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Thread: Bosch XR7LDC spark plugs - different flavors?

  1. #1
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    Bosch XR7LDC spark plugs - different flavors?

    So... I'm doing the routine maintenance work on my '04 K1200GT for the first time. So far so good. Oil and filter change, transmission and final drive oil change, coolant change. And plugs. And valves.

    Ordered a set of Bosch XR7LDC plugs online from a reputable BMW parts dealer. Was slightly cheaper than Beemer Boneyard, otherwise the same. Or apparently so.

    So the plugs arrive today and I pull the old ones. And I notice that the old ones, installed by the dealer 12k miles ago, are SUPER XR7LDCs and they have green bands on the ceramic insulator body. The ones I just received lack the "SUPER" and they have blue bands. Closer look: green-bands made in Brazil, blue-bands made in India.

    I'm probably putting way too fine a point on this, but anyone know if there's really any difference, and if so, what? The SUPER version (green bands) are apparently the original factory OEM parts.

    Thanks.

    ~ Corey

  2. #2
    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    Were the new ones in BMW boxes? I'll check my stock tomorrow and see what they look like.
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  3. #3
    Nick Kennedy
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    Little tread drift warning
    On my last sparkplug change on my 1990 K75RT the Bosch plugs were made in India.
    I wasn't too happy about that.
    But that was about 18k ago and they've performed flawlessly.
    I just imagined the plugs made by children in a sweatshop in India, yuck.
    Thread drift warning off

  4. #4
    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    From BMW: blue, India, no Super. Looks like I bought this box two years ago.
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  5. #5
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    Anton, thanks for checking. The ones I received were in the original Bosch boxes, not repackaged as BMW parts. But good to know that yours were the same as mine - assuming yours were genuine BMW OEM parts, which I get from your posts.

    ~ Corey

  6. #6
    Mehrten
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    Several years back when buying plugs for our past 2008 K1200GT I contacted NGK and asked why I couldn't find their plugs, sold by BMW, on their web site.

    At that time the answer was they were proprietarily to BMW so that number was only sold in BMW dealerships.

    But...

    There was an NGK racing plug that was identical to the BMW plug in every way but the number on the plug. The NGK rep sent me a list of the two plugs' specs to verify they were vertically identical.

    The BMW plug was about $20 and the NGK racing plug was $9.99.

    Doesn't hurt to shop around once a bike is out of warranty.

  7. #7
    Beware. Rant coming.

    Cadillac boasts 100,000 plug change intervals by way of three-electrode plugs. Whoopee! BMW introduces double electrode plugs. Whoopee.

    Research "spark plug indexing" and wonder of BMW's wisdom.

    If a single electrode can mask the spark, what can a dual or triple electrode plug do. Screw up combustion but ensure plug life. Every few years some doofus moto rag tries to compare routine maintenance costs for the first 100K or whatever miles on various models. Then the manufacturers play the game. So they do stupid stuff like double and triple electrode plug. Understand: when the coil fires only one plug electrode fires. So they erode at half or one-third the rate. Whoopee!

    So to mask routine maintenance costs BMW claims long plug intervals for plug change. Meanwhile, every mile sucks.\due to poor plug performance
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  8. #8
    Mehrten
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    Paul,

    I indexed our past 2000 Moto Guzzi Quota with good results. The washers I used were for big industrial plugs. I still have a dozen or so in my sparkplug box.

    The particular plugs for our past 2008 K1200GT were cross referenced to an NGK single ground electrode racing plug with iridium tips.

    I should pull all the tips (platium and iridium) I have and see if they're worth anything at the Gold Store ;)

    BMW recommends 18,000 miles on all three of our bikes - 2002 K1200RS, 2016 R1200RS and our latest a 2019 K1600GT Sport.

    I've read posts from folks who run their plugs 24,000 or 36,000 miles before swapping them out.

    What do you consider to be an appropriate interval to change plugs in modern Rs and Ks?

    Side Note: I remember Rob Lentini (rest his bones) and AutoLites I believe they were. I put a set in our 2004 K1200RS that matched the OEM plug specs and the bike ran like crap. A fresh set of NGKs brought her back.

  9. #9
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    I recall Rob recommending the Autolite (3923 IIRC) for the R1100 series but donít recall a recommendation for the brick-k bikes. I ran the Autolites in my R100RSL and the bike ran well with them. On sale at OíReillyís for a little over a buck apiece, I replaced them every time I checked valve adjustment.

    Ive never considered the XR7LDC for the brick-k expensive enough to cross-reference, I guess. Interesting to note the blue/green difference, thoóIíve never seen that. The correct NGK KR9CI plugs for my K1300GT are available at my local OíReillyís but the advantage there is more convenience than price. Iím happy with NGK in that bike so havenít bothered looking for a cheaper cross-reference.

    Best,
    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST ó 1984 R80 G/S-PD ó 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C ó 2010 K1300GT ó 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  10. #10
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    One more thing to note: price difference.

    BMW (green-band version): $18.xx ea
    Bosch (blue-band version): $6.25 ea. (Good deal found online)

    Iím doing two bikes, both Ď04 K1200GTs. Thatís 8 plugs.

    So my parts-cost savings here is almost $100. For spark plugs.

    Now, at the risk of starting a whole Ďnother thread: if someone could recommend a bona fide alternative to genuine BMW engine oil (Advantec Pro 15W-50). Local dealership parts guy persuaded me to use it.

    At dealership: $20/liter
    Best deal online $15/liter. (Still pretty outrageous)

    8 liters for the two bikes. Another $40. It adds up.

  11. #11
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Youíre looking for a 20W-50 SG oil to meet the original mfg spec. There are a number of non-BMW oils that would work well in that bike. OíReilly Auto Parts usually stock Castrol GTX GO! oil for $6-7/qt, less on sale. Thatís a SG dino lube. If you prefer synthetic youíll have a more difficult time finding a 20W-50 with an API rating below SL. Typically something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Castrol-POWER...s%2C241&sr=8-5

    https://www.amazon.com/Castrol-Actev.../dp/B00CJ7WOJ2

    https://www.autozone.com/motor-oil-a...oil/153232_0_0



    I havenít looked at a bottle of BMW oil for quite some time, so Iím not sure what the API rating is on the BMW 20W-50. Personally, Iíve gone to the Castrol GO! For my K-brick. And note that there is a distinction between the regular GTX and GTX GO! oils.

    Best,
    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST ó 1984 R80 G/S-PD ó 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C ó 2010 K1300GT ó 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  12. #12
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    GTRider,

    Thanks for the suggestions on the oil. One thing to note:

    My local dealership's parts guy (who rides his '03 K1200GT to work every day) told me that while the original factory spec was 20W-50, BMW has since changed their recommendation to 15W-50 for the later K-brick engines. I think I believe him, though I wonder if that change has been simply to position their own product for these bikes. Or is that too cynical?

    I would think that here in California, there's not a real compelling reason to change from 20W to 15W, since "really-cold" starting conditions are rarely to never encountered. Am I being too simple-minded?

    BTW, the API rating on the BMW 15W-50 oil is SM. Technically, for a 2004 vehicle apparently I should be looking for SL or SM.

    Cheers.

    ~ Corey

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by del59803518_coreyd View Post
    GTRider,

    Thanks for the suggestions on the oil. One thing to note:

    My local dealership's parts guy (who rides his '03 K1200GT to work every day) told me that while the original factory spec was 20W-50, BMW has since changed their recommendation to 15W-50 for the later K-brick engines. I think I believe him, though I wonder if that change has been simply to position their own product for these bikes. Or is that too cynical?

    I would think that here in California, there's not a real compelling reason to change from 20W to 15W, since "really-cold" starting conditions are rarely to never encountered. Am I being too simple-minded?

    BTW, the API rating on the BMW 15W-50 oil is SM. Technically, for a 2004 vehicle apparently I should be looking for SL or SM.

    Cheers.

    ~ Corey
    Recommendations are just that. Specifications are just that. The spec is 20w50.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  14. #14
    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    Oil specs have been a bit of a mess for some time now. Most bikes have a viscosity chart in their owner's manual, which mostly just adds confusion because it allows several different ranges. But then there's BMW's "Nothing beyond SJ" service bulletin which is still in effect for those bikes, and then there are owners' manuals that conflicted with that bulletin (the manual was declared to be in error at the time), and the single spec in the RSD which matches whatever BMW is selling at the time (may or may not comply with the bulletin), and who knows what the latest post-RSD system is specifying. IIRC the bulletin didn't really get to the heart of the issue which was that only the Energy Conserving viscosities were even affected by the reduced additive package that BMW was concerned about, and the common viscosities at the time weren't EC anyway.
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  15. #15
    Mehrten
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    Back to plugs for a second...

    I found my files on the NGK KR9CI called for in our past 2008 K1200GT.

    The KR9CI plugs were $83.20 for a set of 4. Wow!

    I went to the NGK site and the KR9CI plugs were not listed. I called and talked to a rep and asked why.

    The KR9CI was a BMW spec'ed plug and at that time was only sold through BMW dealers.

    He sent me the attached cross reference to one of their NGK racing plugs, a DCPR9EIX.

    I bought a set of DCPR9EIX plugs from SparkPlugs.com for $31.32.

    That was a significant saving and they were identical to the KR9CI plugs.

    The KR9CI plugs are now sold everywhere for a much better price.
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