General spark plug comments and questions

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by Springthing, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    So not all too long ago I was sitting at my local mechanic getting new distributor cap and rotor put on the Suburban. I need to get the wires changed soon and figured I may as well get the plugs done as well.

    I asked Mike (mechanic shop owner guy) about the Pulstar plugs. He said he'd never used them and didn't know much about them. I told him the hype they have on their ads about increase in horsepower, better fuel burn, etc etc.

    He then said (paraphrasing) 'here's the thing... when it comes to igniting fuel I don't see how you can improve all too much on a current system set up. Fuel (gas) ignites at a certain temperature. Once that spark hits the fuel/air mixture it's up to the actual fuel/air mixture to take over from there. It ignites. That's all the plugs do. So if you have a plug that sparks at 1 billion degrees, it won't do any more good than just the initial igniting of the fuel...'

    blah blah blah... basically what he was saying was that a good plug is a good plug that brings a good consistent spark to the entire system. He wasn't sure on how much more effective the $20 plugs would be from the $5 ones.

    Soooo... what does anyone/everyone think?

    What makes a good plug..?.. why not stick with stock AC Delco? What, in your mind, makes Plug A better than Plug B? Have you seen the Pulstar plugs and/or have you used them before? What's your general perception? Did you honestly gain any MPGs using the $20 plugs?
  2. ct9a

    ct9a Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I personally stick with Denso or NGK, and no, $20 plugs don't always make a good plug.

    Bosch is a perfect example of too much money for crappy performance. I really did loose MPG with those and in some motors (Honda and Dodge) I had them start missing after 5-6k.

    In my mind, a good plug doesn't just give better mileage, it holds up against the abuse of daily driving and weekend warrioring.
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Your mechanics pretty much hit on the head.
    You can make the plugs work better but the same gain can be achieved for $20 plugs or $5 plugs. Indexing the plugs and using thicker wires will help.
  4. Blakjax98

    Blakjax98 Member

    Please click one of the Quick Reply icons in the posts above to activate Quick Reply.
  5. unplugged

    unplugged Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Ditto. I like ND, and NGK. I am currently running Autolite platinums. They aren't too expensive and platinum is more durable under fire. I put in a set of 8mm silicone suppressor wires with the metal wrap. Too much noise on the am radio so next time I'm going back to suppressor only.
  6. JMoney02

    JMoney02 Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Spark Plugs? Stock plugs will perform at there designed specifications for a stock engine whose only function in street life is to get you where you are going. Your Mechanic is right to that point, using the plug that owner manual calls for will serve its purpose quite well. Aftermarket that are on the same level will also provide the same benefits as your OEM plugs. The choice is yours.
    Now whenwe get to the meat of the matter....Upgraded to HP,Blowers, Turbo Chargers, Cams/Lifters,
    Headers, Pistoons and you get hte idea, you will need a higher output plug to accommodate the performance change and upgrade, especially if you also upgrade to higher fuel octane, a higher rate plug will provide the necessary firing to help with these modifications. You stock motor, driving habits, the type of fuel(low/High Octane), maintenance consistencies will help increase your gas mileage, not a single spark plug, he is only going to fire your truck at the output he was designed for, for that vehicle.
    Nitro Methane anyone..........

  7. PencilPro

    PencilPro Member

    The difference!

    The difference is 2 things.

    The material used for the electrod, which determines the longevity of the plug.
    The amount of fire the ignition system has(Volts).
    As one person had stated that they put the bosh platnum plugs in a honda and they lasted a week!
    Yes your fuel mixture has a lot to do with ignition and performance but also a plug designed to work in different applications of compression ratio's and the placement of the plug in the head.
    Most foriegn cars will run better on the NGK it seems, but it's all in the design of the engine that makes them different. I had a race car that would would burn out any plug except for the Bosh Platinums but that was the best plug offered at the time (20 Years ago)
    Think about it. If they only need spark then manufacturers would only make one type of plug just in different sizes to fit different applications.
    If you havn't changed anything to the engine then go with the NGK that the autoparts cross reference calls for. A set of new plugs that replace ones that had 60K miles on it will burn more effeciently.
    Hope this helps!
  8. gassy

    gassy New Member

    Spark plugs perform a number of tasks. Aside from producing a spark to ignite the air/fuel mixture, they also remove excess heat from combustion through their metal shell into the cylinder heads. A spark plug also retains a specific amount of heat to avoid fouling, which is dependent on the head design. The OE spec plug is a good choice as they did the homework, many fancy aftermarket plugs are too generic in these specs., they work for some and not as well for others. As far as the exotic material plugs ( platinum, iridium etc. ) if this was the type your vehicle came with then fine, otherwise you may be experimenting. These different materials also have different heat properties that affect the heat range of the plugs. Just because they are available doesn't mean they will work in all cases.

    The best first choice is OE , AC Delco in your case, however Denso and NGK are also good choices, but again I would recommend the same type ( copper core, platinum, iridium etc) of plug as your vehicle came with.

    Fuel in a cylinder burns , it doesn't explode, so the combustion process relys on proper ignition of the mixture. The most usable spark will ensure the most complete combustion. As the mixture swirls in the chamber it ignities and propogates the flame front, a higher energy spark helps ignite a larger protion of the mixture and helps complete the combustion process more fully. Without spending a fortune on a better ignition system ( unless you want to) you can follow a few simple steps.

    1 - keep your plugs changed within the service interval, OE style recommended
    2 - service the cap and rotor within the proper service interval
    3 - don't run a stock coil more than 100,000 miles ( they do degrade slowly over time ), however buying a more expensive "coil" ( not to be confused with ignition system) will not guarantee any benefits. A stock coil will in most cases be sufficient for normal driving use.
    4 - OE plug wires are seldom good for more than 60,000 miles, they also degrade, especially carbon core ones. Here is where you can make an improvement. A good set of aftermarket wires will help deliver the maximum spark your ignition system can produce which as previously mentioned enhances combustion. Simply buying a "performance" set doesn't mean anything either. What you are looking for is a wire that has increased conduction properties and this comes in the form of hybrid wire wound styles. Of course there are a ton of different ones and they are not all created equal. Low resistance is an indictor of this type of construction, however the actual core controls the conduction as a function of conductor size. I have tested and cut apart many wires in my day and the outside is decieving ! A fat wire can be simply a cheap wire set with fancy insulation added for looks. The truest product I have seen is Aurora plug wires, the core is large, conductor is strong, and they are larger for a reason, there is something actually inside ! These are not all that expensive compared to OE ( cheaper in most cases) but they do deliver service. I buy mine from I also abuse them in race applications and they survive well and deliver the performance I need. This said, literally any new wire set will perform better than old wires, but a wise buy will save you money and give you what you paid for.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  9. vncj96

    vncj96 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    While i cant give any pros for higher priced plugs i can say DO NOT go below what manufacturer says, my sisters blazer got some crappy plugs thrown in and her MPG was horrible. The engines that come with the "100,000mi plugs" should be replaced with nothing less as recommended, it was the same for my suburban, when i bought it cheap 2.00 standard plugs were in it and when i put in OE iridium tipped it increased by 2 mpg
  10. PencilPro

    PencilPro Member

    I concur!

    Couldn'y say it better myself!:great:

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