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Strange plug fouling?


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At one stage I was having a very irritating problem with acceleration, pretty much running on 3.5 cylinders :P So about 10,000km ago I replaced the plugs and wires and noticed that the cyl4 wire had a massive amount of white corrosion on the distributor cap side. It ran fine for quite a while but slowly the poor acceleration returned. So about 2,000km ago I replaced the distributor cap (all 4 electrodes were heavily worn) and rotor. This didn't really cure the problem and has continued to get worse. The other day I pulled the wires again and noticed that the cyl4 wire has some corrosion again on the distributor cap side, which I cleaned off, but no improvement in performance.

What might cause this corrosion on this single cylinder? Would poor compression cause this? Would changing the stock plugs to their iridium / platinum equivalents help?

Also, how might I go about testing an external coil on my 5sfe (ie: bolted to the firewall)? I have a multimeter but it appears as though some disassembly will be required. Does anyone know how much the coil would be to replace?

Thanks very much in advance!

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