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#1 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 01:48 AM
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Exclamation Losing faith in my first BMW

2001 540i 6sp

This is my first BMW and have had it for over almost a year. Unbelievably fast when i first got it and wasn't able to fully exploit it considering it was the first stick car i owned. By the time i learned how best to drive the car i already started having problems.

What i already went through?

Radiator
Water Pump
Clutch Fan
Expansion Tank
Tempature Sensor

Now i realize that i had went through the obvious so i was fine with it honestly. But then the real test for my patience began..

After that fiasco i had the check engine light come on. So i get an inspection 2 done and here is the verdict.

P0171 & P0174 (System Too Lean Bank 1 & Bank 2)

Jeez.. I take it to a mechanic that was highly reccomended and before i change o2 sensors he tells me it is 100% not 02 sensors and that it is my intake manifold. Needed to be resealed and change both knock sensors there along with rear plate.

That shit wasn't cheap.

I get it done and what do u know, still gettin the codes. Before i had that done the car turned off on me twice while it was raining. after these repairs it happens again. a lot more serious this time around. (everytime i turn it on, the rpms go up normally then go straight down and off on the way back down.

Turns out there is a hole in a hose. Apparently it was too close to exhaust or sumthin according to the friend who spotted it. Changed it. Noticed performance increase, but light comes back on. Same problem with the error codes although car doesn't turn off anymore and idl'es really well at a lower number now.

Then before i continue to do more things, after i had the hose replaced and the intake manifold stuff done, i was sitting idling and this code comes up twice:

ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG

ENGINE FAILSAFE PROG

So i go ahead and assume there must be just a few more issues left causing the codes.

Dirty or faulty MAF sensor, Pre-catalyst 02 sensors, fuel filter, or another air leak somewhere. What do i do? I change the fuel filter, both front 02 sensors, and get a smoke machine to check for vaccum leaks all in one shot so i can finally get on with my life.

So far i did an Inspection 2 and..

Sealing Intake + both knock sensors + rear plate
Hose
2 o2 Sensors
Fuel filter
smoking the car out (no visible leaks btw)

if i count the whole radiator bs i spent almost $1k for with the $1300 i have spent for these 2 damn error codes i am really losing my patience here..

I am running out of ideas guys, and i have expired inspection stickers. I want this done with already, i don't have the time to keep playing this guess game. I have never seen such an industry anything like the automotive technician field. It's the only one where i have been told so many "i dunno.. it might be.." Why is it so hard to trouble shoot and problem solve for some people? I try to give these guys hints from my experience with the car, after all.. the customer or the "patient" is usually the best source of information to narrow down a diagnosis. I think i made the mistake of having more than one source servicing the vehicle. but how can i be blamed for that when i am supposed to not only fix the problem but also "shop around"?

anyway, after doing these repairs the perfomance is alot better and i haven't seen the engine failsafe prog message again but the problem isn't fixed yet and i feel like the performance still isn't up to par. It's not as smooth and agile as i remember when i first got it with 45k miles. The car was so fast at that time that if i were driving on the highway and accidentally pressed gas down too much it would burn out for a second. It was very impressive.

After these repairs it seems to be running a little quirky and will 'surge' or 'lurch' as another poster put it, when at a stop or during slow acceleration (idle up for a second, then back down while holding down clutch) (never happened before). sometimes might even cut off.

Some hints that may help in addition to the surge/lurch issue is that there is this hard to describe hesitation when i accelerate. It a split second sound i hear that sounds like the car is clearing its throat. I don't know how to explain it. I just want the car to be how it was when i first got it.

I have one more hint that may help. The car seems louder than normal. I made this complaint early when i had the car after i went through the cooling repairs. it just sounds like a hoover vaccum when i rev the engine and i remember it being so much quieter. i thought the hole in the hose would go ahead and fix that but it didn't. It still does the hoover sound now and the surge/lurch thing. that's really all i can say to help.

One time a few months back i accidentally reversed the car over a 2ft high curb. It got caught over it and couldn't get it off. One of the back wheels was actually elevated about the ground a few inches. anyway, we jacked the car up and luckily the car flew back and came unstuck. in the process some of the under body was scraped. There was minor damage (thank god) but this incident may have something to do with it. i highly doubt it personally because this happened well after the lights were on.

Anyway i'm talkin too much, please help. thank you.

Last edited by xx00xx; 11-03-2006 at 01:53 AM.
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#2 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 02:28 AM
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sorry you have been having soo much trouble with it. Having a car worked on is a lot like having your self worked on. You want to go to the same general practitioner for as long as you can because he knows the kind of problems you have and what has or hasn't worked in the past for you. If you take your car to a reputable shop and they are honest and say that the codes point to this but it could be this or perhaps something else and you let them do the first thing you really should take it back to them and let them continue to diagnose the problem.

One of my best friends owns a car repair shop so I'm over there quite a bit while I am home. He's the best mechanic that I know and he's very honest to his customers, he's factory trained on E36+E34 Bmws, factory trained by Toyota for earlier 90s models, worked at an independent shop after dealership work... All he's ever done is work on cars and sometimes even with my car, which he has serviced for the previous owner since it was out of warranty with the exception of the most recent mystery owner (found it at a used car lot down the street from his shop), it may take him two visits or on a rare occasion more to finally pin down a problem. Unfortunately this is the way car repair works, there's no manual that tells you exactly what is wrong, it may tell you everything that could be wrong, but even with 15 years of experience working with cars a person can still get it wrong at first.

But as to your particular problem stick with it. Nothing that they have said has sounded unreasonable, but they should have found a leak in the hose earlier, with identical symptoms it was the second thing that my friend/mechanic looked for and in my case replacing the tear and 44k fuel injector cleaner got me back out good as new. I would try the injector cleaner, can't hurt at this point. I still get uneven idle at times which seems to be tied to the injectors or somewhere else in the path of the fuel that gets cleaned out... I need to eventually replace them, but the symptoms sound the same.

Also, just as a note, the 540i and 740i models are some of the most unreliable as Bmws go, so don't be too hard on bimmers.

Good luck
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#3 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 02:54 AM
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i agree, it's just hard to stick to one guy when i know so many mechanics. I kinda rely on one or two to point out the problem then another handful to do the work. all in an effort to cut costs.

but that ends up leaving the whole diagnosis hindered because the guy who initially diagnosis it needs that feedback and assurance job was done the way he was thinking in order for outcome to eventually succeed.

i honestly just never thought the situation would be that difficult to begin with. i don't think most people would know. if i had the slightest impression that it was something that could have this many different issues i would have happily stayed with the original guy. but as far as i knew i just needed the pointed out work done. and the other mechanics i knew were willing to do that exact work at a fraction of the cost.

if i learned anything so far out of this it is to more thoroughly investigate the extent of a repair Before i begin it. and also that unless the car came with a medical file of it's history and previous diagnosis and mechanics were able to learn from other guy's experience then it is best to stick with just one Doc. I figured i could be that walking and talking medical file and just tell each diff mechanic what the new situation was.

anyway, funny that u would say 44k. i was actually about to order a bottle before the light came back on again after i had done all that work. i was hoping to fix the remaining performance issue with it but i guess that it is still being caused by the lean codes issue.

yeah, i'm surprised they didn't find leak earlier, and they actually didn't find a tranny gasket leak under the car either which i was quoted at a minimum of $400 to replace. thank god it's leaking just a little bit. like maybe a droplet every few days. i will let them know about it, but they have a rep for never having to come back for the same repair. would have been smart to use this repair from the get go to test that rep.
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#4 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 07:05 AM
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i forgot to mention that i already cleaned the MAF sensor too. I used crc electronic sensitive cleaner. it looked fine but i still gave it a good cleaning.
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#5 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 11:22 AM
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540i's unreliable? Gee. I better sell my car ASAP!

XX, were the other two 02 sensors ever replaced?
From your description/symptoms, sounds like there is some type of timing/gas mixture issue. It could be a faulty/dirty fuel injector.
It seems like you pretty much took care of other items related to the symptoms. So that only leaves you with the rear 02 sensors and fuel injectors.
It could be something so simple as resetting/replacing a fuse. Check your fuses, especially the gas filter/injectors. I'm going to read a little more on my manual tonight in regards to the knock sensors. I get the feeling there is a resetting required prior to finishing the job.
I'll get back to you on Monday.

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#6 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 11:41 AM
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Forgot to mention I also heard that even if you clean you maf sensor you can still have the sysmpstoms you described. That sensor cost around $400, cheaper if you shop around.
What codes are you currently getting?

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#7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 11:59 AM
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#8 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 01:00 PM
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ok guys, got some good and bad news. turns out that after i had all this work done, and the light came back on i just assumed it was the same codes again since i had got them so many times in a row previously.

so the good news is i got new codes. and it seems all that work done already cleared the system too lean issues.

P1160 Mfr Ctrlled Fuel And Air Metering
P1158 Mfr Ctrlled Fuel And Air Metering

P1160 is bank 2 i think and P1158 is bank 1

The AllData lookup is:

Fuel Trim Adaptation Additive Bank 1 & 2 Low

Now the bad news:

According to the mechanic (not my best guy but works mostly on older cars) says since we already smoke the car, he is 100% sure it is the whole manifold. He said i need to replace the whole thing. They said they did it recently for a bmw at their other shop. apparently a smoke machine won't detect if it is bad. what i'm wondering is how likely is it this and not some sensor, and if it is not leaking how could it be bad? I can't believe so many parts in the bmw is plastic. It is almost pathetic how much they skimp on these cars. I mean don't get me wrong, they still get the job done when it comes to performance, but not when it comes to durability.

So LOS ur right, it was a gas/mixture issue.

I believe all these problems may have occured from some minor overheating during my cooling system fiasco.

The current symptoms are:

Loud engine when revving. Sounds like a loud hoover vaccum. Not as quiet as when i bought it.

Sometimes when i come to a stop and put the car in neutral then let go of the clutch the car's rpm's rev/spike up then back down (surge/lurch) and occasionally it will go as far as turn off forcing me to restart.

Performance is not up to par. Slight hesitation if i try to accelarate hard. Sounds like car is clearing its throat for a split second.

And finally, engine sounds like crap health wise when i pop hood and listen.

What i am wondering is if:

1: Federal Emission Law 7 year /80K miles will this cover these issues? or only the original system too lean issues?

2: Would it be a waste of time to think BMWNA would help me out with all this? I spent well over $2500 on the car already.

3: would all this have been covered under bmw warranty under 50k? a dealer told me no.
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#9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 01:26 PM
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1. If this is emission related, it's covered!
2. BMWNA will help as long as a BMW dealer has inspected the car and determines quality/manufacturing faults. I'm happy with the help I have received from them in the past.
3. If it was certified (CPO), YES! Everything is covered except wear and tear items. What you have is an emission issue.

Holy crap, why not replace the whole friken engine while at it? Do you trust this mechanic/shop?
I hate to say this but if I were you, I would take the car to the stealer and find out the real problem. I know it'll cost from $100-200 but at least you'll know for sure and maybe your mechanic was correct and BMWNA will pick up the tab on the manifold!

I think I miss it somewhere, how many miles on your car?

LOS

Last edited by LOS; 11-03-2006 at 01:31 PM.
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#10 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOS
540i's unreliable? Gee. I better sell my car ASAP!
LOS
LOL... I said for a BMW. They are the "worst" rated BMWs for reliability by consumer reports... and most mechanics. They are still reliable cars, it was more to poke fun than a serious statement.

That sucks about the manifold. And as for the plastic, all "newer" cars have plastic in the weirdest and worst places.

For your problem, I would try the 44k first and see if that helps take care of the mixture issue (like I said, it helped me a lot). Even if the manifold is damaged that might buy you some time if you are getting strapped for cash right now and let you take care of the manifold after the next pay check or it might take care of the problem and save you a manifold.
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#11 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 05:41 PM
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LOS i called the dealer and he said ONLY the cat is covered under that law.

so far, one mechanic is saying it is def the manifold that needs replacing and the other is saying that my MAF is bad. he said it either went bad or i destroyed it when i cleaned it with QD Electronics Cleaner by CRC. he said it doesn't matter if it is for sensitive parts the 540i is extremely sensitive and it will always damage it. I called the technical service on the can before i purchased it and they said it was 100% safe.

dealer quoted manifold at $500, and one of the mechanics will install for $200.

the other guy who said it was MAF said it would cost $600 (pfff should be $300) but said if i continue to drive around it might kick back in since visibly it looks fine.

im gonna do some research on the 2 new codes to see what history has shown

i just want my power back!

p.s. it is around 80k miles.

Last edited by xx00xx; 11-03-2006 at 05:43 PM.
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#12 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 05:53 PM
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Okay, if you decide to replace the MAF... Try

Auto Parts at AutohausAZ - OEM Auto Parts - Discount Replacement Parts low prices, quality stuff (OEM, most of it)
There are other members on this forum that have replaced this sensor in the past
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#13 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 06:13 PM
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LOS has anyone replaced whole intake manifold?

is there anyway to narrow down whether it is manifold or maf?

doesn't seem to be any information/history on these problems online or in the forum.
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#14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 06:58 PM
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damn dude, that sux, wat can i say? BMW = Break My Wallet

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#15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 08:52 PM
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If I have to make a guess, I'd bet it ends up being a bad MAF sensor.
I had a stubborn CEL, replaced first the oil separator, light still came back on.
Replaced throttle body, light came back on. Finally...replaced the MAF sensor, which was previously inspected and thought to be good, and that solved all the headaches. Oh...and then I had a faulty brand-new MAf sensor, and the car stalled in the middle of the highway in the fast lane! Everything just cut off and it won't start. So it was replaced under warranty, and never had that bug ever again.

The MAf sensor costs about over $300. Buy it and snap it on yourself. Then get your mechanic to reset the light for free. I have been told multiple times that the film inside the sensor is super sensitive. A lot of people try to clean it, but I have been advised to just dust it clean with an air hose and not to even touch it!

Don't feel too bad. I'm sure every 5series owner has replaced the radiator and the MAF sensor before.
Together with many other common faults. It will come to an end eventually, as mine did after spending lots of dollars. I totally enjoyed it after that, it was money well spent, if I had wanted a reliable car, why...I should have bought an Accord or a Camry!

Good luck!

OH, btw...NOT TRUE! The 540i, especially the later models as in yours onwards are pretty reliable.
There are just the common faults that need to be fixed, as in other makes of cars.
The 540i has been the luxury sports sedan of the year for several years consecutively, until that banglelised E60 came out!


Last edited by CosmosBlack; 11-03-2006 at 09:01 PM.
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