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With their heavy insulation, grounded barriers, and strong rip-prevention weaves often built into the casing, spark plug wires can be a royal pain. There aren’t many strippers that can easily handle the tough casings, but there are plenty of options for crimpers.

The unit above retails through Summit Racing Equipment and is manufactured by Taylor. The design doesn’t look terribly robust, but the $16 asking price isn’t bad. If that doesn’t seem like a decent value, there’s a pair of simple cast-aluminum blocks made by MSD which contain a jig for stripping plug wires with a razor. Put the two pieces between a vise’s jaws with a terminal in between, and they turn into a crimper. And that little doodad runs for only $7, which is close to cheap-ass tool territory.

The high-end option comes in the form of dies for interchangeable-jaw crimpers. The exact model will depend on the crimper you own, but they usually retail for around $30. This model [What’s This?], from SG Tool Aid, is a good example.

Taylor Plug Wire crimper [Summit Racing Equipment]
MSD Stripper/Crimper [Summit Racing Equipment]

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Modern automotive ignition systems use coil packs for every cylinder, shortening wire runs, increasing spark energy, and improving timing. However, coil-on-plug ignition systems, with their short or non-existent wires, have rendered some proven spark plug tests obsolete. It’s easy to test for spark, but Thexton’s 458 plug tester can also tell you how strong a spark you’re getting.

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