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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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Old 05-11-2019, 10:48 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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2019 choices for ignition coils

Hey gang, looking for advice for coil packs for 2003 530i. The ONLY reason I'm posting this is because of recent complaints of Bosch failures (and Delphi as well) and some reports that the new Bosch units are Made in China.

In contrast, there are quite a few Chinese/Asian choices (may all be made in the same factory for all I know) and one Euro mfg choice as well as one that's made in Turkey that im finding on Amazon.

Anybody have any experience with anything newer out there, or can you nix the reports of Bosch failures? A close friend put some MIC coil packs in his roadster that has a M54, and so far so good, but the longevity factor remains to be seen as he only has a few thousand miles on them...and since his car is a 2002 they won't fit ours.

I'm about to install new NGK Iridium 6418's, and figure I might as well swap the coil packs as well while I'm in there to establish a baseline. The only records I have show the dealership replaced them under warranty in 2005 and that was many, many, many miles ago. (@167,600 miles on the odometer currently)

My hope is that this freshening along with new O2 sensors will improve my city mpg. (12.6 right now. I have just over 90 miles on @ ahalf a tank of premium.) Foxwell 510 is showing no codes whatsoever, and it CA passed smog 2 months ago.

Thank you.
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Last edited by 1BlinkGone; 05-12-2019 at 12:20 AM. Reason: mileage addition
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2019, 02:48 AM
Chedley Chedley is offline
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If there are no misfires, I'd keep the current coils, and replace only the spark plugs.

"If it ain't broke, do not fix it"..!!
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:49 AM
Santaclaus4 Santaclaus4 is offline
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Replacing old O2 sensors and installing new sparkplugs might help improve your fuel economy. Replacing coil packs that aren't failed probably won't.
However, at your mileage, they will start to fail soon. My car started having failed ignition coils around 120,000 miles. I have only replaced them as they fail.
I keep a new spare coil in the trunk as one fails about once a year or so. I kinda wished I'd just replaced them all at the same time. Then I wouldn't have to "piecemeal" them over time.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:52 AM
Columbo Columbo is offline
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Strongly advise for BERU.

I installed them last year, no problems so far, and the only mechanic I have talked to said that BERU is one of the best.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:54 AM
Columbo Columbo is offline
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I would suggest you do not install IRIDIUM or expensive plugs. I believe the original simplest plugs by BOSCH or others, non-special plugs, will be the best choice in terms of reliability.

The plugs you choose will affect the reliability of the IGNITION COILS.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:24 AM
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crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chedley View Post
If there are no misfires, I'd keep the current coils, and replace only the spark plugs.
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chedley View Post
"If it ain't broke, do not fix it"..!!
Except for your cooling system. Fix it before it breaks, because it will.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:39 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santaclaus4 View Post
Replacing old O2 sensors and installing new sparkplugs might help improve your fuel economy....
However, at your mileage, they will start to fail soon. My car started having failed ignition coils around 120,000 miles.
This is EXACTLY WHY I'm going to R&R the coils when I replace the plugs...That, and I have no idea what may or may not crumble when I remove the boots in there with years and miles of use, in replacing the plugs themselves. Furthermore, I'm looking to make the car as reliable as possible for some road trips. "An ounce of prevention..." I don't want to deal with that in the middle of a journey somewhere, when I could have prevented it in the first place. I don't anticipate any real performance gains by swapping the coils as I'm not getting any misfires. Thanks!
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:42 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy4trains View Post
Yep.



Except for your cooling system. Fix it before it breaks, because it will.
The cooling system appears to have a recent refresh....water pump, expansion tank, radiator, hoses, thermostat, etc. All minty-fresh! When it's time for another refresh, I'm going to upgrade to an all-aluminum aftermarket radiator & exp tank, etc, to mitigate this dreaded issue. lol

Thanks, crazy & chedley!
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2019, 04:23 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbo View Post
I would suggest you do not install IRIDIUM or expensive plugs. I believe the original simplest plugs by BOSCH or others, non-special plugs, will be the best choice in terms of reliability.

The plugs you choose will affect the reliability of the IGNITION COILS.
Thank you for the BERU referral, I'll look into that.

As far as the Iridiums, they are only 1 step over the original Equivalent NGK 4-prong plugs. I already bought them, and have had numerous recommendations for them. I can't see them performing any worse, and in fact have been told that they did improve smoothness slightly over factory spec plugs. A few claimed no difference between the 6418's and the 4-electrode factory issue.

Extended-life is a plus for a very small increase in price....and for me, I'm not buying them so much for the extended life as I'll change them before they noticeably degrade, but because the quality of performance should still be quite robust when I do replace them before they degrade. It's just a few bucks more for a set...yet they are cheaper at O'Reilly here ($6.99 ea) than the Laser Platinum BKR6 ($9.19 ea)

I also took advantage of a nice coupon that I had and got them locally for a slammin deal that wouldn't have been any better than say, RockAuto with shipping.

Thanks again, Columbo
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2019, 07:52 PM
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TheHockeytowner TheHockeytowner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santaclaus4 View Post
However, at your mileage, they will start to fail soon. My car started having failed ignition coils around 120,000 miles. I have only replaced them as they fail.
302k on the original coils. I guess I'm just lucky.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:07 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Originally Posted by TheHockeytowner View Post
302k on the original coils. I guess I'm just lucky.
Good report! I do have it on record that the dealership replaced all 6 coils in 2005, while under warranty. That was likely @140k miles ago.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:20 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Get a few USED Bremi on ebay, it is about $10/each or so.
Keep these in the trunk for emergency.

Your current coils run fine, just keep them.
Check the insulation boot, if cracked, then replace only the boots.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:44 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Get a few USED Bremi on ebay, it is about $10/each or so.
Keep these in the trunk for emergency.

Your current coils run fine, just keep them.
Check the insulation boot, if cracked, then replace only the boots.
I like the idea of replacing just the boots if they are brittle, and was looking at that earlier, parts-shopping. Having said that, oftentimes I have found that when a coil starts breaking-down, it's after it has heated up for awhile. I've not taken the car on more than a 40-minute drive yet when I first bought it in Sacramento. And that was in COLD, rainy weather in February.

I'm into "an ounce of prevention here" regarding taking the car on a serious roadtrip and freshening up a few things. really, a few hundred bucks or less is nothing when it comes to the car, and piece of mind has value as well, IMO. I do NOT want to futz with the car in the middle of, say, a 300+ mile trip.
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  #14  
Old 05-13-2019, 06:01 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Bad coils never get you stranded, it just gives error codes.

You can easily read code (even with Maxi Autel $15 code reader, save this tool in the trunk).
The M54 engine uses Bremi coil, replacing the coil is a 3-minute job with no tools needed!

If you insist on changing the coils, then stay away from Delphi.
Bosch is a hit-or-miss.

Stick to BMW or Bremi, which is about $65/each brand new, or $390 for a set of 6
at FCPEuro.com.
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2019, 06:38 AM
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TheHockeytowner TheHockeytowner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
The M54 engine uses Bremi coil, replacing the coil is a 3-minute job with no tools needed!
I know you know this cn, but others might not: Gaining access to the coils requires a small flathead screwdriver or equivalent to remove the clips (if present) covering the 10mm nuts holding the coil cover (if present) to the valve cover, and a 10mm socket to remove said nuts. But yes, after that, it's a cinch and requires no additional tools...unless the coils are the older style and bolted down to the valve cover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1BlinkGone View Post
I like the idea of replacing just the boots if they are brittle
You have this option on pre-facelift E39s but I do not know of a part number for just the rubber boot for post-facelift E39s.

EDIT: Per FCPEuro, the separate boot/coil arrangement is good up to 09/2002 build dates. Guess what the build date is on my car
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2019, 07:39 AM
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Have you pulled out your coils and plugs and examined everything. Check the plugs for correct torque, condition, oil in the wells from bad valve cover, arching of the coils, cracks etc. I have the old style Bosch coils with the separate boots, they are the originals except the boots have been switched out for new ones last year. I am at 190,000 miles now on the original coils. I have spares if needed. My highway milage is outstanding and my around town milage is really good, but that depends on the time of day and traffic. You need to monitor the o2 sensor activity(fronts and rears) and fuel trims to get and idea of what's going on 1st.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:16 AM
Columbo Columbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1BlinkGone View Post
Thank you for the BERU referral, I'll look into that.

As far as the Iridiums, they are only 1 step over the original Equivalent NGK 4-prong plugs. I already bought them, and have had numerous recommendations for them. I can't see them performing any worse, and in fact have been told that they did improve smoothness slightly over factory spec plugs. A few claimed no difference between the 6418's and the 4-electrode factory issue.

Extended-life is a plus for a very small increase in price....and for me, I'm not buying them so much for the extended life as I'll change them before they noticeably degrade, but because the quality of performance should still be quite robust when I do replace them before they degrade. It's just a few bucks more for a set...yet they are cheaper at O'Reilly here ($6.99 ea) than the Laser Platinum BKR6 ($9.19 ea)

I also took advantage of a nice coupon that I had and got them locally for a slammin deal that wouldn't have been any better than say, RockAuto with shipping.

Thanks again, Columbo
Sounds great, you're welcome.

If it hasn't been already mentioned in this thread, be careful when tightening the bolts of the Ignition Coils, as they can only work if there are no cracks on the insulation. By this I mean, tighten just enough, not more than needed to be secure. The Ignition Coils, the part itself, has to be free of cracks also. Not just the Boot. The block of the Ignition Coil is made of a resin that insulates the wires inside, and the smallest hollow hole inside (cracks) will affect the insulation, whence its performance greatly.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:30 AM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Thanks guys. I have a FOXWELL NT510PRO I keep in the trunk. Build date of our car is 4/29/03....so the coils with the metal keepers for the plug-ins won't fit.
Ours has the later, and yes, one-piece (grr!) coils with the plastic flip cover and sorta triangular plug-in.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:35 AM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
The M54 engine uses Bremi coil, replacing the coil is a 3-minute job with no tools needed!
Yep. Aside from removing the engine cover, I believe you are correct as these are the newer-style coils. Just remove the plug to the coil and pop out, & reinstall, IIRC.

BTW, I'm strongly leaning towards just swapping out the spark plugs and being done with it. You all are right....a coil gone bad won't strand me. See how old I am?? lol Thanks again.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:00 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Here is my practical advice.

1. Replace the spark plugs, I wrote a DIY for NGK Iridium, search for it.
Buy the Gearwrench magnetic spark plug socket, you will be glad you have this tool.
It is in that DIY I wrote a while ago.

2. Go to ebay or junk yard and get 2-3 used Bremi coils.
Test them in the car first to be sure they work fine, then use Sharpie and mark "OK".
This means you have tested it.

3. Remove the cosmetic cover the the 10-mm nuts/bolts and store this on your garage shelf.
The cosmetic cover traps heat and prevents access to the spark plug area.
The cosmetic serves no purposes other than, well "cosmetic".
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:37 PM
1BlinkGone 1BlinkGone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Here is my practical advice.

1. Replace the spark plugs, I wrote a DIY for NGK Iridium, search for it.
Buy the Gearwrench magnetic spark plug socket, you will be glad you have this tool.
It is in that DIY I wrote a while ago.

2. Go to ebay or junk yard and get 2-3 used Bremi coils.
Test them in the car first to be sure they work fine, then use Sharpie and mark "OK".
This means you have tested it.

3. Remove the cosmetic cover the the 10-mm nuts/bolts and store this on your garage shelf.
The cosmetic cover traps heat and prevents access to the spark plug area.
The cosmetic serves no purposes other than, well "cosmetic".
Thanks. That spark plug socket is being ordered tonight!

After catching my thoughts and considering all your comments...and from my previous fleet experience background, I had to remind myself (as you were all trying to say) that the days of the old singlular-coil system is long, LONG gone. lol Different parameters, therefore regarding a coil going bad...lol. Just don't call me a fossil. please. lol Thanks for your patience, everyone.

So now that I have it in my luddite noggin...plugs only, no new coils. I'll find a few spares to keep in the trunk just for grins as advised.
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  #22  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:40 PM
dmarkovina dmarkovina is offline
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All the tools (albeit basic) needed to replace the sparkplugs are in the BMW toolbox in the bootlid.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:17 PM
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Most of the advice here is sage, from longtime E39 owners. The coils last a loooong time. I am just shy of 300k miles, and have replaced a grand total of two Bremi coils. One failed around 245k miles, and the other around 255k miles. I keep a spare on the shelf, as they are less than $50 for brand new , with a new spark plug extender (boot) included (though CN90s advice on used it a great idea if you have the time). My car is a daily driver and I really don't worry about coil failures...and they are so easy to swap, not a big deal.

As far as the plugs, no problem using the IX fine wire NGK iridiums. I noticed absolutely no difference with them, over the stock NGK four prong platinums. Be aware NGK claims the IX plugs have a service life of only 50k miles with them, whereas the four prong platinums are rated for 100k, though I usually swap them out around 70k. NGK does make a long life Iridium single prong plug (Laser series), but unfortunately, not for the E39. I have also tried the Bosch four prong Iridium IR plugs...again, noticed no difference. I would use whatever makes you happy.

Before you buy new O2 sensors, I would get a scanner that can graph the O2 sensor outputs, and see if they are switching/operating correctly. Again, why waste money on something "just because"?
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:16 PM
Z4530i Z4530i is offline
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I've used BAVauto coils, however they are no longer in business. However, ECS now sells their coils.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:02 PM
charliejones408 charliejones408 is offline
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[QUOTE=1BlinkGone;12997881]Hey gang, looking for advice for coil packs for 2003 530i. The ONLY reason I'm posting this is because of recent complaints of Bosch failures (and Delphi as well) and some reports that the new Bosch units are Made in China.

In contrast, there are quite a few Chinese/Asian choices (may all be made in the same factory for all I know) and one Euro mfg choice as well as one that's made in Turkey that im finding on Amazon.

Anybody have any experience with anything newer out there, or can you nix the reports of Bosch failures? A close friend put some MIC coil packs in his roadster that has a M54, and so far so good, but the longevity factor remains to be seen as he only has a few thousand miles on them...and since his car is a 2002 they won't fit ours.

I'm about to install new NGK Iridium 6418's, and figure I might as well swap the coil packs as well while I'm in there to establish a baseline. The only records I have show the dealership replaced them under warranty in 2005 and that was many, many, many miles ago. (@167,600 miles on the odometer currently)

My hope is that this freshening along with new O2 sensors will improve my city mpg. (12.6 right now. I have just over 90 miles on @ ahalf a tank of premium.) Foxwell 510 is showing no codes whatsoever, and it CA passed smog 2 months ago.

Thank you. :D[/QUOTE Delphi coil packs are now made in "CHINA" and Bosch shut down their coil packs made in Germany in 2016. Slovenia is now making all the Bosch ignition coils. It has taken a couple of years to get all the quality control issues in line. From my BMW mechanic( this guy knows his stuff.. he's a "Nerd" who loves to twist wrenches) tells me that Bosch is back on Top again as of 2019. I changed my ignition coils just recently on my E39 540i Sport at 141,000 miles. There wasn't anything wrong with the coils but the average life span is around 150,000. i've seen them go past 200,000 miles before but rarely. I found on Ebay slightly used ( 12,000 miles, car was in totaled in accident) 2016 Bosch coils made in "Germany" for $180.00 for set of 8 coil packs. "STEAL"!! Your coils for a 530 are about 1/2 the price new. Bosch coils for a M62TU run around $80.00 each for "REAL" Bosch Coils. There are so many knock offs putting coils into Bosch packaging that has gone crazy!! It's quite easy to tell. Real Bosch Coils will be "Stamped" on the Top and reads "Bosch" "Model #" and "Origin" Slovenia.. All other Coils will have no "Stamp" at all, just plain!! The biggest problem I see is that Bosch now has the "Boots" for the coils made in "Spain" instead of Germany like before. The end of the boot falls apart do to the extreme temperatures the M62TUs run at 108-110degrees C or 226-230 degrees F. I believe the 530's run around 98 degrees C or 204 degrees F. You shouldn't have a problem with the Bosch Coils!!
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