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Old 11-30-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
Caden
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Car stalls in cold. Misfiring Cylinder.

My car starts up and runs like crap until it heats up a little bit and sometimes stalls, I didn't have a problem until the weather started to cool down. Whenever I start my car in the morning I the idle is bouncy like crazy and sometimes it'll stall. I wait for it to heat up after like 1 minute and then works normal but the light will stay on for a little bit. Usually until I start the car and it doesn't happen again. It finally threw an SES light and I had code 1347 Misfire Cylinder #3 w/ fuel cutoff. Would my first course of action be to swap the coil packs around and see if that changes anything?

I'm also curious because I have a low idle with hard vibrations when in drive but when i'm in park i'm fine. It stays a little above 500rpm in drive. Pain in my ass but I finally have a decent job where I can afford to fix her up while i'm still in school, so if anyone could let me know what to do first as troubleshooting that would be great.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:17 PM   #3
///MPR77
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Yes. You know that #3 is misfiring.
Try taking another coil, and swap it onto #3.

If you still have a misfire on 3 than you can rule out the coil.

If the misfire follows the coil with the swap, then it is the coil.

Other things can cause misfires, but start with the coils.

GL.
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Last edited by ///MPR77; 12-01-2012 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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Suggest you read the first link below in my signature.
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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 12-01-2012, 04:00 PM   #5
Caden
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Originally Posted by ///MPR77 View Post
Yes. You know that #3 is misfiring.
Try taking another coil, and swap it onto #3.

If you still have a misfire on 3 than you can rule out the coil.

If the misfire follows the coil with the swap, then it is the coil.

Other things can cause misfires, but start with the coils.

GL.
Okay thank you, just wanted to make sure that swapping the coils was a good troubleshoot method.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Cold start misfiring is usually not ignition coil related, usually vacuum leaks cause most of the colds start problems.

You can swap the coils, but do not be surprised if the problem is still the same.
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Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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Old 12-01-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
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jfoj, what if the misfire(s) go away after the engine is warm? Wouldn't a vacuum leak(s) continue to misfire?

Last edited by 2003silver330i; 12-01-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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Not likely, many of the cold start misfires are due to the richer mixture that is required for a cold engine. Poorly balanced air/fuel mixtures have a have a hard time igniting. So any additional air introduced during cold start will lean out the fixed fuel map that the engine is expected to run on until closed loop is reached.

What can happen is many of the cold vacuum leaks, can seal or be reduced as the engine warms up. Such as a leaky intake gasket or DISA O-ring. The plastic intake expands quickly as the engine warms up. Also some leaks like in the SAP vacuum control line only occur within the first 90 seconds on cold start due to a vacuum solenoid controlled by the DME.

Also many people forget than vacuum/air leaks can be additive. You may have a broken fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose leaking air into the entire engine, likely equal to all cylinders, then you might likely have a broken SAP vacuum control hose. Upon cold start you may only get cylinder #5 or #6 misfire due to the SAP hose connected to the back of the intake. But if you found and repaired the SAP hose you might solve the #5-#6 cylinder misfire, but you still may likely have a lean condition that does not impact a single cylinder. Or the opposite is you find the the fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose that likely impacts all cylinders equally, you might resolve the #5-#6 misfire, but these cylinders may still be running slightly lean, but not enough to trigger a misfire code.

Many other possibilities. Just remember than intake & crankcase air leaks can be additive.

Also once the engine is warmed up, the engine goes into close loop fuel delivery and the O2 sensors can cover up for some of the air leaks by enriching the fuel mixture. Once the fuel mixture is enriched by specific amounts the DME can then start to register lean codes. But there are ranges where the engine is detecting lean conditions, but does not trigger any codes. This is why having a scan tool that can monitor fuel trims if valuable and knowing your engine baseline is critical.

Secondary ignition problems usually show up more often under very heavy acceleration when the engine is warmed up, most responsible owners do not heavily flog their engine until it is fully warmed up. Under very heavy acceleration combustion chamber pressures rise rapidly and require a much higher Voltage from the ignition coils to ionize the spark plug gap. You will see this jump in secondary spark Voltage if you had a engine analyzer to see and measure these Voltages.
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
///MPR77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Not likely, many of the cold start misfires are due to the richer mixture that is required for a cold engine. Poorly balanced air/fuel mixtures have a have a hard time igniting. So any additional air introduced during cold start will lean out the fixed fuel map that the engine is expected to run on until closed loop is reached.

What can happen is many of the cold vacuum leaks, can seal or be reduced as the engine warms up. Such as a leaky intake gasket or DISA O-ring. The plastic intake expands quickly as the engine warms up. Also some leaks like in the SAP vacuum control line only occur within the first 90 seconds on cold start due to a vacuum solenoid controlled by the DME.

Also many people forget than vacuum/air leaks can be additive. You may have a broken fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose leaking air into the entire engine, likely equal to all cylinders, then you might likely have a broken SAP vacuum control hose. Upon cold start you may only get cylinder #5 or #6 misfire due to the SAP hose connected to the back of the intake. But if you found and repaired the SAP hose you might solve the #5-#6 cylinder misfire, but you still may likely have a lean condition that does not impact a single cylinder. Or the opposite is you find the the fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose that likely impacts all cylinders equally, you might resolve the #5-#6 misfire, but these cylinders may still be running slightly lean, but not enough to trigger a misfire code.

Many other possibilities. Just remember than intake & crankcase air leaks can be additive.

Also once the engine is warmed up, the engine goes into close loop fuel delivery and the O2 sensors can cover up for some of the air leaks by enriching the fuel mixture. Once the fuel mixture is enriched by specific amounts the DME can then start to register lean codes. But there are ranges where the engine is detecting lean conditions, but does not trigger any codes. This is why having a scan tool that can monitor fuel trims if valuable and knowing your engine baseline is critical.

Secondary ignition problems usually show up more often under very heavy acceleration when the engine is warmed up, most responsible owners do not heavily flog their engine until it is fully warmed up. Under very heavy acceleration combustion chamber pressures rise rapidly and require a much higher Voltage from the ignition coils to ionize the spark plug gap. You will see this jump in secondary spark Voltage if you had a engine analyzer to see and measure these Voltages.
On point as usual
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for schooling me.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:29 AM   #11
Caden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Not likely, many of the cold start misfires are due to the richer mixture that is required for a cold engine. Poorly balanced air/fuel mixtures have a have a hard time igniting. So any additional air introduced during cold start will lean out the fixed fuel map that the engine is expected to run on until closed loop is reached.

What can happen is many of the cold vacuum leaks, can seal or be reduced as the engine warms up. Such as a leaky intake gasket or DISA O-ring. The plastic intake expands quickly as the engine warms up. Also some leaks like in the SAP vacuum control line only occur within the first 90 seconds on cold start due to a vacuum solenoid controlled by the DME.

Also many people forget than vacuum/air leaks can be additive. You may have a broken fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose leaking air into the entire engine, likely equal to all cylinders, then you might likely have a broken SAP vacuum control hose. Upon cold start you may only get cylinder #5 or #6 misfire due to the SAP hose connected to the back of the intake. But if you found and repaired the SAP hose you might solve the #5-#6 cylinder misfire, but you still may likely have a lean condition that does not impact a single cylinder. Or the opposite is you find the the fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose that likely impacts all cylinders equally, you might resolve the #5-#6 misfire, but these cylinders may still be running slightly lean, but not enough to trigger a misfire code.

Many other possibilities. Just remember than intake & crankcase air leaks can be additive.

Also once the engine is warmed up, the engine goes into close loop fuel delivery and the O2 sensors can cover up for some of the air leaks by enriching the fuel mixture. Once the fuel mixture is enriched by specific amounts the DME can then start to register lean codes. But there are ranges where the engine is detecting lean conditions, but does not trigger any codes. This is why having a scan tool that can monitor fuel trims if valuable and knowing your engine baseline is critical.

Secondary ignition problems usually show up more often under very heavy acceleration when the engine is warmed up, most responsible owners do not heavily flog their engine until it is fully warmed up. Under very heavy acceleration combustion chamber pressures rise rapidly and require a much higher Voltage from the ignition coils to ionize the spark plug gap. You will see this jump in secondary spark Voltage if you had a engine analyzer to see and measure these Voltages.
Very informative, i've had a idle that's been around 500 for a few months now and the car only throws the code when it's like 55 or less and the car has been sitting overnight and has fully cooled off. Once it runs for a few minutes it's back to normal but my idle is still crap. This just makes me think it's most likely a vacuum leak. But why would it throw the specific code for cylinder 3?
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:26 AM   #12
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caden View Post
Bump.
I presume you have read jfoj's input. Its beefy but covers everything. The only thing I would add is that components and interfaces shrink when cold and expand when hot and they do so at different rates with respect to each other. As ambient temps start to plummet the shrinkage increases. Its not unfeasible to imagine a situation where small leaks might be present when cold at start time which might close up when the components reach normal working temperature, which also fluctuates with seasonal changes. I'm thinking maybe manifold to head gasket leaks, throttle body to block leaks and that sort of thing. Maybe you check to see if they are under spec as far as torque is concerned. DO NOT over torque them. Just a thought.

BTW. When you are torquing bolts to spec you don't do it when the engine is at the extremes of temperature either way. By that I mean you wouldn't torque a head or manifold bolt when the engine is hot because when everthing shrinks when it cools down the contraction can cause overstressing of components and fixings even stripping of internal threads.
Same the other way. Don't do it when its -20C. Summer temperatures are the best time so if you are going to do it do it in the garage with a little heater in there to take the chill off. Assembly line/guys in tee shirt temperatures.

Last edited by RayPooley; 12-03-2012 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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Ray is on target with is explanation that part of the problem is gaskets or O-rings that do not seal correctly due to contraction of interfaces when parts get cold. You have different materials, different shapes and many different gasket & O-ring materials. Also some of the plastics get work hardened or annealed with heat over time and can actually shrink or be compressed while the engine is hot and actually be "set or reset/remolded" to the compressed state when warm.

Just look up the definition of plastic and you will understand what I am saying.

Now on to the OP question.

Why #3, well what do you guys want from me, I am only so good!! But I will take a stab at your question/problem so hopefully you and others can learn and solve these types of problems.

First you car is old, face it, all E46 are old.

All the rubber parts, O-ring and gaskets are aging and likely hard, brittle, cracked and broken.

Misfires, there are generally 2 types in my book:

1. High Voltage secondary ignition breakdown/intermittent failures. These usually only happen when the engine is fully warmed up and the car is under a very heavy load and/or high RPM acceleration. Under these conditions the spark Voltage requirement is almost doubled or tripled from idle and low RPM values. Any problem with coils, coil boots, spark plugs, coil grounds or loose wiring is likely to show up under these circumstances.

2. Lean misfire, this is when the air/fuel mixture is so lean, too much air and not enough fuel, the cylinder burn is short, incomplete, weak or unstable. Lean misfires happen most often at cold start, at idle under very light load. Lean misfires can happen under heavy load, but these are usually to to fuel pump pressure and volume related problems because under very heavy load/high RPM most of the engines default to a fixed fuel and ignition map as the closed loop feedback is too slow to react and in this short period of heavy acceleration/high RPM, not many variables such as air temp & density will actually change in a 10-40 second period of time.

Now on to a single cylinder misfire.

In the OP case, I would guess, this is just a guess, his engine has more than 1 vacuum leak.

There may have a vacuum leak that is impacting the entire engine and an additional vacuum leak that may be influencing just the #3 cylinder? There may also have something going on with the #3 fuel injector, spark plug or overall cylinder health that makes this cylinder #3 weak and unstable?

But again, if I had to guess, there is likely an intake or crankcase air leak that is leaning out the entire engine. This could be anything from the intake boots, fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose, CCV, CCV lower oil return line, dip stick O-rings, oil fill cap, crack or leaking valve cover.

Then add something like the leaking DISA vacuum diaphragm or leaking DISA O-ring to this other crankcase or intake leak and you may only be DETECTING misfires for cylinder #3.

FYI, the DISA vacuum port is right at intake runner #3 as I recall. If the DISA vacuum diaphragm is leaking, you will introduce a steady stream of air into #3 intake runner, leaning out cylinder #3 more than others.

If this was my car, I would do the following, remove the DISA and verify it is in good shape based upon the DISA section the first link below in my signature. But to save yourself some time, if the DISA is over 5 years old, you may just want to replace it.

Then I would replace the lower CCV oil return line that connect to the base of the dipstick tube.

Replace the fuel filter and make sure the vacuum hose for the Fuel Pressure Regulator built into the fuel filter is in good shape.

Then I would closely inspect all the SAP vacuum lines, oil fill cap gasket, dipstick O-rings, intake boots, air filter, MAF O-ring and the rest of the CCV system. Replace items as necessary.

I would also probably replace all the spark plugs and spark plug boots as they are likely original or unknown age??

I would be surprised if this does not resolve you issue.

Could you have a bad coil, yes, but for only cold start problems, not likely. But it is easy enough to swap,

Could you have an engine mechanical problem, yes, a compression test and cylinder leakage test will likely help identify problems with the engine. You cold have other problems like a bad camshaft lobe, bad lifter(s) and so on, but history says these engines are pretty robust.

Could you have other leaks like the IAT O-ring that is between intake runner #3 & #4 or a leaking intake gasket or cracked intake, leaking injector O-ring, bad injectors, leaking air distribution manifold or O-rings, Evap or tailpipe butterfly issues, yes, but again these are far less common.

Worry about the cheap and simple issues first, bring the maintenance up to date. Make sure you have a scan tool than can display fuel trims as these are a really helpful thing to determine how tight you intake and crankcase air path is. Rarely do any engines run rich, more often than not the problems are all lean related do to unwanted and unexpected air getting into the intake air path.

Hope this is helpful information??
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299

Last edited by jfoj; 12-03-2012 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:48 PM   #15
Caden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Ray is on target with is explanation that part of the problem is gaskets or O-rings that do not seal correctly due to contraction of interfaces when parts get cold. You have different materials, different shapes and many different gasket & O-ring materials. Also some of the plastics get work hardened or annealed with heat over time and can actually shrink or be compressed while the engine is hot and actually be "set or reset/remolded" to the compressed state when warm.

Just look up the definition of plastic and you will understand what I am saying.

Now on to the OP question.

Why #3, well what do you guys want from me, I am only so good!! But I will take a stab at your question/problem so hopefully you and others can learn and solve these types of problems.

First you car is old, face it, all E46 are old.

All the rubber parts, O-ring and gaskets are aging and likely hard, brittle, cracked and broken.

Misfires, there are generally 2 types in my book:

1. High Voltage secondary ignition breakdown/intermittent failures. These usually only happen when the engine is fully warmed up and the car is under a very heavy load and/or high RPM acceleration. Under these conditions the spark Voltage requirement is almost doubled or tripled from idle and low RPM values. Any problem with coils, coil boots, spark plugs, coil grounds or loose wiring is likely to show up under these circumstances.

2. Lean misfire, this is when the air/fuel mixture is so lean, too much air and not enough fuel, the cylinder burn is short, incomplete, weak or unstable. Lean misfires happen most often at cold start, at idle under very light load. Lean misfires can happen under heavy load, but these are usually to to fuel pump pressure and volume related problems because under very heavy load/high RPM most of the engines default to a fixed fuel and ignition map as the closed loop feedback is too slow to react and in this short period of heavy acceleration/high RPM, not many variables such as air temp & density will actually change in a 10-40 second period of time.

Now on to a single cylinder misfire.

In the OP case, I would guess, this is just a guess, his engine has more than 1 vacuum leak.

There may have a vacuum leak that is impacting the entire engine and an additional vacuum leak that may be influencing just the #3 cylinder? There may also have something going on with the #3 fuel injector, spark plug or overall cylinder health that makes this cylinder #3 weak and unstable?

But again, if I had to guess, there is likely an intake or crankcase air leak that is leaning out the entire engine. This could be anything from the intake boots, fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose, CCV, CCV lower oil return line, dip stick O-rings, oil fill cap, crack or leaking valve cover.

Then add something like the leaking DISA vacuum diaphragm or leaking DISA O-ring to this other crankcase or intake leak and you may only be DETECTING misfires for cylinder #3.

FYI, the DISA vacuum port is right at intake runner #3 as I recall. If the DISA vacuum diaphragm is leaking, you will introduce a steady stream of air into #3 intake runner, leaning out cylinder #3 more than others.

If this was my car, I would do the following, remove the DISA and verify it is in good shape based upon the DISA section the first link below in my signature. But to save yourself some time, if the DISA is over 5 years old, you may just want to replace it.

Then I would replace the lower CCV oil return line that connect to the base of the dipstick tube.

Replace the fuel filter and make sure the vacuum hose for the Fuel Pressure Regulator built into the fuel filter is in good shape.

Then I would closely inspect all the SAP vacuum lines, oil fill cap gasket, dipstick O-rings, intake boots, air filter, MAF O-ring and the rest of the CCV system. Replace items as necessary.

I would also probably replace all the spark plugs and spark plug boots as they are likely original or unknown age??

I would be surprised if this does not resolve you issue.

Could you have a bad coil, yes, but for only cold start problems, not likely. But it is easy enough to swap,

Could you have an engine mechanical problem, yes, a compression test and cylinder leakage test will likely help identify problems with the engine. You cold have other problems like a bad camshaft lobe, bad lifter(s) and so on, but history says these engines are pretty robust.

Could you have other leaks like the IAT O-ring that is between intake runner #3 & #4 or a leaking intake gasket or cracked intake, leaking injector O-ring, bad injectors, leaking air distribution manifold or O-rings, Evap or tailpipe butterfly issues, yes, but again these are far less common.

Worry about the cheap and simple issues first, bring the maintenance up to date. Make sure you have a scan tool than can display fuel trims as these are a really helpful thing to determine how tight you intake and crankcase air path is. Rarely do any engines run rich, more often than not the problems are all lean related do to unwanted and unexpected air getting into the intake air path.

Hope this is helpful information??
I've been reading this for a few days jfoj. You are excellent and have solved most of my problems, I agree that I should just do all the preventative maintenance and get it over with. I'm going to just buy all your parts you listed this weekend (excluding disa) and start replacing. Thank you for your help, wish me luck!
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:42 PM   #16
Lurch44
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Vacuum leaks are often overlooked or unnoticed in which they may cause misfiring. I recommend checking the rubber hoses and the DISA valve.

Last edited by Lurch44; 12-05-2012 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:38 PM   #17
Caden
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DISA valve is good, I pulled the spark plug from cylinder 3 and there was really dry thick oil on it, it was a pain in the ass to take out. I re-oiled it and swapped it with cylinder 6 but the car hasn't cooled down enough for me to check if this has any effect. I doubt it will because the problem is a cold misfire. I'm thinking it could be the intake or something. I was playing around with a can of starter fluid at the most plausible places of leakage but the rpm remained unchanged. The biggest problem I have is the crappy idle when at stop signs and stop lights. I bought some junk plugs from o'reillys and they are called champion? I know a lot of people have solved this problem by simply replacing the spark plugs back to OE. Let me know where I should go from here. Fuel pump is new and OE. SAP vaccum lines and the upper intake boot lines are new.
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:07 PM   #18
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Simple thing to do if you can get access to the bottom of the engine. You may need to pull off the air filter box?

Find the CCV lower hose that connects to the base of the dipstick, then follow the hose to the bottom of the CCV. This hose may be covered with foam?? Squeeze the hose with your fingers near the dipstick tube and then compare the feel below the CCV. You will likely find this hose is covered with oil, very soft and spongy and possibly be ripped open.

If your car has the orignal CCV system, it really needs to be replaced, but at this time of year, the lower CCV oil drain hose is the most common problem area.

You may also have cracked or broken valve cover, DISA O-ring, vacuum caps on the rear underside of the intake, fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose broken under the driver side floor at the fuel filter.

If your fuel filter has never been changed, it needs to be changed. I am finding you should change your fuel filter every 30-40k rather than 60k.

Again, you need to read and follow the first link below in my signature, you likely have at least 2 or more of the problems listed there!
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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, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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

Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:01 AM   #19
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Location: Chattanooga
Posts: 1
My Ride: 325i
Try looking at the plugs them self. Kept getting a cylinder misfire on 3 and 6. Usually during cold weather. Turns out it was the spark plugs were burnt down to the nub. May need to be changed out. Mine had 100,000 miles on them. They were worn nice and even which made me feel good plus no oil on tips which was even better.
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #20
2003silver330i
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: N. Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 1,592
My Ride: 03 BMW 330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caden View Post
DISA valve is good, I pulled the spark plug from cylinder 3 and there was really dry thick oil on it, it was a pain in the ass to take out. I re-oiled it and swapped it with cylinder 6 but the car hasn't cooled down enough for me to check if this has any effect. I doubt it will because the problem is a cold misfire. I'm thinking it could be the intake or something. I was playing around with a can of starter fluid at the most plausible places of leakage but the rpm remained unchanged. The biggest problem I have is the crappy idle when at stop signs and stop lights. I bought some junk plugs from o'reillys and they are called champion? I know a lot of people have solved this problem by simply replacing the spark plugs back to OE. Let me know where I should go from here. Fuel pump is new and OE. SAP vaccum lines and the upper intake boot lines are new.
I know your frustrations. I have done every check on every hose or gasket and didn't find any issues. I sprayed a can of carb fluid around every hose, gasket, or possible leakage area with no signs of a leak. The only thing I can think of is some kind of hairline crack on the intake, bad intake gasket, or a busted/cracked vacuum line under the intake.
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