Scott Lear
Scott Lear
3/4/07 10:54 a.m.
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Ever since we bought it, our BMW 325is has been a reluctant starter. It's fine once it warms up, but it likes to hit snooze on the alarm clock a couple of times and it really needs its coffee before it gets going. It runs rich from the get go, too.

Because we're in the build phase, most of the recent engine activity has been to move the car around in the driveway. Start, move a few feet, stop, sit, start again, move a few more feet, stop for a few days, repeat. The brief run periods combined with the fat fuel curve when cold combined to make it progressively more reluctant each time we turned the key. Then one day it was obvious we were a few cylinders down. The next day, I think we had one cylinder; it sounded like the old-fashioned ice-cream mixer thing that shows up every year at the Mitty at Road Atlanta.

A quick glance and we saw one of the breather hoses had disconnected. Did that do the trick? No. But we put it back on anyway.

We know it's getting fuel, so how about spark? The wires looked fine, but when we yanked the spark plugs we were greeted by glossy black ickiness on the electrodes. These plugs were extra fouled. Fortunately, we had a set of recently arrived E3 Spark Plugs on our to-be-tested shelf. The E3 plugs feature DiamondFIRE technology, which is an exciting way of saying the center electrode is surrounded by a diamond-shaped side electrode.

We installed the E3 plugs and the Spec E30 fired right up; it seems to be running better just about everywhere, and it might have even helped to lean out the idle (less of that fuel smell and black smoke). We'll watch them closely to see if that was our problem or merely a symptom of something else.

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