Utility Performance / Technical info Utility ATV Performance and Technical Discussions about specific mods, engine upgrades!

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Old 11-30-2004, 03:31 PM   #1
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Last week I stumblled upon a thread on Z400central forums about increasing the plug gap and getting a little extra gains. A little weary I pulled the plug and checked the gap, sure enough it was at the low end of the specs (.028") so I opened it up to .033". The results were right and that it starts quicker and has a tad bit more throttle response, of course just for this to be noticeable you have to do runs with the different gaps right back to back. Just a little tip for some other DVX owners that is very simple and best of all free
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Old 11-30-2004, 03:44 PM   #2
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 Quote:
Originally posted by GoFastCat@Nov 30 2004, 05:26 PM
Last week I stumblled upon a thread on Z400central forums about increasing the plug gap and getting a little extra gains. A little weary I pulled the plug and checked the gap, sure enough it was at the low end of the specs (.028") so I opened it up to .033". The results were right and that it starts quicker and has a tad bit more throttle response, of course just for this to be noticeable you have to do runs with the different gaps right back to back. Just a little tip for some other DVX owners that is very simple and best of all free
Just be aware that if you increase the circuit's resistance, it can age the secondary coil at a quicker rate.

Increasing the plug gap beyond spec is effectivley increasing the total resistance of the circuit.

Following the manufacturer's gap specs keeps the spark plug, plug wire, plug boot, and secondary coil within a certain electrical resistance range... Which keeps the internal temps of the secondary winding within temperature limits for longevity.

If you ever hear of the recommendation that when cranking an engine with the igition on, you should have a spark plug in the boot, and the ground portion of the plug touching the cylinder head... It is to maintain the circuit's designed resistive values.

If you crank a motor without any spark plugs and have the ignition on, the energy generated cannot dissipate into ground, the electrical energy gets spent in the coil, and raises internal coil temps.

Using a plug higher than the specified gap does it's damage much more slowly.

So yes... It's good advice if you need that little edge in a race.

Run it all the time like that, pack a spare secondary coil to not get yourself stranded.
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Old 11-30-2004, 04:37 PM   #3
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 Quote:
Originally posted by A G@Nov 30 2004, 05:39 PM
Just be aware that if you increase the circuit's resistance, it can age the secondary coil at a quicker rate.

Increasing the plug gap beyond spec is effectivley increasing the total resistance of the circuit.

Following the manufacturer's gap specs keeps the spark plug, plug wire, plug boot, and secondary coil within a certain electrical resistance range... Which keeps the internal temps of the secondary winding within temperature limits for longevity.

If you ever hear of the recommendation that when cranking an engine with the igition on, you should have a spark plug in the boot, and the ground portion of the plug touching the cylinder head... It is to maintain the circuit's designed resistive values.

If you crank a motor without any spark plugs and have the ignition on, the energy generated cannot dissipate into ground, the electrical energy gets spent in the coil, and raises internal coil temps.

Using a plug higher than the specified gap does it's damage much more slowly.

So yes... It's good advice if you need that little edge in a race.

Run it all the time like that, pack a spare secondary coil to not get yourself stranded.
Thnks for the headsup A G. The stock plug gap spec is .028"-.032" and right now I am running at .033. When I put a new plug in come spring I'll just gap it to .032. Some of the people testing this were running a gap upto .040", but there have been no post on any long term effects. I'll see if I can't find that thread and post it here.
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Old 11-30-2004, 05:03 PM   #4
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Here is the link http://z400central.com/invision/inde...showtopic=6497
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:42 PM   #5
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 Quote:
Originally posted by GoFastCat@Nov 30 2004, 06:58 PM
Here is the link http://z400central.com/invision/inde...showtopic=6497
Yes, I'm not disputing the claim of benefits... Just want people to know about the unseen electrical reasons why manufacturers recommend a specific plug gap range for stock ignitions.

Interesting thread at that link! But no one's mentioning the premature aging of the secondary coils on the stock bikes. I guess what isn't seen, doesn't exist.

The MSR ignition they're talking about is like my boat motor ignition, long duration spark, complete burns, less potential fuel wasted/more power, and lower emissions.
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Old 12-01-2004, 06:57 AM   #6
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 Quote:
Originally posted by A G@Nov 30 2004, 10:37 PM
[Yes, I'm not disputing the claim of benefits...** Just want people to know about the unseen electrical reasons why manufacturers recommend a specific plug gap range for stock ignitions.
Ok then, even to just open the gap on the plug to the high end of the specs would provide gains. I gaped mine to .033" (spec .032) from a .028 and did notice minor improvements, so that would be an improvement while still keeping the life of the coils good.

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 Quote:
Interesting thread at that link!* But no one's mentioning the premature aging of the secondary coils on the stock bikes.* I guess what isn't seen, doesn't exist.[/b]
I'm not sure if you took note of when that post was started but it was in mid March 2003. No post of bad results but thats not to say they didn't happen and the person never thought of the exceeded plug gap causing it, or maybe they aren't running the plug gaps that large anymore, who knows? I would think running slightly over spec (say .035") the premature aging of the stock coil would be very little and could probably go many thousands of miles and hours without a glitch

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
 Quote:
The MSR ignition they're talking about is like my boat motor ignition, long duration spark, complete burns, less potential fuel wasted/more power, and lower emissions.[/b]
There are a few aftermarket CDI's for the 400's that are suppose to provide a better spark, along with more aggresive timing curves and high rev limiter. After I do some basic performance mods I may look into getting on of them.
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Old 12-01-2004, 08:16 AM   #7
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 Quote:
Originally posted by GoFastCat@Dec 1 2004, 08:52 AM
Ok then, even to just open the gap on the plug to the high end of the specs would provide gains. I gaped mine to .033" (spec .032) from a .028 and did notice minor improvements, so that would be an improvement while still keeping the life of the coils good.
Yes, that would be a known safe gap...

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
 Quote:
I'm not sure if you took note of when that post was started but it was in mid March 2003. No post of bad results but thats not to say they didn't happen and the person never thought of the exceeded plug gap causing it, or maybe they aren't running the plug gaps that large anymore, who knows? I would think running slightly over spec (say .035") the premature aging of the stock coil would be very little and could probably go many thousands of miles and hours without a glitch [/b]
Could be.

We cannot know if going beyond the recommended gap range will have a bad effect on the coil within a short time, or a long time, or make no difference at all.

We cannot know, because there are so many manufacturing variables between brands & models... Like design, wire quality & guage in the secondary, internal coil heat dissipation qualities, etc.

There are so many possible variables that one ATV might have coils that can take a gap out of spec forever without blowing up. And some might begin to generate weak sparks within the first few years or less.

When a coil dies, it doesn't necessarily fry all at once, although it may.

A secondary coil may die a slow death, where the spark voltage may gradually decline over a long period of time. Over that time period you may lose performance gains you had at the start. So it would pay to check spark quality once in a while to see if it is getting weaker.

So I doubt you would get failure reports this early, and I don't know if people will make the connection between a weak coil and a wider than spec plug gap they did last year.

It is a gamble. It is a gamble because we cannot know. Only thing we know for sure without doubts is using the recommended plug gap is not a gamble and will yeild normal coil lifespan.

If the performance gain is worth carrying a spare secondary coil is worth it to you or anyone, by all means do it. But if you go into the woods by yourself, carrying a spare coil may make it less of a gamble. They're small, light, and not too expensive, so why not?

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There are a few aftermarket CDI's for the 400's that are suppose to provide a better spark, along with more aggresive timing curves and high rev limiter. After I do some basic performance mods I may look into getting on of them.[/b]
Yes, strong spark makes a difference. Especially the long duration type. If stock coils are used, they may also change the length of a 'normal lifespan' for a coil. Possibly some aftermarket iginitions have their own coils to sell you as well, or part of a complete system.

Their systems may be engineered to tolerate more energy and/or larger gaps to meet their performance claims without a lifespan hit. So you may end up with long lifespans, strong sparks, with little risk of getting stuck in the woods.

By all means, check it out. I'm not saying don't do it... I'm all for more power/performance. I just want you to know about these caveats that are invisible & unknown to many who give such advice.

Education is everything, I just want to pass on some knowledge to help.
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:12 AM   #8
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anyone ever hear of icat ther supposet to give quite a spark from what i have read but there not cheap check it out (www.icatusa.com/index.htm) myself personally i havent seen one on a machine
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:22 AM   #9
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:wow: Turbocoupe at $200.00 us each I don't think that you will see them on many machines at all, I know that you will never see one on mine, or maybe I mean the wife will never see them on mine. Lets see now $200.00 us x 2 $400.00 us X CDN exchange and delivery about $600.00 CDN, Nope even I won't see one However
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:54 AM   #10
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 Quote:
Originally posted by A G@Dec 1 2004, 10:11 AM
Could be.

We cannot know if going beyond the recommended gap range will have a bad effect on the coil within a short time, or a long time, or make no difference at all.*

We cannot know, because there are so many manufacturing variables between brands & models...* Like design, wire quality & guage in the secondary, internal coil heat dissipation qualities, etc.*

There are so many possible variables that one ATV might have coils that can take a gap out of spec forever without blowing up.* And some might begin to generate weak sparks within the first few years or less.

When a coil dies, it doesn't necessarily fry all at once, although it may.*

A secondary coil may die a slow death, where the spark voltage may gradually decline over a long period of time.* Over that time period you may lose performance gains you had at the start.* So it would pay to check spark quality once in a while to see if it is getting weaker.*

So I doubt you would get failure reports this early, and I don't know if people will make the connection between a weak coil and a wider than spec plug gap they did last year.

It is a gamble.* It is a gamble because we cannot know.* Only thing we know for sure without doubts is using the recommended plug gap is not a gamble and will yeild normal coil lifespan.*

If the performance gain is worth carrying a spare secondary coil is worth it to you or anyone, by all means do it.* But if you go into the woods by yourself, carrying a spare coil may make it less of a gamble.* They're small, light, and not too expensive, so why not?
Next time I ride the DVX with a larger gap I will have to ask myself if I feel lucky
You make all good points, theres alot of unknowns here to make anything valid. For all we know maybe the stock coil can handle more then the specs, say. I mean it wouldn't be the first time a manufacturer hasn't had their setup to full potential. And then again maybe it can't.
I checked on browns and the listed price of a new stock coil is only $80 some dollars so it wouldn't be huge money loss to buy a sparre one if you wanted to run a larger gap just to have a little edge.

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
 Quote:
Yes, strong spark makes a difference.* Especially the long duration type.* If stock coils are used, they may also change the length of a 'normal lifespan' for a coil.* Possibly some aftermarket iginitions have their own coils to sell you as well, or part of a complete system.*

Their systems may be engineered to tolerate more energy and/or larger gaps to meet their performance claims without a lifespan hit.* So you may end up with long lifespans, strong sparks, with little risk of getting stuck in the woods.[/b]
I dont know if the aftermarket CDI's come with coils to match, I think most are just the CDI cox. Or maybe they (the aftermarket) feels the stock coil can handle the extra spark?

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
 Quote:
By all means, check it out.* I'm not saying don't do it...* I'm all for more power/performance.* I just want you to know about these caveats that are invisible & unknown to many who give such advice.[/b]
I'm defintly going to experiment with gapping the plug a bit. Though I dont think I will venture any higher then .035" and see what kind of gains there are. If the money is there I may even look into getting a CDI and if it would provide any gains with my modifications done.

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
 Quote:
Education is everything, I just want to pass on some knowledge to help.[/b]
You've learned me in the past on other topics and I'm sure you'll do it again and hopefully I've been helpful to you. Im sure we have all learned new info from this forum.
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