Spark plug diagnosis??? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 16 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 10:22 pm Thread Starter
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Spark plug diagnosis???

OK, all you head guys out there... what do you make of the pics below? I just pulled these at about 19k, after having purchased the bike at 15k, with the dealer saying they serviced the bike at 12k & 15k. Shame on me for not getting complete service records and redoing all of the service items myself anyway

If you've seen any of my other posts about my clutch-replacement-turned-into-fix-a-bunch-of-leaks ongoing work (like this one), you'll know I had oil leaks on the crankcase vent hose, #3 injector, and #3 intake manifold.

I'm a novice at evaluating plugs, but my guess is that #1 looks OK, #2 has too much oil in the cylinder, #3 is only a little better than #2, and #4 is a little better than #3. I'm also concerned that the ceramic looks a little worn on #3, perhaps due to the detonation condition that David Shealey described, which could be caused by, among other things, ring problems (or maybe a bad valve guide seal?).

My plan is to install new plugs and run for a while, checking the plugs every 1,000 miles and monitoring oil consumption. If they show signs of excessive oil or abnormal wear, or if I start losing oil, it's time for a compression test and possibly cylinder work over the winter.

Below the plugs are photos of the plug holes in the head, if there's anything of note there, I'd appreciate advice.





1
2
3
4

Dave

'03 K1200LT-C Dark Graphite
'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
'95 Yamaha Virago 750 Pearl/Black (sold)
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post #2 of 16 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 10:38 pm
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the 3 intake problem caused it to look like it does.. too lean... then I'd make sure the rest of the intakes are working properly...

With the bike run longer with the leaking #3, it may have damaged the cylinder as Dave suggests...

Meanwhile, I'd run some Marvel Mystery oil through the fuel lines and recheck as you plan.

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post #3 of 16 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 11:05 pm
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I think your leaks have your piston tops carbon at least the couple I see peaking there.

Sea Foam is the ticket here. I would put those back in, Sea Foam the hell out of the first few tanks, check the plugs in a tank or two now that you are not spewing oil all over and see what they look like. Then I would put new plugs in and watch those.

Sea Foam makes a fogger that woks like magic. You warm the bike, open up the intake and spray the fogger in, let sit for a couple of minuets, start the bike, then spray more in as it is running, and drive the neighbors out for two miles with smoke.

I have been told that with fuel today reading plugs is not really easy any longer. The soot up the threads is a good indicator still and all but one of yours looks as I would expect. Didn't you have injector o-rings bad too?

I think you were just pumping a bunch of oil into your cylinders and have a bit of piston carbon.

The ceramic damage looks to me like detonation and that surely will happen with carbon topped pistons and the hot spots they create.

Guess we need to do a leak down and compression test? Or do you really want to go there?

I would Sea Foam it for awhile and check plugs and ride it.

You been on the hook long enough.

Lee
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post #4 of 16 Old Oct 9th, 2007, 11:18 pm
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I think Lee's got a better process...

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J.M.J...
Dcn Channing

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post #5 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 3:53 am
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If you don't want to use the seafoam (or can't find it), you can accomplish the cleaning with plain old water. Get an empty spray bottle and fill it with water. Gain access to the throttle bodies' inlets and start the engine up. Run the RPM's up to about 1500 and spray (not stream) the water in the inlets one at a time while reving up the engine (don't over do it with the water and hydro lock the engine). This process will basically steam clean the cylinders and piston tops, makes everything look shiney and new.
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post #6 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 7:47 am
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You definitely have an oil burning issue on #2, #3 also shows oil, and possibly lean running.

I think it is time for compression and leak down tests to be done. Is your bike still in warranty?

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post #7 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 8:49 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
You definitely have an oil burning issue on #2, #3 also shows oil, and possibly lean running.

I think it is time for compression and leak down tests to be done. Is your bike still in warranty?
To my knowledge, the bike's not under warranty - it's an 03 and I'm not exactly sure what the original purchase date was. The PO was the first owner and had the dealer do all the service work except for an oil change or two. However - the dealer (Main Line BMW in Philly) has a real bad reputation and has since gone out of business. At this point, I don't believe anything the dealer told me, which was that the bike was all up to date with all service items.

Lee is local to me and I think has what I need to do a compression test. If it fails, I'm hoping I can still put everything back together and ride up until the first snow, then dive into the cylinder block over the winter.

I don't know what my options are for getting an extended warranty at this point, but I'm not optimistic about that path.

Dave

'03 K1200LT-C Dark Graphite
'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
'95 Yamaha Virago 750 Pearl/Black (sold)
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post #8 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 8:54 am
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So.. what are the choices here?

Engine rebuild? can't hone or bore these cylinders? Maybe a "top end" can be pulled?

Hope you don't have to put it back together and trade it in.....

...............
J.M.J...
Dcn Channing

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post #9 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:11 am Thread Starter
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Lee,

I had oil all over the outside of manifold #3, coming from both the injector o-ring and the manifold-to-head o-ring. Odd that plug #3 was better looking than #2, since the injectors & manifolds #1, 2 & 4 were all decent.

Thanks for the tip on Sea Foam - although with the fuel tank pretty much covering everything when it's in place, it sounds like I'll have to have it halfway off while I'm spraying stuff in the intakes. Then... I guess ride it with the tank sitting in place, but the air box off? I guess for a 2-mile ride, the throttles would breathe OK without the air coming in from the duct, but it would be nice for one of the gurus to weigh in on that. I assume spraying Sea Foam into the front of the air duct with the filter removed is not an option.

Sounds like a compression test is in order - that something you can come over & help with?

I'm still gettin' the south end of the bike back together...lost the %[email protected]#$ clip that holds the swingarm rubber boot onto the tranny, little things like that are killing me. I'm only getting a little time each morning to work on it; my next open Saturday is looking like Nov 3 or 10.

Give me the good news... is there something other than bad rings and/or valve guide seals that would be causing all of this? I haven't snipped the brown wire yet, maybe that will clear all this up!

Thanks for the feedback, I figured you'd have some good info!

Dave

'03 K1200LT-C Dark Graphite
'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
'95 Yamaha Virago 750 Pearl/Black (sold)
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post #10 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:21 am
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Parking it on the sidestand will oil it up, too.



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post #11 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:30 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfell
So.. what are the choices here?

Engine rebuild? can't hone or bore these cylinders? Maybe a "top end" can be pulled?

Hope you don't have to put it back together and trade it in.....
The SWMBO Love Bank went into Overdraft Protection when I got this bike - it will probably be the last two-wheeler I ever own until my kids (currently 2 years old & 5 months old) are out of college

So whatever needs to be done will get done with the bike where it is now, sitting on the lift in my garage. Fortunately, I've got some hands-on help from local forum members, and access to some tools & services through work (although I don't believe I'll be toting my BMW cylinder block into the H-D plant). David Shealey is currently my hero, since he apparently can pull, rebuild & replace the engine with a bottle jack and pair of vice grips (oh, and a T25 driver).

On the plus side, I never did engine work as a kid, so this is real educational for me.

Dave

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'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
'95 Yamaha Virago 750 Pearl/Black (sold)
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post #12 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 9:31 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grifscoots
Parking it on the sidestand will oil it up, too.
That's one thing I never did - I always used the center stand (though I can't speak for the PO).

Dave

'03 K1200LT-C Dark Graphite
'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
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post #13 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 10:07 am
 
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How's your oil consumption? The #3 plug on my 2000 looked worse than yours as far as oil on it, but it hardly used any oil (.5 qt/5K miles) . I then ran a few tankfuls of the Gumout Regane fuel system cleaner to clean up the gunk and carbon. Replaced with NGK iridium plugs and what a difference. That was 20000 miles ago and I just checked the plugs and they are clean.

I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as oil unless your consumption is high (> 1 qt/change interval). The detonation is another matter. Most likely just the lean condition and/or the carbon. Fix those and all is well IMO.
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post #14 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 12:04 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofitel505
How's your oil consumption? The #3 plug on my 2000 looked worse than yours as far as oil on it, but it hardly used any oil (.5 qt/5K miles) . I then ran a few tankfuls of the Gumout Regane fuel system cleaner to clean up the gunk and carbon. Replaced with NGK iridium plugs and what a difference. That was 20000 miles ago and I just checked the plugs and they are clean.

I don't think you have anything to worry about as far as oil unless your consumption is high (> 1 qt/change interval). The detonation is another matter. Most likely just the lean condition and/or the carbon. Fix those and all is well IMO.
Unfortunately, I haven't monitored oil consumption so far, other than the site glass was OK the few times I looked at it. I changed the oil & filter at 18k but didn't measure the amount drained out. I also drained it for this job but didn't measure. I suppose from here on out I'll be checking the site glass weekly (I typically put 300 mi/wk on the clock).

I've had a couple fuel additives suggested - another one is some kind of Chevron product for cleaning fuel deposits on valves. Guy at work said BMW recommended that for his car. He also said plugs 1, 2 & 4 looked like too much bad fuel and/or bad injector spray and thought the Chevron product would prevent that on a new set of plugs.

Where'd ya get your plugs and how'd ya spec 'em?

Dave

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'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
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post #15 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 2:45 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schweintechnik

Where'd ya get your plugs and how'd ya spec 'em?
You want the NGK DCPR7EIX
Got mine at NAPA, but any decent parts house should have them or can within a day or so. Call ahead to save time and gas.
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post #16 of 16 Old Oct 10th, 2007, 5:39 pm
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Dave first you can soak it in Sea Foam Fogger now, spray it into the spark plug holes. The only issue there is when you do start it it may not be as effective as a warm motor and doing it the way they describe.

Second Sea Foam also makes a fuel and oil additive and will accomplish what the fogger does but as it is running. I use 1 0Z per gallon of gas every 3-4 tanks. In your case I would use it in the oil and the gas, run the snot out of it and then change oil.

Third not a fan of Iridium plugs. I was always told you run the plug that comes out of the engine. I will take a good old fashioned copper plug anyday. I assume these use a Bosh (sp) plug? I love NGK's though I just would not want Iridium. NAPA is your friend on this one.

Speaking of that I need to know what thread the Spark Plug holes are to make sure I have the adapter for the Compression and Leak down tester.

Since we are talking Nikasil Cylinders nothing can be done there. Piston and Rings I am sure. On the heads or valve seals, your Hero, and now mine, told us how to do those seals and has the spring compressor for you to borrow. A leak down test needs only an air compressor and can be done in a state of disassembly. Compression just need to be able to turn the bike over. I am not sure if you hold the throttle wide open, but would think so. And do you go like the best out of three on each cylinder. Also what we are looking for PSI wise would be nice to know, and what is an acceptable % cylinder to cylinder loss.

I really think you need to get it back together, do some Sea Foam, check plugs, and ride the snot out of it.

I think you were sucking a BUNCH of oil into the intake tract, and have carbon induced hot spots on your plugs. also I think the running oil was being sucked into the rail from the blown injector seals. The only way to really know is to clean her up run her and then do plug chops. Run it, hit the kill switch, get her over and then check them. Put a clean set in and do again. Really is the only way you can read a plug in this day and age.

Lee
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15 R1200 RTLC San Marino Blue Metallic (Sold)
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