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Old 11-11-2010, 10:46 AM   #1
BB BMW
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Check Engine Light on Cold Mornings

The past few days my check engine light comes on when going to work between 7-7:30am. The weahter is a little cooler now and the mornings are around 35-40 degrees. The check engine lights comes on when I leave the house and usually goes off after traveling about 8-10 miles. It does not come on when I leave work later that evening around 5-6pm. This only happens in the morning.

I know I could get a Peake Code reader, but wanted to know if anyone else had run across this before.

I guess I'll go by AutoZone this weekend and see if they can get me the codes.

Thanks
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:05 PM   #2
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are you checking check engine light or SES light?
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcns View Post
are you checking check engine light or SES light?
The light that looks like a motor.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:51 PM   #4
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Do you get the light when your fuel tank is full?
Do you drive the car at lunch time?
Since the test runs from 20F to 95F, I am not sure what might cause the error when it is colder out.

This may be why you see it only in the mornings-
http://www.bmwmotorsports.org/BMW_docs/m54x5.pdf

LEAK DIAGNOSIS TEST PRECONDITIONS
The ECM only initiates a leak diagnosis test every second time the criteria are met. The criteria
are as follows:
• Engine OFF with ignition switched OFF.
• Engine Control Module still in active state or what is known as “follow up mode” (Main
Relay energized, control module and DME components online for extended period after
key off).
• Prior to Engine/Ignition switch OFF condition, vehicle must have been driven for a minimum
of 20 minutes.
• Prior to minimum 20 minute drive, the vehicle must have been OFF for a minimum of 5
hours.
• Fuel Tank Capacity must be between 15 and 85% (safe approximation between 1/4 -
3/4 of a tank).
• Ambient Air Temperature between -7C & 35C (20F & 95F )
• Altitude < 2500m (8,202 feet).
• Battery Voltage between 11.5 and 14.5 Volts
When these criteria are satisfied every second time, the ECM will start the Fuel System Leak
Diagnosis Test. The test will typically be carried out once a day i.e. once after driving to
work in the morning, when driving home in the evening, the criteria are once again met but
the test is not initiated. The following morning, the test will run again.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB BMW View Post
The light that looks like a motor.
Like a motor... is your vehicle a non-US model? Do you see the light indicated anywhere below:





I have issues during cold weather with a post-cat oxygen sensor running lean. It remains lit though for months until temperatures return to a normal state.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:15 PM   #6
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maybe it's the low coolant light?
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin Koolaid View Post
Like a motor... is your vehicle a non-US model? Do you see the light indicated anywhere below:





I have issues during cold weather with a post-cat oxygen sensor running lean. It remains lit though for months until temperatures return to a normal state.
2004 330CI US MODEL

See pic below

Thanks for the cluster pic, I'm at work and didn't have access to a desktop editor.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:34 PM   #8
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check your radiator/expansion tank level.
Add distilled water/coolant mix as needed.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcns View Post
check your radiator/expansion tank level.
Add distilled water/coolant mix as needed.
Thanks jcns.

So it's a radiator light, the thing looks just like the check engine light on the Acura Legend I had. Guess I should have drug out the owners man.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:22 AM   #10
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Definitely the coolant indicator in this case...

FYI, older E46s use an engine symbol, newer ones say "Service Engine Soon". Both these warnings indicate the identical condition - fault code(s) have been generated due to an engine problem being monitored.

Best of luck,

Ken
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:44 AM   #11
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Canadian models also use an engine symbol in place of the US "service engine soon" light.

Electronic owners manual download- for reference:
http://www.linquist.net/motorsports/bmw/3manuals/
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:58 AM   #12
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Rtfm
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:42 PM   #13
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OP, my car did the same thing last year. I topped the coolant and the light went out. However, the seal at the bottom of the expansion tank was beginning to fail. I never saw any coolant on the ground or in the engine compartment. Seemed to evaporate as it leaked, but the leak reached the point where I had to top off the coolant every day. I replaced the expansion tank (along with hoses, water pump, flush, the whole thing because it was time) and it was fixed. So, keep an eye on it. You may just need a top off, but these cars are known for issues with the expansion tank.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB BMW View Post
2004 330CI US MODEL

See pic below

Thanks for the cluster pic, I'm at work and didn't have access to a desktop editor.


That's supposed to represent a coolant tank. It's not an engine .

Check your coolant level when the car is cold (i.e., has been sitting for several hours; it's very important). If it's low, simply top it off with some distilled water. You can get a gallon at a place like Walmart for $1.50. Be careful when topping it off, as it can go from low to too full very quickly.
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