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Old 06-23-2013, 10:34 PM   #1
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spark plug on #4 cylider looks bad... why?

I was changing my spark plugs today to the LS7/LS9 plugs (AC Delco 104's).


When I was removing the stock plugs I noticed excessive wear on the spark plug in the #4 cylinder. Like so:

Top = new 104 plug
Middle = old 110 plugs (this one looks similar to the ones from all other cylinders)
Bottom = old 110 plug from cylinder #4 (I am guessing that a .087 gap is bad)






What is causing this?

Info about my car:

-about 140,000 total miles, about 70K of those are on the cam in my sig (all on the same 110 plugs)
-no CEL because of misfire
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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looks like the tip failed and it just snowballed. dont see any ash on it just excessive soot
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:42 PM   #3
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So .... nothing to worry about?
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:46 PM   #4
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that doesnt look ok to me.........
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BLACK10 View Post
that doesnt look ok to me.........
That's what I was thinking, but what is not okay?

Will the new plug fix the problem? ... or is it possible that something is wrong with that cylinder system (injector, valve, leak, etc)?
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:26 PM   #6
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hard to tell from a pic, but looks really black. so how many miles on that plug?
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:36 PM   #7
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hard to tell from a pic, but looks really black. so how many miles on that plug?
140,000


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Old 06-24-2013, 12:09 AM   #8
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So .... nothing to worry about?
i would be really worried. i would check my plugs everyday and take it to my tuner. my tuner wouldnt be ok with it either. something went wrong. hope its a bad plug.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:46 AM   #9
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Could be some detonation caused that tip to fail sometime along the way, but 140k on a set of plugs? Sheesh. Who knows if or when.
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Old 06-24-2013, 05:41 AM   #10
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Looks like #4 may be taking on some oil? Could be why the tip is missing, from detonation.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:40 AM   #11
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i would be really worried. i would check my plugs everyday and take it to my tuner. my tuner wouldnt be ok with it either. something went wrong. hope its a bad plug.
I can pull #4 every week or so to check. Every day is not feasible, as life still happens. It is too bad that #4 is by far the hardest plug to pull.

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Could be some detonation caused that tip to fail sometime along the way, but 140k on a set of plugs? Sheesh. Who knows if or when.
I had them out at ~70K (during cam swap) and they were fine.

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Looks like #4 may be taking on some oil? Could be why the tip is missing, from detonation.
I guess there is no way to check this? ... without pulling the heads anyway


Question is... why was there no CEL due to misfire?
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:57 AM   #12
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Oil won't make the tip wear away like that. But with 140k, hard to say what's happened there. To me in looks like the ceramic is gone, and that usually happens to to an ultra-lean condition (bad/plugged injector), detonation, or the plug got really hot for some reason.

You don't mention any other underlying symptoms, but I would at the very least run a compression check to make sure all is even. If it's okay, put in your new plugs and see how it runs. If it runs okay, give it some hard pulls and take out #4 and another plug for comparison. If all looks good, put it back together and check that plug occasionally for any abnormalities.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:04 AM   #13
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So you've ran a spark plug for a total of 140k miles? Or 70k after the cam?

Either way that's crazy intervals. Your lucky the others don't look the same way.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #14
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Is that header tube the same color as the rest?
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:28 AM   #15
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How often should you change your plugs? which best for stock motor w bolt ons?

not to hijack the thread or anything haha
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:36 AM   #16
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Is that header tube the same color as the rest?
good question.

also i know its a photo but wouldnt detonation have ash?
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:46 AM   #17
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140K is A LOT of miles for a plug. To be honest, the intact used plug in the pic doesn't look bad for 140K. I'm betting something random happened to the #4 plug and the tip wore away, only the very tips are precious metal so after that was gone it will wear just like any copper plug. Once it wore down, it would maybe misfire once and a while causing the black deposits on the ceramic.

It certainly won't hurt to check it periodically for the first couple weeks, but If you've had the cam in for 70K and that plug in for 140K, I can't see it being a tune issue. After that many miles I would be more concerned with checking my valve springs than a wore down plug.

If it were mine, I would install the plugs, check back in a week or two, then maybe change them at 200K (assuming you are mostly highwaying it). Just my .02
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:50 AM   #18
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good question.

also i know its a photo but wouldnt detonation have ash?
No. Detonation looks like this:

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Old 06-24-2013, 11:56 AM   #19
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i would just put new plugs in u got plenty of wear out of those lol. Then check it here and there just to make sure its not doing the same.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:35 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone.

I will check the header color for #4 when I get home. They looked too good at 70K to change them... that's why they went 138K. If I changed everything at the suggested interval... I would need to devote my life to Camaro maintenance... so I take my stuff longer than recommended. It has worked out so far. If the new plug fixes the issue, then I took them as far as they will go. Just imagine if I changed my oil every 3000 miles . I am on the 8-10K plan with M1 extended life.

I will also check compression ASAP.

I have yet to have any input on the CEL. Is it possible that the tuner would have hushed the misfire code?
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:43 PM   #21
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Thanks everyone.

I will check the header color for #4 when I get home. They looked too good at 70K to change them... that's why they went 138K. If I changed everything at the suggested interval... I would need to devote my life to Camaro maintenance... so I take my stuff longer than recommended. It has worked out so far. If the new plug fixes the issue, then I took them as far as they will go. Just imagine if I changed my oil every 3000 miles . I am on the 8-10K plan with M1 extended life.

I will also check compression ASAP.

I have yet to have any input on the CEL. Is it possible that the tuner would have hushed the misfire code?
Yes. It's common practice to tune out misfire codes when you put in a cam.
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:12 PM   #22
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looks like a little oil to me. have you had a catchcan on the entire 140k? if not then i could see how there would be oil build up on a plug or two. either way that is a lot of miles on plugs with a cam.

i would suggest a new oil pump, chain, and lifters for your motor. let me know if we can help you with that
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:14 PM   #23
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Thanks everyone.

Is it possible that the tuner would have hushed the misfire code?
yes, misfire codes are turned off so you dont get a random misfire code due to the cam
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:57 PM   #24
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With 140K miles on one set of plugs you shouldn't be questioning why the #4 plug is worn, you should be questioning why the other 7 plugs are not worn. Change your plugs and move on with life, your car is fine.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:58 PM   #25
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With 140K miles on one set of plugs you shouldn't be questioning why the #4 plug is worn, you should be questioning why the other 7 plugs are not worn. Change your plugs and move on with life, your car is fine.
wow really? the spark plug should be burned up and oil buildup on all of them?
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