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Old 11-26-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
tonyguns
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P0171 & P0174 Fix (My case)

I did some research on this and a few other sites, and decided that I would post my experience in repairing my OBDII code issue and repair. I used my scanner to obtain the codes, and found that I was getting the P0171 and P0174 lean error codes. What I did below has cleared my issue:

1. Replaced the fuel filter, and BTW, as long as the car is off you DO NOT need to pull any fuses. Just remove the Gas cap, and wear safety glasses, this is a simple fix, the "How-To" is quite helpful otherwise.

2. Replaced spark plugs. I went with the NGKs from Oreilly Auto Parts, and the single prong plug is great.

I then cleared the error codes, drove the car rigorously, and the light has been off for 2 weeks now.

I am not claiming this as a "Fix-All" to these codes, just what I did to clear them. If you want to add your fix to this issue, by all means write your solution.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tonyguns View Post
I did some research on this and a few other sites, and decided that I would post my experience in repairing my OBDII code issue and repair. I used my scanner to obtain the codes, and found that I was getting the P0171 and P0174 lean error codes. What I did below has cleared my issue:

1. Replaced the fuel filter, and BTW, as long as the car is off you DO NOT need to pull any fuses. Just remove the Gas cap, and wear safety glasses, this is a simple fix, the "How-To" is quite helpful otherwise.

2. Replaced spark plugs. I went with the NGKs from Oreilly Auto Parts, and the single prong plug is great.

I then cleared the error codes, drove the car rigorously, and the light has been off for 2 weeks now.

I am not claiming this as a "Fix-All" to these codes, just what I did to clear them. If you want to add your fix to this issue, by all means write your solution.
Sigh. Misunderstanding 101. The reason you pull the fuse is none other than so you prevent the fuel pump from turning on so the engine will consume the remaining fuel after the pump so it won't repressurize again. It other words, to minimize fuel loss when removing the fuel filter.

As for the spark plugs, you bought the wrong ones.

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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I hope that keeps your codes off, if it fixes them, it was undoubtedly the fuel filter. I've heard that clogged, they can stop the car at 130K miles, but they'll 'soft fail' prior to then I'd think.

If the codes return, check for intake leaks, I'm sure you know.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:32 PM   #4
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Please explain about why he bought the wrong ones...... not trying to be a smarty pants but ..... Lets just say that I have two 200 Horsepower yamaha high pressure direct injection engines on my boat. They call for NGK bk7eku plugs. Thats fine, they also say change them every 50 hours ????? Really???? at 6.50 a pop and twelve plugs ..... NO NO . 300 plus hours on them and still going strong. Absolutely no change in fuel burn or performance.
Likewise on my stupid car I put in the single prong titanium plugs at 2.00 apiece, zero change in performance or fuel mileage, on some things one must remember " Don't drink the kool-aid".
Just for the record I have been the crew chief on a few sat. nite race cars in several divisions, from Late model stocks to super dirt late models , even Legends cars . Lots of wins, at different tracks and a track record even (11.38 seconds on a 3/8 mile oval) so it's not like I'm in the dark on performance, albeit mostly small block chevy's and fords.
Have never seen spark plugs make a huge difference on anything..... especially the DYNO.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Please explain about why he bought the wrong ones...... not trying to be a smarty pants but ..... Lets just say that I have two 200 Horsepower yamaha high pressure direct injection engines on my boat. They call for NGK bk7eku plugs. Thats fine, they also say change them every 50 hours ????? Really???? at 6.50 a pop and twelve plugs ..... NO NO . 300 plus hours on them and still going strong. Absolutely no change in fuel burn or performance.
Likewise on my stupid car I put in the single prong titanium plugs at 2.00 apiece, zero change in performance or fuel mileage, on some things one must remember " Don't drink the kool-aid".
Just for the record I have been the crew chief on a few sat. nite race cars in several divisions, from Late model stocks to super dirt late models , even Legends cars . Lots of wins, at different tracks and a track record even (11.38 seconds on a 3/8 mile oval) so it's not like I'm in the dark on performance, albeit mostly small block chevy's and fords.
Have never seen spark plugs make a huge difference on anything..... especially the DYNO.
Just because something physically installs and allows the engine to run does not mean it is the right one.

OP says he installed "NGK plugs" with a single prong. Well NGK makes several types of plugs. OP probably heard our cars use NGK plugs and figured any ol' plug--as long as it's NGK--would do.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:17 PM   #6
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I know it's not a bmw but on my 07 vw it called for ngks and I decided to save some money and use pulstar.. Bad idea.. After two months the car started to misfire and I had to replace the spark plugs again with oe and problem solved.. Don't go the cheap way. It will cost more in the long run...
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:59 PM   #7
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tonyguns,

I am glad your codes are gone for now, however, I expect they will come back.

Suggest you read the first 3 links below in my signature so you can be prepared next time the CEL lights up.

Rainmaker - As for changing plugs every 300 hours in your boat, you must spend a lot of time in your boat if you hit 300 hours often!
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

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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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Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299

Last edited by jfoj; 11-26-2012 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:06 PM   #8
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Please explain about why he bought the wrong ones...... not trying to be a smarty pants but ..... Lets just say that I have two 200 Horsepower yamaha high pressure direct injection engines on my boat. They call for NGK bk7eku plugs. Thats fine, they also say change them every 50 hours ????? Really???? at 6.50 a pop and twelve plugs ..... NO NO . 300 plus hours on them and still going strong. Absolutely no change in fuel burn or performance.
Likewise on my stupid car I put in the single prong titanium plugs at 2.00 apiece, zero change in performance or fuel mileage, on some things one must remember " Don't drink the kool-aid".
Just for the record I have been the crew chief on a few sat. nite race cars in several divisions, from Late model stocks to super dirt late models , even Legends cars . Lots of wins, at different tracks and a track record even (11.38 seconds on a 3/8 mile oval) so it's not like I'm in the dark on performance, albeit mostly small block chevy's and fords.
Have never seen spark plugs make a huge difference on anything..... especially the DYNO.
Personally, I couldn't tell you the reasons bmw engineers decided on a four-prong platinum plug, but they're good for 100K miles, so it's a very inexpensive plug...even if you replace every 75-85K miles.

I'm sure there are many reasons for a particular plug. Part of it is the spec plug is gapped as we need; others may not be. The four prongs, I bet leads to more consistent spark.

Honestly, there are many decisions you'd make on a race car that are different than on a stock car. We have a religion here and with talk like yours, be careful, if the chieftains hear, you'll get in a lot of trouble. I promise you I won't say anything, but 'our' ngk is pretty much accepted wisdom...same as LL-01 oil and OE coolant.

Have you at least ordered your bmw shrine kit?
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
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Glad it worked. Not sure about those plugs for the long run. I wish that woulda cleared my two codes. Back to the "jfoj sig-thread" --more parts on order. DISA O-ring, dip stick tube, etc.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:26 PM   #10
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Good luck!
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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 11-26-2012, 07:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Just because something physically installs and allows the engine to run does not mean it is the right one.

OP says he installed "NGK plugs" with a single prong. Well NGK makes several types of plugs. OP probably heard our cars use NGK plugs and figured any ol' plug--as long as it's NGK--would do.
I'd suggest that the 4-prong plugs are the wrong ones. He doesn't say which NGKs he used, but it's entirely possible that he used the right ones even if he didn't use the iridium plugs with 4 prongs. And, they sell the iridium NGKs at O'Reilleys, so you don't have to get them from ECS.

My point is, there's no way from the information given that he used the wrong plugs.

Having said that, there's no reason to think that old plugs will contribute to P0171 and P0174, FUEL TRIM LEAN, BANK1 & BANK2. Indeed, a crappy burn inthe combustion chamber shoujld give the opposite result, FUEL TRIM RICH because of the unburnt fuel in the exhaust stream.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #12
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FROM THE I'M AN IDIOT DEPARTMENT
I had to read his post several times to see that he actually described his plugs.

I don't recall what the plugs were in my E46 (M52), but they are not the 4-prong variety in my E36 (M50).

I still don't see how replacing the plugs cured a LEAN problem. When I was a kid, a poor burn meant unburnt fuel in the exhaust, and this would be the hallmark of a RICH condition. I recall that the plugs would turn black from the soot.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:17 PM   #13
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Just because something physically installs and allows the engine to run does not mean it is the right one.

OP says he installed "NGK plugs" with a single prong. Well NGK makes several types of plugs. OP probably heard our cars use NGK plugs and figured any ol' plug--as long as it's NGK--would do.
Just for the record I put in my car on the NGK site . There are six different compatible plugs for my engine from them.the one that was original equipment was a single prong. None that I could tell were four prong. I expect that the four prong design has more to do with the lack of having to index the plug to the cylinder than it having four prongs and therefore a "better" spark. It will only spark to one prong at a time ie; each time it fires..... Once again just discussing, not flaming at you in any way.
http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/part_fi...uv/results.asp

For those that do not know, indexing plugs is trying LOTS of plugs in the head when its off the engine block to align the "open gap" to face the inward flow of the fuel air mixture into the combustion chamber, there by not having the spark "blocked" by the prong where it is welded to the body/thread end of the plug. this contributes to a much more even and consistent ignition of the mixture. This is fairly important in an engine that is going to turn from 4500 to 7600 rpms 200 times in one night.............. not so much in your daily driver......

Also the main reason for the Iridium and Titanium type plugs is that they are much more resistant to erosion of the electrode and prong and therefore the gap changing (getting wider) with the miles rolling up on them. the gap stays much more consistant over a longer period of time.

Last edited by rainmaker; 11-26-2012 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:41 PM   #14
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My limited experience with the wrong plugs made the car run so poorly that riding the bus was starting to be an option. Seriously, a really attractive option.

I bought a brand spanking new '85 Chevy EuroSport. A couple of years go by and I decide to replace the plugs. The car runs like a giant turd. I go to the store and buy a box of plug wires and a distributor cap and all of the other stuff that this advanced technology demanded. Still no joy.

I managed to limp the car down the block a mile or two to a mechanic. The plugs were the wrong ones by a missing letter in the middle of the part number. Instant recovery when the right plugs were installed, but I was assured several times that what I was putting in was the equivelent to what I took out. It never occurred to me to put the original plugs back in, and I can't recall now why that idea never came to me. It woulda been far easier than the other stuff I did thinking that I had messed up stuff while taking the plugs out.

My experience with NGK is long and happy. If the manual says to use an NGK BRP7ES, then that's what I'm putting in. If this happens to be a 4-prong gold plated solid brass marvel of the universe, then so be it. But I'm not getting the 4-prong gold plated marvel of the universe if my engine does not specify it, even if they make it in a BRP7ES-M(of the)U.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:03 AM   #15
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My limited experience with the wrong plugs made the car run so poorly that riding the bus was starting to be an option. Seriously, a really attractive option.

I bought a brand spanking new '85 Chevy EuroSport. A couple of years go by and I decide to replace the plugs. The car runs like a giant turd. I go to the store and buy a box of plug wires and a distributor cap and all of the other stuff that this advanced technology demanded. Still no joy.

I managed to limp the car down the block a mile or two to a mechanic. The plugs were the wrong ones by a missing letter in the middle of the part number. Instant recovery when the right plugs were installed, but I was assured several times that what I was putting in was the equivelent to what I took out. It never occurred to me to put the original plugs back in, and I can't recall now why that idea never came to me. It woulda been far easier than the other stuff I did thinking that I had messed up stuff while taking the plugs out.

My experience with NGK is long and happy. If the manual says to use an NGK BRP7ES, then that's what I'm putting in. If this happens to be a 4-prong gold plated solid brass marvel of the universe, then so be it. But I'm not getting the 4-prong gold plated marvel of the universe if my engine does not specify it, even if they make it in a BRP7ES-M(of the)U.
LOL!!!! Don't blame you for that!
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:30 AM   #16
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The spark plugs spec'd for the M54B30 (330) are the BKR6EQUP.

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330i-M54_3.0L/ES10331/

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Old 11-27-2012, 08:24 AM   #17
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tonyguns,

I am glad your codes are gone for now, however, I expect they will come back.

Suggest you read the first 3 links below in my signature so you can be prepared next time the CEL lights up.

Rainmaker - As for changing plugs every 300 hours in your boat, you must spend a lot of time in your boat if you hit 300 hours often!
jfoj - Thanks, your links have been quite helpful in getting me this far, I will be replacing the fuel pump in the near future, my car has 170k on the odometer, and is still running on the original pump. I drive long distances with the car and I don't need to end up stranded on a part that seems to have lived well beyond it's lifecycle.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:28 AM   #18
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OP, you said you used a single-prong plug...as far as I know, only two plugs are spec'd for our car--the ngk equp and a Bosch plug. NGK's seem to be greatly preferred.

Mango is great at parties...last one I went to, he did a little cooling system demonstration and really drew the ladies in.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:29 PM   #19
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Tony, I think you're missing the fact that many here live here...this is our basement.

If you go back to the thread, you'll see that Mango also offered solid commentary. But without the Mystery Science Theater 3000 subtext, there wouldn't be anyone here to help anyone.

Just take your beating gracefully and I promise everything will turn out okay!

How long had your fuel filter been in the car, if you know? It is possible, as I said earlier, that that was why you were lean, if not, don't forget to try the full jfoj treatment.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:56 PM   #20
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Tony, I think you're missing the fact that many here live here...this is our basement.

If you go back to the thread, you'll see that Mango also offered solid commentary. But without the Mystery Science Theater 3000 subtext, there wouldn't be anyone here to help anyone.

Just take your beating gracefully and I promise everything will turn out okay!

How long had your fuel filter been in the car, if you know? It is possible, as I said earlier, that that was why you were lean, if not, don't forget to try the full jfoj treatment.

Thanks for the advice, I take my approach to maintaining my vehicles very seriously, and I should have clarified that it is a very taboo practice to run the fuel out of your car by disengaging the fuel pump, what can happen is if the injectors are original, they can dry out internally and seize, which is very bad, so I mentioned not doing that step. I have been servicing Hondas for 17 years, and it is warned heavily not to do so.

also to add to those who think that plugs were a counter-intuitive lean issue step, I would tend to disagree, since the vehicle monitors unspent fuel, thus leaning out the mixture to compensate, I chose to replace mine, and they were toast. More than likely the fuel filter was the bigger issue here.

I am actually going through jfoj's links and performing checks to all the items he has mentioned, it is very good information, and this car is new to me this year. I have only added 10k to the car's 170k milometer, so I want to keep it running smoothly.

I appreciate your reply, but as far as the childish antics from the mango, that is just plain ignorance. even if his message was on point, valid, and even inciteful, his arrogant and childish sarcasm nullifies any value he could have possibly added.

Thank you for trying to keep my thread on point.
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