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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-31-2015, 12:05 PM
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gmak2012 gmak2012 is offline
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Are my assumptions about this spark plug (picture) correct?

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Name:	spark plug #1.jpg
Views:	116
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ID:	512200Here is a picture of my #1 spark plug.

Notice that the tips are grey / white, but that there is oil on the threads. My interpretation is that everything is working as it should for burning fuel - i.e. if there was too much
fuel, the tips would be black. If too little, then brown.The oil tells me that the gasket around the spark plug well is getting old and worn and needs to be replaced - likely with the valve cover gasket.

Does this sound correct? Or am I misinterpreting something?

here is a link to pictures of spark plugs with various problems. None of these look like my spark plug, including the "Normal". This is why I am a bit confused.


Here is a description of various spark plug colourations. Looks like I'm running fine according to the greyish/white tip. What about the oil on the threads.

Last edited by gmak2012; 05-31-2015 at 12:30 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2015, 02:03 PM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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You are correct. The oil on the threads is oil leaking into the cylinder well. It coated the threads during removal. Replacing the two inner gaskets will correct that issue.
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2015, 10:14 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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1st) Listen to Fudman because he really knows his stuff.

2nd) I had the same thing on my number six plug when I changed them. It was the VCG.
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  #4  
Old 06-01-2015, 07:04 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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+2 on your oil covered threads.

What do your other plugs look like? IMHO normal color is a grey/brown. White is too much heat. Either a lean condition or a plug that has the wrong heat range-too hot.

Edit-Don't want to disagree with anyone but I've never seen the ground straps that white in a normally running engine.

Last edited by johnstern; 06-01-2015 at 07:25 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-01-2015, 07:23 AM
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gmak2012 gmak2012 is offline
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thanks everyone. I do have a VCG DIY in my future. I only looked at #3 and #1, and only #1 had the oil on the threads. I'm not in a hurry (probably do it when I do the VANOS) because the ends are not black. Based on what others have said elsewhere, the grey is just fine on the spark plugs - also based on the second spark plug picture / description that I have. Given my higher fuel pressure and the negative trim on the multiplicative adaptation on the Lambdas in INPA, I'm not too worried about running lean. Since I picked the plug based on the M52 engine, I don't think that it has the wrong heat range.
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:45 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmak2012 View Post
thanks everyone. I do have a VCG DIY in my future. I only looked at #3 and #1, and only #1 had the oil on the threads. I'm not in a hurry (probably do it when I do the VANOS) because the ends are not black. Based on what others have said elsewhere, the grey is just fine on the spark plugs - also based on the second spark plug picture / description that I have. Given my higher fuel pressure and the negative trim on the multiplicative adaptation on the Lambdas in INPA, I'm not too worried about running lean. Since I picked the plug based on the M52 engine, I don't think that it has the wrong heat range.
I think you are correct. Perhaps the pic of the plug is a bit overexposed or perhaps the flash is making things look whiter than they are.
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2015, 10:08 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Same problem with #3 in my 2006 X5 3.9i (M54 engine).

I simply remove the cosmetic cover and store it on my garage shelf.
This gives me instant access to spark plug well.
Once every 6 months, I remove the ignition coil boot, inspect and clean the oil if necessary (long Q-tips etc.).
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  #8  
Old 06-01-2015, 10:38 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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That appears to be a Bosch Plus 4. If so, read below. Hoiwever, this may not be a problem in the I6.

My 540i was missing badly at engine speeds below 2000 RPMs. I pulled all the Bosch Plus 4 plugs, and found that one had NO ELECTRODES, and another had only one! Both plugs were also finger-loose, and there had been blow-by through the threads.

It's very possible that I did not properly torque these plugs when I installed them, and they loosened up. However, others have had them loosen up, even with proper torquing.

Once loose, the plugs could not transfer heat to the head, and probably got hot enough to loosen the electrodes, or even vaporize them.

The plugs were in there for 10K miles.

I now run NGK BKR6EQUP.
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  #9  
Old 06-01-2015, 03:51 PM
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gmak2012 gmak2012 is offline
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Were they Bosch FGR7DQP with platinum fine wire? Those are the ones I have.
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