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  #1  
Old 03-23-2013, 12:07 AM
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Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

For the 36K mile service I decided to change the spark plugs and wire set myself. I'm "thrifty" and I didn't want to help the BMW dealer make the upcoming balloon-payment on his boat loan. It's mostly a simple procedure but was my first time doing it. I decided to document the process thinking it might help someone here.

Tools I used:
Spark plug gap tool
1/2" ratchet
1/2" to 3/8" coupler
Two 2" 3/8 extensions
Needle-nose vise-grips
18mm spark plug 3/8" socket for removing OEM Bosch plugs
5/8 (15mm) spark plug 3/8" socket for installing the new NGK DCPR7EIX plugs
-plus some dielectric grease for any metal-on-metal between the plugs and wires

I replaced the OEM Bosch plugs with NGK DCPR7EIX Iridium plugs.
The new NGK wire set is from Euro MotoElectrics (MUCH more reasonable cost-wise than OEM). The NGK wires are high quality and much shorter than the OEM wires:
http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/Ign...mw-wsk1200.htm



I laid out my wire set in the order I would be installing them -longest to shortest. I then checked and set my plug gap. I messed with the gap a little but mostly found NGK had it within BMW specs to begin with, which is 0.8mm +/-0.1mm or 0.0315 in. +/-0.004 in.:


After removing the left side bodywork the Clymer manual states to "pry and remove" the spark plug cover -though it doesn't give any more clues than that. Pry as I might, mine was stubborn, hard and dry. The tab on the back of it broke apart upon removal -hopefully you'll have better luck.
Pry and pull along the right edge:



Next, clean the area with 'Simple Green' type cleaner and a small blast of air:


With the cover off, note how the wires feed behind the casing on the right side -that's a small tight space. Also, before pulling any wires off anything, it's time to note the wire sequence:


The wire set instructions state to replace the longest wire first, and work down to the shortest wire. I used a 'Sharpie' pen and worte the numbers on the wires at the coil, #4 is the longest, #1 is the shortest; this is left to right for the plug sequence:


Time to pull the first one -I wondered who the German tech was who last touched these -kinda' cool to think about! I used needle-nosed vise-grips to pull the wires from the plugs. I felt lucky as mine came off easily by simultaneously pulling and twisting:

I just used my hands to pull each wire from the coil -all while working on one plug and the corresponding wire, one at a time. You have to pull hard and they stretch and then release:


Time to remove the first plug:


Hmmm... looks like they were due to be changed:


Compared to new:


One of the OEM wires (top) compared to the new NGK -quite a difference:


Remember to use dielectric grease on any metal-on-metal surfaces between the wires and plugs as you go -a little goes a long way -(no pic).
I hand-threaded each plug and once it was snug used the ratchet and tightened them one-half turn further:


Due to space constrictions, on the number 1/shortest wire, you will need to feed it through the opening first and then connect it to the plug. The hardest part of this job seemed to be trying to feed the wires through this space where I am pointing (apologies for blurry photo):


The old plugs. One side of each plug was consistently lighter then the other side, as noted here by the two in the middle compared to the others:


And the final result -a nice clean look:




Please add anything to this if I missed something and I hope this helps someone.
My best!
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:57 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Good job, saved yourself some serious money. Last time I did this job on an RS I found several high tension holes in the old insulation. Worth doing on an older bike.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:01 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Nice write up! Thanks Patrick.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:00 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Don't know about that short wire, I really couldn't fit mine in there with the Bosch plugs. Too much of an angle and would hit the cover. May be different with the NGKs they could be a tad shorter, never tought of checking that out.

Well I finally got it in there but that meant really squeezing it against the cover and made it really hard to remove.

Sent them some pics and specs and they sent me 2 longer wires free so I could install "looped back" with the cap pointing forward.

Funny they number the wires opposite to BMW and the established practices in the industry. No 1 should be the front one. They should maybe use the BMW/industry system, the coil is marked that way.....1-2-3-4, could make the instructions a tad less confusing and.....shorter.

Btw....two of my OEM wires were showing defective on the Ohm tests. Puzzled me for a while, they were showing defective when laid straight but fine when bent in operating position so the meter readings were erratical. Typical carbon wire problem anyway, just made me look way back to my youth.

One season of riding and there was some rub marks on my new NGK wires where they run against the engine head. I removed all the caps recently, they just screw in and added heat shrink tube over all the wires and then a couple zipties to lift them away from the head.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:45 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

no criticism

maybe a tip that might be useful

with single or dual electrode spark plugs

always good to align them such that the open gap is facing the intake valves

they burn cleaner [ as youve noted one side lighter than the other ]

improve throttle response

increase fuel mileage

on average an increase 1 hp or so per cylinder

simply mark the spark plug wrench with a sharpie or paint

insert spark plug gapped properly with gap aligned with mark

insert / tighten properly [ avoid cross thread & overtigthening ]

most of the time the mark will align facing the intake valves

sometimes if not that cylinder ........... another cylinder

[ i buy 6 use 4 ................. 2 next time around ]

while it might seem inconsequential its a plus

only question i have is the threads are oily ............? ? ? ?

on your new plugs

i seldom see that

otherwise a good thread & U done good !
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:32 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Thank you for the pix and great how-to write up, I got my plug wires from Beemerboneyard when I felt it was time for a change. As the Pirate would say, "chimp easy". Everything fit just right, got one quick question, does the die-electric grease also serve as an anti-seize compound on the plugs threads? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanx again.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:39 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

I would think the grease does just that!
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:47 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Hmmm the top of the temp range for most silicone dielectric greases is around 400 deg F. I've never actually coated spark plug threads with the stuff but there are better products for that job. As always, when you introduce a lubricant to a non-lubricated thread you have to be cautious about torque. Pretty easy to wind up a aluminum threads well past proper torque....
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:12 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by gblessing
Hmmm the top of the temp range for most silicone dielectric greases is around 400 deg F. I've never actually coated spark plug threads with the stuff but there are better products for that job. As always, when you introduce a lubricant to a non-lubricated thread you have to be cautious about torque. Pretty easy to wind up a aluminum threads well past proper torque....


very correct !

the reason i wonder why the threads are oily / cruddy ? ? ?
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:21 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

The plug wires and caps last a LOT longer than 36 K, so I'm curious why you bothered to change them at such low mileage. My old K100 with over 200,000km on it (now owned by a friend's son) still has the original wires and caps, and runs flawlessly.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:32 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byknrrtl
got one quick question, does the die-electric grease also serve as an anti-seize compound on the plugs threads? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanx again.

No. if you feel that you need to do that use neversieze compound. But, there is a lot of controversy doing that. You need to adjust your torque level due to the lube on the plug threads now (reduce 15%). The spec is clean and dry. You may also change the thermal transfer with anti seize. All that said, I put mine in clean and dry, but I had one bad hole on my K bike and I put the tiniest bit on that one because I was afraid I was going to pull the threads next time that plug came out. At the time, I did not have the proper thread chaser. The next maintenance interval, held my breath, and pulled that plug. It was okay and I used my newly aquired thread chaser to clean up the hole. All is well. Die eletric grease is good for connectors and connections, light bulb sockets and possibly the insulator on the plug.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:25 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Thanks for all the comments. I'm continually impressed by the collective knowledge this board has which makes it so great to be a part of.
I wrote it not as an authority (by any means) on the the subject but as a learning experience and to be helpful. I had searched the archive and didn't see where anyone had documented it.
Before I got it the bike mostly sat (garaged) for a few years so I didn't think it would hurt to do the plugs and wires. The Clymer manual states in Chapter 3, Table 1 of the 'Maintenance Schedule' the plugs should be replaced every 12,000 miles. Though that may be a bit excessive I thought at 36K it could benefit from it.
Re: wear on the NGK wires where they are against any metal surfaces, I wonder if wrapping them with electrical tape at those points would be a solution to protect them? Anybody know any downside to that?
I didn't use oil or antisieze on the plug since NGK's website states the plug threads have a "trivalent" metal compound and to not use any lubricant on the threads as it isn't necessary and can also cause problems from overtightening.
As for aligning the plugs I wish I would have known that trick -have to keep it in mind for next time!
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:49 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

You'd be fine with electrical tape on the wires if just to protect them.Use the contractor's grade tape, much better specs for heat/cold resistance.

Looks better if you remove the plug caps and use shrink. They do unscrew and not a problem doing that according to Rick at Euromotoelectrics. When I had my fitment problem with No4 he came back to me and showed different caps if just to see if those would let me fit the short wire there. But no go on that the plugs are too recessed.

I did not like the slight rub marks, looks OEM now with the shrink. And a few zipties, none of them tight if just to hold the wires up.I should be fine.....road tests soon.

Not sure about the OEM wires lasting a long time. The OEM Berus on the K100RS sure did last and so did they on the Airhead GS. BMW now uses two brands Bremi and Beru. The Bremis are cheaper in the parts list and don't look as well made as the Berus. My bike had 3 Bremis and 1 Beru so obviously one of them had been replaced before 20,000 miles when I bought it. And two more of them Bremis were showing faulty when I replaced them all at 40,000 something.

I ran them NGKs on my bike for about 25,000 miles, they sure showed a lot more wear than the Bosch of the same milleage. I am back to Bosch. My old airhead GS also did not like them NGKs, wore them early.....back to Bosch.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:49 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Last time I tried to check my plugs I could not get the caps off. Vice grips, twist, pull, feet against the bike, nothing. Any ideas? Only 35,000 miles so I wasn't too worried, but sometime I'll have too.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:40 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickm
Thanks for all the comments. I'm continually impressed by the collective knowledge this board has which makes it so great to be a part of.
I wrote it not as an authority (by any means) on the the subject but as a learning experience and to be helpful. I had searched the archive and didn't see where anyone had documented it.
Before I got it the bike mostly sat (garaged) for a few years so I didn't think it would hurt to do the plugs and wires. The Clymer manual states in Chapter 3, Table 1 of the 'Maintenance Schedule' the plugs should be replaced every 12,000 miles. Though that may be a bit excessive I thought at 36K it could benefit from it.
Re: wear on the NGK wires where they are against any metal surfaces, I wonder if wrapping them with electrical tape at those points would be a solution to protect them? Anybody know any downside to that?
I didn't use oil or antisieze on the plug since NGK's website states the plug threads have a "trivalent" metal compound and to not use any lubricant on the threads as it isn't necessary and can also cause problems from overtightening.
As for aligning the plugs I wish I would have known that trick -have to keep it in mind for next time!


the ARP site haas several well researched tables for

torque bolts / studs

http://arp-bolts.com/

in addition get you some tubular ' heat shrink ' wrap from radio shak or

a very good electronics store [ comes in many colores many sizes ]

apply in areas you have concern using a wagner heat gun [ cheap / effective ]

dont use a match or small butane torch

tubular heat shrink wrap is rated for 800 volts DC [ said degrees .... sorry ]

[ far less than ignition voltage yet its effective ..... you can aplly one heat shrink * another if its critical ]

can be used on rope .............. brake cables ..... any wiring

great stuff

as far as ' indexing ' the spark plugs

simply gets the most out of em......................... turns the gap towards the incoming gas / air charge

rather than away to the exhaust valve where residual unburned ' dirty ' charge remains
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:13 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmm
Last time I tried to check my plugs I could not get the caps off. Vice grips, twist, pull, feet against the bike, nothing. Any ideas? Only 35,000 miles so I wasn't too worried, but sometime I'll have too.

I'm wrestling with my caps too. They appear to be original and with the miles and maintenance on this new to me bike I wonder if they've ever been pulled.

What's the secret to sparkplug cap removal?
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Old 03-26-2018, 12:33 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Use a pair of pliers from the tool kit, grasp the tab on the cap and give a really good yank, though be careful not to pull the bike over. Sometimes I have felt I needed the bike on the sidestand to ensure it would not come over on me, then you are down at an angle....
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Old 04-01-2018, 03:37 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

The solution to stubborn caps for me:

1. Needle nose vice grips to the metal tab
2. Loop of webbing from jaws on vice grip long enough to...
3. loop webbing around handle of small slide hammer and
4. a couple of gentle taps and it is off!

Magic!

I had one plug with broken ceramic and way out of spec on all of them. Liberal use of grease on caps will hopefully make them a bit easier to remove in the future.
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:35 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

You probably want to put the Ohmeter on them wires.Especially after finding a cracked plug.They should all read 5K Ohms give or take a few hundreds Ohms.
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Old 08-14-2018, 02:12 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Was I the only person to look at the picture where he numbered the wires at the distributor and thought, "Huh?" My wires are numbered, and #1 is at the front of the bike. Maybe we have different year bikes.
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:52 AM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Old post!He may have been working from the instructions supplied with the wires at the time?They had the cylinders reversed then.

I must have bought one of the first sets.I couldn't install 4 without removing the valve cover,wire was too short for a loop back.Emails & pics fixed that and so I could test fitment they sent me 2 wires.

Don't know about the newer instructions?I hope 1-2-3-4 from the front as per standard industry practice....coils are marked from the Bosch factory.
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:07 PM
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Re: Spark Plug and Wire Set Change

Old post! EME did correct the fitment at #4.(#4 BMW)

http://www.euromotoelectrics.com/Ign...mw-wsk1200.htm


#4 now loops back as per their pics/instructions.And did ever since I kind of beta tested their set and pointed the fitment issue.At #4......not #1 as per their pic/instructions.That I did not mention then....!

I see the OP installed NGK plugs.Maybe why he could insert the shorter wire with cover in place?It was possible to do such with Bosch plugs but one had to force the cap in and the potential for the plastic breaking was significant.
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