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I have surfed these forums pretty extensively aiming to fix my 2003 BMW 325i. However, unfortunately I have been unsuccessful up to this point.

I am desperate at this point for any useful advice on things I could try to get her running again. For some context as to the urgency of this issue, I am a broke college kid visiting friends in Vegas. I can't take this thing to a shop and I need to leave soon. It has already delayed me for about two weeks now.

Therefore, I have decided to cowboy up and fix this myself. I don't have the cash to take it to a mechanic so I am left to my own devices. I went to Walmart and picked up the necessary tools.

Okay, off to the races. When I bought the car a month ago, it idled rough and shook and would even die. After getting a BRAND NEW battery for it, it ceased behaving absolutely horrible. After that, it just needed a few minutes to shake and idle rough before driving anywhere. If I attempted to take off too soon, any amount of pushing down on the pedal would make it die instantly.

I replaced the ignition coils next. Still nothing.

At this point I was pretty sure that it was a fuel issue. No cracks or leaks were in the covering of the ignition coils (sorry, not exactly a mechanic and have no clue what the cover is called; it's the one that looks pretty and says "BMW").

From there I purchased a new fuel filter from autozone. This was a dumb a** mistake and totally on me. The fuel filter that the lady in the store sold me only had two nipples and no pressure regulator. After realizing this way too late (I installed and ran gas through it), I ordered the correct part online.

On top of that, I bought a fuel pump. I found a pump on carpart.com for less than 40 bucks (no, this isn't me trying to send them references; hopefully someone can comment on the credibility of this site because currently I think they may have sold me a piece of sh*t fuel pump).

Finally, I purchased new fuel hose and vacuum hose to make sure that didn't twist any results of mine.

Okay, so here we go. I installed the crummy fuel filter and then I installed the new fuel pump.

The car drove for maybe 10 miles before I drove it to another friends house on my trip. After a long day of visiting my friend, when I came outside, my car wouldn't start at all. Furthermore, when I then went to remove the crummy fuel filter, absolutely no pressure was in the line (as opposed to when I initially changed it and got absolutely destroyed with a stream of gas to the face; rookie mistake, I know).

At this point I have installed a crummy filter and a new pump. I then thought that it had to be the fuel filter (because it only has two nipples and my e46 has 4 hoses to connect to: 2 fuel lines in, one fuel line out, one vacuum line out). I therefore spent 70 bucks to have a fuel filter overnighted, which then took several days to arrive because of the crummy postal service (yay for bureaucracies).

By now you can imagine how frustrated I am. I purchased a crummy filter that I can't return, and I paid for overnight shipping that was practically useless (don't worry, I am trying to get a refund on the shipping).

Okay so here is where I need some help. Is my new fuel pump bad? I disconnected the new, correct fuel filter and turned the key to see if gas would leak from the lines below. NO GAS LEAKED or was seen from the lines. YES, I DID hear the fuel pump working in the back (i even took off the plate to listen). The fuel pump was working perfectly fine to prime, but I saw absolutely no gas.

Then i decided to take out the fuel pump, and saw that there was no fuel in the "skrunchy hose" (sorry, again I am no mechanic and looking for your help here).

These are my issues and my story. I am practically begging for help at this point. I truly, truly need to get back on the road. This was never supposed to delay me for so long, but at this point I just got to get 'er done.

I really appreciate this community and any help you can offer! I will do my best to monitor this thread by the minute so please respond if you have any ideas.

Currently I am thinking maybe my pump is a POS because I didn't see fuel run out of the lines that connect to the filter down below. However, I don't know if this is supposed to happen.

Thanks a lot guys!
 

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You can hear the pump run to prime when power is applied. Excellent. Failed pumps usually don't spin.
I assume this is a genuine BMW pump.
Make sure you have adequate fuel in the tank so the fuel pump is completely submerged. Say half a tank full.
Try removing the fuel line from the pump and turning on the key. Pump should prime for about 4 seconds and a lot of fuel should come out of the pump so be prepared.
This hose from the pump should go to the fuel filter inlet port which is the back end of the arrow marked on the side of the filter can.
 

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First, you stated the fuel pump was $40. Did this $40 "pump" come as an assembly or just the fuel pump??

Did this come as a fuel level sender with the fuel pump already installed?

I also assume this was a "used" fuel pump as well??

What side of the car was the fuel pump replaced on?

These questions are important.

You may be broke, however, you should have purchased a new OEM replacement fuel pump and sending unit. They are around $135 delivered. EVERY E46 original fuel pump should have been replaced by now! OEMBimmerparts.com had a pretty good price last I looked, but there are a few key suppliers you should focus on. I would suggest you not cheap out on the fuel pump.

Suggest you read this - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

The other thing is you have had the fuel filter off many times, possibly the wrong fuel filter installed and so forth. These cars REQUIRE the correct fuel filter with fuel that returns to the fuel tank to operate the siphon or sucking jet fuel pump. These cars have 2 fuel pumps. The siphon or sucking jet fuel pump RARELY fails and is located on the drivers/left side of the car and should not be fooled with. Return fuel from the filter is used to pump fuel from the drivers/left side of the tank into the passenger/right side of the fuel tank where the electric fuel pump.

Your current problem may be as simple as adding a few gallons of fuel to the tank or a combination of problems where the right/passenger side of the fuel tank is empty due to the fuel filter lines being connect wrong and there is no return fuel flow to the tank, causing the siphon/sucking jet pump not to function correctly. The problem can also be due to a used fuel pump as well.

Personally I would not chance driving an E46 on a used fuel pump, they can still operate in a soft failure mode where the pressure and volume is low and the siphon/sucking jet pump will not work properly and the car effectively "runs out of gas" when the tank is at 1/4 tank.

If there is little to now fuel in the right/passenger side of the fuel tank, you are effectively "out of gas". This will cause the electric fuel pump to not be able to pump any fuel as there is nothing to pick up and pump.

Not sure you will follow all of this, but you are a "college student" so I assume you can absorb info, think critically, understand concepts and solve problems, then this should be most of what you actually need to move forward.

Good luck.
 

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If you got the pump from car-part.com it's almost definitely used since they list junkyard parts. Like jfoj said, not the best idea to chance driving an e46 on a used pump. I know you're stuck and short on cash, but you really need to get your hands on a NEW siemens/VDO fuel pump. Used pump could be clogged
 

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Jon, as I see it you have a problem with your car, you want a simple fix, but aren't sure what the problem is, so you've been "sprayin' and prayin'. Time to stop with the ready, fire, aim.

Listen to jfoj. He knows this stuff and has help many people (but you're going to have to help yourself too).

jfoj mentioned an OBD reader. I think you need to start there. You need a combination of two things. The first plugs into your OBD port and is called an ELM327. There are different ones. Everything you need to know can be found by following jfoj's links. I assume you are out of school and not working right now, so you should have plenty of time to do quality research. Have patience. Ask about what you don't understand, but READ the stuff, don't skim it. The second thing you need will be an app for your smart phone. There are more than one for the different types of phones. What kind of phone do you have?

With the ELM327 and the app, you will be able to read any codes that are stored in your ECU. You can also capture live data what will help you understand what is going on.

There is a lot of discussion about fuel pumps here, but unless I missed something, you have no data to indicate that is your problem. So far you've replaced the battery, ignition coils, fuel filter, fuel pump. Still no joy. It's time to work through this methodically. I know how it can feel when you HAVE to get your car running and everything seems like it could be the problem and nothing seems like it could be the problem. You've taken positive steps to get tools and learn how to do this yourself. You just need to learn to be more methodical.

Don't panic. Give us detailed descriptions of the symptoms. And get the OBD reader and app.
 

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One possible thing that could be a contributor could be a bad ignition switch as well. BUT, you need to verify that there is consistent power to the fuel pump and the fuel tank has fuel in the passenger/right side of the tank.

The fuel pump will "prime" or run when the ignition is first turned on for about 3-4 seconds. Then there will only be around 5 Volts present at the fuel pump UNTIL the engine is cranking. Then you will NEVER see more that about 11.5 Volts at the fuel pump while the engine is cranking. Once the engine is running, you will see more Voltage at the fuel pump, but while the engine is cranking, do no get worried if you do not see 12 or move Volts at the fuel pump while cranking.

Also make sure the tach moves to about 100-150 RPM while cranking.
 

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OP,

These engines have a common issue with misfires at cold start. Have you tried turning the engine off and back on when the rough idle occurs?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You could start with an OBDII reader and get the fault codes, that should give you a hint maybe of what is wrong
Hi thanks for your help. I used a BMW scanner on the car before I went on the long road trip to vegas. A BMW fanatic I knew helped me to buy the car and he used his "special" scanner that goes above and beyond the autozone ones.

Here's what I can remember coming up:

Fuel Trim Bank (came up twice)
Misfire (multiple cylinders)
Lean (not sure what this code was exactly; it may not have been called "lean")

Before I left for my 1,400 mile drive to vegas we checked the ignition coils. They were all good to go. We even replaced one that may have been dodgy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You can hear the pump run to prime when power is applied. Excellent. Failed pumps usually don't spin.
I assume this is a genuine BMW pump.
Make sure you have adequate fuel in the tank so the fuel pump is completely submerged. Say half a tank full.
Try removing the fuel line from the pump and turning on the key. Pump should prime for about 4 seconds and a lot of fuel should come out of the pump so be prepared.
This hose from the pump should go to the fuel filter inlet port which is the back end of the arrow marked on the side of the filter can.
Commando, thanks for the excellent comment! You have given me much hope. The tank is currently very low. Last night I tried to inspect the fuel pump so I pulled it out and ZERO GAS dripped off of it. I looked in the tank and it looked pretty low. Wasn't sure if this could cause the issues.

Now that you have said this, I will try top get a gas can and fill it up to 3/4 a tank or so. Instead of leaving the hose disconnected to the pump, I will fully install the pump again and disconnect where the fuel filter is. That way I can have the gas go on the outside of my car and not the inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
First, you stated the fuel pump was $40. Did this $40 "pump" come as an assembly or just the fuel pump??

Did this come as a fuel level sender with the fuel pump already installed?

I also assume this was a "used" fuel pump as well??

What side of the car was the fuel pump replaced on?

These questions are important.

You may be broke, however, you should have purchased a new OEM replacement fuel pump and sending unit. They are around $135 delivered. EVERY E46 original fuel pump should have been replaced by now! OEMBimmerparts.com had a pretty good price last I looked, but there are a few key suppliers you should focus on. I would suggest you not cheap out on the fuel pump.

Suggest you read this - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

The other thing is you have had the fuel filter off many times, possibly the wrong fuel filter installed and so forth. These cars REQUIRE the correct fuel filter with fuel that returns to the fuel tank to operate the siphon or sucking jet fuel pump. These cars have 2 fuel pumps. The siphon or sucking jet fuel pump RARELY fails and is located on the drivers/left side of the car and should not be fooled with. Return fuel from the filter is used to pump fuel from the drivers/left side of the tank into the passenger/right side of the fuel tank where the electric fuel pump.

Your current problem may be as simple as adding a few gallons of fuel to the tank or a combination of problems where the right/passenger side of the fuel tank is empty due to the fuel filter lines being connect wrong and there is no return fuel flow to the tank, causing the siphon/sucking jet pump not to function correctly. The problem can also be due to a used fuel pump as well.

Personally I would not chance driving an E46 on a used fuel pump, they can still operate in a soft failure mode where the pressure and volume is low and the siphon/sucking jet pump will not work properly and the car effectively "runs out of gas" when the tank is at 1/4 tank.

If there is little to now fuel in the right/passenger side of the fuel tank, you are effectively "out of gas". This will cause the electric fuel pump to not be able to pump any fuel as there is nothing to pick up and pump.

Not sure you will follow all of this, but you are a "college student" so I assume you can absorb info, think critically, understand concepts and solve problems, then this should be most of what you actually need to move forward.

Good luck.
Hi JFOJ, I read ALL of your posts regarding fuel stuff. Really glad to have you helping me now!

I purchased the entire fuel pump assembly. Here is the link to the EXACT item that I bought on the EXACT site: http://www.carparts.com/details/BMW/325i/Replacement/Fuel_Pump/2003/Base/6_Cyl_2-dot-5L/REPB314513.html

This is not advertised as a used pump. It is just at a super great price. When I inspect it, the quality looks fine and it looks NEW. I don't think they lied on that part.

I know that there is a "secondary" pump on the left side under the back seat. I DIDN'T mess with that at all. Instead, I took out the RIGHT side and replaced it with the part above. I still have my old fuel pump; it was pretty dirty. I tried to re-install it to see if everything would work and that would confirm that my new pump was a dud. However, I can't do this because when I took out the old fuel pump, the nipple to the fuel hose snapped because of how hard I had to pull to get the OEM hose clamp off (that was an absolute PITA).

Okay, so i got two fuel filters:

1. Autozone $20 filter with NO FUEL PRESSURE REGULATOR
2. Amazon $50 filter WITH fuel pressure regulator; here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006Q7HDII/


I used the autozone one for about 10 miles before my car decided not to run in a parking lot after I drove it there earlier in the day.

However, NOW I have the correct part installed. Yet, I installed the new fuel filter AFTER becoming stranded. All I can tell you is, there is NO fuel making it to the filter. I disconnected it and primed the fuel filter with my key in the ignition for 5+ seconds. I saw ZERO gas come out of the bottom of the car.

You have given me a lot of hope in telling me to add gas like the poster above. The right hand tank is very low from what I can tell by looking. So low in fact, that when I pulled out the new fuel pump last night to check for any issues, zero gas came off of it (the last time I removed a pump there was gas everywhere).

Again, the fuel pump does not appear to be used. It's definitely NOT how it was advertised at the very least. Please review the link I have provided above and let me know if it isn't a good one.

Bottom line: the car doesn't run right now. I don't have a choice to "chance driving an E46," because I can't get out of this city.

Really looking forward to your response here. I will add the gas asap.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If you got the pump from car-part.com it's almost definitely used since they list junkyard parts. Like jfoj said, not the best idea to chance driving an e46 on a used pump. I know you're stuck and short on cash, but you really need to get your hands on a NEW siemens/VDO fuel pump. Used pump could be clogged
Here is the exact part that I ordered. Please tell me if it is no good:

http://www.carparts.com/details/BMW/325i/Replacement/Fuel_Pump/2003/Base/6_Cyl_2-dot-5L/REPB314513.html
 

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Discussion Starter #13
One possible thing that could be a contributor could be a bad ignition switch as well. BUT, you need to verify that there is consistent power to the fuel pump and the fuel tank has fuel in the passenger/right side of the tank.

The fuel pump will "prime" or run when the ignition is first turned on for about 3-4 seconds. Then there will only be around 5 Volts present at the fuel pump UNTIL the engine is cranking. Then you will NEVER see more that about 11.5 Volts at the fuel pump while the engine is cranking. Once the engine is running, you will see more Voltage at the fuel pump, but while the engine is cranking, do no get worried if you do not see 12 or move Volts at the fuel pump while cranking.

Also make sure the tach moves to about 100-150 RPM while cranking.
The tachometer does move slightly upon cranking. I don't think there are any issues with the voltage or battery, as it is brand spanking new and has performed beautifully for me thus far.

Additionally, yes, I can hear the fuel pump priming for several seconds when I insert the key and turn slightly (not turning enough for the car to attempt starting).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sounds like you might have a set of vacuum leaks as well. You should probably replace the intake boots and purchase a DISA rebuild kit (at minimum) from German Auto solutions. Then pay for a smoke test to see if there are intake, crankcase or vacuum leaks. Has the CCV valve ever been replaced?
I don't know if I have vacuum leaks, but I got new vacuum line and checking the "F Boot" piece and it looks great. I have heard about the DISA, but I am 99% that isn't what's allowing me to not start. That's because fuel isn't even making it to the engine (or even the fuel filter for that matter).
 

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Put 2-3 gallons of gas in the tank, cycle the key 5-10 times to hopefully prime the fuel system.

Read this link - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

Use the Hidden OBC Menu to verify the fuel level in each 1/2 of the fuel tank.

The Drivers side of the tank should NEVER have more fuel thank the Passenger side of the fuel tank if the fuel pump has enough pressure and the sucking jet pump is working correctly.

If the car starts with a few gallons of fuel, watch the drivers side fuel level, it should drop to zero fairly quickly, 2-4 minutes, which means the fuel pump return loop has enough pressure.

Focus on getting the engine started and running and use the Hidden OBC Menu to monitor fuel levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Put 2-3 gallons of gas in the tank, cycle the key 5-10 times to hopefully prime the fuel system.

Read this link - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

Use the Hidden OBC Menu to verify the fuel level in each 1/2 of the fuel tank.

The Drivers side of the tank should NEVER have more fuel thank the Passenger side of the fuel tank if the fuel pump has enough pressure and the sucking jet pump is working correctly.

If the car starts with a few gallons of fuel, watch the drivers side fuel level, it should drop to zero fairly quickly, 2-4 minutes, which means the fuel pump return loop has enough pressure.

Focus on getting the engine started and running and use the Hidden OBC Menu to monitor fuel levels.

Okay as soon as I can I will find a gas can and grab a ride to the nearest gas station. Thanks a lot! I will keep you informed. Let's hope this works.

Oh, one thing. Should I pour the fuel into the passenger side directly from the fuel pump opening? This would ensure that all of the gas makes it into the passenger side and not the drivers side.
 

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Okay as soon as I can I will find a gas can and grab a ride to the nearest gas station. Thanks a lot! I will keep you informed. Let's hope this works.

Oh, one thing. Should I pour the fuel into the passenger side directly from the fuel pump opening? This would ensure that all of the gas makes it into the passenger side and not the drivers side.
Fuel fill feeds the passenger side of the tank, so you can use the fuel fill for the car, but if you have the pump out, you could pour into the fuel pump opening if you are careful. Just be careful if you pour into the fuel pump opening you do not spill any fuel inside the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Fuel fill feeds the passenger side of the tank, so you can use the fuel fill for the car, but if you have the pump out, you could pour into the fuel pump opening if you are careful. Just be careful if you pour into the fuel pump opening you do not spill any fuel inside the car.
Okay got it. I will return with updates as soon as I can. Thanks a lot.
 
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