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post #1 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Plug wire heat shields

I notice the heat shields don't come with the ac delco plug wires but I still have the originals. Did you re-use yours or feel they aren't really necessary.

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post #2 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 02:31 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

You can either re-use the old (if it's not too brittle) or go get a 10ft roll of plastic conduit at Oreilly's or another parts store for like 5 or 6 bucks. That stuff tends to get brittle with time so using new conduit is probably the better option.

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

These shields appear to be made of alum. and are in good enough shape to be re-used...maybe just a little buffing up. I was just wondering if it would shorten plug wire life if I didn't.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 05:02 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

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These shields appear to be made of alum. and are in good enough shape to be re-used...maybe just a little buffing up. I was just wondering if it would shorten plug wire life if I didn't.
They are reusable.

The spark plugs will be fine with or without the metal heat shields. The boots on the ends of the plug wires, not so much. The metal shields help to prevent the boots of the plug wires from sticking to the plugs, and prevent/slow heat related deterioration of the plug boots. Put some dielectric grease in the boot too when you install them. I've used metal shields like the LSx shields on plug wire boots on engines for 30 years or more, and even after a 100,000 mile/7 year run with iridium plugs, the boots slip right off.

If you've ever pulled the boot off and gotten the top half of the boot with the wire terminal and left the bottom half of the boot on the plug, that's what happens without the heat shields.

I always run the LSx metal heat shields on #1 and #6 (the two with the straight boots) on my 4.3L V6 engines, and some 90 degree metal shields on the other 4.

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

Thanks, Racer-X...you've convinced me, I'll use them.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 05:59 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

remove them- place is a bucket- spray with Engine Brite- then wash with Dawn and water- soft scrub brush- air dry- polishing not really recommended - polish tend to discolor at temp- but light buff with REALLY SLOW AND SOFT wheel would do it- never had a boot melt on that badly- but i have a home made boot tool- long handle with a open "c" on bottom- slide down and gently pull up around boot before pulling all the way up- something i made about 25 years ago down in Biloxi to help DE-MUD a friends rig after he tried a mud crossing that was about 3 feet OVER his hood....yup ,driving from the STANDING position....

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post #7 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

Jayhawke, thanks for the tip!!
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-15-2019, 06:46 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

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Originally Posted by thebadwrench View Post
You can either re-use the old (if it's not too brittle) or go get a 10ft roll of plastic conduit at Oreilly's or another parts store for like 5 or 6 bucks. That stuff tends to get brittle with time so using new conduit is probably the better option.
It's probably pretty obvious now, but he's talking about these heat shields on the spark plug boots:


For heat shielding on the wire itself, I've never had any luck with that corrugated plastic conduit. Mostly it melts/burns off if you have headers, and if you don't have headers, you don't need (much) heat shielding on the wires. I prefer the high temperature fiberglass heat shield tubing. You can buy it on a roll, http://amzn.com/B07L6CQ82T or you can buy it cut and sewn up as "spark plug wire sleeves." http://amzn.com/B003FCMAJE

One major note about the cut and assembled sleeves, most of the ones on Amazon and fleaBay have a metal ring in one end. Those are very difficult to get onto the assembled spark plug wire over the boot (either boot). They work well when you're terminating cables yourself and making custom length spark plug wires (like the AC Delco "Professional series" wires for the Vortec V6), but they are almost impossible to get onto molded/assembled completed wires, especially the coil boot end on the LSx wires. The set I linked is sewn at both ends and will lay flat, and it will also stretch over the boots much more easily. That material is like what they use to make "Chinese finger puzzles" and gets bigger around if you push the ends together.

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-22-2019, 01:36 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

I use high temperature fiberglass boot socks. I just snipped and removed the internal rings with a pair of side cutters, and rolled the edge up inside the boot a bit. Worked great on my plugs. No more issues with burning plug wires.

What also worked great and I highly recommend is thermal barrier coating your headers inside and out. Made a massive difference to my engine bay. Definitely worth every penny.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-22-2019, 02:09 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

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I use high temperature fiberglass boot socks. I just snipped and removed the internal rings with a pair of side cutters, and rolled the edge up inside the boot a bit. Worked great on my plugs. No more issues with burning plug wires.
I like those boot socks too. I have them on Richard's plug wires in addition to the metal shields, to cover the wires. I'm a "belt and suspenders" kind of guy though.

We're also using them on a LS swap I'm working on in an old Datsun 280Z. I just used needle nose pliers jammed in the ring and spread them enough that the end of the ring could poke a small hole in the sock, then rotate it around to pull the ring.

There are a couple of vendors on Amazon that sell those socks with both ends stitched, no rings, but they cost so much more I'm not sure it's worth it. I think one of those sets was longer socks, and triple layer instead of double layer and stitched at both ends instead of those metal rings, so that might be better, but I don't know if it's 3 time the price better.
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What also worked great and I highly recommend is thermal barrier coating your headers inside and out. Made a massive difference to my engine bay. Definitely worth every penny.
I've always sent new headers (after any required mods like removing AIR pipe fittings and such) to Jet-Hot Coatings. Expensive, but worth it.

Right now my budget is a little low, and I was wondering if anyone has ever tried a DIY approach. I see that Eastwood has a coating spray that is good for the internal surfaces of exhaust. https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-hi...ust%20Coating#

It's an aerosol, and it comes with a sprayer attachment that looks like the nozzle you'd use to put rustproofing inside frame rails and doors and such. Right now, I'm tempted to try that for Richard's headers that I still haven't installed yet.

Has anyone else used that Eastwood product? I might have to TOFTT here.

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post #11 of 13 Old 04-22-2019, 05:18 PM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

I bought my blue socks from summit, I found they were quite long, so I actually ended up rolling about 1/3 of the sock inside itself (outside in I guess?) to "shorten" them since my plug wires all come from up high, and my pipes turn down fairly quick.

Similar, I just used my fingers to stretch the fabric on the ring tight/thinner, and a pair of articulated side cutters (or sharp small bolt cutters would work), and snipped. It cut the fiberglass just enough to fish the ring out. Oddly, a few of the rings fractured into multiple pieces, so I think there a actually a split that's ultrasonically welded in the ring, just depends where you cut relative I guess.

At heads beside the header flange, IR gun reads about 225 degrees. On the headers on the 3/8" header plate, about 190, the first bend is ~185F. Mid-pipe is ~170 Prior to coating last year, the plate measured about 240, first bend 350. So about a 45% total reduction.

Pre-cat is ~165, post cat uncoated is 300+. I am thinking to have my cat-back to muffler section coated to reduce heat radiating up through the floor of the cab a bit.

Took it for an hour drive the other day, got back, and you can put your hand in, within a 1/2" of the headers, and everything near by is just warm to the touch, nothing is hot. I really like this since some of my brake lines run within a few inches of the DS header and less heat-soak in the brake fluid the better.

My next build... I will thermal barrier coat the cylinder head bowls, exhaust ports, and piston top (I am a believer now that I've seen the stuff before/after first hand). Dunno about intake ports to reduce IATs, but eh if it don't cost more maybe.
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-22-2019, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

I know little about thermal coatings but sounds like a good idea for headers or exhaust manifolds. Are the coatings internal and external and is there one type of coating that is superior to others, longevity would be my first priority.
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-23-2019, 08:46 AM
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Re: Plug wire heat shields

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I know little about thermal coatings but sounds like a good idea for headers or exhaust manifolds. Are the coatings internal and external and is there one type of coating that is superior to others, longevity would be my first priority.
Longevity is the biggest priority for sure. It's especially important if you coat the insides of the header/exhaust manifold. I've had mixed results with various "some local guy" who does "thermal barrier coatings." If it flakes off the outside, you just lose effectiveness, things near the coated piece get hotter and the piece itself starts rusting or corroding and looks bad. If it flakes off the inside and you're running a tuned header and a cam with significant overlap, the engine sucks ceramic material back into the cylinders and the cylinder walls get scored. Don't ask me how I know this.

The best in this business is Jet-hot coatings. I've used them, or teams/race cars I've worked on have used them in the past. They have several different coatings with different temperature ranges. On race applications, the "classic polish" works well on street driven, stock or very mildly modified engines. The "Off road" works well with racing engines that are operated in more extreme conditions and run hotter. One race engine I've worked on had their "Ultra extreme heat" coating on the header upstream of the turbocharger. I've never seen their coatings fail or come loose. They also insist on applying their coatings only to brand new parts. Check them out at https://www.jet-hot.com/coatings

BTW, I'm just a happy customer who has used them a few times in the past myself and seen their work on other vehicles I've worked on/with. They don't pay me for any endorsement or anything. I'm just really impressed with their coatings and their process.

If you use them, the best thing is to order the headers and just ship them directly to Jet-hot for coating and have them ship the finished headers to you. Of course, if you're doing any modifications to the headers (removing AIR fittings or EGR fittings from "street" application headers for example), you can't ship them directly like that.

I'm also probably trying to justify spending $300 (less than $45 in dog money) more on using them to coat the $150 (+ labor for mods) headers I bought for Richard. I wish my budget wasn't so tight this year. Maybe I need to start a "gofundme" campaign for Richard.

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