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Do-It-Yourself Necessities

Time for some serious bang.

Gary Narusawa
Jun 13, 2008
Ssts 0810 01+do it yourself necessities+cover Photo 1/10   |   Do-It-Yourself Necessities

So by now most of you are feeling pretty confident poking around the old engine bay. In this issue we’ll show you another fundamental aspect of car repair, but one that can also yield real-world power gains. To run, an engine needs three things: air, fuel and spark. If any of these are out of tune you’ll have a poor running vehicle on your hands. Refreshing the ignition system is fairly quick and easy and a great excuse to work on your car.

After taking Project Black Flag to the dyno, it was clear that our ignition system needed to be beefed up. The first thing we did was add an MSD box, but since an ignition system is only as strong as its weakest link, we went ahead and refreshed everything. A new cap and rotor were installed along with new spark plugs and wires, and now you’ll be able to change yours too.

DIY Check List
• Flushing the radiator
• Changing the oil and filter
• Changing the air filter
• Changing wiper blades
• Checking and topping all the fluids
• Changing a flat tire
• Changing the spark plugs, gap, wires
• Changing brake pads, bleeding brakes
• Changing transmission, diff fluid
• Checking fuses
• Push-starting a stick-shift car

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• New Spark Plugs (follow manufacturer’s recommendation for heat range and gap setting)
• New Spark Plug Wires (make sure to get a set for your specific application)
• Spark plug gapper (to set the gap of course, even factory pre-gapped plugs should be double-checked)
• 3⁄8” Ratchet w/extension (extension length varies by application)
• 5⁄8” or 13⁄16” Spark plug socket (these are specialized sockets with a rubber gasket built in to hold the spark plug during removal and installation. While it may not be a requirement, it’s highly recommended and saves time. The size of socket varies by application, most imports are 5/8”)
• New distributor cap (optional, some cars are distributor-less)
• New distributor rotor (again, only for cars with dizzys)
• Various screwdrivers (for removing cap and rotor)
• Hands

By Gary Narusawa
29 Articles

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