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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-05-2017, 09:17 PM   #1
stephen330
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Giving up: new cat's needed at 100K?

So I've had a CEL for a while on my e46 330i. I've googled every website possible and talked to two different mechanics but I'm still in denial. Here it goes.

Around 98k, I got a CEL that would come on and off. The codes were:

DME -> EA/F1 - Catalytic converter efficiency too low, bank 2
E9/B1 - Catalytic converter efficiency too low, bank 1
Shadow-memory:
EA/F1 - Catalytic converter efficiency too low, bank 2
E9/B1 - Catalytic converter efficiency too low, bank 1
5A/12 - Exhaust temperature before catalyst, bank 1, signal line, short circuit to negative
5B/12 - Exhaust temperature before catalyst, bank 2, signal line, short circuit to negative
5D/12 - Exhaust temperature after catalyst, bank 2, signal line, short circuit to negative

My guy told me that I could try to change the o2 sensors, but it's unlikely to be the cause. The cat's need to be replaced.

So I've driven that car for 94k (it was a CPO I got at 8k), did all the maintenance, it runs great (although I think there's a loss of power), fixed it up a few times (window regulators, FSR, etc. you guys have been so helpful!) but now, I'm looking at a $2500 bill (roughly) for a car worth $3000! I got it in 2003 btw.

And since I live in SoCal, I can't put any cat since I'll fail the smog test in August.

What do you guys think I should do? Dump it? Fix it? These are the only codes I get on the DME. I was also thinking of going to the stealership and pay $160 to get their diagnosis.

I'm quite sad, because this was/is a good car and I think I could easily get another 50k out of it. But if I need to blow $2K/year... Should I reach out to BMW USA and ask them to help out? I mean, 100k is nothing for cat's!

Thanks y'all!
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:53 PM   #2
jfoj
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BMW will not help you out, the car is 10+ years old.

What year is the car? You stated you purchased it in 2003 with 8k miles on it, correct, but what year is the car.

Many things can impact the converter health and USUALLY P0420/P0430 will mean the converters may be compromised, however, there could be other factors that trigger these codes that can be improved upon and may keep the codes away.

Excessive oil consumption can also cause early failure of the converters as well.

If you need converters, Magnaflow CARB compliant converters are about $1700 plus installation.

If you really want to sort this problem or at least understand if you can "Manage" the situation in an attempt to get the car to pass the SMOG test, spend less than $30 and get the OBDFusion App and proper VeePeak interface and you will be able to see exactly what is going on and find out if the problem is more than just the converter or if the O2 sensors and other things are causing problems.

You should read this thread to get an idea what OBDFusion would allow you to do and see:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1050205
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Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:29 PM   #3
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You could try this, might be available locally in a parts store. https://www.amazon.com/CRC-05063-Gua.../dp/B000CIPUR8
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:01 PM   #4
jfoj
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The OP needs to figure out what is really going on with the engine fuel management system.

Everything from original O2 sensors, a soft thermostat, vacuum leaks, busted DISA and so on need to be sorted out and in the process OBDFusion will be able to see what the Post-cat sensors are doing and if they are lazy.
__________________
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, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:09 PM   #5
Bigc2016
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Do smog shops check your cats ?

I have had 2 BMW e36's and now a e46 I have got plenty of smogs checks and not once have a smog shop check my cats and I live in So.Cali ! with saying that can someone pick up some new low price cats ( both for $600) and then get a smog ?

The only other why you can do it if your car runs good is get a **FRIENDLY SMOG **
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:14 PM   #6
stephen330
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It's a 2002 e46. I already have an OBDII reader but I guess it needs to be bluetooth for the OBDFusion tool to work. I'll order them and post back my results, if any.

Talking with mechanics and reading online, SoCal smog test stations check the cat's. If they don't look OEM, they look for the part number or some other code on the cat itself (yes, under the car). If the code/manufacturer matches the (short) list of approved manufacturers, you're good. If not, they should fail the test. Now, I'd need to find a friendly smog test station and try my luck.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:15 PM   #7
stephen330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
You could try this, might be available locally in a parts store. https://www.amazon.com/CRC-05063-Gua.../dp/B000CIPUR8
Are you serious??? Good to know. I could also wait August when the smog test is due, and then figure out what to do.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:17 PM   #8
Bigc2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen330 View Post
It's a 2002 e46. I already have an OBDII reader but I guess it needs to be bluetooth for the OBDFusion tool to work. I'll order them and post back my results, if any.

Talking with mechanics and reading online, SoCal smog test stations check the cat's. If they don't look OEM, they look for the part number or some other code on the cat itself (yes, under the car). If the code/manufacturer matches the (short) list of approved manufacturers, you're good. If not, they should fail the test. Now, I'd need to find a friendly smog test station and try my luck.
Last 5 years(for my 2 E36's) and just 6 months ago for my smog check on my E46 not once did they look at my cats at all. They hooked up up to the computer ran it and gave me the .
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:23 PM   #9
jfoj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen330 View Post
Are you serious??? Good to know. I could also wait August when the smog test is due, and then figure out what to do.
Your a fool to wait and try this in August right before the SMOG test is due.

You are just setting yourself up for more headaches.

OBDFusion and do your homework or sell the car.
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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, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:26 PM   #10
stephen330
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Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Your a fool to wait and try this in August right before the SMOG test is due.

You are just setting yourself up for more headaches.

OBDFusion and do your homework or sell the car.
Sorry, what I meant is that I'll get this product when it's time to smog check. I'm going to follow your advice and get the OBDFusion (or its Windows counterpart). I'm wondering if I can use my USB reader and try out their 2 weeks free trial. It's not about saving dough; it's about getting the information asap because this is driving me crazy!
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:30 PM   #11
jfoj
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Do you have a smart phone or tablet? If so, what operating system?

Android?
iProduct?
Kindle?
Other?
__________________
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, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:33 PM   #12
Radnor
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don't give up, solve this and move forward.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:33 PM   #13
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Did you check with La Jolla Independent, aka Bimmerdocs? They are usually the best indy shop in San Diego for BMWs, and they won't try to cheat you out.

If havent' yet, give them a call first before you do anything. They will usually find you the best and cheapest route possible.

Here is their info, call them in the morning: http://www.bimmerdoc.com/
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:34 PM   #14
stephen330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Do you have a smart phone or tablet? If so, what operating system?

Android?
iProduct?
Kindle?
Other?
I have an Android phone and tablet. And windows PCs.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:38 PM   #15
stephen330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD 328I View Post
Did you check with La Jolla Independent, aka Bimmerdocs? They are usually the best indy shop in San Diego for BMWs, and they won't try to cheat you out.

If havent' yet, give them a call first before you do anything. They will usually find you the best and cheapest route possible.

Here is their info, call them in the morning: http://www.bimmerdoc.com/
Thanks, will give them a call.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:39 PM   #16
jfoj
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Use the Android and get the OBDFusion App, it is only $3.99.

If you have a Bluetooth ELM327 interface, this is all you need.

If not, order this - https://www.amazon.com/Veepeak-Bluet...peak+bluetooth

Trust me, there is NOTHING worse than trying to operate and run a laptop in a moving car, not worth the problems.

Read the PDF in this link - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1097893
__________________
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, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:45 PM   #17
stephen330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Use the Android and get the OBDFusion App, it is only $3.99.

If you have a Bluetooth ELM327 interface, this is all you need.

If not, order this - https://www.amazon.com/Veepeak-Bluet...peak+bluetooth

Trust me, there is NOTHING worse than trying to operate and run a laptop in a moving car, not worth the problems.

Read the PDF in this link - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1097893
Yessir! Veepak ordered, should be here Saturday. I'll get the app then and give it a whirl. Will keep y'all posted. Too bad bimmerdocs closes at 5:30, so I'll have to figure something out...
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:47 PM   #18
jfoj
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You will be better off gathering data before you do anything.

DO NOT get impatient at this point.
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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, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:18 AM   #19
stephen330
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Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
You will be better off gathering data before you do anything.

DO NOT get impatient at this point.
Good point. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:47 AM   #20
Sicily1918
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
You could try this, might be available locally in a parts store. https://www.amazon.com/CRC-05063-Gua.../dp/B000CIPUR8
Won't work in Cali -- any post-2000 car gets hooked up through the OBD-II port; if the sensors et al show ready, and the visual inspection of the engine bay passes, you pass. They don't directly measure your exhaust anymore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigc2016 View Post
Last 5 years(for my 2 E36's) and just 6 months ago for my smog check on my E46 not once did they look at my cats at all. They hooked up up to the computer ran it and gave me the .
Same here -- two E46's, my mom's Jetta, my mom-in-law's X3, it goes on...

Of course, I've been going to the same shop since '08, so maybe they know me
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