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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a '97 328i yesterday and I was loving it until about 100 miles down the road when the 'Check Engine Light' came on. I took it to the local AutoZone, got the codes run, these were the results...
[P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)]
[P0455 Evaporative Emission Control System Tank Detected (gross leak)]
Now I'm no car tech, but these sound like expensive fixes. I'm positive that the wanks at the dealership reset the code and sold it :mad. Are these fixes expensive? What should I do? I want to take it to a GOOD mechanic and get them to check it out. I live in Fredericksburg, VA and am looking for one nearby. I'm 18, going to college, and quite frankly seem stuck with this car without any extra money. Can you help me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Went to the mechanic today, Here's the results... Catalytic Converter is bad (doesn't the '97 328i have 3 of them?) needs replaced. I'm thinking about replacing the whole exhaust but I really don't want it to sound like a rice rocket with a fart can on the back... Purge valve has gone bad causing the Evap system error (how much does that cost?) Valve cover gasket needs replaced. Power steering pump and hose needs cleaned, it's leaking... and the tires need balanced. Any input?
 

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The valve cover gasket, steering pump, and tire alignment isn't too bad of a job. I'm wondering though if your O2 sensors have gone bad as well. I'm assuming that you have pre-cats on your headers which collect further down the line to a larger primary cat. I would definitely have a shop take a look at it and have them give you a suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Did a TON of research on my day off today. Found a site called partsgeek.com that has the gasket set and purge valve at some great prices. Links here:Purge Valve and Valve Cover Gasket Set. That gasket set doesn't include the sealing washers. I'm sure those need replaced as well, how many are on this car? As for the Cat, I'm going to the exhaust shop to get an estimate on an install. I'll just replace the whole thing, Virginia, at least my county, doesn't test for emissions. Any suggestions on a good exhaust that's not too loud...
 

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Did a TON of research on my day off today. Found a site called partsgeek.com that has the gasket set and purge valve at some great prices. Links here:Purge Valve and Valve Cover Gasket Set. That gasket set doesn't include the sealing washers. I'm sure those need replaced as well, how many are on this car? As for the Cat, I'm going to the exhaust shop to get an estimate on an install. I'll just replace the whole thing, Virginia, at least my county, doesn't test for emissions. Any suggestions on a good exhaust that's not too loud...
Yeah...you're going to want the sealing washers as well. Exhausts are a different story. If you throw in a high flow cat for example with no resonator and no muffler then your exhaust is going to be loud. Right now I have factory headers, factory cat, custom bent straight pipe (cat-back) with a magnaflow 14816 street series muffler on the end. This is what it sounds like...

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
That's a nice exhaust BimmerE39, I wouldn't mind that on my 328i. Does anyone know how many of THESE sealing washers I need. And do I need THIS valve cover mount or THESE O-rings or will the sealing washers do the job. The mechanic I took it to said it was leaking oil so I want to be safe.
 

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Hey man heres my advice. I just did the valve cover cover gasket job- real easy with basic tools. Buy the kit from pelicanparts.com or bavauto.com or somewhere, that way you get the exact parts you need. I reused the rubber bolt gaskets (what youre calling the sealing washers) cause they were in OK shape (and i have a 94). If the O2 sensors havent been done in a while, that could be youre problem here on the CEL. You should run some fuel system cleaner through your system and replace the fuel filter (not hard either). Start with the small stuff first and see if that fixes it. Not sure which valve is the purge valve but replace it if you think you can do it yourself.

The power steering system can be bled and refilled easily, buy a manual or search around on how to do it, you dont need to take anything apart. Tighten down any clamps you can or replace them with new ones.

If you are heading off to school, I would get an alignment/ rotation and balance from a good shop especially if you are driving a ways. Tires are expensive and you want to make sure they are well taken care of. Check air pressure too.

Replacing your cats/ exhaust is not cheap...Id do it only if you have to for inspection or if its too loud to stand.

Just be sure to research each issue as much as you can, before you pay some mechanic all your beer money to do a job you can probably do yourself.
 
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