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I have a 2002 Vulcan 800 Classic with 20,000 on it. I bought it new in 02 and as a mechanic have maintained it by the book. Bike runs great but have never been happy with the NGK spark plug. they just dont hold up, and God forbid you flood the engine, they're dead. I've had the same experience while working at a go-kart track running Honda engines, which come stock with NGK plugs. They just dont last. I've been using them in the bike and every year I change them. I've had situations where the bike just didnt sound right and after a couple of months found one plug was failing. replaced them again and it ran ok. I read somewhere here that some guys use these "Pulstar", i think, plugs that fire a bigger spark then the NGK. Not a very good idea. that hotter spark could be burning a hole in the top of your piston. Brings me back to my earliar years. For cars, they used to sell a plug called "jet spark fuel igniters", same principle, bigger and hotter spark. Whalah, they burnt holes in the tops of the pistons and went out of business. That was then! They dont make metal like they used to. Be careful guys. anyway, back to the go-kart problems with NGK, I replaced all the kart engines with Champion plugs and the problem was solved. they ran all year with those plugs and no flooding or starting problems. After 20,000 miles and 18 years, im gonna check to see if I could find a good heat range for the bike in champion and see if they run and hold up better than the NGK. I'll keep yous posted
 

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That's odd. When I was a kid I had a Honda XR75 dirt bike. An NGK plug would last all summer but a Champion would be dead in a week, and it never worked as good. Several friends had the same bikes and they had similar experiences. Since then I use NGK in everything. I just replaced the ones in my Nomad and they were a perfect tan color. It wasn't working bad or anything; changing the plugs is just a yearly maintenance thing with me.
 

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Supercoup,

Consider using a NGK spark plug one heat range hotter than the original.

In my case the standard NGK DR9EA plugs would foul regularly. An alternate plug for my ‘97 Vulcan 500LTD, recommended by Kawasaki, is NGK DR8EA. I switched to the hotter plug and have had no more fouling issues.
 

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Ever tried Denso plugs? NGK and Denso are common in Japanese engines. In fact, my Toyota truck came with both from the factory. One bank is all NGK and the other is all Denso. Odd.
 

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06 Vulcan Nomad, 04 Yamaha FZ1, 05 Yamaha FZ1
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I've always thought the heat range of a plug was controlled by the location of the electrode in the combustion chamber.
Also thought that the spark plug is on the receiving end of things and if you wanted more spark at the plug, an increase in voltage out of the coil was required. I may be wrong.
 

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Heat range is the speed at which a spark plug can transfer heat. If the heat range is too cold, the spark plug will be unable to properly self-clean by burning off carbon deposits.
If it the heat range is too hot, your engine could experience detonation, pre-ignition, or power loss. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that the tip temperature remain between 500° C and 850° C.
Heat ranges are designated by each spark plug manufacturer with a number. Spark plugs are often referred to as “hot plugs” or “cold plugs.” A cold plug has a shorter insulator nose length—the distance from tip to spark plug shell—and transfers heat rapidly from its firing tip to the cylinder head water jacket.
Cold plugs are ideal for high rpm engines, forced induction applications, and other instances where the engine produces high operating temperatures. Conversely, hot plugs are good for applications that operate mainly at low rpms. Because they have a longer insulator nose length, heat is transferred from the firing tip to the cooling system at slower pace. This keeps the spark plug temperature high, which allows the plug to self clean and prevent fouling.
 

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I just put e3 plugs in my 2003 Vulcan Mean Steak with 75,000+ miles. It starts up much faster with the e3 plugs.
 
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