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Old 08-27-2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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Workhorse w22

Hi:
I have been reading many statements about spark plug wires burning up. The problem seems to inherent over many years. As an engineer I fail to see why GM
would not address this problem.
Thanks
AL Edwards
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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The issue is frequently mistated. The damage occurs where the wire enters the plug cap housing and joins the cap clip. Heat is the culprit and is a function of the motor enclosure and ventilation.
It probably was never considered in a lab enviroment. See my fix that works.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...gvhiO5K7j13Gcg
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aedwards View Post
I have been reading many statements about spark plug wires burning up. The problem seems to inherent over many years. As an engineer I fail to see why GM would not address this problem.
Hi Al! Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts on this issue.

Please know that the 8.1L Vortec has been out of production since December of 2009. I don't expect that GM will do anything to improve the condition since it's dependent on the vehicle application.

My experience with the 8.1L engine has presented me with a lot fewer plug wire burn out that has been experienced by other owners. I have seen where the #7 wire has burned out on my rig but that's it and it happens only very infrequently.

In the aftermarket there are wires that will hold up much better than the stock OE Delco units however those are a bit expensive but they work.

I went many thousands of miles without burning out a plug wire and other folks will mirror that experience as well.

Plug wire anomalies are dependent largely on a number of events and conditions which may not be within the domain of GM to fix. I have seen where some coaches will burn wires out every time they go out on a run. I have also seen rigs that will alternatively burn out #5 and the #7.

A lot of what I understand is a constant in most cases is that the manifold is a rear dump and as such gets hot going past 5&7 and 6&8. Personally I have not burned out a 6&8.

Workhorse has provided a cold air kit that places cool air in the vicinity of the plug wire and it appears to work even though it's a passive device.

At the end of the day, plug wire failures (in most cases) are not immediately repeatable or consistent to the same plug wire.

It has been proven that cooling the interior of the engine using air dams and shrouds decreases the internal temps in the engine thereby allowing the exhaust manifolds to work at or slightly under their maximum heat output. If we keep the inside cool the outside will take care of itself. Many plug wire anomalies are prevented when an engine runs cool.

Engines with headers in my experience no longer have a tendency to burn out plug wires since they shed heat so quickly. Workhorse had headers in a package called the SSC but that model only had a limited run.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:20 PM   #4
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Driver makes some good points. GM built the engine for trucks that had a pretty standard engine compartment layout. When Workhorse designed the chassis, they only provided guidelines for enclosure of the engine and airflow, but could not control the final coach builder's design. From what I have observed, some coach models seem to be more prone to burning wires than others. Maybe Workhorse could have selected a better manifold design, but we are stuck with it. I installed high-temp performance wires and have had no problems in 40k mi. including countess hi-rev climbs up mountain grades.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
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W22

Thanks for the feedback, haven't had any problems yet, just trying to be pro active.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:32 AM   #6
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My 05 Dolphin has 39k miles on it and still has the original plug wires. I also never had any brake problems and still has the original brake pads with about 50% of the pad left. I did have the calipers replaced under the recall and flush my brake fluid every 2 years.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:04 AM   #7
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I have been a GM service manager for more years than i probably want to think about. The burning plug wire condition described is not present in GM products. It only exists in the Workhose chasis and is very dependent on the coach installed on it. Lack of air movement in the rear of the engine bay is the cause. Keeping air moving through the bay in the manner designed also seems to help. This means making certain that the drapes and seals used at the cooling stack are in place. Proper air movement is critical. Upgading to quality aftermarket wires also helps.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:23 AM   #8
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I have been a GM service manager for more years than i probably want to think about..
Thank you, I (and others) have been addressing the very same points that you just made over and again.

The L18 does a lot of work on a motorhome and it's gotta be kept cool!

Keeping the shrouds and dams in perfect condition makes a big difference.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:15 AM   #9
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The Reason GM has not addressed it is because it is not a GM problem.

It is also NOT a Workhorse problem

It is a body builder problem

Some body builders do not allow for enough air circulation around the engine, as a result engine compartment temps go way above GM's design specfications and the plug wires are the first thing to be destroyed,

Now workhorse DOES have a kit to fix it, But in truth they did not cause the issue, if they had then ALL (or nearly all) Workhorse CC motor homes would have this problem

But some do and some do not.

one thing I have noticed is some have a LOT of grill up front I mean nearly full width

Others have just about 1/2 the open space... And it is THOSE who burn the wires.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #10
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Others have just about 1/2 the open space... And it is THOSE who burn the wires.
I've seen flat stainless sheets with 3/8 holes every 1/2" or so used in the fascia trim. Talk about pushing the air out of the way and no air getting to the cool pack.

Looks great ... tastes YUKKY!
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:11 PM   #11
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Just curious--which coach builders have had the most problems with burnt wires?
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:26 PM   #12
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Just curious--which coach builders have had the most problems with burnt wires?
RetiredBob, Thankfully it's not that bad. What is seen is that; to a greater degree, it's a specific model of a manufacturer but then again, 2 coaches, same model, one might burn wires while the other doesn't. Lowest Common Denominator is the "driver", the "load" & the "geography."

Bottom line is that there are many variables that influence plug wire burnouts and it is very difficult to put your finger on an exact cause. Unless it's "Obvious" like I wrote ... in Post #10.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:57 AM   #13
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MH builders try to have a flat floor in the drivers area to make it easier to enter the drivers and pasengers seats and this in most cases puts the floor rite on top of the engine. From what I have seen these are the ones with the most plugwire problems but like Driver says it depends on the condisions and the way its driven.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speed racer
My 05 Dolphin has 39k miles on it and still has the original plug wires. I also never had any brake problems and still has the original brake pads with about 50% of the pad left. I did have the calipers replaced under the recall and flush my brake fluid every 2 years.
I have 35k on the clock now, otherwise the rest is just like speedracer, she still purrs like a cat!
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