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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 09-05-2005, 01:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My 1994 318i has some problems

For a while now, my car has been having engine problems..when i start the car, i have to give it some gas for awhile just so it wont stall..and sometimes after that, it will drive just fine with a good idle...if im lucky.... other times every single light in the car... will flicker not completely off and on but it will just dim to bright and not as bright... im talking about the gauges.. head lights.. tail lights.. anything that lights up.. and when i drive i can be driving and be coming to a stop or just slowing down... my car is manual so when im slowing down i can be in 3rd gear and when the rpms get down to about 2,500 rpm (or sometimes higher) it will already be jerking like it is about to stall... and while it is jerking the check engine light will be flashing..... now that problem is completly random... it can happen when the car has just started... or even when ive been driving on the freeway for 20 mins.... and it can just randomly stop... while on the free way.. or at a stoplight... Also weather factors dont matter.... it can be night time where the air is really cold.. or it can be a blazing hot summer day... ooooh and another thing the sound from the exhaust is not a constant "broooooooommmmm" sound.. at idle its more like a "put put put put put put put" sound untill it the engine revs high enough that you can't notice the puttting any more..since the problem ive cleaned the icv... changed the air filter, o2 sensor, spark plug wires, spark plugs, oil, oil filter... while changing the spark plugs i did notice a little oil in the first 2.. what ever you call it where the spark plugs go.... the other 2 had no oil at all... .... so yeah the bottom line is.. im trying to prepare my car for a smog check.... my car is in california.. and you know how the emissions are strict here...i feel my car will pass when its not having that light flickering issue.... but if it decides to do it on during my smog test.. im afraid ill fail.. especially since the check engine light will be flashing and the car will be jerking like crazy haha.. so any ideas would help.. if you need any other details feel free to ask.. my car has 112,000 miles
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Old 09-05-2005, 06:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You could try and check the temperature sensor... About the only thing I can think off... Maybe a compression test??
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Old 09-05-2005, 06:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i just did that fault code thing.. and it came up with the code 1215 and i checked what that meant and it said the mass air flow sensor... is there a way i can check to see if that is what is causing my car its problems? or is there a way i can fix it? by cleaning it?
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think you just have to replace it, but I am not 100% on that. But have you checked for vacum leaks? Vacum leaks have the same symptoms depending on the severity.
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Old 09-05-2005, 09:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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havent checked for vaccum leaks yet.. ill try it tommarow and ill let you know how it comes out
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Old 09-06-2005, 05:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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hey bud, mine did the same thing, i replaced my coolant and adjusted the idle to be higher, bmw's idle at 750 mine was at 500rpms and when the engine got cold it wouldn't idle.
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Old 09-13-2005, 02:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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ive changed the MAF and that did wonders no more flashing check engine light through high reving...but at night my car's lights all still do that repetive dimming with the motor speed.... could this be an alternator problem??
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Old 09-16-2005, 02:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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ok so i had my car smogged and it failed horribly... like for one of the tests the max allowed was 85 and the average was 21 and my car got like a 200 something... the smog guy said my car was running rich..i have checked to see that each spark plug is getting its spark.. none of them were wet... i have recently changed the MAF and the o2 sensor and the spark plug wires..i reset the DME and the check engine has only came on once after i reset it.. and the code i got from checking was 1218... so i dont know.. any ideas of what could be causing my car to run so rich? its so rich that you can smell the gas coming out the exhaust haha
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Old 09-16-2005, 02:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Funny to see you have the exact same problems as I have...

What can cause your engine to be running richer is:

a) Idle controle valve. Mine is running on the same timing (4.5ms) as it would at high speeds. Standing still with engine running idle has the same gas usage as driving 180... said the bmw-expert. This one cost me 60 dollars with 3 months of warranty, a new OEM BMW one costed me 190 dollars at the dealership :

b) Lambasonde. This one is measuring the amount of oxigen coming trough your exaust, and makes the mixture leaner/richer. When this one is measuring to much oxigen, even when this isn't true, it will put a richer mixture in your engine. This one will cost you about 95 dollars.
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Old 09-16-2005, 02:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ok so i finally gave up and took it my mechanic.. and apparently he fixed the problem... and passed my car for smog... but he also found out why my car goes "put put put" the compression in one of my cylinders is bad... it is only running about 25% the compression as the other cylinders.. So its been a while since my car hasnt been going put put put.... i know its probably gonna cost a bit to get this fixed.. but im kinda excited to get it fixed cause. i really cant remember what running on 4 cylinders feels like hahha.. thanks everyone for the tips... and ideas.. im going to pick up my car later and get all the details...and ill let you know how that goes...
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Old 09-16-2005, 03:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Take a look at this and see if maybe you get some other codes pop up.....I feel a faulty injector or maybe a bad spot in your ignition area causeing strange misfires....just me though

Manual code reading
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Old 09-16-2005, 04:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i reset all the codes about 3 days ago.. after getting a new MAF and the check engine light flashed only once since then.. and the code it gave was 1218.... and as for the "misfiring" the mechanic came to the conclusion that it was the compression after conducting a compression test... 3 of the 4 cylinders were good and the 4th was about 25% of the other 3....
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Old 09-16-2005, 04:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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hmmm. I'd get a second opinion...if that is the case then, you may have a faulty head gasket....all I have to say is check your fluids. look for the creamy brown sludge on your oil cap...other then that goodluck.
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Old 10-10-2005, 03:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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ok so i finally had the time and went ahead and did the compression check myself.. the results were worst then what my mechanic told me... piston one had 30psi, pistons 2 and 3 had 102psi, and piston 4 has 146 psi... so i went ahead and took the head out... and the majority of the exhaust valves were bad....so i took the head to a machine shop.. they are gonna resurface it and pretty much replace the parts on it.. basically a rebuild... now im trying to figure out what would have caused that to happen at 113,000 miles... im thinking something with the timing was causing it to run bad... the cams and cam gears were right.. but what i noticed.. is that when it was supposed to be at top dead center.. the #1 piston diddnt seem to be at Top dead center... my question is.. what position is top dead center for the pistons? right now the postion the pistons are in are.. the two outer ones (#1,#4) are about at the same height and the two other ones (#2,#3) are at about the same a lil lower than the other. I thought top dead center is when the #1 piston is at the highest point it can be at?????? anyone have any ideas? or know the correct way its supposed to be?
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Old 10-12-2005, 10:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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turn the engine 180 degree. You could have had the problem from to much heat....like not enough coolant or the fans never kicked on. I don't know the specifics for TDC on that engine, I recomend the search FAQ
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