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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-19-2011, 02:45 PM   #1
exaudio
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Ignition coils keep failing :: 2000 323iT

I have a 2000 323iT and the ignition coils keep going bad. I've had the car into the dealer three times to get them fixed. Now the car is stumbling again when I accelerate and I expect it's a fourth coil going bad. No SES light yet, so I don't know which cylinder.

I'm tired of paying the dealer to do this for me, so
Are there better (more durable) ignition coils available in the aftermarket?
Is it an easy DYI project?
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:52 PM   #2
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Are they replacing one coil at a time or are the same ones failing more than once? Had a coil go bad in a 330 under warrenty and they replaced ALL of them. They siad the rest would fail soon anyway.

As far as DYI, it takes less than 5 minutes to change a coil. 2 more minutes for each addtional one done at the same time. Just for the record I have a 2000 328 with 140K miles and still on othe original coils. But it is known there were large production batches of coils that went bad over time.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:06 PM   #3
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OP,

Just in case you wanted confirmation about how easy a coil change is...yet, it's an easy diy.

These guys from NJ make everything sound so easy, but I think they're all geniuses there and don't account for the rest of real America! LOL

I had one bad coil in my e36 years ago, but I'm wondering whether something else might be going on to be going through them like this...if indeed you are.

You'll want to remove your cabin air filter housing to get to #6 coil easier...and it's worth it just to make things easier...all of four screws.

You have torx bits (think 30 or 40 for the filter housing), and then a 10 mm. will get you the rest of the way, iirc. You have tools, I presume?

Anyway, a great first diy to do...just remember how everything goes on. But, still, I'm hoping someone might know why coils might fail like yours. Sounds odd.

You have codes from dealer? If not, maybe get free reading from Autozone and come back here.

Also, search regional forums and find a recommended indy...you'll save tons on the work you can't do yourself. But, you know, everyday here, people who seem like they probably shouldn't be working on cars, do, and they do so with a pretty good track record too! It's impressive. Join the crowd!

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Old 04-19-2011, 07:26 PM   #4
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Removing the cabin air filter and housing will also make it easier to remove the engine covers. On my 323 it went a little like this:

Open the hood
Turn the three clips holding the cabin air filter cover a half (quarter?) turn, and remove the cover
Remove the cabin air filter by lifting it up and pulling forward. It just sits in place.
Remove the four T-30 screws holding the air filter housing in place
Lift the air filter housing up and out.
Note the four circular clips/covers on the engine covers, pop them out.
Remove the two 10mm nuts on the intake manifold cover, remove cover.
Remove the two 10mm bolts on the engine cover
Remove oil filter cap.
Remove engine cover.
/Install/ oil filter cap.

Pick out a coil, note the metal clip that keeps the wiring secured to the coil.
Pull up on the clip.
Pull wiring off of coil.
Remove the two bolts holding the coil in question.
Remove coil by pulling up gently.
Install coil, ensuring it's seated properly.
Install two retaining bolts.
Plug coil into wiring harness
Slide clip down.
Repeat five more times.

Remove oil cap.
Install engine cover.
Install oil cap.
Install two bolts and covers.
Install intake manifold cover.
Install two nuts + covers.
Wiggle cabin air filter housing in place.
Install four T30 screws. If you feel resistance, adjust the housing a bit. They should go in like butter.
Install cabin air filter.
Install cabin air filter cover and twist the clips in place.
Close the hood.

If you've not been replacing the same coil over and over, I'd suspect that the coils are all just dying at their own pace. If you've got the funds, replace the remaining original ones and be done with it.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:53 PM   #5
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I just went ahead and changed all of mine. It stands to reason that when one fails, the rest won't be far behind.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:58 PM   #6
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Or you can use my vid to get to the coils

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Old 04-20-2011, 08:30 PM   #7
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Better off replacing them all yourself if you can it is easy, if i can do so can you! Unless the car is under warranty i would not let the dealer do it as it is an easy diy and i am sure they charge a hefty price for this at the stealership, bremi coils are the ones to get, and they are not cheap around 80 bucks a piece.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:16 AM   #8
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I am wondering what the 'Bremi' coils have to offer over the stock (Bosch?) coils. I am considering a set for my 2000 323i. I noticed Summit Racing have them for 60.00 each.

Last edited by JoelMc; 07-29-2012 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:25 AM   #9
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I am wondering what the 'Bremi' coils have to offer over the stock (Bosch?) coils. I am considering a set for my 2000 323i.
Stick with OEM coils. Your shop is screwing around, changing one at a time. Replace all coils that have not been recently replaced, with OEM or OEM manufacturer (I believe it is Bosch for your car), and be done with it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:45 AM   #10
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Thank you for the reply. Another question I have is about performance chips for my E46 , here is a link of one that is making some amazing claims for increased HP and better mileage too. Is it a verified win win situation with these chips ??

http://www.gfchips.com/bmw323i.aspx
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:21 AM   #11
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^ Wow, a $400 chip now for sale for only $60...and it can add 'up to' 60 hp, give you an extra 4-7 mpgs., and lower CO emissions?

It sounds too good to be true, thus I conclude it is.

Unless you add a supercharger to your car, effectively spending more on the car than it's worth, or a turbo and spending way more on it, your car will feel almost the same.

You could spend maybe just a thousand or two and do what guys do...headers, exhaust, and then maybe with a chip (not that one!) or tune, you might add, what? 10-15 hps at most...call it 10% additional hp...slightly noticeable difference...if you're lucky!

BTW, search 'wanna make my car go faster' threads...see if you think the results justify the expense in $ and time.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:23 AM   #12
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It is a waste of money - many forum posts of people saying they regretted spending their money on different chip manufacturers, at least on the NA BMW forums. My turbo VW benefitted largely, but there is more for the chip tuners to play with there. Just get your car running. I recommend you keep one of your good old coils in your car with the spare tire, just in case you have a failure going down the road. It's not good for your cat to drive with a mis.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JoelMc View Post
Thank you for the reply. Another question I have is about performance chips for my E46 , here is a link of one that is making some amazing claims for increased HP and better mileage too. Is it a verified win win situation with these chips ??

http://www.gfchips.com/bmw323i.aspx
First - do not buy that crap on that link. Such claims are ridiculous.
There is only one reliable plug in and go type of "chip" for our cars that I would call "Reliable", with a decent reputation. That is the Conforti Shark Injector.
There are other ways that involve you sending your DME (engine controller) to a place that will then reprogram it, and send it back to you. But the gains on a bone stock car would be very slight. These are more for owners that have already spent thousands on high flow headers and exhausts, and intakes as well, plus other mods, like Super or turbo chargers. The link below has a good discussion about the Conforti Shark Injector, and the various REPUTABLE DME tuners. This is not a place to experiment with some no name brand, hoping to find a bargain.
http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=861339
To be honest, you have a 323iT, and it is a slow car. The Conforti Shark Injector will give you about 14hp (and I am not sure I am quoting 323i numbers here), and that is assuming that the car is in perfect running condition, which I am going to guess it is not. Save your money, and spend it getting your car back to its original condition, so it can be all the 323iT it can be.

Last edited by MJLavelle; 07-29-2012 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelMc View Post
Thank you for the reply. Another question I have is about performance chips for my E46 , here is a link of one that is making some amazing claims for increased HP and better mileage too. Is it a verified win win situation with these chips ??

http://www.gfchips.com/bmw323i.aspx
60HP gain? No way Looks easy to install though.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:39 AM   #15
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Just as an example, if you got a Stage 2 upgrade from Dinan, which consists of:
$800 Free Flow Exhaust
$400 High Flow Intake
$400 DME Tune, you will have spent $1600, and you will have gained 4hp and 3ft/lbs of Torque! Now, isn't that impressive?!
I don't know how they keep a straight face when they sell it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:48 AM   #16
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:07 AM   #17
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Wow, MJ, that's even worse than I could have imagined.

My upgrade (dmaxupgradeemporium.com) only costs $1,000 and in most cases can deliver 2-3 mpgs improvement, 15% increase in reliability, and 4.6 hps.

It's mostly just laying on hands, looking for dirt and broken stuff, and a new cabin air filter. Oh, and I dust off the AC/heating vents!
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #18
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Really, if you have a coil(s) going bad/misfiring, the best practice is to replace them all at once. There are 2 types of coils used in the E46s, ones that are bolted in on the earlier models and then ones that just push onto the spark plug in the later models. Once you have the valve cover trim piece off you will be able to see which type you have. When pulling the coils out, make sure there is no oil on the boots where they engage the top of the spark plug. Oil here indicates that the valve cover is leaking. Oil in this area will cause mis-fires and will prematurely shorten the life of the coil. Also the oil can cause the spark plug itself to mis-fire. The valve cover seals around the spark plug wells tend to get hard and brittle with age, allowing oil to leak into the spark wells.
THe Bosch Coils are fine to use, BAV Auto has their own brand of performance coils available as well. They are wound differently creating a hotter spark and will increase performance a very small amount. Nice thing about them is that they are under full warranty for a full 2 years from date of purchase, if you have 1 go bad, they will replace they all at no cost (and that includes free return shipping of the old ones). I have a set of their coils in my 2003 325xi. Can I tell the difference, doubtful, but nice to know they are under warranty that long.
The video that was posted above will help and BAV Auto also has a video on changing the coils that is very good. Tools needs, a couple of torques sockets, a 10 mm socket, extension and ratchet.
If also replacing the spark plugs; both Bosch and NGK were specced an used as OEM. Bosch plugs can be picked up for $5.95 to $6.95 apiece, NGK plugs will run $8.95 to $9.95 apiece, and at the BMW Dealer, you will not know which brand you are getting until you open them and they will charge $20.00 apiece. When installing new spark plugs, put a small amount of never-seize compound on the threads of each plug. To make it easier to install the plug, get yourself a 6 to 10 inch piece of vacuum hose, push it on the top of the spark plug and use the hose to start the plug in its threads, this way you can start the plugs easier and will not cross thread them.
Make sure if there is oil in the spark plug wells, to clean it all out and replace the valve cover gasket. Also, when replacing the coils, make you you put some dielectric grease in the end of the coil boots so that they will come back off the spark plugs easier next time plugs need to be replaced (dielectric grease comes with the BAV Auto coils, but not with coils purchased from the BMW Dealer).
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:46 PM   #19
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it looks like OP bailed on this thread some 1 yr and 4 months ago. and now it's about software "chips".

anyone reading in the future, this is a good example of why you replace all your coil packs at the same time when old. the others will be likely to go out in short time aswell.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:14 PM   #20
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My apologies , I think I started the diversion there a rookie mistake. I will start a new thread next time around. Thanks for the input.
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