has consistently had the parts I
need, at the best prices available.
Ordering is easy, processing is
quick, customer service is great.
This is what internet
shopping is all about!
Gary in California
If you would like your event featured here, email us with details.
Show at Jacob Javits
New York, NY
Classic Car Show
Historic Street Fair, Car &
Casa Grande, AZ
Car Show & Expo
Charles City, VA
North Palm Beach, FL
Gifts for the Do-It-Yourselfer
at RockAuto would first like to wish
you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New
Year. RockAuto would like to thank
you for being a customer of ours and
letting us be your auto parts supplier!
If you are still
in need of a last minute gift for
the do-it-yourselfer we’ve got
some ideas for you!
gift certificate will never go out
RockAuto gift certificates
are the perfect gift for the car
enthusiast in your life. They are
easy to buy and even easier to use.
Part # 10430 Reference Manual
Manual & Dictionary to help
both the professional and do-it-yourselfer
decode, understand, and enjoy the
automotive world and its complex
terms. Including chapters on translating
terms from Spanish to English and
TOOL Part # 73202 Fender Cover
Keep fenders free
from scratches while hard at work.
Part # 40400 Memory Saver with Light
Saves memory settings
from under the hood.
Forum of the Month
is a web site where Dodge Ram Truck
owners with Cummins Turbo Diesels
come to learn more about their trucks.
We talk about a different type of
performance, milestones and MPG. We
have members with over 500K miles
and one that has 1 million miles.
The site has many write-ups, articles,
and a lot of other “self-help”
videos that take you through your
most common repairs & diagnostics
on your truck. Some of the videos
are done by myself and then expanded
on by the members as they share their
got a diesel, want help with a problem,
or are looking for other diesel fanatics
to connect with – visit Mopar1973Man.Com
– we welcome you to the garage!
If you are the
administrator or member of a forum
and you would like to see your website
featured in an upcoming newsletter
and receive a discount code to share
with your members, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Repair Mistakes & Blunders
couple of years ago my 1999 Toyota
Corolla started having problems with
its cold start. I would try to strategically
use our tandem parking spots to allow
for a jump-start from my Subaru in
the event that I needed a morning
boost. Just at the point where the
jump starts were becoming regular
enough to reach my tolerance level,
one day I found that the car needed
a jump, but the car was parked at
the front of the driveway facing away
from the other car. I tried muscling
the car up the gentle grade of the
driveway so I could jump the car in
the street, but the driveway was too
iced over for my shoes to get any
I had my wife get
in the car to steer the car while
I pushed. Still not enough traction.
In my brilliant moment, I decided
to push the car bumper-to-bumper out
of the driveway with the Subaru to
jump start it out in the street. As
I rev'd up the Subaru, the Corolla
seemed to resist the entire way. Only
when it refused to roll down from
the crest of the slope did I realize
that the car had been in Park the
whole time I was pushing. The intense
contact between license plate screws
and soft plastic left quite a few
scars on the rear bumper of the stubborn
The requisite repair
was as simple as replacing the battery
connector, which had become brittle
and cracked from repeated contraction/expansion
from the bitterly cold nights and
warm engine, thus not providing tight
contact with the terminal. A $3 part
and irrational desperation to get
to work on a frigid morning added
up to some very ugly body damage.
Joseph in Massachusetts
Tell us about
your most infamous auto repair blunder
or unconventional fix. Use your woe
to help others avoid similar mistakes
or share off-the-wall solutions that
worked (at least for awhile!). Please
email your story to email@example.com.
Include your mailing address and shirt
size (large or extra large) and we
will mail you a RockAuto "Do it yourself?"
t-shirt if we publish your story (see
the t-shirts under Extras in the catalog).
The story will be credited using only
your first name and your vague geographic
location (state, province, country,
continent, etc.) so you can remain
is the optimum operating temperature
range for the core nose at the firing
end of a typical spark plug?
A. 662 to 1562 deg.
F (350 to 850 deg. C)
B. 248 to 752 deg. F (120 to 400 deg.
C. 1200 to 2750 deg. F (650 to 1510
Spark Plugs & Fine Watches
was flipping through a business magazine
recently and was surprised at the
number of ads for premium wristwatches.
I have never thought that much about
watches. I receive them as gifts and
try not to crush them when I work
may or may not know much about their
watches, but they should know how
to talk spark plugs. Spark plugs and
fine watches share vocabulary such
as titanium, platinum and iridium.
Here is a rundown on spark plug terminology
that might help you pick the right
plug for your car and help you make
conversation at the next social function.
“You have a platinum wristband
on your timepiece? Cool! I just put
double platinum plugs in my truck!”
The classic spark
plug design has a copper center electrode
surrounded by nickel alloy. The spark
travels between the center electrode
and the bent piece of steel called
the ground electrode. Decades ago
resistor plugs were introduced with
a resistor in the metal core to prevent
voltage surges that cause radio frequency
interference (RFI). Resistor plugs
usually had an “R” in
their part number. The “R”
has now nearly disappeared because
almost all plugs and ignition systems
for late model cars include RFI protection.
plug has a ceramic insulator designed
to retain heat and keep the center
electrode hotter. Hotter electrodes
may be less likely to foul with contaminates
like oil and carbon, but if they are
too hot then contaminates might melt
rather than burning off or the gasoline
in the cylinder might ignite too soon
causing engine knock. Guessing which
hotter plug might make a car run better
is iffy with antique cars and a bad
idea with modern engines. Spark plugs
for newer engines usually have a projected
core nose that extends beyond the
threaded metal base (see photos).
The exposed insulator and electrode
makes the plug warm up faster and
run hotter at low engine speeds but
lets the gasoline and air mixture
keep the plug from overheating at
high engine speeds.
plugs work well. The electrodes wear
away relatively quickly, but that
might not matter if the spark plugs
are replaced every 30,000 miles or
so. Longer lasting plugs were needed
when transverse mounted V6 engines
became common. The spark plugs on
the firewall side of a V6 can be hard
to reach. Another push for longer
lasting plugs came from distributorless
ignition designs that fire the spark
plug on the piston’s exhaust
stroke. This wasted spark means the
plug fires twice as often and might
last half as long.
Platinum spark plugs
came to the rescue and let car manufacturers
advertise 100,000-mile spark plug
replacement intervals. A platinum
plug can last that long but might
be fused to the engine. Periodically
removing, inspecting and putting an
anti-seize compound on the threads
of spark plugs is still a good idea.
The platinum plug has a tiny bit of
platinum alloy on the tip of the center
electrode. The hard, corrosion resistant
platinum makes the electrode and the
gap between the electrodes last longer.
Platinum plugs breathed
new life into the business of spark
plugs. Platinum plugs not only lasted
longer, but their spark sometimes
made cars start easier and run more
consistently. Old cars benefited from
platinum plugs. I have nothing but
good things to say about the platinum
plugs I have installed in my old cars.
The push for longer
life and better performance led to
a spark plugs arms race between ACDelco,
Autolite, Bosch, Champion, Denso,
NGK, and other plug manufacturers.
Longer life meant using more platinum
or even more exotic metals. “Double
platinum” plugs have platinum
on both the center and ground electrodes.
The iridium on “iridium spark
plug” electrodes is six times
stronger and has a higher melting
point than platinum. Only the spark
plug manufacturers know the secrets
behind some of their metallurgy. The
Denso Twin-Tip plug has “titanium
enhanced alloy on the ground electrode.”
Titanium is strong, extremely corrosion
resistant and light. The Bosch Platinum
IR Fusion has an “iridium and
platinum center electrode” and
“yttrium enhanced ground electrodes.”
Yttrium strengthens metal alloys and
is used in super conductors.
The quest for plugs
that can claim a stronger, faster,
hotter, etc. spark is equally interesting.
One technique is to add additional
ground electrodes. The Bosch IR Fusion
has four. Another idea is to change
the shape of the surface of the electrodes
into a U, a V, a sharp point, etc.
NGK Iridium plugs have a fine wire
tip that “opens up the area
for flame expansion by reducing the
mass of the electrodes.”
Late model car engines
often have an ignition coil on every
spark plug and an engine computer
programmed to expect the spark plug
to fire only when a specific voltage
has been applied to it. The computer
also expects the spark flame to be
in a certain heat range with a specific
duration. A spark plug that fires
at lower or higher voltage than what
the engine computer expects might
not always enhance performance. Multiple
electrodes, energy storing capacitors
and other modifications should really
be designed specifically for your
engine by a plug manufacturer you
It is good news that
car manufacturers and owners now have
so many great spark plug choices.
For many engines, great platinum plugs
are now sometimes only around $1 more
than good copper plugs. RockAuto currently
has Wholesaler Closeout Bosch Platinum
spark plugs for my ‘79 Chrysler
for $0.70! The longest lasting plugs
with iridium and other exotic metals
on their electrodes might be a good
choice for the hardest working or
difficult to access spark plugs.
I bet even the fanciest
wristwatches don’t yet have
yttrium enhanced ground electrodes!
|Bill's 1987 Chevrolet El Camino
is my 1987 Chevy El Camino, the final
production year of GM's unique car/truck
hybrid. I bought it back in 1993 and
have driven it 500 to 5,000 miles
yearly, depending on my mood. Keeping
the original paint in an acceptable
condition has been a challenge to
my abilities, but keeping it it top
mechanical shape has been much easier,
thanks to RockAuto. I've purchased
steering linkage, suspension parts,
brake parts, electrical components
and engine parts. I'm most impressed
with the wide choices of brands available
at RockAuto, including the ACDelco
line, which were likely the parts
installed on my Camino when it was
originally built. Rock is also the
primary supplier for the daily drivers
I maintain for family use. Pricing
is always aggressive and shipping
Keep up the good
Bill in Pennsylvania
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see them all! Please e-mail
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send us an email
with information about your
is the optimum operating temperature
range for the core nose at the
firing end of a typical spark
662 to 1562 deg. F (350 to 850
deg. C) Deposits accumulate
at lower temperatures and electrode
erosion and pre-ignition / knock
occur at higher temperatures.
up to trivia question
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