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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 09-15-2004, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So I did some research and I found that the valve cover can leak. My question is if I find oil that has leaked into the spark plug channel should I replace the valve cover first or can I go ahead and replace the plugs? I don't think it's good if oil gets into the engine and that's what I think will happen if I pull the plug.
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Old 09-15-2004, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is just a "IMO" type thing, and you can possibly find something on these forums with a better idea, but I'd say the following:

If you have oil on the plugs, you need a valve cover gasket, not the cover itself (unless it was really dented or the like somehow). Before removing the plugs, use a paper towel rolled up a bit to get as much oil out of the channel as possile, then pull the plugs and clean with another paper towel whatever you might have missed with the plugs still in (I would think this would limit the amount of oil that could leak down inside when you pull a plug). I would also suggest new plugs, though this may or may not be needed--it's just what I would do.

I read a DIY on this kind of thing a week or so ago. It's about spark plug replacement, but it specifically mentions what do to about oil on the plugs. The link follows.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticl...Spark-Plugs.htm
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Old 09-15-2004, 12:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, I missed that.
And I meant to say valve cover gasket.
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Old 09-15-2004, 12:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Guys (and Teg),
I have read a bunch of posts on this oil weeping issue and there seems to be a misconception. A few cc's of oil accumulting between spark plug changes is no big deal. and the concept of oil getting on to the plug is kind of silly if you think about it. the plug is crewed into the head with a crush washer. it seal against the the thousands of PSI of pressure in your combustion chamber, so dont you think that it can seal out bit of oil from leaking inot the combustion chamber?

Also, the suggestion to just sop up the bit of oil in the spark plug tube is a good one. any other tiny amount that may driblle into the combustion chamber is meaningless. it will get burned off in seconds. I just changed the plugs on my 92 325 IS this past weekend, and yes beleive it or not even my car a a dribble of oil on two plugs.. I am a total fanatic and I would not even think about changing the valve cover gasket for this tiny amount of weepage. If you are talking a hlf ounce or something that is a different story.....
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Old 09-15-2004, 12:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally posted by nycbmw325is@Sep 15 2004, 01:05 PM
Guys (and Teg),
I have read a bunch of posts on this oil weeping issue and there seems to be a misconception. A few cc's of oil accumulting between spark plug changes is no big deal. and the concept of oil getting on to the plug is kind of silly if you think about it. the plug is crewed into the head with a crush washer. it seal against the the thousands of PSI of pressure in your combustion chamber, so dont you think that it can seal out bit of oil from leaking inot the combustion chamber?

Also, the suggestion to just sop up the bit of oil in the spark plug tube is a good one. any other tiny amount that may driblle into the combustion chamber is meaningless. it will get burned off in seconds. I just changed the plugs on my 92 325 IS this past weekend, and yes beleive it or not even my car a a dribble of oil on two plugs.. I am a total fanatic and I would not even think about changing the valve cover gasket for this tiny amount of weepage. If you are talking a hlf ounce or something that is a different story.....
Thank you for the recognition :wink

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Old 09-15-2004, 01:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As for the gasket, the work involved woudn't be worth it for just some neglegable leakage.
As for cleaning up the plug chambers, yes, you need to do this when you remove the spark plugs. Otherwise, if some oil leaks into the cylunders and you start the car, you can foul the plugs from the get-go. That's not cool now is it?

If you have A LOT of oil, like, it's coming up to the exposed bit of the plug connector that connects to the coil pack, I'd definately clean it out with some towels even if you arn't replacing them. Electricity could spill off and less electricity goes to making a spark, and more goes through the oil to the engine block's ground.

I don't think there is worry about the oil leaking into the combustion chamber after the plugs are installed :P Yes, that would be silly.
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Old 09-16-2004, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys!
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