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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 12-05-2004, 02:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,

i need some help...


I bought a 318i 1998 (85k miles) 2 months ago. I have problems with my car when it's cold outside. Today is -10 celcius (-20 with the wind) and i have difficulty starting the car. The car start but I have to keep my foot on the gas for the engine not to die... After a couple of minutes, i can slowly remove my foot from the gas and the engine keep running. Rpm is at about 600-700.

After waiting 10 minutes, I decided to go for a ride... but the car have like no power at all. Rpm is slowly increasing and the car is slowly accelarting. It's like trying to accelerate at 20mph in 4th gear... No power. After a Stop sign, i had difficulty going up a small slope...

Yesterday was almost as cold. I had difficulties starting the car but after that, i had no problems...

In the last month, I have heard a couple of time a "ding ding ding" coming from my dashboard but no indicator flashing. I don't know if that could be related...

I didn't check any fluid. Im using regular gas. There is no warning signs on my dashboard.

What could be the problem ? What should i check first ?

Thank you,
Chris
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Old 12-05-2004, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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On princilpe I would check all fluids because that might give you some information. Also I would check your spark plugs and check all of the coils. You could also take out and clean your fuel injectors (if the problem was not so bad I would just say put fuel injector cleaner into the gas tank, but I would not want the car running a lot as is) The ding ding ding could have been related to a warning, it is possible that a bulb is out for your warning lights (or disconnected by previous owner). If you can check all of the above and still come up with nothing, I would get the car somewhere that can pull the engine codes for you. If possible not the dealer because they will charge you a lot for anything that they do, so try to find a reputable mechanic who is trained for BMWs perferably factory trained. Good luck with it, if you find anything wrong while checking let us know, we might be able to narrow the problem down with more info.
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The "ding ding" sound from dashboard is because it's cold outside (I think it's beeping at 3C) and the car warn you to be carefull...

I also get a few troubles with my '98 318i when it's cold... maybe someone may help us!

1) When it's cold and I turn the key, the car do a "SKKKRRR" sound, just like if you turn the key when the car is already ON. Alternator? Starter? Smthing else?

2) At idle, when cold, I ear a "bird sound" from the engine... a mechanic told me it's probably the "tensioner" (i don't know what is that). So I called BMW and they told me it would cost me about 300-400$. What scares me is that when it's REALLY cold, the bird sound is still present when the car is hot and not only on idle.... What's wrong?

Thanks :P
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You shouldn't let your car idle for 10 minutes. I wouldn't be surprized if it ran like crap afterwards because of the carbon build up. -20 C is some friggin cold weather. I don't know how cars run under those conditions, but when it's -5 here my car already struggles to start. What oil grade and viscosity are you using, also when have you changed the thermostat? Also, when it gets cold, the alternator belt will get significantly looser. This could cause starting problems. Check to make sure it's tight enough. What kind of gas do you use? I guess some gas may not contain enough ethanol, but using the proper gas would prevent fuel line freezing.

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Old 12-06-2004, 08:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Update :

Well I guess I found my problem... There was no engine oil. That's weird...

I added 2 liters and now the car easily start. I just hope i didnt damage my car...

Thank you all !
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Old 12-06-2004, 09:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by midway76@Dec 6 2004, 08:03 PM
Update :

Well I guess I found my problem... There was no engine oil. That's weird...

I added 2 liters and now the car easily start. I just hope i didnt damage my car...

Thank you all !
[snapback]244824[/snapback]
ouch, that's not good. Let us know if the car burns any oil in the future. Hope there's no damage.
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Old 12-07-2004, 10:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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tensioner is what i gotta adjust. That little bird sound is driving me nuts ! ghead
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Old 12-07-2004, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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yes... really annoying sound.... I thought a simple adjustment was needed but the dealership told me I had to change both (?!) tensioner and belts (??) for approx. 400$... weird...
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Old 12-07-2004, 08:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I had my tensioner and belts changed and the birdy sound is there since they change...they said its supposed to go away after a little while, but didn't specify how long used ...its only noticable when idling though on mine
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Old 12-07-2004, 09:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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holy crap he did say -20 didn't he.... that didn't even register. Definately go for some heavy oil. What is that in F? Like -4 or something? Thats crazy. You shouldn't drive at that point. Any one have an owners manual handy? Most electronics won't work that cold, that might be part of it...
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Old 12-07-2004, 10:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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how do u clean the fuel injectors? is there a DIY for it?
i had the same problem earlier but once i started using gas with a 94 octane the problem was gone
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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-20C is nothing! In Quebec, we can get 35C (95F) in summer and on some rare occasions in winter, temperature can go down to -40C (-40F), that's damn cold.

You can't really use regular oil in winter, too tick, we have to use tinner oil.

The cold we get sometimes creates us some little problems with our cars... nothing really important but some rattles or sounds may occurs in cold season.

Anyway... I like snow

By the way, for a reason I ignore... the "bird" sound went away since 3 days... don't understand... I had it for 2 months now and then... gone... I didn't repaired anything... weird...
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Henri@Dec 7 2004, 06:41 PM
yes... really annoying sound.... I thought a simple adjustment was needed but the dealership told me I had to change both (?!) tensioner and belts (??) for approx. 400$... weird...
[snapback]245543[/snapback]
I picked up new belts at autozone.. goodyear belt, it's a much higher quality belt than OEM with much better grip and life-wear.. installing it is a snap.. according to many DIY you have to pull the fan off to replace the belt, but that simply is un-true..

pull the AC belt first, then the drive belt... take it out by routing it between the fan and the radiator.. plenty of room.. put the new belt on the same way.. it's imperitive to have the correct tool for the tensioner though.. it's a square plug dealy (no idea what it's called), but it's not a "normal" tool from what i've seen..

anyways.. DIY belt replacement is $30 instead of $400.. i'd definitly try that before spending $400 on new tensioner... even if it does need tensioner, you still already have new belts and dont have to pay for them again..

my 2 cents. =)

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