Spark plug wire chowdered - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-05-2019, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Pleasant Hill, Ca.
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Spark plug wire chowdered

A couple of weeks ago I was running along at low RPM and the bike, out of the blue, backfired into the air box. People here told me it was a low RPM lean running issue. Since that cough, it's been backfiring a lot at low RPM. Someone suggested I may have blown the boot off the throttle body. So I took the tank off and, sure enough, the rear cylinder boot was blown off just enough that a small crack was showing. I noticed that the clamp was as tight as it would go, so I put a smaller clamp on it and cranked it down.

I noticed something very strange though. My rear spark plug wire is CHOWDERED. The high tension wire is even bare as can be seen in the photo. As I look around, I see that the plastic wire cover is also chewed up, and now I'm starting to think that these wires have, literally, been chewed by some critter!

My question is, and I suspect that the answer is yes, do I have to replace the whole coil assembly? I suspect yes because I don't see a part number for the wire itself.

Thanks for any advice.

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Last edited by divebobber; 11-05-2019 at 08:29 PM.
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-05-2019, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2018
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I've not been that deep into my bike yet, but all of the old cars had plug and coil wires with plugs on both ends. If this wire disappears into your coil with out any visible plug, sounds like it is one piece. You could give it a tug to see what happens. Replacing the wire does not seem to be an option - you have to do it so if you damage the coil because you pulled the wire out when it was not removable, no foul. I'd look around for other critter damage and put mouse traps around your bike. Unless you have pets.
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-05-2019, 08:37 PM
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Location: Phoenix AZ
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While you are waiting for the part to come in you can cover the exposed wire with a thick layer of silicone adhesive for insulation. also cover the exposed wires in the wire harness.


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post #4 of 18 Old 11-05-2019, 09:09 PM
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Location: Northern Calif
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Quote: I have to replace the whole coil assembly?
If a new coil is a hardship (temporarily or long term) you can slit a high temp rubber hose to shield the wire. Reseal the slit with high temp silicone adhesive.

Weather you replace or repair, you will have to change the status of your critters.
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Current Rides: '14 DL1000 ADV, '06 SV650N, '93 900CBRR, '74 Ducati 750GT ['02 BMW K1200rs SOLD Aug '17]
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-06-2019, 01:23 AM
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Location: north east, Buffalo NY area
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All good advise. I would use E6000 to rebuild the spark cable insulation. Once you put several layers on it should be fine. You can confirm by spaying it down with water and see if it runs properly or not.
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-06-2019, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by divebobber View Post
My rear spark plug wire is CHOWDERED. The high tension wire is even bare as can be seen in the photo. As I look around, I see that the plastic wire cover is also chewed up, and now I'm starting to think that these wires have, literally, been chewed by some critter!
Are you the original owner of the bike? When was the last time you had the tank off? In your photo, just south of the sparkplug wire, there is a blue spot. That looks like a rub mark, and not from a critter. Any chance something is rubbing on your wires, resulting in that condition?

The DIY silicone fix is a good idea. There is actually silicone hose at AutoZone that looks like heater hose which you could slit and slide over as a guard. I did the silicone repair once to a VW Golf that I owned. It ran great except when it rained, at which time it would simply die. One night (do it in the dark because it helps to see the sparks) with no rain, I ran the engine and then took a spray bottle of water to it. You only need a slight mist. My coil covering looked like it had been shattered based on all of the wayward electrical sparking, yet you couldn't see anything in the daylight. A slathering coat of silicone helped, but I eventually replaced the coil.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-06-2019, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Pasadna area
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Welcome to being rat/mouse feed. They've done that the wiring on my 4Runner. Repair the wires as best you can. To maybe fend off the hairy biters I soaked a few cotton balls in peppermint oil, it's cheap at Wally Mart, and put around under the hood. I made sachets of cheese cloth. They haven't been back chewing on the wires since. One had tried to eat it's way through the air filter too. Thankfully air filters for 4 runners are cheap.
I've never noticed rats or mice evidence in my garage which had access spots for them. The 4 runner is parked in the driveway but seldom used.
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-06-2019, 11:12 AM
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There are usually plenty of coils cheap on fleaBay; they don't go bad very often.

They are made in one piece, and obviously the spark plug boot is a very specific shape with a seal, so replacing the whole thing is about the only option.

That said, on some vintage bikes we've found that the wire can often be unscrewed from the coil if you can get through the sealer or glue they use and get it to move. Inside the coil you'll often find there's a pointy little threaded bit, just like the end of a wood screw, that's meant to sort of thread into and bit into the core of the wire.

Whether Vee coils are made like this, I have no idea.

Also,FWIW, folks on vintage forums have had very mixed luck (usually poor) with salvaging damaged spark plug wires using coverings, silicone, etc. Worth a shot for a few days, I suppose, if it's your only vehicle.

As far as how the damage happened, I'm not 100% certain it was critters. Usually the tooth marks are more apparent? But maybe not. Really hard to say from one photo, but definitely check the surrounding parts and make sure the tank mounts, etc. are in the correct positions to make 1,000% sure nothing was rubbing and the tank is held up in the correct position. Those damn stupid rubber blocks on the sides, for example, just love to disappear; mine are duct-taped to the frame.

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post #9 of 18 Old 11-06-2019, 06:17 PM
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On my 03 the wires will unscrew from the coil as bwringer described but I'm not sure about the boot end. If you have mouse trouble, you might want to put some 1/4 inch hail screen over your air intake to keep them out. I've had my air box filled with acorns in the past.
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-06-2019, 09:17 PM
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You didn't say which model/year your bike was but there are some used parts on the forum here.

2012 DL650
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