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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 11-19-2008, 01:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Newbie could use a lot of help!

Hello!

My little brother just bought a very clean 2000 323i with 196,000 miles on it. The check engine light is on and the car idles rough, especially when cold. On the highway and cruising around the car seems to run pretty good. Oil looks good and the car doesn't smoke or missfire. I am completely new to the world of BMW's... I have done virtually everything to my '90 Mustang including engine and transmission swaps and have done some work on Honda and Toyota cars.... but this inline 6 stuff is very new to me. If you guys could give me some advice on where to start I would really appreciate it. Can your normal auto parts stores read the codes on this? I was thinking that we should go ahead and pull and replace the plugs... look for any indication of what might be going on. I'm hoping there aren't any major issues but the mileage worries me.

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys may have!
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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hi man , im new to the world myself but am learning very very fast! dont know too much about any other bimmer's apart from the E36 but i dont think that they would have changed the design too too much so try this , may help and if not its 1 thing to rule out. It may be whats called a ICV ( Idle control valve ) i know that the e36 has a tendency to clog these , take out the ICV and clean it throughout jst with some contact (curcit) cleaner or rubbing alcohol with some cotton buds, check out this link and let us know if it helps !

DIY - E46 Coupe Idle Control Valve - Bimmerforums - The Ultimate BMW Forum
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Since you just picked it up and I have no Idea what was done to the vehicle from previous owner it could be anything. Yes you can take it to a place like AutoZone and get the fault codes read. Once you get the codes do a search on this forum or on Google to give yourself an idea of what the problem might be.
I think that you'll do well especially at 190+k in changing the spark plugs, and maybe a fuel injector cleaning as well. But once you get those codes read you'll have a better idea.

Edit: Also you might want to take a look at the cooling system also. The Radiator hoses, expansion tank etc.. These areas are also prone to failure at high miles.
There is a lot of information on this forum on things to look for on high mile or any mile E46 that are areas or maintenance issues that may spring up in the future. If the vehicle is properly maintain it is a really good vehicle. You just may need to work out some of these issues due to the fact that you just picked up the car and probably don't know how much maintenance was done previously.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He had the codes ran today and there were just a few.... 14 to be exact! lol 4 of the 6 cylinders are miss-firing. Both O2 censors threw codes as well as the Mass Air and ICV. The guy said that most of the codes led to the bad O2 sensors. He ordered two O2 sensors for the car. Tomorrow we are going to replace the plugs and possibly the wires depending on how they look. We are also going to clean the ICV and Mass Air.

Any suggestions on cleaning the throttle body? On my other cars you just rev the car up and spray a bunch of cleaner in the throttle body.. same with this car?

Thanks for all of the advice guys!
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Haven't done that yet so you got me there. I've just been doing Fuel injector cleanings; bad carbon build up from previous owner and I take it in for that when I get my oil change. Hopefully someone else knows. Good luck though.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Haven't done that yet so you got me there. I've just been doing Fuel injector cleanings; bad carbon build up from previous owner and I take it in for that when I get my oil change. Hopefully someone else knows. Good luck though.
What exactly do you mean by fuel injector cleanings? What is involved with that?
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's a kit that I belive that gets plugged into some sort of port in the engine bay somewhere then injected into the vehicle while its running simmilar to what you were talking about cleaning throttle body on past vehicles. Most oil change places can do it. And I belive that Autozone has the kit as well. Like I said I usually have the shop do it and only noticed the can hang'n fron the hood with a presure regulator valve and a hose going somewhere into the bay. Sorry not much help. Most shops will do it though. Whether or not it helps I don't know.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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UPDATE!!

changed the spark plugs, cleaned the ICV (was dirty as shit), cleaned the mass air meter, changed the front O2 sensor (banks 1 and 2??? still reading bad thought) and pretty much did nothing except made the car seem to drive better.

Checked the plugs after a few days and no sign of oil or gas on them. Ran Seafoam (fuel treatment and injector cleaner) in the tank as well as in the brake booster to clean the carbon out. Must have been gross because it smoked like hell after i let the Seafoam sit and ran better for about 5 minutes in park, and then started idling like shit again. Changed the oil and oil filter (extra nasty...) with 10-w30 mobile 1 and seems to be getting worse...

So recap, car runs without major problems on the highway and as long as kept above 1k RPM
BUT in IDLE, the car drops below 500 RPM, miss fires (a TON recently), stalls/almost stalls. Oh and when RPMs drop real low and almost stalls, the lights dim real low and almost cut off.

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Old 12-02-2008, 03:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just a random thought have you checked your Throttle Position Sensor?
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That shouldnt have anything to do with the idle speed... unless BMWs do... which would be strange

i'll double check the codes but i havent seen anything about a throttle position sensor just O2 sensors and maybe an EVAC sensor
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Old 12-03-2008, 02:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Camshaft sensor ?
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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wouldnt i get a code saying the camshaft sensor is bad?
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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coil pack, or maf sensor???
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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im leaning towards coil pack or clogged injectors. more towards injectors since the car seems to run fine warm.

I cleaned the MAF sensor with electronics cleaner with no results. I am gonna get the injectors cleaned and do the MAF test (full the plug while running) and see how that goes.

As far as the camshaft... i have no freakin clue... Please correct me if im wrong, if a sensor is bad (ie MAF or camshaft sensor) shouldnt the codes say so?

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