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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 05-17-2004, 03:58 AM   #1
O'BlueTouring
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OBDII Fault Code: 12P1397? and Service Questions

For the past 6 months or so, my Service Engine Soon warning light will turn on regularly for about 3~4 days and it goes away for another week or so before it comes back again. I brought it to a local mechanic to have it checked out using their machine that reads OBDII codes, and the code came out to be 12P1397. My mechanic asked me I noitce any differences in drivibility and I said I didn't so he just reset the fault code and let me drove off. Well, I am starting to have start-up problems now. Everytime I shut off the engine for a short stop (ATM machine or dinner) and I would take me 1~2 tries to get the car started. The first time it would just keep cranking, and I need to turn the key to "on" position and try it again. If I park the car for more than 1~2 hours, then I won't get the "start-up" problem.

Also, my coolant warning light will come out about twice a month, and goes away in a few hours. After it goes way, I would check the coolant level next morning and fill the coolant/water mixture to the correct level.

According to the manual my mechanic has, the fault code means something like "voltage test out of system range". Does anyone know if it's related to my start-up problem? Also, my car is a 2000 model so I'm out of the original factory warranty, but we purchased the extended warrarnty when I bought the car back then, and it extended the warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles, so this "start-up" problem and coolant/radiator leaking problem should be covered under it, right? The warranty is called "Wynn's Extended Care".

Another question I have is for local members in San Gabriel Valley. We purchased the car at New Century BMW, and I brought my car in for service a few times, and I dealt with Sidney and Evette(?) most of time. I didn't like the way Sidney treated his chinese-speaking customers because he thinks he can BS his way out of most of things, and he even told me to get my ears checked out because I was complaining about the rattling noise from window regulator, hissing sound from the MPG gauge, and the loosen sliding shade for the trunk. He told me not to compare BMW with Lexus or Mercedes because those two companies are known for producing "less noisy" car than BMW.

Sidney is out of my list and Evette is out of town on vacation, and I'm just wondering if there is another friendly service rep I should talk to about the problems? Thanks for the recommendation.

Don
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Old 05-17-2004, 09:47 AM   #2
slow323ci
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P1397 means your exhaust camshaft position sensor is bad. VERY common problem. If your car is not under warranty it is a really easy DIY fix. The part is about $90 and it takes 15 minutes to replace.

Don't know about the rest of your questions, sorry...
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Old 05-17-2004, 10:31 AM   #3
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any more info on that diy...i'm just kinda curious what it envolves.
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Old 05-17-2004, 10:44 AM   #4
slow323ci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CtrlAltDel
any more info on that diy...i'm just kinda curious what it envolves.
The exhaust cam sensor is on the passenger side front of the engine cylinder head. It's held on with 2 bolts. The wire is connected with a plug.

To remove it, unplug the wire, undo the 2 bolts, pull out the old sensor. To install the new sensor, install a new rubber o-ring on the sensor, stick the new sensor in the hole where the old one used to be, tighten the bolts, connect the wire. You are done.

Intake cam sensor is same basic idea except you have to remove the air box and plastic engine covers to reach it. It's on the driver's side of the car on the side of the cylinder head, kind of behind the oil filter pod and VANOS control unit.

The 2 sensors are different part numbers, and the o-rings are also separate parts.
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Old 05-17-2004, 10:48 AM   #5
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Did BMW AG have Lucas (The Prince of Darkness) design and build all their camshaft position sensors?



Ed
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Old 05-17-2004, 11:41 AM   #6
slow323ci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamdfl
Did BMW AG have Lucas (The Prince of Darkness) design and build all their camshaft position sensors?



Ed
I'll bet 99% of the people here don't know what you mean. But I do and sometimes I wonder that myself...
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Old 05-17-2004, 11:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by slow323ci
I'll bet 99% of the people here don't know what you mean. But I do and sometimes I wonder that myself...

that made me laugh as well. the brake booster in in M Coupe has the dreaded Lucas sticker on it... so far so good
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Old 05-17-2004, 12:08 PM   #8
teamdfl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notE46
that made me laugh as well. the brake booster in in M Coupe has the dreaded Lucas sticker on it... so far so good

I made a comment about the Prince of Darkness when I saw Lucas on the brake master cylinder on the Z8 that was parked inside the BMW Performance center in Spartanburg at Oktoberfest 2000. I couldn't believe BMW put that British junk in their flagship.

It got a stifled laugh out of the two very German guys at the Mobile Tradition table behind the Z8.



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Old 05-17-2004, 03:35 PM   #9
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thanks.. I'm still under extended warranty so I hope the dealership will still cover the sensor. Do you think the problem is caused by changing to an aftermarket exhaust? Thanks.

Don
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Old 05-17-2004, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O'BlueTouring
thanks.. I'm still under extended warranty so I hope the dealership will still cover the sensor. Do you think the problem is caused by changing to an aftermarket exhaust? Thanks.

Don
Highly unlikely.
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Old 05-17-2004, 04:08 PM   #11
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I had the same CEI light as you and also had the 1397 code. I hanged the Ex Cam Sensor and still get the light intertmittently just as I did before. DO I need the codes cleared before it will go away or do I need to do something other than just change the sensor???
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Old 05-17-2004, 04:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nEVERCLEAR
I had the same CEI light as you and also had the 1397 code. I hanged the Ex Cam Sensor and still get the light intertmittently just as I did before. DO I need the codes cleared before it will go away or do I need to do something other than just change the sensor???
I think it takes like 30 or 60 cycles before the light will turn off. It varies for different types of components. I might be confusing the emission cycle numbers....
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Old 05-18-2004, 03:43 AM   #13
O'BlueTouring
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went to my local mechanic again and the scanner found two codes:

12P1397 & 12P0340. And also my car stalled in the parking today while cruising at 20mph (and it's an steptronic). Is the stalling related to the exhaust cam sensor? I've been having trouble starting my car and the throttle response is really bad now. I stepped all the way down today on the freeway and it took my car literraly 5 seconds to go from 60 mph to 65 mph on flat stretch.
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Old 05-18-2004, 03:44 AM   #14
notE46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O'BlueTouring
went to my local mechanic again and the scanner found two codes:

12P1397 & 12P0340. And also my car stalled in the parking today while cruising at 20mph (and it's an steptronic). Is the stalling related to the exhaust cam sensor? I've been having trouble starting my car and the throttle response is really bad now. I stepped all the way down today on the freeway and it took my car literraly 5 seconds to go from 60 mph to 65 mph on flat stretch.
p0340 is the intake cam position sensor malfunction..
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Old 05-18-2004, 03:53 AM   #15
O'BlueTouring
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so it seems like both exhaust cam and intake cam sensor are fried? what would cause those two sensors to malfunction? I hope it wasn't due to my aftermarket exhaust or anything like that.
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Old 05-18-2004, 06:38 AM   #16
notE46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O'BlueTouring
so it seems like both exhaust cam and intake cam sensor are fried? what would cause those two sensors to malfunction? I hope it wasn't due to my aftermarket exhaust or anything like that.

no idea what would cause them to go bad... but it is a fairly common failure. I'd say right up there with window regulators.
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:12 PM   #17
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Got part my dealership but it was something like "pulse generator". The part number is 12 14 7 518 628.
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by raakME-CU
Got part my dealership but it was something like "pulse generator". The part number is 12 14 7 518 628 ($96+tax).
Update: The part is the new lot with a bit different design but it works on my 2000 323i. The precedure is very simple. Just remove the connector cable (squeeze it on the sides and gently pull), remove the bolt underneath (you might need a small mirror and flash light to see where it is) which requires the hex driver not the regular one.

It is also a good idea to order the replacement o-ring (part# 12-14-1-748-398 $2.76+tax) to use with the new sensor.

After removing the old sensor, just put the o-ring on new sensor, lube the sensor a little bit with engine oil, insert the sensor back, fasten the bolt and reconnect the wire. That's all.

When I went into the dealership, I talk to one guy who just picked up the car for the same work I've done. He was charge part plus $115 for 1 hour labor + some other BS charge.
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:54 PM   #19
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That is the part I got. Both the dealership and autozone told me it was an intake sensor.
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Old 08-13-2004, 02:01 PM   #20
raakME-CU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trepan
That is the part I got. Both the dealership and autozone told me it was an intake sensor.
This is the location of the exhaust sensor (thanks slow323ci for the picture!).

The connector is circled, just squeeze on the sides of it and pull. You will see the bolt easier with the connector removed.
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