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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 01-18-2007, 02:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Strange noise... alternator?

I own a 98 328i, and new here.
I live in Denver where it has been extremely cold lately.
About 2-3 weeks ago when starting up it makes a load(er) noise than usual.
It seems to be coming from the drivers side. It last a few minutes then stops and the car sounds normal. This just started happening since the extremely cold weather. No other problems and the car runs fine. It is not like the alternator/belt whine but more of a low rumble or even rumling type noise.
Any ideas about what this could be?
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Old 01-23-2007, 12:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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From what it sounds like, it could be your secondary air pump. What this does is during cold start ups, it pumps more air into the manifold, resulting in lower startup emissions. It should last from start-up for approximately 2 minutes. If you look in the engine bay, it is in the upper left hand corner, it's black and made of a hard plastic of some sort. It appears somewhat of a turbine and has a hose that runs straight towards the front end of the car. Inside is a small filter similar to that of a shopvac. When it collects moisture over time, the filter begins to decay and rot away resulting in a grinding or terrible sounding noise that no BMW should ever make...generally if this occurs and is the problem, the check engine light will come on and if you read the codes, it will list one or two, both having to deal with emissions...check it out and let me know if this what the problem is...
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No check engine light is coming on but I will check the filter out later today.
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Old 01-23-2007, 03:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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yeah if its a grinding noise or squealing then that can definetly be the problem...let me know what happens
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Old 01-27-2007, 10:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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does the 318 have one of those as well
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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im assuming this is an e36?
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yes it does although it has a different mounting system than the six cylinders but essentially the same function
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Old 01-28-2007, 10:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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well i checked it out but i am not entirely sure what i am looking for.
it does only last about 2 minutes. i didn't see any hose that runs from the left side to the front of the car.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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could be your alternator, SAP, or pullies/tensioners. For the record... i hate the damn secondary air pump. Its retarted and makes my CEL come on!!!
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