Everyone, I'm in need of assistance. I live in Chicago,IL,USA where it's cold but the car in question is in a reasonably climate controlled garage.
My wife's 1998 328ic (auto trans) was running fine yesterday, 12/27. Started up as it should and idling fine. Drove fine. Today, 12/28, my wife tried to start the engine and it wouldn't turn over. I tried it after work and was able to get it running, but only if I had my foot on the gas after ignition. Once I took my foot off the gas for the engine to idle, the engine cut out.
My car is all of a sudden not idling on its own. Is this an easy fix? I don't want to have this car towed to a shop if it isn't necessary.
Was the car filled with gas before your wife drove it home and parked? If so it may be a contaminated fuel issue. Try checking out the fuel filter and see what the fuel delivery pressure is like, the electric fuel pump will only run for 2 seconds (roughly) when you first turn the key to the position II (before the starter engages), so you'll need to have someone do this for you. Disconnect the fuel rail and run the fuel line into a jar or tin, you should see a good stream of fuel whilst the fuel pump runs so make sure it doesn't go everywhere. You should also be able to hear the electric fuel pump whirr (humm) insert suitable description, during this time. Most modern fuel injected cars will use an electric fuel pump. You shouldn't need to turn the key to the start position to get the fuel pump to engage. I am not familiar with your car, so this may be total BS, and I don't mind being corrected. Good luck.
Thanks for the info, however, I don't think I'll get to it until this weekend. My 9-5 job is more like 7-7 nowadays. Fuel filter is my first look. Is that an easy fix or am I kidding myself here? I know you guys are real gearheads or petrolheads, depending on where you're from, but is this something a novice (noob) handy man should do?
This problem needs to be diagnosed correctly first, before you start throwing money at guesses. Do the obvious checks for system operations, this car has many systems so persist to suceed. Sounds like a fuel delivery issue so start there.Check for correct operation at the outlet of the system and work backwards. You will know when you find the fault by working this way.
For the pros, I first want to thank everyone for their responses. I do not have any pictures, but for my 98 E36 M52 engine, the process was much easier to complete than I had thought.
For the noobs, I fully recommend cleaning the MAF (mass air-flow sensor) once a year. Spend the $20 dollars for the premium contact cleaner. It's a $500 part new. It does make a nice performance impact, depending on how dirty it is. Second, Idle control valve (ICV). Clean it every time you do a tune up. Pulling it out sounds much harder than it is. Although, it may have been easier on an M52 engine than on an M42/M50. There is only one hose connected to the ICV for an M52 (connects under MAF rubber boot to ICV). The other end of the ICV is inserted directly into the manifold. All the diagrams I got from realoem.com showed the ICV with two hoses, not only one.
Because there was only one hose, I was able to get under the manifold to the part without pulling the whole manifold out. I didn't really feel like playing with fuel lines during my first under the BMW hood experience. Kudos to you who provided pictures.
Conclusion: As discussed in prior posts, the ICV was the problem, and wouldn't show up on a computer/DME/OBD Problem code. It was gummed shut, and thus my car was unable to breathe unless I had my foot on the pedal, opening the throttle bodies slightly to allow airflow. With large quantities of rubbing alcohol, q-tips, and an electric tooth brush, I was able to clean up the ICV.
UPDATE: The E36 idles very smoothly now, purrs like a kitten. We have since sold the car. But thank you all for your help. This simple maintenance saved me from having this car towed to the stealer for hundreds of dollars!
LESSONS LEARNED: This may be a simple one for experienced mechanics, but for those of us who are new to getting under a BMW hood, do NOT use Q-tips to clean out the ICV. I ended up getting the valve open but then some cotton came off and wedged the valve open. I was able to remove all of the cotton by using my electric toothbrush with a spare travel head (smaller than regular) and really clean out hte inside of the valve. After that, the valve sprung free and was able to swing back and forth freely.
Last edited by fro3and5series; 04-02-2010 at 11:55 AM.
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