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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-22-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
Sweetness
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Anyway to improve ultra-cold start ups?

Hey everyone, I just wanted to start a technical oriented thread here for those of us who have already done extensive maintenance. If you just bought your E46 and did not even replace anything yet, then you need to get out...your car probably runs rough in the morning due to zero maintenance.

So- I went outside this morning at a cripsy 8 degrees and turned the key to Position 2 several times to wake the electronics and prime the fuel system (not to mention electronics were super laggy). Then fired up. Dash lit up like a christmas tree as the car cranked once and then ignited, making noises of all kind. All the lights went out, no check engine lights either...but the engine was making retarded forms of foreign noises. Being a great fanatic that I am, I knew my car had been sitting for 3 days straight, and even in summer weather, if the car sits for a while it runs rough for a few minutes. So I took her on a 5 mile drive and let the temp gauge get to middle and then cruised around town, engine made no more noises. Then I came back and pulled into the garage (since my mom left) and that is where she currently sits, with no problems.

So my question is- is there some form of maintenance that I still need to do to help this situation out? Or is the fact that my car has basically been an ice cube outside for 3 days? It probably has to deal with the ultra-cold oil on the start up that caused all the raucous.

I already did Spark Plugs, Entire Cooling System, Pulleys, Belts, Fuel Pump, intake boots, ICV clean, entire CCV system cold weather edition, entire vacuum system, new gas cap, fuel additives every 3,000 miles, only been using BMW 5W-30 oil, and much much more.

What could I possibly do? I was thinking about getting BG MOA and adding it to my oil, which should greatly improve startups. Or should I not let my car sit for 3 days straight?
I'm tired of waking up in the morning looking like in fear of my car start up. I wanna look like

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Old 01-22-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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How about new crank and cam sensors and coil boots? (just for the sake of being thorough) you said your dash lights went on after you started the car? i never "prime" or "wake up" electronics even after the cars been sitting for as long as one week. it just immediately starts right up. i put the key in and crank immediately. no priming whatsoever.

does it just crank a long time? exactly what kind of noises? rough idle? need a clearer description
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:48 AM   #3
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For the older cars bmw had an OEM block heater that replaced one of the block side freeze plugs, ask your dealer or fav oem parts supplier to see if there is one for your model

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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I can't speak for certain about the DME on e46s, but some computers will squirt a small amount of fuel into the cylinders each time you "prime" they key. I am wondering if you are doing more harm than good by priming it multiple times--that certainly shouldn't be necessary.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:23 AM   #5
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A block heater would be a good move especially if you are going to let it sit. Otherwise it's going to run like **** for a minute in the cold. IDK if Mango knows what cold is being from SoCal . I don't think any car will run smoothly immediately after it's sat for 3 days in that kind of weather. The whole engine is practically dry at that point.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:25 AM   #6
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A block heater would be a good move especially if you are going to let it sit. Otherwise it's going to run like **** for a minute in the cold. IDK if Mango knows what cold is being from SoCal . I don't think any car will run smoothly immediately after it's sat for 3 days in that kind of weather. The whole engine is practically dry at that point.
ive started my car when it had ice on it. 30 degrees. that's cold!
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #7
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30 doesn't have the bite to it yet. when you reach <10 it starts to hurt haha.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
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Ha! 30 degrees is NOT cold! You can almost melt ice at that temp. But seriously you can look into many different heat devices for extreem cold. An installed block heater,a dipstick engine oil heater,a spliced inline coolant hose heater,a magnetic block heater. Any of these will help. In my old truck I used to keep a space heater in the cab with an extension cord run to a switched outside outlet and turn it on an hour before I went out to start it. It even helped defrost the windows by doing that. Just remember to unplug all this stuff before driving away.

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Old 01-22-2013, 12:36 PM   #9
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-20C (-4F) for a few days before the wind chill and all I've noticed on start up is slow electronics and a lot of extra vibrations/rattles, no problem starting. I notice you didn't mention anything in regards to the battery so I'm assuming it just starts right up when you turn the key, but I've always found a good battery is important for reliable regular "ultra cold" starts.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:38 PM   #10
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ive started my car when it had ice on it. 30 degrees. that's cold!
30? you poor thing

Try under 5 or negative temps depending on the wind chill.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:42 PM   #11
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30? you poor thing

Try under 5 or negative temps depending on the wind chill.


you guys would think 80 is hot (well maybe not Jake since NY gets hot) but try 115+
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:00 PM   #12
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In Nashville it would go to <10F in the winter for a few days at a time. Then in the summer we'd get 105F (high 90s average) with high humidity. I swear that region has the biggest temperature swings of anywhere. In Auburn, the temp isn't too bad, but the wind chill is ridiculous, then there are zero clouds in the summer at over 100F. The spring is incredible though and we had a weekend of 72F last week

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:11 PM   #13
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Big battery (Bosch 49-850b), engine heater block, 0w oil will all improve cold starts.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:14 PM   #14
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I'm also curious about this.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #15
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New battery with high CCA is alway good start to improve cold start.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:20 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the responses guys. If you would like to continue the discussion, I will add that both camshaft sensors were replaced last year. Rough idle at first, but goes away after driving. My car has never cranked multiple times for as long as I owned it, but today the first crank sounded hoarse. I believe the problem is the oil temp and oil. Should I switch to something different? I'm using BMW 5W-30 at 136,000 miles and was thinking of switching to German Castrol with different viscosity. And block heater? how does it work? if there was an oem one I would be really interested in that. thanks guys.

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:23 PM   #17
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No, your car will sound like complete total crap every time you start it once it gets under about 15 degrees. Trust me I live a 3 hour drive from the arctic circle.
Oh and you dont need a block heater its a waste of time on a fuel injected petrol engine.

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:29 PM   #18
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Basically the block heater goes in line with the coolant system or on the oil pan and keeps the oil or coolant nice and warmed up so your car starts more easily. It will also reduce wear on the bearings. All car manufacturers have an OEM one you can buy.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:35 PM   #19
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If you insist on trying to make a car run like summer when it gets down near 0 F your going to waste a bunch of money for little or no gain.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:07 PM   #20
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Mango, GTFO of here with your "never had cold start issues" in SoCal, even at 30!

Sweetness:
I've replaced damn near everything in the engine compartment in my 01 330i and it still gets a bit sluggish when its REALLY cold outside. Not looking forward to these next few days of single-digit lows in the northeast! I just hope for the best, and always make sure to hit the road as soon as possible and get her moving.

Add this one to your list: I have all new coils too! WTF!

Also Sweets, in my observations, if you happen to go out and move your car when it's cold, as in rearrange cars in the driveway/wherever you part, then shut her off without proper warmup, this situation gets worse when you try to start her and it's cold as bawls.
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