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Old 06-22-2011, 01:14 PM   #1
albarran9
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Possible cold morning start rough idle fix

I got rid of my cars cold morning rough idle by seafoaming the secondary air pump. My car had rough idle issues only on cold morning starts for the last two years and I could never find the cause. It would not do this the rest of the day or after about a minute or two after the initial cold morning start. In the two years, I got obsessed on finding the culprit of the cause as many others had the same issue. In doing so I cleaned my ICV, throttle body and replaced my lower and upper intake hoses, fuel filter, DISA, pre-cat O2 sensors, cam shaft position sensors (intake and exhaust), and new MAF (Hyundai). I tried the Seafoam diy and noticed that the rough idling smoothed out a little but not all the way. I tried the secondary air pump diy again and that time it really got it fixed. Now on cold morning start, I don't have any rough idling. It's been a good solid month of smooth cold starts so far. I'm guessing that the clogged SAP was not delivering enough air for the start up sequence and was throwing things off? I did have stored codes for misfires but never got a CEL on them. I havent had those either now after fixing the rough idle. I spent a lot on parts and only see it as a learning experience and preventative maintenance. I now know my engine better than I did before (DIY's) and my engine will have more miles to go.


Cliff notes:
-Had rough idle cold morning starts
-Cleaned Secondary Air Pump with Seafoam
-Fixed cold morning rough idle
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:00 AM   #2
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Can you describe in detail how did you clean the secondary air pump with seafoam.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:57 AM   #3
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:53 AM   #4
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You're referring to a cold engine not cold ambient temps, right? Did your idle issues begin immediately after starting the car? How long did it take for the idle smooth out?

This is interesting, I'm a bit puzzled as to an explanation for why this would help. Any theories? As I understand it, the car runs open loop during warmup and the SAP injects fresh air into the exhaust stream to lean out the exhaust gas and promote further hydrocarbon oxidation and help get the cats up to operating temp a little sooner. Not sure how any of this would impact idle quality during open loop operation.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:33 AM   #5
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I would also like the exact steps you took to clean the SAI...
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:20 PM   #6
albarran9
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ndary+air+pump

This is the DIY I followed to Seafoam my SAP. I also found a bavauto article on diagnosing the SAP and the vacuum lines it is attached to. I did research over the length of the time it took me to resolve my issue and found that our cars have a "cold start up sequence" This only happens for about the 1st 1-2 min's of each cold morning start and will not happen again until the car sits for a long period of time. This feeds oxygen to the exhaust gasses, allowing for a more complete burn of hydrocarbons
(harmful emissions). The system turns off after about a minute or less. When I learned about this, It seemed to fit my issue because my rough idle only happend during this cold start up sequence. My car would shake and it felt as if it were misfiring. After the initial cold morning start, I would't have this issue until the following morning. Because my issue wan't all the time and only in the mornings, that led me to believe that it wasn't the MAF or the spark plugs or coil packs. I tesed each spark plug and coil pack to make sure they were working properly by switching them around different cylinders to see if they would produce a misfire. So in the end this left me with the conclusion that it had something to do with the cold start up sequence. I changed out my pre-cat O2 sensors just to rule them out and because it was time to change them and that didn't produce any improvements. I had some Seafoam left over from when I was cleaning my intake and my fuel injectors. Since I had some left over I thought It wouldn't hurt to try and it fixed my cold morning rough idle. Im not sure as to why it fixed it exactly but I have a hunch that it wasn't producing enough O2 needed to burn the emissions durning the cold start up sequence so it thew off the readings on the O2 sensors causing a problem with the air/fuel mixture on the intake side. So in other words because the air pump was working no CEL was thrown for the SAP but it never got the right amount of O2 in the exhaust because the valves were clogged and it caused the sensors to get a reading of low O2 on the exhaust side. This in turn made the intake side add more air to make up for what the SAP wasn't putting in and getting the fuel/air mixture wrong causing the vibrations and the misfires. That's just my theory so not sure if its applicable or not.

Bavauto
http://www.bavauto.com/newsletter/20...ter.pdf#page=6
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albarran9 View Post
I have a hunch that it wasn't producing enough O2 needed to burn the emissions durning the cold start up sequence so it thew off the readings on the O2 sensors causing a problem with the air/fuel mixture on the intake side. So in other words because the air pump was working no CEL was thrown for the SAP but it never got the right amount of O2 in the exhaust because the valves were clogged and it caused the sensors to get a reading of low O2 on the exhaust side. This in turn made the intake side add more air to make up for what the SAP wasn't putting in and getting the fuel/air mixture wrong causing the vibrations and the misfires. That's just my theory so not sure if its applicable or not.
During this time, the DME is running open loop. Thid means that it does not use feedback from the O2s to adapt the amount of fuel injected. It does monitor them to ensure that the SAP is functioning properly (it will read lean while the pump is running and rich when it cuts off). During this cold start routine, the fuel injection is managed from pre-programmed tables which I believe also get trimmed using adaptation values stored from previous closed loop (ie, post warm up) operation. I just don't see any way for SAP functionality to feed back into cold start idle.

Any chance you resolved an undetected vaccum leak during your Sea Foam process?
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:54 PM   #8
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Instructions from SeaFoam makers - Caution - make sure engine is running

I had asked the folks at SeaFoam what they thought of the idea of pouring SeaFoam into the vacuum tube directly specifically to fix the cold start idle problem on our e46. The following is the response from the SeaFoam Technical Service Advisor. He attached a procedure that they recommend for doing this (attached PDF).


Ian
Being a former auto mechanic myself I can see how Sea Foam would help in this situation. My only problem with this approach is pouring Sea Foam into the hose with the engine not running. As Iím sure you are aware that fluids donít compress and if an intake valve were open while pouring Sea Foam into the hose the fluid could all go into one cylinder and when you start the engine and the valve closes and the piston comes up the fluid in the cylinder could hydro lock the engine. We do have a carbon removal procedure to pour Sea Foam into a vacuum line that feeds all cylinders with the engine warm and running I will attach instructions on doing this as it may be safer.

Jim Davis
Sea Foam Sales Co.
Technical Service Advisor
ASE Certified Automotive Technician




Using Sea Foam through Vacuum line

Using Sea Foam through a vacuum line is easy and safe if you remember one thing. Liquids donít compress and can cause an engine to hydro lock if too much liquid is applied. Always regulate the rate at which Sea Foam goes into the engine. Never insert the vacuum line into the bottle of Sea Foam, always pour Sea Foam slowly into the vacuum line.

It is important to make sure the engine is running and at operating temperature. Then find a vacuum line that feeds all cylinders, usually the PCV hose or the vacuum brake booster line may feed all cylinders. If you are in doubt as to which vacuum line to use, check with a certified auto technician.
After the correct vacuum line has been located, start engine and disconnect vacuum line. With engine at idle and at operating temperature slowly pour Sea Foam into vacuum line. It is important to control the rate at which Sea Foam goes into the vacuum line. The engine will labor while applying Sea Foam. Pour enough Sea Foam into the vacuum line to make the engine labor at idle, but not enough to stall engine.
After 1/3 to Ĺ can of Sea Foam has been induced into the engine, shut engine off and let sit (hot soak) for about 5 minutes and reconnect vacuum line. After the 5 minute hot soak period, restart engine in a well ventilated area as exhaust may be extreme for a short time. Road test the vehicle immediately after start up, driving aggressively until exhaust looks normal. This usually takes up to 5 miles. It is always better and safer to road test car to clean the gum, varnish and carbon out of the engine.
By doing this you have done an intense carbon cleaning procedure to your engine. This operation is recommended once a year or every 15,000 miles.


December 7, 2009 J.D.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Using Sea Foam through vacuum line.pdf (11.2 KB, 203 views)
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:29 PM   #9
taibinhvuong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
I had asked the folks at SeaFoam what they thought of the idea of pouring SeaFoam into the vacuum tube directly specifically to fix the cold start idle problem on our e46. The following is the response from the SeaFoam Technical Service Advisor. He attached a procedure that they recommend for doing this (attached PDF).


Ian
Being a former auto mechanic myself I can see how Sea Foam would help in this situation. My only problem with this approach is pouring Sea Foam into the hose with the engine not running. As Iím sure you are aware that fluids donít compress and if an intake valve were open while pouring Sea Foam into the hose the fluid could all go into one cylinder and when you start the engine and the valve closes and the piston comes up the fluid in the cylinder could hydro lock the engine. We do have a carbon removal procedure to pour Sea Foam into a vacuum line that feeds all cylinders with the engine warm and running I will attach instructions on doing this as it may be safer.

Jim Davis
Sea Foam Sales Co.
Technical Service Advisor
ASE Certified Automotive Technician




Using Sea Foam through Vacuum line

Using Sea Foam through a vacuum line is easy and safe if you remember one thing. Liquids donít compress and can cause an engine to hydro lock if too much liquid is applied. Always regulate the rate at which Sea Foam goes into the engine. Never insert the vacuum line into the bottle of Sea Foam, always pour Sea Foam slowly into the vacuum line.

It is important to make sure the engine is running and at operating temperature. Then find a vacuum line that feeds all cylinders, usually the PCV hose or the vacuum brake booster line may feed all cylinders. If you are in doubt as to which vacuum line to use, check with a certified auto technician.
After the correct vacuum line has been located, start engine and disconnect vacuum line. With engine at idle and at operating temperature slowly pour Sea Foam into vacuum line. It is important to control the rate at which Sea Foam goes into the vacuum line. The engine will labor while applying Sea Foam. Pour enough Sea Foam into the vacuum line to make the engine labor at idle, but not enough to stall engine.
After 1/3 to Ĺ can of Sea Foam has been induced into the engine, shut engine off and let sit (hot soak) for about 5 minutes and reconnect vacuum line. After the 5 minute hot soak period, restart engine in a well ventilated area as exhaust may be extreme for a short time. Road test the vehicle immediately after start up, driving aggressively until exhaust looks normal. This usually takes up to 5 miles. It is always better and safer to road test car to clean the gum, varnish and carbon out of the engine.
By doing this you have done an intense carbon cleaning procedure to your engine. This operation is recommended once a year or every 15,000 miles.


December 7, 2009 J.D.
By reading this, I'm reluctant to seafoam the Secondary Air Pump using the method as the OP described unless someone can positively sure that it is safe to the engine.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:18 PM   #10
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The Seafoam isn't going into the engine cylinders, its being sen't by the air of the SAP into the valve going into the exhaust. When you pour the liquid into the line, the valve is closed and no liquid is released. As soon as the car is started then the valve is open and releases the liquid into the exhaust. It's not the same as if someone were to pour an ounce of Seafoam into the throttle body while the car was off and then started it.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:39 PM   #11
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Thanks, I'll check the SAP and the check valve first to make sure they are still functioning, then I'll pour the seafoam into the hose as you did.

Do I have to repeat this procedure serveral times over next few months?
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:14 PM   #12
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Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by albarran9 View Post
The Seafoam isn't going into the engine cylinders, its being sen't by the air of the SAP into the valve going into the exhaust. When you pour the liquid into the line, the valve is closed and no liquid is released. As soon as the car is started then the valve is open and releases the liquid into the exhaust. It's not the same as if someone were to pour an ounce of Seafoam into the throttle body while the car was off and then started it.

Hi,

I'm very interested in this method and the abilities of Sea Foam. As you gathered from my previous post there was some concern as to putting Sea Foam in an engine that was not running. I understand now more of what you are doing and trying to send the Sea Foam directly to the exhaust manifold.


I have a couple of questions. If you look at the diagram below you will see that the EC valve has two vents. One into the intake and the other to the exhaust. The electric valve that is closed is a fair distance from the EC valve.

1. Wouldn't the intake vent hose fill up with the Sea Foam liquid up to the electric valve and be sucked into the intake once the car has started and the electric valve opens?

However, if the car is running the small amount of liquid that is in the vent tubing might not cause any serious harm just rough idling.

Other uses:

2. Have you tried putting the Sea Foam into a an intake vent when the car was running? To alleviate what specific problem and what were the results?

3. Have you tried the Sea Foam in the crankcase or as a fuel additive as suggested by the manufacturer? If so any comments or remarks?

Thanks

Ian
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:23 PM   #13
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I used seafoam in my Toyota Tacoma shortly after purchase because also a little rough in morning (165,000 miles) i used it in the brake booster (vacuum line) in moderation of course you cant just suck up a bottle of it. Did about a cap full every 10seconds, used about 1/3 can this way and dumped the rest into gas tank.
The truck literally smoked out the neighborhood but has ran very smooth since (15,000 miles)
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
Hi,

I'm very interested in this method and the abilities of Sea Foam. As you gathered from my previous post there was some concern as to putting Sea Foam in an engine that was not running. I understand now more of what you are doing and trying to send the Sea Foam directly to the exhaust manifold.


I have a couple of questions. If you look at the diagram below you will see that the EC valve has two vents. One into the intake and the other to the exhaust. The electric valve that is closed is a fair distance from the EC valve.

1. Wouldn't the intake vent hose fill up with the Sea Foam liquid up to the electric valve and be sucked into the intake once the car has started and the electric valve opens?

However, if the car is running the small amount of liquid that is in the vent tubing might not cause any serious harm just rough idling.

Other uses:

2. Have you tried putting the Sea Foam into a an intake vent when the car was running? To alleviate what specific problem and what were the results?

3. Have you tried the Sea Foam in the crankcase or as a fuel additive as suggested by the manufacturer? If so any comments or remarks?

Thanks

Ian
You can always disconnect the line going to the intake side if you are that concerned about it. I didn't have any rough idling while I did my SAP or an issues during the procedure. I did have a lot of smoke the first time I did it and very little the second time. I have tried it through my brake booster line, crank case, and fuel tank. I've had very good results with it so far and will continue to use it. My dad has been using it since the 80's and Seafoam has been around even earlier than that. I used Techron and Lucas in my fuel tank before I used Seafoam and those worked very well as far as cleaning the fuel injectors and cylinders. I was recommended Seafoam by many people but wasn't sure about it until my dad conferred that it was a good product. I like Seafoam because not only dose it do what others like Techron and Lucas do, but you can also use it in the crank case and brake booster line. A friend of mine used to run a used car dealership and he said that they used Seafoam extensively with used cars to try and make them as clean as possible for re-sale. They wold use it mainly on cars that were't properly serviced to try and clear out all the gunk from carbon build up and oil sludge.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibinhvuong View Post
Thanks, I'll check the SAP and the check valve first to make sure they are still functioning, then I'll pour the seafoam into the hose as you did.

Do I have to repeat this procedure serveral times over next few months?
You dont have to. I just did mine twice to make sure it was clean. You can also go to YouTube and watch videos on how to check if you'r valve and sap are working.

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Old 06-24-2011, 01:14 PM   #16
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I'm doing this over the weekend. I will post results hopefully sunday.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:49 AM   #17
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I'm going to try this over the weekend. I have the exact same symptoms as OP describes down to the letter.
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