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View Full Version : 2008 535i spark plug change at ~ 33,000 miles?


Mikechu
07-21-2012, 01:26 AM
I have a 2008 BMW 535i (N54) with ~33,000 miles. BMW dealership recommends to change the spark plug at this service interval because "it's a turbo engine." Is this true at 33k miles???:confused: I consulted the Bentley service manual and it recommends 100k mile change interval. I'm a bit confused on who to believe :dunno: Any feedback is appreciated.
Note: Vehicle is driven about 4-8 miles/day local street (highway, rarely driven). Climate, desert heat.

tchavera
07-21-2012, 02:33 AM
in my person opinion i would agree. i work on a lot of BMWs but i'm not an engineer by any means. i think the dealer is going based on cars in general. BMW has a high service interval for a marketing reason. like 10k for an oil change is really safe for the engine. any mechanic/technician i've been around or read about normally is in the 50k range. however, the engine would muchly appreciate the tune. the dealer wants the $ because it charges like x3 the actual time frame for the labor rate. i would go ahead and do it if not soon but do it yourself. BMW makes the easiest engines to change the spark plugs on. all you need is a basic socket and ratchet set

Mac Hadley
07-21-2012, 03:53 AM
The recommended spark plug change interval for the N54 is 45K, that's different from other BMWs.

Munich77
07-21-2012, 04:46 AM
The recommended spark plug change interval for the N54 is 45K, that's different from other BMWs.

Yep that is the N54 interval!

BMW535xia
07-21-2012, 05:52 AM
not to bust on you or your thread, but driving 4-8 miles each day is doing your car a huge disservice.

06530IDAN
07-21-2012, 11:16 AM
I changed my spark plugs at 70,000 miles and wished I had checked them first before I bought new ones. Personally, I could have kept them for another 30,000 miles. So go ahead, take them out, inspect them and go from there. Maybe, you can use that money to buy a couple ignition coils for spares. ;-)

While you are at it, inspect the wire harness to make sure there are no broken electrical wire insulators; my speedometer was jumpy because of that.

bimmerfan52
07-21-2012, 12:22 PM
not to bust on you or your thread, but driving 4-8 miles each day is doing your car a huge disservice.

I totally agree. Very hard on your car. The engine never warms up enough to burn off steam and other gases which will condense into the oil, contaminating it. Additives are used up very quickly fighting the contaminants. Unburned gas makes your oil very acidic and attacks gaskets.

Your average speed is also probably low, meaning that it takes many hours of engine operation to reach the normal miles that warrant draining your oil. You really need to have short drain intervals on your oil if you plan on keeping the car (maybe as short as 3K or two times per year, whichever is less).

Your driving habits are what they are, just be cognizant of their effect on your engine and take extra precautions.

If you can do your own plugs I would say yes, every 35K-40K miles. If you have to pay, have one removed during other service and examine it for yourself. If you look at pictures of plugs with normal wear and plugs that need replacing between you and your mechanic you can make the call to extend use to 50K or 60K miles. But I am guessing that with all of those short trips you will be due at 35K.

legend700
07-21-2012, 01:19 PM
As mentioned earlier, the BMW recommended interval for TT engine spark plugs is 45K miles. People familiar with these engines, when driven hard, suggest changing them at around 30K miles. Not sure what a lightly used engine requires. Changing them is not difficult, but a special socket is needed and only Bosch/BMW plugs can be used at around $20 per piece.

bimmerfan52
07-21-2012, 01:55 PM
As mentioned earlier, the BMW recommended interval for TT engine spark plugs is 45K miles. People familiar with these engines, when driven hard, suggest changing them at around 30K miles. Not sure what a lightly used engine requires. Changing them is not difficult, but a special socket is needed and only Bosch/BMW plugs can be used at around $20 per piece.

Actually with short trips and never reaching full operating temperature for a sustained period, I am guessing he will see more plug fouling than if it were driven hard.

Thin wall socket is $15-$30 depending upon where you buy it.

Bosch plugs can be found pretty cheap. (about $11 each delivered).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bosch-ZGR6STE2-OE-Spark-Plugs-Set-6-/230826951015?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr&hash=item35be5bc167

I lucked out with my 545i and found Bosch OE plugs on sale with rebate for $3 each delivered from Amazon. Unfortunately you use a different plug.

legend700
07-21-2012, 05:24 PM
I bought Original BMW Bosch spark plugs ZGR6STE2 part-No. 12-12-0-037-244 from the dealer. There are aftermarket Bosch spark plugs ZGR6STE2 available at better prices. There is some confusion whether both are exactly the same or not, and whether there is a benefit to buying the more expensive BMW Bosch plugs.
Here is an interesting thread about this, but not conclusive either:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=695797

bimmerfan52
07-21-2012, 05:38 PM
I bought Original BMW Bosch spark plugs ZGR6STE2 part-No. 12-12-0-037-244 from the dealer. There are aftermarket Bosch spark plugs ZGR6STE2 available at better prices. There is some confusion whether both are exactly the same or not, and whether there is a benefit to buying the more expensive BMW Bosch plugs.
Here is an interesting thread about this, but not conclusive either:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=695797

Nice comparison. Looks like a difference in plating on the ground electrodes. Probably no difference in performance. I can't imagine Bosch would use the same part number if there were differences in specs.

Mikechu
07-22-2012, 12:06 AM
Thank you, I appreciate everyone's responses. I am looking forward to working on the car. On a side note, I asked the dealership how much it would cost, I was quoted $500 bucks (Parts/ labor). I almost had a heart attack!!! LOL Thanks again everyone for providing me with invaluable information. I Can't wait to install the new plugs myself!

Mikechu
07-22-2012, 12:13 AM
I never knew driving short distances would effect the car in that matter, it makes perfect sense from your description. Thanks for the heads up! =D

Gilgorm
07-23-2012, 05:08 PM
Not to throw cold water on the recommendations I have a few questions:
Is the car acting up? Have you noticed any drop in performance or increase in gas consumption?
If not, why bother doing the job now? The fact you have a 'turbo' has no bearing on your need for new plugs. Change them if you want but as suggested by others check first to see if they need it.
Just my 2 cents.

Mikechu
07-23-2012, 06:30 PM
Not to throw cold water on the recommendations I have a few questions:
Is the car acting up? Have you noticed any drop in performance or increase in gas consumption?
If not, why bother doing the job now? The fact you have a 'turbo' has no bearing on your need for new plugs. Change them if you want but as suggested by others check first to see if they need it.
Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for the heads up. To answer your question, the car has not been acting up. I did notice a decrease in performance. You bring up a good point. I will inspect the plugs first to determine if the spark plugs needs to be changed.

borderchris
07-23-2012, 07:34 PM
...The fact you have a 'turbo' has no bearing on your need for new plugs... Just my two cents


Completely incorrect; that's two cents of wrong.

The vast majority of DI and turbo engines have a greatly reduced change interval on plugs due to the duty that a plug pulls in that environment. That chamber is under boost, and is dealing with a lot more than a NA engine. That's why most boosted engines run a colder plug spec. Overall, with light-to-light and carbon-inducing city driving, a plug will foul much sooner in a boosted engine. Hence BMW's shorter recomended interval. OP- If you can, just change the plugs yourself; it's really not that hard.

Mikechu
07-23-2012, 08:43 PM
Completely incorrect; that's two cents of wrong.

The vast majority of DI and turbo engines have a greatly reduced change interval on plugs due to the duty that a plug pulls in that environment. That chamber is under boost, and is dealing with a lot more that a NA engine. That's why most boosted engines run a colder plug spec. Overall, with light-to-light and carbon-inducing city driving, a plug will foul much sooner in a boosted engine. Hence BMW's shorter recomended interval. OP- If you can, just change the plugs yourself; it's really not that hard.


Thanks for your input. I'll post some pictures of the spark plugs once I uninstall them.

Mikechu
09-10-2012, 02:27 AM
Here are the updated pictures. The first three on the left are "newer" due to the dealership changing them out from a "misfire ignition coil." I'm no mechanic, does the three spark plugs on the right have normal wear on them? ? http://i.imgur.com/MYGT8.jpg

MachtSchnell
09-10-2012, 04:46 AM
those are dirty and should be replaced.

fazworld
09-21-2012, 08:41 AM
BMW in sterling, va is quoting me $580 to replace the spark plugs. My local Indy shop is only $225. I'm going to do it there. Any reason not to?

XanthViper
09-21-2012, 10:25 AM
Just to be clear, I have the same vehicle as the OP and the Bosch plugs, ZGR6STE2, are the correct ones for this vehicle?

bighead2267
09-21-2012, 10:37 AM
it's a safe investment and why take the chances not to replace it. btw, anyone knows where to get supplies online who will ship to Canada?

merle
09-21-2012, 12:40 PM
I took my 08 535i in for an oil change and the scope reading came back as needing new spark plugs AND a new air filter (forget the fancy BMW term for it). I told them not to do the other services, just the oil change because my local shop can do both of the other items for 1/2 the price. Problem is, they won't reset the service indicator. Do you think the other shop can do it? I'm sure the work and service will be the same, I just don't need to shell out close to $1k for something that I can get done for $350. Thoughts?

bighead2267
09-21-2012, 01:03 PM
i was on the same page. they said i need to change filter and plugs while i bring in for oil change. told them all you do is oil change and return the car. after oil change, my car turn into a finger print art everywhere. what a disappointment of the dealership in my town.


I took my 08 535i in for an oil change and the scope reading came back as needing new spark plugs AND a new air filter (forget the fancy BMW term for it). I told them not to do the other services, just the oil change because my local shop can do both of the other items for 1/2 the price. Problem is, they won't reset the service indicator. Do you think the other shop can do it? I'm sure the work and service will be the same, I just don't need to shell out close to $1k for something that I can get done for $350. Thoughts?

Mikechu
10-29-2012, 02:37 AM
Just to be clear, I have the same vehicle as the OP and the Bosch plugs, ZGR6STE2, are the correct ones for this vehicle?

Yes, the Bosch ZGR6STE2 (OEM# 12 12 0 034 087) are the correct ones.

Mikechu
10-29-2012, 02:41 AM
I took my 08 535i in for an oil change and the scope reading came back as needing new spark plugs AND a new air filter (forget the fancy BMW term for it). I told them not to do the other services, just the oil change because my local shop can do both of the other items for 1/2 the price. Problem is, they won't reset the service indicator. Do you think the other shop can do it? I'm sure the work and service will be the same, I just don't need to shell out close to $1k for something that I can get done for $350. Thoughts?

You can reset the service indicator easily by yourself.
The Youtube video will show you how.

http://youtu.be/5eEZwqPR5Vg

Mikechu
10-29-2012, 02:43 AM
I took my 08 535i in for an oil change and the scope reading came back as needing new spark plugs AND a new air filter (forget the fancy BMW term for it). I told them not to do the other services, just the oil change because my local shop can do both of the other items for 1/2 the price. Problem is, they won't reset the service indicator. Do you think the other shop can do it? I'm sure the work and service will be the same, I just don't need to shell out close to $1k for something that I can get done for $350. Thoughts?

You can reset your service indicator yourself, easily.

This Youtube video will show you how.

http://youtu.be/5eEZwqPR5Vg

legend700
10-29-2012, 07:57 AM
I took my 08 535i in for an oil change and the scope reading came back as needing new spark plugs AND a new air filter (forget the fancy BMW term for it). I told them not to do the other services, just the oil change because my local shop can do both of the other items for 1/2 the price. Problem is, they won't reset the service indicator. Do you think the other shop can do it? I'm sure the work and service will be the same, I just don't need to shell out close to $1k for something that I can get done for $350. Thoughts?
Both items do not require resetting the service indicator.
The engine air filter is $20 and can be replaced by anybody in less than 5 minutes. Plugs are about $10/pc. and are a fairly easy DIY, but require a special socket and some reading up on the procedure.