2013 F30 N55 335i spark plug change DIY step by step (updated 09/27/21)

Technical skill
Time commitment
PITA factor

On the various BMW 3 series forums I wasn’t able to find a good pictorial/instructional step by step post on how to change the spark plugs out on an N55 F30 335i. There isn’t much out there in terms of what needs to be done to access all of the spark plugs. Here you will find a detailed guide on removing the various covers, bolts, screws, etc in order to gain access to all of your plugs. I didn’t cover removing the plugs themselves in all that much detail as others have documented it in much more better ways. 🙂

I decided to document the “prep process” this past weekend, hopefully it helps some people out.

(Click on the pictures to get to the full 15MP resolution)

Update on 09/27/21

  • Fixed a missed bolt on step 8 below, it’s 4 bolts on the drivers side, not 3.
  • I ended up using the non “S” plugs from Amazon, I figured WTH, I’ll try… I did check the gaps were all the same. Over 100 miles in a no codes or anything funky on my logs. Will keep this updated if that changes.
  • “Created” a new “tool” to pull the spark plug socket off the installed new plug after removing the universal joint, click the spoiler below to see it. It’s basically the same locking socket extension with a piece of garden metal twistie tie around it. It worked great.
    Spark plug socket removal tool




Make sure you have the tools required for the job:

  • 3/8″ & 1/2″ drive socket wrenches
  • 3/8″ drive torque wrench
  • 3/8″ drive, 12″ socket extension
  • 3/8″ drive, 14mm deep well, thin wall, spark plug socket (I used this from ECS tuning)
  • 3/8″ drive, Universal joint (I splurged and bought the SK Tools Universal Joint)
    • Craftsman, more affordable option that comes with all 3 sizes
      • UPDATE 11/30/20 – Seems like some universal joints may be to large to fit in the spark plug cavity causing rubbing/scratching issues (See comments @ the end of this post) I can confirm both the SK and Craftsman have a small OD that fits, please let me know in the comments if you have one that fits or doesn’t as well and I’ll update
  • 10mm nut driver
  • Torx T27 (any type)
  • Blue LocTite
  • External Torx T20
  • Compressed air
    • Can or compressor, either works, used to blow debris out before pulling plugs
  • 4 new Torx stretch bolts (BMW part number: 07147270121)
  • The spark plugs can be ordered from the dealer or a BMW parts store online. The model number must be Bosch ZR5TPP33S
    • It’s reported in the comments that the Amazon plugs might have some issues, see the comments below for details
      • UPDATE 12/1/2020 – I can confirm the Amazon plugs are not the right ones, don’t order from Amazon!!
      • UPDATE 09/27/2201 – I used the aforementioned non S plugs and so far after 100 miles, no codes or issues at all I can feel, or see in the logs. FWIW.
    • MAKE SURE YOU ORDER THE PLUGS WITH THE S at the end of the part number. Very important.

Optional tools, made my life a little easier

  • 3/8″ drive flex head socket wrench
  • 3/8″ drive locking extension bar (I used these)
  • Dental pick or Hook and Pick set (Used to release locking extension bar while in the coil channel)
  • 3/8″ drive, ratchet spinner (makes spinning the plugs in and out quicker)

Prep Procedure

  1. Remove the engine cover (pull up on the thing) and put it aside
  2. Remove the driver and passenger side cowls by using your 10mm nut driver on the 6 plastic “IKEA bolts” (90º degree turn to unlock)ikeaboltsIMG_0315
  3. Remove the circled black power cover piece thing (careful, mine got lost in the engine bay) and then pull the power wire out of the channel holding it in IMG_0320M
  4. Remove the rear engine rubber seal   IMG_0322
  5. Pop out the 2 circular strut bolt covers around the center back area of the engine by reaching under them and popping them out with a finger or two (be careful as they will go flying out and into the engine bay!)IMG_0324MIMG_0326
  6. Remove the two inverted Torx bolts located under these covers and discard them. (The discarding part is recommended, from what I’ve gathered on various forums these bolts are “stretch bolts” which are made to be torqued to a specific value + another 90º Here’s a link to the wiki article explaining it. I asked the dealer and they said they don’t replace the bolts, I checked ISTA and it specifically says to replace them, I checked the forums and there is a mixed bag of replaced and didn’t.)IMG_0336
  7. Follow the 2 strut bars and remove the inverted Torx bolts as done previously. One will be hidden under the shock boot. After you do this on both sides, pull the strut bars off to the side.IMG_0327
  8. Using your 10mm nut driver/socket, remove 6 bolts from another cover which is blocking access to the rear most plugs and the engine foam, 3 bolts on passenger side, 4 bolts on drivers side. (Note that this bolts have Loctite on them, do not forget to re-apply when done)IMG_0334MIMG_0338MIMG_0339
  9.  Note that the cover you just removed is “pinned” with this plastic rivet. It’s possible you could get if off but I just put it to the side as it’s on the side of the engine where there are no spark plugsIMG_0340MIMG_0341
  10. Unclip the two wire harnesses from circled mount and then using your T27 Torx, remove the highlighted screw from the top of the coil pack area on the rear of the engine. This will give you enough play to move the wires around when the coil pack comes outIMG_0343M
    I marked a pair of the matching connectors with a sharpie, isn’t necessary but did it anyways.


  11. Now you finally have access to all 6 spark plugs.


Important Notes:

  • Torque specifications are:
      • 41 ft/lbs + 90º on the replaced strut bolts
      • 17 ft/lbs on the spark plugs
  • BMW does not recommend any type of anti-seize but like everything, it’s a mixed bag on the forums, some say yes, some say no, I opt’ed NO
  • Removing the coils may take a bit of force, first be sure to pull up on the marked corners of the coil (I used my index fingers), once that “door” flips open, remove the wire plug by pulling them away from the coil, use your finger or a round screwdriver through the loop of the flipped up door to break the suction and pull the coil out. Try not to turn the coil when pulling up.IMG_0348M IMG_0350IMG_0351IMG_0360
  • After removing the above coils and before removing the spark plugs, shoot a good blast of compressed air into the plug channel to remove and debris that may have snuck in there
  • Be sure to use a universal joint of some sort when removing and installing the plugs. The plugs sit at an angle you wouldn’t expect (pointing down towards the coil chamber) they aren’t perfectly centered in the chamber and if you apply to much torque at the wrong angle you will snap the plugs and the insulator. The universal joint give the wrench the play needed to not snap a plug in half.
  • A hand socket wrench makes spinning the plugs out and back in much faster, keep your extension bar on and spin away.handsocket
  • Don’t forget to install the rear engine foam BEFORE reinstalling the strut bars and rear engine covers.


Cost Breakdown

  • Since this was my first time doing plugs I needed to invest a little money in tools. East Bay BMW quoted me $450 for the spark plug change.
    • Tools = $80.00
      • Universal Joint (I splurged on the SK tools version), extension bars, external Torx set
    • Plugs = $84.00 from Amazon Bosch ZR5TPP33S
      • Don’t buy them from Amazon
    • 5 Strut bolts = $16.70
    • Total: $180.70

Lessons Learned

  • Be careful when popping off small covers, I lost that little plastic piece in step 3, and spent an extra hour or so getting the car up on the ramps, taking off the belly pan, and searching everywhere for it


  • Bimmerpost forum post with a few pictures from the Bentley Manual and other tips: Here
    ISTA+ results of the “rough running cylinder values”


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13 comments Add yours
  1. thanks for the detailed write-up, it’s probably the most comprehensive step by step overview I have seen on the internet. I have a 2013 335ix F30 N55 with about 68k miles, that I purchased about 3 months ago. No issues but since the plugs/ignition coils are original, I want to stay ahead of maintenance so I decided to go with Bosch plugs and the Delphi ignition coils from FCP Euro. Can I ask if you also replaced your ignition coils at the same time?

    1. Hi Scott, Thanks! I didn’t replace my coils. I honestly can’t remember why I didn’t it’s been so long but I vaguely remember reading on some forums it was entirely necessary. I don’t think it would hurt TBH, but I really don’t know…

  2. Thanks for this write up. I just changed the spark plugs on my 2014 F32 435i. These instructions helped a lot.

    One note — I already had a 3/8″ universal joint (“WRIGHT 3475 USA 91″) so I used it. However it had a tight fit in the tube leading to the spark plug. When I turned the 3/8″ drive extension the universal joint dug into the upper end of the aluminum wall of the tube. A small pile of shavings accumulated at the bottom. I tried to blow the shavings out with compressed canned air but they generally did not clear out.

    I don’t know if the SK or Craftsman universal joints have a similar problem. The WRIGHT universal joint looks basically identical to the SK and Craftsman parts. The largest OD of the WRIGHT universal joint is 0.784”.

    If anyone can measure the OD of the SK or Craftsman universal joints I’d appreciate it. I won’t need to be returning to the spark plugs for quite a while but I’d like to know if I can get a different smaller universal joint.

    1. Yikes, sorry to hear that Richard. I just measured the SK I have linked above and the largest measurement I could get is 0.750″
      I also measured the craftsman and the largest measurement I could get was 0.748″

      Here are a couple photos. I’ll make a note of this in the post above.

      SK Tools: https://badbread.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/20201130_105927-scaled.jpg
      Craftsman: https://badbread.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/20201130_110637-scaled.jpg

  3. Be careful biying plugs from Amazon. The description says 33-S, but they were not. The bosch box said 33 on it, the plugs had 33, the Amazon stick on label had 33-S. Very deceitful. I returned them a bought from Dealer for only 20 cents more. $17.10 at GetBMWparts dot com, which is BMW of Silver Springs, MD.

    1. Same thing here George, Amazon label with the S at the end but the plugs underneath, no S
      I updated the post above to stop recommending Amazon

  4. Very nice writeup. However, I did find two errors, in the Prerequisites and in Step 10, the tool required is a T30 Torx, NOT a T27.

    1. Thanks Sean. Are you sure? I just went through my old pictures and I’m showing a T27 that I used. Maybe it varies from model year? Do you have a PWG (early 2013) N55?

  5. Excellent write-up; thank you very much.
    Amazon has terrible supply chain management in regards to counterfeit goods. Items such as spark plugs and high speed memory cards can easily be remarked lower performance goods. When you click on “Bob’s Auto Shack” to buy these parts at Amazon, even Bob himself might not realize they’re fakes. Result? Some folks say the plugs are fine, others say they aren’t. It’s safer to use a safer channel for products like these, such as your local parts store or (gasp!) the dealer.

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