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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For some time, I have had these codes with the SES light on:
P1188
P1189

Usually, but not always, with one or more of these codes:
P1250 (especially this one)
P0170 (P0171 on M54 & M56 engines)
P0173 (P0174 on M54 & M56 engines)
P0150
P0130

Freeze frame data on my scanner recorded lean conditions at idle, such as:
STFT B1: 18.75%
LTFT B1: 8.59%
STFT B2: 17.97%
LTFT B2: 8.59%

Bottom line: it was the easily accessible, and commonly broken, lower oil separator vent hose. Here is the story***8230;

Only symptom was a slightly rough idle just after start-up, but idle okay when warm (people in colder climates may have more severe symptoms, however). Usually these codes denote a problem with a vacuum leak, probably either due to a crack(s) in the large rubber air intake boots between the MAF sensor and the engine block or due to a problem with the oil separator (also known as the pressure regulating valve, crankcase ventilation valve [CCV, CVV], PCV valve, cyclone separator [some spell it "seperator"], etc) or its 4 associated vent hoses. In my case, the intake boots were okay (checked during a very recent intake control valve (ICV) cleaning). I did not have any "chewbacca/walrus" noises coming from the engine when the oil filler cap was removed at idle, which would be evidence of a bad oil separator itself. Since many people find a broken lower oil separator hose (the one that goes to the oil dipstick tube) during their oil separator replacements, I decided to check this hose first.

I found that it was indeed broken just below the oil separator in the usual spot. Replacement of this one hose fixed all my codes and service engine light (it's been ~2 weeks now), and finally allowed me to get my smog inspection! :woot: The BMW part number is 11157532649, which I think is correct for all E46 models except the 316, 318 and M3 (but check it on realoem.com or parts company websites for your particular car). The hose with pinch clip connector is only about $10 from your favorite online parts company. The hose is part #4 in picture #4 (oil separator is part #1; picture from realoem.com), although the shape of the hose is not curved as shown, but rather is straight with a plastic angled elbow at the oil separator end.

I strongly suggest that people who are thinking of replacing their oil separator (a big job) to check this hose first -- it could save (or at least postpone a few years) you a LOT of time and trouble. It's an easy and fast replacement. This hose can be checked visually and replaced after removing only the air filter box and MAF, if you know where to look (a light helps). The attached pictures should help you locate it. This hose has one of those pinch-clip connectors at the connection to the oil separator, so just squeeze it to disconnect (check your new hose if you're not familiar with these). The lower part just has a friction connection to the oil dipstick tube (some silicone lube will help you connect this end). No need to remove the dipstick tube. You can also view and work with the hose/dipstick connection from beneath with the splash pan removed.

When I replaced mine, I had first removed the braid-covered hose (the large one in all of these pictures) from the steering fluid reservoir, because it was causing a steering fluid leak (separate issue). This gave me more room to work, but I think you can push things (wires, tubes) out of the way as you work your hand in there without removing this steering fluid hose. If not, you can always unbolt the steering fluid reservoir and tilt it and its hose out of the way (after removing some reservoir fluid with a turkey baster if necessary).

For reference, my car is 10 years old but only has ~60,000 mi.

Pic #1: General area of lower oil separator hose location.


Pic #2: Closeup showing break in hose.


Pic #3: A closer closeup showing break in hose.


Attached Pic #4: Realoem.com diagram of oil separator system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Freedman, I'm attaching a new picture that should clear things up and is more representative of the real thing than the realoem figure.

Thanks for the picture compliments. I did these in Microsoft PowerPoint (their slide-making program) by just inserting the pictures and then adding arrows, circles, text boxes, etc (all functions that PowerPoint can do using their drawing toolbar) on top of the picture and then I saved it as a jpeg. Any drawing or slide-making program could do the same thing.

[Edit: I am adding a second picture in case some are having a hard time finding the hose. You probably do have to push some wires out of the way initially to help you identify the hose. A light will help.

****Also be aware that the hose may not yet be broken in two like mine. It may of course just have a crack in it, probably at the same location as the break in mine and others.]

Pic #5: Diagram showing relationship of broken hose to the oil separator and dipstick tube.


Pic #6: Another view of the broken hose area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
95dime/Derek,
I don't have a Peake reader, but I will list below the OBD II codes together with BMW's Fault Codes and descriptions, taken from the Bentley manual. Perhaps the Peake uses BMW's codes. Note that the codes refer to both banks, which implies that there is a problem upstream of the two cylinder banks (thus it affects both banks) and therefore is probably not related to individual sensor faults, for example.

OBD II.....BMW-FC............Description
P1188......227..................Fuel Control (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P1189......228..................Fuel Control (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P1250......None................?
P0170......202..................Fuel Trim (Bank 1)
P0173......203..................Fuel Trim (Bank 2)
P0150......153, 154, 155....O2 Sensor Circuit (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0130......150, 151, 152....O2 Sensor Circuit (Bank 1 Sensor 1)

EDIT NOTE: These codes are for my engine (M52 TU, Siemens DME MS42.1 from 6/1/1999 to 10/31/2000). I see in the Bentley manual that different OBD II codes may come up in other engines for the BMW Fault Codes listed above. For example, BMW codes 202, 203, 227 and 228 can trigger codes P0171 and P0174 (if too lean) or codes P0172 and P0175 (if too rich) for the M54 engine, Siemens DME MS43.0 from 4/1/2000 to 8/31/2001. Other engines may have additional codes. I will try to make a table of possible codes for the various BMW Fault Codes listed here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The original hose does have a non-braided (smooth rubber) sleeve on it just down (to the right in my pictures) from the break point. But your codes appear to be "too rich" codes, which is probably a different problem from a crack or break in this hose. My hose break gave "too lean" codes.

From looking at your codes (see below), the P0455 may be the most important. It could be an open or poorly-sealing gas cap, as an easy first thing to try to check. I would do some searches for P0455 and get some ideas to check out. Good luck.

From the Bentley manual (for M54 engine):
P0172 - System too rich (Bank 1)
P0175 - System too rich (Bank 2)
P0313 - Misfire detected with Low Fuel
P0455 - Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (large leak)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This broken hose will definitely set off a slew of codes, and it's interesting that you're getting these codes. As for buying it, I bought my part at pelicanparts.com for $10.50, and autohausaz.com has one about the same price, not including shipping. Your local BMW dealer probably sells it for less than $20. I'm glad this thread helped you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dirsh, if you're doing your oil housing gasket, you'll have the housing, steering fluid reservoir and alternator out of the way, so you should have an unusually clear shot to the oil separator and its hoses (probably a better shot than the usual method to get to it).

Since the oil separator is such a big pain to replace normally (when you don't have so much removed already), and since your car looks to be about 10 yrs old, I would suggest replacing the oil separator and its hoses while you're right there, assuming you plan to hold on to the car for a while. They seem to go out on a lot of our cars.

This is actually a great opportunity do avoid a future time-consuming DIY, when you could otherwise be enjoying your friends/family and beautiful Hawaii!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The hose is really easy to get to in my opinion, although you do need to push or move wires etc out of the way. My hands are large but I am slender. It only takes a minute to find it and another few mins to remove it. It may help you gain easier access if you tilt the steering fluid reservoir out of the way toward the left fender after removing its mounting bolt(s). This will help get that big braid-covered hose out of the way.

Also, if you are replacing the hose, before taking out the old hose, put a strip of paper/cardboard or something down along the route of the old hose from the oil separator to the dipstick tube to help you correctly route the new hose.

As I mentioned earlier somewhere, unplug and label as many electrical donnections as you an find. The hose is a little buried behind some tubes and wires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks.
Did you have an oil leak too?
Sorry, yes, I did have an small oil leak due to the hose break. This hose carries small amounts of oil from the oil separator down into the oil pan via the hose's connection to the dipstick tube. So there was some oil leakage at the break, but it wasn't so much that I needed to add oil (and the problem went on for at least several months before I found it). You can see in Picture #3 that the hose is oily around the break.

Regarding your other question, I would think that a completely broken hose would give codes and a CEL, but you should be able to check the hose without too much trouble.

You might also consider cleaning your ICV (idle control valve) if that hasn't been done recently. They get stuck due to soot buildup. This might give idle problems without codes. Another possible cause for poor idle w/o codes might be your vanos seals, which are a rather big job to replace. Try the ICV first -- mine was stuck after 60K miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ken, thanks for the input and compliments.

Someday I'll probably get a Peake to compliment my current reader out of curiosity. Perhaps like others, I chose the OBDII reader initially so that I can use it on my girlfriend's benz and my friends' other cars. My reader (Equus 3100) seemed like a good compromise, since it asks me to choose my make of car from a list whenever it detects manufacturer-specific codes (and it gives helpful freeze frame data). So I think I am getting whatever information that BMW wants an OBDII reader to convey. But like I said, I'd like to have a Peake one day to compare the readouts and possibly get additional info.

You probably know this already having dealt with similar codes before, but in case it is of help to you, other causes for such codes (lean codes) could of course be due to other vacuum leaks (such as other oil separator hoses or perhaps the oil separator itself, and the DISA valve gasket), or possibly due to poor fuel delivery (clogged fuel filter or failing fuel pump). The MAF sensor or a sticking ICV might also be involved, but other possibilities seem more likely to me. Before finding the broken hose, I cleaned my stuck ICV, which helped the car idle a little better, but the codes remained due to my hose problem. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
That looks to be a good quick method for replacing just the hose itself without replacing the plastic elbow. The bona fide replacement hoses have a couple of upgrades versus a length of standard hose (such as a 45-degree bend [less-torsional-stress on the hose] in the plastic elbow and a braided protective covering on the hose itself), but replacing just the hose should do fine for the intermediate term. The bona fide replacement hose is cheap though, so those going for repair longevity may want to just go for that one unless they need a quick fix.

I haven't read much, if anything, about the other vacuum hoses you talked about, so those would be good ones for people to check on (in addition to the usual suspects like intake boots, DISA gasket, for example) when they need to diagnose vacuum problems. Excellent input! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
RockerGuy, In the various oil separator/CVV threads that I've read, most people have a hard time reinstalling the dipstick tube and O-ring. If you are completely sure that the old O-ring is out of its seat in the oil pan, you might try one of these methods for getting it back together correctly:

• "Insert the oil dipstick O-ring onto the base of the guide tube before installation. Before fully inserting the guide tube to the engine port, tuck in the O-ring into its chamber and then fully seat the guide tube." (This method seems more likely to work best.)
• You could also try putting the O-ring into its spot in the oil pan first, then pushing the well-lubed dipstick tube in last.

Also, I am curious as to which of your hoses broke in the first place. Was it the same one I described in the beginning of this thread (ie, the one from the oil separator to the dipstick tube), or was it a different one for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Excuse my late replies...

RockerGuy, you've probably already resolved this, but if it were me, I would do as your gut feeling told you to do: remove the plug as you mentioned and hook up all your hoses to the CVV as normal. All the realoem diagrams show all hoses connected (unless you're talking about a hose that is not on realoem).

daonlydann, replacing hose #4 is extremely easy, so you have nothing to lose by trying that simple replacement first. I wouldn't take out the oil dip stick tube though (I never did), so that you can avoid the grommet problems that people have when they remove it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Hey, my pleasure man. Glad to help out a fellow driver. And thanks for that great post... Made my day. :thumbsup:

Yeah, like you, I've had it with the dealer (as well as the indy shops), and besides, its fun to fix and solve most of the problems that crop up, and fun to save buckets of money at the same time. Sounds like you've got a good start on fixing most problems on your car with the help of forums like this one.

Just keep a close eye on that cooling system... The heads are like glass and will crack at the slightest overheating or even just driving with low coolant for too long. It is one of the few places where preventative replacement of parts is well worthwhile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
...replaced the broken hose. Cold idle is great, and I expect a lack of oil spots on the driveway now. Thanks for the write up.
Glad the thread helped you out, Stickbuilder! :thumbsup:

You should have replaced the entire CCV and the 4 hoses, along with cleaning out the guide tube. I know it sucks to go back in there, but if you didnt do these things, it would be prudent to do so.
OrientBlau, in some repairs where you spend many hours or days taking your engine apart to reach a faulty part, I would agree with you that it would save you from having to double your effort later on by replacing nearby parts now that are likely to need replacement in the near future. But...

...This is a completely different story. In stark contrast to your proposal of taking many hours or a whole weekend to replace the CCV+4hoses (which entails taking a great deal of one's engine apart, not to mention reassembling it correctly), it takes less than 30 min to replace this one faulty hose (including the 5 min to remove and replace the air filter box and 10 mins to sit back and relish the idea of how much repair time and effort you avoided by this simple repair vs the PITA chore of a replacing a CCV+hoses, especially when those parts not even at fault). I mean, what's easier than replacing a hose that you can see and reach, and that just snaps into place on one end and is friction fit on the other? That is the beauty of this repair IMHO –– it is a very easy repair of a major problem.

So actually, if Stickbuilder decided now to go as far as to replace his "good" CCV, he wouldn't be "going back in there", because he was never "in there" to begin with. Going that far (for the CVV) is many many times harder and longer than what he has done by replacing this faulty hose). If the CCV does ever go bad, then he/we can approach that long and daunting PITA repair at that future time. The CCV and other hoses may never even go bad on our cars while we own them, so why waste one's time? I replaced my hose, as outlined on this thread, over a year ago, and have had no CCV/oil separator-related problems or codes since. Life is too short -- For me, I would much rather spend all that "good-CCV"-replacement time enjoying my girlfriend, friends and family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Thanks for the kudos, z_man93 and Carl.

Carl, good to hear your STFTs have come down. You mentioned that STFT1 went back up somewhat. If only the STFT Bank 1 (and not Bank 2 also) reading is high, it sounds to me like the problem is after the point where the intake splits into cylinder bank 1 and bank 2. Perhaps one of the O2 sensors is giving erroneous data? ...or there is indeed a leak somewhere after the intake splits, perhaps as a result of the poor LPG conversion? You probably have thought of these, but I mention them just in case.

Then again, if you are no longer getting codes, and your idle is tolerable, you may be okay as is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
josephi, there should be no need to take the throttle out, as shown by me and others. Here are a few suggestions that may help:

- This is obvious, but be sure to unclip every electrical connection in the area (label them if you need to), and tilt the steering fluid reservoir out of the way (as you have done). Spread the wires in this area out of the way to give you access.

- Place a light down next to the fender pointing toward the oil separator and take a good look at your pinch clip target, so that you can get a good mental image of where your hand needs to go and where on the pinch clip you need to apply pressure. Use a mirror if necessary to get a good look, or snap a digital picture.

- Check out the picture in post #57, and be sure to apply pressure to the ribbed portions of the pinch ring (on both opposite sides of the ring). As you know (others may not), pinching on these ribbed portions will cause the "clip" portions of the ring to spread away from the oil separator so that you can pull the clip and its tube down off the oil separator. For those that don't know, the clip portions of the pinch clip are those two vertical support strips of plastic that go from the ring down to the plastic elbow itself. Pulling the tube off may take some wiggling, because there are some O-rings on the plastic elbow of the hose that give it a snug fit to the oil separator. It might help to initially push up on the connection as you pinch the clips -- perhaps that will allow them to release more easily. Note from the picture in post #57 that part of the plastic elbow fits up into the oil separator, so don't pull on the separator itself when trying to pull the hose off. Also, don't wiggle too vigorously, so as not to crack the oil separator.

- Another idea is to cut the hose near the plastic elbow. Then the plastic elbow with pinch clip can be rotated on the oil separator to a position that is more comfortable for squeezing it properly and for having a better grip to wiggle it off.

- If you still cannot pinch the clip completely, rather than taking the throttle or other parts of the engine out, you could try cutting the pinch ring with some wire snips and then spreading the two clips away from the oil separator by pushing in small screwdrivers (or ice picks or whatever) between the clips and the oil separator. (Cutting the clip strips themselves with something [wire snips, Dremel?] would serve the same purpose.) Then you should be able to pull off the hose without needing to simultaneously pinch the clip with your fingers. (Be careful and don't cut anything else besides what you want to cut!)

This replacement is very easy and should not require removing any other engine parts, unless your engine is set up much differently than mine and others. Hope these suggestions help you out so you don't spend more time on this than you should.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Yup, it's a great relief to finally track this lingering problem down to a simple hose replacement. :D

I would say not to change the CCV at this time - it's a big job for something that is not giving any trouble. Your oil filter housing gasket will eventually fail, and you could much more easily replace the CCV then (the alternator and OFH will be out of the way), if you still feel inclined to do so at that time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Well, probably not, I'm afraid.
White smoke from the exhaust pipes or from your engine is almost always steam due to a coolant leak.
Where is the white smoke coming from exactly? How much is coolant is down from normal?
Hope that you dont have thick chocolate milk (oil/water emulsion) floating around in your water, or have chocolate oil -- that's a cracked head or blown head gasket (gasket is best of the 2).
Maybe it's not serious and is just a thermostat or water pump leaking a bit, but definitely you need to attend to this right away. Like today, before your expansion tank explodes and sends your temp gauge into the red zone in about 1 second.
Attend to it right away, because your cooling system is what prevents your multi-thousand dollar engine (and automatic transmission) from running low on water, overheating, cracking and then turning into a expensive pieces of scrap metal worth practically nothing at a scrap yard.
Then you are just left with the choice of getting it repaired (not advised), buying another car like it for parts (maybe), or swapping in a used low mileage engine (not a bad choice).
You just have one purpose now... find out why you have white smoke pronto while keeping your coolant full with bmw coolant + distilled water. Sounds like the damage is done, but you might get lucky as mentioned above.
BEST OF LUCK TO YA!
 
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