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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. is the premier BMW Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Troubling engine cut out symptoms

Hi everyone, I've just registered for this forum after searching around on the net for any information on engines cutting out. I drive a 1986 325e Baur Cabriolet. She's a 4 speed auto and has grown on me very much in the 1 month I've had her.

The trouble started just a few days after buying her and having filled the tank. The first instance of the engine giving trouble was when the car was idle at home and a very strong smell of petrol could be detected. This was not present in the days ahead. Later on in the day with the engine well warmed up, when stopping at a traffic light and attempting to accelerate, the engine suddenly just cut out. No spluttering, it just decided to cut out. When I tried to restart the car, the engine would roar to life and cut out again in the same split second. Eventually it restarted but began to show strange behaviours. When I stepped on the accelerator from a stop position, the engine would lose power to the point of nearly cutting out then suddenly come back to life. This behaviour was absent until nearly 10 hours later in the same day at another traffic stop.

Since then I've only observed this happening on two other occasions when I moved the car off without giving it a warmup so since then I assumed it was an engine temperature problem and resolved to spend 30 seconds after starting the car to warm up.

I've not had the engine actually catastrophically cut out on me again until last Sunday night. As I was driving up a shallow slope at 60km/h the engine cut out whilst the car was in motion. It didn't stay that way though and without me touching the keys it came back to life after a second. Another 10 seconds of driving and it cut out again. Then came back. Then cut out... by which time I decided to stop at the side of the road.

No spluttering when it cut out and when it came back to life it worked as though it never cut out. Imagine someone talking, then go unconscious then recover and begin talking like he/she never KO'd.

By the time I stopped, the engine had quit and the lights on the dashboard came on. These lights were absent while the car was still in motion. Upon trying to restart the car, the engine would start but die off immediately. Leaving it for about 1 minute, I tried again while keeping my foot on the accelerator and it worked again. The rest of the night it continued to work just fine.

The problem has been very inconsistent with its occurence and I have next to no technical knowledge or what to look for. Has anyone had problems like these before? Are there some things in particular I should look for?
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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is temperature getting hot? are check engine lights coming on? sounds like an air to fuel ratio problem, possible air flow meter or valves, valve timing, timing belt. as long as car is starting with out having to press down on gas pedal then fuel injectors and starter/ ignition system should be fine.
seems strange but i kinda had something like that happen. mine was more of a hesitation but with a standard. it seemed like it wanted to cut out at a stand still in first gear when clutch grabbed it. wasn't stalling because of driver or clutch error though. battery and engine lights would come on for a split second then go back off and car would never die out completely. just sort of lagged and pretended to die. does not happen anymore. happened two or more months ago. since then though i have gotten a new timing belt. but i figure i still need a tune up for valve adjustment.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Engine temperature was not hot. The needle was not close to the halfway mark when these problems occured. If you mean the environment, not at all, the highest it gets this time of the year is 22 degrees celcius and the lowest is 5 degrees celcius.

The check engine lights do not come on when the problem happens unless i'm fully stopped. The engine starts up just fine when i'm not in the middle of the problem occuring.

Thanks for the reply though, that does help to narrow the list of problems.
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