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Customer Discussions > Automotive forum

Pulstar plugs do they live up to the claims or are they another gimmick?

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Showing 1-25 of 153 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 28, 2012, 9:43:49 PM PST
There seems to be a big split in opinion, and testing, on whether Pulstar plugs provide the sort of gains in power and MPG over other plugs. Some have reported they get 10-20% gains in power and MPG by simply installing these plugs. Others feel that they capacitor which is supposed to account for these huge gains are another gimmick plug. What do you think?

Posted on Feb 28, 2012, 11:50:21 PM PST
JackV says:
Pulstar says "Here's how it works: Electrical energy from the engine's ignition coil is stored in the built-in capacitor. At the exact moment needed, that energy is released in an amazingly powerful and quick (two nanosecond) high-energy pulse."

Where's the science to explain either power or MPG changes? How is the "combustion efficiency" different from being started by a standard spark plug? (I'd say the spark and result are identical.) The energy from a coil is fixed. It only fires as required. How can it "store" anything beyond just discharging immediately?

Pulstar's site certainly doesn't explain - the above reads more like a medical "magic juice" explanation with pseudo-science wording.

here's a test with -0- gain for what it calls "designer" plugs.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012, 2:53:02 AM PST
Carl G says:
Oh, I'm sure just as soon as you know who finds this thread he will render his opinion. lol

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012, 2:58:19 AM PST
The only thing that would be said is what Country they were made in and what he uses on his ecoobox. How many times have we heard the replacement parts used on that car? But hey these are certainly 21st century spark plugs so maybe he should join it and buy a bunch!

Posted on Feb 29, 2012, 3:22:27 AM PST
I started this because I got the most ridiculous arguments from people for giving these a one star review for being a gimmick. Other reviews had claimed gains in power and MPG of 10-20%. That the reason no manufacturer in the world uses them was claimed to be because they are too expensive, however what car company would not spent the difference in the cost of plugs for such massive gains? And how about the expensive cars that spare no expense, no cost constrictions there. No race teams or street tuners I have found use them. I had posted a link to a no gain test and Amazon deleted that link. Someone posted a link to a one day comparison supposedly showing these plugs having a 2Hp gain over others tested. However the plugs were not even all gapped the same. The motor called for a .050 gap and the Starfires used apparently call for a maximum gap of .045. Why they did not use a motor they fit I do not know. No MPG tests. I don't necessarily buy that test as legitimate plus there was no reasoning behind any gains. If there was a 2Hp gain in one case it is not a 10-20% gain on the vehicle tested, it would have to be a lawn mower. The science behind this makes no sense, they have videos showing a larger spark on youtube which is what I expect convinces people that this is providing the "more complete combustion" responsible for the plugs performance. One of those theories that alludes every automotive engineer in the world somehow. This is why I started this. I felt it very unfair to have my hands tied by having documentation deleted that was negative towards the plug while someone else was allowed to post this shaky one day comparison supposedly showing a 2hp gain. I told them to come to this discussion and prove their argument on a level playing field. There have been advancements in spark plugs and mainly the longevity and resistance to fouling found on platinum and then iridium plugs which allow much longer service life and no increase in gap from wear. But the Splitfire was a good example of a gimmick plug, turned out their testing was done versus old used plugs. Not saying that is the case here but it is this resistor that is a complete gimmick IMO that makes them different to get sales that I take exception to. I just don't like rip off products based on this sort of thing. It is amazing what people have reported these things have done for them. Impossible. Just like feeling a 2Hp gain is not going to happen. I am sure that many have changed old work parts and had their motors run better and attributed it to the part with the most hype. Or perhaps the placebo effect. But I have found nothing to support any such claims and thought this would be a good place for them to come and prove me wrong.

We will see if they have anything other than their anecdotal evidence to provide or under what theories these gains occur. I did notice a rep or maker of this plug had been on a car forum trying to pitch the plugs during a discussion. Perhaps he will show up here too.

If they were just another iridium plug I would have ignored them. Lots of people seem to believe they can get massive gains from a spark plug though. I am certainly in the minority it would seem on the review thread, but I am not there for a popularity contest, just trying to get to the truth.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012, 8:25:20 AM PST
J. Wang says:
I Installed these in my RB25DET and the worked Great! improved gas mileage and performance... down side? last 4 weeks and 2 burned out.. Customer service replaced both.. 2 weeks later it happened again to 1 of them.. If anyone has ever changed plugs on an RB25, you know how much of a pain it is.. So in the long run not the best.. worked well for a little.. I switched to denso iridium's. 5k miles later and still goin strong. no issues.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012, 9:35:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012, 9:36:38 AM PST
Joe Average says:
Gas prices must be on the rise. Here come the gimmicks. Cut some miles out of your weekly discretionary driving and save more than the gimmicks promise.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012, 2:15:15 PM PST
How did you measure the increase in performance? What sort of MPG increase did you experience? Were you replacing old worn plugs or switching other brand new ones?
I appreciate your candor about the quality issue. Not the first time I have heard that happen. If a plug breaks, and then breaks again, that is extremely suspicious to me that there may be serious quality issues. I wonder what the cause is? That added wonderful capacitor?

I did not want to post this because I have no evidence of it being a widespread issue, trying to stick to the facts, but several people on the reviews have reported these plugs "breaking" whether that is physically breaking or just not firing I do not know. But it does concern me to hear so many people talk about that in such a small arena. Is there an issue with build quality too? Plug designs have become better, a big part of that is longevity. I have had cars, like the Lincoln Mark VIII with a 4.6L DOHC motor that was a great car IMO but the plug locations were very difficult to reach, so reliability to go with the longevity was a must there. Changed plugs and wires once to very good ones and that was it for good. I have invited those that were commenting on my review to come here and prove their case. I wonder where they all are? They seemed so sure of themselves. I have no interest in any plug company, just trying to point out what I think is a gimmick when I see one for the sake of others. I did not even recommend alternative plugs, though I have my preferences there too.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012, 2:20:37 PM PST
As Jack's post suggests I could not find any sound theory behind their claims. Then in the Amazon review section I read some obviously ridiculous claims such as a 20% increase in power and MPG. Attributing that to any plug is just not reasonable, I have never heard of a plug increasing power by more than 2Hp from any legitimate source, the person that measured that believed it was due to the tiny electrode and physical design of the plug. I can believe a 2Hp difference or a less than 1% difference in a plug over another. Though that is also likely within a margin or error as well. More than that and it makes no sense. And one plug one motor one dyno testing is not completely conclusive IMO either.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012, 3:26:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012, 3:32:04 PM PST
Though reviews have posted gains of up to 20% in Hp and MPG Starfire claims gains of up to 12% in Hp and Torque. I have not found the details or tests they use to substantiate such claims. The reasoning is "more complete combustion" due to the added capacitor. I do not buy that and if there was such a dramatic increase in power for such a small cost I don't understand why no manufacturer would use these plugs for such an inexpensive massive gain. All manufacturers do not just use the cheapest plugs available either. Many use the platinum or iridium plugs stock for the longer service intervals. Both my C-5 Z06 and T/A WS6 come stock with AC Delco iridium plugs. When it comes time to change plugs I will use those or NGK has some new OEM laser iridium plugs which I would be interested in too. But not for power and MPG gain reasons.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012, 7:16:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 4, 2012, 2:57:54 PM PST
Carl G says:
Spark plugs are often misunderstood by most people. A spark plug's name is quite literal. They are designed to plug the line - and suppress any spark that may come through. Of course, you know what happens if a spark finds an open fuel source!! That could get ugly! KaleCoAuto extra retardant plugs block 99% of spark, and allow 95% of ignition molecules to pass through. That's 25% more than the competition, and unlike the competition, KaleCoAuto plugs never need cleaning.

Posted on Feb 11, 2013, 10:57:52 AM PST
T.C. says:
I used a pair of these in an unconventional application. My generator with a Honda 20HP engine. With the original plugs it would be hard to start on cold days, or if it sat a while. Often taking many attempts to fire up, and a lot of cranking. The hype for these plugs seemed to make logical sense to start an engine like this. Now I crank the engine for two seconds to prime it, and wait a few seconds and start her up. It always starts quickly. It no longer matters if it has sat several months, has cold weather, or older gas. It always fires up quickly with these plugs. Don't know if I am getting any better fuel efficiency or power gains but for the sake of my starter motor, and easy starting they work like a charm.

Posted on May 30, 2013, 12:16:09 AM PDT
A.D.V. says:
Due to the extremly low ESR of the capacitor,it is able to charge and discharge hundereds of times more amps greater that that of the normal spark plug thats just sitting in series with the ignition. Because of this the output (spark) would be much greater than just bridging the same plug gap with a normal voltage/amp source. its the increase in joules that is much greater and the energy released at the plug would corrispondingly be much greater. The plug works like it was designed to. Unfortunately one of the biggest enemys of capacitors is heat... tends to break down the capacitance of ... the, capacitor. you get the point. so 20% increase sounds pretty outlandish, unless they are strictly speaking of the combustion of the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder itself.
a capacitive unit connected to the plug in series with the ignition (plug-cap-ign) would probably work much better. would definitely be more durable and customizable.

Posted on Apr 14, 2016, 4:51:22 AM PDT
I gave these a shot in my wife's accord a few years ago, since I was promised money back guarantee by my local AutoZone manager. Other than this test, I always ran stock NGKs. I did the test blind: I didn't tell my wife that I'd done anything different at her oil change. She monitors her fuel mileage at every fill up. A month in, she had made no comments about the car running differently, and I checked her fuel mileage, and it was actually 2-3% worse than what she had been doing (which statistically, that could have been the weather change or just traffic). I took them back and put NGK plugs back in, she never knew a difference

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2016, 9:53:34 AM PDT
Easy Critic says:
" Some have reported they get 10-20% gains in power and MPG by simply installing these plugs."

Ridiculous claim!

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2016, 10:24:20 AM PDT
Of course it is but some people swear it is true. I think in cases where someone thinks they notice a "huge gain" of any type is either that they had very worn or broken parts that ANY plug would have caused those gains. Or it is a "mistake" on their part. There was a huge amount of criticism I got for leaving a bad review of them and my link to evidence of the plugs performance was deleted which is why I created this discussion. So far NONE of those people I invited to argue their claim on this thread have done so...

They largest power gain I have read about made from a legitimate source on a dyno day was 1-2HP (certain NGK plugs a Honda tuner used). That could be true but either way very insignificant.

I have read an unusual number of people, even those that believe in the plugs "magic" admit they break easily but dismiss that as they have a lifetime warranty. So on top of lack of real gains they appear to also have pretty poor construction it would seem. Of course depending on the vehicle changing plugs might be a real chore to get to. Using good quality Iridium or Platinum plugs have the advantage of lasting a long time between changes and well worth the money IMO. I don't own a car or bike that does not use those.

Many believe the reason that auto maker uses them OEM is because of price. How absurd that argument is for ANY automaker is of course crazy. I have not heard a rationalization for not being used on even the most expensive cars costing $500K or more. Or racing teams (not sponsored by the plug maker) etc.
Marketing and pseudo science convince people of some crazy things.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2016, 11:15:06 PM PDT
Carl G says:
I have two vehicles that came from the factory with Iridium sparkplugs and both had over 120,000 miles on them before that were changed. Since they lasted that long and because of the difficulty in changing several of the sparkplugs, I installed the same brand and type of sparkplugs.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2016, 5:05:20 PM PDT
JackV says:
*funny you didn't comment before* - risk rocking the boat eh?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2016, 5:23:46 PM PDT
I only use Iridium or the best available. They last such a long time for starters.
Crazy to use anything else on some vehicles where plugs are hard to change. My best (worst) example is the 93 Lincoln Mark VIII with DOHC 4.6L. Took forever to change them so installed good plug wires at the same time. I really liked that car and the motor, save for working on it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2016, 8:12:37 PM PDT
Carl G says:
While the Avalanche was easy to change the plugs on, the rear plugs on the LeSaber were a pain and required someone with small arms and hands. Also, I would advise anyone changing plugs that haven't been changed in 100,000 miles to go ahead and change the plug wires too. While they may still be good, if they haven't been off since they were installed, the terminal usually sticks to the terminal nut and pulls loose from the wire. At least a couple of them did on my car.

Posted on Jun 18, 2016, 5:21:00 PM PDT
JackV says:
E3 plugs are the best

Increases engine power 8% to 12% over conventional spark plugs!

The unique patented electrode configuration of the E3 spark plug increases the amount of combustion pressure created during each power stroke of an engine, which results in a marked increase in power output, fuel economy, and reduced emissions in all gasoline engines. E3 Spark Plugs are Sold (each).

Produces up to 12% more power, reducing fuel consumption by up to 13% while cutting harmful toxic emissions up to 58%
By reducing carbon deposits, your engine will run cleaner and smoother and last longer
Edge-to-Edge design concentrates spark energy for easier starts in all weather conditions

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2016, 10:03:12 PM PDT
Sure ya do.
Only 6 bucks too! Though there were the Bosch plus 4 plugs which must have been 1 better.

Man I am in with both feet. I will get another 45HP and at the same time I will get 1mpg more (13%) and it says "up to" but same thing as will for me for sure...much like K&N "up to" marketing I am sure I showed was bs marketing.

I just feel stupid I spent the money on the cam and parts and dyno tune so it ran again. I got the same HP gains for the TA but pretty sure a decrease in mpg. Because it makes sense.

I have not looked these up yet. Didn't they used to cost more?

Now a different plug. Especially on a modded motor I think can make a difference.
NGK regs came on my Bandit 1200. NGK has no upgrade. Bikes like that are easy to get to the plugs and I look at them often, much due to the aftermarket jetting etc.
Dale Walker who mods Bandits and parts on my bike sells an Autolite Iridium plugs he found worked well. I installed those and throttle response was better. No idea why.
I also think Iridium plugs resisted fouling more. Jet kit meant lugging the motor fouled the plugs.
Solution keep RPMs up in proper operating range, the louder aftermarket exhaust makes it seem like lower sounds right is my guess.

Those are big unsubstantiated claims of personal experience by me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2016, 1:37:51 PM PDT
Carl G says:
I bought a set of Bosch plus 4 plugs on ebay for what I considered a good price several years ago with the intentions of using them in my old truck.

I currently have factory recommended spark plugs in there.

I could have spent more money and purchased the most expensive high performance plugs available, but why?

My Goldwing comes with NGK plugs and Honda recommends changing them every 16,000 miles for optimal performance.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2016, 1:54:21 PM PDT
I have not studied the plus 4 plugs but assumed it was a gimmick and they seem to have lost their shine as I dont see them marketed the same.

I am using OEM Iridium plugs in the TA. I am not at the point of searching for any improvement that a different plug could provide.
I doubt there is anything there at all. The most credible difference I have heard of is a 1 to 2 HP gain on the dyno day I mentioned.

I put NGK laser OEM Iridiums in my mom's Subaru Forester. It is an easy change with many 4 cylinder motors and of course you only need to buy half as many as a V8.

Now some Trick Flow heads and a couple other things would make some nice power differences. People look for the cheap way to power which works much like get rich quick schemes...they don't. Power is there but it is rarely free.

I am betting your Gwing came with normal plugs to recommend 16K changes. Not sure if easy on that bike like all of mine. Still I don't see why the need if they are Iridium or Platinum plugs.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2016, 3:09:18 PM PDT
Carl G says:
I think what may work well in some vehicles, may not in others.

The Bosch Spark Plugs Cost Me $1,000
ht tp://tinyurl. com/gtkea55

After reading several negative comments on forums for Silverado's, etc., I thought I would wait. The good thing about the spark plugs on the Silverado is they are easy to change.

The NGK's in the Goldwing are standard and that is what went back in there after the first 30,000 miles. If I remember correctly, it took me about an hour to change the spark plugs. The air filter needs to be changed but that is something I will have to take to the dealer to have done because the top part of the bike has to be removed.

One of the concerns abot leaving spark plugs in engines for a long time is the possible difficulty in removing them. I was fortunate I suppose with the Le Saber because the only issue with removing the ones that had been in there for 12 years and 120,000 plus miles was the location of the rear plugs.
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Discussion in:  Automotive forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  153
Initial post:  Feb 28, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 14, 2016

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