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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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 03-29-2013, 04:54 PM
manic_mechanic manic_mechanic is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 318i
Unhappy Backfiring, Rough Idle, Low Idle after Spark Plug Change

I did a lot today. I replaced my belt tensioner, my idle pulley and my a/c adjuster pulley. At one point I removed my alternator and found that its pulley had seized-up, which I though meant the bearing was out but I got it to spin freely again and reinstalled everything and the car ran ~fine. (My car has over 357K miles on it so "fine" is relative.)

After that I removed the plastic "BMW" cover, unplugged my spark plug wires and replaced my spark plugs.
I used the same NGK plugs that I've been using.
I put some of that silver thread-ease stuff on the threads that they sell at the counter of the autoparts store. (maybe I put a little too much but absolutely none was on the spark ends).
I put a glob of "dielectric grease" gel inside the wire ends and then I plugged everything back in and turned the car on. (I thought maybe this was the culprit so I took some q-tips and cleaned all this gel off but it didn't change anything.)

The car is now undriveable.

I smell the odor of gasoline. The engine is backfiring lots of little backfires. The engine is putting out very low idle RPM. When I press the accelerator it sounds like a lawnmower engine so I assume that means it's misfiring as well.

I tried putting the old sparks back in but it does the same thing.

Please help! What could it be? I don't think it's an air leak because it ran fine before I changed the sparks and I didn't do anything near any air hoses when I changed the sparks.

??? I am stressing out! We are supposed to go out of town tomorrow and this is our only car!

Last edited by manic_mechanic; 03-29-2013 at 05:08 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:02 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Did you get ALL the ground attachments back on securely? Those coil-on-plugs are incredibly finicky about the grounds being good.
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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:04 PM
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What the hell is spark catalyst?

Any errors in this post are purely Swype's fault, not mine.
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:06 PM
manic_mechanic manic_mechanic is offline
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What do you mean by ground attachments?

I just pushed all the wires back onto the spark plugs until they clicked/looked secure. I did go back while the car was running and put some extra pressure on them to make sure they were plugged in but it did not make a difference.
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:07 PM
manic_mechanic manic_mechanic is offline
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I'm bad about making up names for things

I meant "dielectric grease."
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:16 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Ah, my apologies....I just saw you have an M44 (1.9l four cylinder). Your coils are external, hanging on the passenger's side fender, unlike the 6 cylinder with the coils built on the plug connector. Disregard the ground comments.

You must have gotten the wires crossed. Only logical explanation. It's easy to do, since the plug wires on the 4-banger are long enough to cross them up. Recheck your plug wires from the coil to each plug.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #7  
Old 03-29-2013, 05:56 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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i agree with ken. i would say the wires are crossed. the order, iirc, is 4,1,2,3 meaning the plug on the coil pack closest to the radiator goes to the last cylinder, or the one closest to the firewall. the rest should be easy math....

4123 (coil pack cylinder order)
1234 (cylinder order)




if you have the square coil pack, then the front two are for cylinders 1 & 4, 1 being closest to the fender. so it should look like this:

34
12

1234




hope this helps.




df
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2013, 10:02 AM
manic_mechanic manic_mechanic is offline
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Ah, thanks you guys. I had the 3rd and 4th cylinder wires crossed. I switched them out and she purred back to life.

Later that day I put some Lucas fuel injector cleaner in a full tank and she gave me some trouble when I cranked her up.

Any ideas why this would occur?

Also, I mentioned it earlier but my alternator makes a high-pitched whine when the engine is running. This alternator is rebuilt and I've had it for a little over 1.5 years. It still charges the battery up fine but I've read that if it's squealing like this it means the bearing is on its way out.

Any truth to this or am I being a hypochondriac? Is there a test I can run on it to find out more information?
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2013, 06:55 PM
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how much fuel did you have in the tank when adding the fuel treatment??

it could have maybe affected it, but if it isn't constant i would not worry so much.


as for the alternator, you could use a mechanic stethescope to listen to the noise. it could be a bearing for the idler, or the alt, or something else rotating around.




df
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2013, 01:17 PM
jcreviston jcreviston is offline
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Hi, NEW here and nice to belong to your group. I have the 96 318ti with the M44 engine. I just wanted to comment on the post here. My plug wires are numbered 1,2,3,4 and my coil pack is numbered 1,2,3,4 . My question is, why are they marked 1,2,3,4 in order on both coil pack and plug wires if they are suppose to be 3,4,1,2?
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2013, 03:05 PM
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Hey, buddy. We decide when/if you belong or not!
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
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Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2013, 06:15 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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That was way harsh. He's not a Orc. It's a legit question.
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #13  
Old 04-03-2013, 06:24 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcreviston View Post
Hi, NEW here and nice to belong to your group. I have the 96 318ti with the M44 engine. I just wanted to comment on the post here. My plug wires are numbered 1,2,3,4 and my coil pack is numbered 1,2,3,4 . My question is, why are they marked 1,2,3,4 in order on both coil pack and plug wires if they are suppose to be 3,4,1,2?

what?? i don't follow....cylinder 1 is the first clinder, 4 is the last. the coils may be marked, as could the wires, so 1 should go to 1, etc.

the firing order is 1342, as is the case with most 4 bangers.

you could take a wire marked for cyl # whatever, and if it fits the distance between the proper coil tower to the correct cylinder, it will fire properly. coils don't read....



unless i am missing the point to your question??


pics would assist greatly....



df
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:17 PM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
That was way harsh. He's not a Orc. It's a legit question.
That was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but I forgot to add the sarcasm.

Did you say Orc because of the cool Barad-dur (Sauron's Tower in Mordor) pic in my sig? Thank James for that one.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans/Black/6spd Steptragic
1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1997 328iC Schwarz II/K/K 5MT SOLD 5/2012
2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #15  
Old 04-03-2013, 07:49 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Yup. My daughter gave me the trilogy for Christmas, and I just got done watching all three for the second time, then your sig showed up and I LOLed.

/thread hijack
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #16  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:43 AM
jcreviston jcreviston is offline
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Thanks. Coil marked 1,2,3,4 Wires marked 1,2,3,4 Engine cly front to back, 1,2,3,4 All original. I put 1-1 2-2 3-3 4-4 and runs like new.
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2013, 06:17 AM
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TheFinanceGuy TheFinanceGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcreviston View Post
Thanks. Coil marked 1,2,3,4 Wires marked 1,2,3,4 Engine cly front to back, 1,2,3,4 All original. I put 1-1 2-2 3-3 4-4 and runs like new.
My guess is someone marked those for you. They don't come "marked" as far as I know.

Glad you got everything sorted out.
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  #18  
Old 04-04-2013, 06:38 AM
jcreviston jcreviston is offline
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Nope. Coil is marked, (front of car to the rear) 1,2,3,4 molded into coil plastic,,, plug wires are marked 1,2,3,4, as in molded/painted into wires. It is wired 1,2,3,4 runs good. I tried the 1,3,4,2 it is not correct.
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  #19  
Old 04-04-2013, 10:11 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Both you and df are correct. The firing order IS 1342, but the coil arrangement is 1234 from front to rear, same as the plugs. df didn't mean to connect the plugs contrary to the markings. You connected them correctly 1-1,2-2 etc. The ECU takes care of the firing order.
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #20  
Old 04-04-2013, 10:30 AM
jcreviston jcreviston is offline
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OK, Thank you. I had a bad clicking in my steering wheel and a lot of play. Checked out the universal joint in the lower steering shaft and it was almost ready to fall out Found a replcement with only 60,000 miles and replaced it and smooooooth as silk now Cant get rid of the miss I have at start up. Start and run the car for 3 minutes and it idles like new, but for the first 2-3 minutes its awful. You can rev it up and hold it steady at about 1000 rpm's and its smooth. Drive the car all around, doesnt miss a lick. Shut it off for just a minute and it does it again for a couple minutes then once again smooth sailin. Any suggestions? ( Things I have changed ) TPS, ICV, Fuel Filter, I am thinking a intake leak or vacuum line.
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