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Old 04-09-2014, 02:21 PM   #1
andrewp2014
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
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Post E46 318ti Intermittent Hesitation and Lack of Power

Hello Everyone,
This is my first time posting on a forum as my last resort - please dont scold me - i have read through a multitude of forums on this issue but many are outdated to years ago.

Loved this car since the first time I ever drove it when it first came out. Being quite a DIY enthusiast, last year I purchased this E46 318ti – however, in the last 6 months, maintaining this lovely beast has become ridiculously expensive and has left a multitude of senior mechanics speechless.
Symptoms
- At operating temperature – Loss of power/Hesitation/Almost stall
- (seems like throttle body gets stuck/car is starving??)
I have had an intermittent hesitation issue with the car when pulling off from stand still – i.e. at a robot/interchange when pulling off – the car hesitates so badly as if it wants to stall / revs refuse to climb above say 1500 rpm for a few seconds say 0-10 seconds or anywhere in between no matter how hard I push the accelerator. Mostly, this seems to happens when car is at operating temperature as this has never happened when the engine is still cold (i.e. before the needle hits half)
I do many short trips (office is approx 6kms from where I live) as well as frequent long distance trips (i.e. +500kms twice per month)
I have done the following work on the car itself thus far to try and eliminate the random hesitation issues but still has not resolved the problem.
BMW E46 - 318ti Compact (2003) with the N42 engine (1995cc) 4CYL with 160,000kms on the clock
Replaced all spark plugs , did coil/spark plug test/ complete oil change with new oil filter, new air filter, new fuel filter, new petrol pump, replaced slightly leaking water pump, replaced O-Rings on solenoids (SOLV), cleaned throttle body, cleaned MAF.
Diagnostic work conducted
Spark Plug / coil check – No difference, all working fine
Replaced Fuel Pump
- Assumed this to be primary cause but ignored for quite a while until the car died on me. Wouldn’t start, wouldn’t move – no motor running sound when turning ignition on. Replaced it with a new one, car was fine again. I thought this solved the problem.
- When the car did it again at an intersection, I literally dragged my way through my right turn while oncoming traffic waited patiently for granpa to get a move on.
Solenoids/ (SOLV) replaced the O-rings
Throttle Body – cleaned inside TB with carb cleaner recommended by dealer, only cleaned inside opening to the TB, not the back as I did not remove it from the car. Very little to no visible carbon deposits. – Made no difference.

Mass Air Flow (MAF) Cleaned with some carb cleaner. Have worked in and around this area and have not come across any air leaks/vacuum leaks.
Fuel Filter (With fuel pressure regulator)
- Undercarriage of the car shows the car had been driven in very dusty areas. Assumed this to be a likely culprit, so swapped It out with a new one.
Many forums suggest CCV as I have to top up with about 500ml to 750ml of liquid gold (fully synthetic Castrol) for approximately every 700-1000kms I do on the car.
Other potential Culprits???
CCV – I have done small tests, just not sure how to ascertain what suction is correct, i.e. from normal idle, if I remove the oil cap – idle quickly gets erratic, almost like it is sputtering and unhappy and you can sense the car trying to correct this by increasing revs slightly but the car does not stall. Dipstick – removing dipstick – you can sense a slight change in revs, and putting my finger to it, there is indeed suction.
After replacing the fuel filter, I left the engine idling for about 20-30 mins, to get to normal operating temperature to make sure cooling fan was working. When I got in to accelerate, there was a HUGE PUFF of smoke billowing from the exhaust / no sweet smell so I know for certain it isn’t a blown gaskset/no milky residue in oil filler cap at all/no overheating.
Cam sensors – no idea how to diagnose these
CCV Vacuum – how exactly do I measure what is excessive or not? Or how do I diagnose this ? In any case, how would the CCV create an “intermittent issue” with hesitation – wouldn’t this carry on for a while?
I literally have no idea what to do with this thing. I keep thinking the Throttle body randomly gets stuck or CCV causing higher than normal oil consumption or Cam shaft sensors – NO codes at all being read from the BMWHAT app (Android) via the Bluetooth OBD II Reader.

Can anyone point me in any new direction to resolve this because I cannot afford to keep her if this persists…
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:20 PM   #2
shift4inc
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What color was the huge puff of smoke? Blue black or white?


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Old 04-09-2014, 09:14 PM   #3
lszlszx
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Is the SES on? If not, does the light work? Have you scanned for codes?

Try running it with the MAF disconnected.
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:56 AM   #4
andrewp2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shift4inc View Post
What color was the huge puff of smoke? Blue black or white?


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Hi Shift...
Thank you for your response!
hard to be definite on smoke color as it was getting dark - blueish grey or so?
when synthetic oil burns it has somewhat of a distinct smell which i assume is the case - coupled with high oil consumption (about 500-750ml topup for every 600-1000kms) Little to no data on this as for some reason it still falls within the BMW parameters for oil consumption based on a combination of short and long distance trips. For me, this is far too excessive compared to every other non-bmw i have owned. My wifes e92 has done almost 18k kms not a single drop to topup (128k kms)

The hesitation only happens when engine has been running approx +30mins or so and is very erratic - i.e. probably happening once out of every 20 trips i do. Like a demon,often when im crossing an intersection - foot flat on accelerator and the car does pull forward but seems as if its choking/about to stall... CCV explains high oil consumption but i cant understand why or how it could affect intermittent dangerous hesitation

Going to pull codes again today via BMWHAT (android) + ELM327 reader to double check any changes/new codes. NO SES/CEL/EML lights showing at all... will post and let you know...

Mind is boggled by this, wallet is refusing to give into additional spends on this recurring nightmare....

Thanks for assist!
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:55 AM   #5
andrewp2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lszlszx View Post
Is the SES on? If not, does the light work? Have you scanned for codes?

Try running it with the MAF disconnected.
Hi Iszlszx

No SES/CEL/EML lights showing, only below code pulled so far. will run test again. BUT - when i turn on ignition before starting, ELM light shows until engine is started - there is a funny long tone beep that seems to come from left hand side of engine but cant pinpoint it directly, havent though much of it because the EML light goes off straight after the engine starts. no other lights showing..

planning to try this tommorrow (disconnect MAF).

used ELM327 blutetooth OBDII Reader and BMWHAT app (android) now shows the following - cant seem to track it down on the net - any ideas?

Engine/Motor Fault (1 fault)
Ambient Temperature Sensor/ Ambient temperature sensor, Plausibility/External temperature Sensor, Plausibility.
2f99

Last edited by andrewp2014; 04-11-2014 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:20 AM   #6
lszlszx
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"500ml to 750ml of fully synthetic Castrol for approximately every 700-1000kms I do on the car"

That's about a quart of oil every 1000 miles.
If it's smoking during power loss, the engine could be choking on oil.

Check if the oil is draining back into the oil pan by disconnnecting hose #4.
If no oil is coming out, it is draining and your CCV is OK.
(I assume the 4 cylinder has a similar set up)

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