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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 03-30-2005, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi, I bought an 85 318i a few weeks ago to replace my now immobile saab 9000... first bmw, but know these and other cars a bit from working with mechanic friend who's a specialist in european motors.

anyway, the problem is this: car runs normally after starting, but after it warms up a bit (say 5 mins) it then starts to have what i describe as a 'hiccup', rather severely...

symproms are the car intermitently either not firing or having a fuel delivery (mixture?) problem, and the result is jerky power (if idling will idle 'normally', with the hiccups occurring appx. every 1-2 seconds, which causes the tach to appear to jump quickly to a higher idle for a split second, then back down. when running, the tach speed appears to go down...

even when this annoyance is happening, it's got decent power and so forth.

oh yeah, the last guy who worked on it (and gave up) left the throttle position sensor (?) cable assy disconnected... the one to the firewall under the intake manifold... when i re-attach it, the 'mpg' display on the dash pretty much stays up past '40mph' (ha!), even whilst idling, and the idle's all over the place!

i'm not set up too well to work on cars here in fairbanks, so haven't done any testing myself, but the previous owner had it in thew shop off/on for the similar problem. the good thing is that the car's had a lot of basic service in the past coupla years... new idle valve, plugs and wires, cap and rotor, airflow (mass?) sensor, and also a head and oilpan gasket job, also valves. the various vacuum hoses were also replaced, and look good.

well, i'm taking it into the shop monday, but as i'm new to this town, don't know the emchanic, and of the last 2 places that did work before the car was mine, one closed, and the other gave up (gave up?? what the hell is that). so, i'm looking for ideas/advice to feed the mech if he gets confused or to help me if i've got to do trhe job myself!

one idea is possibly the distributor itself, though there might be more to this problem...

so, i paid $1000 for this car, and despite this problem, i like the car and see the possibility to get quite a bit of life (and fun) out of it. i knew the problem when i bought it, and am convinced that if i can just get a competent mechanic, it's easily fixable...

i need your ideas on this, people! thanks!
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Im thinking that you should check the fuel pressure at the regulator... how old is the fuel pump??? Can you hear it humming under the frame, driver's side I believe... ??? My car is doing the same thing, and my fuel pump is on its last leg! Oh, and your mpg gauge is nothing more than a vacuum gauge, measuring the vacuum of your intake manifold... So every time you put your foot on the gas, or induce more air into the engine, the manifold vacuum changes... its only meant to serve as a rough estimate, not exact, b/c technically, when your are sitting still at idle, your getting 0 mpg, b/c your not moving! lol
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Old 03-31-2005, 04:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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fuel pressure, i believe, checked out ok in previous owner repair attempts... also, when flooring it i don't get a fuel starve, as i might expect in fuel delivery problem. i did re-connect the throttle pos. sensor today to see the difference, and with this hooked up the idle hunts up and down (from about 1000 uo to ~14-1500 and back; and the vacuum ('mpg') does likewise (though not in synch with the idle rpm); from topped at 40mpg, down to zero, back up... in general, it seems to stay mostly at 40mpg when at idle (as opposed to at zero when throt. pos. sens. disconnected...); also the 'hiccup' seems a bit more acute...

still looking for ideas!
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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sounds like fuel cause if it was misfiring it would constanly do it not just after warming up. maybe ur fuel pump is cutting off periodacilly(spelling?) one way to see if its fuel is drive it and when it starts to do that floor it and if it takes awhile to respond then its probably fuel could just be simple as injectors need to be clean
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Old 03-31-2005, 07:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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right; think it's not fuel delivery, because when flooring it doesn't make a difference...
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Old 04-01-2005, 09:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This might be the same as on the 325e, but I had this issue, with the hunting idle. Still do to an extent, but two things I know will fix it. First has already been done: coolant temperature sensor: how old is it? If this doesn't work properly the computer can't accurately guess the temperature of the engine and it dumps more fuel into the engine than necessary. The hunting idle could also be the Idle Control Valve. If you take it off and clean it, it might improve things.

...Sorry, all this was on an ETA engine, but it might be the same? Good luck.
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Old 04-02-2005, 08:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Try a new O2 sensor. My 320i had a bad idle for a while, then I put in a new O2 and it has been fine since.
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