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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 04-03-2012, 06:51 PM   #1
gferrer
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Oregon
Posts: 92
My Ride: '91 318is/ '03 325xi
Weird idle HELP!

So my 325xi with about 126K is acting up, and I need some direction towards what could be causing it. A few months ago when I would start the car in the "cold" or after it had sat for over a couple days, I would get a misfire (according to codes) on a couple of the cylinders. In turn the car would idle very weird, almost like it wanted to choke out. and one time when I attempted moving the car it felt as if it had very little power about 60% (which would make sense if I was only runnning on 4, or 5 cyl.) but after I would start the car again the problem would normally go away. Shortly after I changed my spark plugs, this seemed to fix the problem for a few months until now.

Yesterday morning I started up the car and the weird idle came back, I turned the car off and attempted to start the car again, which before it temporarily fixed the "issue" and idle fine. however now the idle is about 5 times worse than before, and the car chokes out and dies. Almost as if it weren't getting enough gas, sometimes the car will not idle past 2000 rpm.

I know describing the idle sound will be impossible, but I will try. Its like a chugging sound, almost mimicking a gnarly muscle car with an oversized cam that sounds like it wants to choke out. When your next to the muffler you can kinda here the chugging "beady" pattern. When you are in gear it will almost surely die, you have to baby it to get it to move a foot.

Thanks, for your help in advanced I hope its not a huge issue with it being that it ran fine the day before (a couple days before it pulled a 5 hour drive no problem).

Once I figure out what this is, I'm wanting to do a bit of preventative and maintenance along with the fix, since I want this car to last awhile. here's a list of stuff I'm considering doing, and that is done. car has about 126K miles. What else should I do at this mileage while TAX money is around?

ALREADY DONE:
valve cover gasket
water pump
starter
semi-recent oil change
spark plugs OEM

NEED DONE/ATTENTION:
-replace both radiator hoses (leaking coolant from lower hose)
-Timing chain, tensioners?
-replacing Oreily's $50 intake with OEM intake, It sounds kinda cool, but I wonder if there is really any gain to it, plus it looks kinda tacky in my stock bay.
-spark plu wires?
-Thermostat

Thanks for helping out, and putting up with this long post.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:18 PM   #2
jfoj
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See first line below in my signature. DISA and lower CCV oil return hose would be some of my first guesses. Many other things could cause similiar problems.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
Kubica
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I would guess it's a bad ignition coil.

Scan codes first.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
gferrer
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thanks a lot guys. I'm working on getting the codes, this certainly gives me a place to start.

As far as leaky radiator hoses go, is there an O ring at the "hose meets radiator part" or is this usually solved by replacing the complete hose? thanks
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:28 PM   #5
jfoj
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Not sure on the "radiator", if it is near the lower hose, it may be the fan switch O-ring in the lower radiator hose. Part is not shown as serviceable, but if you check my signature below, I have the proper O-ring part number listed.

Easy fix and suggest it be performed for every cooling system repair on E46/E39 and any other similar car with this same fan switch.
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
Gus330vrum
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I know what you talking
About...

Clean idle control valve

Put gasket seal on disa orange o-ring gasket. Sold at local auto store.

High temp gasket sealer. Pass
It around disa . Let dry!

clean disa also. Suppose have orange rubber not all back build up.

Clean with throttle body cleaner/brake cleaner.

Also check fuel pump pressure on fuel metal rail on top engine mid section.

Erase code and move coil around. To try see code follow the coil.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
jfoj
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Do not put silicon sealer on the DISA, wrong approach, not sure who's idea this is? But it is a bad one!
__________________
Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:42 PM   #8
Gus330vrum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Do not put silicon sealer on the DISA, wrong approach, not sure who's idea this is? But it is a bad one!
lol! It's not silicon sealer.. But good point..


It's gasket material none dry inside tube..

In other words same stuff but not compressed in o-RING STYLE.

I saw on DIY Bimmerforum .

even new disa ring sometimes don't fully close cap under engine working habits and high rpm.

no wonder BMW don't sell o-ring it self.

it worked for my same issue on cold start.. As if the car running on 4 cylinder. Almost like Limp
Mode..

I did it to mine! also posted on your thread w pic. No issue like this ever sense I did the job to seal w high temp gasket sealer "orange color"


Advice: let it dry 24 hours!

Last edited by Gus330vrum; 04-03-2012 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:34 PM   #9
Viktimize
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Do not put silicon sealer on the DISA, wrong approach, not sure who's idea this is? But it is a bad one!

Why not?? A little bit of RTV around the o-ring will ensure a seal if there is any wear in the recess, or if the o-ring is pinched, etc. Obviously you don't want to gob it on so it gets inside of your intake system, but a small layer is good insurance.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:35 AM   #10
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gferrer View Post
ALREADY DONE:
valve cover gasket
water pump
starter
semi-recent oil change
spark plugs OEM

NEED DONE/ATTENTION:
-replace both radiator hoses (leaking coolant from lower hose)
-Timing chain, tensioners?
-replacing Oreily's $50 intake with OEM intake, It sounds kinda cool, but I wonder if there is really any gain to it, plus it looks kinda tacky in my stock bay.
-spark plu wires?
-Thermostat
Scan codes first, there must be codes if it is as bad as it sounds. Your radiator hoses, while important to check/replace, are not the cause of your worries and neither is the thermostat. Timing chain shouldn't require replacement unless you somehow broke it. Did the problem appear immediately after replacing your VCG? If not, then your timing is fine.

Here's my approach:
1.) Scan codes, the rest of these steps would be just guessing without the codes.
2.) Take of the sh!tty intake and put the one with hundreds of engineering hours back on the car. Replace air filter and clean the box out while you're at it.
3.) Check your intake track for leaks/tears/holes/clogs, replace as necessary.
4.) Clean your MAF and idle control valve.
5.) You will need codes for this but like Kubica said, could be an ignition coil. Codes will tell for sure and which one is bad.
6.) Fuel filter and fuel pump. Replace the filter and check for pump operation and that it doesn't sound like it's on its last leg.

Scan the codes and tell us what the result is first. Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:29 PM   #11
gferrer
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hey guys, thanks a lot for all the help and input. I ran codes and this is what I got: PO174 - System running too lean bank 2

I went ahead and bought a new fuel filter and MAF cleaner, And I am very suspicious of the cheap intake so replacing it with the stock intake plus new K&N air filter. And taking a look at the DISA What else do you guys think I should consider?
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:16 PM   #12
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gferrer View Post
PO174 - System running too lean bank 2
I bet that's a cracked and/or torn intake boot. Check it out. I'd be surprised if it was the DISA valve, if anything it would be the DISA seal not the valve itself. Do the rest of the maintenance anyway. I'd advise against the use of the K&N because it has a tendency to oil up the MAF. The OEM filter works great.

It's likely that more air is getting into the intake than the car knows about. Where that air is getting in is up to you to find. Flip side is not enough fuel is getting in, rare cases this happens. Check the fuel pump for proper operation and replace the fuel filter.

Good luck and let us know what it was!
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:55 PM   #13
gferrer
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I didn't think the oil in the K&N would be a big issue, but you're logic makes sense. I'll take your advise on it and trust your experience. The Intake boot from the stock intake that I will be putting in show's a little wear at the creases, but no holes. I have yet to inspect the deeper one in the car, chances are its probably a little worse, might just order new boots, since it'll probably need them eventually.

I'll post up results after I get all this stuff done this weekend. thanks for the help.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:06 PM   #14
tomoyer
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Curious, what is the DISA and the CCV? I've stated this before, not everyone knows the abbreviations, nothing wrong with using them, I do to, but I also write in ( ) the full name of the part(s).
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:38 PM   #15
gferrer
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My Ride: '91 318is/ '03 325xi
ordered the fallowing:
- new intake boots / MANN air filter
- new fuel filter
- o-ring for coolant temp sensor (thanks jfoj, after a bit more reading and diving into the car I found the coolant leak was coming from that sensor, the infamous O-rings)
- and I picked up some MAF cleaner at local parts store

Thanks for the direction and help after some reading, I really do feel that this will solve the fuel/ air problem today I started up the car and drove it around. It seemed perfectly fine. Which leads me to believe its not something more serious (such as fuel pump) since its not so constant.

Also I feel like an IDIOT that I put that "intake" on the car (fell for the "cool" engine sound). I feel that I might have shot my self in the foot with that one. I think it could be part of the cause of the MAF being a little screwed up.

Parts wont be here until next week, so i'll let you guys know how it goes. thanks
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:36 AM   #16
Bobby330xi
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Almost positive its a leaking CCV hose or another vacuum leak. Good idea replacing the intake boots and air filter assembly with the OEM. Starting to sound like a parrot, but I just hit 122K and found a large hole/tear in the lower CCV oil return hose throwing intermittent codes. The car ran great and only had a very slight miss at idle on cold mornings. I used standard sized oil resistant hose (~$4) Its also a good time to replace your spark plug connectors (boots) and use dielectric grease on all contacts to prevent corrosion (better conductivity). These ignition systems put out 100K volts, so every bit of conductivity helps. There is a rather bad DIY on youtube where a kid found some pretty nasty looking connector boots on his ride.

Last edited by Bobby330xi; 04-05-2012 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:50 PM   #17
gferrer
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update- I've changed the air boots, and dropped the OEM air box back in. The car is idling very good now, sounds great and seems to have no problems. The clamp connecting the deep boot to the throttle body is a pain. I just got the new gas filter in the mail too, so guess it won't hurt to replace that also.

The butterfly in the DISA seemed to rattle a bit when I had it out and shook it, but the spring seemed to be fine. Also there was no noise coming from it when it when the engine was running. I checked by disconnecting/connecting the plug. I don't want to drop $200 dollars for a new one if it doesn't need it yet. Any input?

Thanks for the help, You guys make DIY's easier and also help save quite a bit of shop money!
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:31 PM   #18
Bobby330xi
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I just realized you're in Oregon also. What part? I'm near Newport.

If you're not throwing any codes and the car is running fine, I wouldn't worry about the DISA for now. Usually that will cause very rough running or even make the car die at idle, especially when cold. Glad to hear that switching back to OEM and replacing the boots fixed it.

The only thing I would change, regardless of wear is the water pump and cooling system parts. It seems that the water pump, thermostat and expansion tanks all fail on these cars around 60K miles and at 60K intervals. Its one of those parts that's cheaper to replace it before it fails, especially since you can either fry your engine or have the pump break and shear off your belts, hoses, and radiator. BTDT on mother in law's Z3

On a side note, I had an aftermarket intake on a 1.8T Jetta that was notorious for fowling MAF's and throwing all kinds of codes.

Last edited by Bobby330xi; 04-10-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:42 PM   #19
gferrer
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Originally Posted by Bobby330xi View Post
Usually that will cause very rough running or even make the car die at idle, especially when cold.
This is what was happening to my car, but we'll see. hopefully i don't get anymore codes. I recently changed the water pump, and thermostat about 25k miles ago. so hopefully we're good for a few more miles.

I'm actually around the Coos Bay area. Glad to see there's another Oregonian from the coast on here. I like the northern coast of Oregon, good surf actually.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:14 PM   #20
Bobby330xi
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Hmm...I'm still leaning towards the aftermarket intake and bad boots causing most of the issue.

I like Cannon Beach and Seaside too. I need to make it up there more often this summer. Haven't gone surfing since I was little.
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