Most of the V8’s suffer from this at some time or other and the symptoms are very similar to Nikasil wear in that the car rocks at tick-over. There often is a pronounced lack of power that can be intermittent, getting worse in damp conditions. It differs from Nikasil wear in that the power loss is evident at all revs whereas Nikasil has a pronounced lack of power at low revs and is less significant at higher revs. This fault and a split PCV valve (aka bellows) are quite simple faults to fix on the V8 and you can often pick up a rocking V8 for next to nothing because it is perceived as Nikasil wear.
Oil down the sparkplug holes on V8's is quite common, just a small leak from the rocker cover bolts or gaskets and the oil has no-where to go except for around the plugs. Although oil is an insulator, it damages the stub HT leads eventually causing the rubber to disintegrate and allowing the spark to travel through the rubber and straight to the head. Before the complete failure of the rubber it becomes loose on the sparkplug and sparks can travel down the side of the insulator. With the high compression ratio (10:1) on the V8 the spark likes to go anywhere except across the electrodes of the plug!
The oil tends to accumulate on the rear pair of cylinders initially due to the backwards cant of the engine but after a while they will all get filled up and certain gasket failures will fill up odd plugs rather than travel all the way to the rear cylinders.
Repair can be as simple as clearing the oil from the apertures and fitting 'O' rings to the stub HT leads that have been damaged. Where the stub HT leads are disintegrating they can be replaced as separate items from BMW for around $5 per coil, there is no need to replace the whole assembly
As for the jerky change on your box, I would get the fluid level checked as some box service technicians dont fill it correctly, here is the correct procedure, please take attention regarding the Air-con must be on at the last fill:
> car up minimum 400mm, must be dead level.
> Start up.. 10mins turn off
> remove bottom plug and drain fluid / BEWARE HOT FLUID BURNS !! / safety goggles required
> replace pan plug
> remove all pan screws / clips that hold wires to the pan/ be careful there will be fluid still in the pan!!
> remove the 2 filter screws / there will be fluid left in the filter !!
> clean out pan and the four magnets/ lint free cloth / degreaser or brake cleaner
> clean surfaces for gasket
> screw in new filter / make sure its in flat and take care to get the 'O' ring in correct
> replace the four magnets
> place gasket on pan with a little fluid / replace pan
> Undo fill plug / drivers side rear
> start filling until fluid dribbles out / replace plug finger tight
> start car... go through all gear selections slowly 3 times keeping foot on brake / then in 'P' turn off after 10 mins
> undo filler plug fill some more until dribble comes out / plug back in finger tight
> Start car put in 'N' ....now be careful not to burn yourself!! whilst car running (Air-con on full blast) undo filler plug put more fluid in until it dribbles out again, put filler plug in and tighten.
VELVET BLUE UK INDIVIDUAL , IM THE LAST
UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL
I stepped in a plate of Pasta the other day - now I have to worry about my Carbonara footprint!