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Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Descriptive and in-depth articles on how to do repairs or restoration. (Wilf's articles visible by forum members only).
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Simon Hyslop
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Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Simon Hyslop »

This subject has come to my mind a few times and came back today as I was looking at the plugs on my LA10. It may seem very obvious but here goes. The tubes in the head through which the plugs (3/8" reach, Champion J8, NGK B6 etc) are inserted are very narrow. So narrow in fact that many spark plug sockets will not grip the plug hexagon to the point where the plug is actually tight enough in the head. Of spark plug sockets I tried, 5 out of 6 wouldn't tighten a plug enough and the more modern plugs are more difficult because the hex on them is usually shallower than on a Lodge or KLG plug.

3/8" drive or 1/2" really made no difference and the one that fitted was a Britool 14mm plug socket from some time ago - EBH814. Kamasa, Sealey, Elora, King Dick, Gedore and other nameless ones, all too wide. I do have a cheap one where I had ground down the outer nose to get it in far enough to grip. Probably a box spanner would do provided it was older rather than newer as the newer stuff all seems to be made on the basis that more cheap steel is as good as less quality stuff.

Anyway, it struck me as something worth thinking about because a) the plugs need to be decently tight rather than just so-so, b) if you needed to change a plug on the road chances are unless you had a proper fitting tool with you it's unlikely you'd find one in the average toolkit.

The later heads are, IIRC, a different design and so it doesn't affect them.

Fossil
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Re: Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Fossil »

I've just read this post and it brought to mind one of the easiest to solve SP250 mis-fires I've ever dealt with, many many moons ago. Circumstance - sudden onset of significant mis-firing. Pull over to investigate. Open bonnet, start usual visual check of carburettors and ignition components. Cause fairly obvious, one plug blown right out of plug tube and lying on rocker cover still attached to plug extension and lead. Plug carefully re-inserted in case cylinder head thread damaged, but no problem there. End of misfire; I wish they were all so simple to cure.

Cause of loosened plug unknown since I've always tightened them in the recommended way to avoid over-tightening. Perhaps I failed to tighten it fully having put it back after cleaning, but I recall thinking that this was unlikely at the time. Back when it was my everyday car doing many more miles I cleaned and checked the plug gaps regularly and having done one side would recheck the tightness of all four before replacing the extensions and leads. Now I do not do it very often, less than once a year since the car has done less than 1000 miles pa for some years. But it has never happened again with either the SP or the Century. And thankfully there is no difficulty finding a socket suitable for the plugs in either the SP or the Century of course.

Perhaps a section for "unusual breakdowns I have experienced in a very old car" might be of use, interest or amusement? I could probably muster a few more.

Cheers

Geoff

Fossil
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Re: Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Fossil »

Simon

Another post this time that is actually relevant to the topic and not to something only vaguely connected to it. Did these cars not come with a tubular spanner appropriate for plug removal? That would probably have been the relevant plug tool of that era.

Alternatively thin wall sockets are not difficult to obtain; they seem to be manufactured primarily for use with some alloy wheels which for whatever reason have a very narrow wheel nut/bolt aperture. I recently put a new set of alloys on Margaret's car with this challenge. I found a set of three thin wall sockets online of which one was the required size; it came fitted with a nylon outer sleeve the purpose of which was presumably to protect the alloys. However the sleeve had to be removed before it would fit in to the wheel nut aperture. Anyway problem now solved.

So, given the spark plug size for the engines in question, it might be possible to obtain a suitable thinwall socket that will do the job.

Cheers

Geoff

Salmons
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Re: Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Salmons »

Geoff is quite right the car had a tubular spanner in the kit, which was called a 'Plug Spanner' when I started motoring in the 1950s. You may find plenty of these spanners at a boot sale.

Dennis

Stan Thomas
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Re: Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Stan Thomas »

Simply buy a box spanner of the corect size, as they usually have thinner walls than a socket

If its still too large to fit over the spark plug hexagon, you can then file some off the external "corners" ofthe box spanner to reduce its overall diameter.

Sydsmith
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Re: Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Sydsmith »

When I got my 15 I had exactly this problem. I solved it as Stan says by buying a set of cheap box spanners and grinding the right one to fit the plug hole. Like most of us I hate modifying good tools but needs must and in this case I only had to reduce the thickness of the bottom quarter of an inch to make it work.

Some time later I found what I think is an old A35 plug spanner amongst my stock of junk tools that also did the job. One of those tools with a sort of loop handle at the top.

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Brian-H
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Re: Early LAnchester 10 (and probably Daimler 15) spark plug access

Post by Brian-H »

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