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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 06-12-2013, 09:52 PM
bimmerized bimmerized is offline
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Buy used M54 throttle body?

A retired mechanic thinks I need a new throttle position sensor (see reason below). The part that's on the throttle body assembly. Part is at least $250. Used is $50, but mileage unknown. I know this is a wear item so I'm just wondering if anyone has taken a chance on a used unit given the price differential. On a used unit, will I be able to tell conditioun by moving the throttle plate through it's motion by hand? plastic gears that may skip can throw off the calibration, I'm guessing.

I'm guessing one doesn't go past 200k, but correct me if you are still on your original unit at over 200K. Thanks.

Reason for new throttle body? well, when hooked up to his computer it said that throttle was closed when in fact we were on the accelerator pedal lightly, inching to 2500 rpm or so before it registered over 0%. Is this normal? We are diagnosing a lean condition. Car has 160K. Thanks for any advice or experience with throttle bodies and/or throttle position sensors on the M54.

Lastly, how long should I expect the R&R to take, as a novice. What's a fair price to pay?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:07 AM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Keep in mind that the throttle is "drive by wire" in that instead of a mechanical cable from pedal to TB, you have an electronic sensor/potentiometer (like a volume knob) on the pedal that sends electronic signal to the electric motor/sensor on the TB itself. Sometimes it's the pedal, sometimes it's the TB. Pedal is definitely cheaper. I'm not sure if it's easy to figure out which one is bad without testing electrical output from each, or just trying a new one in either position. If there's another M54 on hand, swap in their pedal as a test. It's like two screws or something like that - really easy.

You could probably change it out in 1-2 hours and it's not that difficult to DIY. Process is remove intake rubber boots (15 mins) remove idle control valve (5 mins good idea to clean while out), remove TB (5-10 mins). Might have to remove DISA valve as well (5 mins). 2 hours of labor would be fair (including diagnosis)

If it were my car and I was sure it was the TB, I would spring for the new one. The used one is a gamble unless you know it's low mileage and if you have to replace again in a few years, you pay the labor again unless you DIY, but you still have to do it again.
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Last edited by ahull; 06-13-2013 at 07:10 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2013, 03:08 PM
bimmerized bimmerized is offline
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thanks, I know about sender at the pedal. Mech said he isolated the issue to the TB and not the pedal. I expected that since the TB is much more mechanical and likely to fail.

I guess I'll give a used one a shot since we aren't definite that this is the issue and labor isn't that bad. If only I could tell if one were bad by looking at it... putting another bad one in will send me down the wrong path... If I see gunk in there when its off, I'll suspect a leak in one of the CCV hoses.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:00 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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The throttle bodies do not go bad very often at all. I would feel comfortable putting one on my car.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2013, 10:42 PM
bimmerized bimmerized is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmys 530i View Post
The throttle bodies do not go bad very often at all. I would feel comfortable putting one on my car.
Thanks for the reassurance. I'll see how it goes...
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  #6  
Old 06-14-2013, 11:59 AM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerized View Post
A retired mechanic thinks I need a new throttle position sensor (see reason below). The part that's on the throttle body assembly. Part is at least $250. Used is $50, but mileage unknown. I know this is a wear item so I'm just wondering if anyone has taken a chance on a used unit given the price differential. On a used unit, will I be able to tell conditioun by moving the throttle plate through it's motion by hand? plastic gears that may skip can throw off the calibration, I'm guessing.

I'm guessing one doesn't go past 200k, but correct me if you are still on your original unit at over 200K. Thanks.

Reason for new throttle body? well, when hooked up to his computer it said that throttle was closed when in fact we were on the accelerator pedal lightly, inching to 2500 rpm or so before it registered over 0%. Is this normal? We are diagnosing a lean condition. Car has 160K. Thanks for any advice or experience with throttle bodies and/or throttle position sensors on the M54.

Lastly, how long should I expect the R&R to take, as a novice. What's a fair price to pay?

Thanks!
Isn't it possible to just buy the TPS, or is it integrated into the TB? I've changed out TPSs before, but never in a BMW. Just curious.
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  #7  
Old 06-14-2013, 11:02 PM
bimmerized bimmerized is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishful Thinking View Post
Isn't it possible to just buy the TPS, or is it integrated into the TB? I've changed out TPSs before, but never in a BMW. Just curious.
Yes the TPS is integrated into the TB, at least on the M54 engine.

I'm still trying to figure out whether what the equiment sees is normal or whether the equipment is just out of calibration. I likely have a vacuum leak so I'm not sure how to interpret the TPS issue. Some have said their TB has been rock solid.
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2013, 05:26 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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I have ran into less than half a dozen throttle bodies going bad at work. They occasionally do go bad, but not very often.
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