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BMW R1200GS Sparkplugs - sparkplug recommendations and information

See also:
1200GS Torque Settings (and scroll down the page that opens for service/maintenance schedules

How to change spark plugs - R1200GS

Spark Plug Cap Puller Tool - BMW OE item see here
 

BMW R1200GS / R1200 spark plugs / sparkplugs

The BMW workshop manual recommends Bosch YR5LDE or NGK DCPR 8 EKC spark plugs for the R1200GS (the same spark plugs are used for the primary and secondary sparkplug). However there are several other brands of spark plug suitable for the R1200GS (see below) and the plugs you choose may vary according to your servicing requirements, availability and your aims i.e. most cost effective replacement, better quality replacement (e.g. Iridium spark plugs) or better performance (smoother running, more power).
Some spark plugs can improve performance, while others offer long life. Some can make your motorcycle  easier to start, reduce hunting or surging at idle or low revs while others resist fouling.

The BMW Maintenance Schedule states that all spark plugs should be renewed every 40,000km / 24,000 miles and their condition checked every 10,000km / 6000 miles. See the spark plug condition chart below for some guidance on 'reading' your sparkplugs.

BMW R1200GS Spark Plug Spanners (socket / wrench):
Due to the primary plugs being recessed and the limited space surrounding a 'slim' / thin walled plug spanner is required (max outside diameter 21mm). BMW supply them for around £9 or suitable plug spanners can be sources elsewhere e.g:
Halfords 3/8" drive long 7" sparkplug socket

Recommended spark plugs for BMW R1200GS

What's the purpose of the second set of spark plugs / secondary sparplugs?
In the previous BMW motorcycle two-spark engines the plugs fired simultaneously to give a stronger / more efficient fuel burn. The setup on the R1200 / R1200GS can is different as the engine management system (ECU) can stagger the ignition timing of the two sets of plugs (called "phase shift") to improve driveability and fuel economy. Depending on the information supplied to control unit by throttle position, lambda and knock sensors the primary and secondary spark plugs will fire together or staggered to ensure complete and efficient charge burn dnd apparently, better throttle response and flexibility. (quote from BMW R1200GS launch press release below)

Spark plug cutaway diagram

Check the condition of your spark plugs

Click image to see full size.

Components of a spark plug Check your spark plug condition

More information on spark plugs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark_plug

You'll have to decide for yourself which sparkplugs are for you! Do some searches on ukGSer.com and ADVRider.com for the views and opinions of other R1200GS owners.

The following is based on a post by ukGSer 'Oz1200' here (additional spark plugs listed)

My 2005 1200 was running a bit roughly, and I suspected spark plugs. I’d been thinking about getting Iridium plugs as I had had good results using them in my old Katana. The Katana didn’t feel different to ride but the fuel economy improved a small but measurable amount.

I hit the net and decided that NGK Iridium DCPR8EIX plugs were the ones for me and I phoned in an order to my supplier. When I arrived to pick them up he told me that the wholesaler had decided I actually needed NGK IriMac 8 plugs. A quick read of the box indicated these would be OK. They certainly look like normal Iridium single electrode plugs.

Here's a link: http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/products/spark_plugs/

Anyway, I fitted the new plugs and my bike has been transformed. It is probably only back to where it was before one (or more) of the stock plugs started misbehaving but that’s good enough for me.

Here’s what my internet research revealed (all from manufacturers’ websites, so should be credible), perhaps it will be useful to others:

Bosch (standard) YR5LDE
Bosch (alternative) YR6LDE
Denso (standard) XU24EPR-U
Denso Iridium IXU24
NGK Iridium (single electrode) DCPR8EIX
NGK Iridium (double electrode) DCPR8EKC
NGK IriMac 8 (not a lot on the net about these but they work for me.) Stock number 3755

BRISK BOR12LGS (BOR14LGS?)
MotorWorks.co.uk part number SIA43151
"Brisk are a four electrode plug which forces a stronger spark. Many of the 8vr twins suffer from hunting or surging at low revs i.e. in traffic, these plugs help reduce this problem.Highly recommended for chipped or tuned bikes."

Spark plug classifications / designations / type numbers explained

DCPR8EIX decoded:
D 12mm thread
C 5/8 inch hex size
P Projected insulator
R Resister style (5k Ohm?)
8 Heat rating
E 19mm thread reach
IX High performance Iridium

YR5LDE decoded:
Y Type of seat and thread - M12 x 1.25, 16mm hex size
R With suppression resistor
5 Heat range code number
L Thread length spark position – 19mm
D Electrode version (Dual by the look of the diagram)
E Nickel Yttrium

I found this on www.ngk.com:
"First lets address the IRI (WAY)(TOP)(MAC) series. These plugs have a .06mm Iridium center electrode with a tapered cut ground and are sold under the name Iriway, Iritop and Irimac throughout Japan and other select countries. In the USA and Europe these same plugs have been released under the IX iridium series and can be identified by there alphanumeric part #’s. The list below shows appropriate interchange. Both the IRI series and the IX series are produced in the same NGK factories in Japan. They are identical in construction; the only difference is packaging and marketing."
The IriMac 8 and the DCPR8EIX are the same plug


Quote from BMW Press Release re Primary?Secondary spark plug ignition:
Featured in all BMW Boxers since 2003 (with the exception of the 850cc power units), dual ignition has been further modified and improved on the R1200GS. The auxiliary spark plug is now arranged at the outer edge of the cylinder, the ignition timing of both plugs being freely programmable as a function of load and engine speed in order to further optimise running smoothness, emission management, and fuel economy. Referred to as "phase shift", this adjustment process is maintained consistently all the way from part load to full load.

In practice, this means different ignition timing points on both spark plugs in defined control map areas. When approaching full load, where dual ignition no longer provides any benefits, the phase shift effect is so large that the spark crosses over on the auxiliary plug in the expansion cycle (60 degrees at TDC). For all practical purposes this corresponds to single ignition on the central spark plug under full load.

The BMW R1200GS introduces a new system of knock control, never before used in a motorcycle engine. Knock combustion is recognised by a solid-body sound sensor matched specifically to the cylinders. Receiving appropriate signals, the electronic engine management will recover the ignition angle (i.e., it retards the angle) and protect the engine from possible damage. Engine temperatures are also taken into account in evaluating the signals and help to supplement the safety function.

Benefitting from knock control, the geometric combustion ratio on the engine has been increased to 11:1, certainly a remarkable figure for an air/oil-cooled engine with cylinders of this size. Fuel consumption also benefits - the R1200GS being almost eight per cent more fuel efficient than its predecessor in the EU2 test cycle.

Designed for unleaded fuel (RON 95) the engine, thanks to knock control, can also run on lesser fuel qualities (RON 91) sometimes found in other countries, without requiring any kind of manual intervention or adjustment. Within available limits, knock control adjusts the ignition angle automatically to the fuel on which the engine is running.

Interacting with a wide range of sensors, knock control adjusts to even the most extreme conditions and requirements, for example with the engine having to withstand extremely high temperatures and thermal exposure in desert areas. To provide this reliability, the electronic engine management adjusts engine operating parameters to ensure supreme reliability under all conceivable operating conditions.

 

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