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Old 03-18-2012, 12:29 PM   #1
pilotnbr1
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325ci idle hunting when coming to stop

Hello all, this is my first time posting here but I have been a lurker for several months. GREAT forum with invaluable information. I have a 2001 325ci with some problems... Also have a 74 2002tii, which is running great!

Car-
325ci manual with 115k miles. Purchased from small private dealer in FL. Car has obviously been neglected by the previous owner.

Problem-
While driving and the engine is under load at rpms well above idle if the clutch is depressed and the engine allowed to quickly decelerate to idle, the idle seems to dip to about 500 rpm then catch itself and bounce back up to about 1000 rpm. It then continues to bounce from low to high rpm until it settles down. Sometimes the engine will stall if it is a more extreme cycle. It only does this after being under load and cannot be duplicated in the garage. From my peake tool I am consistently getting table 19 e3 and sometimes e4, which are for "oxygen sensor adaptation limit" codes. E3 is for cylinders 1-3.

Repairs so far-
New fuel filter, new air filter, new MAF sensor (was throwing codes for that), new cam intake sensor, new cam exhaust sensor. Replaced torn vacuum line from secondary air check valve to its controller. Checked for vacuum leaks by spraying carb cleaner and found none. Cleaned ICV (was throwing codes for it mechanically sticking). Inspected and cleaned DISA, it has no play and springs back to the open position as it should. Inspected intake between MAF and throttle body very closely and found no holes or tears. Most recently, new o2 sensor pre-cat cylinders 1-3.

I am starting to run out of directions to go. I have a significant oil leak from what I believe is from the oil filter housing gasket and the VANOS oil line. I am going to repair both on WEDS. There does not seem to be any consensus as to whether an oil leak can also be a vacuum leak, but I can at least fix the oil leak.... I am going to much more closely look at the valve cover gasket, oil filler cap, dip stick o ring, and crankcase vent valve (not getting the fog horn on shutdown) for vacuum leaks. After that I am drawing blanks.... I am considering a reflash of the DME as that seems to have helped some folks. Any ideas guys???

Time is not on my side as emissions are due. I am not getting any "service engine soon" light only picking up codes on my peake tool. Not sure if an "oxygen sensor adpatation limit" code will fail emmisions... Anyone have experience with that?

Thanks again and great forum!

Luke
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Old 03-18-2012, 01:10 PM   #2
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Read the following link below in my signature - Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle

About everything you need to know.

Lower intake elbow, CCV lower oil return hose, IAC valve would be places I would start.

If you want to keep the car, time to start your rubber replacement parts shopping list. Link in my signature for my favorite BMW Parts Supplier as well.
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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

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Old 03-18-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. There were some very useful posts in that link. I am going to redouble my efforts to find a vacuum leak- in particular at the back of the engine near the sap solenoid and all hoses and connection surrounding the crankcase vent valve.
I can report that after clearing codes and putting some 60 miles on the car I have no codes but the idle problem persists...
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #4
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I am having the same idle problem. Sounds exactly the same. I'll be tuned into this thread!
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
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There's also a good idle surging thread (NicB).

I like the icv too, so I'm not sure how well you cleaned it, but I used a whole can until the valve clicked crisply. Also cleaned TB and replace tb gasket...and disa o-ring. That work stopped my idle surging and occasional stalling right away.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
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O2 sensor adaptation limit typically means the car is probably too lean and the O2 sensor cannot force the fuel system to swing back far enough to correct a lean condition?? This along with many other codes that reference O2 sensors usually do not indicate that an O2 sensor is back, although most pros replace anything that has a sensor listed in the code.

The SAP hose behind the valve cover should only have vacuum applied for the first 90 seconds or so on cold start up. So this is not likely the source of your O2 sensor adaption limit.

You have replaced many of the expected parts for a car this age, but you may have missed some of the major ones.

You need to go back and check the DISA per my link, if it is original, bet the vacuum diaphragm is leaking and the main O-ring seal is sloppy and needs to be replaced, even it if is a not replaceable molded seal.

Also get a fuel filter in the car and make sure the fuel pressure regulator vacuum hoses under the hood and under the car are in good shape. Fuel pressure regulator is built into the filter in many of these cars.
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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

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Old 03-27-2012, 10:28 AM   #7
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Update

I found a broken vacuum hose attached to the fuel filter. I replaced the broken rubber portion of the hose and really thought this would solve my problem. However the same problem exists. I also replaced the oil filter housing gasket and vanos oil line. Both were leaking oil badly.

I cleared codes and drove car for 50 miles. It threw a "icv valve mechanically sticking" code again. I took it into emissions anyway with that code and it passed GA emissions. So the pressure is off to pass emissions but I still have to solve this problem.

After clearing the codes again and driving over 100 miles I am not getting codes for the ICV, just 02 sensor adaptive limit codes. I really don't think it is the ICV as it was cleaned very well and moving freely.

I really believe it is a vacuum leak. I started thinking more about why the stalling and surging idle cannot be duplicated in the garage. I can only duplicate the problem driving and coming to a stop. I have observed that at rest (and in garage) if you punch the gas the engine control computer decelerates the engine at a slower rate than while traveling at speed. I believe this is because if you are moving and punch the gas and then put in the clutch the engine needs to be more quickly decelerated to be at a lower rpm sooner in order to shift to the next gear quickly. That also means that the vacuum inside the manifold and engine is at its peak when the engine is at high rpm with the throttle body CLOSED and not producing power. So coming to a stop we are at peak vacuum approaching idle rpm and the engine cannot recover due to the leak in the system creating a moving vacuum/air flow target for the computer which is changing at a rate the computer was never programmed to deal with. This is why we get the adapative limit codes with vacuum leaks...

I ordered a replacement disa gasket and will change that out along with the dipstick o-ring and oil return line. I still have a few places I can search for the vacuum leak and may try blowing cigar smoke into the engine and see if that sheds any light on it. I would think that a hole big enough to release cigar smoke would make an audible leak. I have gone around the engine with a section of hose to my ear and cannot hear any leaks.... Will keep you posted.

Last edited by pilotnbr1; 03-27-2012 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:28 PM   #8
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another update

I checked more hoses and connection and discovered that the two vacuum cap/plugs on the back of the intake manifold were very worn. The bigger of the two had a crack up the side. I replaced both of the caps. I also found worn lines on either side of the check valve which goes to the solenoid controlling the secondary air system. Replaced them as well.

I removed the covers on the top of the engine and sprayed checked for vacuum leaks with more carb cleaner. Sprayed all over. Found no leaks.

The oil return line looked like it was in great shape and will put off replacing it even though I have one. I did not get around to changing out the disa valve ring or the disptick o-rings. Those were obviously areas I hit pretty hard with the carb cleaner while checking for leaks.

The vacuum line to the brake booster got my attention when I was torquing it around at one point I heard it hiss. It was as if I had dislodged it and released pressure. The line and the union look like they are in great shape and I sprayed carb cleaner there as well during my leak test and found nothing.

After all this I drove the car and there was no change in the problem///
Have not pulled codes yet...

Through all this I know I have eliminated some vacuum leaks and will keep searching and replacing rubber..... Keep you updated...

Last edited by pilotnbr1; 03-29-2012 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:52 PM   #9
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subscribed. I've had the same problem lately....
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:47 PM   #10
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In on this same probs.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:32 AM   #11
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Although I believe all of what you've said, and might have missed something...probably did...

I hope you inspected lower intake boot well...for $12, it's worth replacing if you haven't...and if you didn't clean TB while there...worthwhile removing, replacing TB gasket and really cleaning TB...

That brake booster hissing sounds like something is up...so don't ignore that.

If you haven't cleaned maf, do so. If you have oiled after market air filter, toss it. If you haven't tried running without MAF, try that. MAFs do go bad, but often is IS just intake leak...clean maf electric connections--tighten crimps in connector too. (Just saying...eliminate all the low odds things before tossing a few hundred into a part--and Hyundai maf may work for you, but don't know what years it's good for)

O-rings on dip stick. Oil filler cap?
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:44 AM   #12
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Have you tested your fuel pressure?
It should be about 50psi +- 3 psi. If it is too low it will cause your engine to run lean.
The ECM expects a specific fuel pressure to inject the correct amount of fuel for the time the injectors are open.
It can increase the time the injectors are open to inject more fuel but there is a limit to how much longer they can be open (adaption limit) before the ECM knows there is an issue and sets and "adaptation limit" code.
Under load the ECM increases the injection time to richen the mixture the higher the load the richer the mixture up to about 12 to 1 for full power.
The max open time for the injectors is about 14 ms. When I drive normally, (mostly highway with cruise) I see injection times averaging about 4ms.
At full throttle I do see injection times at or very close to 14ms.

(the same also applies to a rich condition, there is a limit to how much the ECM can compensate before setting a code)

Pick up a bottle or two of Cheveron Techron, get the 20 gallon size.
Pour in one whole bottle and fill the tank.

That should clean your injectors and intake valves. Could solve your codes if they are in the lean direction as the injectors if partially clogged or dirty will not inject enough fuel.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:19 AM   #13
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Thanks for the replys! To the reply 2 above I already replaced the MAF sensor- it was bad- had a damaged plug and was throwing codes. When running without it my idle problem goes away but the car is harder to start and mpg falls. I have a new stock air filter. The intake rubber between the MAF and TB almost look new and have been throughly tested/inspected several times....

With the symptoms I have I don't believe I have a fuel flow issue. The problem only occurs on DECELERATION not when the engine is asking for fuel. It accelerates smoothly, quickly, without any hesitation or misfires. If I had a lean condition it would cut out and stumble during acceleration.
Some may say that my engine always has a lean condition with a vacuum leak however the vacuum is very dynamic and the vacuum in the engine decreases as the throttle butterfly opens and the engine creates power... So my leaks and leaning effect of any vacuum leaks don't really come into play until the engine vacuum increases which is on deceleration and idle.
Regardless I do think this engine could use some cleaning. I am somewhat hesitant to put a cleaner though it via fuel system.... Don't like the idea of breaking crud free and running it through an engine.
I will test fuel pressure. It never hurts to cross an unknown variable off the list. This is car is one that the more I dig the more problems I am finding.....

Today going to change disa ring and see if I can pull the air distribution manifold that sits on the top of the intake. I am currious what condition those rings are...

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Old 03-30-2012, 03:56 PM   #14
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Today upon replacing the disa o-ring I checked the disa diaphragm. The first time around I had only checked movement of the flap, I was not aware of the method to check the disa diaphragm by manipulating the flap closed and then covering the external vacuum port. When I did that and released the flap it instantly slammed the flap shut. So it has not been holding vacuum and the disa valve has not been operating either obviously.

Since I don't have a spare disa laying around I decided to go ahead and change out the o-ring. From there I decided it would do no harm to look at the disa diaphragm itself. If I screwed it up royally I could just seal the internal vacuum port on the disa near the flap. So i popped it open and sure enough a tear on the lip of the diaphragm..... From there I decided it would do no harm to try and repair it with some sealant. I completely bastardized the disa by not only sealing the diaphragm but running a bead around the whole vacuum chamber portion of the disa. Where the two halves of the vacuum chamber meet it wasnt a nice clean seam so it made me wonder if there were any leaks there as well. NOT ANYMORE! I have had it with leaks!

I know even if my ugly repair works it will be temporary at best. I just want the car drivable while I wait for my new disa. At least I can cross one more vacuum leak off the list from the diaphragm leak and possibly the disa o-ring which the original was looking pretty flat. FYI there is another little o-ring in the disa where the negative pressure side of the diaphragm housing meets the disa main body at that union. I can post pics of it all if anyone wants to see.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:29 PM   #15
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I just replaced my DISA today. I was having the same issues. Upon removing the old one I noticed the PO had replaced the o-ring already. BUT, the part number on the old one showed it was original from 2001 so I replaced it with a brand new DISA. I'll report back after some driving with results.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:40 PM   #16
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I fixed various leaks only to end up finding the Cvv was plugged to the hilt! Look for tests on your Cvv
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:52 PM   #17
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Also, you said that vacuum was higher when idling...and not sure why you think that. When under power, the car is sucking in much more air and thus creating a much stronger vacuum.

Anyway, just saying. Also, you replaced your maf but the car runs better without it...that again points to vac leaks...unless, you know, it was an AM MAF.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Also, you said that vacuum was higher when idling...and not sure why you think that. When under power, the car is sucking in much more air and thus creating a much stronger vacuum.

Anyway, just saying. Also, you replaced your maf but the car runs better without it...that again points to vac leaks...unless, you know, it was an AM MAF.
DMAX when a car is producing power the vacuum in the intake manifold actually drops. Hook up a vacuum gauge and watch. At idle or when the engine is decelerating after creating power is when the vacuum in the manifold is highest thus why vacuum leaks rear their ugly heads at this time (partially also due to the MAF reading less air passing through it thereby making the computer more vulnerable to the unknown variable of the vacuum leak). Vacuum in the manifold is caused by downstroke of the piston vs the position of the throttle body. If the throttle butterfly is closed then the downstroke of the piston creates more vacuum. If the piston is moving down quickly with throttle body closed you get an even greater vacuum due to the lack of combustion i.e. decelerating to a stop.

BTW you can tell alot about an engine by measuring the vacuum in the manifold. The vacuum behavior can indicate issues with valves, guides, head gasket, even the proper mixture at idle. Just thought this info could be useful to people!

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Old 04-09-2012, 07:07 PM   #19
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Interesting. I'd always thought of the vacuum as just the sucking power of the engine...like a vacuum cleaner...and hadn't thought of it as an actual vacuum.

Anyway, my car used to stall too...most often when stopping quickly from third or on rainy days...and for me, a trip to the tb cured it. I replaced every rubber piece in my path and cleaned the icv/tb/disa/and maf like a crazy ocd person without medication...which I was back then...and still am!

You said you'd checked the lower intake boot and I believe you...but I've also read of a number of cases where that boot was on but not really sealed. So just be sure you don't bypass little details when checking. I've seen many replace half their car looking for a fix, when the fix was found early on...just discounted or assumed to 'not be the issue.'
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:30 PM   #20
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So interesting thing happened this afternoon. Ses light came back on (shocker) and I turned the car on to read the codes (once again got lean codes) but after running the car for a few seconds (30 or so) I began to smell fuel coming from the exhaust region. It was straight up fuel smelling, did some research and found that one of the hoses that was broke was one off of the silver housing on the left side of the engine by front. We rerubberized that hose in the front and back, put it back on fuel rail. Here's my thought it looked like it would have a slight occlusion due to the fact it was put into the rail at a angle that it would not get 100% thoroughfare, I placed it into the rail at a way it would get 100% through it. There is no fuel smell in cabin, we just did a whole slew of repairs, haven't driven more than 50 miles since repairs (plus we have ran a ton of marvel mistery oil through it) I am at 14 miles left before I'm empty and will fill up in am

Any ideas?

Ps I after placing tube where it could get the 100% the fuel smell was not as strong at startup and after I drove it.

Still--- any ideas?

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