View Full Version : spark plug wires

tahoe healey
10-30-2003, 02:29 PM
Where can I find the proper lengths for the plug wires for a BJ8? Mine seem longish. Which is good for inspecting the points in the distributer but they tend to touch the block and each-other.

John Loftus
10-30-2003, 03:58 PM
I wouldn't strictly go by what other peoples wire length is because their distributor might be rotated more or less than yours or use different type spark plug caps. You could just fully loosen the screw/spikes inside the cap so the wire will pull out and then snip the longish wire shorter by a little bit at a time (an inch or so) and replace temporarily to see if that is enough adjustment. Originally there were thick rubber orings that are used to gather the #1 and #2 wires together and the #5 and #6 together (just 2 orings total). The usual suppliers carry these and this will help organize the distributor wires neatly.


[ 10-30-2003: Message edited by: John Loftus ]

[ 10-30-2003: Message edited by: John Loftus ]</p>

10-30-2003, 09:32 PM
coil to distributor 9"
#1 10"
#2 9"
#3 5.5"
#4 9"
#5 11"
#6 15.5"

lengths per specification listed in the factory service parts list for bj8. mac

tahoe healey
10-30-2003, 09:48 PM
Thank you both. I'm now sure they are way to long. If I'm going to do this would it be wise to change to new wires and caps? They "look" fine. Anything new and exciting in wire?

Dave Russell
10-30-2003, 10:02 PM
How exciting can a wire be?

10-31-2003, 02:17 AM
i'm not a mechanic so my knowledge was pretty limited when i decided to put in new spark plug wires. i just ordered what moss had in their catalog and haven't had a problem. mac

John Loftus
10-31-2003, 02:56 PM
Good call on the wire sizes, I didn't think of checking the factory service part list. graemlins/blush.gif

Just make sure you use copper core or copper stranded wire instead of "suppressor type" wires that have a black core that looks like graphite. The black core will break down quickly with the "piercing spike" type of attachment used in the Lucas Distributor cap. I ended up buying the copper cored bumblebee yellow and black striped wire from Moss. I would go ahead and buy a new distributor cap, rotor and new terminals at the same time if you decide to replace parts.

One shade tree machanic way to check ignition wires is to run the engine at night and look to see if there is any arcing around the wires. I've also heard to spray water(lightly with spray bottle) but never tried this on a Healey. Perhaps someone will pipe in with suggestions on checking wires or do they just change them as matter of course?


tahoe healey
11-04-2003, 07:21 PM
Mac. Where did you find these figures? Number 1 needs to be a lot longer (14 to 16 inches). Measure twice, cut once. I didn't do anything yet.

Randy Forbes
11-04-2003, 08:55 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tahoe healey:
Mac. Where did you find these figures? Number 1 needs to be a lot longer (14 to 16 inches). Measure twice, cut once. I didn't do anything yet.<hr></blockquote>

Doesn't the BJ8 use a "conventional looking" distributor cap?
I know that the earlier cars (like mine) use the side entry cap with the wires being retained by the piercing screw.
With the wire coming straight out the top (on a BJ8), I can see where it could be shorter than one wrapping around the distributor.
Years ago, I started buying high tension lead in bulk (Belden Cable) and have been making my own ever since.

John Loftus
11-04-2003, 10:33 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Randy Forbes:

Doesn't the BJ8 use a "conventional looking" distributor cap<hr></blockquote>

No, the BJ8 should have the side entry cap. I double checked the Mechanical Service Parts List and Mac has the lengths correct for the BJ8. The distibutor should be oriented so that the wire openings are approx. pointing at the number 1 cylinder. Is yours like that or is it rotated towards the back or away from the engine? (look at the Anderson/Moment book on page 155).


tahoe healey
11-05-2003, 03:38 AM
I do have the side cap and it is facing #1 plug. they are just real long and in the way. They lay on everything. I'm concerned they may arc or loose power.

John Loftus
11-05-2003, 01:12 PM
I would just shorten the length as needed to give what looks like the proper length for your engine setup and use the thick orings to organize them.

If you are so inclined you could look at other BJ8's in your area or at the next meet (I see there is another BJ8 in South Lake Tahoe and one in Truckee in the 2003 AHCUSA resource book). It would be a good excuse to meet some other Healey owners.

Some more thoughts... maybe you have some BJ7 parts (distributor) which lists longer wires in the service parts list. Also, which type of caps do you have for the spark plugs? The BJ7 used straight caps while the BJ8 have the right angle caps.