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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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Old 05-14-2002, 06:55 PM
Daver Daver is offline
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Location: Folsom, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 398
Mein Auto: 2003 325iT
Angry Z3 Service Engine Soon light, low power, rough idle

I've had this episode five times in my 2001 Z3 Coupe... that since last November, about 4k miles. The Service Engine Soon (SES) light comes on, and the car runs but feels underpowered. It idles, but roughly. It would sometimes reset and run smoothly by itself, but mostly I'd have to cycle the ignition.

I took it to the dealer, and all they could see was some misfire events. They asked if I could bring it in while it was misbehaving, and the opportunity came up a couple weekends ago. It was running far worse than it ever had, sounded like a Model-A. The service writer was shocked, ran and got a tech. While he was gone, it partially reset ... idling somewhat rough but not bad. The tech got in to drive it back to the garage and said right away that it felt underpowered.

He poked and prodded, saw several misfire events... all 1-2 events per cylinder per episode ... I think he said on only 4 or 5 of the cylinders though. He saw one other fault, something like a gas vent solenoid. He cycled it and all the tests were ok. He said he'd need a lot of time to trace all the wiring to look for a bad connection or a fray.

The times that this has happened, the car always had 3/4 of a tank or more when it happened. It's always been at blvd speeds or faster (50-70 mph)... smooth roads, normal driving.

Something that may or may not be related: On sustained corners, high side-forces (like a fwy on-ramp), the car feels like it has almost no power... press the gas and just about nothing happens. It feels a LOT like the DSC is kicking in, but it happens when it's disabled. Left or right corners, doesn't seem to matter. Once the car is moving pretty much straight, the power kicks in and all is well.

This sucks, and I don't have a high level of confidence in the dealer's ability to fix it. It's been in twice for this issue.

Has anyone heard of anything like this? I _really_ want this to be one of those, "oh yeah, easy fix... do this..." type things.

daver -- 2003 325iT
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Old 05-16-2002, 10:13 AM
eco eco is offline
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Location: Irvine, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: Z3
I have a 1999 2.8, got the same problem with yours, being bugginh me for a long time, check engine light on, rough idle sometimes and underpower + misfire, went to the dealer and Joe the wonder service ppl told me 2 recall can simply fix the problem, but mine is a 99, maybe your 2001 shoulnd't have these problem, but wouldn't hurt to try and check, maybe cause by those recall item misfunction ?
Let me know if you find anything and enjoy your car, my car runs super smooth right now and before the fix I don't even wanna go to drive-through window, becasue the car will start idle really rough and almost kill the power. my 2 cents
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Old 05-21-2002, 11:39 PM
Daver Daver is offline
Shake well
Location: Folsom, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 398
Mein Auto: 2003 325iT
I hope it's something that simple. The 2000 Z3 Roadster (2.8) I owned before the Coupe was in twice for the intake cam position sensor fault. After the second trip in, it never happened again and ran beautifully.

I took the car in to the dealer today (same place I'd bought it) to have them fix the problem as well as fix the paint on my lower air dam... it was evidently damaged and repaired before I got the car.

Anyway, after explaining the history of the SES light and the trips to another dealer, they asked me what I expected them to do. My reply was that I expected them to figure out what the problem is and fix it. I don't care what it takes, but it's something that needs to be fixed, and it should be covered under warranty.

The whole deal with the air-dam has me really ired. It was damaged while in the hands of either BMW or the dealership, and it was repaired poorly... the paint is cracking and falling off, it's not glossy like the rest of the bumper, and under close examination, it's obvious that the area had been repainted.

The dealer checked the service record but NOTHING showed up at all.... nothing?!? The car was advertised as an "executive car"... my 2000 Roadster was the same deal. I know the car isn't "new", and I know that there might've been problems or damage while registered to BMW of NA ... but ... I don't know. I'm just real frustrated now.

The trip to the dealer for service was an exercise in frustration. They were less than accomodating and seemed reluctant to even look at the car at all. Their resolution of the matter will determine whether they ever see me or my cars again.

daver -- 2003 325iT
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Old 05-22-2002, 04:04 AM
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Josh (PA) Josh (PA) is offline
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Location: Downingtown, Pa
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,387
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Mein Auto: 11 135vert 09 e61 03 e46T
It's most likely either a sensor on the crankshaft (was a problem on my father's z3 2.8 and there is a TSB for it) or something to do with a throttle body sensor. Do a search on the board for a poster named bol, he had a similar problem and explained how it was fixed by his dealership (sensor replaced). This seems to be a relatively common problem. Good Luck.

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Old 02-27-2013, 06:25 PM
keithcoote keithcoote is offline
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Location: pa
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 1999 540i
My 1999 BMW has a rough idle and the check engine light blinks then stops. The code read vac leak. Also i brought the BMW Saturday and when i changed the oil it was really black along with the oil filter. I'm assuming that the spark plugs need changing and the breaks need changing as well. There's a slight ticking in the engine so along with the oil change i put LUCUS in the engine. Could someone please tell me what's wrong with this car? My buddy who's a mechanic told me its a solid car but i'm having second thoughts. Thank you guys and i'm new to this whole BMW thing.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:07 AM
jzjfamilyman jzjfamilyman is offline
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Location: Nebraska
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: Z3
Bmw z3 runs inconsistant

I will be driving my 2000 BMW Z3 and it will be running great. Then its like its not getting enough gas and it runs sluggilishly and loses power. I will stop and let it sit a few minutes and it runs fine again. I have changed the fuel filter twice and wonder if its a fuel pump going bad. Any help? Thanks
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Old 09-05-2014, 02:37 PM
khammack khammack is offline
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,246
Mein Auto: 2002 M Roadster/2014 435i
Just guessing, but it could be your MAF. You should be able to check it by unplugging it. The ECU will then use the default setting. If this is it, you may get by with just cleaning it, but be sure to use the correct procedure because the MAF can be damaged if you are not careful. Pulling the codes should point you in the right direction, so I would do that first. Many auto parts stores will do that for free if you don't have a code reader.

2014 435i M-Sport, Mineral Gray, Black Dakota Leather, Driver Assistance Pkg, Prem Pkg, Tech Pkg, 8 Speed Sport AT, Heated Front Seats, Active Cruise Control, BMW MPPK w/MPE, BMW Limited Slip Diff, BBS CH Wheels.

2002 M Roadster, Steel Gray Metailic, Gray Nappa Leather, Black Soft Top, Steel Gray Metailic Hard Top, TC Kline Double Adj Shocks with H&R Springs, Stromung Exhaust, SSR Type C Wheels.
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