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Old 01-30-2017, 07:05 AM   #1
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8.1L UltraPower Spark Plug Wires, Worth the $??

I've been reading the stories here about the meltdowns of the stock spark plug wires on the 8.1L Vortec engine. I was fortunate to have bought my 04 Allegro with only 18K miles so it has not yet become an issue. I read about these replacement wires: SPWEX 8100 UltraPower 8.1L Extreme Magnum WorkHorse Spark Plug Wires and although they are very pricey, they seem to be the Holy Grail of remedies of this (seemingly) inherent malady. I'm asking fellow gassers out there with the 8.1L who have had any experience with these wires and whether they are recommended (?)
Thanks
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:26 AM   #2
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There are two versions of the wires, I went with the less expensive version without heat sleeves. Yes, they're high quality wires and I would buy them again along with new plugs gapped to 0.045".
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:34 AM   #3
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These are worth considering - https://www.summitracing.com/parts/jac-4830400

And also the dynamat slip over heat shields.

You should try to get airflow to the back cyls on the passenger side. Many people put bilge pump blowers with ducting back there. There are several reasons to make more of an effort than just the plug wires. Long climbs cause the exhaust donuts and gaskets to take a beating. More airflow you can get the better and you will minimize all heat issues.,
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:33 AM   #4
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All good advice, thanks. I'm curious though about regapping the plugs. What is the factory setting and does this prevent premature wear?
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:44 AM   #5
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Workhorse plug wire malady seems to be motorhome brand related. Some brands do not have enough airflow around the engine and are prone to burning plug wires due to overheating. I too have a 32 foot 2004 Allegro that I purchased new. Never had a plug or wire issue in 60k miles and 13 years of service. Some owners of other brands have been plagued with burned plug wires and have had to install air ducts to bring in additional cooling air to the engine in the area of the spark plugs, and/or use high performance after market plug wires. If you want to install the wires as a preventative item, I would purchase the set without the heat sleeves, and use the metal spark plug heat shields from your old wires on the new wires.
The original plug gap on your 2004 was .090 inch. Plug gap that works best now is .045 inch.
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:00 AM   #6
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I have a 2008 Damon Challenger with 45,000 miles and no plug wire problems. What is the advantage to changing the spark plug gap from 0.090" to 0.045"?
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dieselclacker View Post
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Workhorse plug wire malady seems to be motorhome brand related. Some brands do not have enough airflow around the engine and are prone to burning plug wires due to overheating. I too have a 32 foot 2004 Allegro that I purchased new. Never had a plug or wire issue in 60k miles and 13 years of service. Some owners of other brands have been plagued with burned plug wires and have had to install air ducts to bring in additional cooling air to the engine in the area of the spark plugs, and/or use high performance after market plug wires. If you want to install the wires as a preventative item, I would purchase the set without the heat sleeves, and use the metal spark plug heat shields from your old wires on the new wires.
The original plug gap on your 2004 was .090 inch. Plug gap that works best now is .045 inch.
What dieselclacker said!

Our Sunova only has 17,000 miles on it but i've replaced wires twice. On this last change, i bought the Ultrapower wires. I also installed a vent to get airflow towards the rear of the exhaust manifold. Only have a few thousand miles on it since but it's running good so far.

The problems encountered with the 8.1 are kinda hit and miss as it all depends on how the coach surrounds the engine. As far as i know, you won't be stranded on the road if a problem does happen to come up. The peace of mind is nice and that's up to you. On yours, i think i'd let it be if it's running fine.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:23 AM   #8
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I am with dieselclacker on this one up until he talks about spark plug gap.

My MH is pushing 60K. The plug wires are original. I have changed the plugs once. Winnebago must have done something right in this area. I suspect that it was done by accident.

If you are replacing plugs with the original type, go with that gap. Rather then deform the crap out of the new side electrode it is easier to check and set to the gap to where the plugs were when they left the manufacture.

I am just a shade tree mechanic. So, take what I say with a grain of salt. From my notes reading this forum, I have pulled the following two points:
  • The correct plug without an ECM reprogramming change in the “Ultra Power” is a 41-983.

  • 41-983 appears to be the OEM type gap at 0.060”. Brazel’s “Ultra Power” change gaps the replacement plug at 0.045”. The replacement plug is a hotter plug. The smaller gap reduces pinging (brought on by the hotter plug, other changes or is a problem of some engines is not clear).
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tedjr55 View Post
All good advice, thanks. I'm curious though about regapping the plugs. What is the factory setting and does this prevent premature wear?


Plugs are available pre-gapped to 0.045" so re-gapping is not necessary. I bought mine from OEMY's web site but Ultra RV should have them as well.

Not sure on the 8.1, but GM did issue bulletins to reduce gap to 0.045" on 8 cylinder engines. Helps reduce high RPM misfires. All of my current GM 8 cylinders are using this smaller gap, including the coach.
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Old 02-01-2017, 01:25 PM   #10
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When I had my older MH with the 8.1 had purchased the Ultrapower plug wires which didn't last very long. I next bought the Napa wires and also installed the extra air supply to the back plugs which have a lifetime guarantee and never had to replace them again.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:14 AM   #11
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When I had my older MH with the 8.1 had purchased the Ultrapower plug wires which didn't last very long. I next bought the Napa wires and also installed the extra air supply to the back plugs which have a lifetime guarantee and never had to replace them again.
Are you sure those weren't the Taylor wires? That is what we used to sell. I haven't had one set of Magnums needing to be replaced under warranty.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:31 AM   #12
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That's possible didn't know there was any difference.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:25 PM   #13
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I understand the whole concept and the reasons why about getting more circulating air to the back of the engine to cool off the rear plugs etc.,.....but does this apply to just older engines? Is this something I should be addressing on my 2012 Ford chassis?
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:32 AM   #14
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as far as i know this is not a Ford problem at all

tho in the past, ford has had its spark plug breaking off problems [way before your RV build date]

they had a skinny 6" long 2 piece welded plug that tended to break on removal....a real bummer....started with the 3 valver in '04.....straightened out by '09 I believe.
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