1 The correct functioning of the spark plugs of Fiat Punto is vital for the correct running and efficiency of the engine. It is essential that the plugs fitted are appropriate for the engine, if this type is used and the engine is in good condition, the spark plugs should not need attention between scheduled replacement intervals. Spark plug cleaning is rarely necessary, and should not be attempted unless specialised equipment is available, as damage can easily be caused to the firing ends.
2 To remove the plugs first remove the air cleaner assembly of Fiat Punto. If the marks on the original-equipment spark plug (HT) leads cannot be seen, mark the leads 1 to 4, to correspond to the cylinder the lead serves (No 1 cylinder is at the timing belt end of the engine of Fiat Punto). Pull the leads from the plugs by gripping the end fitting, not the lead, otherwise the lead connection may be fractured (see illustration).




Disconnecting the HT leads from the spark plugs on 8-valve engines


3 It is advisable to remove the dirt from the spark plug recesses using a clean brush, vacuum cleaner or compressed air before removing the plugs, to prevent dirt dropping into the cylinders.
4 Unscrew the plugs using a spark plug spanner, suitable box spanner or a deep socket and extension bar (see illustration). Keep the socket aligned with the spark plug - if it is forcibly moved to one side, the ceramic insulator may be broken off. As each plug is removed, examine it as follows.




Removing the spark plugs


5 Examination of the spark plugs of Fiat Punto wilt give a good indication of the condition of the engine. It the insulator nose of the spark plug is clean and white, with no deposits, this is indicative of a weak mixture or too hot a plug (a hot plug transfers heat away from the electrode slowly, a cold plug transfers heat away quickly).
6 If the tip and insulator nose are covered with hard black-looking deposits, this Indicates that the mixture is too rich. If the plug is black and oily, then it is likely that the engine is fairly worn, as well as the mixture being too rich.
7 If the insulator nose is covered with light tan to greyish-brown deposits, then the mixture is correct and it is likely that the engine of Fiat Punto is in good condition.
8 The spark plug electrode gap is of considerable importance as, if it is too large or too small, the size of the spark and Its efficiency will be seriously impaired. The gap should be set to the value given in the Specifications.
9 To set the gap, measure it with a feeler blade and then bend open, or closed, the outer plug electrode until the correct gap is achieved. The centre electrode should never be bent, as this may crack the insulator and cause plug failure, if nothing worse. If using feeler blades, the gap is correct when the appropriate-size blade is a firm sliding fit (see illustration).




Adjusting a spark plug electrode gap


10 Special spark plug electrode gap adjusting tools are available from most motor accessory shops, or from some spark plug manufacturers.
11 Before fitting the spark plugs of Fiat Punto, check that the threaded connector sleeves are tight, and that the plug exterior surfaces and threads are clean.
12 Remove the rubber hose (if used), and tighten the plug to the specified torque using the spark plug socket and a torque wrench. Refit the remaining spark plugs in the same manner.
13 Connect the HT leads in their correct order, and refit the air cleaner assembly.