JBA Shorty Problem? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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JBA Shorty Problem?

Hey all, hoping to hear from anybody who has the JBA shorties on a 289 or 302 sort motor. Realized today that I have a very simple problem: replacing spark plugs. The number 7 spark plug seems impossible to replace without taking off the headers on the driver side, which is obviously something I don't want to do every time I change spark plugs. The number 8 cylinder is also very difficult but I could manage it with one of those jointed socket thingies.

Is there a tool that I should be using that I don't know about? I'm really confused here.

See pics! Thanks in advance.

IMG_0373_LI.jpg
IMG_0374.jpg

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 05:11 AM
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I have JBA shorty headers on my 302 and one spark plug on the drivers side is difficult to access as you say. I was determined not to have to remove the header just to remove a spark plug.

I was able to slide my spark plug socket over the spark plug, but there was no room to plug a ratchet or anything else into it.

I ended up drilling a hole through the end of the socket, and using a metal rod slid into the hole, I could tighten the spark plug. I would hand tighten it as much as possible first and then give it a bit more using the metal rod. As spark plugs do not have to be done up very tight, I found the metal rod worked fine. I drilled holes through the socket in several places, so there was always a hole visible at any rotation of the spark plug.

Alternatively, if your spark plug socket has a hex end on it, then you might be able to get a ring spanner ( sorry wrench ) on the end once it is slid over the spark plug.

Jeremy.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:18 AM
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Interesting.. have you tried to fit a plug lead yet? Looks tight for space indeed..I've heard of people needing a shorter plug..

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watto1 View Post
Interesting.. have you tried to fit a plug lead yet? Looks tight for space indeed..I've heard of people needing a shorter plug..

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The plug lead goes on fine and clears the header. I use silicone leads with silicone ends and they have been fine. I am just using regular spark plugs.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:50 AM
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You could try one of the spark plug sockets that have hex flats on the drive end, and use a ratcheting box wrench on that.

'65 A-code coupe, T-10 4-speed, 8" 3.25 limited slip
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 07:49 AM
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I ran into the same problem on my JBA 1650 headers. I solved the problem by modifying a spark plug socket. I cut the length and ground the square ratchet drive hole until round (to clear the insulator). I also cut an old box end wrench to enable a slightly longer throw in a couple of tight areas. You can buy a similar tool off of the Snap-on truck if you want to spend the big bucks ($37.25)!
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Last edited by rhutt; 07-03-2019 at 07:54 AM.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 08:50 AM
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I do it with a wrench similar to rhutt. One of my spark plug suckets in the tool box could be used without modification. Believe it's a 3/8" sucket. But the actual placement of the plugs may also vary a little between different brands of heads. I use 45 degree boots and ignition wires runs over the center of the valve covers like stock. Works perfect with the JBAs.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 09:57 AM
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I hate to hijack this post.. I too have a set of JBA 1650 headers I plan to use on my 66 Coupe; what style spark plug wire ends are you guys using?

Straight?
135 degree?
90 degree?

Thanks, dm289
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 10:11 AM
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Summit sells an SLP Performance socket for $23.95.
I use 90* MSD boots with no interference issues.
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'66 GT Fastback, 302, Edelbrock Top End, Sniper EFI/Aeromotive, MSD, JBA Headers & 2.5" Exhaust, T5Z, Currie 3.55 Trac-Loc
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 10:37 AM
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I use a hex socket like others, further, I keep a 6-8" length of tubing that fits snugly over the porcelain on the plug and use that to spin the plugs to start the threads and thread it as far as as you can.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRFox View Post
I have JBA shorty headers on my 302 and one spark plug on the drivers side is difficult to access as you say. I was determined not to have to remove the header just to remove a spark plug.

I was able to slide my spark plug socket over the spark plug, but there was no room to plug a ratchet or anything else into it.

I ended up drilling a hole through the end of the socket, and using a metal rod slid into the hole, I could tighten the spark plug. I would hand tighten it as much as possible first and then give it a bit more using the metal rod. As spark plugs do not have to be done up very tight, I found the metal rod worked fine. I drilled holes through the socket in several places, so there was always a hole visible at any rotation of the spark plug.

Alternatively, if your spark plug socket has a hex end on it, then you might be able to get a ring spanner ( sorry wrench ) on the end once it is slid over the spark plug.

Jeremy.
Okay, this is what I suspected. People modify sockets and access it from the bottom or top with a wrench because there's no way to get a ratchet in there. Thanks for the input!

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watto1 View Post
Interesting.. have you tried to fit a plug lead yet? Looks tight for space indeed..I've heard of people needing a shorter plug..

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I have indeed tried my old spark plug on it. There's no way the original style will clear the header-- it can be put on, but the rubber sleeve sits against the header. Obviously not good at operating temperatures, so I'll have to look for a spark plug set with sharper elbows at the end or something similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRFox View Post
The plug lead goes on fine and clears the header. I use silicone leads with silicone ends and they have been fine. I am just using regular spark plugs.
Could I get a picture of yours? I'm not having the same experience as you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen_wilson View Post
You could try one of the spark plug sockets that have hex flats on the drive end, and use a ratcheting box wrench on that.
Yeah, that sounds like what I'll have to do. Thanks for pitching in!

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Aftermarket A/C

And not nearly enough time

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhutt View Post
I ran into the same problem on my JBA 1650 headers. I solved the problem by modifying a spark plug socket. I cut the length and ground the square ratchet drive hole until round (to clear the insulator). I also cut an old box end wrench to enable a slightly longer throw in a couple of tight areas. You can buy a similar tool off of the Snap-on truck if you want to spend the big bucks ($37.25)!
Wow, that's expensive for a socket. I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westmus View Post
I do it with a wrench similar to rhutt. One of my spark plug suckets in the tool box could be used without modification. Believe it's a 3/8" sucket. But the actual placement of the plugs may also vary a little between different brands of heads. I use 45 degree boots and ignition wires runs over the center of the valve covers like stock. Works perfect with the JBAs.
Interesting, I'll have to give my spark plug sockets another look. Didn't seem to be able to clear the header yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dm289 View Post
I hate to hijack this post.. I too have a set of JBA 1650 headers I plan to use on my 66 Coupe; what style spark plug wire ends are you guys using?


Straight?
135 degree?
90 degree?

Thanks, dm289

Westmus just mentioned he uses 45 degree boots without problems, but I was pretty sure that wasn't going to work for me. If you have an old set, you could try that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhutt View Post
Summit sells an SLP Performance socket for $23.95.
I use 90* MSD boots with no interference issues.
I think 90 degrees is the way I'll have to go. Thanks for the input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dobrostang View Post
I use a hex socket like others, further, I keep a 6-8" length of tubing that fits snugly over the porcelain on the plug and use that to spin the plugs to start the threads and thread it as far as as you can.
That's a good idea. Thanks for the advice.

289
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Bench Seat
Power Steering
All-around discs
Aftermarket A/C

And not nearly enough time

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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 01:08 PM
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Just want to add that what I called "45 degree" boots are the same as the 135 degree. The wire goes up nearly vertical from the plug with these. While the wire will be angled with 90 degree boots. It's mostly about how you want it to look.
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex1965 View Post
Hey all, hoping to hear from anybody who has the JBA shorties on a 289 or 302 sort motor. Realized today that I have a very simple problem: replacing spark plugs. The number 7 spark plug seems impossible to replace without taking off the headers on the driver side, which is obviously something I don't want to do every time I change spark plugs. The number 8 cylinder is also very difficult but I could manage it with one of those jointed socket thingies.

Is there a tool that I should be using that I don't know about? I'm really confused here.

See pics! Thanks in advance.

Attachment 713912
Attachment 713914
I was present when that particular header design was prototyped (on a '66 Mustang GT).
That tube is NOT where I recall, so I just looked at the prints. (I used to work at JBA
back in the day when they did in-house production, before selling it off to Pertronix)
Apparently someone has changed that production jig. Same deal on the 1650-1. Tube
location is changed from the original placement. See original catalog page below.
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File Type: jpg IMG_1864.JPG (124.0 KB, 10 views)

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