The spark plugs in the Rolls Royce are in charge of generating the sparks that ignite the air-fuel mixture in the engine’s combustion chambers. Driving your Rolls Royce with faulty spark plugs can cause engine or catalytic converter damage, so one must act immediately before it’s too late.
Before we dive into the problems, signs, and solutions, let us go through a brief introduction to spark plugs to ensure a better understanding.
Spark Plugs – Introduction
As previously stated, the spark plug is a car’s component responsible for starting the combustion process in a gasoline engine. The spark plug has three primary layers. The outermost layer is a threaded metal shell that provides structural support. The side electrode is grounded because it is connected to the metal casing and is connected to this shell on one end. Inside the metal, the shell comprises a porcelain layer that serves as an insulator for the central electrode—the main electrode through which current flows are housed within this insulated porcelain casing. The porcelain casing completely electrically isolates this central electrode from the side electrode.
At one end, the spark plug is connected to a high-voltage source such as the magneto or the ignition coil. The other end is immersed in the combustion chamber with the two electrodes. A potential difference is created between two electrodes when current flows via the terminal into the main centre electrode. The gas mixture that fills the space between them acts as an insulator, preventing electricity from flowing beyond the centre electrode’s tip.
Different types of Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are significantly differentiated into two primary categories based on their operating temperatures and construction.
1. OPERATING TEMPERATURE
Based on the operating temperature, the spark plugs are classified into two types:
- Hot Spark Plug: A hot spark plug is one that operates at a higher temperature. It has a smaller ceramic area that insulates heat. A hot spark plug dissipates less combustion heat, allowing the tip and electrode to remain hotter for longer. This ensures that any deposit accumulation is burned off and does not remain hot for an extended period.
- Cold Spark Plug: Using a hot spark plug causes pre-ignition in high-performance engines that run hot by default. It can also lead to the melting of the tip in extreme cases. A cold spark plug is used in such cases. Because the ceramic insulation area is more prominent, it will dissipate more heat. On the other hand, it is more prone to deposit accumulation. For optimum performance, follow your owner’s manual’s instructions and choose the correct type of plug for your engine.
Spark plugs are further classified according to the material used on the electrode ends. They are classified into four types:
- Copper-Nickel: The most basic types of spark plugs are copper-nickel. Copper is very weak on its own and will melt off due to engine heat; the center electrode, in this case, is made of a copper-nickel alloy. Even though nickel is added to strengthen the plug, these are the weakest types on the market. They must also be made with a larger diameter and thus require more voltage to operate.
- Single Platinum: These plugs have a small platinum disc on the centre electrode’s tip. Because a platinum tip is exponentially more potent than other types of plug and lasts for a longer period of time. They are also comparatively less prone to debris accumulation.
- Double Platinum: The platinum tips on both the centre and side electrodes of these plugs are double platinum. Because the second spark is wasted, this spark plug can only be helpful if your vehicle has a waste spark ignition distributor.
- Iridium: These are the best spark plugs on the market. The centre electrode’s tip is made of Iridium, the most potent metal among nickel, copper, and platinum. Therefore, they are the least susceptible to deposits and damage. Iridium plugs are comparatively more expensive than the other types, but you get what you pay for.
Common Spark Plug Problems That Can Damage Rolls Royce
1. Reduced Visibility of Brake Lights
Dim brake lights do not immediately strike car owners as a problem. Drivers may even be able to avoid this issue during the day.
However, because visibility is reduced at night, drivers must rely on brake lights the majority of the time. When they’re dim, it’s difficult for drivers behind to tell whether or not the car has stopped.
As expected, this can lead to dangerous nighttime collisions because drivers behind will be unaware when the brakes are applied.
While this may not appear to be a significant issue, it can potentially result in life-threatening highway accidents. The possibilities for chaos are virtually limitless.
2. Improper airbag deployment positioning
Airbags are intended to protect car occupants from potentially fatal injuries. As a result, we consider any airbag problem to be severe. Few issues are as dangerous as an airbag malfunction.
Several car models, including Rolls-Royce models, have been recalled due to airbag malfunction. Following the recall, sales of affected models were halted.
The Phantom is a well-known Rolls-Royce model that suffers from this issue. BMW recalled some of these vehicles due to airbag assembly issues. The main reason is that the curtain bags in some models may have needed to be made appropriately.
This does not necessarily imply that the airbags would not deploy in the event of a collision. Instead, they will most likely deploy incorrectly. This is due to the fact that they may not be appropriately positioned.
3. The footage from the rear-view camera may be obscured.
The rear-view camera has become a common feature in modern automobiles. So much so that they are now a legal requirement in automobiles. This is understandable given how much easier and safer they make reversing and parking.
This issue has resulted in the recall of over 440 Rolls-Royce Phantoms. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan may also have rear-view camera issues, which are very expensive to fix.
Under certain conditions, the footage from the rear-view camera may not be visible to the driver in these models.
4. Ignition Coil Fault
The ignition coil, also known as the spark coil, is obviously a component of a vehicle’s ignition system.
What is less obvious is that a faulty ignition coil can lead to more expensive and complex issues. That is why a defective ignition coil must be replaced as soon as possible, or you risk damaging your catalytic converter or engine.
Ignition coils boost the low battery voltage to thousands of volts. This amplified voltage is then delivered to the spark plugs, where it ignites the fuel-burning process.
Signs of Spark Plug Issues in Rolls Royce
Misfires cause the check engine light to illuminate.
When one or more of your Rolls Royce spark plugs begin to fail or have failed, the engine will misfire, and the check engine light will illuminate in the instrument cluster. To perform additional diagnostics, connect an OBD2 scanner to your vehicle. Any error code between P0300 and P0312 indicates that there are misfires in the engine. However, it is possible that there are no error codes. In case of doubt, inspect the spark plugs and replace them if they are defective.
The engine will lose power if the spark plugs do not generate enough sparks. Pressing the accelerator in your Rolls Royce may make you hesitate to accelerate and take longer to reach your desired speed.
Rough idle is another sign of faulty spark plugs in a Rolls Royce. The engine will not run smoothly when idling, and you may notice vibrations in the cabin.
Starting out is difficult.
The engine will take longer to turn over and start when the spark plugs fail. Your Phantom’s ignition system will have to work much harder to ignite the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chambers.
Spark Plug Replacement in Rolls Royce
If the spark plugs in your Rolls Royce fail, you must replace them. You can either go to a workshop nearby that will replace the spark plugs of your Rolls Royce, and you can do it yourself by following a few simple steps.
To avoid burn injuries, make sure the engine is cold before starting.
- Disconnect the ignition coils’ electrical connectors.
- Take out the ignition coils.
- Using compressed air, remove any dirt or debris from the spark plug tubes.
- Remove the spark plugs with a ratchet and a spark plug socket.
- Using a gap gauge, check the electrode gap on new spark plugs. Check that the gap matches the specifications listed in your Rolls Royce Phantom’s owner’s manual.
- Replace the spark plugs by hand and tighten them with a torque wrench.
- Replace the ignition coils as well as their electrical connectors.
Tips for maintaining spark plugs
- You must select the most viable type of spark plug for your vehicle before replacing one.
- While using a spark plug socket wrench, carefully remove the spark plug from its terminal.
- The Spark Gap between the two electrodes must be significant. The spark will be fragile if the gap is too small. If there is enough gap, there may be no spark at all. So consult your owner’s manual or the internet to determine the ideal spark gap. Or get your Rolls Royce for service at your nearest service centre.