1. Check for over-advanced ignition timing. Too much spark advance can cause cylinder pressures to rise too rapidly. If resetting the timing to stock specifications doesn't help, retarding the timing a couple of degrees and/or recalibrating the distributor advance curve may be necessary to keep detonation under control.
2. Check your spark plugs. The wrong heat range plug can cause detonation as well as preignition. If the insulators around the electrodes on your plugs appear yellowish or blistered, they may be too hot for the application. Try the next heat range colder spark plug. Copper core spark plugs generally have a broader heat range than ordinary plugs, which lessens the danger of detonation.
3. Check for engine overheating. A hot engine is more likely to suffer spark knock than one which runs at normal temperature. Overheating can be caused by a low coolant level, a slipping fan clutch, too small a fan, too hot a thermostat, a bad water pump, or even a missing fan shroud. Poor heat conduction in the head and water jackets can be caused by a buildup of lime deposits or steam pockets (which can result from trapped air pockets).
4. Check for a lean fuel mixture. Rich fuel mixtures resist detonation while lean ones do not. Air leaks in vacuum lines, intake manifold gaskets, carburetor gaskets or the induction plumbing downstream of a fuel injection throttle can all admit extra air into the engine and lean out the fuel mixture. Lean mixtures can also be caused by dirty fuel injectors, carburetor jets clogged with fuel deposits or dirt, a restricted fuel filter or a weak fuel pump. If the fuel mixture becomes too lean, "lean misfire" may occur as the load on the engine increases. This can cause a hesitation, stumble and/or rough idle problem as well.
Hope this helps.
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