Sunday, December 7, 2014

E36 BMW Refresh - Part 1: Spark Plugs

Back in the Summer a friend sold me his E36 325is for a very low price.  Normally you'd expect to pay very little for an 22 year old car in the first place, but this one is a bit different.  It's original owner was a motorsports enthusiast of some kind or other.  He'd added a bunch of fun stuff to the car like a cam kit, catback exhuast and header, strut tower braces, aluminum flywheel, an aftermarket ECU ROM, and all other types of goodies.  Needless to say the car is pretty quick.  With that said, it has a lot of small irritating problems.

When I bough the thing the first thing I noticed was that the brake rotors were warped quite badly.  I wasn't thinking about bloggy things at the time, so I didn't document the process of replacing them.  I'll just simply say that for the most part the hardest part was getting the calipers off.  This was because the person who last worked on the brakes torqued the bolts far tighter than the manual calls for.  My wife's Mini has essentially the same brakes, and changing those was much easier.

I have more free time lately, so I've started paying attention to getting the car back in fighting shape.  Today I squared away the spark plugs.

Here we see the engine compartment.  There isn't exactly a lot of excess room under there.  The ignition goodies are hidden under the black plastic covers seen atop the valve cover.

Now we've removed the strut tower brace and the first of the covers, exposing an attractively blocky fuel rail.

Once the other plastic cover has been removed, the ignition system is exposed.  Each cylinder has its own ignition coil.  There is no spark plug wire, instead the coil connects directly to the plug.  The coils are easily disconnected from the wiring harness without tools, and detached from the valve cover with a 10mm socket.

Once the plugs were pulled, they showed only normal wear.  Given that the car ran pretty well anyway, this wasn't surprising.  It was still pleasant to see.

After the plugs were replaced, I simply reversed the steps I took.  As I continue to repair the car I will continue to make updates.