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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-24-2007, 03:30 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Inspection II part I - Changing spark plugs DIY inside!

Edit: All 3 parts are online:
Inspection II part I: Changing your spark plugs
Inspection II part II: Cleaning MAF & replacing power steering fluid
Inspection II part III: Water pump, thermostat, belts, hoses, fuel filter




Today, I ordered online or bought everything I'll need for Inspection II:

Bought:
  • 6 spark plugs (Winchester Auto)
  • Anti-seize compound (Winchester Auto)
  • Dextron III ATF [for power steering] (Winchester Auto)
  • 7 Quarts of BMW 5W30 (Dealer)
  • 1 bottle of BMW coolant (Dealer)

Ordered (from Autohausaz.com):
  • Water pump (metal impeller)
  • Thermostat
  • idler pulleys
  • Belts
  • Radiator hoses
  • Fuel filter


I should have everything from autohausaz.com by next weekend to complete Inspection II - but I figure I'll do spark plugs now, since they're in my hand... and there's no "shared labor" between other Inspection II components. First, I headed over to the Wiki - the spark plug how-to didn't exactly match up - apparently my car uses a newer coil design ... so I figured I'd re-document the process. I may document the rest of my Inspection II next weekend as well .


Spark Plug Replacement

Time required: 45 minutes including taking pictures and detailing your engine bay

Materials/tools required: 10mm socket, spark plug socket, 6" socket extension, anti-seize compound, 6 spark plugs, T30 Torx driver, 1 Franziskaner Hefe-Wisse, bottle opener.




Spark plugs - NGK BKR6EQUP. I believe these are OEM on the M52 and M54 engines (all non-M E46s).







Step 1: Remove cabin microfilter cover. This is done by twisting these three 'knobs' 90 degrees - it then lifts right out:







Step 2: Remove cabin microfilter (it lifts right out) and release wiring harness from microfilter enclosure. This is done by carefully pulling toward you from the bottom then lifting it up:



Here's a picture of it unclipped. There's a second clip on the other side.







Step 3: Unscrew the four T30 screws holding the microfilter enclosure in place. The enclosure then pulls right out. Place it aside (not on the engine like shown )









Step 4: This step isn't necessary, but I like to check the condition of the engine at any opportunity. It'll also give me a chance to clean under there. A clean engine is a happy engine. Remove the first (top) plastic engine cover. To do this, use a flat-bladed screwdriver to pull out the two covers... then unscrew the bolts with your 10mm socket. Then lift it right off. :





Step 5: Remove the left plastic engine cover. To do this, you'll have to remove the oil cap. You can then pry out the covers and remove the nuts (not bolts this time) with your 10mm socket. Lift the cover right off and place aside, then put your oil cap back on - after all, you wouldn't want to drop anything down there.



Here's a picture of the engine with both covers off:







Step 6: Prepare your spark plug socket and your 6" extension. Spark plug sockets typically have a rubber washer in them to help "grab" the sparkplug. I read a handy tip that helped out here - wrap electrical tape around the socket and extension to keep them from coming apart when pulling the spark plug out:






Step 7:
Here are the coils. In the how-to I had previously linked in the wiki, you had to unbolt the coils. On my car, it's much easier - Pull the edge of the cover up in the direction of the arrow. It rotates up 90 degrees and the wiring plug automatically pops out of it.



The coil then pulls right off and up (don't be afraid to pull hard, it has to "pop" off of the sparkplug:



Here's a picture of the coil out of the car.



I changed the spark plugs one at a time, replacing each plugs coil before proceeding to the next one.




Step 8: (No picture) Place your extension and spark plug socket down into the hole that the coil came out of. Twist it until you can press it down on the spark plug (you'll feel it secure itself). Attach your socket wrench and loosen it - after a turn or so, you'll be able to disconnect your wrench and twist the rest of it out by hand.

Here's a picture of the new plug next to the old plug:






Step 9: Put anti-seize compound on the threads of the new plug. I placed some down the threads as seen here, then used a lint-free microfiber towel to coat the threads all around.






Step 10: Place the new spark plug inside your sparkplug socket and place it down in the hole. Twist by hand, then attach a torque wrench and torque down to 30nm. As you can see, I had no problems using my full size torque wrench even on the back socket. Firmly press the coil back onto the plug, then re-attach the wiring harness. To re-attach it, the top coil lever must be completely up in the vertical position. Then, when you snap it back down to the horizontal position, the wiring harness attaches itself firmly.







Step 11: Start car, verify it runs .




Step 12: Open Franziskaner Hefe-Wisse with bottle opener. Not bad!

Last edited by KrisL; 10-10-2009 at 03:27 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2007, 04:51 PM
lukeeesteve lukeeesteve is offline
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Wow, very nice pics and write up...but how did you keep you camera clean when taking pics between steps
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Old 06-24-2007, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KrisL View Post
[IMG]
What a great idea!!! I'm tired of getting the spark plug socket stuck in there all the time.

Dan

Last edited by KrisL; 11-20-2008 at 11:10 AM.
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2007, 08:02 PM
etomori etomori is offline
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You should write and publish a E46 DIY manual!

Gives a shot at saving money after the lapse of the BMW maintenance agreement for the not-too mechanically challenged. Thanks for sharing the info in a most detaialed and simple manner.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:10 PM
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Kris,

Outstanding DIY !

Thanks for sharing....

Regards,
Bob
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2007, 08:14 PM
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Thanks for the awesome thread, Kris.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:34 PM
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Thanks for the post Kris!! your DIY's make even the harder stuff look easier to do. appreciate it!!
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:52 PM
venky venky is offline
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Very well written and documented.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:08 AM
The Barvarian The Barvarian is offline
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Kris,

Nice write up!!
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2007, 08:14 AM
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Ditto Kris, nice job as usual. I never knew the plugs had four tips!

Did you think about trying something different, like Iridium plugs?
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Did you think about trying something different, like Iridium plugs?
For 20hp, 50% higher gas mileage, etc?

I feel the same way about spark plugs as I do oil: As long as you're using OEM-quality/grade equipment, it doesn't make a big difference what you use.

People who say that iridium plugs made things way better simply had plugs that needed to be replaced - they are comparing fouled plugs to new plugs.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:18 AM
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Wow, very nice pics and write up...but how did you keep you camera clean when taking pics between steps
+1. No to mention the engine. Thats one clean looking engine.

(Nice beer, too.. although its a bit filling.)
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Last edited by Vornado; 06-25-2007 at 09:27 AM.
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  #13  
Old 06-25-2007, 09:28 AM
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For 20hp, 50% higher gas mileage, etc?
Only if they come with stickers!
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:34 AM
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I wish I thought of taping the socket to the extension bar. I had to fish the damn thing out numerous times. Also, you don't have to remove the cabin filter housing, but it does make it a bit hard to get to the last chamber.

Good write up Kris.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by v33_n0d3 View Post
I wish I thought of taping the socket to the extension bar. I had to fish the damn thing out numerous times. Also, you don't have to remove the cabin filter housing, but it does make it a bit hard to get to the last chamber.

Good write up Kris.
+1 just add an angle extension and you can get that back plug.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vornado View Post
No to mention the engine. Thats one clean looking engine.

I detail my engine fairly regularly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by v33_n0d3 View Post
Also, you don't have to remove the cabin filter housing, but it does make it a bit hard to get to the last chamber.

Good write up Kris.

Yeah, I didn't want any difficulty... and I wanted to make sure my torque wrench had enough room. I also use the opportunity to clean everything I remove.
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:04 PM
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BMW recommends against anti-seize on the spark plugs.

...and I'd forgotten what the E46 engine compartment looks like with all that extraneous **** in there.
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:25 PM
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Great write up!
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:18 PM
vinitmurthy vinitmurthy is offline
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Thanks for documenting, Kris. This will go a long way for many of us who plan to do the Inspection II ourselves.
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Old 06-25-2007, 02:08 PM
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The beer part killed me! very funny.

I just had my Inspection ii done at the dealer without the spark change obviously. With this great write-up, I am at it this weekend. I'm experiencing sluggish acceleration in gears 1 and 2 so I hope this will help better things up.
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Old 06-25-2007, 02:26 PM
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The beer part killed me! very funny.

I just had my Inspection ii done at the dealer without the spark change obviously. With this great write-up, I am at it this weekend. I'm experiencing sluggish acceleration in gears 1 and 2 so I hope this will help better things up.
You should do the fuel filter too - BMW used to recommend it be done at 30k miles back before they offered free maintenance. There's a great how-to in the wiki.
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:10 AM
Clarks2ndwind Clarks2ndwind is offline
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Thank you so much for doing this! Could it be put as a sticky? Inspection II is coming up on our car and This is perfect for the new to BMW crowd. Always enjoy the posts. Learning a lot!
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:21 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Originally Posted by Clarks2ndwind View Post
Thank you so much for doing this! Could it be put as a sticky? Inspection II is coming up on our car and This is perfect for the new to BMW crowd. Always enjoy the posts. Learning a lot!


Doesn't need to be a sticky because it's in the wiki, which is already a sticky. Check it out!
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:52 AM
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:32 PM
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this is awesome. When you do your Water Pump can you post the DIY for that one too.
Thats the one I need. The other DIY for the water pump in the wiki still seem a bit too complicated for me.

thanks
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