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.

R8coil-Ignitionkit

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.

PFR7Q 4PK

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.

BKR7EIX

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.

BKR8EIX

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.

PFR8S8EG_R8_4pck

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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APR & BFGoodrich MaxR project was on display.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.