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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E30 3 Series Ignition System Tune-Up
Jared Fenton
Wayne R. Dempsey

Difficulty Level: 3
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

     In this tech article I will go over the incredibly simple steps needed to tune –up your vehicles ignition system. While this article is specific to my 325is, it applies to all BMW models in general.

     That said let’s begin. First, disconnect the battery. This is important as we will be working around electricity, and you don’t want that random voltage spike damaging sensitive components on your car. Even worse, you don’t want a surge of power coursing through your body.

Once disconnected, open the hood and look at the passenger side of the engine. You will see the following components:

  • Ignition Wires (called HT leads in the UK and other parts of the world)
  • Spark Plugs
  • Distributor Cap
  • Distributor Rotor (under the distributor cap)

     During a normal ignition tune-up all of these items are replaced. It’s recommended that you carry out this procedure at 80,000 miles, however problems such as fouled pugs and worn rotors may prompt you to carry this procedure out earlier.

     The first step is to look at the spark plug wiring loom that runs parallel to the valve cover. You will see two 10mm nuts holding onto the valve cover. Remove these nuts and pull the loom clear of the studs. Next, disconnect the wire going to the coil, which is mounted on the inner passenger fender.

     Now pull each wire off each spark plug. They should come right off, however if they seem stuck, just give the connector a twist and it should free it up. Next, look at the distributor at the front of the engine. Remove the plastic cover over the distributor by unclipping it. Now, use a small 10mm open-end wrench to remove the three small bolts that hold the distributor cap in place. Remove the wires and cap together. Now look at the inside of the cap. You should be able to see the small contact points inside. They should appear slightly worn. If they show signs of pitting and/or burning, you will need to replace the cap. This wear is normal. It is the by-product of the voltage coming from the coil, then being distributed out to each individual spark plug. This corrosion and pitting is normal for a used cap. Sometimes, in a pinch, you can sand down the contacts and this will suffice, the same applies to the distributor rotor as well. Now, remove the three 10mm bolts holding the distributor rotor to the engine. Take a look at the contacting edge of the rotor. As before, if it shows any pitting or burning, it must be replaced.

     Now, we will remove the spark plugs. I’ve found that on the M20 engine, all that is required is a spark plug socket, 4 inch extension and a ratchet. Now, remove the spark plugs and inspect them. A normal, well-used set of plugs should appear to have a tan/grey appearance. If they appear any other way, it’s a likely indicator of possible engine problems. Here’s a small list of what to look for on your plugs.

Plug Condition Possible Causes
Grey/Tan color, electrode rounded off   Normal Wear
Oily deposits, Oil leaking into cylinder, possibly  Worn valve guides or piston rings
Carbon deposits, ash on electrodes Rich mixture, poor ignition, over-use Of fuel and/or oil additives 
Blistered electrode, white appearance Lean mixture, Overheating, vacuum leaks

     Once you have inspected the plugs, make a note of whatever mechanical repairs or adjustments must me made to the car to correct these problems. Keep in mind that spark plugs are usually a great indicator of how well your engine is running. Many times, I have made mixture and timing adjustments on older cars just by looking at the plugs.

     Before we install the new plugs, check the ignition gap. Most plugs nowadays come “pre-gapped” however; I always check the ignition gap. There’s always that one time you get the spark plug that missed the eye of the quality inspector on the line. Most ignition gapers are available at your local auto parts store for usually under a buck. Check the gap by sliding the tool in between the contact arm and the electrode, and slide it around until it drags slightly, now read the mark on the side. This will give you the gap. The factory gap for the 325 6 cylinder is 0.7mm or 0.027 inches. Use the gapping tool to carefully bend the contact arm either closer to or away from the electrode to adjust the gap.

     Now, put a small dab of anti-seize on the threads of the spark plugs and carefully thread them back into the cylinder head. Be very careful while doing this, as the cylinder head is aluminum and it’s very easy to strip the threads. Once seated, tighten the plugs down snug but do not over tighten, or you will be soon learning how to install a Heli-coil.

     Take the new distributor cap and lay it out next to the old one with the wires still attached. We will now want to open up the new wire holder and determine which connection goes to where based on the old cap/wires. It is crucial you have these wires oriented correctly. This is what is commonly referred to as the vehicle’s firing order. In this case, the firing order on the 325 is 1-5-3-6-2-4 What this means is the voltage from the coil will travel through the distributor, down through the rotor, and when the rotor turns to the number 1 cylinder contact on the distributor cap, it sends the voltage down through the spark plug wire to the spark plug, which in turn, ignites the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder, causing the engine to run. The rotor will now turn in sequence to the number 5 contact, then repeat the procedure, then rotate to the number three cylinder contact, then 6 and so on, til it rotates back to number 1. 

     To make sure it is correct, lay out the old wires next to the new wires and cap. Each cylinder on the engine has a specific length, so all wee need to do is compare the lengths of new wire to the old, and connect them to the new cap as they are installed on the old cap. Once you have the new wires on the new cap, place the wires back in the holder.

     Now, take the new distributor rotor and bolt it back on to the distributor shaft using the three 10mm bolts. Make sure that the dust shield is correctly in place and place the new distributor cap/wires back onto the housing. It is indexed so that it will only go on one way. Once in place, re-install the 10mm bolts that hold it on. Now place the distributor cover back in place and clip it on.

     Next, take the wire holder and place the two brackets over their corresponding studs on the valve cover. Once on, re-install the two 10mm nuts and tighten them down.  Once the wire holder is secured, take each individual wire connector and slip it on each spark plug. You should be able to feel the connector seating on the plug as you push it on.  Don’t forget to install the coil wire as well.

     The last step is to re-connect the battery and start the car. You should notice that the car has a little more pickup and runs a bit smoother.

     Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all.  If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs.  If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.  Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Comments and Suggestions:
wolf Comments: My e30 325 I wants to stall when brakeing , its automatic .when I want to overtake and floor it .she cuts out and when I leave the accelerater pedal and press slightly catches again , every time I want to hammer it to overtake , she dies ,
October 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the idle control valve and control module. If faulty, the engine will not idle correctly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nestor e30 Comments: My is 325ic 90' got everything new,fuel and ignition but no spark at coil,but the coil get extremely hot,i check main relay,ohms at coil,crank sensor new,ecu code 1444 and i check fuse box,I need help,thank!
September 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does the coil have power and a trigger signal? If so, replace the coil. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
polish me i'm Polish Comments: according to tightening the spark plugs:
if spark plug that you want to mount is used, tighten it by 15 degrees. if it's new - 90 degrees.
September 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
I'd say torquing it is best, to be safe. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bavaria guy Comments: hi i have a 86 325i,overhauled the motor and now i have no spark.test the crank sensor and it works,coil ht leads and distributor worked before where else can i look? thanks
September 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the ignition coil is getting power and a trigger signal to fire. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JKE Comments: My 1990 325is runs great and starts fine for the most part. Every so oftenabout every 20th time or so that I start up, it won't turn over right away. Takes about 3-4 times before it turns over. This only happens like I said, every 15-20th time I start it.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
September 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the crankshaft sensor. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
john Comments: hi my boy has got a 1991 e30 when driving it just dies ..you can try to start it winds over but no go{ has spark}..10 min later away it gos done fuel pump coil.. .plugs... sent it in 4 scan only fauit was temp sender .service light still on any info will be good ..
August 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the crank sensor or DME relay.

When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tony Comments: Hey I have a 1987 325is and I'm having an issue with no spark to cylinder # 2 what could cause this I replaced the cap and rotor and it's not the wires
August 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If all other cylinders have spark, it has to be an issue with the cap or wires. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bentleyCT Comments: If I just replace the distributor cap and rotor do I have to check/adjust the timing?
August 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have. However, you don't have to, but it recommended to do so during major service intervals. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Waldo_e30 Comments: Hey there I have a 1990 325i that has a good start up but low idle. however after it warms up it has a nice idle of 700rpm. the other problem is going down the road at a steady speed and at 1500rpm it loses power but quickly regains it then come to a complete stop and after a couple seconds it stalls any ideas what it can be? distributor going bad. ps i hear a squeal when start the car up sometime i thought i was a belt but heard it could also be distributor
August 1, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a fuel delivery problem. I would check fuel pressure, volume and quality. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
e30 tech Comments: missing on cylinder 6 but have good spark and fuel with compression of 125psi. no smoke from tail pipe either. what could be wrong?
July 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Compression sounds low. Start there. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
importcarguy Comments: My car was misfiring between 3000 and 4000 RPM. I replaced the plugs, wires, and MAF and it stopped, but a few days later it started misfiring occasionally at 5000+ RPM and occasionally at idle.
July 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the check engine light on? I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
dirtye30 Comments: hi, i have a 1987 bmw 325i i have replaced the ignition coil and still no spark at spark plugs i really need help!
July 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the crank sensor or cylinder id sensor sending a good signal to the DME. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
taj320 Comments: I have a 88 320, its long over due for a set of ignition leads, on inspection I noticed one of the leads has what looks like a inductive pick up of some kind on it ? I have never noticed this before. Will I need a specific set of leads or will a set from say top gun, listed for my car suit ?
Thanks Tery
June 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is the ID sensor. Usually, this sensor is left disconnected when new wires are installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rey Comments: My 1987 325i accelerates okay at first but has a hesitation/misfire at 3000 rpm, but then at 4000 rpm and above is okay again with good power. What would cause an rpm specific misfire like that? Air flow meter has been replaced, crank position sensor tested okay, throttle position switch okay, plugs are newer. I'm thinking wires next but they are expensive if just a shot in the dark.
June 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Air, fuel or spark loss could cause it. First you will have to isolate the cylinder. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JarrodJ Comments: I have bmw e30 320i but with a 323i head, my car has a very loose start up and it has a terrible miss when its idling, help?
June 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It does sound like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shay Comments: Hi I have a e30 320 my fuel is going into my sump and it won't start please help
June 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check for a leaking or stuck open fuel injector. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pazulone1 Comments: hi , i have a 318 I e46 N42,
it wont start
i cleaned the plugs but notice that they were wet with fuel , so i put new ones in.
it started and run normal for 30 seconds then started misfiring till it stalled .
now it wont start. or it splaters and misfires but wont go.
Any one with any idea what may be happening or rather why its happening.
May 31, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: DO you have good spark on the cylinders? A bad coil could cause your issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
iBlueVirus Comments: Thanks for the info Nick. I'll get some a noid light kit to test it out. However, I have "NO SPARK"... How does the injector cause no spark? I do smell fuel as crank with one plug out. And I DO NOT smell fuel if I have fuse 11 out.
April 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A fuel injector won't cause no spark. The need for the noid light and testing injector pulse, is to have data I can trust in order to help you. Smelling fuel is not a good enough test to confirm the vehicle is in fact firing the injectors. Knowing if you have spark with on pulse or vice-versa helps me point you in the right direction. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
iBlueVirus Comments: Nick,

How do I check the fuel injector pulse and with my stroker, I am basically a 325i with 325e bottom/block. Meaning I just have the CPS, which is correctly gapped and brand new.
April 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use a scope or noid light to monitor the injector signal from the DME. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
iBlueVirus Comments: Hi Nick,

I have an 87 325e that I stroked out with 325i top and related HW, wiring, cluster, DME, etc. The car ran for ~1k miles before it went dead on the side of the road.

Current problem: No Spark

During the build, I used brand new ignition stuff from you guys coil, wires, cap, rotor, spark plugs, etc. After it went dead, I replaced with new coil and CPS. I also swapped ICV, TPS, MAF, DME, and wiring harness, fuse box, relays, with known good e30 and mine ran on his as well. I’ve also tested Vcc and Gnd to DME and they appear to be good. I also tested continuity from DME to all relays and coil and are good as well. I also did the stomp test and got 1444, no fault code. I can smell fuel and see fuel coming out when check by the pressure regulator.

It appears that DME pin 1 is not pulling down on the coil therefor no fire.

Help!?
April 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is there fuel injector pulse? You may be missing the engine speed signal to the DME. I would check the signal into the DME. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Aviator Comments: 86 e30 325e cranks strongly but will not fire, does have a broken vacuum connector where the 3 hoses come together behind the manifold, and a possibly dead OBC [unit display has a small hole in it and does not light up], it is getting fuel. I don't own this car yet so my ability to in depth trouble shooting is limited. Car is great structurally however lol... any thoughts? I'm thinking it could be the vacuum lines...
April 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Vacuums lines should not prevent the engine from starting. I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jean Comments: 325i coil has no spark, i checked the relay and the wires still nothing. all hapend after changing my airflow meter
April 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The vehicle ran before the new MAF? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jean Comments: hi cant get spark on the coil. car was starting, i tried out 2 other airflow meters just to check something. after putting mine back car has no spark
April 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: So with other MAF sensors it runs, but with yours it does not? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
julian Comments: hi there I have a 1987 325e e30 I recently changed the starter out and I had to remove the whole intake manifold so while I was at it I went ahead and changed some old hoses out as well. once I got it all back together it started up but was sputtering and now it will turn over but will not start it is an automatic dose anything pop-up in your mind that it may be or could you by chance tell me where to start looking.
April 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Double check that all of your connections are correct. I can't offer much help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
angel Comments: This is the sensor
April 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That looks like a pickup for the distributor. Does your model have a distributor? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
angel Comments: hey i have a 1985 318i with an m10 and i cant seem to figure out where the sensor that comes from the ignition control module plugs in to. can you help?
April 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure i follow you. Can you share of a photo of the component you are referring to? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Reast325is Comments: Hey my 325is won't even turn over anymore, we replaced the starter and it still won't turn over. All it does is make a strange clicking noise. The battery tested good and we tried to jump start it but still only a strange clicking. Do you think this could be a problem with the ignition shorting?
March 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have a bad battery cable or connection. I would voltage drop the cables and the connections to the starter motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chuy89 Comments: Hola!! Tengo un BMW 325i del 87 arregle mis luces,cambie bujías,cables,bobina,casco de distribuidor y rotor y aún así no tengo chispa ya revise fusibles y relays y no encuentro el problema quería saber si me puede orientar que no encuentro el problema.
Gracias!!Hi! I have a 87 BMW 325i fix my lights, change spark plugs, wires, coil, distributor and rotor helmet and still have no spark and check fuses and relays can not find the problem and wanted to know if I can guide you do not find the problem.
Thank you!
February 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The engine speed and ID sensors have a tendency to fail. CHeck if the DME is getting a good signal from then, use a lab scope to view the signal. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
drifting is not a crime Comments: the fuel pump on my m40b18 wont run until i crank the motor and sometimes responds after 3 cranks
February 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does it prime when the key is turned ON? Have you checked operation of the relay? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mate Comments: i have a 318i sometimes it delays to pickup
February 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Delays to start or has little power? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shenza Comments: Hi my bmw turns over but wont start I bought a new coil and have the same issue? Bmw e30 M20b25 89 model
February 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
boxerulez Comments: E30 318i M10 cranks forever before it takes. New FPR, no overheating or misfires once running. Fuelpressure is ok. Cold start is working fine. South Africa is so warm it is not needed anyway Where to start now?
January 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check spark and compression. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Roo Comments: I have a 88 325ix that seems like there is a misfire. On off the cylinders doesn't burn off all the fuel. Has a slightly rough idle. Would the distributor cap and a new rotor help this?
January 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If they are faulty, then yes. I would check spark and see if it is good. If not, trace the ignition voltage problem to the source. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bestbeemereva Comments: Hi,thanks for a great site firstly,i have a 89 325i thats drawing current from the battery with ignition off.Ive checked all interior lights and other possibilities but nothing.I hav to disconnect the battery every time i park the car otherwise my battery is dead the next day.
January 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the battery is being discharged, you are missing the draw. You will have to monitor closed circuit current. Once you confirm there is a draw, isolate circuits to locate the source. If there is no draw, the alternator may be faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
nebs Comments: Thanks, Nick for the reply, I changed the distributor cap but still the problem continues. All six plug leads have spark but the plug itself on number 6 is not working, when I swap them it works bt not on 6. Could it be the valves or guides?
January 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Spark comes from the distributor, so if it is missing at the plug, you will have to work backward to find the voltage leak. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mixybro4 Comments: Hello I was driving my 1987 325e the other day and it started misfiring like crazy when I would give it gas. Started out not that bad but after I got off the highway it started getting worse. I pulled up to a red light and let off the clutch, gave it gas, it rolled forwards and died right in the middle of intersection. Started it back up and revved it, put it back in gear, let off the clutch and it died. Tried this multiple times but no luck, then it stopped starting entirely. Had it towed home, and still no start. I thought it was the fuel pump at first but car would still not start with starting fluid. Spark plugs looked okay, but thats all I have checked. Does anything obvious really jump out at you?
Thanks
January 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Nothing obvious, could be a sensor or fuel pump. I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
RJP Comments: Hi i have a question. Im in the process of reinstalling my distributor inner dust cap after doing timing Belt/waterpump jobparts purched from pelican of course and when i go to bolt on upper timing belt cover im left with inch long gap between timing cover and valve cover. It seems like the distributors inner dust cap is phrohibiting me from pushing cover all the way on. All the grooves line up, but it just wont go
January 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share a few photos? It is likely misaligned, but I would need to see it to figure out where. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nebs Comments: Hi, I have a problem with my 325i 89 model, when I start it, it idles smooth, but when I'm driving it stalls, I checked all the plugs and found out that plug number 6 doesn't work, changed plugs leads, spark plugs and airflow metre still the problem continues, what could be the problem? Thaks
January 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a short in the distributor cap. If all other plugs get spark, but not 6, I would think this is the issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Babu Comments: I av a bmw 318i m40 and there's no spark can the pick up sencor on the crank pulley be the cause of it not starting.
January 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes it can. I would test it. See if it has ground, reference voltage and a good signal to the DME> - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Leo Comments: Hi!
I ran into a problem in my 1989 325i Convertible.
The car was fine no issues,I was driving back and fourth locally everything was fine, when I turned off the car it wouldnt start, The starter wont turn over. The windows were down and they wont roll up now. and the blinkers quit working
The blinkers was a fuse, windows still wont roll up and I want to start the car. Oh, i didnt mention the "inspection" light lit up.
I checked the starter today and it was fine. I put it back on and still wont start, I dont know what to check next, anybody know what may have went wrong?
December 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would test the start signal to the starter from the ignition switch. If it is not present the ignition switch may be faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mojo 101 Comments: Hi i have a 1989 325i and my ignition lights is not working check all the fuses but oil and battery light still off. {the service lights is on if i turn the key}
November 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On a car that old you should be able to change the instrument cluster bulbs. If that doesn't fix it then it's possible the cluster itself is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
king Comments: Hi, need help with 87 325i, hesitation when cold, after that it runs OK, changed cks, rotor, cap, tps, maf,.sometimes difficult starting. Thanks
November 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you may have a fuel issue. I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
R G Comments: I have an 88' 320i. It takes ages to start, cranks for a while. Wants to stall if the gas pedal is pressed. Over heats. Stalls at the lights when idling. Replaced blue temp sensor. Need help, much appreciated Pelican parts
October 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the fuel pressure and also try to solve the overheating problem, perform a compression test and a leak down test to see what shape the engine is in. Perform a pressure test on the cooling system to check for coolant leaks.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
T Comments: I have a 1995 325i just recently the the key just turns very easy as if the stripped its not catching anything to start would that be the ignition is stripped or or the coil is gone bad?
October 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The lock cylinder and the lock cylinder housing are worn, I would replace both.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rick Comments: i have a 2006 BMW 325 ix. after how many miles should i consider a tuneup?
September 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All of the maintenance info is available in the cluster, it will give you the mileage left on the items that need to be changed, like oil, spark plugs, air filter, brake fluid and so on.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
beemer_ace Comments: Will a E30 BWM 320 cylinder head fit on a E30 BMW 325? Or what can I do? Becuase it is hard to get a 325 cylinder head...I need help people. Email me please.... Mervynafrica23@gmail.com
August 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No or at least not easily, the two motors are too different to swap parts - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
joe Comments: my 318i e30 spark plugs stay wet dont wana start
July 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your engine is flooding during a crank. Clean all the plugs and try to start it while flooring the gas pedal. It may start but will probably run poor. Your valve timing could be off, your pressure regulator may have ruptured allowing raw gas to be sucked into the intake through the vacuum line (disconnect the line and look for raw fuel) or the fuel injection system is opening the injectors too long, maybe from a bad coolant temperature sensor (CTS) signal. Make sure the CTS connection is clean. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
one30 Comments: The plug gap instructionsare wrong. 0.07mm is 0.0027 inches. I think you mean 0.7mm. Cheers
July 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank you for the heads-up. The value has been corrected in the article. -Scott at Pelican Parts  
breier Comments: Hey, I have 1988 325i, it's not all the time, but sometimes when excelerating the engine sputters doesnt excelerate smoothly. Im thinking this could be a cap and rotor problem? Do you concur?... also, i just want to make sure, this vehicle has both a coil and distributor? i always thought it was one or the other... thanks for the guides btw.
June 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your vehicle does have an ignition coil and a distributor. I would check the quality of the spark before replacing anything. Check that there is no leakage at the ignition wires. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jerry Comments: Hi I have a 1988 bmw 325is and when i disconnect any spark plug wire the car will shut off with only one wire that I remove.Also the car seems to shake when its being accelerated and is normal at idle. I recently changed the wires, plugs, distributor cap and rotor however I still have the same problem can you please help me diagnose my problem. thanks.
June 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have a mutlipe cylinder misfire. I would check spark and fuel at each cylinder. if they are OK, check engine compression. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
peter Comments: hey wonder if you can help me i have a bmw e30 325i 1989 i disconectedthe wire of the distruber car the other day and i pluged it back on now i notice only sometimes its starts misfiring im baffed when i drive then sometimes it wont replaced my plugs in november but not leads what you think this could be ?

and when im stationay it can hear misfiring
May 27, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check that the ignition wires were reconnected int he correct order. If out of order, then engine will run rough. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ducati9 Comments: Hi having problems starting car ,no current is coming from the coil. Its a1988 E30
March 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does the coil have battery positive at the primary circuit?- Nick at Pelican Parts  
ducati9 Comments: Hi im having a problem , no current is coing from the coilits a 1988 e30 ?
March 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does the coil have battery positive at the primary circuit?- Nick at Pelican Parts  
netok Comments: mi 325es e30 no enciende y si hay chispa,si hay pulso en los injectores,la presion de gasolina es de 37lbs.,da marcha pero no arranca, a ver si me podrian aconsejar.
March 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Si tienes abnd inyector de chispa y pulso de inyector, así como buen combustible presión, comprobar la compresión del motor. Si tienes mala compresión, el motor no arrancará. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hurk Comments: 1984 BMW 633csi rear left brake not working what could be the problem?
January 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The caliper could be seized, the brake line to the caliper could be blocked or the metal brake line could be kinked. Soak the bleed screw in penetrating oil and see if you can crack it loose. Then while someone applies the brakes open the valve then right away close it before any air gets in. If fluid comes out just bleed the line. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dewey Comments: I have a suggestion for Tony 10/20/2012 with the 318i no spark when hot. I ran into this many years ago with a 530i. The distributor pickup coil had a break in it that would get pulled apart when the insulation expanded with heat - no spark when hot!
January 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Great test and thanks for the tip - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pANZER_tANK Comments: For anyone that is stuck on how to unplug the wire that goes to the sensor plug looking thing on the other side of the intake manifold: on the piece it plugs into, there is a metal clip that is in a general U shape with square corners, it should be on either the top or the bottom of the piece, you just have to pull that off with a screwdriver carefully and it allows you to take the plug out. hope that helps anyone like me who was slightly confused on what to do with that guy.
December 29, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The spring holds the connector on so be careful not to lose it. You can install it with the connector off and you should hear the connector click when plugging it back in. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lance Comments: i have a misfiring wire on my 320i bmw i was told it is misfiring on 3rd cylinder it has 94000 miles and has had every possible maintenece thing and at tim e book says to doits a great running car and i only use 93 octane in it how do i get in there to just go ahead and change all wires
December 23, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Contact one of our parts specialist and they will help you get the correct to replace the wires. If there are covers there are usually clips to separate the covers and rerun the new wires through them. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marcos Comments: My 1987 E30 320i have problem it blow the fuses overtime I try to start it, it blow fuel pump fuse
December 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The relay power up the fuse and the fuse blows. This means either the wiring to the fuel pump is shorted to ground (rubbing up against the body of the car) somewhere or the fuel pump itself is shorted. Unplug the fuel pump and crank the engine does the fuse still blow? If it does the wiring is shorted if it doesn't then the fuel pump is shorted. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
TONY Comments: I have an 18yr old 318i that used to stop after 10 miles when engine got hot BMW told me it was the ECU starting to wear out or my coil condenser/resistor was U/S - I changed the HT Coil, All leads and housing, cleaned plugs, cleaned rotor and distributor & also replaced alarm/key/immobiliser controls,re-programmed key & changed ignition relay - Still NO Ht Spark?
I was then told to change the Crank Sensor and clean the Air volume/air filter chamber, and check under dash for water ingress none present I have also checked all other wires for breaks and disconnects? All the vehicle electrics work, including door access, alarm, lights horn, heater etc,,,BUT... Still no SPARKS ? WHAT CAN IT BE ?All fuses seem O/K ... So I also replaced the current regulator under the dash on drivers side ...NO START ? ANY HELP Valued, have spent £350 on BMW parts and electrics
October 20, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: When you lose spark do you also lose injector pulse and fuel pressure? Is the main relay staying engaged? The Computer does control the coil on these cars in the United States so the ECU may be the problem. Do you have 2 crank sensor REF and TDC and did you change them both? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
luxam Comments: can a fuel pump pressure affect vehicle performance and how can that be rectified. im driving bmw 320i e30
September 18, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. You will a pressure gauge to see if you have correct pressure. Low pressure and or low fuel volume will give performance problems. The fuel pump make pressure and the regulator bleeds off extra pressure and returns it to the tank. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dan Comments: My 1987 325 4 Dr. has a passenger seat stuck in recline and the lever doesn't release it to upright. I have removed the side cover and see gears. IS THERE A WAY TO MECHANICALLY RELEASE THE SEAT?
June 18, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would need to know if it is a manual seat or a power seat. Look for a locking tab in the gear teeth and see if you can pry it up. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
novolvo Comments: spark plugs can't be a heat sink, they are a heat source
May 31, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Actually, no. The plugs are not a heat source - the fuel and air mixture that is ignited is the heat source. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
85bimmer Comments: @rod seems like you have to sheem the starter so it goes closer to the fly wheel
February 22, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for helping out on this one. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jayson Comments: I have a BMW E30 325i Box,1986 Model,which is passing fuel into the head cylinder causing weak spark on the plugs thus not allowing the car to start. Please advise as to solve this problem of the fuel going into the head cylinder.
February 3, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have stuck open fuel injector. i would remove them and try to isolate which one is leaking. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
kerosene Comments: comment to Ray July 17 2011. Pbbly fixed by now but you need to take the little knob off the end of the plugs.
January 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ben NZ Comments: Mitch howsit goin, is it a very fast ticking kind of top end knock? Just adjust the tappets and it goes away... you may need to tighten them beyond OEM specs, I had to tighten my tappet clearance to 5 thou to get it sounding clean and it took about 4 - 5 attempts, give me a txt on 0278678373 if u have any probs, also live in Chch if u need a hand and close by,

Ben
November 2, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
88 ETA Comments: I have the same situation as KD. However my car is running well and no lights indicating a fault is on. I just don't know for what is that extra wire connected to some sorth of sensor is. This extra wire was not included with the NGK wires that I bought. I have an 88 325 Super ETA.
October 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think you are referring to the cylinder ID sensor. You can leave it disconnected, just make sure the wire isn't grounded. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
KD Comments: I have an extra wire connected to a spark plug that leads to a sensor ? it has a bare wire that is touching metal. would that keep a the motor from starting? My code reader shows no faults and my ecu code shows 1444 meaning good? This engine wont start!!!!
October 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think you are referring to the cylinder ID sensor. You can leave it disconnected, just make sure the wire isn't grounded. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
old mate Comments: have a m30 ,how do you line up the distributor as it was out when we got the motor
October 9, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: With the engine at TDC. Install the distributor so the ignition rotor points to the mark on the distributor housing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rod Comments: my e30 325i has had a starting motor? problem for a while, initially starter grinding against flywheel. I swapped out the starter motor with an OEM replacement, still grinding as before. I next swapped out the flywheel with a lightend flywheel, eureka problem solved? The car stood for two days, on starting the grinding noise was worse than before. A new starter motor fitted again, exact same problem. Eventually the starter would only spin, with a light metal metallic sound, probably starter and flywheel just touching.
I've got a flywheel and starter, both from the same donor vehicle.

Can someone help? PLEASE
September 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you replace them both at the same time this shouldn't happen again. That is unless there is an alignment problem with the starter when it is mounted. Check that it is square to he transmission bell housing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MPOTSOTSO Comments: I AM HAVING A PROBLEM WITH MY BMW 325I BOX SHAPE SILVER BUMBER.ON THE IGNITION COIL THERE IS POSETIVE AND NEGATIVE WIRES ATTACHED,THE NEGATIVE ONE IS DISCONNECTED ON THE SYSTEM OF THE CAR,I DONT KNOW WHERE IT SHOULD BE CONNECTED,IS ONLY CONNECTED ON THE COIL,SO MY CAR DOES'NT SPARK/START.PLEASE HELP ME,WHAT MUST I DO?
August 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It goes to the ignition module. Where on the ignition module depends on what style you have, Bosch or Siemens. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JOE Comments: I have a bmw 232i 1986 i was driving apply brakes the car switch off and is still not working.I replace rotor,distributor cap,ignition module,check the fuel pump it works new plug change the coil no luck what can it be please help
August 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Eric Comments: I have a problem replacing the spark plug wires on my 87 325i. I am able remove the wires from the spark plugs and from the caps but I am having a hard time removing the wire leading near the reset plug in port. Is there a certain way of removing the wire at this end? Any imput would is greatly appreciated
August 1, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not sure what you mean by reset plug in port? The data connector? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ray Comments: Hi,

I have a 325 ix an I just replaced the spark plugs but for some reason the spark plug wires won't snap back on to the plugs, am I doing something wrong or are the wires suppose to just sit on the plugs. I've tried pushing as hard as I could without causing any damage but it won't snap into place and when I turned the car on I noticed that one of the wires just fell out. Sooo....now what?
July 17, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you unscrew the cap on the end of the spark plug? The plugs come with a cap to fit more than one style of wire. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
doc Comments: nube - I had the same issue once. The male threads are a stud that is threaded in to the head. Remove the valve cover, and if there is enough of the stud left, turn it out with vice grips. If there isn't enough, try to remove it with an easy out.
June 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
snake Comments: i have a german spec e30 320i 1984 6 cylinder runs great but am loosing power in 5th gear going uphill,what shoul i do?what do you guys think?
June 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would perform a fuel delivery system test. Check fuel pressure, volume and quality.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
nube Comments: one of the 2 valve cover bolts of my motor broke. i over torqued it : how will i change that bolt?
June 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what type of vehicle you have. If it is a stud, remove it with vise grips. If it is a bolt, you'll have to drill it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chris Comments: hi i have a 320 bmw and it battles to start in the morning, when i drove with it it sounds like it over fuel and then just go. what can be the problem
June 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
drcrisis Comments: i have a sensor on my number six cylinder. how do i change the wires with that?
April 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Factory wires will come with a new sensor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Si Comments: Hi....
have check with smoke machine not found the vacuum leak on the system....the problem only once the machine in cold condition mean the beginning of starting in the morning or after the engine stop in 6 to 7 hours..after 5 second of starting up, the idle found perfect 800rpm...thanks for your advice before...
March 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Si Comments: hi bro,
thanks by the way,regarding the rotor,cap and wire last Sunday I already change with new OEM part, the problem still remain the same now in the cold engine condition the engine will start and run into 1000rpm than drop to 500rpm and back to idle in 800rpm within 5 second..what went wrong here..thanks for your help B4
March 15, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All signs seem to point to a huge vacuum leak somewhere. I would double-check all your hoses and boots. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Si Comments: hi bro,
I got like missed fire in 1500 rpm,and drive my 318i M40 into jerking once run in low speed.
I have change the Spark plug and not get better improvement.
please advice what is the gap between rotors and pin in the distributor cap and how to adjust.
thanks by the way
February 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's probably not that - it's probably a worn cap, rotor or spark plug wires, if it's an ignition problem. Also, if the fuel injection system is running way too rich or way too lean, then you will have issues with the spark properly igniting the mixture. I would change out the cap, rotor and wires at this point and see if that makes a difference. Cool wheels by the way. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Kevin Comments: Hi I have low spark on sixth cylinder all other 5 are fine and its not the wire cause I swapped it and same weak spark could my problem be the coil and the engine is a 2.7l 325e
February 9, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it were the coil, then it should affect all of your plugs equally. I would suspect it's either a spark plug wire, a cap, or a rotor issue. I would replace each of those one-by-one and see if it fixes the problem. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
n.s.d._878 Comments: could you tell me how to remove the spark plug socket from the ignition coil on the e38 engine? i didnt want to twist and damage them, but i wasnt able to pull them straight off. thanks
March 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If stuck, use a small flathead screwdriver and release the rubber from the coil towers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
straightsix Comments: Gap is 0.7 to 0.8mm not 0.07
February 1, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
al Comments: sparkplug leads can be tested low ohms indicates good leads if my memory is correct its about 2 - 7 or .2 - .7 ?one or the other
December 7, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
volvo tech Comments: Anti-seize acts as a heat sink and draws more heat to the spark plug. I would not recommend putting it on the spark plug threads. Plus if you start to cross thread the spark plug the anti-seize will act as a cutting lube and you might not notice until it is too late. Spark plugs will generally come out very easily if the room/ambient temp is around 75deg. or higher or if you have just driven your car.
April 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I agree. In the old days, anti-seize on spark plugs used to be standard procedure. But nowadays, Porsche does not recommend it's use on spark plugs. It heralds back to some type of electrical interference that might occur between the plug and the cylinder head and reduce effective combustion. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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