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Old 04-03-2013, 11:36 PM   #1
dznuts007
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***High*** NO Levels In Smog Test

UPDATE 6/8/13 - PASSED SMOG TEST!

BMW E46 Smog Test Failed High NOx readings

Just went for a CA Smog test today and failed (bleh). He went over the test results and showed that it passed HC and CO, but miserably failed the NO test.
HC TEST AT 15 MPH: 21ppm (max acceptable is 54ppm) - PASS
HC TEST AT 25 MPH: 14ppm (max acceptable is 37ppm) - PASS
CO TEST AT 15 MPH: 0.00% (max acceptable is 0.50%) - PASS
CO TEST AT 25 MPH: 0.00% (max acceptable is 0.47%) - PASS
NO TEST AT 15 MPH: 1360ppm (max acceptable is 430ppm) - FAIL
NO TEST AT 25 MPH: 2924ppm (max acceptable is 717ppm) - GROSS POLLUTER

I've done some searches and read a bunch of possibilities, but me not being a mechanic I'm kinda confused at where I should start. Anyone have any suggestions on some of the less expensive and easier DIY's or steps to take instead of just jumping and getting a new catalytic converter (smog guy was guessing new cat was the solution)

Here are some things I've recently done:
1/30/13 - Replaced MAF - 268,400 miles
2/2/13 - Replaced intake boots (both had holes) - 268,400 miles
2/2/13 - New air filter
2/24/13 - New spark plugs - 269,102 miles (I've changed this many times before..this isn't my first spark plug change just in case you're shocked)
3/26/13 - Cleaned ICV and throttle housing assembly
3/31/13 - New Wahler thermostat - 270,200

4/4/13 (7:30pm) - Tested fuel pressure and found it to be low (42 psi) I have a new fuel pump and fuel filter arriving tomorrow. Still checking other possible sources and will still check after installing both fuel filter and pump
Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions. Love this forum!

4/5/13 - Installed new fuel filter. Pressure is approximately 52psi while running. Pressure falls pretty quickly after turning off car. Still need to install new fuel pump (will do it on Saturday).

4/16/13 - So over the past 2 weeks I changed out my fuel filter, fuel pump, cleaned out the ICV and throttle while replacing my DISA, changed all 4 O2 sensors. Car is actually running really nice, but failed smog test again.

Looks like my NOx actually went up from 1360ppm to 1543ppm (15mph). The 25mph test, the NOx went down from 2924ppm down to 910ppm , but still wasn't low enough to pass (max is 717)

1ST SMOG TEST
HC TEST AT 15 MPH: 21ppm (max acceptable is 54ppm) - PASS
HC TEST AT 25 MPH: 14ppm (max acceptable is 37ppm) - PASS
CO TEST AT 15 MPH: 0.00% (max acceptable is 0.50%) - PASS
CO TEST AT 25 MPH: 0.00% (max acceptable is 0.47%) - PASS
NO TEST AT 15 MPH: 1360ppm (max acceptable is 430ppm) - FAIL
NO TEST AT 25 MPH: 2924ppm (max acceptable is 717ppm) - GROSS POLLUTER

2ND SMOG TEST
HC TEST AT 15 MPH: 12ppm (max acceptable is 54ppm) - PASS
HC TEST AT 25 MPH: 13ppm (max acceptable is 37ppm) - PASS
CO TEST AT 15 MPH: 0.00% (max acceptable is 0.50%) - PASS
CO TEST AT 25 MPH: 0.00% (max acceptable is 0.47%) - PASS
NO TEST AT 15 MPH: 1543ppm (max acceptable is 430ppm) - FAIL
NO TEST AT 25 MPH: 910ppm (max acceptable is 717ppm) - GROSS POLLUTER

It's looking more like I'm going to have to replace my catalytic converters. Was trying stuff before I have to drop the $$$ though. Any other thoughts or ideas?

One thing I still have not replaced is the CCV and related hoses. Parts are on the way from AutohausAZ and will probably do that this weekend.


4/17/13 - So drove around running some errands starting at 6:30pm and took some Fuel Adaption screenshots a at 7:00pm and at 8:00pm when I got back. Drove approximately 25 miles, probably averaging 30mph.

Prior to driving, I decided to put back in my Siemens MAF (cleaned it and let it dry before reinstalling). I then reset my Patrol Adaptions prior to driving to see if my original MAF would have different results

Both Autozone and O'Reilly's didn't have rental exhaust back pressure testers. Harbor Freight doesn't carry them either, so I'll probably be ordering one. Also gonna try to get my hands on some software to take real-time data.

***Added Screenshots of my Fuel Adaptions



6/9/13 - PASSED SMOG TEST! Drove about 150 miles (went somewhere to pick up a new West Highland Terrier today...our other one passed away at 13 years of age at the end of April) Decided it would be a great time to do the final smog check after finishing all my repairs I could think of and going for a long drive. Passed with flying colors. NOx measured at 0 compared to 1543ppm at 15mph and 910ppm at 25mph in the last test.

Here are some things I did since the last time I updated back on 4/17/13:
4/21/13 - Cleaned fuel injectors and the surrounding area (had alot of black deposits where the injectors sit in
4/28/13 - Changed Oil Filter Housing Gasket
5/8/13 - New gas cap (Don't like this new one..it's really lightweight and doesn't have the nice click that the BMW one has)
5/22/13 - Took the dive and replaced my CCV/PCV and all the related hoses (wasn't too bad...although wasn't very easy)
Monitored my fuel trims using Torque Pro on my Android phone using the bluetooth OBD2 adapter (awesome little gadget) After a few weeks of having LT trims at about 2% I decided to plan out another smog test after going for a long drive to pick up our new puppy.

In between the first and second smog test failure, I tried out that Guaranteed To Pass stuff and followed the instructions...didn't really help as you can see I failed that 2nd test.

I did use it again before this test that I passed...I figured it was only $9 and wouldn't hurt. About a week or two ago I also did something controversial that I came across (not gonna mention it because I know people are gonna flame me for it hahah) Since I did all these things at once, can't really pinpoint the exact cause of the high NOx but I'm going to place my finger on the CCV/PCV replacement. But all in all, I'm just happy I passed the smog test with flying colors. Thanks for all the help from everyone!

RESULTS
HC TEST AT 15 MPH: 12ppm (max acceptable is 54ppm) - PASS
HC TEST AT 25 MPH: 12ppm (max acceptable is 37ppm) - PASS
CO TEST AT 15 MPH: 0.02% (max acceptable is 0.50%) - PASS
CO TEST AT 25 MPH: 0.01% (max acceptable is 0.47%) - PASS
NO TEST AT 15 MPH: 0ppm (max acceptable is 430ppm) - PASS
NO TEST AT 25 MPH: 0ppm (max acceptable is 717ppm) - PASS
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Last edited by dznuts007; 06-08-2013 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Added Emission Testing Values
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:37 PM   #2
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Have you had your codes read?
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:43 PM   #3
jzwu
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At over 270k miles, I would be hesitant to throw $$$ on the car. Anything can break now.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:46 PM   #4
dznuts007
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I used INPA to read the codes. I'll post the readings in a bit as soon as I install a pdf writer on the laptop
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:47 PM   #5
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Primo PDF
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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 04-03-2013, 11:48 PM   #6
dznuts007
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Hahah, I usually use CutePDF
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:52 PM   #7
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Likely cause is leaning too much or VANOS/cam timing issues as these cars do not have EGR systems and they use cam timing to perform an EGR function.

Need to see full emission testing valves to really get a better idea about what is going on.
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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 04-04-2013, 12:10 AM   #8
dznuts007
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I'm assuming you meant "Emission Testing Values" and not "valves"?

Here's a scan of the values (also updated the original post with it)
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:55 AM   #9
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Ok just scanned it for codes. No codes and nothing pending. I suddenly remembered that the smog guy had a little OBD2 scanner and said that I had no codes or any pending codes either.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:00 AM   #10
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at 270k miles, I am guessing your cats are done. Your cats could be totally "full" or completely gone.
FYI, if your car ever ran too rich the extra fuel dumped into the cats will burn the insides of the cats.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:26 AM   #11
jfoj
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Yep, meant values, type late at night!!

Not sure your Cats are the problem??

Your CO and HC values are rather low.

I would get a scan tool that can read real time fuel trims and see if you can determine if in fact the car is running lean at cruise and verify the engine coolant temps.

Also see the 2nd & 3rd link below in my signature.

Good luck.
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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 04-04-2013, 05:28 AM   #12
dznuts007
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Awesome. Will look at them now and see what I can find

I've actually read your links for information but at the time didn't make sense to me since I'm still kinda new to doing all this stuff haha

Last edited by dznuts007; 04-04-2013 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:10 AM   #13
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Lean mixture causes high combustion temperatures, driving up NO.
That said, if your cats are original, they're probably done.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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umm read the CA smog website. if the car isn't messed with(smog/engine parts taken off or modified), CA will help pay like $500 worth of smog parts to improve car to pass. if over a certain amount they'll waive your equipment.

if you have to shell out money, I recall salvage yards can't sell used cats(in the past), so you'd have to hunt the classifieds and do that on the lowdown
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:34 PM   #15
dznuts007
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4/4/13 (7:30pm) - Tested fuel pressure and found it to be low (42 psi) I have a new fuel pump and fuel filter arriving tomorrow. Still checking other possible sources and will still check after installing both fuel filter and pump
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:56 AM   #16
dznuts007
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4/5/13 - Installed new fuel filter. Pressure is approximately 52psi while running. Pressure falls pretty quickly after turning off car. Still need to install new fuel pump (will do it on Saturday).
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:27 AM   #17
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Did the filter appear to be original?? Crimp style clamps installed?
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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 04-06-2013, 05:45 AM   #18
dznuts007
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Yeah was a Kayser filter. Had some weird hose clamps that could only be turned one way (to open them) Had to use some pliers to close them so that took awhile...
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:11 AM   #19
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Original fuel filter at 270K?
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:22 PM   #20
dznuts007
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No, hahah. It was changed a few times here or there, but this is the first time that I actually did it myself. I had a mobile mechanic that used to maintain my car, but he disappeared on me so just doing all the stuff myself.
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