Parked out front.

Parked out front.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Where's the Power??

So, the Corvair is running great. I took it on a long run to Sandy Valley without a hitch. I have no gas leaks. So where's the power when the turbo kicks in? That is the big question. The one thing that people seem to agree on is that I am experiencing "Flame Out".

Flame Out seems to be a condition that doesn't allow the spark plugs to put out a strong enough spark ignite the fuel. When the turbo is not engaged, the spark is strong enough to do the job, but when I start boosting, the compression of the engine goes up high enough to be too much for the spark to ignite the fuel. The result is that the car misfires and the fuel gets pushed out with the exhaust during the next cycle. In other words, the car wont go!

When I'm just boosting a little, that is when the pressure is not built up too much, I get that familiar kick of the boost, but as the pressure builds, the car loses power and I stop accelerating.

So what's the cause? It could be a couple of things. The Coil is old and man not be putting out enough juice when I'm boosting. It could be the wires to the coil are old and it is not getting the correct voltage to work correctly. The carburettor could be out of tune causing a mixture that is too rich or too lean, fouling or damaging the plugs. It could be old worn points in the distributor not allowing good flow of electricity. It could be bad wires from the distributor to the plugs causing a voltage drop. So I have some work cut out for me.

Where to start? Well, I know that the coil is really old and I planned to replace it anyway. The plugs are also due for a changing, especially since the car had some issues with the pressure retard earlier causing the fuel mix to be off. With that, I thought I would spend a little extra cash and experiment with some high end NGK plugs. Here's the description of these plugs from

NGK iridium plugs represent the ultimate evolution of spark plug technology and performance. The iridium center electrode is both stronger and harder than platinum. This allows NGK engineers to design an ultra-fine (0.6mm)center electrode reducing the voltage requirement for spark. This allows for a brighter, stronger spark from your existing ignition system. The ground electrode has a tapered cut at the firing end which reduces quenching for better flame core growth and increased ignitability. The combination of fine wire center electrode and tapered cut ground will increase performance, improve acceleration, and fuel efficiency.

Here's a pic from the same site. As you can see, the center electrode is very small compared to a traditional spark plug. That with the much harder material will hopefully give me the spark I need to ignite the fuel while boosting. We shall see. The plugs are on order and hopefully I will receive them next week. That and a new coil from Clark's Corvair should hopefully do the trick.

1 comment:

Dan Davis said...

So, Michael,
How's that Turbo running?
I just picked up a 1966 Corsa Turbo.
You still have that old fuel filter hanging around? I need one to connect my fuel supply plumbing.
Give a shout dandavis(at)


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