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How to change spark plugs on a Bmw 540i E39

BMW forum 5 series car: E12, E28, E34, E39, E60, E61, F07, F10, F11

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How to change spark plugs on a Bmw 540i E39

Postby Steiner » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 16:15:37 UTC

Can anyone tell me how to change spark plugs on a Bmw 540i E39?
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Postby Hearty » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 16:22:54 UTC

Haven't done it on mine, but on Beamers it's usually a process of popping off the covers, undoing the coils at the top and drawing them out, followed by unscrewing the plugs and drawing them out.

If it's any different, I'd like to know, 'cos I'll be looking at mine soon.
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Postby Golfather » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 17:03:35 UTC

I'm thinking about mine too.

Which plugs are recommended?
OEM from dealer or others?
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Postby baboo pardesi » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 20:18:00 UTC

This may be of help....

http://bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/tips_pag ... kplugs.htm

Does any one know if the plug gap has to be changed ?
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Postby Dave.B » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 21:38:01 UTC

Plug gap is usually non-adjustable nowadays. Changing them should be as simple as removing the plastic cover(s for the V8 owners), then the coils which just pull off, then unscrewing the plugs as normal.

Just be very, very, very sure you don't cross-thread the new plugs. And don't over-tighten them because the ceramic insulator will break (ask me how I know that :roll:)
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Postby Golfather » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 21:54:00 UTC

Does the above stand for the 6 cylinder models?
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Postby baboo pardesi » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 21:59:11 UTC

Golfather wrote:Does the above stand for the 6 cylinder models?


I would have thought yes.... just remove plastic covers... and change plugs .. i was going to attempt mine too.... if i do i will post pics up ....
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Postby Golfather » Thu, 31 Aug 2006 22:22:15 UTC

What plugs are recommended?

My Insp II is due soon but I'm thinking of changing the plugs, pollens myself and just have the oil etc done by the Indy.
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Postby Hearty » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 07:04:20 UTC

It's a pretty standard job across the range - covers, coils, plugs . . . .
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Postby bsmith1 » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 07:38:22 UTC

I did it a few weeks ago on 523. Its as easy as described on the link attached above, just remove the plastic covers, undo 2 bolts that hold each coil on, pull off the coils to reveal the spark plugs. They're quite deeply recessed. Oh, and for access, I had to remove the right-angle fresh air pipe from between pollen filter (clips off) and bulkhead (twists off). I just bought Bosch Super-4 (?) plugs from Halfords, per their flip-charts. Probably not the cheapest but I was in a hurry. It had NGK dealer-fit but all the same thing...cue everyone's opinion on favourite brands :)

I took a look at the plugs because the car didn't seem to be firing properly, and found the central electrodes had completely disappeared down to the insulation!! From the manual, it looks like spark plugs are only changed every Inspection 2 , and I was about 10k miles away from that. Is that true , spark plugs are meant to last approx 50k miles ? From my limited general car knowledge that sounds optimistic, and my experience suggest too optimistic unless main BMW dealer didn't actually replace them last Inspection2. Anyone else noticed the same thing ? Or is it accelerated wear that indicates a problem somewhere else ?
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Postby m3yc » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 07:51:38 UTC

Every Inspection 2 is very optimistic, they should be changed every inspection 1 and 2, most BMw garages have the "attidude less is more", for their workmanship yet charges heaven and earth
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plugs

Postby arvi » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 09:22:51 UTC

there is a plug changing tool in the tool kit

bestt to do one bank at at time

you take the plastic covers off then

then each coil individually noting the location of the earth cables

2 10m nuts hold each coil be careful not over tighten these

when the coils are all out check the banks for leaking oil from the rocker cover gasket which commonly leaks causing oil to seep onto plugs and cause misfires and the like

change plugs as per normal

dealer plugs are ready set

screw plugs in by hand to ensure they are not cross thread then tighten to correct torque

then check the coils the rubber section can be pulled off like a plug lead check for corrosion or cracking

then replace job done
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Postby crombster » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 09:55:51 UTC

Exactly there is no difference to the Straight 6 or V8 Spark Plug process. A 10 socket to remove the covers, then the 8 coil packs below are held in with 2 10mm (or is it 8mm.. hmm) nuts each. After that a narrow spark plug remover will take the plugs out.

Stick with the standard plug as recommended by BM, in fear of the multi electrode type breaking up which I believe has happened in the past.
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Postby Hasso » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 11:30:30 UTC

Factory standard plugs from 09/98 on E39 is NGK laser platina 4 elektrod ,they only change at 100.000 km an it should be at first inspektion 2 with the longer serviceintervall.
And they also recomended off BMW to 540 M62 before 09/98.
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Postby georigg » Fri, 01 Sep 2006 12:17:02 UTC

A couple of tips about spark plugs.

If you find it difficult to remove plugs that are recessed down into the head, use a small length of plastic tubing --- the plastic tubing that comes with ATF bottles is about the right size, about 1/4" diameter.

Remove the spark plug cover/coil assembly(two bolts) and push the plastic tubing down onto the spark plug until the plastic tubing is over the insulation part of the top of the plug. Lift out.

A word of caution from one of the above posters who states not to tighten plugs too tight or the insulation breaks ---- spark plugs either have a crushable washer fitted or on miniature plugs as fitted to Vauxhalls etc., there is a tapered seat at the base of the thread. Insulation usually breaks because an incorrect sized plug spanner or ordinary tube spanner has been used and not fitted correctly over the plug.

If the plug is not tightened enough to compress the washer or to seat on the taper, then there is a chance that, as the engine runs, the constant pressure surges from each firing stroke, will firstly slacken the plug and then cause it to "fret" at the threads, leading to a stripped thread if not attended to properly.

For plugs with washers and taper seat plugs, a good rule of thumb is to tighten the plug until hand tight and then turn another 1/4 turn(approx).

If you do this kind of job often enough, you develop a "feel" for the correct amount of force to apply.

I have seen many examples of vehicles where the spark plugs are almost only finger tight after the engine has been run for some time, and then checked, because they were not tightened enough at first installation of the new plug.

Lastly, 50,000 miles from plugs? We should be so lucky! Plugs should be changed at worst around 20,000 miles and really at 10K miles for best performance. Multi-tip plugs, ie those with 3 or 4 earth electrodes from the body to the tip, will last longer, as the electrical "wear" is less per tip than on a normal plug.

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Postby Steiner » Sat, 02 Sep 2006 17:31:22 UTC

Thanks for the info.
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