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Hi, I have a 1989 ga16i that was neglected by the last owner. I bought it cheap to learn how to do basic repairs. Next on the list is the cap, etc. Never done it before. I searched through the forums but didn't find the info I was looking for. Maybe there's a walkthrough somewhere on this site? the Haynes manual isn't too helpful.

I heard from a friend that when I do this I should also replace the points. What's he talking about?

From what I read on here, it's best to swap over each wire one at a time so as not to mix up them up and fire out of sequence. Any other things I should look for?

With the plugs, do the gaps need to be adjusted, or do they come gapped properly?

Finally, is there any real difference between qualities of plugs and wires? I'm not building a performance machine, but I do want reliability, efficiency and longevity.

thanks for any help!

new_balert
 

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hey, nice to see another BC resident!

To start with, get rid of the Haynes manual. Haynes and Chilton manuals are downright garbage. they're seriously a waste of time. get a Nissan FSM for your year. that's the best way to go. good diagrams, proper sequences, specifications, and torque values. you won't regret the money spent to get it.

the GA16i is a GREAT engine to learn on. small, not as many or as confusing of components as a newer DOHC engine.

as for the plugs, get NGK G-Power (platinum fine tip) plugs. seeing as its a 4cyl, spending extra cash on plugs isn't that big of a deal. the G-Power's are about $10 a pair, so $20 for your GA. the plugs SHOULD be properly gapped out of the package, but you should check regardless.

get OEM NGK plug wires. as for the points, i don't know what he's talking about. if you replace the cap, wires, and plugs, the only thing you're missing is the distributor.
 

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thanks for the info sonicgundam :)

I went digging around the interweb for a fsm. I found a paper one for $85, and a downloadable one for a yearly subscription. All I could find in free downloads was 94 and newer. Any idea where to find one? Maybe I'll have to get a credit card hehehe
 

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thanks for the info sonicgundam :)

I went digging around the interweb for a fsm. I found a paper one for $85, and a downloadable one for a yearly subscription. All I could find in free downloads was 94 and newer. Any idea where to find one? Maybe I'll have to get a credit card hehehe
heh, lets not and use your dads. figure out how much its gonna cost you and give him the cash and have him order it. or someone you know that has one that you can trust. just keep yourself away from credit cards and online shopping as long as possible.

try books4cars.com
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Back to those plugs, I'm reading about hot versus cold plugs. In a low power engine (cold) I've read that we should use hot plugs because they retain their heat.

"A hot plug takes longer to cool down and should be used in lower compression engines where heat needs to be retained to prevent combustion byproduct buildup."

Do you know if the ngk platinum plugs are cold plugs (for hot high combustion engines)?

This may seem really mundane, but I'm trying to learn as much as I can on each project I do.

thanks!
 

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buy the plug that's for your car in whatever brand you want.

if you want NGK platinums, buy NGK platinums for your engine. if you want bosch ones, get them for your engine. they'll already be optimally set.

are you sure you're not reading about glow plugs for a diesel?
No he's just getting way too advanced.

You'd run colder plugs if you were turbocharging your car.

Just keep it at that, we don't need a discussion on different spark plugs here. Don't worry about whether the plugs are hot or cold. Just go to your parts store and say, "I have a (year, make, model) and I need NGK platinum plugs." They will get you the correct plugs.
 

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Hi, I have a 1989 ga16i that was neglected by the last owner. I bought it cheap to learn how to do basic repairs. Next on the list is the cap, etc. Never done it before. I searched through the forums but didn't find the info I was looking for. Maybe there's a walkthrough somewhere on this site? the Haynes manual isn't too helpful.

I heard from a friend that when I do this I should also replace the points. What's he talking about?

From what I read on here, it's best to swap over each wire one at a time so as not to mix up them up and fire out of sequence. Any other things I should look for?

With the plugs, do the gaps need to be adjusted, or do they come gapped properly?

Finally, is there any real difference between qualities of plugs and wires? I'm not building a performance machine, but I do want reliability, efficiency and longevity.

thanks for any help!

new_balert
Hi Mr balert,

Let me jump in here and answer some of your questions. First let's talk about plugs. Plugs come in different heat ranges for one reason and one reason only. The tip temperature should be as close to 700 degrees as possible. Temperatures lower than 700 degrees form deposits on the electrode. Higher temperatures cause premature erosion of the electrode.

"Reading" your spark plugs gives you clues about the state of your engine. An electrode full of deposits mean a plug that's too cool, a rich mixture or your engine is burning oil. An insulator blasted white with an eroded electrode mean a lean fuel/air mixture or a plug that's too hot.

If you look at the emissions stickers on your car, you will notice the factory recommends a specific NGK spark plug. In my experience, that particular plug is absolutely perfect for this engine because your engine was literally designed around it.

Platinum plugs take more energy to fire though many people think the opposite is true. Their real worth is in applications where the plugs are hard to reach because their service interval is very long. Your car couldn't be easier to change plugs so save your money. Your car won't go one mile per hour faster.

Gap your plugs using a wire or feeler gauge at .040. the plugs come pretty close but you never know what happened to them during shipping or if someone gapped them and returned them when they realize they bought the wrong plugs. Most wire type gauges have a tool for enlarging or shrinking the gaps. You'll figure it out.

Before spinning the plugs back in, rub a SMALL amount of anti-seize compound on the threads. This will keep the plug from seizing in the head. Too much anti-seize doesn't hurt anything but it can throw off the heat range. You'll need a 5/8ths spark plug socket to do the job. The hex on these plugs is smaller than most.

As for points, the last time a Nissan needed points it was called a Datsun and it was around 1975. I know because I was there. The function of points is now done by something called the ignition module which rarely needs service. Either it works or it doesn't. You'll know when it doesn't.

Here's an easy way to replace the cap. You'll also replace the rotor at the same time because it's easy and you're already there.

1. Remove that little rubber raincoat-looking thingy from the distributor. If your distributor is missing this part, move to step 2.

2. Do not remove the spark plug wires from either the old cap or the plugs. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, unscrew the two screws holding the plastic cap to the distributor. Do not remove the wires from the old cap, except for the one in the center which goes to the coil.

3. While you're holding the old cap in your hand, note one of the contact towers has a little "1" scribed near it. Note where it's located and orient the new cap in the same way.

4. Starting with the wire attached to the contact tower marked with the "1," remove said wire from the old cap and transfer it to the new cap. Repeat the procedure with the next wire in a counter-clockwise direction until you complete the circle.

Before reattaching the cap, take a look at the rotor sticking out from the center of your still-naked distributor. It is held on by a bolt or screw. Loosen the screw, pull off the rotor, stick on the new rotor, tighten the new screw.

6. Using the screws supplied with the new cap, attach it to the distributor. Once you're done, reattach the coil wire to the center electrode tower.

To replace the wires, do them one at a time so you know where they go. As far as wires are concerned, most any set will do on this engine. The main difference between sets is longevity and radio noise. While some wires advertise increased horsepower, you will not notice. What you will notice is the difference between a worn out set of wires and almost any new wire set. I'm sure someone will disagree with me. Oh well.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now, THAT, was incredibly informative! Thanks, you answered all my questions, and then some :) I tend to get carried away when I research something, but that's the whole point I'm making with learning to repair this crappy old car.

Again, thanks for all the help, everyone! Next is the suspension...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For any other newbs out there, DEFINITELY use anti seize on your plugs. The last guy missed one and I almost had to take an impact wrench to it.
 
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