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Enerpulse /   Pulstar®   FAQ  - Choose from:

  1. Top Ten most frequently asked questions
  2. Questions about company history and background
  3. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug technology – the science of “pulsed energy”
  4. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug features
  5. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug benefits
  6. Questions about what makes Pulstar® pulse plugs different than spark plugs
  7. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plugs testing and real-life experiences
  8. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug guarantees, warranty and costs
  9. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug installation recommendations
  10. Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug special precautions

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What is a “pulse plug” and how is it different than a regular spark plug?
After 15 years of extensive development and testing, Pulstar® pulse plugs contain an internal, very efficient and patented capacitor element that stores energy to discharge into the fuel charge once the spark gap is ionized http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionization. By definition in the Society of Automotive Engineers specifications for a spark plug, the Pulstar® pulse plug has more “capacitance” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance than is allowed for a spark plug.

With Pulstar® pulse plugs, how much more power and mpg’s will I get?
Certified testing shows that Pulstar® pulse plugs deliver these consumer benefits:

  • Greater engine torque – up to 9%
  • Greater horsepower – up to 7%
  • Quicker throttle response
  • Better fuel economy – up to 10%
  • Lower emissions – across the board reductions
  • Smoother operation
  • Enhanced driving experience
  • Easier starting
  • Improved towing capacity

Specific improvements depend on driving conditions, correct maintenance of the engine and driving style of the driver. Early results after installation of Pulstar® pulse plugs are typically affected by the improved power and torque. It’s difficult not to use the new power and enjoy the pleasure of driving.

Will Pulstar® pulse plugs hurt my engine?
No. Pulstar® pulse plugs are designed and tested to be direct replacements for spark plugs. If your vehicle has an engine control unit (ECU or computer) we recommend that the negative cable be removed from the battery during installation so that it will reset and recognize the improved ignition performance and adjust for maximum benefit as soon as practical. Even if the computer is not reset, after a couple of tanks of fuel (or a few hundred miles of driving) the computer will recognize the improvement and adjust accordingly. Be sure to follow Pulstar® pulse plug install instructions supplied with the packaging.

How long do Pulstar® pulse plugs last?
Both the platinum electrode "p" and iridium electrode "I" models of the Pulstar® pulse plugs are designed and tested to provide 100,000 miles (161,000 km) of performance life under normal driving and operating conditions. The pricing difference reflects the difference in cost for the electrode materials and the difference in manufacturing production volumes.

What is the Pulstar® pulse plug guarantee and warranty?
If you are not 100% satisfied with your Pulstar® pulse plugs within 30 days of purchase, return them to Pulstar® for a full refund. GUARANTEED!

Pulstar® pulse plugs are warranted to be free of material and manufacturing defects for one year from date of manufacture. Plug life warranty is for 100,000 miles when installed in a well maintained engine and operated under normal driving conditions. “Pulstar® is the last plug your car will ever need!”

Do I need to make any changes to my engine to use Pulstar® pulse plugs?
No. Pulstar® pulse plugs are designed and tested to be direct replacements for spark plugs. If your vehicle has an engine control unit (ECU or computer) we recommend that the negative cable be removed from the battery during installation so that it will reset and recognize the improved ignition performance and adjust for maximum benefit as soon as practical. Even if the computer is not reset, after a couple of tanks of fuel (or a few hundred miles of driving) the computer will recognize the improvement and adjust accordingly.

What is the difference between Platinum and Iridium?
The platinum electrode "p" series has a 0.90 mm / 0.035” diameter electrode tip and is suitable for most applications to provide the full benefits of the pulsed technology. The iridium electrode "I" series has a 0.50 mm / 0.020” diameter electrode tip and provides an additional concentration or focus of the energy at the spark gap. This has shown to enhance performance for those drivers seeking additional horsepower and torque in their driving experience.

What do Pulstar® pulse plugs cost?
Pulstar® pulse plugs are priced in the range of other premium, iridium and platinum electrode spark plugs. We sell the Pulstar® pulse plugs at the manufacturers’ suggested retail price and our resellers have the liberty to sell at a price consistent with their retail model.

Where are Pulstar® pulse plugs manufactured?
Pulstar® pulse plugs are assembled, tested and packed in Albuquerque, NM and shipped to resellers and customers throughout the world.

Where can I buy Pulstar® pulse plugs locally?
Pulstar® pulse plugs are available locally from:

  • Advance Auto Parts
  • AutoZone® Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts®  in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta
  • NAPA Auto Parts in New Mexico

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 How old is your company?
Enerpulse, the developer and producer of Pulstar® pulse plugs, has its origins in Albuquerque, NM starting soon after the 1973 oil embargo in an effort to make the internal combustion, spark ignited engine more efficient and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Working with Sandia National Laboratories www.snl.gov, focus was directed at the spark plug currently in use from the automaker.

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug technology – the science of “pulsed energy”

 What is the technology behind Pulstar® pulse plugs?
Sandia National Laboratories is the home and global core of “pulsed-power” technology, the underlying science behind the Pulstar® pulse plug ignition product. Pulsed-power is the science of storing energy over a relatively long period of time and discharging the stored energy in a very short period of time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsed_power. By using a super efficient capacitor internal to the Pulstar® pulse plug, an intense and energy dense spark discharge of over 1,000,000 watts is possible using the standard automotive ignition system. A very good example of pulsed-power is the comparison of small AA battery powered flashlight and a camera using the same AA battery to power the flash. The output of the flashlight is anemic compared to the power discharged by the camera flash. In the same way, Pulstar® discharges over 1 megawatt while the common sparkplug today discharges not even 50 watts.

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug features

 What are the features of Pulstar® pulsed power technology?
The features of Pulstar® include:

  • Over 1 million watts of ignition power
  • Over 1000 amps of discharge current
  • Energy-dense spark resilient to over 100M/sec squish velocity
  • Flame front propagation more than twice as fast as conventional iridium spark plugs
  • Precise ignition relative to crank angle
  • More complete combustion
  • Over 50% reduction in cycle-to-cycle variation in combustion pressures
  • Plug and Play..no modifications/adjustments necessary, this includes timing

Are the characteristics of the ignition/combustion event changed?
       
While the features of the Pulstar® pulse plug spark event lead to significant benefits, Pulstar® pulse plugs are designed not to impact critical features or components of the OEM ignition system. These are:

  • Spark voltage is unchanged
  • Duty load on ignition components is unchanged
  • Spark timing is unchanged
  • Spark duration unchanged

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug benefits

 What are the consumer benefits of Pulstar® pulse plugs?
Certified testing shows that Pulstar® pulse plugs deliver these consumer benefits:

  • Greater engine torque – up to 9%
  • Greater horsepower – up to 7%
  • Quicker throttle response
  • Better fuel economy – up to 10%
  • Lower emissions – across the board reductions
  • Smoother operation
  • Enhanced driving experience
  • Easier starting
  • Increased towing capacity

 How can you claim to cover 80% of existing cars and light duty trucks with only 5 models of Pulstar® pulse plugs?
The physical dimensions of the spark plugs required to cover 80% of the current vehicle inventory are precisely the dimensions of the 5 Pulstar models. Functional and operations differences between Pulstar and conventional plugs occur in heat range, electrode design and configuration, spark placement in the cylinder, and spark gap, all which raise the required coverage for conventional spark plugs into the hundreds of models required to service the same number of vehicles that Pulstar covers with 5 models. This is possible by Pulstar due to the very powerful spark discharge that will ignite a fuel charge proximate the spark gap, burn it more completely and quicker than a conventional plug. The Pulstar heat range is 2-3 heat ranges cooler than typical for the application due no longer to the requirement of percolating off unburned fuel. The spark gap recommended by the manufacturer is the same as Pulstar recommends, eliminating the gap issue, and only one, simple negative electrode is required to close the high voltage circuit and make a spark. Multiple electrodes actually inhibit consistent flame front propagation in the cylinder.

 Where are Pulstar® pulse plugs available?
Pulstar® pulse plugs are available locally from:

  • Advance Auto Parts
  • AutoZone® Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts®  in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta
  • NAPA Auto Parts in New Mexico

Pulstar® pulse plugs are available on the internet from:

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  • Questions about what makes Pulstar® pulse plugs different than spark plugs

 Why are Pulstar® pulse plugs more expensive than spark plugs?

In fact, they are not. They are priced in the range of other premium, iridium and platinum electrode spark plugs. We sell the Pulstar® pulse plugs at the manufacturers’ suggested retail price and our resellers have the liberty to sell at a price consistent with their retail model.

 Why do you say the Pulstar® pulse plug is not a spark plug?

By definition in the Society of Automotive Engineers specifications for a spark plug, the Pulstar® pulse plug has more “capacitance” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance than is allowed for a spark plug. Designed into the Pulstar® is a very efficient capacitor element that stores energy to discharge into the fuel charge once the spark gap is ionized http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionization. Current conventional ignition theory is based on ensuring the fuel charge is well mixed with small particle size, fully homogeneous and directed at the spark gap and combustion initiated with the heat of the resident spark which is about 4,000o to 6,000o Kelvin. Pulstar® practice is to initiate the combustion process with the discharge of the capacitor which couples over 1,000,000 watts of power with the heat of the spark to the fuel charge as opposed to less than 50 watts of conventional spark plug power. This ensures ignition at the designed timing mark designated by the engine designers and not at some time during the spark event. Smoother operation, easier starting, quicker throttle response and more complete combustion ensue.

 

How can Pulstar® deliver so much power from the same ignition system?

In short, by applying “Pulse-Power” technology. For a century automakers have relied on the heat of the spark at 4,000o to 6,000o Kelvin to ignite the fuel charge, and this has performed very well as evidenced by the fact that the general principal has remained unchanged for this period of time. However, with the quality of fuel degrading, the implementation of turbo-charging, and sophistication of engine management controlling the combustion event, a better plug is required to match up with the current engine designs and strategies. The capacitor, internal to the Pulstar® plug uses intelligent energy management to store energy unused by conventional spark plugs and compresses the stored energy into a billionth of a second time frame which “peaks” the power of the spark. This is the same average energy available to a spark plug but managed by Pulstar® pulse plugs to deliver the ultra high power at the instant of creating the initial flame kernel (View Example Here) which results in a much more efficient combustion process.

Can Pulstar® improve the combustion process in alternative fuels such as E85?

The general statement can be made that the more difficult the ignition process the greater the difference between spark plugs and Pulstar®. So yes, Pulstar® pulse plugs are significantly better than spark plugs in an alternative fuel combustion environment. The first law of thermodynamics http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/firlaw.html is the conservation of energy law. That is, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form. Pulstar® pulse plugs store energy, spark plugs do not. The more electrical energy converted to thermal energy the more combustion energy that is extracted from the fuel charge.

Why should I believe your claims? All spark plug companies make the same claims.

Yes, all spark plug companies have made the same claims but none stand ready to deliver the proof. Pulstar® is the only company to publish 3rd party performance results, and the only company with a 30 day money back guarantee of results.

Modified Magazine Test Results Article [PDF - 303KB]

DragSport Test Results Article [PDF - 1777KB]

Performance Auto & Sound Test Results Article [PDF - 712KB]

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug testing and real-life experiences

Have Pulstar® pulse plugs been independently tested?

Yes, by Sandia National Laboratories, Southwest Research Laboratories, Forschungsgesellschaft fur Energie und Verbrennungsmotoren, Prodrive-Engelhard and a number of dyno specialty shops, the results of which are summarized under consumer benefits.  In general, you will see improvements in starting, performance, and increase in fuel economy. View testing here.

 

Why aren’t the major automakers using Pulstar® pulse plugs?

An Automaker such as Ford or Volkswagen takes a very long time to certify any new technology that impacts the engine platform, on the order of 4-7 years. As such, new technologies that are readily installed by competent mechanics show up in the performance aftermarket well before they are adopted by the automakers. The same is true for Pulstar® pulse plugs as they are currently being tested by a number of automakers.

Are Pulstar® plugs used by professional race teams?

Pulstar® does not currently sponsor and supply plugs to any racing teams. We are aware that some customers are using Pulstar® plugs in racing applications and encourages this activity provided that the heat range is appropriate for the operating conditions of the racing engine. The current Pulstar® pulse plug products are designed for street legal and licensed, unmodified vehicles.

How much performance improvement should I expect after the installation of Pulstar® pulse plugs in my vehicle?

Pulstar® pulse plugs improve all aspects of combustion quality in your engine. You will notice improved throttle responsiveness, more torque (more pull without down shifting), and better fuel economy. The amount of performance improvement will depend on the make, model and operating condition of your vehicle. In general, you should expect torque to improve by 4 to 12% and realize between 4 to 7% improvement in fuel economy.

Are Pulstar® pulse plugs compatible with "modified" or racing engines?

Most basic, aftermarket bolt-on modifications available for vehicles today work perfectly with Pulstar® plugs. Examples include cold air or short ram intakes, performance exhaust systems and ignition system upgrades, such as MSD. More advanced engine upgrades, such as turbo or superchargers and nitrous oxide injection, are also capable of using Pulstar® providing the heat range of the Pulstar® plug matches the requirements specified by the upgrade.

What is the Pulstar® heat range?

Pulstar® pulse plugs cover the following heat ranges: NGK 5 to 7; Denso 22 to 16; Champion 7 to 12; Bosch 5 to 8.

Why should I believe your claims? All spark plug companies make the same claims.

Yes, all spark plug companies have made the same claims but none stand ready to deliver the proof. Pulstar® is the only company to publish 3rd party performance results, and the only company with a 30 day money back guarantee of results.

Modified Magazine Test Results Article [PDF - 303KB]

DragSport Test Results Article [PDF - 1777KB]

Performance Auto & Sound Test Results Article [PDF - 712KB]

Where are Pulstar® pulse plugs available?
Pulstar® is available locally from:

  • Advance Auto Parts
  • AutoZone® Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts®  in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta
  • NAPA Auto Parts in New Mexico

Pulstar® is available on the internet from:

Why are Pulstar® plugs more expensive to buy from the factory than other retailers?

We sell the Pulstar® plugs at the manufacturers’ suggested retail price and our resellers have the liberty to sell at a price consistent with their retail model.

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug guarantees, warranty and costs

What is the Pulstar® guarantee?

If you are not 100% satisfied with your Pulstar® plugs within 30 days of purchase, return them for a full refund.

What is the Pulstar® warranty?

Pulstar® plugs are warranted to be free of material and manufacturing defects for one year from date of manufacture. Plug life warranty is for 100,000 miles when installed in a well maintained engine and operated under normal driving conditions. “Pulstar® is the last plug your car will ever need!”

Why is the Pulstar® warranty the same for "P" and "I" but the cost is different?

Both the platinum electrode "p" and iridium electrode "I" models of the Pulstar® plugs are designed and tested to provide 100,000 miles (161,000 km) of performance life under normal driving and operating conditions. The pricing difference reflects the difference in cost for the electrode materials and the difference in manufacturing production volumes.

Will it installing Pulstar® plugs void my manufacturer's warranty?

No. The 1975 Magnuson Moss Act prevents a manufacturer from voiding a warranty based on a customer's selection of parts that the dealer does not offer.

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug installation recommendations

What is the Pulstar® heat range?

Pulstar® pulse plugs cover the following heat ranges: NGK 5 to 7; Denso 22 to 16; Champion 7 to 12; Bosch 5 to 8.

Why use dielectric grease on the top ceramic insulator?

One of the normal effects of operating a high voltage electrical system (like the ignition system on your vehicle) is the formation of a "corona voltage" on the external surface of the conductor (wires or insulators). As the voltage increases (as it does when a spark plug gets older and the gap wears larger), this "corona voltage" will increase. By using dielectric grease on the top ceramic insulator and lower edge of the wire or coil boot, this corona voltage is reduced and the plug will last longer before needing replacement.

Why use anti-seize compound on the shell threads?

With longer service intervals for spark plugs and Pulstar® plugs in today's modern engines and the cold-hot-cold cycles that the spark plug endures during its service life, there is a higher probability that the threads will be more susceptible to seizing or binding when it is time to remove the plug. Using an anti-seize compound when installing the plugs will reduce or eliminate this binding. Be sure to check the recommendation of the manufacturer for the correct type of anti-seize compound. Different thread materials will require different compounds or in some cases none is required.

Why remove the insert in the spark plug socket wrench?

Applying a side force to a spark plug or Pulstar® plug can cause internal damage. While the outside appears to be OK, inside there could be a crack in the ceramic or the seal may be compromised that would allow leakage and loss of cylinder compression and engine performance.

Why hand tighten Pulstar® plugs before using a socket wrench?

By first hand tightening a Pulstar® plug confirms that the thread is clean and the plug is started straight. A crooked or cross-threaded plug will damage the thread on the plug and the engine. It is also most helpful to thread the plug all the way to the seat prior to using the socket wrench, so that the correct torque is applied to seating the plug into the engine. If the thread is started wrong, the torque may only bind the plug in the hole, and leave the plug above the intended seat. This will cause the plug to run hot and may damage the plug and possibly the engine.

What is the correct torque required to seat and seal the Pulstar® plug?

Proper torque values to install and seat spark plugs have been developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in conjunction with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and varies depending on the size of the thread, material used in the engine and the type of seat (tapered or flat with gasket). Specific requirements can be found in the owner’s manual for your vehicle. In general, after hand tightening a plug the correct torque is 1/4th turn (90 degrees) for a flat seat plug with gasket and 1/24th turn (15 degrees) for a tapered seat plug.

What is the correct gap to use for a Pulstar® plug?

Pulstar® pulse plugs should be gapped to the setting recommended by the engine manufacturer up to 0.055" (1.40mm). Do not gap greater than 0.055". For factory turbo or supercharged engines, gap Pulstar® plugs to 0.025" (0.63mm). For all other gapping questions, call (888)800-6700.

Where can I find the correct gap for my vehicle?

Most vehicles have a sticker under the hood near the radiator cap that shows the correct gap for the plug. In other cases the correct spark plug gap is shown in the owner’s manual. If you don't find it in either of those places, check with the service counter assistant where you purchased your Pulstar® plugs or call (888)800-6700.

Do I need to adjust the timing when I install Pulstar® plugs?

No. Pulstar® plugs are designed and tested to be direct replacements for spark plugs. If your vehicle has an engine control unit (ECU or computer) we recommend that the negative cable be removed from the battery during installation so that it will reset and recognize the improved ignition performance and adjust for maximum benefit as soon as practical. Even if the computer is not reset, after a couple of tanks of fuel (or a few hundred miles of driving) the computer will recognize the improvement and adjust accordingly.

Why is the fit of the terminal at the top of the insulator important?

With any spark plug a good, tight fit of the terminal connect is important to prevent loss of energy transfer at the connection. For Pulstar® pulse plugs it is also critical to provide the energy that will be stored in the capacitor before the spark is formed at the plug tip. If the terminal connection is not tight, energy is used lost that should be stored for the efficient burning of the fuel mixture.

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  • Questions about Pulstar® pulse plug special precautions

What is the Pulstar® heat range?

Pulstar® pulse plugs cover the following heat ranges: NGK 5 to 7; Denso 22 to 16; Champion 7 to 12; Bosch 5 to 8.

Why use dielectric grease on the top ceramic insulator?

One of the normal effects of operating a high voltage electrical system (like the ignition system on your vehicle) is the formation of a "corona voltage" on the external surface of the conductor (wires or insulators). As the voltage increases (as it does when a spark plug gets older and the gap wears larger), this "corona voltage" will increase. By using dielectric grease on the top ceramic insulator and lower edge of the wire or coil boot, this corona voltage is reduced and the plug will last longer before needing replacement.

Why use anti-seize compound on the shell threads?

With longer service intervals for spark plugs and Pulstar® plugs in today's modern engines and the cold-hot-cold cycles that the spark plug endures during its service life, there is a higher probability that the threads will be more susceptible to seizing or binding when it is time to remove the plug. Using an anti-seize compound when installing the plugs will reduce or eliminate this binding. Be sure to check the recommendation of the manufacturer for the correct type of anti-seize compound. Different thread materials will require different compounds or in some cases none is required.

Why remove the insert in the spark plug socket wrench?

Applying a side force to a spark plug or Pulstar® plug can cause internal damage. While the outside appears to be OK, inside there could be a crack in the ceramic or the seal may be compromised that would allow leakage and loss of cylinder compression and engine performance.

Why hand tighten Pulstar® plugs before using a socket wrench?

By first hand tightening a Pulstar® plug confirms that the thread is clean and the plug is started straight. A crooked or cross-threaded plug will damage the thread on the plug and the engine. It is also most helpful to thread the plug all the way to the seat prior to using the socket wrench, so that the correct torque is applied to seating the plug into the engine. If the thread is started wrong, the torque may only bind the plug in the hole, and leave the plug above the intended seat. This will cause the plug to run hot and may damage the plug and possibly the engine.

What is the correct torque required to seat and seal the Pulstar® plug?

Proper torque values to install and seat spark plugs have been developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in conjunction with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and varies depending on the size of the thread, material used in the engine and the type of seat (tapered or flat with gasket). Specific requirements can be found in the owner’s manual for your vehicle. In general, after hand tightening a plug the correct torque is 1/4th turn (90 degrees) for a flat seat plug with gasket and 1/24th turn (15 degrees) for a tapered seat plug.

What should I do if I drop a plug?

Never install a Pulstar® plug that has been dropped. While the outside may appear to be OK, inside there could be a crack in the ceramic or the seal may be compromised that would allow leakage and loss of cylinder compression and engine performance.

Are Pulstar® pulse plugs compatible with "modified" or racing engines?

Most basic, aftermarket bolt-on modifications available for vehicles today work perfectly with Pulstar® plugs. Examples include cold air or short ram intakes, performance exhaust systems and ignition system upgrades, such as MSD. More advanced engine upgrades, such as turbo or superchargers and nitrous oxide injection, are also capable of using Pulstar® providing the heat range of the Pulstar® plug matches the requirements specified by the upgrade.

What is the Pulstar® heat range?

Pulstar® pulse plugs cover the following heat ranges: NGK 5 to 7; Denso 22 to 16; Champion 7 to 12; Bosch 5 to 8.

Can Pulstar® plugs be used with alternative fuels?

Pulstar® technology is even more apparent when used with alternative fuels. Many alternative fuels like E85 and E100 ethanol, CNG (compressed natural gas) and propane require fuel delivery adjustments for the best mix of combustible fuel and air. Many dual fuel applications provide a compromise mix so that more than one fuel can be run in the same engine. This means that a less than optimum mix is delivered for ignition by the spark from the plug. With the higher concentration of energy produced by the Pulstar® plug, precise timing and delivery of combustion is maintained and higher efficiency is assured.

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  * If you are not 100% satisfied within 30 days of purchase, return for a full refund. | Copyright © 2009 Enerpulse Incorporated, all rights reserved.