Vaughn's Summaries logo Vaughn's Summaries

Miscellaneous Summaries
Automotive Repair

Spark Plug Wire Testers

by Vaughn Aubuchon

I grew weary of paying $300 over and over again for "new plug wires". Two new sets of Denso 8mm, which BOTH "failed" before 4,000 miles.


In-Line Type of Tester (2)

Adjustable Gap Type of Tester (2)

Inductive Sensor Type Tester (3)

My big mistake was not demanding my old wires back (CA state law). If one wire was indeed bad, I would have had 5 EXTRA WIRES for replacing possible future failures. I did this TWICE - $ 600. So, who is the real idiot? Is my old mechanic going to suggest a THIRD set of new spark plug wires? Totalling $ 900? NO. He is Done.

Because of this, it is time to bypass my mechanic, since he is clueless. I bought these 7 test devices to test, so that YOU don't have to.

300

140


.
Auto Spark Wire Testers
by Type and Brand
HV Ignition Wire Testing

top of page

In-Line Type

Advantages -
1. FAR brighter than sensor type below. Provides a BRIGHT flash
2. Plug still fires while testing.

Disadvan. - Must unplug each plug wire, individually, and connect device to each plug wire, while turning the motor on and off each time.
.

#

Brand and #

St.
$

.
Notes
Performance

1

Lisle 20610
"Inline Spark Tester"

O'R

17.00

In-Line Lamp - 2 pieces
Illustrations have been switched - WHERE is the spark plug?
VERDICT - Works great.
Steady, strong flashes.

2

Per. Tool W86554
"Inline Spark Tester"

O'R

4.00

In-Line Lamp
VERDICT - Works great.
Steady, strong flashes.


1. Lisle 20610
Lisle 20610 Spark Tester
"Instructions:

1. With the engine off, remove the plug wire from plug.

2. Connect the female end of the tester wire (use the straight or 90° end as needed) to the spark plug. Be sure the other end of the tester wire is attached to the other end of the tester.

3. Connect the other male end of the tester to the plug wire.

4. Start the engine and check the tester.

5. Repeat for all plugs.

.

Test Results and Diagnosis:
Test Result 1: Engine doesn't start, tester doesn't flash.
Diagnosis: Check the ignition system.

Test Result 2: Engine doesn't start, the tester is flashing.
Diagnosis: Check the fuel system.

Test Result 3: Engine starts, the tester flashes erratically.
Diagnosis: Plugs are fouled or dirty, or the ignition system is weak.

Test Result 4: Engine starts, the tester flashes dimly and erratically as engine RPMs are increased.
Diagnosis: Ignition system is weak.

Test Result 5: Engine starts, the tester flashes strongly and rhythmically.
Diagnosis: The ignition system is functioning normally.

NOTE: The 2 unlabeled diagrams on the packaging show the SAME configuration. Redrawn, but still the same - the 90° socket is attached to the spark plug! TWO different types of wires are shown coming from the distributor. Don't switch to oranges when we are discussing apples!
.


2. Performance Tool W86554
Performance Tool W86554 Spark Tester
"Instructions:
Installation:
1. Turn the engine off.

2. Remove the wire from a spark plug.

3. Push the female connector of the In-Line Spark Checker onto the spark plug.

4. Push the long male end of the In-Line Spark Checker into the spark plug wire.

5. Start the engine. Observe the bulb and compare it to the testing section below.

6. Repeat above steps for all the spark plugs."
.

"Testing:
1. Condition - Engine does not start;
bulb of the In-Line Spark Tester is FLASHING.
Interpretation - The fuel system is most likely at fault.

2. Condition - Engine does not start;
bulb of the In-Line Spark Tester DOES NOT FLASH.
Interpretation - Ignition system component(s) faulty.

3. Condition - Engine starts;
bulb is flashing but not at a constant rate.
Interpretation - Dirty or fouled spark plugs; deteriorated ignition system component(s).

4. Condition - Engine starts; Flashes are weak and are not constant as the RPM of the engine is increased.
Interpretation - Deteriorated ignition system component(s)."

5. Condition - Engine starts, the tester flashes strongly and rhythmically.
Interpretation - The ignition system is functioning normally.
.

-

top of page

Adjustable Gap Type

Advantages - Can SEE and HEAR the actual spark.

Disadvan. -
1. Must unplug each plug wire, individually, and connect device to each plug wire, while turning the motor on and off each time.
2. Plug doesn't fire while testing.
.

#

Brand and #

St.
$

.
Notes
Performance

3

Lisle 50850
"Ignition Spark Tester"

O'R

8.50

Visible, adjustable gap
Bypasses plug - tests the wire
NOT encased - Do not touch
VERDICT - Works great.
Fat spark at 0.400"

4

Per. Tool W84600
"Ignition Tester"

Win

15.00

In-line High Energy
Adjustable gap setting
Bypasses plug - tests wire
Sloppy - had to add nut.
VERDICT - Works great.
Fat spark at 0.400"


3. Lisle 50850

Lisle 50850 Spark Tester
(somewhat ambiguous) "Directions:
1. Adjust calibration screw to proper gap size ("proper" is not defined - is it 10mm? No clue from Lisle).

2. Attach the spark plug wire to the end of the tester.

3. Clamp the tester to an engine ground.

4. Crank the engine and test for spark. (What does this mean - the engine will start - is that intended?)

5. Observe the spark - it should fire rhythmically, and not miss.
.


4. Performance Tool W84600
Performance Tool W84600 Spark Tester
"• Checks for spark in no-start condition
• Tests standard, electronic or DIS kV systems
• Designed to prevent high energy sparks arching directly to any ground"

"Instructions:
1. Attach the clip to a metal ground where the tester is away from flammable liquids and fumes.

2. Select a spark plug wire long enough to reach the tester, uncap at the spark plug and hook up to the tester.

3. Set the test gap to 10mm (0.40") (normal spark)."

"4. Start the engine."

5. Observe the spark - it should fire rhythmically, and not miss.
.

"Tests and Markings
(S/E) Standard ignition minimum spark gap indicated by "S",
electronic minimum gap 10mm indicated with "E".

When gauging voltage, turn tester screw counter-clockwise to increase gap.
2kV marking: (2/0)
3kV marking: (3/0)
4kV marking: (4/0)"

30

160

30

40

200 - 450




top of page

Inductive Sensor Type

Advantages - Ease of use

Disadv. - The first two units are extremely DIM - can't see jack. Night time or a darkened garage is required, so be very careful.

#

Brand and #

St.
$

.
Notes
Performance

5

Lisle 19380
"Spark Indicator"

Win

12.00

Inductive Sensor
VERDICT - Poor

6

Perfor. Tool W80530
"Spark Plug Wire Tester"

Win

9.00

Inductive Sensor
Least visible
VERDICT - Poor

7

Lisle 26900
"Spark Plug Wire Tester"

O'R

10.49

Inductive Sensor
3 days
VERDICT - later

Result - Both of the two top units flashed occasionally, on ALL wires, but with no pattern or repeatability. Repeatability cannot be determined, due to the VARIABLE nature of the flashing. One cannot discern ALL flashes, because some are easily visible, and SOME are far too dim to be NOTICED.

NOTES:
St = Store
O'R = O'Reilly's (purchased in store, stock in store)
Win = Winchester Auto (purchased in store, stock in store)
.


5. Lisle 19380
Lisle 19380 Spark Tester
(Instructions:) "Spark Indicator
With the engine running, place the grooved end of the tool over the spark plug wire. The bulb will flash dimly to indicate a spark, if present." But, just try and see it!
.


6. Performance Tool W80530
Performance Tool W80530 Spark Tester
"• Find damaged spark plug wires easily without getting shocked" (Instructions:)
"
1. Ground the tester by attaching the clip to a clean metal surface on the frame or engine mount, etc.

2. Start the engine.

3. Place the tester over a spark plug wire beginning at the distributor, and slide towards the spark plug.

4. The tester light will flash in sync with spark plug firing.

5. When the light stops flashing, you have found a break in the wire. Fouled plugs will allow flashing the whole length of the wire except at the plug."
.


7. Lisle 26900

Lisle 26900 Spark Tester
Instructions:
"1. Connect the clip to the car chassis. This grounds the tester.

2. Start the engine.

3. Starting at the distributor, slip the yoke of the tester over the plug wire and move toward the spark plug.

4. The tester will flash as the plug fires.

5. If the light fails to flash at any point, the wire is broken.

6. If the light flashes the entire length of the wire but fails to flash at the plug, the plug is fouled.
.

-

30

220

30

40

130 - 450



top of page

How Does This Page Rank?
for the search term
spark plug wire testers summary
(very specific)

-

Date
Indexed
7-23-16
Rank
7-30-16
Rank
8-20-16
Rank
9-20-16
Rank

Bing

7-xx-16
# ?
# 11
?
?

Yahoo

7-xx-16
# ?
# 18
?
?

Duck Duck Go

7-xx-16
# ?
# 2
?
?

Google

7-23-16

# 4
# 1
?
?

Uploaded - July 10, 2016
Updated -- July 16, 2016
Updated -- July 23, 2016 - indexed by Google
.

-

140

60

60

60

60

60



DISCLAIMER:
All observations and opinions stated here are those of the author, and he alone.
.

top of page


Tags: spark plug wire testers, auto spark testers


Vaughn Aubuchon Author Bio

Vaughn's Summaries
©2016 Vaughn Aubuchon
www.vaughns-1-pagers.com
All Rights Reserved
Site Map

This Vaughns Spark Plug Wire Testers
summary was last updated on 2016-08-30.