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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 01-18-2004, 01:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Am I going insane or is there something wrong with my car. Ive taken it to the dealer for this and they tell me its basically the character of the car but...

When I get on the highway, and start my cruise around 60-70MPH, I hear this audible drone from the engine, almost like a car that is losing a transmission gear, but theres certainly no problems with the transmission. If I hit the accelerator the pitch of the noise doesnt change much. I know its not the differential for those of you who are thinking im hearing diff whine, this is certainly engine noise, but im just used to american cars kicking down to the final cruising gear and hearing no engine drone. My brother said he saw other reports of this on a site he went to but didnt tell me where. Only problems with this car thusfar have been a Cam sensor replacement, and seatbelt replacement.

Any ideas, does anyone have a clue what I mean?
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Old 01-18-2004, 01:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Tires? Wheel bearing? Try swerving from side to side to shift the weight of the car. Does the noise get louder and quieter as the weight shifts?
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Old 01-19-2004, 12:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Which tire do you have, Michelins, Continentals?

My guess is the tires. Have you rotated them at a regular interval?
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Old 01-19-2004, 12:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies guys.

The sound definitely is with acceleration and not a tire or driveline noise im hearing. I verified this today as being almost exactly at 2500RPM. When Im cruising and I push her OVER this mark, shes relatively quiet, shes also quiet up to about 200rpm UNDER this mark. On my car, it comes to rest at this RPM almost exactly at 68 to 70mph on crusing. There really is only two possibilities I can think of. One is this is just the way the car is, and the other is Ive got an exhaust leak. I also noticed that I love the way I can literally "hear" the car reaching its shift points as I accelerate off from stoplights, well it turns out depending on how far I have the pedal pressed down as I exit a stoplight, she hits almost 2500RPM at each shift point til she gets up to crusing speed, which in turn, is why I can hear each shift.

I really dont think its a big deal but id be willing to bet im going to have to take it to an independent muffler shop to get them to point out the flaw (or no flaw). Its almost like this car has a performance exhaust on it but its usually quiet enough.

Ideas?
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I assume your car has VANOS? Variable cam timing? Do this:

Rev the engine to about 3k by snapping the throttle from under the hood. Or get somone to do it for you from inside. Rev it up and let off completely. The Vanos activates at about 2500rpm, and sometimes you get a gear grinding type of noise, but it's not actually a grind. If this is the noise you are hearing, I can tell you what it is.........
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmm, I didnt hear anything unusual, and to be totally honest, im not sure if it has VVT, but that last line you said sounded ominous ... what are you eluding to? I certainly didnt hear anything out of the ordinary.

EDIT: The 3.0L Engine DOES have Double VANOS VVT.
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's probably just how your car is going to be. It is most likely resinance(sp?) from the exhaust, not a leak. You can do a few things, deal with and and come to terms with the car just being this way, put an new muffler section on but chances are the noise will come back as the muffler breaks down, or put a perfromance exhaust on it so you hear the noise all the time and get used to it being louder. You can also try putting on an aftermarket cold air intake but this may make it worse. If you live in northern Cali you can bring it by the shop I work and myself or one of the other tech's can take a look at it.
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with you, I think its the nature of the car. If thats the case I dont really mind too much. Im in the midwest tho , seems like all the good performance stuff is in Cali.

Thats a gorgeous classic 320i by the way, very nice.

Im still interested in hearing what the Double VANOS issue was that TECH was talking about.
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks, I have no idea how many hours I have in it just to make the paint good again. Once I pick up a second car the interior is getting replaced and the motor freshend up. I have heard the noise he is talking about on a E46 328i last month. It is not a droning noise, it is a grinding noise and usually will only do it under certan conditions conditons like engine only being hot or cold. It is kind of hard to describe the grinding noise the closest thing I can compair it to would be sticking a pen into a fan that has plastic blades while on high speed.
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sorry, I was thinking of an E36. Doh! I'm not aware of anything off the top of my head, except a couple possibilities. Expansion valve in the AC system have been known to cause a droning noise on some cars, mainly E36 though.
Your engine also has what we like to call a hooty honky valve, it's like a pcv valve, and an oil seperator. It's buried under the intake manifold and looks like an octopus with so many hoses on it. It's a royal bit_h to change. I've never seen one of these make noise while cruising, but it will honk when you first step on the gas. Lightly tap the gas when in park, and you might hear the honking noise if it's acting up.
Maybe your ac compressor is going out.
The main engine noise problems we have is the belt tensioner and idler pulleys.
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Old 06-24-2004, 02:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi I have a 330i ZHP and have the exact same thing happening at around 2500rpm their is a loud annoying hum. Does anyone have this same issue.
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Old 07-04-2004, 05:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Used to have a 323i with this problem at about 110 -120 kmhr. It ended up being the differential housing bushes were worn and causing a misalignment. Feel the transmission tunnel between the back seats to determine if there is some vibe happening there?
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Old 07-04-2004, 03:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've got a 325i and, exactly the same case. 200 - 300 +/- rpm of 3k, I hear a distinct humming / growl from the engine. i've always liked the way it sounded.

But yes, I guess it is just the characteristic of the car, like the dealer said.
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Old 07-06-2004, 07:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yep,I have the whine too,can hear it when cruising on the freeway at 70 mph!
The BMW sevice dept. says its a common?
My guess is its transmission or gear related not motor because of the direction of the noise.
I have a 01 325 e46 auto with sports suspension 46k miles, in any event the car is going in and I want them to check a oil leak that is coming from the differential area(whilst under factory warranty)
Does anyone know if this is a problem part for e46,s?has anyone had a failure at all? anyways I will let you know of anything I find out thursday.
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Old 07-11-2004, 10:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Update....the dealership is going to replace the rear differential under warranty,yay
I noticed a small oil leak ,heard a whining noise and a clunking noise coming from the trunk area.
MAG are the dealership here in Columbus OH. and so fer their service has been excellent.
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