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Old 12-02-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
CNels
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Surging at idle...Vanos?

I have had my 2000 328ci for several months now.I got maint. records,for a spotless,leak free car.I absolutely love the car and this forum.You all have been a great help! I have had no issues with the car,but I did the recommended cooling system refresh.
My issue. The car starts perfectly,and settles into a smooth idle until the needle creeps into the blue.Then,it begins to surge a bit.It even stalled once.As soon as it creeps out of the blue,it quits surging ,runs great,and idles rock steady.
I have researched hundreds of posts here,and it has symptoms of the Vanos seals(acoording to my records they have never been addressed).My question,is there other issues that could cause this cold surge? I want to check every possibility,as the seals look like a huge job.Not sure if I want to tackle that myself.Visually,all vac. and intake hoses look great.I have not done a smoke test.
Thanks in advance for any advice
Craig
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:01 AM   #2
Dave1027
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Originally Posted by CNels View Post
My issue. The car starts perfectly,and settles into a smooth idle until the needle creeps into the blue.Then,it begins to surge a bit.It even stalled once.As soon as it creeps out of the blue,it quits surging ,runs great,and idles rock steady.
Are you saying you did not have an issue until you did the cooling system refresh?

I think you need to address why the RPMs are dropping into the blue. When it does that the ICV is trying to prevent a stall. I'd go after simpler stuff before even considering the vanos like vacuum leaks, spark plugs or disa. Have you scanned for codes?
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:43 PM   #3
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MAF or ICV may be dirty or both. Check those out and clean them before throwing money at the problem. Also the DISA valve can show similar symptoms. How many miles on the car? Doing the vanos seals certainly wont hurt but it is the most involved of all the jobs and may not be your root cause.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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Thanks defEddie,that is the kind of insight I am looking for. I will get some sensor cleaner and clean the MAF and ICV.I was hoping there might be some other systems that might give these same symptoms.The last thing I want to do is throw parts at the car.
Dave1027.I should have been clearer.I had noticed this before doing the cooling system.I was looking for advice of other things to check into.I absolutely want to deal with the Vanos seals as a last resort.The MAF is fairly new,according to my records.I will check into the ICV and MAF first,then possibly check the DISA if the problem persists.I have new spark plugs,and plan to put them in this weekend.Thank you both for the feedback.Now I have a game plan!
By the way,the car has 58k,one owner.Once it has warmed up,it runs perfectly.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:18 PM   #5
defEddie
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I had a similar issue maybe 2 years ago. My problem was a bit more unique than these general symptoms but the cause brought be back to square one and I put more money than necessary into it although I don't regret it one bit since they were maintenance issues. And as much money as I spent, none was wasted since they gave me peace of mind. My surging was REAL bad. Didnt matter if the car was hot or cold. It would never stall but the revs would bounce all over the place at lights in parking lots, they would hang while shifting on the highway. It was a huge pain. I replaced my MAF which already had issues, did the VANOS seals, replaced the fuel filter, checked the DISA... THOUGHT I CHECKED THE ICV even brought the car to a shop for a smoke test. I contacted VF Engineering to question them if it could be a software issue with my s/c kit... Ruled that out.

Then one night I hopped in the car and it immediately went into limp mode, EML and check engine light.... OBDII scan said "throttle stuck." I stumbled across a post on one of the UK e39 forums (I think) talking about a similar issue and how the throttle will attempt to "unjam itself" when its stuck and will blip the throttle to free itself. I spent the next morning taking a lot of things apart and cleaning them including a lot of the plumbing to my s/c. Discovered a few tiny vaccum leaks and fixed those. I pulled the DISA, ICV and my throttle and I found the cause of my problem... I have a meth kit and the mix I was using had a red dye in it. It was EVERYWHERE. It turned into a waxy, sticky paste. This caused my ICV to jam up but it hadnt failed. The DISA and throttle body all had this buildup not to mention my intake manifold. The throttle wasnt bad at all but after cleaning that crap off and out of everything, the car began to run as it should. The DISA and throttle were fine for the most part. I would say the problem was the ICV 100%. I usally mix my own meth and a had run 4 gallons of this crap through my engine over maybe 7-8 months!

If you're still with me, the moral of the story is to be thorough when you remove and inspect parts because the problem could be staring you right in the face the whole time. The first time I removed the ICV, the internals were moving as they should but I didn't realize just how dirty it was and the next time I checked it was months later. I had to literally scrape it clean with a small screwdriver. In my case, that buildup became so hard that it not only weighed down the internals but it reduced the clearance of the moving part so much that it jammed up.

Since then, I have helped 2 friends and a neighbors wife with e46s with similar symptoms. None were as extreme as my case as they are not running methanol injection. But one was pretty gunked up and cleaning it solved the problem too.
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:12 PM   #6
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Thank you for taking the time to reply.I now will develop a plan of attack,starting with pulling those components and thoroughly cleaning them up.My problem is more of an aggravation than anything else.However,little things like that bother me and I know it will get worse if I ignore it.I really hope I find a problem before I get to the Vanos!! That doesn't look like a fun job at all.
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:16 PM   #7
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Suggest you read the first 2 links below in my signature.
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:17 PM   #8
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If your car has over 100K, you bet the vanos seals are shot.
Could be a combination of vacuum leak and vanos.

Do you have a scanner that reads live data?
Read short term fuel trims at cold idle.

Not a bad idea to clean the ICV, but I doubt if that'll fix it.
If you do clean the ICV, then you should also clean the TB.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:05 AM   #9
CNels
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Thanks guys. jfoj,I have read all the links in your sig.As a guy new to these cars,I cant thank you enough for putting those up .A huge help.I have gathered a lot of info and knowledge from those links. The car has never thrown a error code at all.I almost wish it would.
lszlszx,I have purchased the pa.soft but have had no luck getting it to run on my laptop(drivers).I am going to give it another try. I do have a Peake code reader,but the car has not thrown any codes.I do need to get the pa up and running!
I have restored a couple of older Euro sports cars.I currently have a 76 Fiat Spider that won its category at Nat'l convention.Needless to say,the technology of the BMW is more challenging (for me) than on 70's Italian or British cars.I am going to proceed with cleaning and checking everything relevant,in the hope I don't have to do the Vanos seals.No doubt that they probably do need to be done,and I don't look forward to doing them!
Thanks to all for the feedback.This forum is awesome
Spider pic

Last edited by CNels; 12-03-2014 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNels View Post
Thanks guys. jfoj,I have read all the links in your sig.As a guy new to these cars,I cant thank you enough for putting those up .A huge help.I have gathered a lot of info and knowledge from those links. The car has never thrown a error code at all.I almost wish it would.
lszlszx,I have purchased the pa.soft but have had no luck getting it to run on my laptop(drivers).I am going to give it another try. I do have a Peake code reader,but the car has not thrown any codes.I do need to get the pa up and running!
I have restored a couple of older Euro sports cars.I currently have a 76 Fiat Spider that won its category at Nat'l convention.Needless to say,the technology of the BMW is more challenging (for me) than on 70's Italian or British cars.I am going to proceed with cleaning and checking everything relevant,in the hope I don't have to do the Vanos seals.No doubt that they probably do need to be done,and I don't look forward to doing them!
Thanks to all for the feedback.This forum is awesome

Peake Reader is a boat anchor, PA Soft does not usually give you the info you need.

Spend $30 or less on an OBDII smart phone App and interface, it will blow the Peake and PA Soft away for drivability issues.

Just because there are no codes does not mean things are working properly.

Need warm idle Fuel Trim info.

When doe the idle surge, cold, warm or both?
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:32 AM   #11
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The idle only surges when stone cold.As soon as the temp needle is out of the 'blue',the car idles perfectly.I only discovered the surge when the weather turned cold,and I let the car warm up before driving.If I start it up,idle for a few seconds and drive away,I never noticed it.
Any recommendation on the smartphone app? That sounds like the way to go.Would it matter that my car has the standard OBDII port inside,and the round port under the hood? The PA soft has been a PITA! The Peake reader came with the car,and hasn't been out of the glovebox.

Last edited by CNels; 12-03-2014 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNels View Post
The idle only surges when stone cold.As soon as the temp needle is out of the 'blue',the car idles perfectly.I only discovered the surge when the weather turned cold,and I let the car warm up before driving.If I start it up,idle for a few seconds and drive away,I never noticed it.
Any recommendation on the smartphone app? That sounds like the way to go.Would it matter that my car has the standard OBDII port inside,and the round port under the hood? The PA soft has been a PITA! The Peake reader came with the car,and hasn't been out of the glovebox.
I see you have a 2000 MY car, you DO NOT need any BMW specialized software for drivability issues. The fact that you have the 20 pin round port and the 16 pin standard OBD port under the hood is not an issue. The only caveat is that the 20 pin connector has the cover with the jumpers undamaged and the cover is installed, it will then connect the 16 pin under dash port to the DME.

What smart phone/tablet platforms do you own? Android, iProduct, Kindle, Nook?

VANOS is the last thing I would even consider at this point, there are SO many issues that a 14-15 year old BMW needs to have addressed long before the VANOS seals. I am not saying the VANOS seals are not your problem, but I find that VANOS seals are blamed/targeted/replaced too quickly and before the "basics" are addressed.

If you have not addressed everything in the first 2 links in my signature, they ALL need to be addressed plus a few other issues.

I am working on what I call my 20 questions, might not be 20 questions, but I will post them back here in a bit once I am finished putting my list together.
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:10 AM   #13
defEddie
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jfoj's first link is worth more than gold...

With that said, clean everything up and repeat.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:32 AM   #14
CNels
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Wow...thanks guys.I really appreciate all the advice.I currently use a iphone 5s.This is exactly what I had hoped for,when I started this thread.I will go thru every other possibility before addressing the Vanos unit.I will read through those links again.As a car enthusiast,it is great to deal with other enthusiasts.I looked long and hard to find this car,and I want it to be right.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Wow...thanks guys.I really appreciate all the advice.I currently use a iphone 5s.This is exactly what I had hoped for,when I started this thread.I will go thru every other possibility before addressing the Vanos unit.I will read through those links again.As a car enthusiast,it is great to deal with other enthusiasts.I looked long and hard to find this car,and I want it to be right.
Iphone 5S should be able to use OBDFusion from the App store which is $4.99

and you need an OBDII to WiFi interface for $16 if you have Amazon Prime - http://www.amazon.com/ieGeek%C2%AE-W...ds=Elm327+wifi

So for about $21 you can run circles around what you currently have as far as software or other OBDII tools.
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:06 AM   #16
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OK, here is the first crack as my "BMW 20 Questions".

If you own a BMW E series chassis that has the I6 engine that is 10+ years old and has any sort of cold start or engine idle issues or the SES/CEL/MIL is on and you cannot answer YES to at least 15 of these 20 questions, we should not discuss anything further.

I think the problem is pretty obvious and I think these 20 things all need to be considered and addressed in some level of priority before moving forward.

The only item in the list that SHOULD NOT be replaced just because is the MAF. I just need to know if it was replaced and where it was sourced and how much it cost. This is because there are MANY counterfeit/clone Asian MAF's available that actually cause more problems then they solve.

So get reading and answering.

If at least 15 of these items have not been addressed, I think you know what you need to be doing.

BMW "20 Questions"

1. Have the spark plugs been changed and when?
2. Has the fuel filter been changed and when?
3. Has the air filter been changed and when? If the air filter was changed, is it an OEM style or K&N type of filter?
4. Have the intake boots been replaced and when?
5. Has the CCV and hoses been replaced and when?
6. Has the DISA been inspected or replaced and/or DISA O-ring been replaced and when?
7. Have the SAP vacuum hoses been replaced and when?
8. Have the O2 sensors been replaced and when?
9. Has the valve cover gasket been replaced and when?
10. Has the fuel pump been changed and when?
11. Has the dipstick tube and the dipstick O-rings been replaced and when?
12. Have the air distribution manifold O-rings been replaced and when?
13. Has the oil fill cap been replaced and when?
14. Has the power brake booster been replaced and when?
15. Has the IAT or IAT dummy plug O-ring been replaced and when?
16. Have the fuel injectors ever been sent out of for proper cleaning, flow testing and replacment O-rings and when?
17. Has the ICV been removed, cleaned and the ICV grommet been replaced and when?
18. Has the throttle body been removed, cleaned and the gasket been replaced and when?
19. Has the fuel filter vacuum hose under the car been inspected/replaced and when?
20. Has the MAF ever been replaced and when? What brand was used to replace it and how much did it cost?
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:01 PM   #17
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Great!! That needs to be a sticky.I can answer yes to 6 of those only.I have records for a couple(MAF and intake boots) done at the dealership.Only 4 questions have been addressed by me.Is the K&N filter a problem? I did install one in the stock airbox. I obviously have some work to do,although I am able to do all of these in my garage.This is exactly the info I was hoping for.Having read your links,I had noticed a lot of people blaming the Vanos seals for everything.Now,I have a list of possible culprits that I can work thru.Thanks again for taking the time to post this.
Craig
I appreciate the info on the obII. I will do that first

Last edited by CNels; 12-03-2014 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:39 PM   #18
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K&N filter is not usually a problem if it is a drop in replacement, the CAI intake hacks with cone filters will stress old intake boots and cause them to crack even quicker.

At the end of the day the VANOS seals would be the very last thing I would blame if all the "USUAL" suspects have not been addressed.

To put this all in perspective, I have one of the youngest E46 on the road, build date 7/2006. So my car is just over 8 years old.

I decided to "shotgun" rather than "Whack A Mole" the problems on my car.

My car had NO issues other than the LTFT had crept up a bit at warm idle. I knew I was on borrowed time. The car is the wife's daily driver. So do I put myself and my wife though "Whack A Mole" or do I just put myself out of my misery with a single "shotgun" blast?

I took the cowardly way out, a single "shotgun" blast!

Car has close to 85k on the clock and was just 8 years old. About 3 weeks ago I pulled the trigger on the "shotgun".

So lets look at "The List"

1. Have the spark plugs been changed and when? Done by dealer at Inspection II @ 60k miles.

2. Has the fuel filter been changed and when? Not yet, have filter, need a weekend and some decent weather, ran out of time when I loaded the "shotgun".

3. Has the air filter been changed and when? If the air filter was changed, is it an OEM style or K&N type of filter? OEM style, changed at 60k during Inspection II at dealer, inspected every 10k miles, still in decent shape, will replace when I get the fuel filter installed.

4. Have the intake boots been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

5. Has the CCV and hoses been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

6. Has the DISA been inspected or replaced and/or DISA O-ring been replaced and when? Original DISA was replaced by dealer under the "Bumper to Bumper Warranty", I removed and inspected the DISA during the "shotgun" job and replaced the DISA O-ring with a formed silicon O-ring when I pulled the "trigger".

7. Have the SAP vacuum hoses been replaced and when"? No, my car does not have a vacuum controlled SAP system, however, I had to replace the SAP MAF about 2 years ago.

8. Have the O2 sensors been replaced and when? No, I expect I can get about 125k miles before I need to replace the O2 sensors on this car unless I have a O2 sensor heater failure. I watch graph them from time to time to watch their behavior.

9. Has the valve cover gasket been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

10. Has the fuel pump been changed and when? Yes, I was going to replace it when I pulled the trigger, however I ran out of time before the weather got too cold. Well the first day we had sub freezing weather, I started the car and the fuel pressure regulator was moaning, the next day the car would not start in the driveway. 12 minutes after I opened the convertible top, the new pump was installed and the car was running again!

11. Has the dipstick tube and the dipstick O-rings been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

12. Have the air distribution manifold O-rings been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

13. Has the oil fill cap been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger". The oil fill cap will have a hole drilled in it and it will be my crankcase smoke test interface.

14. Has the power brake booster been replaced and when? No, this is not a problem, yet. I hope to get to year 12 before this is a problem, this is a wait and see replacement.

15. Has the IAT or IAT dummy plug O-ring been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

16. Have the fuel injectors ever been sent out of for proper cleaning, flow testing and replacement O-rings and when? No I do not have any reason to do this quite yet.

17. Has the ICV been removed, cleaned and the ICV grommet been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".

18. Has the throttle body been removed, cleaned and the gasket been replaced and when? Yes, when I pulled the "trigger".
19. Has the fuel filter vacuum hose under the car been inspected/replaced and when? No, this will be addressed when I replace the fuel filter soon.

20. Has the MAF ever been replaced and when? What brand was used to replace it and how much did it cost? No, the car has the orignal MAF, all of my cars do, I will replace it if and when it becomes a problem. MAF replacement should be the LAST item considered for replacement unless it can be 100% identified as a problem.

I am at 15 items and I have not replaced the fuel filter, fuel filter vacuum hose or O2 sensors at this point.

But in my case I have never had Lean codes, SES/CEL/MIL problems for misfires or rough running. I did have SES/CEL/MIL come on when the MAF for the SAP failed and when for the thermostat once which was replaced under the Bumper To Bumper Warranty.

My wife said the car is running very well and it apparently runs even better now that the fuel pump was replaced, I think the fuel pump was going soft and the cold weather did it in which I kind of expected it to fail during bitterly cold temps.

I admit, I am a coward, I chose not to play the ultimate game of "Whack A Mole", I took the easy way out with a single "shotgun" blast. I figured this was far less painful that having my wife come home and tell me she was going to buy a new Honda or Toyota one weekend after the SES/CEL/MIL coming on all the time, the engine misfiring, stalling and running rough or her being stranded due to the fuel pump failing.

I got VERY close on the fuel pump, luckily it was in the driveway and I had a spare car on hand to send her off on her way for the day.

So hopefully I have saved myself some time and effort on the game of "Whack A Mole" for another 8 years!
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:04 PM   #19
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Posts: 113
My Ride: 2000 328ci
LOL... I think I will go the 'Whack a Mole'' route,as long as the issue I am having doesn't get worse.I recently did the fuel filter but really didn't pay attention to the vac hose there.That hose,the plugs,inspect and clean the MAF will all be done this weekend.I need to get the seals for the ICV and DISA bfore that inspection/cleaning.I am going to try to a couple things ata time in case I hit upon my problem.Fantastic info for a 'newbie'
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:31 PM   #20
Jools
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: CT
Posts: 215
My Ride: 2005 330Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
So hopefully I have saved myself some time and effort on the game of "Whack A Mole" for another 8 years!
This sounds pretty similar to what I'm about to do. I've never had any serious issues in three years of ownership, but I know that one of the CCV breather hoses is failing. My plan is to replace everything that's relatively cheap and might need replacement on the way down, including any vacuum hoses that look suspect. Going to do the fuel filter, fuel pump, and some cooling system components as well because I might as well just make a weekend out of it.

Normally I'm pretty big on doing proper diagnoses and not just throwing parts and money at problems, but it's actually amazingly cheap to do a lot of preventative maintenance on these cars if you can do the work yourself. I'm replacing a huge amount of potential wear parts for barely $500. With luck it'll be the only non-routine work I do on my car for the next year or more.
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