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Old 09-19-2007, 03:14 AM   #1
russmw
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E46 with unique idle problem!

Hi

I can drive the car all day long , without any problems, but if I park it and then start it again 30mins later, the idling is all over the place. Eventually when it has stabilized, I drive off but then find that the idling falls everytime I stop at a Red light etc. After driving for a couple of minutes this goes away and doesn't come back untill switched off again. I almost get the feeling that there is a sensor or something that doesn't like heat, seeing that the general temp under the bonnet will increase when the car is stationary. When cold the car starts fine and will run fine until I stop.

I have checked for air leaks and removed\inspected everything from the airbox to the disa valve (removed the upper intake manifold and checked all other breather pipes.)

The emmissions light isnt coming on so I am not definate its even an air leak. Does this sound familiar to anyone or any suggestions?

Thanks

(its a 2000 E46 318i 1.9 M43)
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:03 AM   #2
bansheeman
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My car is doing the same thing when it gets hot. If you find out what it is let me know please!
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:33 AM   #3
GPgold
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Hi...

My car (also 318i) had a very similar problem, eventually found the PCV breather hose was completely torn on both ends. I know you said you checked your hoses but perhaps you missed this one as its very far back. Good Luck!
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:19 AM   #4
night_rider2523
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Hey, strange but mine does the same thing! When it idles, i shift to N (mine is a steptronic) and the idle goes away. Umm.. GPgold, where is the PVC breather hose you mentioned actually located? I am anxious to check mine.

Thanks in advance,

kit
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:02 PM   #5
noble
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i glad to see its not just me, my problem is new, i brought it into bavaria bmw for a service and i guess he has only seen it a couple times, he suggested that on cold idle start it jumps around because of possible vanos issues. i guess to fix appox 1300 at a dealership, i think i might wait it out but he did say it could get to the point where is stalls
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:33 PM   #6
oqashu
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i have the same issue, i have replaced my vanos, and exhaust camshaft, MAF, valve cover gasket, and idle control valve. The guy at BMW stealership told me it could need an updated DME software, so i have to schedule for the car to go back in.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:39 PM   #7
Polish_328Ci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noble View Post
i glad to see its not just me, my problem is new, i brought it into bavaria bmw for a service and i guess he has only seen it a couple times, he suggested that on cold idle start it jumps around because of possible vanos issues. i guess to fix appox 1300 at a dealership, i think i might wait it out but he did say it could get to the point where is stalls
If that happens at start-up (cold engine) then yes it's your vanos. I have the same problem, mine actually stalled a couple times.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:42 PM   #8
johnnyg
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Your idle control valve is manually stuck open. The rubber boot leading to the intake and trottle body tends to develop holes or splits and road grime gets in and the idle valve stays open causing irratic idle, stumbling at start and decreased mileage. Just diagnosed and fixed mine. Maybe a little intake cleaner will loosen it but it will stick again. good luck!
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:16 PM   #9
speedbrat
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I also experienced an erratic idle after the battery was replaced. A battery charger was connected through the cig lighter to maintain power to the ECU while the battery was taken out and replaced with the new one. When I started the car the idle varied between 1000-2000rpm and didn't respond to any input from the drive-by-wire pedal. After turning the car off and on about 4 times everything was back to normal. problems like these could be cased by a myriad of things though
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:59 AM   #10
Martin Benca
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I had (maybe still have) the similar problem. People often suggest it can be Vanos but obviously that's not always the case. Also I read somewhere idle dancing because of Vanos appears only on older 328i engines since even though MB54B25 (MB54B30) can face the same Vanos worn-out they have updated ECU software to prevent this idling fluctuations being the result of it. However I have no idea if it is true or not.

You can find more here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=314768

For myself I can say that I think I "somewhat fixed it" by pushing car to the limit few times (I did few 80-120 acceleration tests with gas on the floor at 4th gear). After that I didn't really have this problem anymore for now around 2 months. I don't know if it is just a coincidence but it improved for me so for the time being I'll wait.

I'm not in the mood to replace Vanos for some 1000 euro only to find out it was not that. :-P However I still can get little fluctuations _sometimes_ if I release the gass at cold but it fixes itself within 2-3 seconds on its own (what wasn't the case before unless I pressed the gas shortly again and also fluctuations were bigger). So maybe that's normall because of course I can still confuse engine idling load by using brakes, turning the wheels a bit etc.

Either way if I wouldn't have this problem before which made me now paranoid and I watch my RPM at cold almost everytime I release the gas I would be perfectly ok with it now.

Last edited by Martin Benca; 01-08-2008 at 05:16 AM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:51 PM   #11
tonym318i2005
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re E46 idling problems- Very interesting discovery from an ex BMW tech.

Hi folks,

Ive been stressed to the max with rough idling problems. I am in the automotive industry in Australia and i had these rough idle problems that just came and went also for 6 months - just out of warranty. Upon asking a BMW specialist, he told me that all E46 vehicles need the coils to be changed as they are faulty - use Bosch instead of Bremi. Did that and went perfect for 4 days then back to rough idling. Then the PVC hose was changed- all great for 4 days and then same again. Frustrating......

I took it to a BMW dealership who had it for a week and all they could come up with was "you need a fuel additive". what a load of crap and waste of $180 as the problem came back after 4 days. Then they got it back and took a further week to tell me that my eccentric shaft is worn, with rockers and lifters , my oil is all sludged, and would cost about $5000 to fix!! BMW state that as i did not use long life oil that they wont provide any "goodwill assistance" as i did not use the long life oil. The stange thing i noticed was it happened when my wife did short trips. I travel 50km to work and i seldom have had the problem, yet as soon as the short trips start, the rough idle problem starts- guaranteed!

The bottom line is that they found my oil to be sludged and hence accordingly the sludge plays havoc with the valvetronics which confuses the computer into thinking that injectors are faulty. I had 2 instances of injector 1 reporting faulty, and another where injector 2 and 3 were faulty. This is of course impossible, as I have only done 37 000km.

I did not know of having to use long life oil, and ive only replaced the oil once since 2005 (after 19687km) and did so with Motul 4100 turbo light which is on the BMW approved list but ive since been told "NOT on the list for the N42 E46 engine!! ". Motul state that there oil doesn't not sludge and wanted a sample to prove so, but the dealer failed to read my email and answer me to comply with my repair conditions, so that evidence is destroyed now.

Despite all this they took all up 2 weeks to come up with this diagnosis for repair.

I started to enquire through people i knew who knew people and came across a startling discovery : a mechanic who has only just left working in a BMW dealership and was called "the whiz kid" told me the problem with my car immediately without even looking at it : He stated that the N42 engine has a breathing problem in the sense that the PVC valve can get very easily clogged and when this happens the separator cant flow properly and this sludges your oil, which in turn plays havoc on the valvetronics which cause your engine to rough idle sporadically due to all the mass sludge in your engine!! He should know as he did these warranties (if people were lucky enough to get it within the 2 year period by doing enough km to warrant a having a 2nd service at 40000- and he did TONS of them. i was unlucky (and ripped off) as i didnt do enough km to warrant a 2nd service within the warranty period. Another of my staffs friends at a dealership said that they replace the "rockers and lifters" regularly. I know its not the proper technical name for them as they are "or lifters and oar shafts".

I couldnt believe my ears. BMW stuffed me around for 2 damn weeks until they discovered this out. He even told me an instance that on a new 7 series the pvc valve actually broke down and went into the engine and completely ruined the engine!!

When i got back to work, I contacted more ex bmw techs and, also techs from with each dealership that our staff know told me EXACTLY the same prognosis - without even seeing my car as they know this problem. EVERY dealer, except the state's flagship dealer (owned and run by Head office) that repaired my car, admitted the problem and all knew it was an incredible task for ANY car to go 25000 with only 1 service. I innocently went by BMW's computer recommendation to replace the oil when it said to and that was my downfall- sticking to the BMW recommended service interval.

Of course the typical mechanic out there doesnt see these problems , as they recommend to change the oil typically every 10 000 km or 6 months, so even though they DONT use the long life oil - their customers dont get that rough idle problem. Strangely enough, many (not all) BMW customers using this long life oil, have got this same problem as me and many of you.

I was called a few days later by "the whiz kid" and he invited me to the workshop and he had a dead identical car to mine - build date 11/04 with 38 000 km BUT it was serviced the once at at BMW dealership with the long life oil. Well to my amazement, he showed me all the evidence i needed - a blocked pvc valve, sludging down the pvc hose and the manifold etc, so its obvious that in many cases - not all- that the long life oil (supposed to last 25000km) makes no difference either as the oil WILL sludge.

I' m taking my fight up to BMW as i have so much hard concrete evidence.

I hope this info help you out somewhat.

kindest regards people :-)
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:28 PM   #12
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wow, aftering reading all that message. One word, Wow. Hope it works out for you






Quote:
Originally Posted by tonym318i2005 View Post
Hi folks,

Ive been stressed to the max with rough idling problems. I am in the automotive industry in Australia and i had these rough idle problems that just came and went also for 6 months - just out of warranty. Upon asking a BMW specialist, he told me that all E46 vehicles need the coils to be changed as they are faulty - use Bosch instead of Bremi. Did that and went perfect for 4 days then back to rough idling. Then the PVC hose was changed- all great for 4 days and then same again. Frustrating......

I took it to a BMW dealership who had it for a week and all they could come up with was "you need a fuel additive". what a load of crap and waste of $180 as the problem came back after 4 days. Then they got it back and took a further week to tell me that my eccentric shaft is worn, with rockers and lifters , my oil is all sludged, and would cost about $5000 to fix!! BMW state that as i did not use long life oil that they wont provide any "goodwill assistance" as i did not use the long life oil. The stange thing i noticed was it happened when my wife did short trips. I travel 50km to work and i seldom have had the problem, yet as soon as the short trips start, the rough idle problem starts- guaranteed!

The bottom line is that they found my oil to be sludged and hence accordingly the sludge plays havoc with the valvetronics which confuses the computer into thinking that injectors are faulty. I had 2 instances of injector 1 reporting faulty, and another where injector 2 and 3 were faulty. This is of course impossible, as I have only done 37 000km.

I did not know of having to use long life oil, and ive only replaced the oil once since 2005 (after 19687km) and did so with Motul 4100 turbo light which is on the BMW approved list but ive since been told "NOT on the list for the N42 E46 engine!! ". Motul state that there oil doesn't not sludge and wanted a sample to prove so, but the dealer failed to read my email and answer me to comply with my repair conditions, so that evidence is destroyed now.

Despite all this they took all up 2 weeks to come up with this diagnosis for repair.

I started to enquire through people i knew who knew people and came across a startling discovery : a mechanic who has only just left working in a BMW dealership and was called "the whiz kid" told me the problem with my car immediately without even looking at it : He stated that the N42 engine has a breathing problem in the sense that the PVC valve can get very easily clogged and when this happens the separator cant flow properly and this sludges your oil, which in turn plays havoc on the valvetronics which cause your engine to rough idle sporadically due to all the mass sludge in your engine!! He should know as he did these warranties (if people were lucky enough to get it within the 2 year period by doing enough km to warrant a having a 2nd service at 40000- and he did TONS of them. i was unlucky (and ripped off) as i didnt do enough km to warrant a 2nd service within the warranty period. Another of my staffs friends at a dealership said that they replace the "rockers and lifters" regularly. I know its not the proper technical name for them as they are "or lifters and oar shafts".

I couldnt believe my ears. BMW stuffed me around for 2 damn weeks until they discovered this out. He even told me an instance that on a new 7 series the pvc valve actually broke down and went into the engine and completely ruined the engine!!

When i got back to work, I contacted more ex bmw techs and, also techs from with each dealership that our staff know told me EXACTLY the same prognosis - without even seeing my car as they know this problem. EVERY dealer, except the state's flagship dealer (owned and run by Head office) that repaired my car, admitted the problem and all knew it was an incredible task for ANY car to go 25000 with only 1 service. I innocently went by BMW's computer recommendation to replace the oil when it said to and that was my downfall- sticking to the BMW recommended service interval.

Of course the typical mechanic out there doesnt see these problems , as they recommend to change the oil typically every 10 000 km or 6 months, so even though they DONT use the long life oil - their customers dont get that rough idle problem. Strangely enough, many (not all) BMW customers using this long life oil, have got this same problem as me and many of you.

I was called a few days later by "the whiz kid" and he invited me to the workshop and he had a dead identical car to mine - build date 11/04 with 38 000 km BUT it was serviced the once at at BMW dealership with the long life oil. Well to my amazement, he showed me all the evidence i needed - a blocked pvc valve, sludging down the pvc hose and the manifold etc, so its obvious that in many cases - not all- that the long life oil (supposed to last 25000km) makes no difference either as the oil WILL sludge.

I' m taking my fight up to BMW as i have so much hard concrete evidence.

I hope this info help you out somewhat.

kindest regards people :-)
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:28 PM   #13
Rajaie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noble View Post
i glad to see its not just me, my problem is new, i brought it into bavaria bmw for a service and i guess he has only seen it a couple times, he suggested that on cold idle start it jumps around because of possible vanos issues. i guess to fix appox 1300 at a dealership, i think i might wait it out but he did say it could get to the point where is stalls
The idle issue is a standard problem on 99-00 M52TU (i6) engine cars. It occurs on cold weather cold starts and takes the form of idle jolts and possible stall. The solution is to replace the vanos seals. This will resolve the idle problem and will provide significant performance improvements.
All E46 i6’s (non M3, non diesel) (M52TU/M54/M56 engines) have failing vanos seals and will gain significant performance improvements from the seals replacement.
Symptoms include: loss of power and bogging in the lower RPM range (< 3k), hesitations and hiccups in the lower RPM range (< 3k), engine surging when accelerating to 3k RPM, intermittent warm idle small engine jolts, engine irregularities on takeoffs from stop.
Replacing the seals will provide: power improvements throughout the RPM range, particularly in the lower RPM range (< 3k), smooth transition throughout the RPM range, smoother stronger idle, smoother stronger takeoffs from stop, etc. Of course the 99-00 cold weather cold start idle problem is resolved.

Here’s a description of the 99-00 idle problem and a diagnosis.

“The problem occurs on M52TU engine cars, 3 & 5 series 6-cylinder 1999-2000. It presents when the car is cold, ~ < 55° Fahrenheit, usually in the morning. The problem begins at the end of the warm-up period (elevated idle rpm). Thus the colder the car, the more delay after startup before the problem manifests. At the end of the warm-up period the engine begins a series of stall encounters. The engine rpm’s drop significantly, the engine shudders, and then the engine rpm’s recover. This engine jolt lasts ~1 second. It is followed by a steady idle for ~7 seconds. The cycle then repeats. This continues for ~4.25 minutes. The 7 second idle interval can also be shorter, even to a ~1 second interval. With some cars the engine will actually stall on one of the engine jolts. If the car is driven before/during the episode, the problem seems to be suppressed, unless the car shortly comes to an idle state where the problem reappears. If the hood is opened, a gear/chain like chatter can be heard during the stall encounters. The idle control valve can sometimes also be heard clunk open.
The M54 and M56 engines share the same vanos as the M52TU engine, but don’t exhibit the “vanos problem”.”

“The problem can be more definitively diagnosed by disconnecting the vanos intake or exhaust solenoid electrical connector. If the engine stalls cease then the problem is due to the vanos. The intake solenoid electrical connector is easier to access and is located to the left (at hood) of the oil filter canister. It’s at the end of a metal cylinder (solenoid).”

Here's an informative thread on the vanos seals.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=524336
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:29 PM   #14
gwburke
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I think I am having the same issues. My car is at 183,000 miles and had the idling problems as well as going into "safety mode" when my engine is calling for too much torque in 4th and 5th gear. Stealership told me they were coming up with intake cam position sensor fault code. I replaced both intake and exhaust cam sensors with very minimal improvement in the idling and am still having the "safety mode" issue which is getting worse. Now I'm convinced that it's the Vanos seals. Currently when I go over 2500 rpm's for more than 5 seconds, the rpm gauge jumps to 3500 rpm's and "sticks" there. I either floor the gas pedal, causing the gauge too kick up and go back to where it should be, or I do nothing and the engine goes into "safety mode", to which I have to pull over and shut off the engine for ten seconds and let the computer reset itself. This problem began 2 years ago and happened sporadically at first and only when over 85 mph/3000 rpm's, it has since crippled my vehicle to the point that I have to keep it under 70 mph/2400 rpm's. (This is no way to drive a BMW) Dealer has never diagnosed any problem with the Vanos, but I don't think they were looking too hard. Does this sound about right as being a Vanos issue?
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:34 PM   #15
Rajaie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwburke View Post
I think I am having the same issues. My car is at 183,000 miles and had the idling problems as well as going into "safety mode" when my engine is calling for too much torque in 4th and 5th gear. Stealership told me they were coming up with intake cam position sensor fault code. I replaced both intake and exhaust cam sensors with very minimal improvement in the idling and am still having the "safety mode" issue which is getting worse. Now I'm convinced that it's the Vanos seals. Currently when I go over 2500 rpm's for more than 5 seconds, the rpm gauge jumps to 3500 rpm's and "sticks" there. I either floor the gas pedal, causing the gauge too kick up and go back to where it should be, or I do nothing and the engine goes into "safety mode", to which I have to pull over and shut off the engine for ten seconds and let the computer reset itself. This problem began 2 years ago and happened sporadically at first and only when over 85 mph/3000 rpm's, it has since crippled my vehicle to the point that I have to keep it under 70 mph/2400 rpm's. (This is no way to drive a BMW) Dealer has never diagnosed any problem with the Vanos, but I don't think they were looking too hard. Does this sound about right as being a Vanos issue?
I don't know. Your description is something I've not heard of before.
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:10 AM   #16
ssm1991
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonym318i2005 View Post
... I did not know of having to use long life oil, and ive only replaced the oil once since 2005 (after 19687km) and did so with Motul 4100 turbo light which is on the BMW approved list but ive since been told "NOT on the list for the N42 E46 engine!! "...

... EVERY dealer, except the state's flagship dealer (owned and run by Head office) that repaired my car, admitted the problem and all knew it was an incredible task for ANY car to go 25000 with only 1 service. I innocently went by BMW's computer recommendation to replace the oil when it said to and that was my downfall- sticking to the BMW recommended service interval.
...
I was called a few days later by "the whiz kid" and he invited me to the workshop and he had a dead identical car to mine - build date 11/04 with 38 000 km BUT it was serviced the once at at BMW dealership with the long life oil. Well to my amazement, he showed me all the evidence i needed - a blocked pvc valve, sludging down the pvc hose and the manifold etc, so its obvious that in many cases - not all- that the long life oil (supposed to last 25000km) makes no difference either as the oil WILL sludge.
...
Sorry about your problem. But that's one clear case debunking the 15,000mi/25,000km 'long-life' oil change interval that BMW 'recommends' -- no matter what oil they use. MOTUL is a very good brand, I use their 300V 5W40. But no matter how good the oil is, 20-25T km changes is just crazy if you want to maintain the engine long term.

Most dealer-serviced BMWs here in my part of the world are also changed at 20,000km. But the enthusiasts never follow that regimen. We actually change ours at min 5,000km max 10,000km given the horrendous traffic and short distances.

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:08 AM   #17
mechanic_101
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Have you guys ever checked the air intake flap? This devide is simple to check, and it could cause rough idle during idling. I have cleaned/replaced few of these, and the rough idle went away. Item #7 in the picture.

http://bmwfans.info/original/E46/Lim...1/ill-11_2879/
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:31 PM   #18
Yungster12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanic_101 View Post
Have you guys ever checked the air intake flap? This devide is simple to check, and it could cause rough idle during idling. I have cleaned/replaced few of these, and the rough idle went away. Item #7 in the picture.

http://bmwfans.info/original/E46/Lim...1/ill-11_2879/
You cleaned and replaced a few of these on your vehicle or others people's vehicle? How many miles were on it when replaced and how many trouble-free miles since?

Thanks!!
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:40 PM   #19
gwburke
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I am checking out the Adjuster unit as well as ordering the vanos seals, I'm sure both are way past their prime on my car.
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:36 PM   #20
KevinJ_2k1_325ci
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I posted on this several times to

I had rough idle a while back and after losts of complaining, BMWUSA finally replaced the Vanos at the suggestion of the master tech. This resolved about 80% of the problem but of course it was Spring by the time I got BMW to fix it. The following winter there was still a slight idle problem.

I did a DIY and replaced the idle control vavle which the master tech also had mentioned but he said at the time he was going for the vanos. The idle control valve is the name of the part your referring to. It certainly is a DIY BUT....the valve is at weird angles in there and took a lot of time to get it out and back in and it has you scratching your heads at BMW engineers.

I wouldn't clean this part as it is a electrical sonenoid and that is the part that goes bad not necessarily the air flap part. This part is cheap and can be a DIY for those that dare.

This resolved the remaining idle issues for me. Also other idle problems can come from dirty air filter, dirty throttle vavle, dirty mass air sensor, or using cheap engine cleaners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yungster12 View Post
You cleaned and replaced a few of these on your vehicle or others people's vehicle? How many miles were on it when replaced and how many trouble-free miles since?

Thanks!!
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