383 Magnum Spark Plugs look horrible

Engine, Trans & Driveline

  1. MoparGuy68

    MoparGuy68 Well-Known Member

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    I just pulled 4 of the spark plugs out of the driver side head of my Charger's 383. They look like they are as old as the car!! I read them as saying this engine is running way too rich and is sick! Looks like there is oil on the threads too. They look terrible.. One of them smelled like gas. Only thing maybe good about them is the electrode and ground straps have no wear. Autolite 85 stamped "made in USA" (maybe 49 years ago).

    The carb is a Holley 750cfm 4160 dual feed, vacuum secondary, electric choke. Have had this car for 2 months. Carb smells like gas, kinds stinks up the garage if the car has been shut up in there all day. I've been starting it up and running it till warmed up once a week since I've had it. Has only been driven one time, around the block twice with PS pump disconnected, which was about 2 weeks ago.

    In mid December, I ended up flooding the engine badly, when I couldn't get the car started (pumping gas and cranking 25 or 30 times). Which was due to an electrical issue, that I fixed that same day. When it did start that day, it ran incredibly rough. Was misfiring due to the flooding. So rough I thought it was going to shake the car apart. Then eventually it smoothed out.

    The charging system doesn't currently work in this car and hasn't for a long time. Engine marks its territory on the ground, it leaks oil.. I think the valve covers may be leaking, maybe the rear main crankshaft seal, maybe other places too. But the amount of oil leakage is minor compared to the massive steering box leakage.

    Miraculously the engine does not smoke! I never see any smoke coming out of the tail pipes.. From the look of the plugs, you'd think it should be emitting a huge cloud of blue smoke out of the machine gun tips.

    The plugs looks like they came out of a junk yard car. These are the most ancient looking plugs I've ever pulled out of an engine. I should have pulled a couple out and looked at them before I bought the car.. Note to self on that.. What do you guys think of these sorry looking plugs pulled from this sick Super Bee?

    IMG_0899.jpg IMG_1303.jpg IMG_1305.jpg IMG_1306.jpg IMG_1308.jpg IMG_1309.jpg
     
  2. Aeronet

    Aeronet Well-Known Member

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    If the charging system isn't working then you might be getting a weak spark. I would fix that first and then replace the sparks plugs, run the engine and see how they look.
     
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    • Frank Mopar

      Frank Mopar Well-Known Member

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      Put new plugs in a stop starting it without driving it. Those plugs under those conditions show nothing but a car run under choke too long. IMHO
       
      Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
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      • AR67GTX

        AR67GTX Well-Known Member

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        If you flooded the engine or run very rick, gas residue and components can coat plug threads with what looks like oil but isn't. But if the engine was really flooded at one time I would sure change the oil to get the contaminated oil out of it. But they are some pretty crusty looking plugs that seem to have been in there a while.
         
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        • WP29440SE

          WP29440SE Well-Known Member

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          weak spark, shitty carburetor. that thing needs a tune up bad. you need to get 13.8 to 14.2 volts to the battery immediately.
           
        • Don Frelier

          Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          I agree with Frank. Starting once a week and not driving it is really unnecessary and does more harm than good.
          If you can drive it till it's good and warm. Cap off the exhaust and the carb opening and work on the other things that need repair.
          And change the oil...
          Keep us posted and we would like to see the car. Old plugs are just not that interesting.
          Just kidding.:thumbsup:
           
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          • Jerry Hall

            Jerry Hall Well-Known Member

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            Those plugs are not as old as you are thinking. It's what any parts store is going to sell you in a Autolite plug for that engine. What I do see is gas fouled plugs, that are caused by exactly what you're doing. Cranking and just letting it sit and run until it comes to operating temperature. Most Mopars in factory tune run rich at idle, but yours has a bigger carburetor than stock to add to the problem. The good thing is you said it doesn't smoke. I would fix the charging problem, power steering problem and oil leaks, then give it a good tuneup and most importantly DRIVE the car. Ask me how I know. Try keeping 2 dozen of them running right.
             
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            • MoparGuy68

              MoparGuy68 Well-Known Member

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              So you guys just think it is gas fouling. That's something positive to hear..

              I see all of you are telling me to DRIVE the car.. I haven't been driving the car so it doesn't puke steering fluid all over my driveway. I tried driving it once with the PS pump disconnected, and frankly, i found it to be dangerous to do so. Now it cannot be driven, because the steering column is disconnected from the cursed steering box, which I'm in the process of exorcising from the car.

              I'll let you in on this car's back story. I now believe it has been running rich for a LONG time. Long before I got it. The charging system hasn't worked in about a decade.. The previous owner told me he tried replacing the alternator & voltage regulator several times. Each time the system would charge for 2 or 3 days, then stop charging. He put ground wires everywhere it seems, trying to make sure everything was grounded properly. Last time the system was worked on, was by a "mechanic" at some auto shop, who out of frustration, installed a FORD voltage regulator in it, which is still in the car now.. The factory amp gauge is still connected, and the needle is always a bit on the discharge side, regardless of RPMs when the engine is running. So, I'll need to trouble shoot the charging system, and from what the previous owner has been through with it, I doubt I'll have it working any time soon.

              I've been starting it every 7 to 10 days, and not just letting it idle, but running it at 2000 to 2500 RPMs for a few minutes during the warm up. You guys think it would have been better for me to let the car sit for 2 months without ever starting it?? The previous owner was doing what I'm doing, though he was actually driving it some too, as he didn't give a shit if the steering fluid puked all over the road or on his driveway. He lived in a rural area, I don't. He also didn't want to deal with replacing the box and I honestly don't blame him.. I've started down that road and it's not fun.

              Previous guy was putting Sea Foam and Lucas Ethanol Fuel Conditioner in the gas tank, when he gassed the car up. It does have hardened exhaust valve seats in it, so no lead substitute.

              The good with this engine, is no knocks, no valvetrain noise that I can hear UNLIKE every modern Challenger's engine I ever listened to (and I test drove a bunch of them). And no smoke coming out of the exhaust.

              I've attached a few photos of the car, if anyone is curious what those nasty plugs came out of.

              IMG_1325.jpg IMG_1326.jpg IMG_1328.jpg
               
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              • Don Frelier

                Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                I don't even like yellow, but that is pretty cool.
                 
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                • threewood

                  threewood FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                  That's a great Charger!!!!

                  Get the power steering fixed so you can drive it first of all. Is it the ps unit or a hose that is leaking? They can be rebuilt or new ones can be bought.

                  Then get the charging system working. It is a very simple system. Alt / voltage reg. / battery. What is battery voltage, key off? Voltage with it running? Still running points or electronic ignition?
                   
                • Don Frelier

                  Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                  Agree, either way replace the power steering supply hose.
                  They only last 50 years, then they are a fire hazard.
                   
                • Ray70Chrg

                  Ray70Chrg Member

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                  Hey Mopar Guy 68. I have been restoring a 70 chgr,383 magnum for the past 4 years and it sat in a garage for 15 years when I bought it. I went thru exactly what you are going thru now. I live in Scottsdale so if you have any questions feel free to ask. My p/s box and pump also leaked like crazy along with 9 other leaks in engine, tranny and diff. I found a local place in Scottsdale that rebuilt the p/s box for $350 and did a great job if you are interested. I took it out and reinstalled it, they seem to be a carry in/carry out type of business. Dropped it off on a Monday and picked it up on Friday, same week. I have the car now registered and drive it 2 or 3 times a week. Still lots of other work remains.
                   
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                  • threewood

                    threewood FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Just saw you are in Phoenix! We have a few members in the area that can probably lend a hand. I'm a few hours west in Yuma but I do head to Phoenix often.
                     
                  • Splangj

                    Splangj Member

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                    05CD7748-D845-468E-9FC2-AEC88446CB38.jpeg I bought the firmest box I could from Firm Feel, made a huge improvement, especially if you’re using a stock steering wheel. It might cost a bit more, but it’s a smart upgrade. Your #2 plug isn’t that bad, but the plugs on the ends definitely show oil being burned, not that unusual. Here’s a pic of plugs from my 408 with just under 1000 miles. If it ran overly rich all plugs would be dark, but those first ones on the left look pretty good. The darker ones were wet, with oil on the threads. Of course fuel distribution probably isn’t perfect with a dual plane
                     
                  • MoparGuy68

                    MoparGuy68 Well-Known Member

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                    I’m replacing the entire stock PS system with a Borgeson system. I’ve started a thread in the Bergman vendor section, as I bought most of the parts from him. So if anyone is interested in following my progress on that you can check out the thread.

                    The car has electronic ignition. I’ve not measured voltage anywhere yet. I’m tackling one problem at a time.

                    @Ray70Chrg I’m actually in Scottsdale too. We should meet up sometime to check out each other’s Chargers! I passed on a matching drivetrain 70 Charger 500 383 Magnum way back in 1986, due to bad rust on both rear quarters. Asking price was $1500. I offered $500 due to the rust and a tired engine. Owner said no, and then called me a week later asking if I was still interested for $500. I said I no longer was. Seems everyone that looked at it including me was scared off by the rust. It looked like gators had been chomping on the quarters behind the rear wheels. How many people would gladly pay $500 for the same car/condition now? Lol
                     
                  • Ray70Chrg

                    Ray70Chrg Member

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                    Hey MoparGuy68. Been trying to send you a private conversation to set up a meet, however, can't figure out how to "send" it to you. Contact me if you can or reply to this post.
                     
                  • MoparGuy68

                    MoparGuy68 Well-Known Member

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                    I started a private conversation with you. It appeared to work successfully. Let me know if you were able to read the message.
                     
                  • BSB67

                    BSB67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    I was think the exact same thing. Nice looking car.
                     
                  • BSB67

                    BSB67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    I generally agree with what's been posted. There is probably something not quite right, but it is being exacerbated by all of the idling and no load operation. My cars, boats, lawn tractors, outboard motors, weed wackers, leaf blowers, etc... don't get run for about 6 months of the year for the past 40 years. Yes you can go 2 months without running it.

                    I would suggest putting in some fresh plugs and go for a 2 hour ride with limited idling. And don't be afraid to push it hard. Have fun. Then after you get back, let her down, pull the plugs, and report back. This would be step one in what may, or may not be a long, multi step problem solving activity to find the root issue.
                     
                  • kbfallon

                    kbfallon Member

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                    I worked with an Old Timer years ago and he would have said....."Autolite...but they don't" or, they belong in a Ford.
                     
                    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020 at 1:11 PM
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