Articles, Blog

Mercedes Spark Plugs Fire 5 Times For Better Efficiency

January 15, 2020


Hello everyone and welcome beside me is the Mercedes AMG GLC 63 and probably some other letters and numbers that I’m forgetting and it has Mercedes latest generation of their multi spark ignition So this is a twin turbo four-litre v8 Engine and one of the really cool things about it is that the unique ignition system is designed to fire the spark plugs Five times during the power stroke. So five spark firings during that single power stroke This is an update from their previous generation, which fired that spark plug four times and all of that happens within one millisecond What why would you fire the spark plug five times? Well, the idea is actually to improve low end combustion So it’s not for creating power instead. It’s used for when you’re at light load so when you’re not too heavy on the throttle and that low rpms and they do this to improve combustion efficiency and combustion consistency now if only there was some sort of tool that I could use to better explain this (snaps three times) Here we are, well, what do you know now? Now, that effect was either really stupid and didn’t work very well or it looked kind of cool On that second snap of the fingers either way. I’m gonna leave it in the video Because I don’t want to retake the shot So let’s talk about why you might want to do this at low loads it’s ideal to start running, you know a leaner mixture than at higher loads you don’t have to worry about knock as much with low load so you can get away with leaner mixtures and as a result you Can get better efficiency if you can use less air to the amount of fuel that you’re using So fourteen point seven to one is stoichiometric. That’s your ideal air fuel ratio. That’s by mass So fourteen point seven parts air one part fueled by mass anything greater than fourteen point seven to one will be considered lean Now when you have a lean mixture, one of the challenges is that you have inconsistent Combustion and the reason for this is because you have different pockets with varying air/fuel ratios throughout that mixture And so when you try to ignite it You’re hoping that you have a good air fuel mixture Near this spark plug so that you can start ignition and then have that flame spread out and combust all of the air and fuel The challenge however, is that because you don’t what the air/fuel ratio is going to be near the spark plug, It’s challenging to predict how consistent combustion is going to be now research has shown that if you fire that spark plug more times for that single power stroke You’re going to increase the energy here at the spark plug and as a result You’re going to start within a larger flame kernel initially So here’s just using a single spark and then the you know exaggerated here, but it’s going to be a larger flame kernel Which research has shown that if you do that if you fire that spark plug multiple times You have a larger energy around there. You have that larger flame kernel which initially starts combustion. You have a greater probability Ultimately of starting combustion faster and so as a result you get more consistent combustion and you get faster combustion So the papers that I read looking into multi spark ignitions Were seeing that you could get fairly consistent combustion with a single spark with air/fuel ratios as high as twenty to one but if you’re using a multi spark ignition You could use air/fuel ratios a little bit higher about twenty one point five to twenty three to one and still have equally consistent Combustion as just firing a single spark plug at twenty to one So you have a higher probability of ignition starting you have a four percent shorter ignition delay Once that flame starts to spread from when the spark plug fires you have six percent faster Combustion and all of this results in a five percent improvement in efficiency now engineers are always looking for any little way to improve efficiency and it’s the cumulative effort of all of those different methods that ultimately leads to an efficient engine and Mercedes claims that this spark strategy alone is able to provide two percent better fuel economy And then in combination with direct injection Injecting at twenty nine hundred psi, they’re able to improve fuel economy by four percent I also read a study looking at a Ferrari v8 engine employing a similar strategy and they found that depending on in the engine region, you know the load and the rpm they were able to see brake specific fuel consumption improvements as high as 4.5% In other words making the exact same amount of power using 4.5% less fuel. Of course Feel free to leave any questions or comments you have below. Thanks for watching

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100 Comments

  • Reply Engineering Explained September 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    In before the haters say "Mercedes Spark Plugs Fail 5x As Often." 🤣 If y'all like pictures of cars and such, a wonderful way to keep up is Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/engineeringexplained/

  • Reply COMB0RICO September 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Very good explanation. May Jesus Christ bless you.

  • Reply TTime685 September 27, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Mercedes.. Lol

  • Reply eddy salazar September 27, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Well, 2% improvement I think that for the complexities involved to make the system work and how expensive could become a reparation is not justified. But what about technologies as plasma or what Pulstar claims about their spark plugs?

  • Reply Purr Cat September 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    My sweetie has a 320 MB. I changed the sparkplugs. It took 6-8 hours! All 12 plugs were Very snug. They had never been changed in 150,000 miles. I called the dealer because the plugs required about 50 lbs of torque! On an aluminum head. The mechanic said Don't Worry, just keep going…. Never in 50 years of wrenching have I seen plugs so tight. And in aluminum. But everything went ok. I put anti sieze on all the new plug threads.

  • Reply Steven Redpath September 27, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Is a coil still used and how is it different to support a hot spark all five times?

  • Reply Alexander S Gomez September 27, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Hi mr engineer, can you please help me with the anti theft alarm horn location on Mercedes ml 400 CDI v8 diesel 2003 model

  • Reply Iceberg86300 September 27, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    It would be interesting to see the effects of adding multiple center electrodes to one of the multi ground electrode style plugs. Would be a nightmare to implement but would provide multiple & simultaneous sparks from a single plug. Toss in multi spark as well.

  • Reply Richard Schofield September 27, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you for not making your videos any longer than they need to be just to improve YouTube search algorithm.
    I'm fed up of 10minute+ videos to explain something that should take 2 minutes

  • Reply malrofo September 27, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    The white board!!!!!!

  • Reply kieron John Skinner September 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    You looked hot standing like that 😊

  • Reply Rahul Makan September 27, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    What is your take on plasma spark plugs?

  • Reply chybagus September 27, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    At some point in history, there was not a single spark plug igniting an engine. And maybe someday soon there will be a day when the last one does…

  • Reply Joel Bennett September 28, 2018 at 12:59 am

    I wonder how much more expensive it'll be to replace the coil packs/rest of the ignition system. Will it need to be replaced 5x as often? 😛

  • Reply luke saylor September 28, 2018 at 1:07 am

    So the ignition system lasts 1/5 as long? Ahh reliable mercedes.

  • Reply aclvaz September 28, 2018 at 2:42 am

    what is the new motor model (M17x…)? in what models is it being used? thanks

  • Reply Nazren Idris September 28, 2018 at 2:45 am

    5 times less reability

  • Reply aneesh September 28, 2018 at 3:03 am

    the effect went really well with your drawing skill

  • Reply Draviator September 28, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Now the question is, how many monkeys have been sparked to test this technology?

  • Reply KittyCow September 28, 2018 at 3:33 am

    beto is that you??

  • Reply Sean Caceres September 28, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Nah, it was good bro.

  • Reply johnnyreb86 September 28, 2018 at 4:44 am

    My BMW r1200gs has two spark plugs per cylinder and will fire the top one only or the side one only or both depending on the conditions, it works great!

  • Reply Schmidt54 September 28, 2018 at 5:23 am

    4 liter V8 – and they concern themselves with efficiency?! I mean, yeah, why not, of course. But people who can afford that kind of car couldn't be bothered even if they paid thrice the price of gas. Maybe there are some emission laws that have to be met? Europe constantly updates emissions laws for cars.

  • Reply Mike B September 28, 2018 at 5:58 am

    There's a couple of ignition control chips that have been out for a few years that support PWM ignition sparking. EG. the NXP MC33810. Has 8 different settings from 10hz (default) to 1.28khz.

  • Reply Nytrous330 September 28, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Interesting, but why not a spark amplified instead of a multispark?

  • Reply Amira Lozse September 28, 2018 at 11:12 am

    future engines could be equipped with 2 or more sparkplugs.
    Hey car manufacturers, this now is MY BRAINCHILD!!

  • Reply Peter Gregory September 28, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Like all great ideas you wonder why it wasn’t used before. What have they modified in the ignition system to enable that burst of sparks from the plug in such a short space of time? Regards.

  • Reply ashish mudgal September 28, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Can you please make a video over how does a gear change indicator work and how does it effect on efficiency

  • Reply Sylak September 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Yeeee I was afraid of no white-board! I did launch a lot.

  • Reply zach burton September 28, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    When i done mechanics course at college i'd have to make notes of what the teacher said & learn about it from your channel.

  • Reply John Ferrara September 28, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Why not just have one longer spark instead of 5?

  • Reply Rodolfo Foitinho September 28, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Where is the S2000?? 😇

  • Reply ellasOLE22 September 28, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    My 1978 Golf sparks 30 times per combustion under 3000rpm, with my MSD ignition 🙂

  • Reply Dave Wade September 28, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    This technology has been around for decades in the performance aftermarket. I'm honestly surprised it's taken this long for the OE's to get onboard.

  • Reply T Parker September 29, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Does this mean you should replace Mercedes plugs 5x quicker?

  • Reply Moe Shouse September 29, 2018 at 12:53 am

    WOW O.E.M. is only 20 years behind good old american after market independent engineering

  • Reply TheAlex0903 September 29, 2018 at 1:12 am

    What do you think of the brisk high performance spark plugs? Are those any better

  • Reply Arthur Lanto September 29, 2018 at 4:57 am

    More money for spark plugs

  • Reply nikiro September 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I don't think they can really run a lean AFR in part load due to NOx emissions. Global cylinder lambda must be one otherwise they create an emissions issue which they probably would not risk, multi sparking can compensate locally lean combustion not globally lean..

  • Reply VictorAntonov September 29, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Please make a video about superleggera technology, what it is and why modern supercars still using technology from 1936

  • Reply OscarMaris September 29, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Like a spark in the dark
    Like a spark in the dark

  • Reply PapayaMan September 29, 2018 at 9:09 am

    4:20 blaze it

  • Reply benjaminwayneb September 29, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Ford was using multi spark EDIS ignition with dual spark plugs on the 2.3 l. Ranger 30 years ago.

  • Reply Asstronut September 29, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for the consistent, fact filled content as always! Is there any way you could make a short video covering speed shifting/power shifting (shifting without lifting off the throttle)? It is a technique I see many people use for quick acceleration and gear changes, yet to my knowledge, it can't be good on the clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate. Would the improved shift speed equate to faster quarter mile times? How quickly would damage typically occur, and is using this technique worth it?

  • Reply Peter B. September 29, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    This is obviously a marketing gimmick. First 4 times them 5 times. If it fires the heat from combustion will be much greater than the 2nd-5th spark. A lesson from MDS: the hotter and longer the spark the greater the chance of ignition.

  • Reply Peter B. September 29, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Better to have double platinum spark plugs so less voltage required because the electrodes will stay much cleaner because of the catalytic properties of the platinum.

  • Reply Johann Schumacher September 29, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    @4:20

  • Reply capt kevin September 29, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Why not just 2 spark plugs per cylinder?

  • Reply Scotty Jett September 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    I would assume an Octane of 93?

  • Reply anwesh peddineni September 29, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Would multiple spark timing also help for combustion stability with more internal EGR in gasoline Engines at low load?

  • Reply Martijn van Iersel September 29, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Will this improve combustion on 2 stroke carbureted scooter engines? Love your video's.

  • Reply Nelson Stack September 30, 2018 at 1:37 am

    i thought it was they had twice as many spark plugs or something.

  • Reply 787brx8 September 30, 2018 at 1:45 am

    My Honda fires twice per cylinder for each cycle.

  • Reply Balakumaran Balaravi September 30, 2018 at 2:54 am

    why did mercedes used to use double spark plugs per cylinder in the V6 last time ? is it for this similar reason?

  • Reply Jan Serafico September 30, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Is this compatible with older years?

  • Reply Dankus Memus September 30, 2018 at 3:04 am

    Just fire it continuously for 1 ms instead?

  • Reply Joseph Battle Jr. September 30, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Great video!

  • Reply Benjamin McIntosh September 30, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Whiteboard is so face-on it looks fake

  • Reply Perrie Iles September 30, 2018 at 6:50 am

    lets see, plasma ignition – continuous spark seemed to work in the 90's , MSD on my classic mini 5 or 10 spark systems in the 80's – or the best nolan spark system use don dragsters etc- 1 spark – do it once and do it right – spark in the nano second range – KA-THUMP!

  • Reply volvos60. hh September 30, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Did they use it in smaller engines too, where fuel economy is an real point?
    I think no one with a Big Amg will complaining about fuel economy

  • Reply luuke luketer September 30, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    can i buy this spark plug ???

  • Reply Harold Henderson September 30, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Color me "Not convinced"! Once the flame kernel begins moving thru the mixture, no additional spark will make it move faster. Sounds more like they are trying to get an "over-lean" mixture to ignite with 5 attempts. 1940's aircraft engines used two plugs per cylinder for 2 reasons. 1st – reliability of ignition, 2nd – avoiding spark knock. Lean mixtures are difficult to ignite and can have inconsistent flame speeds, leading to spark knock. Especially at low RPM.

  • Reply Harold Henderson September 30, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    As for more efficiency, overcome the "wall quenching". There is a thin (.02"?) layer around every surface in the combustion chamber that never burns! If that layer was just air (no fuel), it wouldn't be a loss. This is a surface effect, so smaller cylinders are affected more than large cylinders.

  • Reply Austin Gibson September 30, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    And if you watch a Ford ignition coil at idle using an oscilloscope, you'll notice the coil barely depletes the voltage before it starts ramping up again. The coil is firing so fast it literally can't discharge 100% before it's fired again.
    Technology is crazy.

  • Reply Andrew October 1, 2018 at 5:11 am

    So how long is the dwell time on those coil packs? It must be quite short if they get 5 sparks in a millisecond.

  • Reply MrSlash00r October 1, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    5% efficient improvement for a 400+ HP SUV. Yes, efficiency is the goal .. really. lol.

  • Reply Mehdi Moghisi October 1, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    That's Kraut Space Magic for you!

  • Reply R Mat October 1, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    the video talking about things lighting up, or I guess spark plugs, and its 4:20 long. HMMMM

  • Reply Jason Lurf October 2, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I like that vehicle!

  • Reply A Youtuber October 2, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Bro I like you but you can't stand like that when talking. Cmon

  • Reply Fabian Bryan Chris October 2, 2018 at 11:29 am

    more Efficiency!!! on a v8 biturbo with 600 hp lol get outta here mercedes hahaha

  • Reply Juan X October 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    yes! nice magic trick jaja, nice edition!

  • Reply Tom Nguyen October 2, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Cause…..I don't want to retake the shot. Lol

  • Reply cunun canin October 2, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    are these same with plasma ignition system?

  • Reply Dexter Sullen 'TRUTH' October 2, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    How about my Mercedes v12

  • Reply The Kombinator October 3, 2018 at 4:11 am

    I have MSD on my 87 Hyundai Pony. The mod cost me $140, and is ideal when paired to my long duration and lift cam to burn the hydrocarbons from my Rochester 2jet carb.

  • Reply CP240sx October 3, 2018 at 5:17 am

    You stated that a leaner mixture used less air to the amount of fuel used. WRONG! You use more air to the amount of fuel used. That is why your air to fuel ratio goes up.

  • Reply Henrique Seibert October 3, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    MAXIMUM of 4% fuel saving? i dont know, but i preffer to have 4% less fuel eficiency and have a 100% more simple and cheap design, that is not going to be a fortune to repair on the future!

  • Reply Salem AlBtati October 4, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    so how does that work when Mercedes use double the sparks per cylinder?

  • Reply zero kizer October 5, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Dose that put more stress or wear on the spark plugs?

  • Reply Najee GHANIM October 6, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Do they use single or multi electrode/Ground Spark Plugs ?
    & I was thinking the car will disappear "Thanos Effect" on your snap 😀 😀 😀

  • Reply mme77 October 6, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    I wonder if firing more often under cleaner conditions might keep the plug cleaner and that could extend the life of the plug.

  • Reply Neil Vance October 7, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    I love this current uprise of combustion engine advances perhaps due to the threat of electric propulsion. Very very exciting indeed!

  • Reply Gazorpa Zorp October 8, 2018 at 2:35 am

    Looked mostly cool.

  • Reply GizMoQC October 17, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Becauseeeeeee, i dont wanna retake the shot! SOLD!

  • Reply OsamaGuitahLin October 18, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Why dont they use swirling intake valves to lessen varying afr pockets?

  • Reply datsuntoyy October 21, 2018 at 11:32 am

    I had an 81 Datsun 720 pickup. NapsZ22E engine. Its a twin spark plug engine and a hemi, It was ported, comp cam, Weber carb and headers. Ran good. I switched the primary side to an MSD 6AL ignition, blaster SS coil and 8mm spiral core wires. Plugs one step colder and .010 larger gap per MSD recommendations. I can tell beyond a shadow of a doubt, it ran much better after the MSD ignition install. Idled smoother, more power, throttle response and mileage. I believe it is 6 sparks per stroke. I can fully understand where AMG is coming from. I'm surprised maufacturers haven't caught on yet to this and ALL adopted it.

  • Reply Nash Nandlal October 22, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Always Enjoy watching Engineering Explained videos! Awesome Stuff man

  • Reply Clickmaster5k October 27, 2018 at 4:14 am

    I liked the snap fingers white board. That was fun.

  • Reply Etherion October 29, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Doesn't that just mean that the spark plugs get fucked way more often, resulting in overall greater damage over time to the car?

  • Reply Evan Smith November 3, 2018 at 3:50 am

    "I didn't want to retake the shot" – immediate thumbs up for the video

  • Reply Sam Casamassa November 16, 2018 at 5:28 am

    If you give the answer in the title then you take away the incentive to watch your video. Which is why I didn't watch the video. Just out of interest, was it to make it more efficient? Just curious.

  • Reply Maciej Mendel November 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Well, in the past there was a tendency to put double spark plugs (like alfa romeo t.spark), but I believe it was done for more rapid flame propagation, and therefore high rev power. Funny, that this idea died and instead we have multiple sparks on a single plug. I wonder if it would be profitable to use both these ideas at once.

  • Reply Stephen Doherty November 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Alfa Romeo offered twin spark in their 4cyl engines so two spark plugs per cylinder for more spark ignition. What do you think? Better than one plug?

  • Reply Tibor Klein December 10, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Increasing fuel efficiency by 4% by decreasing the lives of spark plugs, hence decreasing reliability. That's German engineering for you.

  • Reply JaArRyi FleshBlood January 3, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Why don’t we just use turbulent jet ignition in cars like f1 , you get more efficienty that way.

  • Reply Nick Amarit February 11, 2019 at 4:08 am

    Can a multispark system be retrofitted to older engines that use 3rd party ECM that incorporates multispark into their programming? For example, a 2JZ-GTE that uses a multispark-capable ECM?

  • Reply Markosz February 17, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    So you can replace them 5x more often. LUL

  • Reply datsuntoyy July 24, 2019 at 2:40 am

    I've one upped that. Datsun 720 pickup with a NAPS Z22e engine dual plug hemi head (just like a Dodge). Both plugs fired 6 times by an MSD 6AL ignition and Blaster SS coils at 300 miliamps. Special colder plugs with gap upped to .060".
    One would think two spark plugs would be very efficient, I noticed a huge difference when installing the MSD. Apx 3 mpg's better. Surprised the rest of the automotive world hasn't caught on to what MSD did decades ago.

  • Reply Sushi Mamba August 3, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I wonder 5 spark plugs per cylinder firing 5 times each would increase efficiency?

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