MSD 8.5mm SuperConductor Wires Install
This page documents the install of my MSD 8.5mm SuperConductor wires.
The truck is a 1996 Dodge Dakota V8. Installation on other model years
may (but probably won't) be different.
There are a few of reasons to upgrade your wires. A better quality
wire will have less resistance, allowing the spark to travel through
it more easily. A good wire will also help to prevent inductive crossfire
(the spark jumping from one wire to another). Finally, an aftermarket
wire set really helps to dress up the engine bay a bit.
From what I've heard, the best wires you can buy are Magnecor. (They're
expensive, of course.) At the time I bought my wires, I didn't know
about Magnecor, but these wires are better than my stock ones, so
I can live with 'em. They seem to be a good compromise between
price and quality.
Don't expect much of a performance increase with this mod. If anything,
it might help the truck to start easier and run smoother. Some people
have claimed a gas mileage increase, but I didn't notice one with my truck.
This mod is more of a "preventative maintenance" type of mod.
If you're going to upgrade your coil, ignition, etc. it makes sense to
upgrade the wires too. Also, racers might want them just for the
peace of mind that every spark is getting to where it is supposed to.
Cost: This will vary widely, depending on what wires you get and where you
get them. I'd guess anywhere from $30-$150. I paid $65.95 for these
MSD 8.5mm SuperConductor wires from
Summit. If you're in the market
for a set of wires, you might want to check out the
Dakota Parts Resource. (also a part of the
DML Home Page)
Note: Prior to playing with the wires, it would probably be a good idea
to disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent possible damage to
the PCM (computer).
In Figure 1 at left are the SuperConductor wires
(part number 32189) and
in the clear plastic package are a set of MSD wire markers which come
with an installation tool. (I actually bought 2 of these, so I could
put 2 markers on each wire, one near the distributor and the other near
the plug boot.
Figure 2 at the right shows what my engine bay
looked like before the install, with the stock 7mm wires. (or is it 7.5mm?)
In Figure 3 at the left, I've lined up the MSD wires,
from longest to shortest. You can also see the white wire markers on the
2 orange installation tools more clearly than the one in the package
in Figure 1.
Next, I removed the stock wires. Obviously, it is very important to connect
each wire to the proper post on the distributor cap. If you have a
Factory Service Manual, there's a diagram in there to show you what
wires go where. Or, you can do what I did: as you take each wire off,
mark each the distributor cap with the appropriate wire marker as seen
in Figure 4 to the left and Figure 5
to the right.
As I removed the stock plug wires, I laid them out on the ground, and
placed the wire marker for the cylinder it came from on the ground next
to it. (Figure 6)
Next, I mixed and matched the MSD wires to the stock wires, until each
MSD wire was paired up with a stock wire which was about the same length.
Once the wires were paired up, I could install them. I put the markers
on the wires as I picked them up. After connecting the plug end to the spark
plug, I connected it to the appropriate place on the distributor cap.
(Moving the marker from the distributor cap post to the distributor end
of the wire in the process.) Figure 8 at
the left shows how the install tool works; you just put one end over
the wire, and push the marker off the end and onto the wire. No sweat.
to the right shows the wires all installed on the distributor cap. The
MSD boots are bigger than the stock boots, so its a tight squeeze,
but with a little experimenting, they all fit. If you're using the
wire markers to mark the distributor cap posts, you'll want to be
careful as you install the plug wires, or you'll knock them off. The
hardest part about this install was when I knocked one of the wire
markers off the distributor and spent half an hour trying to
fish the stupid thing off the top of the tranny. %*@#%#!! ;-)
Figure 10 to the left and Figure 11
to the right show what the installed wires look like. In these pictures,
I'm still using the stock wire loom, but I replaced that shortly afterwards
for a Mr. Gasket wire loom. I wasn't comfortable with the stock loom;
the wires were a tight squeeze, and I was afraid they'd pop out and
get burned on the exhaust manifolds. As soon as I get a chance, I'll
take some pics and include them on this page. The part number of
the loom is 9880, and I got it for $8.99 at my local Parts America.
Jon Steiger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
November 2, 1998
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