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-   -   Butterfly throttle not working! Car accelerates on its own! (

Theola_Henry214 12-13-2012 07:56 PM

Butterfly throttle not working! Car accelerates on its own!
My 97 BMW will not stop accelerating!!!! Even when my foot is NOT on the gas pedal.

I couldn't step on the brakes. I had to pull the emergency brake in order to stop the car. Very scary and dangerous. What is this problem and how do I fix this? How much does this cost?

Any suggestion will help lower my stress level!

Thank you.


StRaNgEdAyS 12-13-2012 07:59 PM

Check to see if your throttle linkage has been fouled would be my first point of reference and I'd work back from there.
You couldn't just switch the vehicle off?

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Theola_Henry214 12-13-2012 08:24 PM

Thanks for the reply,
Of course, I turned the car off. However, when I turned the ignition after putting it in park my rpm increased dramatically to 7000 rpm. Again, my foot was NOT on the pedal, nor was there anything causing this to happen.

I have researched this problem and saw many results for a possible "bad TPS" or a problem with the 'throttle control module'. Evidently, the valve (?) is not opening or closing as it should. I just need to know what to do without breaking the bank for repairs. In fact, I just need the basic information, parts? labor? is this an easy fix?

Throttle linkage, you say? Please elaborate. I've only had this car for 4 months, therefore I am steadily doing my research on how to maintain such a vehicle.

Thank you again,


StRaNgEdAyS 12-13-2012 08:48 PM

The throttle linkage is at the front of the engine just behind the fan. Follow the duct from the air box.

mjalloul11 12-14-2012 03:20 AM

Does the loud pedal feel stiff to push? if so you could have the beginning of a throtal cable snaping, when you push the pedal the spring cant pull it back.Try it with the car off, does the pedal goes back up or you have to pull it by hand.

cn90 12-14-2012 03:27 AM

1. At the age, change throttle cable.
2. Clean throttle plate with carb cleaner
3. Check the linkages

Flybot 12-14-2012 04:24 AM

Thats very dangerous, as you are aware. You need to make sure what ever is binding the throttle is fixed before you take it on the road again. Its a simple system, but if you are not very familiar I would take it to a shop (towed).

As others have said, make sure the pedal returns easily when depressed. If not, figure out why. Im pretty sure a '97 was a cable actuated throttle. It probably needs replaced, or the return spring is broken.

You mentioned you couldnt use the brake pedal??

Theola_Henry214 12-14-2012 07:27 PM

FlyBot, yes my brake pedal would NOT give!!! It was very scary and the car would gradually accelerate. I managed to get the car to an open Lowe's parking lot....seriously-WHEW!!!! And the gas pedal is non-responsive if I pull or push. I tried it briefly while the car was on but I couldn't bear that sound of my engine so I shut it off :cry:

I, unfortunately had to pull up the emergency brake and then force it into park. I know that is terrible and horrific for the transmission, but I didn't know what to do!

Strange days, thanks and I looked up similar problems and a majority had suggestion of the throttle cable being faulty...or the plate. Some makes and models DO NOT recommend the cleaning of said part, others do.

I appreciate the replies. Y'all are correct with the diagnosis of this problem. Now, I must find out how much this will cost me (my mom).... I'm kinda nervous about that, too.

Is there a part I can get? What can I do to lessen the cost of this?

Thank you,

Theola Henry:confused:

Theola_Henry214 01-27-2013 11:25 AM

Well, everyone I meant to post a thank you after this issue was taken care of. I appreciate all the insight from y'all.

Now, I have another problem to address and I'm afriad I don't know where to start, let what to do....

Thank you again for all the help!!!


Flybot 01-27-2013 02:09 PM

So what was the fix for the first problem?

Theola_Henry214 01-27-2013 03:14 PM

The mechanic changed the cable. It was corroded and dirty; same with my cruise control cable. He suggested a new one, but also said it's not pertinent to have and I can always replace it later.

Now, I'm facing a new radiator or if I should just seal it...

StRaNgEdAyS 01-27-2013 03:25 PM

Replace. Trying to seal a leak will end in tears.

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Theola_Henry214 01-27-2013 03:57 PM

Alright. :mad:

In the event of replacement. Could there be an underlying issue such as a fouled/cracked/blown head gasket or gaskets?

I would like to send a picture of the crack. The radiator just popped after experiencing usual fluctuation of the thermostat. I never had this problem before.... I was told it could be a brokem thermostat, etc.

I'm assured that I may not have a gasket issue, because the vehicle is not smoking, nor emitting any sweet odors...

Am I missing something that could cost me in the future?

The radiator is a BEHR, plastic. Should I get a metal/steel radiator instead?

Sorry about all the ridiculous questions; I'm new to the BMW world...and want to do the right thing for my new baby.


StRaNgEdAyS 01-27-2013 04:19 PM

Traditionally a popped radiator signals a complete overhaul if the cooling system. Radiator, hoses, pump, thermostat. Do it all and you will likely have no further nasty surprises cooling system wise. I tend to replace all my hoses every couple of years anyway as a preventative measure no matter what the car.

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Theola_Henry214 01-27-2013 04:55 PM

Thank YOU StrangeDays!!! You afforded me some relief...

That makes sense to me. It's what the engineers of the family told me (mom, bro, sis), including a 30 year BMW specialist. I was so confused with their descriptions; even though expalined in perfect English.

So, does this mean I just might not have a gasket problem? Plus, my radiator hose is brand new.

The pump....being the water pump? (sorry I'm not that savy, I'll go with yes)

Guess, I'm getting a new radiator. Ordering online from (169.80)... Lord help me

Flybot 01-27-2013 05:53 PM

There should be no reason for having a blown head gasket unless you severely over heated the engine. Just because the radiator cracked, does not mean you severely overheated it. From what you have said, it sounds fine.

Glad the throttle was fixed.

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