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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-12-2013, 06:50 PM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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Coil Pack Upgrade?

I did some searching around Google but couldn't find anything. For my BT Audi I did a coil pack upgrade which let's us run up to .040+ spark plug gap (vs a gap of around .024-.020 with oem coils) which encourages complete conbustion and a more reliable spark while under boost.

Lately my 328is has been misfiring and I assume it is a plug/coil pack issue. It isn't a big deal and only happens when I an cruising below 1500 and try to accelerate (like if I am in forth and <1500 rpms for example). I am gonna fully replace the plugs and can see that I can test the coil packs, although it looks like you need a proper tool to test the coil packs...

I am wondering if there is an upgrade for our cars similar to what we can do in Audis? Or has anybody....[God Forbid] adapt similar coils to our cars? The Audi is 4 pin vs ours are 3 pin, I am not sure what the pin out of either is but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out.
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2013, 06:55 PM
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miles_trail miles_trail is offline
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I'm confused, are you looking for coils for your Audi or your 328?, the Audi I have no idea about and would recommend talking to Chad (our resident idiot who keeps buying Audis), or an Audi forum.
The only coils for a 328 that I see discussed around these parts are from bavauto and the general consensus is don't.

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  #3  
Old 01-12-2013, 07:07 PM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miles_trail View Post
I'm confused, are you looking for coils for your Audi or your 328?, the Audi I have no idea about and would recommend talking to Chad (our resident idiot who keeps buying Audis), or an Audi forum.
The only coils for a 328 that I see discussed around these parts are from bavauto and the general consensus is don't.

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I figured it was clear, I said I did a coil pack upgrade to my Audi, which means it is done. I am looking for something similar for the BMW since the Audi runs so well with the higher power coils.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2013, 07:20 PM
EfiniMotorsport EfiniMotorsport is offline
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The only ones I've ever seen are from bavauto and from what I've seen they're not worth it. I don't see many people running them and if they are the only company running them there may be a reason why.
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2013, 07:31 PM
EuroDriven EuroDriven is offline
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I just talked to my one friend who is into e46s and he told me he knows people who use the Audi coils I am talking about for FI applications on BMWs
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2013, 07:49 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is online now
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Some info on the Audi coil packs.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2013, 08:21 PM
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cj.surr cj.surr is offline
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Go with OEM ones for replacement. People have had problems with Bav Auto ones. I don't know of a tester for coil packs. I think you can test the resistance (see if it's the same across the board). Also, when it's misfiring, unplug one at a time. If it doesn't get any worse, then you found your bad coil.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:31 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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Yeah, it seems like the Bav Auto coils are unanimously troublesome.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2013, 09:13 PM
maharaj1 maharaj1 is offline
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I have heard mixed things about BavAuto Coils amongst E36 and E46 guys. Seems like if you're running them without any other mods then there is no real gain but when coupled with other N/A mods they are seen to be beneficial. Of course take this with a grain of salt since I have no hard evidence to prove power gains.
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2013, 09:31 PM
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jonesin jonesin is online now
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Well, there are these, but it's your call as to whether they're worth it:
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2013, 10:00 AM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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in order to understand ignition coils, you need to understand the principal of operation.

put in simple terms, a coil is simply that, a coil of wire wrapped many times around in some sort of heat sink. this winding will create a magnetic field, which when collapsed, induces a spark.

the number of windings is more important than the diameter of the wire used, but heat sinking is also important as heat increases electrical resistance.

this is why a coil may 'fire' when checked improperly by the 'let's lay this plug along the head and ground it and see if we get a spark' method. ambient atmosphere does *not* replicate what goes onin the combustion chamber.

there is extreme heat, ozone, and *lots* of resistance. use a spark tester like i posted below. most ignition systems are capable of producing well over 40k volts, which is where i test all of my coils. it's more accurate of a test for the coil this way.http://www.costplustools.com/Thexton...m_campaign=PLA

now, for the next part of the operation. this is called 'dwell', or the amount of time the coil is 'on' and has current flowing through it. the longer this goes on, the larger the magnetic field becomes. also the hotter. this is both good and bad. good because the larger field can jump a greater gap for a longer duration, but bad because this overheats the coil, reducing its efficiency.

the 'on time' for each coil is now controlled by the dme, and is only done for long enough to actually fire the plug. think of them as 'injectors' for the electrical portion of the ignition system. your fuel injectors being on more than necessary will not increase performance.

it's a multifaceted operation, and while there may be upgraded coils, it's not like back in the day with msd and hot rod fords.

as for upgrading the bmw coils themselves, though, i am unaware of any that would offer any sort of real roi in terms of performance increases. of course, once you start talking about major performance gains on the bmw motors *everything* gets expensive.




df
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  #12  
Old 01-13-2013, 11:09 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is online now
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The equation for estimating spark over voltage is:

V = 3pd + (1.3 x square root of d)

where V is in Kilovolts, p is pressure in atm and d is gap in mm

For a NA internal combustion engine the number of atm = the compression ratio


So for the .040 gap: V = (3 x 10.5 x (.04 x 25.4)) + (1.3 + (sqrt (.04 x 25.4))) = 33KV

For the .024 gap: V= (3 x 10.5 x (.024 x 25.4)) + (1.3 + (sqrt (.024 x 25.4))) = 20.2KV

Assuming DF's 40KV is accurate the OEM system has approx 2x margin so to get similar results at a .040 gap you'd want to have 66KV delivered to the plugs. Anything less than that is reduced energy in the spark. If the coils you purchase can't deliver the same margin then you risk reducing performance.

With that said to really see any significant difference in performance from the ignition process you need to change from single point ignition to multipoint ignition, but even with that the increase is miniscule and doesn't justify the massive cost of redesigning cylinder heads to hold two or even three spark plugs per cylinder.

The most promising technology in development that has actually demonstrated reasonable improvements is a system that uses microwave energy and injects plasma into the combustion chamber.
Take a look at the photos in this article and you can intuitively see that you won't get anything even close this as an ignition source from a coil and spark plug system.
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