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Dead Glowhead Rehab?

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Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  wha-tah-hey on Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:27 pm

This may have been discussed before but I've no idea what search term(s) might find it so I'll relate my experience.
I've brought at least 3 (1 Cox .049, 2 Gilbert .11) dead glowheads back to life by gently poking around on the elements with the tip of a scribe.
I admit I've no idea what I've actually done to bring about the resurrection but they run fine again.
Anyone else had any such success?
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Re: Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  pkrankow on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:10 pm

Assuming the plug lights:

Common rehab is to soak in carburetor cleaner a few minutes then shake out and hook up power to burn the element clean. This is gentle enough to do to an old but otherwise good plug without worry.

If the plug doesn't light then there is more problem. The connections are broken somewhere.

The element is made of platinum plated wire (I don't know the base metal) if the platinum is coated or excessively contaminated then the above treatment will clean the element. If the platinum is gone then the plug may light but still won't work.

If there are "taters" from silicone additives then the residue is more or less glass, inert, and unable to be chemically stripped without damaging the element further. It is a good thing there are sources of modern production plugs.

Phil
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Re: Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  wha-tah-hey on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:21 pm

Hi Phil -

My point is that these were dead - no glow at all - and they came back with just the gentle poking with the scribe.
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Re: Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  pkrankow on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:37 pm

Then the connections at, probably the deep end which is the "top" of the element, was damaged and they have been temporarily restored.  The result may not be good enough for multiple engine runs.  

It is possible that the contact point heated enough to "weld" prior to the entire wire glowing, so it may last for multiple runs. I wouldn't bank on it but it is worth trying them.

Phil
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Re: Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  wha-tah-hey on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:46 pm

pkrankow wrote:Then the connections at, probably the deep end which is the "top" of the element, was damaged and they have been temporarily restored.  The result may not be good enough for multiple engine runs.  

It is possible that the contact point heated enough to "weld" prior to the entire wire glowing, so it may last for multiple runs.  I wouldn't bank on it but it is worth trying them.

Phil

Right, "worth trying" is my thought Phil, certainly for bench running.
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Re: Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  Oldenginerod on Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:39 pm

If the coils were somehow gummed together with conductive residue maybe poking around has broken up the residue, causing all current to flow through the element again. Just thinkin'
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Re: Dead Glowhead Rehab?

Post  balogh on Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:16 am

I have also cured a few COX heads this way but remember if both ends of the filament finally break, then you may end up with a destroyed cylinder.

I once had both ends break and the filament stayed in the cylinder with the engine still running for some time. When the engine did not restart and I checked the glow head, there were 2 things I saw immediately: The filament was gone, and so was the coked castor from the piston top that was grit-blasted to metal-clean by the filament shaking in the cylinder before the engine spat it out through the exhaust port...had it been jammed between the piston top and the exhaust opening, that engine would have been dead immediately.
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