carbon material. If the plug wire insulation aged and cracked, it was instant spark leakage (to ground nearby). When you got the hardened wire off, it usually would crack in many pieces, spreading the carbon dust too. In other words, if you touched it, it was history. I recall that, many times, the owners would request "real wire" for the replacement spark plugs as they were tired of the "problems". Again, this was before FM radios were in wide use in automotive applications and tape decks were other places.

    Then, some brands started advertising "reinforced" carbon core wires (with a cloth "cable" that was carbon-impregnated), plus upgraded outer insulation (thicker and better rubber). That progressed to the current "resistance" wires we now have.

    In the late '60s, Sorensen had a "Mono-Mag" wire set, that was magnetic suppression wire, but was "wire" but not "carbon". Now, many spark plug wire vendors sell it in one way or another, even some racing spark plug wire companies. 100 ohms/foot rather than the 1000 ohms/foot of carbon-core wires.

    Although I've got magnetic suppression wires on almost all of my vehicles, I can't really tell that they "work" any better than the carbon wires they replaced, but durability is much better. Just my experiences.

    The other thing about older vehicles is the "negative" ground vs. "positive" ground. I recall seeing that this change was done to get a more powerful spark for the spark plugs in high compression motors. Possibly that might play into this whole situation (on earlier vehicles too)?

    Just some thoughts,
    NTX5467

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