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Not your dad's spark plug.


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---- How long until setting a gap becomes a thing of the past?


Afternoon Kitsap


It’s here now— Most manufacturers of the side electrode plugs (like on the BMW) recommend the electrode gaps not be set or altered.


Some cars/light trucks can go 100,000 miles on the original spark plugs.


Not sure what can be gained by laser spark plugs but maybe they are directional enough to be focused to a particular spot in the combustion chamber. Of maybe they use a lot less electrical power with no coil needed. Or maybe a lot longer spark.


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I expect they will protrude less into the chamber, and possibly focus the 'spark' differently, so combustion will be more even and controlled.


I wonder how they'll keep the lens clean since a light frequency that is absorbed by fuel-air mixture seems likely to be absorbed by carbon soot. Unless the beam is hot enough to vaporize lens buildup or the lens is recessed to a cleaner environment?

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Peter Parts

Anybody know what fraction of those thousands of compressions a minute get ignited right by today's spark plugs? Must be some fraction of cycles lost by poor firing.


Design-wise, a challenge to haul around high-voltage pieces on an all-weather bike, even with plug-top coils.


The multi-electrode plugs help keep the gap right forever. But aren't as good as pointy iridium plugs at situating a great spark into the mixture (and the iridium plugs also last forever).



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Guest Kakugo

There are two reasons for this.

The first is the trend in emission regulations in Europe and Japan is towards cutting carbon monoxide as much as possible. This means running very lean fuel mixtures. If you hear a completely stock European market Hexhead it will "pop" under deceleration very often because it runs so lean.

The second is automotive manufacturers have only recently started spending serious money to properly understand what goes on inside a combustion chamber. Optical Access Engines (OAE) are incredibly expensive and complicated (only six facilities have the technology to build and run them) but 3D computer simulations are becoming more and more accurate and widespread.


PS: I haven't set a spark plug gap in years. All the bikes I've bought over the past ten years (except my 1988 Honda commuter) strictly specified "do not attempt adjusting spark plug gap" and who am I to argue?

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

Laser initiation is not new technology. Ordnance initiation via laser is very common. The advantage is precise timing but, they don't have to do it several thousand times a minute....usually just once or a few times.


As stated above, I suspect they're focused on skimming some of the cream off of the side of the glass after getting everything else that was floating on top.

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