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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey,

I was hoping someone could help me diagnose a possible engine problem with my '03 330i that has about 170k.

About 10k ago my engine light started going on and off intermittently but I had no problems so I just ignored it. Then, the other day I started my car, and the whole car was vibrating from what seemed to be the engine bay. The engine light was on. I revved the engine a bit, and the faster the engine revved the faster the car seemed to vibrate. I started to drive down the block a bit to get a feel for what was going on. I could tell the engine wasn't putting out a lot of power, and there was a bit of a lag when stepping on the accelerator, especially in the low-RPM range. I eventually just turned off the car and back on again, everything was back to fine. The engine light has since turned off.

I'm thinking that maybe one of the cylinders wasn't firing, which would explain the power loss and the unbalanced engine. I don't want to bring it into the mechanic yet because I'm thinking they can't really get much from the computer unless the engine light is on, so they'll just guess at the problem, at a huge cost to myself.

Is there anything I can do by myself, that is cheap and not to complicated, that might fix the problem? I was thinking maybe just checking and replacing the spark plugs. I'm thinking this could also be a problem with one of the sensors. Are there any common sensor that are prone to failures that are easy to replace by oneself?

Thanks for any help,
John
 

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when was the last time you replaced the sparkplugs?
what kind of maintenance you have done so far?
 

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Replacing the spark plugs wont do anything. If your plugs were bad your car wouldnt run bad then good all of a sudden.
 

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Replacing the spark plugs wont do anything. If your plugs were bad your car wouldnt run bad then good all of a sudden.
ok, if you say so. go check any vacuum leaks and operation of the DIAS and VANOS.
also have the code read including any pending codes.
 

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+1 jasonbimmer could be plugs. Hard to say with out codes but you can also check the MAF(clean it with maf cleaner like $7) but overall, it sounds just like my car when my ccv hose cracked. Also look at the intake tubes behind your MAF the elbow is notorious for cracking and they're like $12. Each
 

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None of that is relevant when it is in fact a coil gone bad.
This too, do a search, you can test your coils packs to see if they're good. Spark plugs are way cheaper than coils tho
 

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OP needs to go to autozone and get his codes read. Whether or not the check engine light is on, the computer should have the codes stored. At this point everyone is just throwing out possible causes to the vibration, mainly guess work. Go get the codes read and then report back and we can give you a better idea of what to look for/at.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Haha, okay guys, I'll go get a burger.

I haven't done much maintenance or replaced the spark plugs. But my old mechanic might have at some point. I'm currently unemployed, hence why I'm going to see what I can do about it myself.

So, just to confirm, you're saying even if the engine light is off now, the computer will have the codes stored? I'm in Canada and we don't have Autozone, is there anywhere else I can get the computer read?

Okay so far on the easy/cheap spectrum we have:
-Change spark plugs (my understanding is that these are easy to check and replace)
-Clean mass airflow sensor (not sure how to do this but my wild guess is that it's a matter of just spraying some degreaser into the intake)

How hard/expensive is replacing an ignition coil or the crankcase ventilation system (using full names to confirm the use of the acronyms)? I'm guessing for the cost/time involved I'm better off paying to get the computer read.

I don't want to imagine the possibilty of valve problems, ugh...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
About those questions, not looking for a detailed response, just trying to prepare myself for what this might cost in a worse case scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
ginpunk, thanks, that was really helpful. How bad were your vibrations? I could feel the whole car shaking from my driver's seat. It's hard to tell how much it's actually shaking from that video.

After reading more about ICV/DISA, that might explain a power loss, but that wouldn't explain the shaking as it would affect all cylinders. I don't totally understand how the CCV works but it only seems to be crankcase ventilation for blow-by exhaust, so I'm not sure why that would cause the car to shake either, or why it would cause a power loss. If I'm wrong, could someone please explain how ICV, DISA, or CCV could cause the engine to vibrate?
 

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Hey,

I was hoping someone could help me diagnose a possible engine problem with my '03 330i that has about 170k.

About 10k ago my engine light started going on and off intermittently but I had no problems so I just ignored it. Then, the other day I started my car, and the whole car was vibrating from what seemed to be the engine bay. The engine light was on. I revved the engine a bit, and the faster the engine revved the faster the car seemed to vibrate. I started to drive down the block a bit to get a feel for what was going on. I could tell the engine wasn't putting out a lot of power, and there was a bit of a lag when stepping on the accelerator, especially in the low-RPM range. I eventually just turned off the car and back on again, everything was back to fine. The engine light has since turned off.

I'm thinking that maybe one of the cylinders wasn't firing, which would explain the power loss and the unbalanced engine. I don't want to bring it into the mechanic yet because I'm thinking they can't really get much from the computer unless the engine light is on, so they'll just guess at the problem, at a huge cost to myself.

Is there anything I can do by myself, that is cheap and not to complicated, that might fix the problem? I was thinking maybe just checking and replacing the spark plugs. I'm thinking this could also be a problem with one of the sensors. Are there any common sensor that are prone to failures that are easy to replace by oneself?

Thanks for any help,
John
You are flat out wrong!!!

You car stores every single code that ever came up as a fault. If your engine light even blinked once, the codes will be stored until they are deleted. Even if your engine light NEVER blinked once , you may still have some fault codes stored.

To think that anyone can diagnose a car's vibration over the internet without knowing a SINGLE thing about the car/problem/maintenance, without seeing any pictures, video , audio is absolutely absurd and you must be out of your mind just to think that.

Get your car read. Pull the codes and go from there, not a single person on this planet can diagnose a car without knowing whats going on with it. You can go to a "we fix all cars" shop and they will be using a generic china sh1t scan tool that'll bring up some codes that can mean many different things, depending on whos going to translate them from Chinese to English.

Or you can go to a qualified BMW technician and who;ll be using proper diagnostic tools to properly and accurately diagnose your car. This way you can ensure that the diagnosis is as accurate as it can be.


It gets me everytime that I see there are still people who think you can just fix a car over the web without knowing whats wrong with it.



Or you can guess all you want, you can keep blindly replacing/cleaning random parts in your car if you want to. Its your money and your car.
 

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I am just amazed at people keeping driving their car with the engine light on without reading the codes, because they have "no" problems with the car until the inevitable end.

Before we provide any help I think a bit of driver education or common sense is needed.
 

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Juba, the car shaking was horrible. Sort of like the coin-op bed I once slept on in El Paso. JK, although, my car started yelling at me and threw the SES. If it was a dead coil, there'd be a code most likely.
 
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