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Old 02-05-2017, 06:46 AM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 12
My Ride: '02 325i
P0221 error

--If I put this in the wrong subforum, please let me know!--

Hi guys,

I've been getting a P0221 error for some time now. I thought I figured out where it was coming from, however it recently got a lot worse. Kind of new to DIY'ing the car, so I was hoping to get some help here with the analysis.

The car:

'02 325i (EUR)
No engine mods

The history of this issue:

Several weeks after I boughted it, it kicked into limp mode for the first time. Couldn't drive, engine revving up and down (~1-2.5k rpm).
Error code: P1632 (throttle valve adaption)
Reset did not work, had to leave it there for 1 week (no time to work on it). Issue magically solved itself.
Cleaned the throttle body.

2 months later I got a limp mode issue again. Car still driveable.
Error code: P0221 (throttle position error, B range).
Issue solved after reset, or so I thought.

Problem returned shortly after. I read somewhere the error could also indicated a MAF issue as weird signals from the MAF could trigger it. Cleaned the MAF, problem appeared to be solved.

After that I noticed that the problem always occurred when I removed the MAF and put it back without cleaning it.

In december, when things got colder, my original limp mode issue return, only now with error P0221.
This happened almost always when the car was cold. Limp mode, engine revving up and dropping down in pulses.
Solved by turning off all electrics (A/C, radio, etc) and reseting. A/C belt was worn out, figured that might be causing some electrical issues.
Replaced the belt and haven't had the problem since.

Last week my cooling system suffered a failure (upper water hose was apperently damaged and gave in, venting all the coolant). Engine did not overheat.

After this, the limp mode while driving / P0221 issue returned and now much more frequently. Cleaning the MAF no longer worked.

I could find no consistency in the issue, different RPM's, speeds, etc. each time. Occured once while on cruise control.

Last week the issue occured 3 times in 60km. This time I noticed a slight power dip seconds before the issue.

Yesterday the car failed to start once, after a reset it worked fine. Issue occured 3 times, all in the first 20km of a 60km drive.

After that drive I got to observe the issue during idle. Grabbed my laptop to reset the trouble code, but it crashed while initializing the OBD2 software. So my car sat there idling for a while waiting for my laptop to reboot.
It was steady at 700rpm for about 10 minutes, then there was a slight fluctuation (revved up to about 800-900 rpm) for a second, followed by limp mode. After that it stabilized again at 700 as if nothing happened.

Other than this the engine appears to be running fine, smooth idle, no power loss, good acceleration etc.

Only other current known engine issue is a slight oil leak at the valve cover gasket.

So it's either the throttle body, gas pedal, something else or a combination of those.

Right now I'm thinking throttle body, since the last one was during idle, neutral gear, not touching the gas pedal.

What do you guys think?
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:56 AM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: CT
Posts: 2,088
My Ride: 2001 325i
Doing some probing around the internet, it sounds like P0221 points more to the throttle valve vs the gas pedal assembly.
Sansho is offline   Reply With Quote

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