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Thread: PROPER I6 Spark Plug DIY

  1. #1
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    PROPER I6 Spark Plug DIY

    So, since the spark plug DIY on top of this forum has one glaring mistake, and a fellow member tried to make another one apparently whilst drunk, I went ahead and created my own DIY for you guys (how many do we need?).

    Step one. Get all the tools needed for the job:




    1. Spark plug socket: These sockets have a rubber insert inside them. This is to protect the top of the plug. Do not use a standard nut socket. If you break the plug and one piece falls into the cylinder, just remember I warned you.
    2. Wrench extension and the articulated thingy.
    3. Big wrench. (Torque wrench highly recommended)
    4. 10mm socket.
    5. Wrench extension (optional).
    6. Small wrench
    7. Small flat-head screwdriver.
    8. Beer (optional but highly recommended).


    Step two. Take a look at your engine bay:



    If your engine doesn't look like that, probably it's because you're looking at your other car. Wait 30 minutes until you're less drunk and proceed.

    The last two plugs are a bit tricky to get out with the air filter duct in place. The red arrow shows were the clamp is. Just pull it up and release the duct. I have managed to do the plugs without removing it (the articulated wrench extension is a must), but if you need the space, take it off.

    Two plastic covers "cover" the engine. You can remove just the one with the "BMW" legend. It is not needed to remove both, but in case you want to check for oil leaks or other stuff, the next step will apply as well.


    Step three. Remove the nut covers:

    Using the flathead screwdriver, gently pry off the circular caps using the small gap pictured. Be careful not to break the tabs. This is more likely if the caps are old since the plastic gets brittle.



    If at this point you're already having trouble, ask for help.
    Do the same if you're removing the other cover.


    Step four. Remove the 10mm nuts:



    Look ma! No dirty fingernails!


    Step five. Take the oil cap off (momentarily).



    Dr. Obvious advice: You will need to remove the cap for the cover to come off, but just as soon as you take it out of the way, put the oil cap back on. You don't want bolts or nuts falling into the hole. There is also a gasket around the hole. Don't lose it! It is not edible either.

    Step six. Remove the cover:



    There are two rubber inserts (circled above) which come off easily and you might end up losing them. Grab them and put in a safe spot until you are ready to replace the cover.

    Step seven. Put the oil cap back on:



    Duh!


    Step eight. Slide the metal clips up, to detach the ignition wires from the coils:




    1. Slide the clip up (if you can't do it by hand, use the flathead screwdriver to push them up).
    2. Pull the wire from the base. Make sure the clamp is still up, or else hilarity will ensue.
    3. Loosen the two bolts pictured above, which hold each coil in place, using the 10mm socket. These are fairly long and come out easily, so as soon as they are loose, use your hand. Coils #1 and #6 have a ground wire, remember that when reassembling the whole thing.


    Step nine. Remove the coil to access the spark plug:



    This is a good opportunity to check for oil leaks at that spot.


    Step ten. Using the spark plug socket and the large wrench with the extension, remove the spark plug. If you're replacing them, have the new plugs at hand to avoid having the hole uncovered for long. If you're just inspecting the plugs, use this guide as a reference to check for problems. Mine were like this:



    Which is a good color, so they went back in. Also, they have less than 6 months.

    Dr. Obvious advice: One thing I suggest doing is removing one plug at a time, and putting everything back together before you move to the next plug. That way you won't mix coils, or plugs or bolts, and there will be less chance of something falling into the plug holes.

    Step eleven. Put the new plugs in and tighten them up to spec:

    The recommended torque ratings for unlubricated (that's just a convention, DO NOT lubricate anything!) spark plugs are:

    Thread M14 x 1.25 = 31 +/- 2Nm (23 +/- 1.5 ft/lb).

    If you over-tighten you may end up damaging the head, so if unsure, have somebody to rent you a torque wrench. I always do the "tighten by hand and then do 1/4 of a turn" procedure but bear in mind that is not the safe way to do it.

    Last step is to assemble everything back in the reverse order and you're good to go. Check the engine bay for any tools or rags or beer cans. Start your car and let it idle for a few minutes. Feel if it's misfiring. If it is, probably you forgot to tighten a plug or a coil. If everything is tight, then you screwed up big time and I'm outta here.

    That's it. Now you will have max horsepowers!!!
    Last edited by crdiscoverer; 08-27-2010 at 08:12 PM.

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  2. #2
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    thanks for the detail diy...
    i have done my e39 about a year ago.. easy straight forward job..
    same procedures on my m3...
    2000 BMW 528i / Manual Tranny / Sport & Premium package / Xenon headlight / Sport seats / Premium sound / DSC /
    2011 BMW X3

  3. #3
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    If your engine doesn't look like that, probably it's because you're looking at your other car. Wait 30 minutes until you're less drunk and proceed.


    Awesome right up, thank you very much for the effort and clarity!

  4. #4
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    Well done my friend. Adding a little humor is a must.

  5. #5
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    It gets my seal of approval, everything is well documented!

  6. #6
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    Thank you crdiscoverer. Nicely done. As I said in our PM exchanges, I'll leave your thread here for a while to garner responses, then move it to the DIY section.

    Quote Originally Posted by manticore33 View Post
    I see all of these wonderful DIYs set up, but they are not concisely organized or hosted on just one source or website. Or almost replicating e38.org, but without all of the external links to forum posts and provide a better user interface. Make it work more like an actual "manual" then a page listing links.

    Something similar to:

    http://www.vfaq.com/index-main.html

    Or

    http://www.clarks-garage.com/shop-ma...ure-index3.htm ?

    Edit: Revising to clearly express my thoughts.
    manticore33,

    I looked at your profile and noticed you only have one thread to your name on the forums. Why not do a DIY in the format you refer to? We are in need of several DIYs to complete our current list.
    Or, if your DIY is one that has been already done, I'll add it to the existing DIY or replace it with yours.

  7. #7
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    Hilarious! This DIY makes me miss my old E36 - for about a minute or two. VTF!

  8. #8
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    Very nice DIY!!!
    This is a good example of very nice DIY, down to the little detail!

    For those who want to do this, another point to remember is:
    - NGK vs Bosch
    - 1-prong vs 2-prong vs 4-prong spark plugs


    Search the forum and internet to get the "correct" spark plug "flavor" that satisfies your taste.

  9. #9
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    Bookmarked!

    Can we mix the coil location? Let say #1 to #4, or #3 to #6?
    Last edited by bmw7833; 08-28-2010 at 01:13 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    Live the e39..!!


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmw7833 View Post
    Bookmarked!

    Can we mix the coil location? Let say #1 to #4, or #3 to #6?
    You can mix up the coils all day long...doesnt matter
    ??????????????????????????????
    BMW Tech

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    My apologies to crdiscoverer for polluting his thread.
    Yeah... you bastards!






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  12. #12
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    Back on topic. I created this DIY becase the one in the DIY section has this:



    Notice how the coil is hanging from the ignition wire? Well, apparently the guy didn't know that those two parts detached.

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  13. #13
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    I have a 2003 525i and i cant get the coils off, they are held in differently. anyone know how to get them out?

  14. #14
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    Awesome DIY, thanks!!! Took me about 90 mins. Also a good idea to mention that it should be done on a cold engine to prevent stripping any threads.
    Last edited by Steve1965; 06-06-2011 at 01:45 PM.

  15. #15
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    soooo...anyone wanna ease my mind a little?

    i removed the cabin filter housing to get a little more room out of the duct that gets in the way of replacing spark plug #6, but there still was not enough room.

    without much thought i put pressure, as i only needed like a half inch more room than it gave me, and just as i got the extension in, something against the firewall let go, snapped or something.

    anybody know if that is supposed to move around a little, or if i broke something? does it really need replacing? the heat still works fine (not sure about AC), but im worried about water leakage.

    i could probably tell you how much it is moving, and what direction if needed.

  16. #16
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    The plastic cowling gets brittle and breaks. Ideal to replace it but mine is flaking apart and no issues yet.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortoracer View Post
    soooo...anyone wanna ease my mind a little?

    i removed the cabin filter housing to get a little more room out of the duct that gets in the way of replacing spark plug #6, but there still was not enough room.

    without much thought i put pressure, as i only needed like a half inch more room than it gave me, and just as i got the extension in, something against the firewall let go, snapped or something.

    anybody know if that is supposed to move around a little, or if i broke something? does it really need replacing? the heat still works fine (not sure about AC), but im worried about water leakage.

    i could probably tell you how much it is moving, and what direction if needed.
    You can remove the air duct assembly by rotating it about 45 degrees clockwise then pull out. You may want to spray some silicone lube around the perimeter first so as not to tear the spongy material. This will give you lots of room to maneuver.

    Also, my Bentley's manual has a different torque spec for the spark plugs: 25 NM or 18.43 ft-lb.
    Last edited by kimokk; 01-24-2012 at 03:46 PM.

    2000 BMW 740iL | 225,XXX miles | VW MAF | Bavarian Auto Coils | Timing Chain and Guides DIY Complete | M60 Manifold | BDC Polished Throttle Body| Custom Tuned | Performance Gearing 3.46 LSD| Magnaflow mufflers |
    |1997 ///M3/2/5 | 104,XXX miles | Boston Green Metallic|2006 X3 3.0 SAV|121,XXX miles| Silver|

  18. #18
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    Successful spark plug change today with alot of help from this write up.
    My thanks to the author of this diy

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jglover View Post
    Successful spark plug change today with alot of help from this write up.
    My thanks to the author of this diy

    So glad it helped you out!

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  20. #20
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    I changed my spark plugs today. And followed this how to as well. Only problem is I skipped step number 8. I was able to just pull the boot out of the spark plug well with the coil still attached. For some reason i thought my coils were different from the how to. And I noticed there are plastic clips running on the bottom of the coils. Wonder if you can just undo these to get the room you need to pull the coils out?

    By bullard123 at 2012-04-21
    Here is a pic of my coils

    By bullard123 at 2012-04-21

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

  21. #21
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    DIY: My version of M52 Spark Plug

    My version of M52 Spark Plug DIY:

    1. The previous owner used Bosch 4417 (FGR7DQP Platinum +4 Spark Plug) which has worked well for the last 50K miles. Good gas mileage of 33 mpg on highway.
    This is just routine maintenance.

    2. I switched to NGK BKR6EIX, which seems somewhat smoother (maybe it is all psychological in my head LOL). I will report on long-term outcome later.

    3. However, I found out some of the plugs were somewhat loose and combustion product started to creep up, burning a bit of the involved spark plugs (total 2).

    4. I use NGK recommendation of 25-30 Nm. I erred on the high side, which is about 30-35 Nm because I don't want the spark plugs to come loose.
    I used a dab of antiseize (the volume equivalent to 1 drop of water) on the spark plug thread.

    I know someone will jump in and criticize me for using antiseize, but that criticism will be immaterial to me.

    5. I used the Gear Wrench Magnetic spark plug socket ($10 at Advance Autoparts). I don't like to use the conventional socket with rubber insert any more. This Gear Wrench Magnetic spark plug socket is Godsend.

    6. I used a long screwdriver to scrap the small amount of junk deep down in the spark plug hole before new plug installation. Cleanliness is important.

    See photo.....Bosch 4177 does not look so bad after 50K. I guess it can last more but I think for the sake of gas mileage, I replace spark plugs every 50K-60K anyway. This is good opportunity to check to be sure the spark plug is not seized inside the engine.

    From now on, it will be Iridium all the way...



  22. #22
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    This was very helpful when getting set up for my spark plug change for the first time in this type of electrical system. I am coming from an 86 325es.

    Also, when I was changing the plugs, almost all ignition coils were loose and none were tight. Grrr
    Justin-
    2001 E39 530i "M" - DD -
    Orient Blue/Sand Beige

  23. #23
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    Guys, tried this spark plug replacement DIY guide today but backed off before I even got a plug out of the cylinder head. My plug in number one (closest to the radiator) appears to be unbelievably tight coming out, can't be right. So, I tried number two...exactly the same. reassembled and left alone for now. Any ideas ??
    I've done plenty of other cars over the years but never experienced a plug extraction this difficult before. Bear in mind I'm using a magnetic plug socket, extension bar and a 400mm breaker bar, so not exactly light kit. I'm just worried that if I force it I'll do some serious damage to the head. It breaks it's seal and turns about 5 turns but gets progessivelly harder hence the reason I tighten them up again.
    Hope one og you guys can provide some suggestions.
    cheers Al

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by adev View Post
    ... It breaks it's seal and turns about 5 turns but gets progessivelly harder hence the reason I tighten them up again...
    - Search the internet for "spark plug seizing galling".

    - The spark plugs may have been in there too long.
    This is why even for new cars, after a few years I remove the spark plug for inspection, apply a drop of antiseize on the threads of spark plug and re-install them.
    I use antiseize to prevent seizing/galling.

    - Send a private message to "BMWknight", he had the same issue and see how he solved it. Post your solution if you solved it:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=23839077

    - The following is from BMW motorcycle forum, but it is the same issue:
    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=30912


    - Invest in a spark plug thread chaser KD 3379 is about $10:

    Last edited by cnn; 09-01-2012 at 04:36 AM.

  25. #25
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    CNN - thanks mate for the prompt response. I'll follow up on your feedback and post an update if I find a solution that provides the fix.
    cheers, Al

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