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Old 10-21-2021, 05:03 PM   #1
rupace120
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Default HELP: New spark plugs and now won't start!

Hi all,

I'm a bit stuck and looking for the forum to help!

Car: 1995 BMW 318ti, 5 spd manual, 181k miles

Context: Bought a few weeks ago, starts and runs very smoothly other than a rough idle (above 1200, smooth as butter). PO said ignition switch went dead, so he directly wired a button to to the battery and starter - car starts as long as key is in "on" position. CEL goes on and off - stomp code 1226 (usually either O2, knock sensor #2 or bad spark plugs).

Problem: In attempt to solve the idle issue started with the basics - Clean MAF, replaced vacuum hoses to ICV. Still idled rough. No problem, planned on replacing ICV and CCV and all other hoses if needed. Was reading about ICV and CCV install as well as shopping for O2 sensor replacement, I thought might as well install the new NGK spark plugs that came, off chance that will fix the idle.

Replaced all 4 spark plugs (I do one at a time to ensure I don't cross wires). Fingers crossed and go to start her. She cranks and cranks, doesn't start. Hmm, perhaps I didn't tight them enough or push coils down enough. Tighten each one a little, check coils and wires (they look good, and pretty new). Try again...nothing! Check battery cable, double check vaccum lines. All looks good. NO START. Ok, maybe faulty spark plugs, I put the old ones back in (all were good with the exception of #3 that had some oil but not bad). Still doesn't start! I crank a few times, pull a spark plug, I see a little smoke coming from out of the hole (not much, looked more like steam).
It looks like I am getting fuel as the plugs seemed a little wet when I pulled them.

What could cause this? Why did new/correct spark plugs cause the engine not to start? She cranks and sometimes does sound like she is starting then just dies. I am going back to basics - double checking that spark/compression/fuel - but stumped as to how new plugs could cause such an issue.

Open to suggestions! and thank you!
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Old 10-31-2021, 01:42 AM   #2
J!m
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First guess: wires were damaged
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Old 11-05-2021, 01:53 AM   #3
rupace120
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Why would the wires be damaged by new plugs?

How can I test for spark safely on these engines?
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Old 11-05-2021, 03:32 AM   #4
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Pulling wires off plugs is the best way to break them internally.

Putting them on doesn’t hurt them. You can pull a plug, lay it on the head so it’s grounded and watch for spark when you crank it. The usual stuff.
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