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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:42 PM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Lights on, limp mode, need help

Let me start by saying I love my car... I want to keep it. 2003 330i with manual... fun, fun! I've had it for 3 years now. I have not driven it much for the last four months since I cannot rely on it.

Backstory:
About a year after owning was the first time this happened, driving down the street after leaving my house... limp mode ensued. Pulled over, turned off car, swore a bit, turned back on and it was fine. This similar scenario continued intermittently for the next year - maybe 1 time ever 6 months. recently it has become more prevalent so I am aware of what goes on - car may be driving fine, then bam! - service engine light, brake light (orange, not red) and the circle with exclamation light right above mileage counter, car loses power and sputters, I turn off and back on and it goes home or wherever just fine. Now, every time I start, lights are on, car idles funny and won't let you drive. I can put it in gear and it truly does "limp".. now it's just sitting in my driveway.

My husband is handy. He fixed the disappearing oil problem, he's tried to fix the airbag light problem (think the seat sensor may be the next fix on that one). He has an Autel CAN OBDII scan tool which throws up NO codes.

I have a list of things to look into after reading this site. Which particular thing do you think we should try first? I'm a bit overwhelmed but I really love driving this car and want to have faith in it again. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Anne
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:01 PM
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First thing would be to get the codes scanned....Autozone will do this for free. Write down their findings, then post the results here, that will give us something to work with.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2012, 09:31 AM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Called autozone this morning and as someone stated in another post, apparently CA passed a law that won't allow them to scan to diagnose anymore. They can test the battery though so I will take it out there later for that test.

Of course went out to make a video of what's happening this morning and it started fine.

I called the dealer and they said they would scan my key for for free otherwise I have to pay the dealer for the diagnostic test.


Thanks
Anne

Last edited by grrltraveler; 12-08-2012 at 09:53 AM.
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grrltraveler View Post
Called autozone this morning and as someone stated in another post, apparently CA passed a law that won't allow them to scan to diagnose anymore. They can test the battery though so I will take it out there later for that test.

Of course went out to make a video of what's happening this morning and it started fine.

Is my only option to pay the dealer for the diagnostic test?


Thanks
Anne
Ask Autozone if you can *rent* their scanner, and do the scan yourself. It`s not difficult to do.
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:02 PM
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A more in-depth diagnostic scanner may give some insight.

Some things don't throw codes. I had some wiring issues with my mass air flow sensor (wire extended for supercharger) that would cause limp mode and not throw codes. So a failing MAF sensor (or maybe just dirty) may not throw codes right away but still cause problems.

Definitely get your battery tested. A low/failing battery is known to cause weird issues and not throw codes. You've had the car three years of nine .... If unsure it has been replaced and it's a BMW battery, good chance it's the original. Can get an AZ duralast or Walmart Everstart for reasonable. Batteries usually average 6 or 7 years. I got 9 out of mine. No real funky issues, just got to where I could barely start the car.
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2012, 05:27 PM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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I brought the car over to autozone and they tested the battery it was perfect.I had found a receipt in the paperwork to show it was 3 years old. They don't rent out the scanner or lend it out so tomorrow I'll call around to try and find an independent who will scan her for codes.

Thanks all

Anne
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  #7  
Old 12-17-2012, 11:11 AM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Unfortunately, I haven't been able to drive my car anywhere to get the codes read, since it will not work now for the past 3-4 days. Here's a video of what's happening. That RPM surging happens without any involvement from me.



Hope this works. It's my first time uploading a video and embedding it in one of these.

Thanks
Anne
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  #8  
Old 12-18-2012, 01:15 PM
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If you are sure you have no error codes, I would suggest having your ICV Idle Control Valve Cleaned. Otherwise, it could be a camshaft position sensor (usually throws a code though), or a dirty Mass Air Flow MAF sensor.

At the age of your car, a number of small items can fail or need attention. Cam/Crank sensors can fail, fuel pumps last 8-12 years (usually long start cycle or no start or dies shortly after starting - make sure it gets a fresh fuel filter every 60k miles and don't run on low tank much as the fuel cools the pump too). A clogged CCV crankcase vent/oil separator can cause problems too - many replace at 80-100k as preventive maintenance. Upgraded VANOS seals too if the car's more than a couple years old.

Here's some reading (the wiki has a lot of links on common problems besides just this section):

http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index...ubleshooting_2

Last edited by ahull; 12-18-2012 at 01:17 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-18-2012, 01:40 PM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Thanks for the ideas. Our scanner did not throw codes. The car worked long enough to get to Autozone to test the battery and get the name of someone who might check the codes for free... unfortunately, it hasn't worked since then.

I will check out your link and go through the paperwork - the previous owner had a LOT of work done in their lifetime.. But I understand it's the age of the car and we'll take a look at all that.

Anne
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  #10  
Old 12-18-2012, 03:14 PM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Hubby tried our scanner again and this time, it gave him codes!

P0221
P1632
P1632P

If you see these and know them, let me know. I'm off to check the site as well.

Thanks!!
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  #11  
Old 12-18-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grrltraveler View Post
Hubby tried our scanner again and this time, it gave him codes!

P0221
P1632
P1632P

If you see these and know them, let me know. I'm off to check the site as well.

Thanks!!
P0221 - Throttle position sensor, Which will definitely be causing your RPM to jump like that. Cheap fix.
P1632 - Throttle valve code, Which is most likely caused by the bad position sensor.

Here read this forum post
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=757178

I would recommend changing out the throttle body position sensor first to see what happens. Like I said it's cheap and easy to replace. That way you cover the cheap fix first before getting to serious.
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  #12  
Old 12-19-2012, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalibuMafiaV View Post
P0221 - Throttle position sensor, Which will definitely be causing your RPM to jump like that. Cheap fix.
P1632 - Throttle valve code, Which is most likely caused by the bad position sensor.

Here read this forum post
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=757178

I would recommend changing out the throttle body position sensor first to see what happens. Like I said it's cheap and easy to replace. That way you cover the cheap fix first before getting to serious.
The 0221 error code is actually the throttle position sensor in your gas pedal, not the throttle body itself. Pedal is cheaper and easier - TB under the hood is not so much.

I agree, throw the cheaper part at it first.

Last edited by ahull; 12-19-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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  #13  
Old 12-19-2012, 01:37 PM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Thanks! We'll give that a go.

You reminded me that when it first started happening, we could push the accelerator down to rev the car up hard and it would "fix" it. Maybe we inadvertently made it worse. I guess it was bound to happen consistently eventually.

Thanks for the link and the ideas. We'll get started with that!

Anne
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2012, 07:29 PM
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More often than not its the TPS that is inside the throttle body that fails. It is an integral part of the throttle body itself, so you have to replace the whole thing. I'd go eBay or salvage. If you go salvage, pm me and I can hook you up.
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2012, 09:40 AM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Hi all,

We did a search for the sensor online with no luck. The only one I've found is a Universal Fits all size... Not sure I would want that? Does anyone have a part number and/or a website to check? I'll keep looking but in case you did....

So far I've looked at partsgeek, partstrain...

Thanks!

Last edited by grrltraveler; 12-20-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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  #16  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:00 AM
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Check some of the site sponsors. One I buy from frequently: oembimmerparts

http://www.oembimmerparts.com/produc...6786281e46.htm

EDIT: Sorry, it says for auto or smg transmission only. Hmmmm.....

Last edited by ahull; 12-20-2012 at 10:06 AM.
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  #17  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:22 AM
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So.... Pedals are different on the auto trans, so there are two different part numbers. to make sure you're getting the right part in the future, go to realoem.com and enter the last digits of your VIN as requested, then browse the parts diagrams for what you're looking for. then you can google the part number and go with a recognized vendor. ECS Tuning appears to have one:

35426786282

http://www.ecstuning.com/ES254838
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  #18  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:53 AM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Wonderful! You are such a huge help. Thanks for that.
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  #19  
Old 12-20-2012, 11:03 AM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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So, I promise... last question... it appears the sensor is on the side of pedal once you pull it out? Is there no way to replace just that part? I am getting from your posts that the only way is to replace the whole pedal...

Thanks
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  #20  
Old 12-20-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grrltraveler View Post
So, I promise... last question... it appears the sensor is on the side of pedal once you pull it out? Is there no way to replace just that part? I am getting from your posts that the only way is to replace the whole pedal...

Thanks
That's what it looks like - everything I'm seeing is telling me it's all one part. Unfortunately, there are a number of parts that are like that.
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  #21  
Old 12-26-2012, 11:06 AM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Replaced the pedal with a new one today, same issues Is the TPS in the throttle body the only one in the engine bay or is there another one too? Assuming that's our next step, miss my baby
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  #22  
Old 12-26-2012, 01:33 PM
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That's too bad. Looks like you're looking at a new throttle body then. That's under the hood and takes a little work to get to - removing intake tubing etc. You should clean your idle control valve while in there and if you haven't replaced your crankcase vent (CCV), now would be a good time.

In doing some of my own limited research on this, if your TB has a manufacture date of pre 1/5/02 (May 1) then it's pretty much guaranteed to fail prematurely. Otherwise it's just luck of the draw. There's also an engine wiring harness problem that can give these symptoms/codes and that's when it gets really serious. More expensive and a lot of work to completely replace the harness.

If hubby is pretty good with this stuff, he could probably swing it. Look for bavauto's youtube video on the ccv replacement. If your ccv has been replaced, just watch to the part where he takes out the throttle body. Otherwise it's a good tutorial all the way to the CCV.

Just thinking what else - your intake tubes could be a little brittle from age so they might not survive the procedure without being very careful with them. Again, a car at this age needs some refreshment parts so keep in mind. But get it going again! It's a shame to not drive it.

You could try to return or sell the new pedal after you get everything fixed and confirm the old one still works.
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  #23  
Old 12-27-2012, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grrltraveler View Post
apparently CA passed a law that won't allow them to scan to diagnose anymore.
I researched this.

There is no such law.

There 'is' a reason though ... and it's in these threads:
- Which states make OBDII scanning illegal by the auto parts store? Why?
- In California, what establishment do you use to read OBDII codes for free?
- Cheapest CAN OBDII scanner on the net that reads DTCs, pending codes, & clears codes
- OBD II PC freeware & $15 J1962 cable for the BMW E39
etc.
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #24  
Old 01-08-2013, 01:34 PM
grrltraveler grrltraveler is offline
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Sorry for delay, just getting back to this after Christmas.

We took out the DISA and intake boots and have ordered new intake boots.

1) The DISA is dirty, oily crud. Can this just be cleaned, if so what's best to use?
2) Our plan is to clean TB using TB cleaner and then put her back together to see if that was it.

If not we'll buy a new TB. Is there anything else we should do/replace etc whilst we're in there?

Thanks

Last edited by grrltraveler; 01-08-2013 at 01:37 PM.
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  #25  
Old 01-08-2013, 02:11 PM
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Be careful with the DISA. If the flap is relatively loose it either needs to be rebuilt with one of the kits that's been posted about recently or just get a new one. IF it's holding up well, I would just spray a little wd-40 on it or something similar and wipe down with paper towels. I've read some of the crud doesn't always come off as it has more or less bonded to the plastic. The flap should just rotate with some spring tension resistance and not much play otherwise.

Definitely clean the idle control valve - look for the diy. it's easy, much like cleaning the tb.

Honestly, if you're going to take out the throttle body, you're almost all the way to doing the CCV/oil separator and related hoses at the same time. will add an hour or two to the job but will save you a few hours on a CCV job since you've got all the intake tubes out and the TB and ICV. your car is pretty much due for it if it hasn't already been done. Anything more than light oil residue in the intake might indicate your CCV is starting to clog and send more oil-laden vapor into the intake.

I have 85k miles on mine and am planning to soon replace the CCV along with cleaning the ICV and TB. I'm also going to replace the oil filter housing gasket since it's somewhat in the area as well. I have a supercharger so it's more hassle to take that out and the intake tubing to get to all this stuff so I'll be working on the car for a full day to get all this done. It's a mid-life refresh in my opinion so I don't plan on having to do it again in the lifetime of the car, i.e. 150k miles or more.
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