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Old 06-20-2011, 09:55 AM   #1
Mango
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Camshaft position sensors--can they go bad without throwing a code?

I've been trying to tackle a low-RPM accleration surge I've been getting for the past few months. While the clutch is fully out and I try to accelerate fairly quickly, the car will delay then jerk and accelerate/pull healthily and normally after that. If I ease on the gas away from a stop, then there is no issue. The car does not have a CDV, it's not an issue of technique, there is no slipping of the clutch. It's a very obvious and sudden kick that makes passengers go WTF?

I've been doing some reading, and others have replaced the camshaft position sensor on the intake side and have cured similar bucking issues.

The TB has been cleaned

The DISA has been cleaned and examined. No play.

The ICV has been cleaned.

No codes.

I see that if people have a bad CPS, they get a code.

And has anybody tried the Meyle CPS? You can get both intake and exhaust by Meyle for $83. The BMW ones will cost about $222 for both.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:23 AM   #2
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Terminology Lesson...
CPS = Crank Position Sensor

By throwing CPS into your post, you now are discussing 3 different sensors (that are not throwing codes) as the source of your problem. There is an Intake Cam sensor, an Exhaust Cam sensor, and a Crank Position sensor.

I cannot tell what the problem is with your car by the symptom set you describe, but I'd not expect any drivability problems from any of the sensors you are looking at AND not be getting a code from them. If any of these sensors was making the car run poorly, you should have a code.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:32 AM   #3
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Does it do the same thing with DSC off? Traction control will cut engine power if wheel spin is detected.
Any codes stored in the DSC/ABS system?
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:33 AM   #4
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Does it do the same thing with DSC off? Traction control will cut engine power if wheel spin is detected.
Any codes stored in the DSC/ABS system?
Good call... I missed that.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
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no. there's nowhere near any kind of wheel slip. I have tons of experience with DSC and know exactly how it works. It's not DSC. This is every day taking off from a stop light issue. No racing.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:47 AM   #6
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And CPS is not a term. It's an acronym. crank and cam both start with a C and a google search of e46 cps turns up camshaft position sensor results.

Anyway, back on topic.

Can someone knowledgable tell me if a bad sensor can run without throwing an SES light?
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Last edited by Mango; 06-20-2011 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:59 AM   #7
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Does this describe your symptoms?

Quote:
Vanos Seals Failure Symptoms
Overall loss of torque and power, particularly in the lower RPM range, < 3k. Bogging then surging at 3k RPM. Uneven power distribution and RPM transition. Engine hesitations in the lower RPM range, < 3k. Louder idle and intermittent idle RPM hiccups. Difficult takeoffs. Loss of power and bogging when AC on. Increased fuel consumption. Vanos fault codes.
Double vanos cars with the M52TU engine (98/99-00) experience cold weather cold start idle jolts and possible stall.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:09 AM   #8
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Thats what I was going to say also. Probably Vanos.
Since I dont have a direct answer to your post because I am not a knowledgable person. I can tell you that I have had both Camshaft sensor replaced. Both sensors went bad in different times and the moment I felt my engine running bad the codes for the correct sensor showed up instantly.

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Does this describe your symptoms?
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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I did the vanos seals a month ago. Problem existed before then (which was a big reason I did the vanos)

Like I said, after rolling out in first gear (5-10 mph) the car pulls consistently and smoothly up to redline. Just the initial delay and kick. It's almost as if somebody tapped you from behind. A very sudden and noticeable surge in acceleration. I've tested it in second gear and you can feel it as well if you get off the gas then back in. The car does not like sudden/strong throttle input after being off throttle. This has to be electrical sensor/software related somehow. I'm tempted to throw the $111 at the intake cps.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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Yes, they can start to wear-out without throwing a code. From what I understand and have been told, it's an intermittent working sensor so it dosen't always throw a code. I changed both my intake and exhaust sensors at the same time. I changed mine out because I was trying to fix a rough idle problem with cold morning starts. I'd give your MAF a good cleaning with CRC cleaner while your at it and see if that helps. I had something similar with my car, but it's an auto not a manual. I would be slow building up power/speed after leaving a stop light. Once I was going about 40 it would kick and shift normal after that. If I slowly accelerated it would be fine. My speed sensor on the transmission was going out so the failsafe program kicked in on the transmission and caused the hesitation on accelerating. I'm not sure if this will be same for manual transmissions as it is on automatics, but my dad has the same thing on his X5. When he shifts from reverse into drive, the engine hesitates and after about 45 second it jerks forward. The car feels like its in neutral when its hesitating to go into drive from reverse because if you hit the gas pedal it will just rev. The problem is the solenoid valves in the transmission. They deteriorate after some time from the heat of the transmission or get dirty and fail to build pressure to produce a smooth shift.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:31 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input. MAF has been cleaned.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:39 AM   #12
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Just wanted to add I have the same exact issue.

I've replaced the Vanos, and DISA hoping they would fix the problem. Got much better mileage, and overall the engine feels better, but that sudden acceleration still exists.

So, I'll be very interested to find out if you find a fix. But also wanted to let you know you're not the only one.

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Old 06-20-2011, 11:41 AM   #13
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Sounds like we are having similar issues. I have done pretty much everything you have done, too. If you fix your problem make sure you update this.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:43 AM   #14
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A bad sensor should throw a code - it did with my Crankshaft position sensor went bad. I had a few other hidden codes though that my OBDII reader could not read. After I replaced the crank position sensor - I still had issues and but no light. So - when the sensor went out the SES was thrown but there were other hidden ones. Maybe the crank position sensor is starting to go out and not throwing one that would cause the SES to come on.

I went to my local BMW indy shop and dropped it off and they cleared the additional codes and tested it for a couple days without issues.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:50 AM   #15
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SES light getting asserted may happen well after (in time) an actual Fault Code gets stored. Did you actually scan the car with a Peake tool? Is the SW on your ECU up to date? I would definitely get it scanned by a tool capable of reading the BMW codes as it could be a lot of things (injectors, throttle position sensor, even coils) in addition to the cam position sensor (which does seem to be a failure prone item on these cars). OBD is not comprehensive on these cars.

I don't think I had the same problem as you, as I had jerkiness in the 2500-3000 RPM range in the taller gears under moderate acceleration exclusively, but that turned out to be a FW update + vanos issue I corrected after a vanos fix.

Don't throw parts at the problem, and if you are going to replace the cam pos sensor, use OEM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:55 AM   #16
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Just received my intake cam sensor today. And it's a Meyle. Gonna do the install after work. Was having problems with acceleration but no codes at first. As the problem got worse it finally threw a code. So hopefully it works out. Sensor was $50 from autohausaz w/ free shipping.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Thanks for the input. MAF has been cleaned.
My MAF was shorted in a transistor somewhere inside. The car had no driveability issues that I can remember, but I had all four FUEL TRIM and FUEL CONTROL codes (P0170, P0173, P1188 & P1189), along with all of the P03nn MISFIRE codes. I had a couple of P0100 codes, but not enough to lead me to the MAF. I decided the MAF was the source of all of the other problems, and when my mechanic plugged his laptop into the Data Link Connector and looked at the MAF, he found that transistor 7 was shorted from the gate to ground, or some specific (down the solder joint) error like that.

My next step if I was you would be to go to your local indie BMW guy and see what the DLC has to say...

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Old 06-20-2011, 12:26 PM   #18
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My MAF was shorted in a transistor somewhere inside. The car had no driveability issues that I can remember, but I had all four FUEL TRIM and FUEL CONTROL codes (P0170, P0173, P1188 & P1189), along with all of the P03nn MISFIRE codes. I had a couple of P0100 codes, but not enough to lead me to the MAF. I decided the MAF was the source of all of the other problems, and when my mechanic plugged his laptop into the Data Link Connector and looked at the MAF, he found that transistor 7 was shorted from the gate to ground, or some specific (down the solder joint) error like that.

My next step if I was you would be to go to your local indie BMW guy and see what the DLC has to say...
The DLC will tell you stuff that the OBD II data port will not tell you. I can't say one way or the other that a Peake Tool will help you here or not. I was reading the OBD II port when I was having my trouble, and I still did not have a consistant error from the MAF even though it was shorted internally. One would think that a short would show up as an error code, but mine did not. My car was variously running rich and lean, and when lean it was bad enough that it had misfire codes.

We've talked about the role of the MAF before, and there is a strong chance that your issue(s) could be coming from bad MAF information. If your air quality is a static condition -- air temp and density are not changing, which is normally the case -- but the MAF is telling the computer that the air is changing and the gas delivery is changed due to bad MAF data, then you could easily have the symptoms you report. Since the MAF is a costly part to replace, getting the car checked with BMW Diagnostic Software through the DLC seems to be the next step.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #19
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Check your spark plugs.I had the same problem and it was cps and spark plugs.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #20
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Just received my intake cam sensor today. And it's a Meyle. Gonna do the install after work. Was having problems with acceleration but no codes at first. As the problem got worse it finally threw a code. So hopefully it works out. Sensor was $50 from autohausaz w/ free shipping.
Your code for this one should be P0340, I think...
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