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Old 02-24-2015, 08:44 AM   #1
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2002 330ci Misfire/Rough idle-Can't figure out problem! Tech Report Attached

My car's service engine soon light popped on about 3 weeks ago. It was around -10 on my dashboard. It had a loss of power/rough idle, until i shut off the car and started it up again. The light went away after a few days and came back on a week later, also very cold temperatures. I cleared the code and the car drove good for another week. That is until this Monday, I started my car and the service engine soon light came on again. I decided to take it in to figure out the problem. I noticed that if I just start the car and drive off, I don't have issues with the service engine soon light coming on. Anyway, the techs could not find out the cause of the problem. I have attached the tech report. I have been searching online trying to find a solution and to find out what the problem could possibly be, only to be met with dead ends. I added 2 bottles of Chevron Techtron and filled up with V Power. I hope this clears the problem as I've read that it has for some. I just bought this car a month ago and to say this is worrisome would be a gross understatement.

tech report-http://i.imgur.com/ptRFwoj.png?1

Last edited by Cogix; 02-24-2015 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:12 AM   #2
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Ill tell ya man... these cold temps are screwing with alot peoples cars here at my work and every morning I wake up its in the negatives... -5, -22, -11 and we get to a high of 8-11 degrees. Its harsh... I find myself lucky that I have a garage that stays at 28 degrees when I fire her up in the morning. Hopefully it gets warmer soon...

Last edited by Chrisf695; 02-24-2015 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:17 AM   #3
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A bad/dirty oil separator and CCV system can cause misfires difficult to diagnose unless your're really familiar with the weak points of the e46. The O/S sends oil into the intake instead of back into the oil pan and the oil causes misfires and contaminates the plugs. Often causes O2 sensor issues as well.

This issue can be escalated when the return tube is blocked by frozen sludge or simply a sludge buildup. The CCV oil residue has to go somewhere and the only option available is to send it into the intake.

Last edited by BMW-North; 02-24-2015 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:31 AM   #4
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E46 bmw's tend to have missfire/rough idle issues in colder temperatures, it's a common issue. My car had the same symptoms as yours, it had a rough idle occasionally and the ses light would come on during cold starts. In my case it turned out to be the spark-plugs, I had them replaced and haven't had any problems since. There is a lot of information on this subject on this forum, look for jfoj's threads they are invaluable. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616
Originally Posted by cole3636 View Post
If you get a 325i up to 400hp you should buy a ****ing lottery ticket
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:37 AM   #5
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I read the tech report, this shop a lot of things in my opinion. Although the report "appears" to be thorough, it provides no real data about Fuel Trims and other things. MAF tap test is about as outdated at the E46.

The shop is pretty much correct that coils and plugs are not likely going to cause this problem. Fresh spark plugs are always helpful, but at the end of the day cold start misfires are almost always fuel mixture/vacuum leak problems. They can be engine mechanical related as well, but I usually assume there will be other issues with engine mechanical problems. The shop looks like they performed a compression test as well and did not find an obvious problem.

What you are likely experiencing is Misfire with Fuel Cut Off on initial cold start. It will clear on its own after a short while or you can shut the engine off after about 30-45 seconds and then restart the engine and this problem will likely clear.

I see a smoke test was performed, HOWEVER, the common mistake is to perform a smoke test on a slightly or fully warm engine. It really needs to be performed on an ICE cold engine due to the compression of plastic and rubber seals in the super cold temperature. Even starting the car to drive it into a bay to perform work is sometime long enough for plastics to quickly expand and seal off leaks that would otherwise be a problem when the car is ICE cold.

Also many shops fail to actually smoke test the crankcase or do not smoke test the intake with the oil fill cap removed to fill the crankcase with smoke, then reinstall the oil fill cap.

Suggest you start by reading the first 3 links below in my signature.

Read this thread - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1057387

Read my "BMW 20 Questions" comments in this thread - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1059972

Here is the bottom line. A car like yours is 13-14 years old at this point. Is should have had the following items replaced by now: entire CCV system and hoses, DISA, Intake boots, valve cover gasket, spark plugs and boots, fuel filter, fuel pump, oil fill cap, dipstick tube O-ring and dipstick O-rings.

But nobody wants to hear or believe this.

I have a 2006 330cic (E46) with about 87k miles on the odometer a this point. The car is slightly over 8 years old and is my wife's daily driver. I made a very conscious decision that I did not want to play "Whack A Mole" with her car. As they say, "Happy Wife = Happy Life"!

So this fall I replaced almost everything in the "BMW 20 Questions" list. The DISA is only about 40k miles and was in good shape, replaced under Warranty by the dealer, but I put a replacement O-ring in it just because. New valve cover gasket, OFHG, oil fill cap, dipstick tube O-ring and dipstick O-rings, intake boots, CCV and hoses. Plugs were replaced at 60k.

Fuel pump was replace as well. I was going to do this during all the above work, ran short on time and cold weather settled in, 2 weeks later the fuel pump died! I had a spare fuel pump in the shelf for over 2 1/2 years waiting to PM replace or replace in a failure mode if I did not PM the pump. Well the timing was far to close, but luckily the pump died in my driveway, not start the morning after the Fuel Pressure Regulator started moaning I expected it to fail soon.

So what I am tying to say is this has been a VERY cold Winter here for us as well. Temps as low as 0F (yea the Canadians will laugh!!) but consistently the past 2-3 weeks every morning start was below freezing. This morning 5F.

Not a single no start, misfire or a problem with my wife's E46 so far this season except for the one day I had to move the car to clear snow around it and only let it idle for about 1 minute. It was not long enough, partially flooded the engine and it did start with a misfire, but this was SELF induced. With an E46 or a BMW I6 engine, if you start the engine first thing in the morning, make sure to let the engine run at LEAST 3 minutes, but best to actually drive the car around the block before shutting it off again.

These engines will wet the spark plugs and even flood out very easily. Also if the battery is weak and the engine is slow to crank/start, the DME does not allow the multiple spark feature of the coils, so it is more likely to have misfires and wet the spark plugs.

So even a weak battery can cause cold start misfires.

I will say your car is PERFECTLY NORMAL, but you do not think so. Do all the things in the "BMW 20 Questions" list and make sure your battery has enough CCA for the ultra cold temps and I doubt you will have any more problems.

This subject has been discussed to death and it still seems people do not want to believe the fact that on the cars 8th birthday, if you plan on owning a trouble free car, shotgun the intake and crankcase rubber and plastic parts, make sure there are new spark plugs, fuel and air filters and replace the fuel pump before it gets cold and you will be a MUCH happier E46 owner.

Readers Digest Version - Since you do not want to spend 8 hours in the cold, suggest you remove and inspect the DISA and replace the DISA O-ring, order one before you pull the DISA.

Check the CCV lower oil return line, it needs to be replaced if original.

Consider a replacement fuel pump and have the battery tested/replaced.

This should keep you going until April when this issue will go away until next Winter. Then you have the entire Summer to do what is needed under the hood.
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, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299

Last edited by jfoj; 02-24-2015 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:53 AM   #6
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Fantastic! Thank you for the information. This is incredibly helpful. I do know from prior service records that the fuel pump has been replaced, around one year ago. I will get my battery tested sometime this week.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:12 AM   #7
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I agree with what others are saying. I recently forgot to put my oil fill cap on and it gave me some lean codes as well as misfiring and engine light on. Put the cap back on and all the problems went away. Your cap seal may not be sealing very good. Also check for cracked vacuum lines and cracked intake boots. Don't forget to change the air distribution manifold O-rings

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Old 02-26-2015, 01:08 PM   #8
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This is a good thread. I have been chasing the rough idle at cold start up issue since I bought my car two years ago. Interestingly enough the 323Ci that I had for 7 years before i bought the 330i never had this problem. jfoj I like your 20 question thread, I went through it and I have some things still left to do but I have done all of the obvious things first like VCG, OFHG, intake boots, spark plugs and fuel filter. I did a CCV delete now am running an OCC that alleviated my problem a bit but is still shows up occasionally on really cold morning. SES light come on intermittently but goes out on its own. Codes read are the p0300, p0302, p0304 cylinder misfire codes. Items that I haven't done yet are the fuel pump and battery. I didn't know that a low battery can cause the misfires that one was news to me i will also check the fuel pressure at the rail to make sure the fuel pump is not starting to get weak.

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Old 02-26-2015, 01:13 PM   #9
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I have read bad vanos seals can cause a rough idle when cold, which is the problem I also have. It runs smooth when warm.
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330ci, bmw, cold start, misfire, rough idle

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