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Discussion Starter #1
HELP!

I'll try to keep it brief. On my 99 323i (manual) a week or so ago, I noticed that the engine was occasionally 'hesitating' when up shifting - almost like I was upshifting too early, and the engine didn't have enough RPM to handle the speed and would hesitate. At first I thought I was just wigging out on my shift timing, then I thought maybe my wife put 87 Octane in and the engine may be detonating... Then last night about a mile from home...

I was making a turn in 2nd gear, and all of a sudden there was a VERY noticible vibration and the Engine light came on... It almost felt like something was off balance in the drive train. It was there in every gear and is SCARING THE SHIT out of me... WHAT COULD IT BE? I put the clutch in, and revved the engine a little, and didn't really notice the vibration. Is it the clutch??? Is it slipping? Am I hurting my engine?????????? :cry :cry

When I got to my hotel, I popped the hood but didn't hear anything ovbious (but I'm not a mechanic). I turned the car off and the engine light went off! I thought the engine light latched and had to be reset by a mechanic??? NO??? I resarted the car, and the vibration was gone when I took a short, ginger spin around the block. Drove the 5 miles to work this morning - I went VERY easy on the car - and things seemed fine, but I didn't pust it. WEIRD. :confused *Edit Oh, I have 70k miles on the car.

1. Any ideas on what it could be? Slipping clutch? Engine Cylender mis/non-fire?

2. Am I hurting my engine? I HAVE to get to work and will have to get a rental if I take it in...

3. Doesn't the engine light 'latch' such that it has to be reset by a special tool?

4. Any garage suggestions in the Panama City, FL area??

HEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLPPP!!!
 

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You probably have a misfiring cylinder. It could be an injector, ignition coil, or spark plug. If the fault is very frequent, the computer will cut that cylinder out altogether to prevent catalytic converter damage (fuel loading). When you turn off, and restart the car, it resets, and will fire that cylinder again, but the fault of the computer will not go away. It'll need to be reset.
Also, it the CAT is clogging up, the excess backpressure will cause misfires, and the cylinders will cut out.
If you can get it to run bad while it's just idling, you can try this to help diagnose it:

Pull the cover off the top of the engine to expose the ignition coils. With the engine running (and misfiring, running bad) unplug one coil. Do this one at a time until you unplug one and the engine running DOES NOT CHANGE. This will indicate the dead cylinder. If you unplug a good cylinder the running will get worse. If it is a coil, you can easily swap the suspect coil with one from another cylinder, and see if the bad cylinder moves with the coil swap. Same with spark plugs. Same with injectors if you are confident with working on them.
 

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Find a quality repair shop near by and have them pull the fault codes for you. I bet you have a bad camshaft position sensor. Replacing it is not that hard if you want to do it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So are you saying that the "check engine" light should stay on? Is is not on after turning the car off the initial the one time the engine was whacked out.

I have been driving gingerly to/from work and have not had that big problem since that one incident. My ear is tuned to finding the problem again; I'm not sure if I'm feeling a little 'slipping' or 'hesitation' still or not (Like what preceded the big problem) but if so, it is only when on the power uptake after a gear shift (which is why i'm wondering about the clutch)... you guys are the experts


I know it's difficult to 'diagnose' a problem over the internet, but is it possible it is the clutch? Again I'm not a mechanic, but am 'mechanically inclined'...

Thanks for the responses! Any suggestions on finding a reputable/good mechanic in a unfamiliar town? No dealers within 100 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, also, is the fault code retrievable by the mechanic who checks it out, even though the light went out????

I presume the car has some kind of memory for what generated 'check engine' lights, even if the light goes out on its own...
 

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If a fault is stored, it will stay there until it is cleared. The light does not have to be on for a fault to be stored. It depends on the nature of the fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I had it cheked out by a mechanic, and it was apparently the Fuel Filter. :thud

The guy said that there was backpressure when he tested it, so there must have been some crap in some of the gas... :wrench

He said that the cylinder probably cut out becase not enough fuel was getting to the cylinder cause of the constriction. What is weird to me is that it really only happend at low RPM when shifting on the power uptake...

Does that jive with you guys?

Thanks again for all the help, Tech & ExTech! :cheers
 

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Originally posted by Fangs@Jan 21 2004, 10:23 PM
Well, I had it cheked out by a mechanic, and it was apparently the Fuel Filter. :thud

The guy said that there was backpressure when he tested it, so there must have been some crap in some of the gas... :wrench

He said that the cylinder probably cut out becase not enough fuel was getting to the cylinder cause of the constriction. What is weird to me is that it really only happend at low RPM when shifting on the power uptake...

Does that jive with you guys?

Thanks again for all the help, Tech & ExTech! :cheers
I bet it doesn't fix it.
 

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I fail to see how an engine can starve for fuel at low speed, and run fine at high speed because of a fuel filter with 'backpressure". How does he test the filter?
Was the fuel pressure low?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, you were right... Last night it happened again... :banghead :banghead :banghead

I think I agree that both times, this "major event" is a Cylinder is not firing. Both times it has happened, I was within minutes of completing a 3 hour drive (don't know if that has anything to do with it...)

Now I'm really confused. The guy also told me that if the fault clears itself (by turning the car off, then back on) that the fault would not be stored... From what you say, that may not be true? I don't know if he even checked that (I doubt it.) :pissed2

What would you do next? Take it to a different mechanic? Dealer? If it is not having the problem when I take it in, will they be able to do anything?

Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Took it to a different mechanic - I have MUCH more confidence in this guy... :thumbs

He pulled the Fault Codes... 209, 155, 240, 30

One was for Oxygen sensor no data, another was for Cyl 3 Misfire, another was Cyl 3 Ignition fault, and one for EWS. (I think it was EWS - the letters might be wrong, he said it was the anti-theft system)

He thought the misfire was due to the Camshaft Position Sensor... he thought that would probably take care of the both cylinder faults.

He also thought the Oxygen sensor (before cat) no data fault was unrelated. The real time mode showed good data, however, after he reset the codes...

When he reset the codes and we started the engine, NONE of the codes showed back up. He revved the engine, but when he hit it hard, he thought it was hesitating (like what happens when I shift gears), but if he went easy it was ok... Does that jive with you guys?

Questoin about the EWS fault. Just before he pulled the codes, I hit the unlock button on the console to make sure I didn't lock my keys in the car. Could that have caused this fault?? I don't think I've had any issues with the anti theft system...

Another question. I was planning on driving about 500 miles early next week... he advised against it, what do you think???

Good call Tech, ExTech!!! You guys rock. :rock :cheers
 
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