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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2013, 05:03 PM
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Mk23 Mk23 is offline
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Ran out of gas and power steering went out?

So awhile back I was cutting it pretty close with 9mls remaining on the estimate miles before I ran out of gas and as I turned onto the street that had the gas station I was going to I lost acceleration completely and got a reduced power warning, and at the same time lost my power steering. I literately coasted into the gas station and wrestled the steering wheel to turn right then left at about 10mph. I parked at the pump, turned the car off and back on with no reduced power warning but I had no power steering still. I turned the car off, filled up the car and turned the car back on and everything was fine...

I also wanted to mention that I have an ongoing "Mixture control 1 and 2" codes that keep being thrown with a service engine soon that s always up. I am also apparently running too lean and am getting poor gas mileage (17mpg down from 19-20). That is an ongoing issue that I am trying to get fixed but I thought I'd bring it up in case it was related.

Any idea if it is normal for the power steering to go out when you run out of gas?
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2013, 05:27 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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If your car has hydraulic power steering with an engine-driven pump (as most cars do), it's perfectly normal. No engine - no pump action - no hydraulic pressure - no power steering. Same thing happens if you lose the serpentine belt.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:27 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk23 View Post
...Any idea if it is normal for the power steering to go out when you run out of gas?
If the engine isn't running, it's not turning the power steering pump, and there will be no PS.
(The newer F3x models have electric PS and may work with engine not running.)
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:43 PM
sptt144 sptt144 is offline
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Home Car Mechanic 1 stuff...PUT GAS IN CAR.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2013, 12:22 AM
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Mk23 Mk23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
If your car has hydraulic power steering with an engine-driven pump (as most cars do), it's perfectly normal. No engine - no pump action - no hydraulic pressure - no power steering. Same thing happens if you lose the serpentine belt.
Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
If the engine isn't running, it's not turning the power steering pump, and there will be no PS.
(The newer F3x models have electric PS and may work with engine not running.)
I didn't lose power from the engine. It was running, just not accelerating. The RPMs stayed at idle speed and the accelerator did nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sptt144 View Post
Home Car Mechanic 1 stuff...PUT GAS IN CAR.
It said 9 Miles left! How was I to know it meant 0!?
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2013, 12:26 AM
Darryl79 Darryl79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk23 View Post
I didn't lose power from the engine. It was running, just not accelerating. The RPMs stayed at idle speed and the accelerator did nothing.



It said 9 Miles left! How was I to know it meant 0!?
I suppose this will be a lesson learned for next time. I used to do that as well, now I try not to let it get below 1/4 of a tank. It's not good for the car from what I hear. At least you made it without incident right?! Score!
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:00 AM
iBeard iBeard is offline
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The fuel pumps use the fuel to cool itself. When you run it dry or very low the fuel pump gets hotter than normal and heat is the number 1 killer of fuel pumps. It's best to fill up when you reach 1/4 tank.
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  #8  
Old 12-22-2013, 05:29 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk23 View Post
I didn't lose power from the engine. It was running, just not accelerating. The RPMs stayed at idle speed and the accelerator did nothing.



It said 9 Miles left! How was I to know it meant 0!?
That is a rough estimate...why would you drive it down that low? Some people have ran out of gas with 20 mls remaining.
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  #9  
Old 12-22-2013, 06:32 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk23 View Post
I didn't lose power from the engine. It was running, just not accelerating. The RPMs stayed at idle speed and the accelerator did nothing.
That's strange. If the engine was really running at idle speed, the power steering should have worked. It's (almost) purely mechanical, all it needs to work is the hydraulic pump spinning.

So I have three possible explanations...

1. The power steering had an intermittent problem at the same time you ran out of gas (what are the chances of that?).

2. The engine was not idling at normal speed, it was either stalled or stalling.

3. The power steering didn't quit completely, it just switched to "highway" mode in order to reduce the load on the engine. (This is just my wild guess, I do not know whether your car's DME really does that.)
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  #10  
Old 12-22-2013, 08:33 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
3. The power steering didn't quit completely, it just switched to "highway" mode in order to reduce the load on the engine. (This is just my wild guess, I do not know whether your car's DME really does that.)
This isn't a thing.
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