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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 09-21-2016, 02:20 PM   #1
Breakingdolphins
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Join Date: Sep 2016
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My Ride: 318i E46
Love my new E46 but it's suddenly unreliable

First off I stumbled upon this awesome forum with a lot of E46's guys so maybe you guys can help me out!

So about 6 months ago I swapped my E36 318IS for an E46 touring 318i. (2002 (or 2001) facelift model) I love the car and extra space it has. I mainly want three things from a car, it needs a lot of space, has to be fast and reliability

The last thing has become an issue. About 2 months ago the first thing happened: I start my car engine goes into EML mode. I start it again and EML goes off. Just a faulty sensor? until this month.

On a hot summer day I was sitting in traffic and I press down on the clutch and the engine suddenly drops to 0 RMP and shuts off. I try to start it... nothing try for 3 more times and randomly it starts again. I drive it for a bit and BAM the same thing happens. I get my car towed get some Mc-Donalds and try to start her again (why not) and the car runs again! Fill her up with gas (tank was almost empty though that might be the issue) and everything is fine again. (Just shook it off as it might be the almost empty gas tank though the car still said I could drive for 70KM)

So yesterday morning: normal temperature car fully filled I sit at a traffic light and decide to give a little bit of gas for no reason but no throttle response. I bump the throttle a few nothing happens RMP drops to 0 and the engine dies. Start her up again and everything is fine!(?)

The car has been to a local dealer twice but they couldn't find anything I also used the device-thingy to read error's but there were 0 error's.

Does anyone have any clue why this could happen? I really like this car and don't want to sell it again (only had it for 5 months) because the engine randomly stops working every now and than.

Help!
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Old 09-21-2016, 02:37 PM   #2
zander271
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Sounds to me like a vacuum leak. Have you had it smoked tested?
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:42 PM   #3
Archbid
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Time to get a code reader beyond the device-thingy and read up on JFOJ

Last edited by Archbid; 09-21-2016 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:10 PM   #4
gusthehater
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Fuel pump?
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:11 PM   #5
CylonRed
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Quote:
(Just shook it off as it might be the almost empty gas tank though the car still said I could drive for 70KM)
This sounds like possible fuel pump/filter issue. I had my car die with 50 miles left in the tank - add in a gallon and it was fine till I got it filled it up. Worth checking out at least...
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:32 PM   #6
BMWCaptain
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It is not suddenly unreliable. E46 have always been unreliable. You just have be pro-active and replace a FEW key parts ahead of the failures.

Fuel pump might be one to start with.

Get PA Scanner vet 1.4.x to read BMW Specific codes.
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Last edited by BMWCaptain; 09-21-2016 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:22 PM   #7
gusthehater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
It is not suddenly unreliable. E46 have always been unreliable. You just have be pro-active and replace a FEW key parts ahead of the failures.

Fuel pump might be one to start with.

Get PA Scanner vet 1.4.x to read BMW Specific codes.

....only as unreliable as the owner.
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:02 PM   #8
BMWCaptain
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....only as unreliable as the owner.
wtf!
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:05 PM   #9
gusthehater
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Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
wtf!

I meant that when people don't take care of their ****, then it becomes a problem.
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:38 AM   #10
Archbid
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Originally Posted by gusthehater View Post
I meant that when people don't take care of their ****, then it becomes a problem.
The car is unreliable. Seriously. This used to be an interesting debate, but at this point the cars are rotting.

Yes, if you replace everything, they are modestly reliable. But that is not a definition of reliable in any reasonable mind.

A car that needs to be rebuilt to not break down, overheat, throw codes, go into limp mode (should I go on?) is not a reliable car. Fun car, sure.

My trooper, which was annihilated by an idiot driver at 230k miles, was reliable. It didn't have a limp mode. When the radiator got a hole from a tree - a tree, seriously, 3" hole - it still drove! I was too far to get towed so I had to put snow in the engine compartment - and it didn't blow up when I drive another 40 miles.

Suffice to say - the Trooper doesn't even have a term "limp mode"


That is a reliable car, as in "I can rely on it". The E46 is only reliable in the sense that "It will reliably require something to be replaced or cryptically diagnosed every 6 months"

You people have to stop. By your definition the space shuttle is reliable. Just rebuild most of it every flight and it mostly won't blow up.

Last edited by Archbid; 09-22-2016 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:53 AM   #11
Breakingdolphins
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The car did some weird stuff again this morning, engine goes into EML mode I restart it a few times.. nothing lock the car unlock it restart it and it's fine again. My hands are starting to itch to maybe replace it for a Volvo V70 from 99/98 or a V70r.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CylonRed View Post
This sounds like possible fuel pump/filter issue. I had my car die with 50 miles left in the tank - add in a gallon and it was fine till I got it filled it up. Worth checking out at least...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
It is not suddenly unreliable. E46 have always been unreliable. You just have be pro-active and replace a FEW key parts ahead of the failures.

Fuel pump might be one to start with.

Get PA Scanner vet 1.4.x to read BMW Specific codes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gusthehater View Post
Fuel pump?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gusthehater View Post
I meant that when people don't take care of their ****, then it becomes a problem.
I check my fluids every 2 months and oil / quick engine check every week the car also goes to the garage every 25.000km.

I'm going to have the car fully checked next week (mainly the fuel area) ill update to what happened.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:25 AM   #12
zheka130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archbid View Post
The car is unreliable. Seriously. This used to be an interesting debate, but at this point the cars are rotting.

Yes, if you replace everything, they are modestly reliable. But that is not a definition of reliable in any reasonable mind.

Seriously, a car that needs to be rebuilt to not break down, overheat, throw codes, go into limp mode (should I go on?) is not a reliable car. Fun car, sure.

My trooper, which was annihilated by an idiot driver at 230k miles, was reliable. It didn't have a limp mode. When the radiator got a hole from a tree - a tree, seriously, 3" hole - it still drove! I was too far to get towed so I had to put snow in the engine compartment - and it didn't blow up when I drive another 40 miles.

Suffice to say - the Trooper doesn't even have a term "limp mode"


That is a reliable car, as in "I can rely on it". The E46 is only reliable in the sense that "It will reliably require something to be replaced or cryptically diagnosed every 6 months"

You people have to stop. By your definition the space shuttle is reliable. Just rebuild most of it every flight and it mostly won't blow up.
Funny, but mostly true.

Although my experience has been better, I've had 0 problems in 3 years of ownership, albeit with occasional PM done in a few areas. Hope the trend continues.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:31 AM   #13
elbert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archbid View Post

You people have to stop. By your definition the space shuttle is reliable. Just rebuild most of it every flight and it mostly won't blow up.
Exactly. People need to take their blinders off.

edit: I'm looking at fuel pumps myself right now
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Last edited by elbert; 09-22-2016 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:57 AM   #14
tcphoto
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The codes will give you a good indication of the problem, likely lean codes P0701 and P0174. The likely fix is the fuel pump, filter and check the intake boots and vacuum hoses. The pump is cooled by the gas in the tank, consistently run low on fuel and the pump fails.
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