A Refreshing Look?

Yesterday I had tried to add a couple of items to my menu bar and I ended up breaking it. 🙁 I managed to get it back again to a normal state but’s not how it was. I was getting constant ‘gateway errors’ and the menus wouldn’t update. I have since been in contact with WordPress Help a couple of times, and they informed me that the theme that I had been using is now eleven years old. I nearly fell out of my comfy office chair when that flashed up on my little chat window.

The task for today was to hunt through all the themes that are out there to see if I could get one to work. I had a priority list of must haves; the image header, custom text colours, post options and of course how it looks and feels.

I found a few but settled on this one. I have been able to edit everything I needed with a the help of a couple of plugins that I need in order to make it all work. So far so good.

Except the header image which is playing me around. 😡

The image I’m trying to use is this one from the pro shoot in Cambridge, which has my blog title and tag line on the picture. The heading space wouldn’t allow both a picture and site tittle for some reason.

The heading looks fine on a couple of browsers Chrome/Firefox and the occasionally on Edge. It works on the mobile phone with the menus via a drop down so it’s much cleaner look too.

If you look at the new design can you please let me know if you have any issues with it, either half showing or heavily cropped like this;

I got a nasty feeling I may have to change this all again. I hope not.

Why did I mess with it? Well, I wanted to add a little ‘For Sale’ heading as I have a little supply of some parts. The addition of the extra menu tab was just to much and the theme had a bit of a frothy fit and wouldn’t play ball anymore.

What I have for sale is a little supply of the genuine Summit Racing Universal Engine Lift Plates. These are aimed at the carburettor guys on any make of engine. at £14.00 + P&P its a right steal. Click here for more pics and details.

In the very near future I will be selling something quite unique for classic Mustang owners. The prototype works and I’m now in collaboration with Mustang Maniac to get them made in volume. It’s all very exciting so watch this space!

Back to this post, I think this is much needed update and clean modern look now. The menu bar should be at the top on a PC so it’s easier to navigate around. There area few little tweaks to the side bar and social media buttons to like and follow.

If ANYTHING doesn’t work or looks rubbish let me know and I will amend it. I’m still playing with some of the settings and I may need to change bits around.

Please let me know if you like it or you want the old back. I can take criticism and take it like a man.

I do have two car shows to post and I haven’t forgotten them, it’s just that I have been busy trying to sort the theme mess out. Funny how a hour or so has turned into nine hours already!

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The Humble Spark Plug

The ignition systems on modern cars is highly complex. Even on classic cars that technology has moved on, but you probably don’t realise it. The humble spark plug is a highly complex part of the engine and the plug leads that supply the power are no exception.

What started out as me showing you how I remade a broken lead and setting my spark plug gaps, turned into a bit of a monster research project. I didn’t realise that there was quite as much involved for a throw away part that only costs a few quid (bucks). From what I have learnt I will try to explain; cause of bad plugs, incorrect gap setting, how spark plugs and their leads are made, how they work and how you can make your own custom plug leads!


HT ignition cable sets can vary from £15 to £150 (or more depending requirements).

Spark Plugs can very from £2 each to easily over £20 each

Crimping tool £5 to £25

Spark plug gap tool or feeler gauges £2 to £30

What is an Ignition, Spark Plug or HT lead?

It’s a simple, but critical cable which transfers the power from the distributor cap to the spark plug, where it then provides the energy to create a spark at the plug electrodes, which in turn ignites the air/fuel mixture to give you the power to turn a crank which will eventually drive the wheels.

The ignition lead is comprised of a conductive material surrounded by a silicone jacket. The primary purpose of the silicone surround is protection and looks to a degree. Ignition leads sit in close proximity to the engine itself and so are subject to dramatic changes in temperature, caustic chemicals and frequent abrasion. A silicone outer layer helps to protect the conductive core from external damage, extending its lifespan.

The core itself, which carries the current, will either be made of copper or carbon, depending on the age of the vehicle. Older vehicles used copper, modern ones carbon. Now days older cars can use the modern carbon style for better reliability and consistency and still look stock.

See the source image

It’s a common myth that bigger and more elaborate HT leads will give you more horse power. What they will do is provide the optimum efficiency and stability that may have been lacking on older worn leads. They should last longer and keep performance at a constant level.

How do you know if the HT leads have gone bad?

1. Decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency

One of the most common symptoms of an issue with the ignition cables is engine performance problems. The ignition cables carry the spark from the coil and distributor to the spark plugs so that engine combustion can occur. If there is any issue with the spark plug wires the engine spark can be disturbed, which can result in engine performance issues such as misfires, a reduction in power and acceleration, as well as a reduction in fuel efficiency. In severe cases bad cables may even result in engine stalling.

2. Visible wear or damage to cables

Visible wear or damage are symptoms of issues with the ignition cables. Old cables may dry out or perish, which may lead to cracks in the insulation. There are also instances where the cables may rub up against a hot manifold or engine components, which may cause them to melt and burn up. Both of these issues may compromise the cable’s ability to transport the spark to the spark. This can lead to misfires and other performance issues, and in more serious cases may even lead to the cables shorting against the engine.

3. Check Engine Light comes on (modern cars)

Faulty cables can lead to engine misfires as well as excessively rich air fuel ratios, both of which can set off the Check Engine Light if detected by the computer. Many modern vehicles are now being manufactured without the good old fashioned ignition cables, however they are still found on a very large majority of older cars.

Process To Make Your Own:

Regardless of the vehicle, making the wire is the same in principle. Most of the time the ‘generic’ HT leads tend to have the spark plug boot already connected. Most kits will give you an option of metal crimp ends and rubber boots depending on application.

These can be straight, 90deg or 115deg angles (as below) etc. depending on the manufacturer, engine fitting, style, age and type of engine etc.

These HT leads can be single colours, multi coloured, cloth wrapped, silicon covered or custom variations of anything in between.

The spark plug boot fittings can be pretty much anything on top of the spark plug terminal, to nothing with just the thread or a simple screw down for the clamped earlier designs.

See the source image

Or any of the following styles; stud, clip, screw, solder or crimp etc.

My Mustang leads are set to the 115deg from the plug with an open end which allows you to cut the wire and route where you want it. Or you could buy prefabricated leads without the hassle or making them of course. But you may be limited to the routing of the wires that you wanted.

Process to attach the fittings.

Making your cable connection will require a plug crimping tool, usually around £10 to £25 for a ratchet set. They have the main crimping section at the bottom of the jaws, outer layer cutting jaw and then the inner cable crimp at the top, if needed.

Measure the length of the cable you need and trim approx 1″ longer than you need, this will allow for trimming and crimping the core. Better to be a fraction to long than too short and put stress on the cable.

Depending on the connection you have you may need to trim to the inner core and crimp twice.

If there are no boot(s) on the cable you will need to put these on first. Make sure they are the correct way round. This is so often forgotten and will lead to a wasted crimp and an even shorter cable when you have to redo them. To make life easier to slide the cable through the boot is apply a little dielectric grease. this protects the rubber and also allows electrical current through it just in case it gets on the centre core.

My cables needed to expose the inner core only. Trim of the outer silicon and the inner layer to leave an exposed amount of core.

Fold the core cable over back on itself. making sure that the core is on the back of the fitting.

Place the fitting and cable into the crimps with the open side on the fold part of the jaws.

Slip the boot over the fitting and make sure it seats correctly. With both ends crimped and ready to fit test the integrity of the lead via a multimeter ‘ohms’ setting with a tester prong at each end of the cable. With everything in place you can fit the cable.

Note; the distributer cap boot fittings (male fit) tend to extend past the rubber as it has to sit deeper into the distributor cap as in this pictures here to make a contact.

Repeat for each lead you need.

Spark Plugs:

This is probably the least thought about part of the engine and least understood. Yet these relatively cheap disposable parts can make a huge difference to the running of the engine, and the designs behind them can get highly technical. i will try to break it down into smaller sections.

What is the Spark Plug?

This is the part of the engine that detonates the air fuel mixture in the engine’s cylinders to make the explosion to force the piston down to rotate a crank, which in turn drives a shaft to the gearbox.


Design of the plug will dictated by the engine manufacturer, such as where it will be located how far from the chamber etc. things like centre mounted plugs on an over head cam tend to be thinner and longer to reach the top of the cylinder. Traditional side mounted mounted plugs can be shorter or fatter depending on where it needs to sit in the cylinder head.

A good rule of thumb for the correct depth is something like this, all the information will be in the manufacturers guides.

To shallow a plug and the spark will not ignite the fuel/air in the cylinders correctly. To long a plug and there is a danger that the top of the piston could hit the plugs. The incorrect depths could also play a part in heat dissipation, fuel economy, power and even the overall drivability of the car.

A selection of various designs from short to long, to thin to fat and marine application.

The firing end has a number of different ways to create the spark, single, double and even quadruple toe electrodes, angled etc. Each design will give a specific spark for a particular engine. Here is a description of the more common ones.

Standard spark plugs typically feature a traditional ground electrode.

Double fine wire electrode (DFE) spark plugs apply a fine wire pin to the ground electrode in addition to a fine wire center electrode. A smaller electrode requires less voltage to jump the gap, resulting in fewer misfires, which translates to increased fuel economy and horsepower. A smaller electrode also reduces flame quenching.  Reducing the electrode size on a standard nickel plug would result in a drastically shortened life span, so smaller electrodes require exotic metals such as platinum or iridium to maintain (and at times surpass), the longevity of a traditional spark plug.   

flat ground electrode is shorter and closer to the metal shell and center electrode, providing a faster path to transfer heat away from the ground electrode. Its low profile design is resistant to vibration.

Developed for engines that tend towards increased carbon depositing as a result of their design, hybrid spark plugs have a standard ground electrode as well as two smaller ground electrodes on each side. When the insulator becomes clogged with carbon, the ignition voltage jumps over to the side electrodes, enabling the plug to operate even under severe conditions. Once the plug has reach operation temperature and the deposits are removed, it returns to “normal” operation, with the spark jumping between the center and main ground electrode.

low angled ground electrode is shorter and closer to the metal shell and center electrode, providing a faster path to transfer heat away from the ground electrode. Its low profile design is resistant to vibration. A smaller electrode requires less voltage to jump the gap, resulting in fewer misfires, which translates to increased fuel economy and horsepower. A smaller electrode also reduces flame quenching.  Reducing the electrode size on a standard nickel plug would result in a drastically shortened life span, so smaller electrodes require exotic metals such as platinum or iridium to maintain (and at times surpass), the longevity of a traditional spark plug.   

Some engine designs require the spark plugs have the ground electrode placed to the side of the center electrode rather than below as on a traditional plug. This may be for combustion chamber design as in the case of a rotary engine, or a surface gap design as used in leaner air/fuel ratio’s on industrial engines. The side electrode design tends to wear faster than a traditional plug. Erosion at these points creates a larger gap between the center and ground electrodes, causing plug misfire. Thus, if the engine design requires a side discharge plug, more ground electrodes extend plug life.

Multi-Ground plugs are offered in 2, 3 and 4 ground electrode designs. It is important to note that multi-ground does not mean multi-spark, there will still only be one spark at a time. Caution should be made in selecting a “high performance” plug. 

If your car came OE with a multi-ground plug, your engine will likely wear through single electrode plugs, especially fine wire plugs, at a rapid rate.

Projected square platinum electrode (PSPE) spark plugs apply a square shaped tip of platinum to the end of a shortened ground electrode.This ground electrode shape allows the spark to be focused between the fine-wire center electrode and projecting platinum ground electrode. A smaller electrode requires less voltage to jump the gap, resulting in fewer misfires, which translates to increased fuel economy and horsepower. A smaller electrode also reduces flame quenching.  

In a semi-surface discharge design, the voltage path skims across the surface of the insulator. When the spark discharges, it burns off any carbon build-up. The wide gap improves ignition capability and is less sensitive to gap growth. Additionally the concave cut in the ground electrode promotes even gap growth.

slant ground electrode is shorter and closer to the metal shell and center electrode, providing a faster path to transfer heat away from the ground electrode. Its low profile design is resistant to vibration.

A thin square pad of platinum is welded to some ground electrodes to ensure durability.

True surface discharge or surface gap spark plugs have no side electrode, instead utilizing the entire face of the plug shell as a ground to ignite. Thus the gap remains constant through the plugs entire life. They have no given heat range as the electrode design prevents the firing tip from overheating, and the insulator is flush with the metal shell to dissipate heat quickly. Therefore, these plugs are susceptible to fouling in cold applications.

Surface discharge plugs may be required in high compression applications or with high energy ignition systems. They are also used in rotary engines as they present a flush face to the combustion chamber, eliminating interference with an electrode tip and exposing the spark to the entire air/fuel mixture for improved combustion.

Many variations of the surface discharge plug exist, including the semi-surface discharge, intermittent gap, supplementary gap, and surface air gap plug. All designs create a spark along the insulator nose to remove carbon build-up.

taper cut ground electrode serves a similar function to a cut back ground, fine wire ground and angled ground electrode. Also known as an inverted v-tip, tapered v-profile, trimmed side, v-trimmed or wedge shaped ground electrode, all trimmed designs have the same purpose: to reduce quenching and shadowing by reducing the surface area between the electrodes which could hinder the growth of the flame nucleus.

trapezoid cut ground electrode is a variation of a taper cut ground, which serves a similar function to a cut back ground, fine wire ground and angled ground electrode. All trimmed designs have the same purpose: to reduce quenching and shadowing by reducing the surface area between the electrodes which could hinder the growth of the flame nucleus.

Heat Range:

When the air temperature is high, as in the summer, the inlet air temperature becomes higher, increasing the load on the engine. In times like this, it’s better to choose a plug with a higher heat range.

Various circumstances such as engine conditions and driving conditions are rough measures for choosing a plug. If you are doing lots of strenuous driving for a considerable time using normal plugs, the plug will overheat. This is why the idea of a Standard plug fits all for all car’s doesn’t work.

The heat is controlled by the design of the inside of the spark plug head More material that can be in contact with the cylinder the greater the cooling. (The dark grey shading represents a hollowed out area between the insulator and the thread.)

Each manufacturer has their own coding for heat ranges, this is a comparison of some popular plugs.

Horse Power:

If the horsepower has been increased through tuning, the increase in explosive power leads to an increase in combustion chamber temperature, making pre-ignition more likely; in such cases it is necessary to choose a plug with a higher heat range and a higher level of heat resistance provided by Denso. The same with other plugs of course just different numbering approach.

Types of Spark Plug Cores:

Sparks like to jump from the sharpest point on the center electrode to the sharpest point on the side electrode. Ideally you want a plug that retains its sharp edge for the most amount of miles covered. Precious metals like platinum and iridium are harder metals and have higher melting temperatures than the nickel alloy electrodes found in traditional copper spark plugs. The smaller the diameter of the center electrode, the lower the voltage needed to start the spark.

Copper Core:

These plugs have a solid copper core, but the business end of the center electrode is actually a 2.5mm-diameter nickel alloy. That’s the largest diameter electrode of all the spark plug types. Remember, the smaller the diameter, the less voltage required to initiate the spark. Nickel alloy is also softer than either platinum or iridium, so the sharp firing edge you get right out of the box tends to wear out quickly. Despite those shortcomings, copper spark plugs are still a good choice for certain applications. Copper spark plugs are best for older (pre-‘80s) vehicles with low voltage distributor-based ignition systems. Don’t use copper spark plugs in high-energy distributor-less ignition systems (DIS) or coil-on-plug (COP) ignition systems. They’ll wear out too quickly.

There’s one exception to that advice. Some late-model high-performance engines were designed specifically for copper spark plugs. In those cases, copper spark plugs are considered to be high performance spark plugs. If your owner’s manual calls for copper spark plugs, don’t upgrade to platinum spark plugs or iridium spark plugs.

Platinum Core:

single platinum spark plug is basically styled after a copper spark plug with a platinum disc welded to the tip of the center electrode. Since platinum is harder than nickel alloy, it holds its sharp edge for as long as 100,000 miles. Platinum spark plugs also run a bit hotter, preventing spark plug deposit build up and fouling.

Platinum spark plugs are usually the best spark plugs for newer vehicles with electronic ‘distributor-based ignition systems’ (DIS). If your owner’s manual recommends platinum spark plugs, don’t downgrade to copper spark plugs to save money. However, you can upgrade to either double platinum spark plugs or iridium spark plugs.

Double platinum spark plugs were designed for “waste spark” DIS. In a waste spark system, the spark jumps from the center electrode to the side electrode for the cylinder that’s on the compression stroke. To return the electrical pulse back to the ignition coil pack, the spark jumps backwards (side-to-center) on the partner cylinder. Since the partner cylinder is on its exhaust stroke, nothing ignites and the spark is “wasted.”

You can’t use single platinum spark plugs or traditional copper spark plugs in these systems because the side electrodes aren’t designed to handle the reverse spark. But double platinum spark plugs, with a platinum disc welded to their side electrode, work exceptionally well. Both the center and side platinum discs remain sharp, allowing sparks to fly easily in both directions without causing rapid electrode wear.

If your owner’s manual recommends double platinum spark plugs, then those are the best spark plugs to use. You should never downgrade to single platinum spark plugs or copper spark plugs. However, you can upgrade to an iridium/platinum combination plug (an iridium center electrode with a platinum-tipped side electrode).

Iridium Core:

Iridium is harder than platinum, and in most cases, iridium spark plugs last approx 25 percent longer than comparable platinum spark plugs. Because iridium is costly, iridium spark plug manufacturers reduce the diameter of the center electrode to as little as .4mm. In addition to saving money, the “fine wire” center electrode on iridium spark plugs increases firing efficiency.

Many carmakers require iridium spark plugs or iridium/platinum combination spark plugs for coil-on-plug (COP) ignition systems. If your owner’s manual specifies iridium spark plugs, don’t downgrade to platinum spark plugs, or double platinum spark plugs, or even copper spark plugs. They won’t perform as well as the iridium spark plugs and cause some potential problems with running.

As the spark ignites the air/fuel mixture, the colder side electrode tends to “quench” the flame. To combat quenching, some spark plug manufacturers cut a “U” or “V” shaped channel into the “spark receiving” surface of the side electrode. The larger channeled area reduces quenching and allows the flame to grow more quickly. Other manufacturers split the end of the side electrode to reduce the flame’s contact with the side electrode and allow the flame to shoot straight down into the cylinder.

Are these type of plugs better? There’s no general consensus or conclusive evidence on whether these designs work better or not. However they will perform at least as well as a non-channelled plug, if not better.

Condition of the Spark Plugs:

These little pieces of technology can tell you an awful lot about the condition of your engine, at each service you could take them out and check, but you don’t have to. Many years ago when spark plugs were a standard core, they used to be replaced with every car service along with points. With modern computer controlled injection, you should be running ‘normal’ most of the time.

On carburettor cars the tuning and air/fuel mixtures are much easier to spot.

A visual inspection of the spark plugs could like the following;

Normal Condition


If the firing end of the spark plug is brown or light grey, the engine condition can be judged to be good and the spark plug is functioning correctly.



The gathering of different deposits on the firing end is influenced by oil leakage, fuel quality and engine operating period. The deposits can come from Carbon, Lead, Bromine, Calcium, Sulphur, Barium and Zinc.

Dry and Wet Fouling


Dry and Wet Fouling is another way the firing end can be damaged. If the insulation resistance between the centre electrode and the “shell” is over 10M ohms the engine can start up normally, however if the insulation resistance drops to 0 the firing end is fouled by either wet or dry carbon.

Lead Fouling  


If your spark plug firing end looks yellowish brown on the insulator nose, this is found on spark plugs that have been damaged by lead. Also, this particular type of damage cannot be detected by a resistance tester at room temperature.  Lead compounds combines at different temperatures; those formed at 370-420 degrees Celsius have the biggest influence on the resistance.



If your spark plug has overheated, the insulator tip is glazed or glossy. Deposits which have gathered on the insulator tip have melted, and there is a chance that the insulator will have blistered.



Breakage is normally caused by a thermal shock due to sudden heating or cooling – replace immediately!

Normal Life


A worn spark Plug not only wastes fuel but also strains the whole ignition, this is because is requires a higher voltage. A worn spark plug can reduce the engine efficiency by reducing the fuel economy and increases the exhaust emissions. For your reference, The normal rate of gap growth is about 0.01 0.02mm/1,000 Km for four stroke engines and about 0.02 0.04mm/1,000 Km for two stroke engines.

Erosion, Corrosion, Oxidation


The electrodes have oxidized, and when the oxidation is heavy there will be green on the surface.  The surfaces of the electrodes are also fretted and rough.

Abnormal Erosion


An Abnormal Erosion is caused by corrosion, oxidation,  or reaction with the lead. This results in abnormal gap Growth.

Lead Erosion


Lead Erosion is caused by the lead compounds in the gasoline which react chemically with the material of the electrodes (nickel alloy) at high temperatures. Crystals of nickel alloy fall off because of the lead compounds permeating and separating the grain boundary of the nickel alloy. Typical lead erosion causes the surface of the electrode to become thinner and the tip of the electrode looks like it has been chipped.



If the firing end is melted, this means it has over heated. Mostly, this will result in the electrode surface being rather lustrous and uneven. As note, the melting point of nickel alloy is 1,200 – 1,300 degrees Celsius.

What’s important is to inspect the condition of your current plugs, and then choose a plug accordingly.

Fitting the wrong plugs could damage your engine.


A chart for comparing different makes and designs of spark plugs.

Some cars run on better brands than others. In my past experience NGK were a great plug, but didn’t last long. Bosch platinum were great when warm on lots of motorway miles, but a little lumpy when cold. Trial and error depending on your driving style and engine will get the best results for economy and power.


Spark plugs are designed to last and give optimum performance for as long as possible. Racing plugs in racing engines tend to be designed to give the max for shorter periods of time. They wouldn’t necessarily make big performance gains in road cars, unless you intend to drive it like you stole it!

Copper cored plugs you can expect between 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

Platinum or Iridium tipped plugs can be expected to last 60,000 miles.

Some top quality branded plugs are expected to last 120,000 miles before changing.

You pay your money and take your chances. Buying cheap plugs where bits can break of in the cylinder could possibly destroy a good engine.

Setting the Spark Plug’s Gap:

The gap sizes are pre determined by the manufacturer to get the correct combustion in the engine’s cylinder or combustion chamber. These should be adhered to unless specialist tuning requires the changes.

Such an instance to increase the gaps could be changing from old school standard points ignition to a Pertronix electronic ignition. The sensor in the distributor cap does not have metal contacts to take the voltage. The sensor sends a signal to the ignition coil which can produce more voltage and power as a result. This in turn can allow a small increase in the spark plug gap to give a stronger more powerful spark. The theory is that the better spark gives better combustion of more fuel air mixture and could give you more horse power with the correct carb settings.

* Narrow Gap

When the spark plug gap is too narrow, or under specifications, the amount of room needed for the air-fuel mixture between the hot tip and the ground strap is decreased. The duration of the spark has less travel distance, thus not remaining hot enough with sufficient charge to ignite the air-fuel mixture. The symptoms of narrow gap include a noticeable (continuous) cylinder miss, hard starting if all the plugs have narrow gaps, rough idle and engine hesitation. A spark plug that does not fire, resulting from a narrow gap, will appear black or wet when inspected. The black or wet appearance indicates unburned fuel.

* Excessive Spark Plug Gap

Excessive spark plug gap results when the voltage has too far to travel. The increased length of the spark travel weakens it, robbing it of the hot, strong ignition charge it needs to fire the plug. Excessive plug gap also results in cylinder misfiring, a possible no-start condition, wet, black or fouled plugs, engine hesitation and rough idle. Excessive spark plug gap also happens as result of normal electrode wear and age.

Incorrect spark plug gaps as above can cause the following symptoms;

* Rough Engine Idle

An engine that has a rough, irregular engine idle is often due to spark plugs that are incorrectly gapped. Spark plugs that are gapped incorrectly it will upset the air/fuel mixture, which in turn affects engine combustion and idle.

* Engine Hesitation

If spark plugs are gapped too wide, the ignition spark loses some of its strength as it crosses the spark plug gaps. This can result in engine hesitation.

* Engine Missing

Spark plugs gapped incorrectly can cause an engine to miss, or run erratically, especially during idle. The incorrect spark plug gaps can cause uneven firing of individual spark plugs and delay engine combustion; both of which can cause an engine to miss or idle erratically.

* Poor Engine Performance

For an engine to run at optimal levels, its spark plugs have to be gapped according to factory specifications. Any spark plugs that are gapped incorrectly can result in poor engine performance by altering engine combustion, weakening the ignition spark, and delaying the arcing of the ignition spark as it crosses each spark plug diode.

* Engine Knocking

Engine knocking, or engine pinging, is a classic sign of an engine that has incorrectly gapped spark plugs. Engine knocking is the result of incomplete or delayed engine combustion, especially under acceleration.

To set the gaps.

Remove the spark plugs and inspect them for damage. Inspect the firing end for condition and to see how the engine is running.

Remove any loose fowling or oil on the plug first. Take a small brass wire brush and remove the deposits until the metal surfaces are clean. Brass is a softer metal than the spark plug and will not damage it, but should be strong enough to remove any build ups.

If your spark plug has a terminal cap, check that it is fully done up. Use a pair of pliers to pinch it tight. If the cap is loose this will cause issues for connection and will give you erratic sparks.

Use you spark plug gap tool of choice to set the gap if you need too. There are the disc styles, feeler gauges and open loop styles. I like feeler gauges or the hoop wire design. These can be metric or imperial measurements depending on your choice.

Once I know the current gap by placing the correct gap setting tool into the gap, I can either open or close the gap as required. To close you can gently tap the electrode on a solid metal surface, or use T-shaped part of a special plug gap tool to close it. In order to open use the tool again and lever it upwards. If you don’t have the tool, be careful not to damage the electrodes at the bottom when trying to open the gaps.

Two different ways to gap spark plugs. Remember that when tapping the electrode at the bottom, the weight of the plug itself is enough to close the gap.

DON’T over tap it when closing the gap, little and often. Check, repeat.

The gauge or setting tool that you use, should have a slight drag on it when you pull it through the gap.

When refitting the spark plugs back into the engine always tighten the first few turns by hand first to avoid cross threading. Don’t knock the spark plug when inserting it. This could alter the spark plug gap and give you problems as described above.

If in doubt – recheck it.

Replace the spark plug boot with a very thin smear of dielectric grease to stop the rubber boot sticking to the top of the plug.

I hope that helps with an understanding of a forgotten and abused part of the engine. If not please read if you are having trouble sleeping. 🙂

Keep safe everybody.

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What’s On The Menu?

Over the years my little ol’ blog has evolved from the restoration of my Mustang to looking after it, pampering it and showing my treasured car. The restoration how to, guides and pictures are all still there in the menu headings, along with another called “Car Detailing Reviews” appearing about a year ago.

That was an idea that came to me when I was asked what I used to keep my car looking nice and clean. So I thought I would let people know what I used, that included what I liked and what I didn’t like. The reviews of many different detailing products had been born.

I must be said that ALL of the products that I reviewed or will review, tools, parts or detailing products have been bought by me or bought for me. Therefore my reviews and comments are completely independent and not biased in any way, I have nothing to gain from giving top marks. On the other I would have liked to have got some free products to review (who wouldn’t). Alas, none have come my way and I haven’t asked for them from companies either. Maybe in the future I may get some, but my reviews will always be the same; independent and not biased. I don’t like giving top marks just for the sake of it.

Where am I going with this? Well, the menu bar at the top of page had been updated with each product I used and reviewed. All was fine until I did a few additional product reviews a couple of weeks ago. The problem was when I tried to save the additional reviews in the updated menus. WordPress crashed and wouldn’t save the changes I made and corrupted my headings, I was not a happy bunny. Since then I have been in correspondence with WordPress about the problem. It seems that the menu headings has reached a limit that I was trying to go beyond. When saving my changes an error caused the ‘overload on their server’ so they tell me, I was in a no win loop. Some of you may have seen a real mess for a few hours over the weekend while I was trying to sort it out.

An example of the menus presentation that I liked and used is here, the manufacturer, sub menu then a list of products to choose from. Easy to see and look for.

The menu errors now means that I have had to find alternative ways to do it. Particularly aggravating I must say and not a slick process that I wanted it to be. 🙁

I have been thinking about alternatives a fair bit and tried a few options on my dummy site. The best idea i came up with is to create an ‘Index Page’ for each particular manufacturer such as Mitchell & King, Meguiar’s, Chemical Guys, Auto Finesse, DoDo Juice and the others. Those pages now have a list of each of the products and links to the actual review. Instead of going to the Menu, Car Detailing Product Reviews -> Mitchell & King -> Waxes -> Lily etc. and clicking on the title for the review to appear. The new style is a page per manufacturer with hyperlinks on the images and the product name, a few examples as below.

Mitchell & King page;

Meguiar’s page;

Chemical Guys page;

I think the format works with actual pictures of the product and links to the corresponding review from the title of the product or clicking on the pictures. I even copied a few bullet points for a few summary points from their relative websites.  

I have already made the changes and hope that my readers like the new style and format. It has taken me umpteen hours to trash previous ideas and create this one. With any luck finding your way around the site and the review pages. The massive downside is that the heading menus now won’t update with the newest reviews, but the pages will.

I do apologise to those that don’t like it, but it appears that I sort of outgrown my blogsite now. What’s on the menu? Less than before at first glance. I also suspect some more changes as I try to slicken the feel a bit more going forward and stop the rather annoying menu crashing when I try to save.

Keep Safe Everybody.

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Sentimental Value

I started driving and passed my driving test at the tender age of 17. On that day when I returned home my dad gave me a car which was worth nothing to be honest at the time. The car was a 1977 Audi 100 LS a similar colour to this in red, faded red, orange and various shades of rust and sun bleaching.

His logic was that it had big bumpers and stop minor accidents. The car was also due an MOT and road tax, he wasn’t stupid. As an apprentice in my first year at the time it cost me a few weeks wages for some welding and a number of parts including an exhaust to get it through. It would have been cheaper to buy a newer car of my own in fact. The head gasket went six months later and it was then towed to a scrap yard! The ol’ man had his second car a Mercedes that he used from there on in. I then bought another Audi, a 100 5E Avant this time.

Anyway the same day he dumped sorry gave me the car he also gave me a Krooklok which was my mother’s father’s. My grandad gave it to my ol’ man when he stopped driving due to illness. He said I was to have it one day when I started driving as I was there when he gave it to him. Luckily he kept my Grandad’s wishes and he gave it to me.

My maternal grandparents had nothing. They rented all their lives, lived in a flat in Battersea, London. The flat was a stones throw from Battersea park. I spent many treasured school holidays living with them, I loved it there and them. I remember going out with them as a young kid with my Grandad driving his Ford Anglia and then his Ford Cortina, he would park it up and use the Krooklok as well. Grandad was a Ford man through and through.

I kept that Krooklok and treasured it in all my cars except the last two as I lost the key when I moved house and couldn’t use it, I was gutted. But, I kept it safe as it is pretty much the only thing I have of my grandparents. I hoped that I would find the key one day.

I was speaking to Adam at Mustang Maniac who told me to give it to him as he knew a locksmith who would make a key for it. Sure enough, a few weeks later I had the lock back and now it was working. The plan now was to put it back in the Mustang as it was from the same year, almost. So I thought I would post about my restoration of the lock and little history of the company, “Krooklok”.

I have tried to find as much information on the brand and the company as I could, some of which may be subjective based on the tiniest pieces of information from the internet. (I would be delighted if somebody could give me some more accurate details and I will acknowledge your corrections.)

“Krooklok” is the brand name and originally made by a company Johnson and Starley Ltd. who were based in Northampton, UK. There is virtually nothing online about the company or who owned it. I have tried to find out with little success, a company of the same name in the same area is now a heating supplies company.

In 1964 the company designed a lock that was in effect a telescopic bar with a hook at each end that was linked around the steering wheel and the other end hooked either round the brake or clutch pedal. In the centre of the bar was a locking barrel that locked a sprung loaded ball bearing into a recessed top part of the bar. With the key locked design the telescopic mechanism couldn’t be extended to release from the steering wheel. This was a visual deterant to stop thieves driving of with the car. The design would stop the pedals from being depressed or turning the steering wheel. The thief would have to remove the lock before attempting to drive off, potentially exposing themselves to what they were doing. Let’s face it, security in the 60’s wasn’t great and these Krookloks exploded onto the market. This was not a little company release but advertising at top sporting events mostly car oriented, Formula 1, rallies and amateur classes of motorsport.

Advertising was quite widespread and appeared in many magazines and a number of football programs. The earliest advert I could find was from 1965 from the Halfords catalogue.

The cost was fairly hefty 47 shillings and 6 pence. That worked out at roughly £2.37 at the time. In todays money that is around £37.50 in modern day money allowing for inflation over the fifty odd years. The price wasn’t exactly at the cheap end of the market but was a substantial lump of metal to have in the car.

A selection of more adverts from the early days in the mid 1960s to the early 1970s just after UK currency decimalisation in 1971 where the prices show the new money GBP.

In 1968 it looks like Krooklok ventured across the pond to the USA and applied for and was granted a Patent for the “Krooklok”.

For the UK I cant find an actual date that they were stamped on the locks, but it looks to have been granted around 1965 or 1966 at the latest. On the back of the barrel section is the trademark and the patent numbers. The registered design for Krooklok is 914608.

On the left is my own personal Krooklok which was made before the patents were issued, making this a very early and rare example. On the right is a slightly later dated Krooklok with the granted patents applied.

Over the years the design changed. The first itteration was a metal bar with a vinyl sleeve at the lock end in order to stop the metal hook marking the steering wheel. This sleeve was a nondescript grey colour and not really visible when fitted. Again a picture of my own restored lock with the original grey sleeve.

From outside the vehicle the “visible deterrent” wasn’t very visible especially at night. After the feedback was noted Krooklok introduced a new improved bright red sleeve that replaced the grey.

Moving on around a couple of years, the red vinyl sleeve was added at the opposite end of the lock for the pedals. This was to give more visibility and to protect the cosmetics of pedals. Early models came with plastic sleeve packaging, later models came with cardboard boxes.

Much later variations replaced the the nice chrome lock tower with a matching red middle section. The design also took a distinctive “twist” (literally) and the “hooks” changed from the facing each other on the same plane, now they were being set at right angles. This was intended to make fitting easier and stop the twisting of the original design to make it fit. This twist was down to the fact that as safety improved on vehicles the pedal design and steering wheels made some fitting to some vehicles a little more awkward.

My Krooklok on the top with the polished chrome lock tower, and the latest design at the bottom. The red locking section didn’t last long and was replaced with a contrasting yellow locking section, but this was just a cosmetic change. The steering wheel end has also seen a further modification to add plastic wings at the side hook to make it even more visible.

The pedal end was simply double indented or punched both parts together on one side and not the other. As the material construction is hardened steel this seems to be adequate but not ideal. This design hasn’t changed over the years and was hidden with the later pedal sleeve cover mentioned above.

The locking design was quite ingenious with a simple spring loaded ball bearing. The ball bearing is then locked into one of a number milled recesses that matched the diameter of the ball bearing. My lock before and after the cleaning to remove 50 years of grime.

Sliding the center section out to allow for a generous length of adjustment makes a very solid clatter as the bearing lifts and is sprung back into the next hole. The unit feels very strong and sturdy once fitted.

As the krooklok became more popular a couple of years later the advertising was added to the car window which stated that the vehicle was protected by “Krooklok”. The design saw a few variations of a the window sticker design, size and colours that warned potential thieves of the fitted Krooklok. The design started with a simple red warning design to more eye catching multi colour designs.

As time marched on Krooklok made other products, like locking wheel nuts, wheel clamps & tow bar clamps.

The Krooklock success still continues today with other companies making similar designs with similar sounding names to jump on the band wagon. Companies like, Stoplock, Disklok, Autolok, Xlock etc. The designs vary from pedal to steering wheel locks, to the more common bar through the steering wheel design.

After all the years the “Krooklok” still remains a strong brand name that started and set the standards of third party vehicle security.

Click here for a link to my own Krooklok that I restored for my own vehicle. The best part is that this particular model is period correct for my ’66 Mustang.

The Restoration

This Krooklok is 55 years old being made in 1965 from what I can work out. It had never been cleaned in all that time and needed some serious pampering to get back to its original condition. The state of the lock was rusted and the extension was very stiff and not free running. The rust was so bad on the back I couldn’t see any marking and wondered if it was an original Krooklok. The original coating was a dull steel colour but that had been replaced by rust and oxidisation.

The first thing I decided to do was to apply a little metal polish to see what happened.

Some serious rubbing and multiple applications removed some of the grime, enough to show me the marking on the back of the chrome locking tower. But, it wasn’t man enough to remove the pitting. I got out the Dremel and attached a nylon buffing pad to the base of the locking tower which removed plenty more before it eventually disappeared to nothing. When I saw the markings were there and the “Pats Pending” I realised this was a rare early model.

I started to buff the rest of the shaft and although it came up better it still wasn’t good enough.

I now started to move up the aggressive scale until I found something that was just enough to do the job back to bare metal. This is usually the wrong way round of course as you start aggressive and then work back to finer grades to remove the previous marks. I settled on a light buff of 180grit sand paper to take the worst of grime and rusting off, then followed with 240grit.

I could see that the steel would buff to a really nice shine. Although this wasn’t original I kept going. Starting with the Dremel 240grit sand paper discs which are very fine and took ages to go over the whole thing, using only the lightest pressure as the discs were much smaller and delicate. I then used 320grit to 400grit by hand to finish the look.

Once the sanding had finished it was back again to metal polish and the Dremel felt buffing pads which would flick the polish everywhere when I used too much.

The Metal bar both inside and outside started to polish up like the chrome and looked great. I had to keep working the notches with the Dremel and a small pointed buffing pad to clean them out.

A number of passes would bring the steel almost to a mirror finish. Which pleased me and saddened me at the same time. The cleaning also took the patina away from the lock and it’s age. Due to the rusting and pitting there wasn’t much choice. The item will never be worth a lot of money so it’s not as though I ruined it. As the inside of my Mustang has a lot of chrome brightwork inside it wouldn’t look out of place, but would even compliment it.

The steering wheel end sleeve was very dirty, I allowed a citrus cleaner to soak a rag in order to loosen a lot of the grime off. This was done by wrapping the damp citrus soaked cloth around the hook. Once that was wiped of after a few minutes the heavy duty cleaners were applied and the handle came back to its almost original colour. The chrome locking tower only needed a little metal polish to bring that back to its former glory.

The completed item gets more buffing and an application of wax to prevent the atmosphere tarnishing the metal again.

The only thing left to do was lubricate the mechanism, a thin application of light oil to the sides and drop into the first few holes. I worked the lock in and out a few times and some dirty oil ran out. I cleaned the lock up again and repeated until the oil was clean. Now the extension moves in and out smoothly. The lock remained free and little squirt of Gibbs in the lock for the tumbles allowed the key to slide in effortlessly, turn and remove just like a good lock should do.

In total it took me around 4 hours to clean and buff to a shine. I am well delighted with the lock.

The lock will now be with me in my Mustang at car shows. I can now think how proud my Grandad would have been to see my restored Mustang and his Krooklok sitting in it looking all sparkly and shiny.

After all, I’m now Classic Ford man through and through with my Grandad’s blessing.

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Cool It

Last week I posted about the replacement gearbox and how it jumped the queue for the next post. The post that knocked down the pecking order is this one. It’s about the technicalities of fitting a carburettor spacer or replacing one.

Do you need a spacer, what does it do and what types are there? I aim to answer the questions as well as showing you how to do it. Regardless of this spacer being fitted on a Mustang, the principles are the same for most carburettor based cars, all be it the connections may vary a bit.

Why did I do this in the first place? Well it’s because I can’t go to any car shows, i had cleaned the car and I wanted to do this little project for a while now.

Types Of Spacers:

To work out what spacer style you want you need to understand if you need one in the first place. I have a problem when I sit in traffic in hot weather where the car runs erratically on idle when the temperatures gets real hot. So my research tells me that I needed a thermal barrier to replace the aluminium one I have currently.

There are usually two main reasons to fit a spacer between the carb and the intake manifold.

1) To increase horse power.

2) The carb is experiencing fuel evaporation when the engine gets hot. This causes the engine to run very erratic at idle with possible poor starting when hot.

3) Not really a reason, but fitted just for looks or bragging rights.

Spacers can come in a variety of sizes and styles depending on application.

Wood, the best heat insulator, but it’s porous and will need to be replaced fairly often. Cheapest.

Phenolic Resin. The second best heat insulator. Expensive.

Polymer. Third best insulator and lower budget compared to the phenolic option.

Aluminium. No heat insulation at all. These are very durable and the only type allowed for racing.


There are two basic styles of spacer.

1) An open plenum: This style of carb spacer is ideal for maximizing horsepower. Their design will increase the intake manifold’s total area to build more mid-range, high-RPM power. This allows as much air fuel mixtures into the cylinders at medium to wide open throttle as possible.

If you decide this is the type for you, these can easily be stacked to multiply their effect.

2) A 4 hole plenum spacer: This type of spacer will increase the velocity of your vehicle’s air-to-fuel charge by creating a vortex to mix the fuel and air. This means you build up low to mid-range torque and a better throttle response. This style of spacer is most effective when it’s made from phenolic resin or a polymer. Both the phenolic resin and the polymer spacers can also be stacked in the same way as wood or aluminum spacers. But you should check the bore sizes are the same.

If insulation and durability are both priorities, then Phenolic would be a good bet.

Variations of spacer:

There are many types of spacer that can fitted, mostly a variation on a theme. These have slight design tweeks to help the engine at certain power bands or torque curves. These are generally aimed at the specialist tuners and can ramp up in price and complexity.

Sizes & Colours:

The thickness of the spacers can vary from the standards of, 1/4″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 1″, 2″. Of course mixing of thicknesses or stacking can be fine tuned to individual requirements, or even get a custom one made for you. The bigger the spacer tends to increase the horsepower within reason of course.

If you do stack the spacers you will need to be careful with clearances under the hood.

Colours can vary, but are mostly black for the plastic styles, wood is the colour of the wood and metal can be brushed or polished etc. Sometimes the colours can denote the insulation or particular property of the material.


I can’t tell you what to fit, that would be based on your needs and what you want it for. I will go on the assumption that it’s a standard style, either open or bored and what ever material or thickness you go for, they are all fitted the same way.


The gaskets can also vary in cost, but I seriously recommend that you get some top quality gaskets as you don’t want fuel or air leaks.

Is there enough clearance under the hood to add a spacer or stacking of spacers?

Are the studs long enough from the intake to go through the spacer AND the carb? If there has been no spacer(s) before you might have to replace the intake studs for longer ones.

Adding a spacer will give you more horse power, but if you have a restricted air flow into the carb itself it may not be worth it!

When you stack spacers, you are actually improving their insulation properties, and at the same time you’re getting more horsepower.


The total costs can vary depending on material used for the spacer; metal, phenolic or even wood options all have their own unique properties. I have seen options anything from £10 to £100, choose wisely.

What’s in the pack:

If you buy a kit, make sure the spacer fitting will match with the carb, Holley, Edelbrock, Autolite etc. The chances are that you may have to get the gaskets separately as well. If you are lucky some kits come with longer bolts for the intake manifold.


I prefer the low down torque improvements and feel of the power delivery (throttle response) that the 1″ spacer provides.

The spacer I had that came with the carb was an aluminium one with it’s own PCV recycle input. This worked faultlessly when moving, but when the engine got hot queuing to get in a car show on a hot day, the heat traveled from the engine manifold up the spacer to the carb body. The carb in turn also got hot and started to vapourise the fuel before it had a chance to enter the intake channels and cylimders. Hence the engine ran erratic, having to slightly rev to keep fuel flowing, this just got the engine hotter. The colder the fuel and air mixture that gets into the carb the better.

My personal choice was to keep the low down torque power but swap the metal spacer for a phenolic equivalent. The phenolic spacer is a special material, a little bit like a brittle plastic or simlar to the old school bakelite material by feel. This material stops heat transfer from the block to the carb. In theory this will act as an thermal insulator or heat barrier between the engine and the carb. Having a good heat barrier will also aid in hot starts of the car as the fuel shouldn’t evaporate during standing.


1) Take plenty of photos of what goes where for your own sanity before you pull it apart!

2) If in doubt don’t mess with it. Failure to refit the carb correctly could cause fuel to pump out where you don’t want it and be a potential fire hazard on hot exhaust manifolds. I won’t take any responsibility for any of that. Get a mechanic to help?

3) If this is the first spacer you are fitting you may well need to adjust the carb to run correctly. Get a mechanic to help? If this is a swap out all should be the same, but I had to have a litttle tweak on idle.


Removing the carb:

This is obviously how the Holley 600CFM carb is removed and refitted. But the principle is the same, wether it’s a Holley, Edelbrock, Autolite or any other manufacturer. The fuel connection, electrical connection (for electic choke if fitted), vacuum advance (if fitted), PCV recycle connection, air filter pan and the throttle fitting.

Removing the air filter:

Unscrew the air filter top and remove the filter and mounting pan. This is exactly the same process if you were just changing the air filter. Most of the time the filter is held to the carb via centre threaded bolt. Once this is removed it will expose the carb and fittings. There should be a gasket that fits between the pan and carb, which needs to be removed, shown on the right hand pic.

Removing the PCV pipe, if fitted.

This small pipe takes excess hot oil vapours from the top of the valve cover and pipes it to the carb to be reburnt as part of the air fuel mixture. Most of the time the PCV valve is just pushed into a grommet on top of the valve cover, the other end is usually connected to the back of the carb or spacer in my case. The end connected to the carb (spacer) may just be a push fit, or held in place via a clip of some sort. Either way remove from the carb (spacer) and pull out from the top of the valve cover.

With the PCV pipe removed check for any damage, splits, perishing or cracks. If all is well, clean out the pipe if it’s clogged ready for refitting later.

You may prefer to do all the cleaning in one go with everything disconnected and removed, but that’s a personal choice of course.

Disconnect the vacuum advance, if fitted.

Disconnect the choke if fitted.

This can be done via a number of variations most common are, manual, water (heater) pipe and electric connection.

Manual choke: This is (usually) a single cable coming from inside the cabin through the firewall to the carb. The picture borrowed from Holley is the white cable on the lower left side of the picture. The cable is either a pull and twist to lock in place, or simply a push pull idea to hold the choke plate in place. The fitting is usually a single screw holding a steel cable which needs to be released. Make a note of where the fitting is secured. A possible way to do this is with a permanent marker or wrap a piece of tape around the wire to mark the location of the original positioning.

See the source image

Water heater pipe: The hot water pipe from the heater matrix runs alongside the carb to heat a bimetallic strip that in turn opens the choke plate. This can be identified by following the heater pipes coming from the firewall across the top of the engine block, and is held close to the carb’s round choke housing for the bimetallic strip by a clip.

See the source image

Electrical connection: This is a wire going to the bimetallic strip. A small 12v current is feed to the strip and heats it to rotate the choke plate. This can be adjusted by rotating the housing if you need it more or less aggressive.

Disconnect the Throttle linkage:

The throttle is linked to the carb in a number of ways, most of the time it’s a rod or cable that attaches to the carb’s throttle linkage. If an automatic transmission there could also be another wire that goes down to the transmission box for the kickdown function. This again will need to be disconnected.

In my case there is a rod from the top of the pedal assembly which attaches to the top part of the throttle linkage. In order to make the throttle return to idle there is a spring. In my case there is two springs, one inside the other for safety reasons. If the throttle sticks open you could be in a ride with an accident about to happen. Unclip the springs. Picture below on the left.

The throttle linkage can be held in place by either a nut, split pin, R-clip or similar. Remove the retaining fastener and the throttle rod will be able to be pulled from the throttle mechanism. Two pictures on the right.

All other fittings should now be disconnected apart from the fuel. (If not disconnect them).

The fuel is usually connected via a rubber hose to allow for some movement, and which is connected to the carb by a flared fitting and some sort of clip. In my case I have a “bango” fitting on the corner, where I don’t need to remov the fuel pipe from the fitting. Place a rag or similar to catch any spilt fuel under the connection. Undo the fuel line to the carb slowly in order to catch any excess fuel if removing the fuel line.

Depending on your fitting or option how the fuel is fitted to the carb; the fuel line could be held in place by a number of fittings, single ear clip, double ear clip, jubilee clip or variations there of. If there is no way to disconnect the fitting from the carb itself, you may have to remove the fuel line itself as I mentioned above. Plug or clamp the fuel line to stop any more fuel leakage.

The other option is that the fitting can be removed with the fuel line still attached with my example of the “bango” fitting. A center bolt with a hole for the fuel to travel into the carb, can be removed and the fitting is removed with the fuel line as one section from the carb. The fitting for the fuel entry into the carb sometimes have some form of filter within it. Undo the nut slowly as there should be a small rubber/synthetic seal an “O” ring ans possibly a filter. Bottom right shows the small O-ring being removed.

Check if there is a filter, which may still be inside the fuel bolt opening. Left picture below shows the filter which pushes into the bottom of the special bolt with the hole in it. The right picture shows the O ring inplace. The hole in this bolt corresponds to channels within the banjo to allow to allow the fuel in through the centre.

At this point they can be cleaned or do it at a later date. Pay special attention to the wire gauze filter to remove any debris or blockages.

Removing the carb itself:

With everything now disconnected there will be four bolts one in each corner. They will have washers under the nuts. In one corner near the throttle rod there may be a fitting where the rod, cable mount, spring holders could be held for the throttle. In my case the spring fitting, main pic on the left below. Make a note of the location and remove all the nuts, washers and fittings if any.

Place more rags around the carb as close as you can get it. The carb will hold an amount of fuel in the bowls depending on the carb size, float chambers, double pumper etc. The fuel may spill out when the carb is tipped.

The carb will undoubtedly be stuck in place due to the gasket(s) being being stuck between metal to metal. The tolerance for the bolts through the carb is tight and the carb will need to be lifted up evenly. If it’s stuck a small flat implement to prize up or a gentle tap to dislodge. Don’t whack it with a hammer, common sense. A leather or light rubber or plastic hammer tap could help to start it moving.

If there is a spacer already fittd there remove the carb, then the spacer. If there is no spacer lift the carb up. Picture below shows the gap opening up.

If the gasket comes with the carb so be it. If not, you will need to remove it after the carb is safely out of the way. Place the carb on a surface, with more rags. (Optional).


With the carb off the car there will be a large hole, a divided hole, holes (depending on design), where the air/fuel mixture gets sucked into. Keep this clean. DO NOT let anything go down this intake hole. Anything in here will go down the cylinders potentially damaging the engine. Place a clean lint free rag down the hole to block it it, or cover it with masking tape. If using the masking tape remember to remove it before refitting the carb!

Remove the spacer and all gaskets carefully.

The main gasket to the intake manifold could well have fuel or oil or both on it like mine here. Be careful when removing that nothing goes down that intake.

That’s carb off and now time for the clean up and prep. I seriously recommend that new gaskets are used when refitting. You can buy these or make your own like I did depending on your level of skill and confidence. If in doubt – buy them. You can see the distortion of the lower gasket above. The chances of this fitting back together again exactly without leaks just won’t happen to be honest, especially if adding a spacer for the first time. You will need two gaskets for the spacer. One between the top of the intake manifold plenum and the bottom of the spacer. The second on top of the spacer and the bottom of the carb.

Before refitting clean the intake plenum surface to remove any contamination or stuck gasket. Work away from the intake hole towards the outside. Below I used a sharb blade scraper to get it cleaned. Then cleaned the surfaces again with degreaser and a lint free cloth.

Once cleaned thoroughly and the surface should be dry and smooth. Don’t gouge chunks out of the metal!

Now get to cleaning the bottom of the carb to make sure that is also clean ready for the new gasket. Watch out for fuel spillage if tipping the carb up onto it’s side.

While the carb is off the car check all the rubber fittings that block off the additional connection points have not perished or split. Any leak into the carb will compromise performance and introduce poor running.

The spacer should also be clean and smooth on the upper and lower faces before fitting. Make sure the bore holes are clean and free from debris.

Refitting the Carb.

Double check that what ever you are going to clean has been cleaned. Now is a good time to clean all those moving parts on the carb before refitting back onto the engine as it’s much easier off the car and to allow you to see what you are doing. Lubricate the throttle linkage, lubricate the choke plate pivots. Check it all over.

Place one of the gaskets onto the intake manifold. Make sure that it’s fitted the correct way round. The spacimg of the studs is not exactly symmetrical. There should be no ripples or taught sections and should lay flat.

Below is a comparison of the metal spacer with the Phenolic black spacer on top. The black spacer has a very slightly larger diameter bore holes than the metal one below. Most of the spacers have a single way to fit them. The open side is the underside to lay on the gasket. Underside of the spacer is showing here in the pic below.

Place the spacer onto the gasket. The smooth side (top) of the spacer should be facing up as in the picture below.

Now add the second gasket on top of the spacer, making sure it too also fits correctly with no tears, ripples or stretched areas.

Now you can take your carb and gently lower it onto the spacer and gasket. Lower the carb evenly in order to not dislodge the gasket position.

Note of observation:

The old metal spacer had the PCV valve breather attacher to it under the carb itself. With some of the phenolic spacers they may do away with the breather port and use the carb’s own intake port. Below is the comparison of the spacer on the left and the carb fitting on the right. Both connections are still situated at the back. Those who are eagle eyed among you will see that the carb is a slightly smaller diameter and will require a little more tightening to get a good seal. This is fine as I used a jubilee clip as before. The carb uses a flanged end so a push fit should be possible depending on the internal hose diameter itself, but I want to make sure it stays on so I use the clip just to make sure.