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      02-05-2013, 06:47 PM   #1
Freon
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30k spark plugs, to Bosch ZGR6STE2 (big pic warning)

EDIT: Note this post is for the N54 twin turbo motor!

Well, finally getting around to posting this.

I had started to experience some misfire and timing correction with only 30k on the clock. After uninstalling my Cobb AP and taking it to the dealer it seemed to stop occurring. I put the Cobb back on but only on the lowest tune setting which ran fine.

After some research, I decided to pick up a new set of plugs and get the Bosch part (ZGR6STE2).

Plug tool:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YK78VI

Plugs:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001C5Y3ZA

I won't regurgitate the DIY on plugs, but wanted to share pictures showing how far worn my plugs were with so few miles. This is consistent with others reporting short spark plug intervals with tunes.

After examination, I have to side with the "the Bosch ZGR6STE2 is the same as the BMW branded plug" thought process. I know some people thought there were differences. Yeah, you might spot some tiny differences, but I really do feel they are the same plug.



Rest of pics are the old ones compared to new so you can see the wear they encountered.

I had two oddities in the plugs worth noting. On plug 1, one of the three grounds was fairly black on the back side, while the other two grounds and all other 5 plugs were yellow/white. It's not that significant.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/27624835/ca.../plug1_002.jpg
Of note, the center electrode was worn into a soft triangular shape. Look at the wear difference! Wow.


Onto plug 2:

And 3:


The other notable thing is plug 5 had what appears to be a small amount of oil in the threads.

There was no visible oil in the plug galley, but I'm slightly concerned about it. I think I'll pull cylinder 5 again in a few thousand miles and see if it repeats.

I had a hard time using my dial calipers to measure the gap and normal gap feelers do not work, but some measuring pixels in photoshop shows about a 70% larger gap in my used plugs with ~35k compared to the new ZGR6STE2 plugs.

Just nuts. I changed the more typical single ground on top of electrode-style iridium plugs in my STI after 40k and they had virtually no wear. Not sure the reason, but I guess direct injection?

I haven't put the aggressive Cobb tune back on, but there is an immediate difference in power and response. I think I'll give these new plugs a max of 20k before replacement, if not sooner.
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Last edited by Freon; 02-13-2013 at 08:15 PM. Reason: grammar
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      02-05-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
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Great post. I have a set of new plugs sitting in the garage and have been debating whether it makes sense to install them... I only have 28k miles on the odometer. After seeing these photos I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Last edited by Pig Farmer; 02-05-2013 at 10:24 PM.
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      02-05-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
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i just bought a set of plugs for 1M, will put it on later on see if it help fix the timing correction on my AP tune
part #12120037582 cheer
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      02-05-2013, 10:30 PM   #4
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I think the difference between these plugs and the BMW plugs aren't so much in the physical appearance, but the actual firing of them. I dunno but that's the conclusion I got. Let us know how they go!
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      02-06-2013, 04:01 PM   #5
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I also wonder if the new plugs are a step colder then the BMW one's?
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      02-06-2013, 05:00 PM   #6
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What reason do you have to believe they are one step colder? Why wouldn't you say one step hotter? You're begging the question...

Check out the first picture in this thread:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=695797

The BMW plug's box even says ZGR6STE2! I don't know what more proof anyone could want or expect.

They're stocked at Amazon with the same PN listed:
http://www.amazon.com/Piece-Bosch-Spark-0242140507-ZGR6STE2/dp/B00804F080

Last edited by Freon; 02-06-2013 at 05:07 PM.
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      02-13-2013, 04:39 PM   #7
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Is there any reason that one of these tools wont work for changing the plugs?

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...1#.URwHO6W6Z8E

http://www.sears.com/schwaben-14mm-1...p-00930875000P

Are they perhaps too thick?
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      02-13-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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On a higher than stock boosted engine 25K is about it for plugs. The are both the same plug with a different stencils a different heat range would have a different part number..
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      02-13-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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Didn't notice before, but more evidence these are the same plugs as the ones you buy from your BMW dealer, ZGR6STE2 is stamped right into the metal body of the BMW plugs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cjof2003 View Post
Is there any reason that one of these tools wont work for changing the plugs?

Are they perhaps too thick?
Yes, it's exceptionally thin in order to reach down into the extra-narrow channel, probably due to direct injection. Not sure what alternatives there are. I'd guess the socket is only 1mm thick at the points.

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Last edited by Freon; 02-13-2013 at 07:54 PM.
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      02-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #10
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Are plugs covered at all on the maintenance plan or is it considered a normal wear item.
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      02-13-2013, 08:03 PM   #11
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I believe they are covered at 45k miles, I changed mine myself at 24k on the N55 motor because of miss fires with a tune
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      02-13-2013, 08:29 PM   #12
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Just a helpful hint to anyone changing their plugs... Wrap some masking tape around the BMW socket and the socket extension. The BMW socket I have has a rubber seal inside that holds the spark plug pretty snug. When changing the first plug, the extension pulled out of the socket and the socket was too deep in the plug well to reach. I had to back out the plug in order to get the socket out of the well. Just a couple wraps of tape is all it takes to hold the socket and extension together.

BTW - my plugs also had what appeared to be oil on the threads, but there was zero oil in the plug wells. After a day, the residue had dried a bit and it was sticky to the touch... Not like oil. I did a bit of research and found that this can be the result of unburnt fuel creeping up the threads. My plug tips were a tad bit darker than I expected which is a sign of a rich A/F mixture or short trips where the plugs are not brought up to optimal temp for an extended period of time. This make sense to me as my daily commute is only about 5 miles each way. The fact that plug #1 was the darkest also makes sense as it probably runs cooler than the rest.
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      02-13-2013, 08:42 PM   #13
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Haha, yeah I had to tape my extension to the socket... The rubber retention ring REALLY grabs the plug.

My only concern was that only #5 had the residue on it. It may be that it wasn't torqued as well from the factory. There will always be some gunk in spark plug threads.
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      02-14-2013, 10:52 AM   #14
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Good info. I need to get mine done soon, as my car has 35k on it and has had a Cobb tune for a couple of thousand miles now. Problem is, they'll need to be done next year by the dealer anyway to comply with the service schedule, so there's probably no point in me changing them - better off getting the dealer to change them now a year early than fitting a set for just one year/10,000 miles until the dealer does them next year.
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      02-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRuss
Good info. I need to get mine done soon, as my car has 35k on it and has had a Cobb tune for a couple of thousand miles now. Problem is, they'll need to be done next year by the dealer anyway to comply with the service schedule, so there's probably no point in me changing them - better off getting the dealer to change them now a year early than fitting a set for just one year/10,000 miles until the dealer does them next year.
I'm in the exact same boat and I may just ask the tech to hand me the 6 plugs so I have a set at 55k or whenever I decide to change them out. He seems like a good kid and would do it if I asked.
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      02-14-2013, 04:20 PM   #16
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You can always swap plugs at 35k if you really need them immediately due to misfires or poor operation, then swap back to the used plugs right before you go in for 45k service. You'll have a fresh set in the car, and a set with only 10k on the shelf.

Of course, if your service is cool and will just give you the plugs even better, saves you labor later to swap again.
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      02-14-2013, 04:52 PM   #17
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Nah, doesn't work like that over here. We don't get any free servicing at all, so I'd have to pay over the odds for the ones fitted by my dealer. As such, I'd likely buy the plugs myself and give the to the dealer to fit, so I just pay the labour charges. I could easily fit them myself, but I want the stamp in the book to say the plugs have been replaced. I won't get that if I fit them, so I can fit a set a year early and then get the BMW dealer to fit some at the proper interval, so I'll have a set with under 10k on them hanging around, or I can get the dealer to fit them and stamp my book at around 36k. Not sure what the best option is.
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      02-18-2013, 03:38 PM   #18
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Quick update, my fuel economy has gone up noticeably. I was only getting about 18-18.5 before, and I'm now settling around 19.5-20.0 as reported by the dashboard computer. I have a pretty regular drive to work and back, short city drive. It is anecdotal, but is a trend over a almost two weeks now.

I'm going to flash the Cobb Sport tune in the next few days and see if the misfires are gone. If that goes well for a while I'll bump to the Aggressive tune.
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      01-21-2014, 08:45 PM   #19
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Hi freon,
don't know if you know this by now, the oil on the #5 plug thread according to other posts is valve cover gasket part#11127565286...hope this helps.
p.s. there are some good posts on replacing this gasket..
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      01-22-2014, 11:42 AM   #20
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I have no data back up but in the pics above

the reach of the BMW plug seems longer than the Bosch
look at the white porcellian part of the plug
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      01-22-2014, 12:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ___whoosh___ View Post
I have no data back up but in the pics above

the reach of the BMW plug seems longer than the Bosch
look at the white porcellian part of the plug
I compared them VERY carefully and believe this is not true... Their dimensions are identical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogge335i View Post
Hi freon,
don't know if you know this by now, the oil on the #5 plug thread according to other posts is valve cover gasket part#11127565286...hope this helps.
p.s. there are some good posts on replacing this gasket..
Cool, thanks for the heads up. I'm due for some major maintenance here this spring (carbon clean, probably go ahead and do water pump) so might as well get that out of the way as well. It wasn't really that bad (maybe a drop worth of oil total), but slightly bothersome to be appearing at all.
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Last edited by Freon; 01-22-2014 at 01:07 PM.
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      01-23-2014, 05:03 PM   #22
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For reasons unknown there seems to be some reason that the BMW labeled plugs, albeit with the exact same Bosch number are not in fact identical.

I used the Bosch version the first replacement and BMW the second time. Can't tell any difference in performance.
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