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How to Properly Maintain Aircraft Spark Plugs

Update:14 Oct 2022

When you are flying, it is important to replace aircraft Spark Plugs regularly. Proper maintenance can save you money and time. Proper rotation, cleaning, and maintenance procedures will prevent carbon and lead fouling and increase the life of your plugs. Also, avoid rough handling. Even a three-inch drop on a metal workbench can ruin a plug. For this reason, it is important to carry a spare plug in your baggage compartment toolkit.

There are four possible faults that can occur in aircraft spark plugs. The first is a short in the cable conductor. This causes the engine to misfire. Another fault is an enlarged airgap. This can make the spark jump and damage the ignition system. In addition, an enlarged air gap increases resistance to the spark.

Another important aspect of aircraft spark plugs is their design. Aircraft spark plugs contain two electrodes on either side of a center electrode. They also contain a ceramic insulator to protect the negative electrodes from high-voltage electrical current. Using a proper spark plug is crucial for your aircraft's safety.

Lead fouling is a common problem for aviation spark plugs. This is due to the lead in aviation fuel. Lead is added to aviation fuel for anti-knock qualities, but during combustion, it forms lead oxide. Lead oxide is hard and can impede the normal operation of aircraft spark plugs. However, lead deposits on aircraft spark plugs can be cleaned by adding ethylene dibromide to the fuel. This compound is an insulator, which will reduce the formation of lead oxide.

Spark plugs should be cleaned and tested every 100 hours. This can be done with a spark plug cleaner. The spark plug cleaner tester is a common tool used to test spark plugs. However, it is important to use the spark plug tester carefully because over blasting can erode the insulator around the center electrode and cause premature failure.

The type of electrode used for aircraft spark plugs varies greatly depending on the engine's requirements. For example, REM38E plugs are designed for aircraft that burn leaded fuel. While REM40E plugs are ideal for high-performance aircraft, the latter is better for engines that operate at low altitudes.

Almost every certificated aircraft uses dual spark plugs per cylinder. This increases ignition efficiency and provides basic safety redundancy. A single failed spark plug can cause the aircraft to shake or lose power. Having two spark plugs per cylinder is an essential safety measure. If one fails, the entire engine could stop, which could lead to a large loss of power.

Spark plugs consist of a center electrode, an insulator, and a metal casing. The center electrode is made of a thick metal wire that conducts electricity from the ignition cable to the electrode gap. The insulator is a ceramic or metal casing. The casing contains threads, which make it possible to install the spark plug into the tapped socket of the cylinder head.

Thread size 10mm aircraft model spark plugs A6M

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