Explaining the Spark Plug options for the FSI / TSI Engines

With so many spark plug choices available for the FSI and TSI engines, it can be difficult to determine which plug is right for your application. Today I am going to discuss the differences between the NGK spark plugs that we offer.

We can classify the spark plugs by two different options: Material and heat range. In addition to that, we can look into different spark plug gap options, and see how that can affect your spark plug choice.

There are many different materials used when discussing spark plugs, but we are going to focus on three common choices today: Copper, iridium and platinum.

Copper spark plugs are the most common and the most cost effective, but they do present a definite drawback in direct injection applications. The fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber at extremely high pressures, which causes rapid erosion of exposed copper. A standard copper spark plug does not last very long when used in a direct injection engine.

Next up we have both iridium and platinum. The electrodes of these plugs are coated with their respective materials, which both hold up much better against fuel erosion. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, however.

The primary difference is the price. The iridium plugs are cheaper than their platinum counterparts, and not without reason. Each spark plug has two electrodes, a firing electrode and a ground electrode. In the iridium plugs, the firing electrode is iridium plated, while the ground electrode is still bare copper. NGK’s double platinum plugs are platinum plated on both electrodes. What this means is the iridium plugs, while longer lasting than the bare copper, also suffer from a reduced lifespan when used in a direct injection application. Only the platinum plugs can offer reliable long life service in FSI and TSI engines.

However, if you are using any sort of water/meth injection, it is highly recommended that you use iridium plugs instead of platinum, as methanol can react poorly with platinum. If this is the case, then the reduced service life of the plugs must be considered and acceptable maintenance item.

The next consideration is heat range. The heat range is a measure of how quickly the spark plug will transfer heat from the electrode into the surrounding metal of the cylinder head. If the heat transfer is too quick, the spark plug will run cold, and will foul up. Too slow of a heat transfer, the plug will run hot, causing damage to the insulator and creating a hot spot in the cylinder.

The original heat range used in FSI and TSI engines is a seven. This is what we recommend for most stock turbo applications, regardless of tune.

Cars with larger turbochargers can see higher combustion chamber temperatures, and can benefit from running an eight heat range. This includes K04, stage 3, and even tuned Golf R/TTS cars.

Finally, there is a question of the proper spark plug gap. The simple answer for this is that the proper gap is the largest gap you can run without experiencing misfires. With increased combustion pressures, this often means having to run a smaller gap than originally specified. The stock gap specified ranges from 0.032” in the FSI engine, up to 0.043” in the TSI engine. Many tuners recommend running a gap of 0.028” or smaller when using their software. However, when using a more robust ignition coil, such as the R8 ignition coil, you can safely run the original gap in most applications.

Here are the plugs we offer for FSI and TSI engines, along with the recommended application.

PFR7S8EG – A double platinum spark plug with a seven heat range. This is the stock spark plug, and it fully meets the specifications set forth by Volkswagen/Audi. Volkswagen/Audi specified a different resistance to work properly with their ignition system components without causing interference. Therefore, the spark plugs ending with -S8EG are the most reliable plug when used with any OEM ignition system. This is our most recommended spark plug for any stock turbo application, especially when paired with the R8 ignition coils, as this will allow the use of the stock spark plug gap.


PFR7B / PFR7Q – Both are double platinum spark plugs with heat ranges of seven. Although they do not carry the same Volkswagen/Audi specification, they have proven to be reliable when used in the FSI and TSI engines. So, what’s the difference? The PFR7B has a recommended spark plug gap of 0.028”, while the PFR7Q has a recommended gap of 0.032”. NGK does not recommend adjusting the spark plug gap greater than 0.008” from the base specification. So, if you need to run a smaller gap, use the PFR7B. If you want to run a larger gap, use the PFR7Q.


BKR7EIX – An iridium spark plug with a heat range of seven. This is an ideal spark plug for stock turbo applications running an additional fuel system, such as water/meth. Expect reduced service life, however.


BKR8EIX – An iridium spark plug with a heat range of eight. This plug is being recommended for use in big turbo systems, as it is the most readily available eight heat range plug, but it also suffers from a reduced service life. It is ideal for big turbo applications using water/meth injection.


PFR8S8EG – A double platinum spark plug with a heat range of eight. This is the only plug in NGK’s double platinum range that carries both an eight heat range and Volkswagen/Audi’s -S8EG specification. This is the spark plug we most recommend for use in a big turbo application, as it offers the best quality and longest service life.


Waterfest 20: Show Report

Words & Photos by Tim DaleyWaterfest_Panorama

As Waterfest hit it’s 20th year in existence this past summer as the premier VW/ Audi summer show to attend for the east coast, I prepared to make my fifth journey to New Brunswick, NJ to take in a great weekend of seeing old friends, checking out new builds, and kicked off a three week road trip to Burlington,VT for the Bag Riders Block Party & Wolfsgart, and York, PA for Vagfair.


Saturday night the guys from Eurokracy Montreal hosted their 2nd annual Afterfest featuring a limbo contest and burnout box as well as live music and on site partying that went well into the night.


As you would expect, the rowdy crowd was more than happy to assist some of the limbo contestants to help them make it to the next round. After the limbo craziness wrapped up I spent some time checking out what was around the Afterfest lot before the sun went down.


Sunday Morning we made our way over to Raceway Park for the last day of the show and a long day of shooting and watching some racing before getting on the road up to Massachusetts.



APR, LLC.’s booth was as impressive as ever with their full range of products on display along with on site port flashing and hardware installations.


APR & BFGoodrich MaxR project was on display.


APR’s Mk7 development car was out once again, this time showing off their new in house wheel development program.


Also in the APR booth was this gorgeous Stage 3 supercharged V8 R8 sitting nicely on H&R springs and ADV.1 wheels.


Tyrolsport had their Big Turbo Golf R with our RSR clutch on display in full race livery.


Fourtitude / VWVortex‘s always impressive booth had the 2005 Le Mans winning Audi R8 LMP1 as the centerpiece of their display along with an RS7 and C5 RS6 World Challenge racecar.


Volkswagens booth had their SEMA project GLI with a Golf R front bumper, widened front & rear fenders, and a custom dual exhaust exit rear bumper.


Volkswagen also had some concept interiors on display for possible production. There was this nice black & tan leather options with Recaro Sportster CS’s for the interior of the SEMA project GLI.


There was also this modern interpretation of the old Mk2 GLI Helios Recaro interior with blue striped cloth inserts.


The Foundation Blue car was on display in the VWVortex booth. This beautiful Mk3 Golf is the completion of the vision Alexi deRochambeau had for his prized car before he passed away.


Roc Euro had some cool stuff on display including this bright blue B8.5 S4 with a RS6 bumper molded to it!


They also had their new Mk7 GTI project on display sitting on Airlift Performance air ride and a set of AG Wheels.



One of the few other people to make the journey to Waterfest  from Ohio was Matt Banez and his bagged Mk6 Jetta that was featured in VMR Wheels booth for the show.


The guys at Bagriders always have a diverse selection of cars for their booth and this year was no different. Showing off some of the new offerings from Airlift was this Caddy featuring their new Mk1 kit.


C-Tek Motorwerks had this very rare DTM Edition B7 S4 that had a 2.7T under the hood out on display in the Airlift Performance booth. Something you don’t see everyday!


Also in the Airlift Performance booth was Vinny Castrogivanni’s fahrenheit GLI with a set of 3-piece wheels he designed himself for his senior project in college.


After packing up and getting on the road I couldn’t have asked for a better drive home, than listening to my friend LJ Songer and his EPL Built Stage 3 2.7T A6 screaming along the Connecticut coast to end the weekend!

Be sure to follow us @hstuning & @thatcapekid on Instagram to see what we’re up to on a daily basis! 

Up next is Show Coverage from Wolfsgart & Vagfair!

EuroHangar 2014 : Show Report

This was our first year heading up to EuroHangar as one of the title sponsors of the event. The show takes place at the end of June in the gorgeous little town of Holland, MI. Normally famous for their tulip displays, we were witness to a fresh, colorful display of a different sort. The show attracts well over 500 cars to the lakeshore town and continues to grow year after year. Coming in between two major summer events - Southern Worthersee in May and Waterfest 20 in July – Eurohangar is a lively event that fills the gap for the Midwest European car enthusiast.

The HS Tuning exodus started Friday morning with a group of our customers arriving at the shop to help load up all the inventory and supplies we would need for the weekend. (Unfortunately, this did not include beef jerky, which was a major oversight that will need to be rectified in the future. Beef jerky and Bawls. Essential. -JT) With the cars loaded, and some of the suspensions dangerously low, we hit the highway for the four and a half hour drive into Michigan… also to be considered the land of Minivan-Passing-At-95MI. The weather could not have been better and traffic was light – so the cameras were out in full force.


Our Sales Manager Nate just recently made the move to the new 2015 Mk7 VW GTI. His previous ride was a Mk5 VW GTI modified to Stage 2. Although his new car was bone stock for this trip, we cannot wait to dig into the new MQB platform with the release of the APR Stage One, which will produce 381 ft-lbs of torque and 316 horsepower. Supposedly, that tune will be available to us on Monday, July 21st. We also have a number of parts ready to help prep the Mk7, including lowering springs, cold air intake, and wheels.IMG_3724_logo

One of the cars along with us for the trip was a loyal customer’s ride – Eric Baun’s purpose built Mk4 #becauseracecar. Still in the final stages of its winter overhaul, it was nice to see his ever evolving project roll out of the garage for the first time this show season. This car rolled out of the factory as a TDI Mk4 and has served as Baun’s training ground through several engine swaps, a stripped out interior, and the removal of almost all automated systems like AC, ABS, and other unnecessary items in a race car. The sound of his straight piped VR is always appreciated.


After getting settled into the hotels, exploring Downtown Holland and grabbing a drink at New Holland Brewing (another one of the show’s sponsoring organizations) we headed over to the show Pre-Meet.



The next morning was an early start to set the booth up and get all the cars cleaned up before the show opened. With all of the products we brought with us from APR, VW Racing, P3cars, and Bilt Hamber Laboratories, we had to figure out exactly what to bring. This year we brought a lot of Mk6 2.0T TSI stock – seems like there was a lot of interest from the TDI and 2.0T FSI owners though, so we’ll see what we bring next year! We were tuning APR software and meeting tons of awesome show goers. If anyone calls up or emails sales@hstuning.com, let us know if we met you at EuroHangar and we’ll send out something special!


Another one of our customers Ben, brought out his project Mk5 TDI Cup Edition. After taking some front end damage on his trip to SoWo last year decided it was time for something new. HS Tuning sourced all the parts he needed to convert his front end to a Mk6 Golf R bumper, including Sportwagon fenders, Mk6 core support, bumper, grills and headlights. If you ask us the new look came out awesome. Those powder coated BBS wheels were show stoppers as well.


The Guys from MWorks Garage brought up a couple of their projects including this Hellrot Red LS swapped E36 M3 sedan sitting nicely on a set of all black CCW LM20’s.


One of the other vendors, Orchid Euro, had some unique cars they brought in from overseas like a bagged polo belonging to the company owner Jamie Orr and this RHD Mk3 panel van Golf they brought over for Kole Grove.


For being one of the sponsors of the show we were proud to present a full detailing kit from Bilt Hamber Laboratories as the award for Best Paint. Although there were a couple solid choices for this award, in the end we had to go with Tan Gunes and his beautiful pre-facelift Sprint Blue Audi B8 S4.


Among our top picks for best paint was Aaron Stuk’s Glacier Grey Audi B6 A4 Wagon. Although he didn’t take home our pick for best paint, he was able to win Airlift Performance’s Best Air award.


Also in the winner’s circle for the weekend was Andrew Farkas and his perfect Amethyst Purple Porsche 911 sitting nicely on H&R coilovers and BBS E26 magnesium Motorsport wheels, both sourced by Rotiform. Appropriately Andrew took home the award for Best Static car.

This was our first outing to EuroHangar and we loved it. Let us know in the comments if you stopped by to say hi! We had several customers talking about the RSR clutch and many people inquiring about APR software tunes for everything from VWs to Porsches. If you are interested in getting tuned, July is the best month of the year to do it – everything from APR is currently on sale, plus we’re running service and install deals. We’re looking to come by next year and we’re excited to see the progress people make on the new Mk7 platforms.

Lastly, if you want to try some Bilt-Hamber detailing supplies for free, hit us on our Instagram or Twitter @hstuning or Facebook page and let us know why you need to try this amazing European-imported detailing equipment.


A Day at the Shop – Goldrush Rally Cleveland

This year, the Goldrush Rally made Cleveland a stop on its way from Las Vegas to New York City. This is an event similar to the Gumball 3000 Rally. They have a pretty awesome route through the continental US. This meant that during the afternoon there were some amazing supercars rolling down I-90 E headed into downtown Cleveland. We rolled on the highways, found some of the cars, picked up some extralegal races, and eventually ended up taking some pictures of the cars around W.3 and Huron downtown. Glad to see some of our customers down there too!

Events like this make us think about putting together a road rally event for Euro cars. Wonder if there’s any interest. Check out some of the cars from the Rally below!

10339348_894755760550566_2578665278060920715_o 10333339_894755430550599_640099615990476730_o 10321601_894755997217209_6201906767636610854_o 10321187_894755153883960_1428202646045909826_o 10273251_894755557217253_8148818109801195668_o 10271248_894756317217177_163592983050664538_o porsche_woman

A Day at the Shop – 2015 GTI First Look

We had a local dealer drop off a Mk7 GTI today in order to check out the fitment for some of the parts that we’ve gotten into stock. Besides the European-spec LED taillights that we’ve lined up, we also have performance parts for the newest 2015 VW GTIs, Golfs, and Rs from the usual line up of top-shelf companies. APR, H&R, Volkswagon Racing, VMR, and Neuspeed, to name a few, have all developed best-of-breed items to help propel your new Mk7 BW GTI to it’s highest performance potential.


OEM halogen rear tail lights.

IMG_3491Euro-spec LED VW GTI tail lights.


OEM LED Euro-spec tail lights lighting up.


R8 Ignition Coil Packs

HS Tuning has 6E905115E "Red Top" Audi coil packs in stock and ready to ship.

We have the 06E905115E “Red Top” Audi coil packs in stock and ready to ship

If you are the owner of a FSI/TSI powered car and you’re experiencing misfires we stock the R8 coil packs. These come stock in most of the high output Audi engines and we’ve had good luck using these when the stock FSI/TSI coils fail, which we’ve seen a lot of lately. We also highly recommend using these coils when installing a K04.

 The Audi R8 coil packs can be purchased from HS Tuning online by clicking the above image or HERE.

Audi VW R8 Coil Pack Pyramid

Here’s a shot of some of the coil packs that just arrived.

For those of you looking for more technical data on these coil packs, here is what we’ve found so far with our bench ( oscilloscope ) testing:

  • These coils can be used on your FSI/TSI engine at ANY level of modification. They function just as well on a dead stock car as a highly modified one.
  • They are NOT the same coils with red housings. The secondary circuit on the R8 coils has a higher resistance (more windings) than the stock coils. In fact the secondary circuits were slightly closer to the Okadas we tested than the secondary of the stock coils.
  • We tested these between 12 and 16 volts (remember if your alternator is charging properly the input will be right around 14). We tested them between 200 and 16,000rpm. The stock coils started to misfire at a much lower rpm than the R8′s with a stock spark plug gapped @ .032″.
  • The spark was visibly brighter and more intense on the R8′s when compared to the stock coils @ every rpm we compared in the stock rev range. We didn’t compare anything under 1,000rpm.
  • We were able to open the gap on the plugs much further with the R8′s than the stock plug with out misfiring at the same rpm/voltage.
  • Here is what we were finding as an AVERAGE on the secondary circuit for each of the coils:
    • Stock: 3.3 M ohms
    • 5 cylinder coils: 4.75 M ohms
    • R8′s: 5.31 M ohms
    • Okadas: 6.2 M ohms

Spark plugs PFR7Q Install at HS Tuning for TSI / FSI VWWe’ve been receiving plenty of questions regarding what spark plugs we run in our local customer cars as well as our in house MK6′s. There has been many threads posted on GolfMk6 as well as VWVortex and you can easily do quick searches to find information about the R8 Coilpacks. We’ve put together a very short breakdown for vehicle applications and spark plug pairings. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us in the comments or by phone and email. We’re always happy to talk to our customers Here is the break down of what spark plugs we recommend along with the gap recommendation:

Stock (no software) as well as APR Stage 1 through Stage 2+:
PFR7S8EG Double Platinum (1675) (gapped at 0.032” from the factory): Click here to purchase
BKR7EIX Iridium (2667) (gapped at 0.032″ from the factory): Click here to purchase

APR K04 and Stage 3 kits:
PFR7B Double Platinum (4853) (gapped at 0.028”):Click here to purchase
PFR7Q Double Platinum (7963) (gapped at 0.032 from the factory, re-gap to 0.028”):Click here to purchase

APR Stage 3+
BKR8EIX Iridium (2668) (gapped at 0.032 from the factory, re-gap to 0.028”): Click here to purchase

Feel free to all us at 216.577.7171 or shoot us an email at sales@hstuning.com if you have any questions.

APR K04 TSI Transverse kits are now $2700 installed!

From now until October 14th, we are running our $2700 APR K04 Installation Special for all transverse 2.0T’s. This includes Motul 5W40 oil, Motul Optima Ultra Coolant, Oil Filter, and OEM replacement hardware.

Purchase online here or buy clicking on the above image.
To set up appointments and or for any other questions please email sales@hstuning.com or give us a call at 216.577.7171

HS Tuning Track Day At Nelson Ledges 8-31-2012

HS Tuning is heading to the track again on August 31st, 2012.  We will be going to Nelson Ledges Race Course out in Garrettsville, OH.  We will be doing some more testing with our Golf R which is now APR Stage II+ and should be shod with camber plates from Ground Control and an H&R sway bar.  Come join us in the fun and get some seat time on the track!  The cost for a driver is $130 cash or check and if you want to spectate it’s only $5!  Post any questions you have as comments here and we will do our best to answer them for you.  We hope to see you at the track!

Below is the Nelson Ledges Track Map, click it for a high res PDF.

Nelson Ledges Track Map

The Golf R Mods Begin

We got a few things done on the R last week. While we were working we were able to take some comparison photos. Our next track day is scheduled for the last Friday in August, so we should have some solid feedback from the first two rounds of modifications compiled at that point. The car was stock as far as performance was concerned with one exception. A K&N drop in filter. We flashed the car with APR stage 1 software halfway through the first track day hoping to compare lap times but it was hard to get a clean full lap in. So to keep track of things, the first round of mods were primarily for safety:

A photo of the car just before work started:

Mod #1) Nitto NT01 255-40-17 tires on TR Motorsport wheels. The stock wheel and tire weighed in at 48 lbs. on our scales. The TR Motorsport wheel was a 17x 8 and weighed 17.5 lbs. The TR wheels and Nitto tires were 44. So we gained 30mm in width and were still able to drop 4 lbs at each corner, so far so good. The NT01 is clearly a heavy tire but it’s proven to have a long life span and wear evenly for us in the past. Almost forgot, stock tires were Pirelli, not Dunlop and were weighed less than 1,000 miles into their life. The Nitto tires were weighed before use.

Here is a picture of the NT01′s from a rear view:

255′s NT01′s next to 225 Falken Azenis:

Mod #2) The P3 gauge. This Golf R belongs to our web developer and his MK4 Jetta track car was full of gauges. We tried to make the wiring as clean as possible, but there was still a lot going on. He wanted a cleaner solution for this car as it will be doing daily duty in addition to the track days. The P3 integrates very well with the interior and the installation was easy. So far so good with this one. We chose to use a boost tap and analog sensor for the boost input instead of relying on the DLC for this reading. The APR boost tap fit perfectly like they always do. Running a cleanly routed hose through the firewall grommet did require battery removal, but the whole job only took about 30 minutes. It’s nice to be able to read boost, coolant temperature, intake air temperature, EGT, throttle %, and battery voltage all from the same gauge. It has other features that are great like peak value recording and some that we won’t use like the shift light. It’s also nice to have the fault clearing function.

APR Boost tap:

Shot of the P3 being installed:

We chose to take the knee panel out to secure the control unit for the P3, this doesn’t need to be done for the install but it helps if you are really trying to secure everything for a car that will see a lot of lateral acceleration.


Mod #3) Stoptech Stainless lines and Motul 660 fluid. We’ve been installing a lot of stainless lines around here recently. None of them fit as well as the Stoptech lines. They fit perfectly in the factory mounting points and have DOT tags right on the outside fitting. This is important for people in states like PA where they have mechanical inspections and fail you if your lines don’t actually have DOT tags on them. We have had a few cars in here lately with “Precise Lines” branded parts that have failed. I wish I would have taken pictures of those, what a bunch of junk. We trust Stoptech and you should trust the company making your brake lines so you don’t have to do this  at the end of a straight section of a road course. I’ve been really impressed with Motul 660 fluid. We saw astronomical temperatures on our 2010 GTI as we went a little aggressive on our pad choices for the last track day. We were seeing rotor temps in excess of 900 degrees F after a cool down lap and never experienced any brake fade. Thumbs up to that fluid. ATE blue fluid hasn’t been cutting the mustard lately, cars keep getting heavier and faster and the boiling points just aren’t high enough. For reference:

Dry Boiling Points in degrees Fahrenheit :

VW DOT 4 fluid
509 F

Pentosin Super DOT 4
509 F

ATE Type 200
536 F

ATE Super Blue
536 F

Motul DOT 5.1
522 F

Motul RBF 600
594 F

Motul RBF 660
617 F

Mod #4) Carbotech Pads. We followed Carbotechs recommendations for the Golf R and used XP20 pads in the front and XP10 in the rear. We were very happy with the feel these provided. No issues at all and the braking felt very balanced. Initially we were concerned that the rear pad compound was too aggressive and that the car would try to rotate under heavy braking. We were prepared to go back to the stock rear compound if need be but they ended up operating perfectly!

The front pads fit a number of different cars, so the second bracket had to be removed to work on the Golf R. Nothing a good drill bit and 60 seconds of our time couldn’t resolve!

Most track pads do not come with wear sensors, they have a tendency to melt at high temps. We didn’t want to code this out with VCDS as the stock pads went right back on with fresh rotors after the event. This kept the light off for us:

If you haven’t seen your stock front calipers yet, here they are. Seems like the over-sized single piston is becoming popular between VW, Audi, and BMW. No complaints so far other than the fact that the retaining clips on the outside are a little frustrating if you were to have to change pads while at the track. We knew the front rotors would be heavy, but I think we were all a little surprised to find out the came in at 26.9 lbs each. We didn’t have a chance to weigh the calipers, but they aren’t feather weights.

Here are a couple photos to give you an idea of the caliper clearance with the TR 17×8:

It’s time for our afternoon meeting now, so I’ll come back to this thread tomorrow with better updates and more pictures! Until then, here is a video of a lap from the Golf R behind our GTI: