Ignition system upgrade

We'll start with the ignition system of gasoline cars, and logically break the content of ignition system down into easy to read chunks.

With the development of automobile technology, the ignition system is basically divided into conventional ignition system and electronic ignition system. In fact, these two ignition system are still used in automobiles. The two ignition system work on roughly the same principle and operate in the same circuit. The only difference is whether the type of ignition is mechanical or computerized.

Several important components of the ignition system are mainly the power (battery), ignition coil, distributor, spark plug, ignition switch and control circuit. For us, these components do not need to fully understand, as part of modified cars, we focus on ignition coils and spark plug, the other components are basically controlled by the ECU, so we have to upgrade ECU and no other choice. By the way, fuel injection and ignition timing is controlled by ECU. In the later we will have a special time to talk about the flame-out. This fully demonstrates the importance of the  ignition system.

First, regarding the upgrade and modification of the ignition system in terms of policies and regulations. To put it simply, these parts are fragile, so when there are problems with these wearing parts, they must be replaced. While the replaced parts do not be stipulated to replace the original parts. 

Second, in terms of upgrade requirements, the upgrade and modification of ignition system actually stems from the pursuit of high performance power and stable power output. The true function of  ignition system is to provide enough voltage at any engine speed and under different engine loads at right time, so that the spark plug produces enough sparks to ignite the mixture in the cylinder, and engine can achieve optimum combustion efficiency.

The modern ignition timing device is controlled by engine management computer. The computer collects the signals of engine speed, air intake manifold pressure, air flow, throttle position, battery voltage, water temperature and detonation, to calculate the optimal ignition timing advance angle, and then sends the ignition signal to control the ignition timing. Therefore, you must fully understand the above paragraphs. After understanding, you will understand the importance of modifying the ignition system, which is the guarantee of the stable power output of vehicle.

Upgrades of several important component to the ignition system

Speaking of upgrades of several important component of the ignition system, which include spark plugs, high tension wires and ignition coils. We will briefly describe each component here, and then I will describe each component in detail in the following article.

The upgrade of spark plugs is mainly in the following aspects: replace the spark plugs with precious metal electrode materials, and select the spark plugs with appropriate calorific value. Spark plug replacement is engine necessary maintenance program, we can use platinum electrodes or iridium spark plug electrode materials, according to the requirements of the engine performance change and the running speed, to decide whether to use in spark plugs and Multi-electrode spark plug. The same calorific value of spark plug should match the engine. As for how to choose a suitable spark plug for your car to upgrade, it depends on your driving habits and upgrade direction to collocate carefully. In the following article, we will write a separate article to introduce it in detail, please calm down.

High tension wire - The ignition system of an engine has a high tension wire to supply the spark plug. High tension wire, also known as high tension lead, transmits high voltage current from the high voltage coil to the spark plug. A group of excellent high tension wires must have two characteristics: One is the minimum current loss.  The other is to avoid electromagnetic interference in the high-voltage current transmitting process as far as possible, so the high-voltage wires need to be modified.

In fact, we should pay attention to those when choosing the high tension wire, namely high voltage damping wire. Because the electromagnetic interference caused by high-voltage current will affect the normal operation of many electronic systems during transmission. Therefore, ordinary high voltage conductors will be designed to have a certain resistance to avoid electromagnetic interference. Because of the limitation of high-voltage wire packaging materials, the resistance of high tension wire is designed for 5 k Ω to prevent electromagnetic interference, so as to reduce the transmission efficiency of wire, reduce the current loss, so the high tension wire need to be modified.

In ignition system, the ignition coil is the conversion element that provides the ignition energy (high voltage arc or spark) to ignite the mixture of air and fuel in the engine cylinder. Based on the principle of electromagnetic induction, the ignition coil can be regarded as a special pulse transformer, which converts 12V low voltage to 25000V or more higher.  The modification of ignition coil has the following aspects.

The ignition system of capacitor discharge is improved, most of which are induction coil discharge systems used in the original factory. The disadvantage of this system is that the electromagnetic conversion takes a long time. When the engine is running at high speed, the spark energy will be weakened due to the lack of conversion time, resulting in the loss of vehicle power. The capacitor discharge in ignition system use the ignition interval to store the ignition energy in the electric field of the capacitor and releases it once during ignition. Therefore, the improved capacitor discharge in ignition system can produce more ignition energy and more longer duration of ignition than the conventional ignition system, and improve the power performance of engine.


The electronic ignition system is mainly composed of multiple sensors, ECU and igniter (equipped with independent ignition coil). Some vehicle models even omit the distributor. The ignition timing is directly controlled by ECU, so the ignition energy is higher, the ignition timing is more accurate, and without high tension wire. If we want to modify this system, we need to start with the ECU and even replace the whole system. If you're not going to modify your car, replacing the high performance spark plugs is ok.

Finally, it is worth noting that the ignition system after modification may face the problem of insufficient fuel supply, especially at high speed. If it cannot be solved, the engine may overheat. Therefore, the fuel supply system must be appropriately increased according to the grade of modification of ignition system, so the modification of a car is not to modify one part, it often involves the modification of many parts. We have to think about how to make it compatible with the other parts.

James Smith        July 27, 2020

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