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Discussion Starter #1
There has been some discussion regarding the cheap Champion RG59Vs (standard in 999/749Rs maybe some other models)that come in the Champion box versus the one's that come from Ducati in the Ducati box. The difference in price is considerable, the cheap RGs go for around $12-15 ea. I got mine for $13.50 ea. The OEM Ducati RGs sell for $63 ea.
It's rumoured that Champion makes 2 different RG59V plugs, a cheap industrial version and the Ducati proprietary plug. This is not true. After speaking to several Champion techs they all said that Champion makes but 1 version. I decided to speak to "several" techs to see if their explanation differed and it didn't.....although it doesn't "absolutely" mean that a specail Ducati RG59V exists, but it just doesn't seem plausible...take it or leave it.
I bought a set a while ago based on the above as this plug has been recommended to be used with the 1038cc bore kit and HC pistons (13.5:1) I installed in my 999. I've been running the Nippon Denso Iridium plug in my 999 for the last year or so.
I decided to install the RG59Vs in my 999 the other day. I found they perform very well as my throttle response was markedly "snappier", it idled perfectly and my 999 seemed to run better than ever from idle to rev limiter. Not sure if this performance will subside as they get used, some who have used this plug say they do have a tendency to foul a street ridden bike. They are SD plugs...(surface discharge-no electrode). So maybe with it's increase compression my engine can take advantage of the design...not sure. However they work just perfectly and if you own a Duc that requires these plugs you can save your self loads of $$$.
Thought I would pass it on....
 

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I once met a Castrol lab manager who told me candidly that a "racing grade" oil is virtually the same to the "road" grade. He also told me that the only thing you need to check for when selecting oils is the viscosity. If synthetic, it has additives which makes it age slower, only difference. It is still oil. You can use same grade semi-synthetic or mineral. Only thing you have to do is change the latter ones more often, which in practical terms does not come in to play on bikes since (at least myself) change the oil at least two times per year. In fact, he said leaving even a synthetic (old) oil in the engine was doing more harm than using a cheaper oil but changing it more often. Has all to do with oxidisation, acidisation, carbo-hydrate chains getting cut shorter, heat cycling and those kind of things.

What does this have to do with the above on sparking plugs? It goes to show that we, consumers, are a gullible lot and that some of us would pay $63 for an item you can get for $13.50.

More specifically: Iridium compared to "normal" plugs is just like synthetic versus "classic" oil. One lasts longer than the other. That's all. (I did read some spiel here on this board how incorrectly gapped Iridum plugs would not work as good, loss of bhp and all sorts of [ ] - fill the gap with any profanity of your choice. Now, if anyone after changing one set of good plugs, correctly gapped following the official workshop manual, for another type would be so kind as to do a dyno and show us ignorant people a gain of even 0.02%, I will eat two of my bikes raw - without ketchup!)

ZDM: snappier...it's all in your head...and mine. This is why we are gullible.
 

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Could be snappier if the old ones were knackered.
 

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Could be snappier if the old ones were knackered.
Well observed, my Dear Watson. So I put the key statement in my post above in bold for easier analysis. Iridium plugs last for a very long amount of km/miles. 160.000km/100.000 miles not uncommonly quoted. I doubt anyone on a Ducati would be able to do that kind of mileage in one, or even, two years. For a number of reasons. In all practicality, a set of Iridium plugs would most likely last the lifetime of the engine.
 

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Could be snappier if the old ones were knackered.
My opinion too, the iridiums didnt do the job if you noticed a difference.
Stock is bloody good, somehow if you fit a piston too high to allow a stock plug, use a surface plug, if not a surface plug is of no use.

Try the 1198 oem plugs as a comparison.
Zdm already knows, but 1198 plugs fit and are shorter plus they have two electrodes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The old ND iridiums didn't look too bad. As Tom had said previously, it's hard to diagnose how an engine is performing by electrode color. That said my horz. cyl. plug looked a bit fouled (black) vs. the vert. cyl. plug which was dark brown. Then again my 999 was dynoed at 149/87 with standard Champion RG4HC plugs...
There's no doubt with the RG59Vs the engine runs better. In fact I really don't want to get off it after a long ride. No sure why, quite possibly it's the combination of the 1038cc OB kit, HC pistons, squish, etc. I know Kamna Ducati recommends RGs with their 1038cc bore kits....but again they sell the plugs for $63 bucks ea....
I'm interested to see how they hold up after a few thousand miles. I had about 3200K on my NDs.
Above all else they seem to be legit authentic special racing plugs for a decent price over the Duc part.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My opinion too, the iridiums didnt do the job if you noticed a difference.
Stock is bloody good, somehow if you fit a piston too high to allow a stock plug, use a surface plug, if not a surface plug is of no use.

Try the 1198 oem plugs as a comparison.
Zdm already knows, but 1198 plugs fit and are shorter plus they have two electrodes.
I didn't have any issue's w/ the stock plug. I tried the ND plug which IMO was great.
I'll try a set if the RGs crap out. The reach is 19mm on the NGK MAR10A-Js (looks much deeper) and I see that they are listed to be used in the 999 testastretta.
Whats they advantage to a dual electrode....
 

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I have been wrenching on one thing or another since I was 12
that said I bought my 748 2.5 years ago thought the wrist numbing
vibration was normal
scored a set of oe ducati plugs brand new off ebay RA59GC
temps lower vibartion gone and pulls well past 12k
I for one well be happy to pay the 31. each it takes to keep it this way
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wanted to post an update on my new Champion RG59V "surface discharge" plugs.
I found now that they have had some use my 999 doesn't start a quickly as it did w/ the Nippon Denso Iridiums. Not sure if it's been the change in weather as we had it dip into the low 50s, high 40s for nightly lows or it's just the plugs. Chilly evenings coupled w/ a week between starts, causes my 999 to be a bit a bitch....
I noticed that the electrode is a nice tan/brown on both plugs. Still runs great after I get it started, throttle is still snappy.
I'm not sure how FBF set up the squish when they installed the 102mm bore kit. Whether the fact I was using RG4HC OEM Champions at that time would make a difference when setting the squish. The 102mm kit w/ HC Pistal boosts my compression to 13.5:1......just not sure if it would have been set up differently if I had been using the RG59Vs. I bought a set of OEM Champion RG4HCs, I'll install them soon to see if they improve my initial start up.
It's rumored that the RG59Vs can cause hard starting....who knows.
But aside from taking a few more cranks to start, the RG59Vs still work fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Jeff, you really should compare equally worn plugs, comparing a used plug with any new wont say much...
The sceptical swede ;)
I definitely haven't had many miles on the RG59Vs.....I kept a record of the miles though and I'm at 750 miles. I'll throw in the new RG4HC OEM plugs and run those for 750 miles. Than towards the end see if they start my 999 any better.
Questions: When setting the squish, for example on a 999R. Would Ducati develop a piston crown and squish setting based upon a particular plug they wanted to use?
Why would Ducati recommend a RG59V surface discharge plug in both the 999 and 749R? Expensive bike, expensive plug?
I understand that a standard plug with a side electrode will work in a 999R?
Can a spark plug be "indexed" in a testastretta.....
 
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