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Old 11-13-2017, 04:16 PM   #1
dogsgottaeat
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I never ever ever ever want to turn my E46 off again. There's a reason for this.

Hello gents.

My 1999 E46 323i M52 manual has a slightly odd quirk. When I first start it up in the morning, it runs like a dream. Goes hard (well, as hard as a stock 2.5l can go), idles perfectly, and purrs like a kitten. If I drive it for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour, three hours, it runs perfectly fine. As soon as I turn the car off, whether it's for five minutes to fuel up, or half an hour to have a coffee with my folks, when I fire it back up it runs a bit strange. Real laggy from 500rpm through to 4000rpm. Goes like arocket over 4000rpm though!

I've pulled the DISA out, flap is perfect, little hole isn't clogged and everything seems to be working correctly (as far as I can see). Mechanic plugged his scan tools in, it isn't throwing up any codes.

I have not replaced the Vanos seals yet (I have them, just need to install them). Would leaking Vanos seals give an intermittent effect like this? As mentioned, when it's running well, it runs REAL well. It's not like the car bogs down once the engine gets hot or whatever, it's just when it's got warm, been turned off, then turned back on that it sucks!

Any ideas? I've got a BMW specialist that will be installing Vanos seals as well as a bunch of other bits and pieces, but just thought I'd consult e46fanatics anyway! Cheers.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:44 PM   #2
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With a perceived problem like that--rebuild first. Ask questions later. Since your car has the ability to run well, then you know it's likely not something drivetrain-related. No point in diagnosing running problems with 90% of the car is busted, bruised, and old. It will, by definition, run like poo.

Refresh the entire car and build yourself essentially a new car.

All filters, fluid, electrical, fuel, vacuum, seals.

then you can do more advanced stuff if picky like sensors, maf, etc.
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:18 PM   #3
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It sounds like a case of heat soak if it runs fine when cold until you turn it off and let it sit for a while. Probably one of the sensors is buggy. Does not sound mechanical, more electrical/sensor/ground.


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Old 11-13-2017, 05:27 PM   #4
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Vanos seals or failing cam sensor will cause that condition.

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Old 11-13-2017, 07:17 PM   #5
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It sounds like a case of heat soak if it runs fine when cold until you turn it off and let it sit for a while. Probably one of the sensors is buggy. Does not sound mechanical, more electrical/sensor/ground.
That's what I was thinking, along those lines. I'll be replacing Vanos seals anyway, but my mechanic is going to suss out all those avenues as well.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:06 PM   #6
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I never ever ever ever want to turn my E46 off again. There's a reason for this.

Check fuel pressure, prob a fuel pump issue. I've seen pumps do exactly what you are describing. Will prime and run fine until after you turn the car off. I bet when it sits for awhile it will start right up and runs fine.


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Old 11-13-2017, 11:12 PM   #7
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Check fuel pressure, prob a fuel pump issue. I've seen pumps do exactly what you are describing. Will prime and run fine until after you turn the car off. I bet when it sits for awhile it will start right up and runs fine.
Felt like that to me as well, but unfortunately just replaced the fuel pump and filter with brand new OEM ones and it's doing the same! Sorry I should have mentioned that earlier.
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Old 11-14-2017, 05:52 AM   #8
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The first step in diagnosing a problem is to scan the engine computer (DME) for codes. The SES light is on only when an emissions related code is present.

Donít throw parts at the problem. Doing so doesnít fix the problem, empties your wallet and angers the BMW goddesses.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:32 AM   #9
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what temperature range does it run at (you can use e46 dashboard diagnostic 19-7 to get a digital readout).
i had heat soak on a buick century. sometimes the car wouldn't restart for 10ish minutes, however once it was running it was fine. in my case the thermostat was bad, i tested it with boiling water at 210F and it ever so slightly opened - barely a crack, while the new one was completely open, opened much sooner, and didn't close again until 185F.
there is maybe a 35% chance this is your problem but check what the temperature reading is.
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Old 11-14-2017, 03:38 PM   #10
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Thermostats fail open on these car most of the time. He would be running below temp of this was the case.

OP can you do a fuel pressure test? Also you need to run though jfoj's logging.


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Old 11-14-2017, 03:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by markusmarkus View Post
The first step in diagnosing a problem is to scan the engine computer (DME) for codes. The SES light is on only when an emissions related code is present.

Donít throw parts at the problem. Doing so doesnít fix the problem, empties your wallet and angers the BMW goddesses.
I couldn't agree more about 'don't throw parts at the problem', hence the asking of questions here! The frustrating part is that as mentioned, no codes are showing up at all. No lights show up on the dash or anything. The mechanic that has my car at the moment lives, eats and breathes E46s, so I'm sure he will work it out!

Also cheers for the new signature quote. I like it.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:00 PM   #12
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The problem is most likely heat soak related. The intake air temp sensor is on top of the intake manifold between runners 3 and 4. And by simple science, heat goes up.

After your drive, all of the heat from the engine makes its way up and soaks the sensor which the dme interprets it to be a hot intake and will retard timing. Though your issue seems a little more than a simple heat soak. As a gas fill up shouldn't be long enough to heat soak the intake temp.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:04 PM   #13
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The problem is most likely heat soak related. The intake air temp sensor is on top of the intake manifold between runners 3 and 4. And by simple science, heat goes up.

After your drive, all of the heat from the engine makes its way up and soaks the sensor which the dme interprets it to be a hot intake and will retard timing. Though your issue seems a little more than a simple heat soak. As a gas fill up shouldn't be long enough to heat soak the intake temp.
This is a good theory, I like it! Does the DME only read these details as a baseline and retard timing upon first start-up, or is a live system that updates regularly? I can drive the car for an hour, with no issues, but it's only upon restarting that it has a hissy fit. Once allowed to go stone cold, it's fine again.

Might cut a gigantic hole in my bonnet with an axe, see if that helps
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogsgottaeat View Post
This is a good theory, I like it! Does the DME only read these details as a baseline and retard timing upon first start-up, or is a live system that updates regularly? I can drive the car for an hour, with no issues, but it's only upon restarting that it has a hissy fit. Once allowed to go stone cold, it's fine again.

Might cut a gigantic hole in my bonnet with an axe, see if that helps
Heat soak, usually wouldn't occur when driving as there is a constant flow of cool air to the sensor. It's more prominent during stop and go traffic and when the car has been sitting without cooling down all the way.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:37 PM   #15
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I'd scan codes with a BMW-specific scanner, such as BMW Scanner 1.4 and look at all modules, just to be sure.

Also get your own wireless OBD adapter and the OBD Fusion app, scan the codes, run a diagnostic summary, and post here. If it's running crappy this will show up in fuel trims, fuel status, etc.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:33 AM   #16
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Have you checked your intake boot or vac lines for an airleak? Could be when it's warm the intake boot lets in more air...and would be more noticeable an issue at idle. If I'm right, it should run a little smoother when warm if you disconnect your MAF sensor. Just unplug the electrical connection. Simple test.

HTH
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:30 PM   #17
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failing cam sensor
This got me- scan with a BMW- specific tool, and look for 'shadow' or 'not currently present' codes.

I have a theory (that I haven't tried to prove yet) that VANOS slop sometimes gets interpreted as a bad cam position sensor.
Once the car thinks the sensor is 'implausible' then it ignores it and goes to some level of default behavior.
Then the car does, indeed, run poorly. And yes, heat could easily be a factor with either the sensors or their wiring.

'Heat soak' as a first cause probably isn't it. But heat soak causing 'implausible' sensor values might do it.


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Old 11-15-2017, 02:55 PM   #18
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I had a somewhat similar problem with my car over the summer. It would sometimes have a significant loss of low end torque until I shut off the engine and restarted. This happened occasionally until I got a check engine light. Had a code for a cam sensor. I don't remember which one. After replacing it all is well again. I think the dme disables the vanos if a problem is detected with cam sensors or timing and that is what causes the loss of power. Worn vanos seals could cause a timing error to be detected by the dme especially when the engine is hot and the oil is thinner. This is the most likely problem since it seems to be heat related. I would definitely check for codes even if the engine light is not on.

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Old 11-15-2017, 03:52 PM   #19
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Also cam sensors are common failure items on m52tu and m54 engines.

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