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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 02-05-2013, 06:19 AM
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CarlsonTheFlyer CarlsonTheFlyer is offline
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P0301

My car is a 2010 335i Coupe, 31,000 miles. A few days ago MIL came on. I read the codes and came up with P0301 - Misfire on cylinder #1. I didn't feel any difference in the way the car drove or accelerated, but the code was there. I drove around for a couple of days to see if it was a hiccup and if it would clear itself. It didn't.

Yesterday morning took the car to the dealership, Global Imports BMW, since it's under factory warranty. The SA called me a little while ago and said they couldn't figure out exactly what was causing the misfire, so they are going to replace the spark plug, ignition coil, and the injector.

This doesn't give me a lot of confidence in Global Imports BMW service department. Basically they are going to replace everything that could have caused the misfire. I am glad I don't have to pay for it. It would've been a hefty bill.

So the question I have to the experts here is: Is it really that difficult to diagnose and pinpoint a misfire on a particular cylinder, and, in your opinions, what is the likely culprit of the malfunction?
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  #2  
Old 02-05-2013, 07:24 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlsonTheFlyer View Post
Is it really that difficult to diagnose and pinpoint a misfire on a particular cylinder, and, in your opinions, what is the likely culprit of the malfunction?

When the issue disappears, yes.
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  #3  
Old 02-05-2013, 11:32 AM
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CarlsonTheFlyer CarlsonTheFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
When the issue disappears, yes.
That's the thing, Cal. The issue hasn't disappeared. The MIL has stayed on all this time, and was still on when I dropped the car off at the dealership.
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  #4  
Old 02-05-2013, 12:54 PM
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CarlsonTheFlyer CarlsonTheFlyer is offline
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Update: The SA just called me. they are now replacing THREE spark plugs, coils and injectors for a misfire on ONE cylinder...

My confidence level in Global Imports BMW is going in the toilet. Looks like I'll be going to United BMW from now on.
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2013, 10:09 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlsonTheFlyer View Post
Update: The SA just called me. they are now replacing THREE spark plugs, coils and injectors for a misfire on ONE cylinder...

My confidence level in Global Imports BMW is going in the toilet. Looks like I'll be going to United BMW from now on.

She fix?
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2013, 10:53 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Cal's comments are good but I'll add to them.
It's strange that a dealership would change the coil, plug and injector without proof of fault. BMWNA is unlikely to reimburse them for a stab in the dark and most dealerships avoid chargebacks like the plague.
However, for the sake of discussion let's make some assumptions...
The P0301 code (that's a translation of a BMW specific code which the car generated) does indicate a misfire in cylinder one.
The dealer decided it was easier and cheaper (and maybe even a convenience to the customer) to just change the three most likely culprits.
They did change the parts, recalibrated the computer...

...and the P0301 code returned. OK, now what?

The problem may NOT be one of the replaced parts. It could be severe carbon fouling of the intake valve (restricting air flow). It could be low compression. It could be a worn cam lobe, or a bad crank angle or cam angle sensor.

The dealership needs to put a more skilled diagnostician on the job, someone who knows how to use a scope and can do some of the pattern testing all us old timers learned to do before scanners were invented to "tell you what is wrong with your engine." He should look at ignition patternsto see if voltage and resistance varies with time. Then he should look at injector amperage during peak and hold. That'll tell him if the injector has a weak circuit to, or in, the powertrain control computer. The injectors are 'hot' (powered) all the time. The computer supplies a ground to the circuit which fires off the injector, and that circuit, called a driver, is a common failure point.

FYI; How does the computer know there is a miss, and what cylinder it is? It looks at angular velocity of the crankshaft, in other words, how fast it is rotating after each cylinder fires. If it sees no increase in velocity it knows that cylinder is taking the day off. Or at least that rotation off. If it does it more than X times and the engine is warmed up, on with the Check Engine symbol. If it keeps doing it AND the injector keeps injecting (dumping fuel into the cats) it starts flashing the symbol.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 02-11-2013 at 10:55 AM.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2013, 11:07 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Cal's comments are good but I'll add to them.
It's strange that a dealership would change the coil, plug and injector without proof of fault. BMWNA is unlikely to reimburse them for a stab in the dark and most dealerships avoid chargebacks like the plague.
However, for the sake of discussion let's make some assumptions...
The P0301 code (that's a translation of a BMW specific code which the car generated) does indicate a misfire in cylinder one.
The dealer decided it was easier and cheaper (and maybe even a convenience to the customer) to just change the three most likely culprits.
They did change the parts, recalibrated the computer...

...and the P0301 code returned. OK, now what?

The problem may NOT be one of the replaced parts. It could be severe carbon fouling of the intake valve (restricting air flow). It could be low compression. It could be a worn cam lobe, or a bad crank angle or cam angle sensor.

The dealership needs to put a more skilled diagnostician on the job, someone who knows how to use a scope and can do some of the pattern testing all us old timers learned to do before scanners were invented to "tell you what is wrong with your engine." He should look at ignition patterns to see if voltage and resistance varies with time. Then he should look at injector amperage during peak and hold. That'll tell him if the injector has a weak circuit to, or in, the powertrain control computer. The injectors are 'hot' (powered) all the time. The computer supplies a ground to the circuit which fires off the injector, and that circuit, called a driver, is a common failure point.

FYI; How does the computer know there is a miss, and what cylinder it is? It looks at angular velocity of the crankshaft, in other words, how fast it is rotating after each cylinder fires. If it sees no increase in velocity it knows that cylinder is taking the day off. Or at least that rotation off. If it does it more than X times and the engine is warmed up, on with the Check Engine symbol. If it keeps doing it AND the injector keeps injecting (dumping fuel into the cats) it starts flashing the symbol.

Yup - usually 'round 60k mi. OP, are you there?

re: Old School, now yer talkin'! Real trouble shootin' with definitive result, not the blue screen of death w/perfunctory communiqué.

.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 02-11-2013 at 11:13 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2013, 11:40 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Cal's comments are good but I'll add to them.
It's strange that a dealership would change the coil, plug and injector without proof of fault. BMWNA is unlikely to reimburse them for a stab in the dark and most dealerships avoid chargebacks like the plague.
However, for the sake of discussion let's make some assumptions...
The P0301 code (that's a translation of a BMW specific code which the car generated) does indicate a misfire in cylinder one.
The dealer decided it was easier and cheaper (and maybe even a convenience to the customer) to just change the three most likely culprits.
They did change the parts, recalibrated the computer...

...and the P0301 code returned. OK, now what?

The problem may NOT be one of the replaced parts. It could be severe carbon fouling of the intake valve (restricting air flow). It could be low compression. It could be a worn cam lobe, or a bad crank angle or cam angle sensor.

The dealership needs to put a more skilled diagnostician on the job, someone who knows how to use a scope and can do some of the pattern testing all us old timers learned to do before scanners were invented to "tell you what is wrong with your engine." He should look at ignition patternsto see if voltage and resistance varies with time. Then he should look at injector amperage during peak and hold. That'll tell him if the injector has a weak circuit to, or in, the powertrain control computer. The injectors are 'hot' (powered) all the time. The computer supplies a ground to the circuit which fires off the injector, and that circuit, called a driver, is a common failure point.

FYI; How does the computer know there is a miss, and what cylinder it is? It looks at angular velocity of the crankshaft, in other words, how fast it is rotating after each cylinder fires. If it sees no increase in velocity it knows that cylinder is taking the day off. Or at least that rotation off. If it does it more than X times and the engine is warmed up, on with the Check Engine symbol. If it keeps doing it AND the injector keeps injecting (dumping fuel into the cats) it starts flashing the symbol.

Most of this is correct, but P0301 is not a "BMW specific code". It is a standard OBDII code for "misfire cylinder one". I know because I rebuilt the 4.2 liter V6 in my 2002 F-150 and got a "Service Engine Soon" light and a persistent P0301 fault code for weeks after the rebuild.

It turned out that I had not tightened the damn cylinder one spark plug after the rebuild.

Don't be so hard on your dealer. I imagined all sorts of problems before finding the loose spark plug. They probably looked for obvious problems and then just decided to replace all of the possible sources after finding nothing wrong.

That's better than sending the car home without doing anything in my book.
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2013, 04:27 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Most of this is correct, but P0301 is not a "BMW specific code". It is a standard OBDII code for "misfire cylinder one". I know because I rebuilt the 4.2 liter V6 in my 2002 F-150 and got a "Service Engine Soon" light and a persistent P0301 fault code for weeks after the rebuild.

It turned out that I had not tightened the damn cylinder one spark plug after the rebuild.

Don't be so hard on your dealer. I imagined all sorts of problems before finding the loose spark plug. They probably looked for obvious problems and then just decided to replace all of the possible sources after finding nothing wrong.

That's better than sending the car home without doing anything in my book.
Did I not say the P0301 is "a translation of a BMW specific code"? I believe it is all correct. Yes, P0301 is a code applicable to any car sold in the USA since OBD II, or 1995.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 02-12-2013 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:01 AM
bmwoem1 bmwoem1 is offline
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Let me chime in (I'm a BMW master tech).... The most common cause of these misfires (in this engine) is due to failed injectors, I've probably done hundreds if them. The reason the dealer replaced all of bank #1 (cylinders 1,2,3) injectors is because they are supposed to when they come across this situation. BMW knows these injectors are crap, so their diagnostic software says replace them all to avoid customer comebacks. If this car had a misfire on the other bank (cylinder 4,5,6), they would have replaced all 6 injectors.... As for replacing the spark plug in the misfiring cylinder, they usually get fuel fouled when the injector fails. The coil may not have needed to be replaced, but.... If the car still had a misfire on cylinder 1, everything (almost) has been ruled out and the tech would know to remove the intake manifold and check for carbon build up.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:05 AM
bmwoem1 bmwoem1 is offline
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Also, these piezo-electric injectors don't produce the same scope pattern as regular coil type ones. There is no coil induction, peak voltage, saturation and pintle hump because there is no coil, just crystal stacks
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:41 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
Let me chime in (I'm a BMW master tech).... The most common cause of these misfires (in this engine) is due to failed injectors, I've probably done hundreds if them. The reason the dealer replaced all of bank #1 (cylinders 1,2,3) injectors is because they are supposed to when they come across this situation. BMW knows these injectors are crap, so their diagnostic software says replace them all to avoid customer comebacks. If this car had a misfire on the other bank (cylinder 4,5,6), they would have replaced all 6 injectors.... As for replacing the spark plug in the misfiring cylinder, they usually get fuel fouled when the injector fails. The coil may not have needed to be replaced, but.... If the car still had a misfire on cylinder 1, everything (almost) has been ruled out and the tech would know to remove the intake manifold and check for carbon build up.

Did BMW follow through on their augmented reality mechanic's eyewear?

Piezoelectrics interest me - what test equip do you use to diagnose?

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Old 02-12-2013, 05:42 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
Also, these piezo-electric injectors don't produce the same scope pattern as regular coil type ones. There is no coil induction, peak voltage, saturation and pintle hump because there is no coil, just crystal stacks
Hi bmwoem1, good to have an insider here! I'm up to speed on piezoelectric injectors and how they function. I haven't had to do electronic diagnostics yet of a piezo injector, so can't say what a good or bad waveform looks like. But there has to be a waveform when the injector is fired. You've got voltage and amperage and even though it's down in the millisecond time frame they should be easily observable.
So, if there's a wave it should be possible to spot excessive draw due to a short to ground, or high resistance due to breakdown, or variability due to sticking. That pattern would then point a tech to a problem developing, or existing, in an injector. Or am I missing something?
Thanks for any help. So far all we've done with piezoinjectors is send people back to the dealer for warranty service. I suspect they'll be off warranty (not just BMW) in the near future and I want to be ready.
Edit: I just did some research on piezo patterns and see my use of traditional terms lile 'peak and hold' is not applicable to a piezo crystal which uses pulses within each firing cycle, and push pull current reversal. A 'good' waveform should still be recognizable though, once the scope is dialed in to the proper scale and time. Got any good and bad ones for us?

Last edited by DSXMachina; 02-12-2013 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:05 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Did BMW follow through on their augmented reality mechanic's eyewear?

Piezoelectrics interest me - what test equip do you use to diagnose?
Aren't you wearing a beta test unit in your avatar? Cal, there's tons of great videos on YT that'll tell you everything you never wanted to know about tradtional and piezo injectors, both gas and diesel. Google some terms and see where you go. If you find some good scope patterns let me know.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:20 AM
bmwoem1 bmwoem1 is offline
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The reason these injectors fail is because the crystal stacking... Over time they become permanently distorted (instead of distorted by the DME drivers). This causes the injectors to stick open, sometimes bad enough to fill the whole cylinder and exhaust with liquid fuel. So, you wouldn't really find much by testing the electrical side of the circuit. I've only checked the pattern a couple times, it looks the same on a good and bad injector. If you come across this in the future, cross swapping is the easiest and quickest diagnostic procedure.... But the injector part numbers have been updated so many times you most likely will have to replace them all at the same time. They frequently come back if you replace them one at a time or if you mix old and new part numbers, the crystal stacking is different in the new ones
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:43 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
The reason these injectors fail is because the crystal stacking... Over time they become permanently distorted (instead of distorted by the DME drivers). This causes the injectors to stick open, sometimes bad enough to fill the whole cylinder and exhaust with liquid fuel. So, you wouldn't really find much by testing the electrical side of the circuit. I've only checked the pattern a couple times, it looks the same on a good and bad injector. If you come across this in the future, cross swapping is the easiest and quickest diagnostic procedure.... But the injector part numbers have been updated so many times you most likely will have to replace them all at the same time. They frequently come back if you replace them one at a time or if you mix old and new part numbers, the crystal stacking is different in the new ones
Good to know, thanks. (Ouch. They stick open. Not good!) Is it possible to check B1S1 and B2S1 switching to pick up on a bad injector? Let's say you know you have a good coil and plug, but you are still seeing rich and short term fuel trim is maxed negative? Will the computer shut down an individual injector before cat meltdown? I doubt it or you could get a code indicating that action. Maybe there is a BMW specific code?
Sorry, you must be at work. You can post later, I'll watch for it. I'm at work too, but it's good to be the boss. Sometimes.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:22 AM
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CarlsonTheFlyer CarlsonTheFlyer is offline
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Yep, I am here. All is well with my car. According to the SA, the techs first swapped coils with cylinder #4 to see if the code would jump. It did, but also returned to cylinder #1, so they deduced the misfire was caused by an injector and the coil, so they went ahead and replaced coils, plugs and injectors on bank 1 (cylinders 1, 2, and 3). They also ran tests and took readings on the other bank and found everything was within operating parameters.

My car has 31k miles on the odometer, so it's still quite early for valve carbonation. This isn't my first bimmer and I lurk here and read a lot (pretty much everything). I always follow proper recommended warm-up procedures, never thrash the car until the oil temp is at least 220 degrees, change the oil every 7.5k miles, and have zero oil usage between oil changes. I am confident there aren't any internal engine issues.

After the repair, I've already put about 300 miles on the car. It completed the readiness drive cycle after the computer reset, everything is green.
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Last edited by CarlsonTheFlyer; 02-12-2013 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:13 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
This causes the injectors to stick open, sometimes bad enough to fill the whole cylinder and exhaust with liquid fuel.
Yikes, can you say hydro-lock?
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:44 AM
bmwoem1 bmwoem1 is offline
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The DME can shut down the voltage to the injector when it detects misfire, but.... When they fail, they are "mechanically" stuck open, so as long as there is fuel pressure at the injector, it will keep pumping out fuel into the cylinder/ exhaust. I've seen many melted cats due to this and in worst case scenarios, destroyed engines... It depends how long it takes for the customer to bring in the car
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:28 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
The DME can shut down the voltage to the injector when it detects misfire, but.... When they fail, they are "mechanically" stuck open, so as long as there is fuel pressure at the injector, it will keep pumping out fuel into the cylinder/ exhaust. I've seen many melted cats due to this and in worst case scenarios, destroyed engines... It depends how long it takes for the customer to bring in the car
It would be great if you could check into this forum now and then and give us some technical advice. Knowing a BMW master tech's point of view, especially in regard to the story behind the story, would be invaluable information.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:42 AM
Lufthansa Lufthansa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
Let me chime in (I'm a BMW master tech).... The most common cause of these misfires (in this engine) is due to failed injectors, I've probably done hundreds if them. The reason the dealer replaced all of bank #1 (cylinders 1,2,3) injectors is because they are supposed to when they come across this situation. BMW knows these injectors are crap, so their diagnostic software says replace them all to avoid customer comebacks. If this car had a misfire on the other bank (cylinder 4,5,6), they would have replaced all 6 injectors.... As for replacing the spark plug in the misfiring cylinder, they usually get fuel fouled when the injector fails. The coil may not have needed to be replaced, but.... If the car still had a misfire on cylinder 1, everything (almost) has been ruled out and the tech would know to remove the intake manifold and check for carbon build up.
Can (does) this situation also happen on the 328 (2010)? Obviously, I have a personal interest.
Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:07 AM
bmwoem1 bmwoem1 is offline
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This situation does not apply to 328i's.... It's completely different engine.

DSXmachina: you can PM me any time with questions you may have. I usually like to respond to threads when there is a lot of misinformation or confusion going on
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:19 AM
Lufthansa Lufthansa is offline
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[QUOTE=bmwoem1;7376551]This situation does not apply to 328i's.... It's completely different engine.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:19 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by bmwoem1 View Post
This situation does not apply to 328i's.... It's completely different engine.

DSXmachina: you can PM me any time with questions you may have. I usually like to respond to threads when there is a lot of misinformation or confusion going on
Appreciate that, will do.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:31 AM
istrumit istrumit is offline
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P0301 Misfire Solved

I had been having Vanos codes and hesitation for a while on my 2007 335i with about 100K miles on it..

I was able to solve the vanos issue (with the help of this forum!) and, sure enough, the hesitation continued, but the the code switched to P0301 (misfire on cylinder one).

To be clear, the symptoms were that the car would hesitate and 'jump' (like a misfire) when I was pulling out of my garage. This would continue for about 30-60 seconds and I could not put much load on the car else it would SES and Limp. After a minute or two, it would be fine as long as I didn't stomp it. Stomping it would create SES and limp 100% of the time.

The auto zone print out said that the #1 cause was a bad injector and I found that (also with this forum) that there was a non-expiring injector recall on my car and date range. And it appeared the recall had not been completed and I considered getting that done.

However, after reviewing the many comments in this forum, it appeared to me that I should replace my plugs and perhaps the #1 coil.

I found a excellent COBB video on Youtube explaining the procedure. I bought 6 new plugs and a coil for Cylinder #1, along with the BMW spark plug tool (which is magnetized and super handy for pulling plugs). All together this was about $120 altogether.

Yesterday, I replaced all six plugs (they had apparently never been replaced and were clearly nearly shot) and #1 coil. This took only about an hour and was super easy (using the COBB video).

After a year of battling various codes and having to learn to drive my care carefully to avoid SES and limp, I now have my old car back. It can stomp it and WOT with no issues whatsoever and it runs like a champ.

The only issue is that I thru an SES a few days before doing this repair and the SES has not gone away (even after the reset procedure). I believe it will on its own in a few days, but meanwhile, the car is running perfectly.

I wanted to contribute my experience to this forum because it has been so helpful to me.

Many folks can not keep a BMW...esp a high performance one like a 335i or an M, once the warranty runs out, because its just too expensive.

But, with the help of this forum and some basic tool skills, you can absolutely enjoy your car without having to go to the stealership.
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