So I ordered my set off eBay for $20 free shipping. The dealership wanted $13.95 per plug. I decided to stick to OEM and be simple since this was my first time doing this DIY. I started the car before so I could take note of how the car started before changing the plugs (listen to sound, vibration and start speed).
Start with a cold engine; Get out your tools from the BMW Tool Tray in the trunk. If your tray is empty or molested with as is the case with buying used cars you can buy the two tools from the dealership for $20 or so or get it at eBay or the junkyard for cheap. I’m not sure if other spark plug tools are compatible with these cars.
Removal of the cover to get to the wire set that caps the plugs is easy on the M42/M44 E36 Engines.
The cap comes off easily and you will see the hole that the plug sits in. Go to work with your wrench. If your plugs are old and haven’t been changed in awhile get ready to put some elbow grease in. Also remember to turn counter-clockwise to remove the plugs. Be careful not to damage the plug threading or the holes threading that the plug screws into or you could seriously damage your engine (ie. The engine will need to be replaced). So no power tools for this DIY!!! The plugs are also screwed in deep so be prepared to be standing there twisting for a few minutes until the plug releases.
The Spark Plug Wrench should grip the plug when you are done screwing it loose. Just lift the wrench up and the plug will come out with the wrench. Inspect the old plug, clean the hole* if it is dusty or oily and replace with the new plug and spark plug wire set cap for that hole before moving onto the next hole.
*Note if you have air-in-the-can you should blow any dust or debris out the hole before removing the old plug. You DO NOT WANT to get anything into the hole or chamber that lies below the plug. So once the old plug is out DO NOT clean or put anything down there. It may get into your chamber and damage the engine. And that is a trip to the dealership you do not want to make since a new engine will run you $5,000 to $8,000 plus the labour cost at around that much.
Some of your plug holes may be covered in oil and may look like this when you pull them out.
A little bit of oil should be fine for now like I have here in my 2nd plug hole, but a lot of oil and you should replace the Valve Head gasket as soon as you can which is an easy DIY.
Two of my middle plugs at hole#2 and #3 had oil in them, with 2 being the worse. Oddly enough, the oil was only on the top half and the threads of the plug but there was absolutely no oil on the business end of the plug a.k.a the spark plug head
When you are done you can inspect the old plugs for clues as to what is going on inside your engine block. I haven’t worked out how to read plugs yet, but I will read up on it later. You can easily google this info. When you are done clean your tools and put everything back and start your car and listen to the engine and note the start up time. Does it sound/start better?
Del, you're amazing! Now if you could just go out and buy yourself an E30 so I can change the pluds on the 323i (Euro) I just picked up. You folks on bimmerwerkz make me think that maybe I wasn't so crazy buying another vintage Beemer.
1) 7 button to 18 button OBC swap with the M3 OBC Stalk
2) ICV and Throttle Body Cleaning to end rought idle
3) Cabin and Cupholder-Light LED Project
4) Door Handle LED that come on when you remote open your car with Key/Alarm fob
5) Finally may do the M3 power fold mirrors this summer (The mirrors fold up and down when you lock and unlock your car with the key/alarm fob)
6) Front Control Arm Replacement DIY (If I can do this in my driveway...which is a big maybe)
7) Painted Calipers DIY
i think the oil would be a valve cover gasket leak?
hows it run afterwards? I know mine ran much smoother.
When did you paint your valve cover? did you do it yourself?
The 318i runs pretty good. Sadly, the day after I changed spark plugs I discovered a vacuum leak in my ICV hoses under the Intake Valve Head and my ICV is dirty and throwing me the rough idle and stalling the engine so until I fix all that I can't say for sure.
But clean plugs dont hurt. My gas milage was imporved. I never painted the valve cover it was always that color. I need to scrap that off, because its chipping and looks awful.
Pictures of my torn intake hose today after I discovered the leak. I had to tape it up, but the car is stalled!
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