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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-24-2008, 06:21 PM
tooli21 tooli21 is offline
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E36 M3 Idling Issue

Hello All,
I recently purchased a 95 M3 and am new to this forum. I've had the car for about three weeks and it runs beautifully, but within the last two days, has started to intermittently "surge" and drop revs while idling. It doesn't seem to threaten to stall, and does seem to happen more when the engine is just below normal operating temperature.

Any thoughts? I am suspecting an O2 sensor or something like that. If so, does anyone know cost range for replacement?
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2008, 06:29 PM
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Welcome to the 'Fest! What do you mean by surge? Like, the whole car physically lurches forward, or what?

O2 sensors aren't that bad, but I rather doubt it's them. One thing you can try is cleaning your ICV (Idle Control Valve). There are lots of DIY instructions on that, it's not hard. Check out bimmerdiy.com for instructions, or search around here.

Anyway, since you're 95 that's OBDI, you get the pleasure of having the pedal trick. Search pedal trick and you'll see what I'm talking about, and get instructions on how to do it and how to interpret the response you'll get. Then, if you post up the codes we can tell you exactly what's wrong.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2008, 06:46 PM
DennisVet DennisVet is offline
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It is the Idle control valve. You need to replace it. Partsgeek.com. Make sure your spark plugs are good.
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  #4  
Old 11-24-2008, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by DennisVet View Post
It is the Idle control valve. You need to replace it. Partsgeek.com. Make sure your spark plugs are good.
It can be cleaned very easily, it's VERY rare to actually *need* to replace ICVs.
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You're a derbanana
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2008, 03:14 PM
tooli21 tooli21 is offline
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Thanks for all of the advice.

Phantom...The car doesn't move forward, but rather the RPM surges up or down, we'll say +- 200 RPM from the normal idle speed. I'll have to check out the pedal trick.

I think I'll try cleaning the ICV before replacing anything, and also check the spark plugs for corrosion.
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2008, 03:29 PM
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Yeah, definitely sounds like an ICV issue to me if your RPM fluctuates like that.
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2008, 04:36 PM
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Could also be a vacuum leak or a dying/leaking brake booster.
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2008, 06:18 PM
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cmybimmer cmybimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by PhilipWOT View Post
Could also be a vacuum leak or a dying/leaking brake booster.
+1, was just about to say that. =)
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  #9  
Old 12-22-2008, 01:33 AM
lutfiali@izzi.c lutfiali@izzi.c is offline
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How is a leaking brake booster affect the rpm? I am having similar problem. After a hard acceleration which followed by braking, the rpm drops around 500 and jumps up and down. I just changed two knock sensors because the fault code showed that way, true enough the knock sensors were broken. But still, after changing them i still have the same problem and the idling is rather rough. I am thinking to change the oxygen sensor but not sure.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2008, 02:03 AM
lutfiali@izzi.c lutfiali@izzi.c is offline
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Hi all,

Just to report that my erratic engine problem has beed solved today by the BMW specialist. The culprit is a combination of dirty/sticky air-flow meter + loose cables at inlet manifold + probably cracked air hose. They changed the hose and cleaned the aif flow meter, fixed the wiring, the car now drives like new and very responsive and light, no more erratic rpm after hard acceleration, i am so happy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody.
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2008, 02:05 AM
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Pirate_copy Pirate_copy is offline
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Exactly the same as mine!!!

Stupid MAF
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2009, 10:22 AM
325i Fury 325i Fury is offline
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Engine Temp sensor could be bad or cam sensor..
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2009, 12:32 PM
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Excellent call

Mine were ok, but still possible
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