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SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before Topic is solved

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on Volvo XC90s. The XC90 proved to be very popular, and very good for Volvo's sales numbers, since its introduction in model year 2003 (North America).
GreenMagicMan
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GreenMagicMan

SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before

Post by GreenMagicMan » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:27 am

Hi
2007 XC90 3.2 6cyl AWD
Approx 176K miles.
Unknown service history.
Car was throwing 3 separate cylinder misfire codes (CEL) and a generic.
Car also has sticking thermostat and code for that.

We got a new thermostat and housing thanks to help with where to get from here :)
Have yet to install that.
Last night,we replaced the spark plugs AND did the spark plug test tool on each coil.
All coils sparked at similar rates. 3 had a (weakish) orange / yellow spark. 3 had a tiny bit of blue in the spark. None had a strong blue flame. Is that important?
(My superbike shot strong blue flames on all 4 of it's leads with same tester awhile back).
We put in 6 new NGK Iridium ILFR6B spark plugs that shop said was for our specific Volvo.
They have single tip.
What we pulled out were "FoMoCo" LFR6D spark plugs with three tips. They were in bad shape. Excessive deposits, corrosion etc...
....and unfortunately the 4th cylinder from the left (I assume that's cylinder 4) was completely soaked / bathed in oil (!)
I know that's probably a blown piston ring there - or maybe a leaking valve ?? If that, it will not be fixed, for that I would run the car until engine death and scrap the car for parts.
Is it likely a valve cover gasket or spark plug O ring seal could also cause oil on the spark plug?
It IS right behind the oil filler on top of the engine. and there IS evidence of very sloppy oil leaks when it was filled in the past right over that cylinder. Any hope it could be that?
The coil itself was not bathed in oil, or the coil side tip of the plug. It was past the washer where it's inside the cylinder where it was completely drenched in oil. FWIW, shining a bright light into the cylinder revealed a normal looking (not oil sludged up) piston top.

BUT I would like to get the car running the best it can.
On startup it stumbled so hard with the new plugs. it ran horribly, worse than before.

Are the NGK plug / types the issue? My friend spotted one of the 4 wires to cylinder 2 was bare / exposed with no insulation. We wrapped that up with electrical tape - I figured it probably needs shielding. I do have some proper electrical wire shielding - should I install that?

It was late last night, 32F (0 C) and we weren't dressed for the cold and had to stop.

Sad this car is running so bad.

GreenMagicMan
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GreenMagicMan

Re: SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before

Post by GreenMagicMan » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:07 pm

The "engineering design" on these cars is a joke. The brake design on these cars suck.
Last edited by GreenMagicMan on Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

GreenMagicMan
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:07 am
Year and Model: '07 XC90 3.2 AWD SI6
Location: NH
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GreenMagicMan

Re: SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before

Post by GreenMagicMan » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:12 pm

Also, there's also some sort of upper motor mount with a cover to the passenger side (front) in the engine bay. Seems there is an aluminum cover that just rattles around and freely moves. Can't be good while running unless this is an idiotic design.

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pgill
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pgill

Re: SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before

Post by pgill » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:13 pm

I own two 3.2s and they both run flawlessly

If I were in your position I would start with denso iridium spark plugs

Denso 5344 IKH20 Iridium Power - single fine tip (This is what I use for both of my 3.2's a 2008 and a 2010)

or

Denso 4704 IKH20TT Iridium TT - twin tip (This is what my friend is using and what I will be switching to when I change plugs next)

Both of these plugs have a larger gap as compared to the NGKs that you are using

If you read the Denso literature they developed the Twin Tip plugs to minimize flame quenching

In the later years Volvo switched to the Twin tip or Pin to Pin style Denso spark plugs

The fuel and ignition system in the 3.2 is designed by Denso

Keep it simple get some Denso plugs or if you want to pay more get Denso plugs in a Volvo box.

Good luck

Paul
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GreenMagicMan

GreenMagicMan
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:07 am
Year and Model: '07 XC90 3.2 AWD SI6
Location: NH
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GreenMagicMan

Re: SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before  Topic is solved

Post by GreenMagicMan » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:47 pm

Problem solved!
Thanks you Paul!!!!!!!
We did get the TT Denso plugs you mentioned. It's now back to how it was before... it has it's problems but nothing like the nightmare that occurred when we switched the plugs to the NGKs.
We also kept the .040 gap that the twin tip plugs came with rather than try to gap to stock .028

It was a little surging so to speak, kind of like a harmonic pattern - like a 60 cycle hum - on the idle for at least 5-7 minutes in cold 39F weather. But it eventually settle into a purring perfect idle about 600 rpms.
The tach was not surging during the earlier at startup harmonic surging slight but easily detectable whatever that was.
I'm also going to post up something else here: a strange looking silver aluminum looks like an upper engine mount in the front TOP passenger side of the engine. There is something loose in it that rattles. I have no idea what it's for. I've searched the googles and cannot find what it is. I can say it's not an upper engine mount based on my searches. (I hope this has nothing to do with timing up the upper valves - can't see how it would).

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pgill
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pgill

Re: SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before

Post by pgill » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:20 am

That's great news!!!

Let us know what other issues you fix.

Take care

Paul

XCAndy
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XCAndy

Re: SPARK / ignition issues, changed plugs to NGK - worse. Was FoMoCo tri tip sparks before

Post by XCAndy » Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:22 pm

Good to know... I'll be sticking with the Genuine Volvo plugs. Can't go wrong with the FCP Lifetime Replacement; despite the premium vs aftermarket.

There is a torque rod contained inside of the silver bracket you mentioned. Could be worn out. It connects to the block and the shock tower. Check out Volvo p/n 30680708.

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