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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 05-24-2009, 09:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Strange random vibration at idle

Just purchased a 1993 318is as a weekend car. It is an automatic, about 200,000 mile.

Anyways, everything works great on the car (for 200,000 it has some personality traits) but my mechanic inspected it and it gets the ok.

However, I noticed something new yesterday.

The engine is strong and idles wonderfully. However, sometimes when I stop and an idling in drive, a random vibration and loss of power will come over the car. It only happens when in idle.

It almost sounds like something is blocking the exhaust. I don't think it is a fuel pump, since I had those problems before and it doesn't seem like it.

This one is completely random. It will last for 3-4 seconds and then disappear, only to reappear later.

I tried to diagnose a pattern of when it happens, and can't pinpoint one single factor.

It will be maybe 6-10 pretty good vibrations, the tach will go down a bit, and then it will be fine.

Any ideas?
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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I'd carefully check the plastic intake parts for cracks. I had just that issue on my E30.
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The only other thing I could think of was the transmission.

But I figured once it is engaged, it wouldn't result in a random vibration. I would think a tranny problem would be more consistent.

It also feels like the vibration is coming from the back.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quick update:

On Friday I got the car, gave it a quick drive and everything was fine.

Saturday I went on a long car trip and in the middle, non-highway miles, the problem started.

Sunday I started it this morning and drove it around, same problem.

However, later on Sunday I added some basic fuel additive and put a higher octane gas in and it reduced the problem intensity and time by 50%-75%.

Thoughts.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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I think the higher octane is helping. But AFAIK, that car should be able to run on regular - what does it say on the fuel door? In the case that it runs on regular, the issue may be from carbon deposits on or around the spark plugs that glow when hot and thereby act as a miss timed ignition source.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The previous owner usually used 87 or 88. I actually had the same model and year car several years ago until a very inconsiderate person on the highway decided to give me a lovetap directly in my trunk going 95 mph. I used 87 or 88 on it then.

It would be nice if the problem is only spark plugs.
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