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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Couple comments regarding the plugs on my 2013 900 classic:

First let me start with a qualifier - only 75 miles on my bike, do what you want with that.


Ok so last night I pulled the plugs on my bike to check spark plug gap. You do not need to do this on a new bike unless your bored and there is a foot of snow between your bike and the pavement. I quickly realized I needed a specialty tool or something to get down in there to the plugs. After finding out the Kawi tool did not come with my bike and it costs $75 I took my 16mm spark plug socket and attached it to two 3/8 swivels and magically it worked. Did not need to remove tank, only loosen the bolts and shoved an old sock cap under the base to lift up the rear on the back cylinder.

What I found:

Tuning on the stock bikes Air/Fuel for the 75 miles I have run it looks to be spot on. The picture on the NGK website of what a health plug should look like was exactly the same. Rear plug did look slightly more moist, but I think that's normal and I am being very critical. There did not appear to be any anti seize on the threads so I added a tiny bit before putting them back in.

Why did I pull them?

Well, I had nothing better to do and I wanted to check the gap. What I found was they were both gapped closer to the .032 range vs the max gap of .036
Since I am adding the big 3 I wanted to make sure and get a complete burn so I gapped them out to half way between .035 and .036 just to be safe.

Something to note:

The manual calls for 13ftlbs of torque for these. With the two swivels that is a three inch extension which throws your torque wrench off. I found a website that helped me with the calculation and determined that if you have a setup like mine you need a 16.5 torque wrench setting to get 13ftlbs.

Getting really critical - After further analyzing the torque spec in the manual I found they actually call for 18NM which is slightly above 13ftlbs so I set the torque wrench to 17ftlbs and cranked them down. It felt about right so that's where I left it.


So what do you guys have yours gapped to? Has anyone tried different gaps? If so what performance mods do you have?

The comment below is purely a topic of discussion for the wrench heads. Would love to know if anyone has tried this on any engine that they own -

Has anyone ever heard of adding a thin washer to get the plug to face a certain direction in the cylinder? I read on NGK's website that racers will face the plugs a certain way to make more power. They achieve this by placing a certain height washer in there until the plug faces the proper direction. Typically facing the intake port can add up to 5hp on a car sized engine. Given the difficulty to even see what direction the plugs are facing after you tighten them down and the added fact I have no clue what direction the intake would be on the bike, I did not even give this another thought. It is an interesting concept though.
 

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...There did not appear to be any anti seize on the threads so I added a tiny bit before putting them back in.
I believe that NGK plugs have a special coating that prevents corrosion and acts as a release agent to aid in removal. I believe that is why they are installed at the factory dry. If you apply an anti-seize agent when reinserting the plugs, depending upon the manufacturer, the anti-seize may act as a lubricant in which case you may have to lower your torque value. I believe that Permatex requires no torque compensation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I believe that NGK plugs have a special coating that prevents corrosion and acts as a release agent to aid in removal. I believe that is why they are installed at the factory dry. If you apply an anti-seize agent when reinserting the plugs, depending upon the manufacturer, the anti-seize may act as a lubricant in which case you may have to lower your torque value. I believe that Permatex requires no torque compensation.
That thought did cross my mind. However the website I used compensated for the extension as if it was a solid shaft instead of two knuckles joined together which would cause an even greater loss in torque. So, I figured it was a wash.
 

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Has anyone ever heard of adding a thin washer to get the plug to face a certain direction in the cylinder? I read on NGK's website that racers will face the plugs a certain way to make more power. They achieve this by placing a certain height washer in there until the plug faces the proper direction. Typically facing the intake port can add up to 5hp on a car sized engine. Given the difficulty to even see what direction the plugs are facing after you tighten them down and the added fact I have no clue what direction the intake would be on the bike, I did not even give this another thought. It is an interesting concept though.

It is called spark plug indexing. I don't think it is worth your time.
 

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It is called spark plug indexing. I don't think it is worth your time.
On an engine this size it's probably not worth the trouble, but let's play the "IT'S STILL SNOWING" game.

Since figureing out the correct washer gauge to give you the proper alignment should be a rare event, I would suggest pulling the valve covers. Of course it would make the most sense to play this game when you're doing a valve clearance check. When you remove the valve cover and spark plug wells, the plugs are highly visible. Determine what direction you want the plug to face, mark the direction on the plug with a sharpie and have at it. Try different gauge washers until you have the right set. Of course you'll beat the hell out the crush washers so do the testing on old plugs then install the new ones.

Now the real puzzlement. You said to point the gap to face the intake port? Where do you want to point it? The left intake, the right intake or centered between them? Maybe off-center a couple degrees to the right. Like maybe the right hand port gets more fuel mix because it's closer to the throttle body.

As I'm typing this, I'm thinking "Do all the plugs have the electrode oriented to the threads the same?" If the threads are cast in, then they should all be the same. But if they're cut like a plumbing pipe, the seated plugs would not necessarily face the same way. Hmm. This could take some experimenting. You'd hate to go through all the trouble of setting up washers only to be defeated by differring thread starts.

This is almost as much fun as turning wrenches. And it beats asphyxiating in the shed listening to the rumble.
 

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No not all plugs are threaded the same. I played with this a little bit this year on the snowmobile. Marked the plug and they face differently. I guess each head could be threaded a little different. bottom line is 3 plugs in 3 different head and all 3 face a different direction.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys4GnIk_YC0
 

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I think for all the trouble of indexing the plug(s) the gain would be almost nil. But then I am still running the same plugs (ngk) that came with the bike, clean em, gap em, run em. 33000 miles to date. As for torque I have the factory spark plug tool, the top of which has a 12 or 13 mm (I think) nut ,when a 8 inch wrench is used along side with anti seize about 11-14 lbs/ft. Only time the tank comes off or loosened is for valve clearance and anti-freeze change.
 

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Archer on plugs

If the weather doesn't moderate so Archer can ride his bike will be in a neat pile on the floor. One thing for sure Archer will know much more about his bike than I do mine. Inquiring minds want to know. If you make any new discoveries please post them.
 

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My 2012 9 se classic came with standard plugs, and i switched to the iridium, noticed a difference which i like, and won't have to switch them again for a long time, 30,000mi on standard plugs seems too long to me.......ride on.....
 
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