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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 03-24-2010, 07:18 PM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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MAF sensor trouble & engine shudder during heavy acceleration at certain speeds

I've been troubleshooting this issue over the past month or so since the problem began and I was hoping to get some advice/suggestions to help me narrow down what the problem is. Here are the details:

A number of weeks ago the SES light of my car started to light up intermittently. A couple weeks after that, it lit up and stayed on permanently. During that time I discovered that whenever I was cruising steadily along the interstate anywhere between 75-80 mph and attempted any sudden acceleration, the car would shudder forward and the engine would struggle unusually until the acceleration stopped.

I pulled the following codes from by OBD...P2227-Barometric-Pressure & P0171-System-Too-Lean-(Bank 1) which indicate a possible problem with the MAF sensor. I replaced my air filter, spray cleaned the sensor, and also checked for cracks or holes on the surfaces of the intake boot/hose that I was able to see but I didn't find any obvious sign of damage. I unplugged the battery which supposedly resets the ECU and I reset the SES light with my code reader as well.

It's been a few weeks since I reset the SES light and while it hasn't permanently lit up again, it has cut on and off again twice already. A completely new problem that's arisen is my engine oil level light which recently began flashing on and off erratically even though my oil's is full. And unfortunately, I'm still experiencing the same acceleration problem when cruising at 75-80 mph but I believe I've also noticed similar behavior subtly developing at lower driving speeds. In addition my car's idling has grown admittedly rougher.

I want find out more specifics about the problem before I resort to betting my money on expensive parts that I might only guess need to be replaced. Maybe it's just wishful thinking but I was hoping the solution would involve a simple DIY fix rather than paying possibly hundreds of dollars to replace and install a sensor or other parts that I'm not sure are the main cause of the problem.
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2010, 08:32 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is online now
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By any chance, do you still have the original battery in that car ?
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2010, 07:56 PM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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I actually replaced my battery with a new one after it died early last year.
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2010, 08:44 PM
EDubiton EDubiton is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 325I
my 2004 325I was experiencing the same "stuter" when excellerating. I replaces the pre cat O2 sensors and have not experience the problem since. I also upgraded my airfilter to the K&N and this may have had something to do with it.

Once I had all the tools, it only took me about an hour to replace everything. To be fair, I have not attempted to reset the SES light as of yet (realy because I didnt realize you could do so by simply unplugging the battery) is there any danger in doing this?

Good luck
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2010, 12:18 AM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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when I disconnected my battery I did it because I read that it's supposed to reset the ECU and recalibrate the car's sensors although I'm not sure if this actually works. Also, based on first-hand experience, disconnecting the battery unfortunately doesn't reset the SES warning light. The only way to reset the SES light is with a code reader. I used a Peake R5/FCX3-16 code reader that I bought online to do this. you can also take it to a bmw dealership and ask them to reset it but i think they charge you to do it.

disconnecting the battery shouldn't present any risk to you or your car. short circuiting is really only a concern when you're doing something like jump-starting where you could accidentally cross running current between the positive and negative terminals of the battery. anyways, just some simple advice to anyone who doesn't already know, unlock your car before disconnecting your battery or the car's alarm will go off the moment you reconnect it. of course, if it does go off you can always just lock the car to turn the alarm off anyways...
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2010, 04:47 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddkk10 View Post
I've been troubleshooting this issue over the past month or so since the problem began and I was hoping to get some advice/suggestions to help me narrow down what the problem is. Here are the details:

A number of weeks ago the SES light of my car started to light up intermittently. A couple weeks after that, it lit up and stayed on permanently. During that time I discovered that whenever I was cruising steadily along the interstate anywhere between 75-80 mph and attempted any sudden acceleration, the car would shudder forward and the engine would struggle unusually until the acceleration stopped.

I pulled the following codes from by OBD...P2227-Barometric-Pressure & P0171-System-Too-Lean-(Bank 1) which indicate a possible problem with the MAF sensor. I replaced my air filter, spray cleaned the sensor, and also checked for cracks or holes on the surfaces of the intake boot/hose that I was able to see but I didn't find any obvious sign of damage. I unplugged the battery which supposedly resets the ECU and I reset the SES light with my code reader as well.

It's been a few weeks since I reset the SES light and while it hasn't permanently lit up again, it has cut on and off again twice already. A completely new problem that's arisen is my engine oil level light which recently began flashing on and off erratically even though my oil's is full. And unfortunately, I'm still experiencing the same acceleration problem when cruising at 75-80 mph but I believe I've also noticed similar behavior subtly developing at lower driving speeds. In addition my car's idling has grown admittedly rougher.

I want find out more specifics about the problem before I resort to betting my money on expensive parts that I might only guess need to be replaced. Maybe it's just wishful thinking but I was hoping the solution would involve a simple DIY fix rather than paying possibly hundreds of dollars to replace and install a sensor or other parts that I'm not sure are the main cause of the problem.
I had a MAF problem and while diagnosing it I noticed if I disconnected the MAF then the vehicle would resort to failsafe parameters which prevented the stumbling. Might be a quick and dirty way to test it.
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  #7  
Old 03-29-2010, 09:31 PM
OhMyShad OhMyShad is offline
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i posted a similar question still hoping for a resolution, do you have a coil signal by your gear on the dash, mine jumps forward when i slow down or change gears. i ran the codes it also came up for the MAF but everyones telling me its the tranny...i need to find a good shop to take it to around NYC, any recommendations?
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2010, 09:41 AM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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thanks for the suggestion. When I tested this out I did notice that driving with the MAF disconnected caused the car to revert to some sort of failsafe parameter like you mentioned. I guess that means the MAF sensor is working on some capacity and I can tentatively rule that out as being the main problem...
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2010, 10:08 AM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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Originally Posted by OhMyShad View Post
i posted a similar question still hoping for a resolution, do you have a coil signal by your gear on the dash, mine jumps forward when i slow down or change gears. i ran the codes it also came up for the MAF but everyones telling me its the tranny...i need to find a good shop to take it to around NYC, any recommendations?
is the coil signal you're talking about a warning light? When I disconnected my MAF a warning light in the shape of a gear with an exclamation point inside showed up next to the gear indicator on my dash. I checked it out in the manual and that light indicates that the transmission reverted to some default programming in a response to a malfunction which in this case was the absence of input coming from the MAF sensor.

So have you ruled out the MAF or o2 sensors as the problem?
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2010, 10:41 AM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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How many miles on the car? Have you changed the fuel filter? If over 60-70K it is good PM. Re-check the boots also. The cracks are usually in the folds and are easy to miss from what I have read. Good luck.
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2010, 01:25 PM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddkk10 View Post
thanks for the suggestion. When I tested this out I did notice that driving with the MAF disconnected caused the car to revert to some sort of failsafe parameter like you mentioned. I guess that means the MAF sensor is working on some capacity and I can tentatively rule that out as being the main problem...
Did you observe the same problems (shuddering and loss of performance) after disconnecting the MAF? If not then this would be a strong indicator the MAF is the problem. If so then it may not be.

I say may not because the MAF issue I had was merely an illuminated SEL. The vehicle drove with no discernable performance loss or issues. No hesitation, stumbling, or loss of power. I did notice the orientation of the MAF is important. When reassembling I wasn't paying attention to the orientation of the MAF and the vehicle exhibited stumbling off idle (almost stalled). This is how I learned of the failsafe because I disconnected the MAF and the stumbling went away. I then made sure the orientation was the way it should be and then everything was back to the way it was (illuminated SEL but running fine).

So the short of it is a bad MAF doesn't necessarily mean performance problems. Not sure if it's your MAF or not but I would be suspect of it if the failsafe parameters corrected the problems you were observing.

Last edited by sunny5280; 04-03-2010 at 01:43 PM.
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2010, 04:05 PM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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It's been a while since I test drove the car without the MAF sensor but I don't remember the car jerking or shuddering. Of course, even with my car now, that only happens intermittently. I didn't get a chance to test how the car drives without the MAF at highway speed where I usually experience the most noticeable acceleration shudder. Hopefully trying this isn't going to do any harm to the car...
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2010, 04:11 PM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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It just passed 57,000 miles last week so it's not quite there yet. When I get a chance I'll have another look at the boot and inspect it more thoroughly. Thanks for the advice!
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2010, 11:49 PM
OhMyShad OhMyShad is offline
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Location: Brooklyn, New York
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddkk10 View Post
is the coil signal you're talking about a warning light? When I disconnected my MAF a warning light in the shape of a gear with an exclamation point inside showed up next to the gear indicator on my dash. I checked it out in the manual and that light indicates that the transmission reverted to some default programming in a response to a malfunction which in this case was the absence of input coming from the MAF sensor.

So have you ruled out the MAF or o2 sensors as the problem?
yea gear was the word i was looking for lol, the past 4 days my car wouldnt start twice after i parked, both times it restarted after about an hour of trying and calling AAA for a tow.

took it in today they said its definately the MAF, would this cause the engine to not start? im gonna get it replaced in the next few days, ill let you know if it cures the shudder
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  #15  
Old 04-06-2010, 10:42 AM
OhMyShad OhMyShad is offline
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Just replaced the MAF myself, drove it around the block a few times, no more gear light, no more shudders! drives 10 times smoother too



My first DIY... feels pretty damn good lol
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  #16  
Old 04-09-2010, 11:34 AM
ddkk10 ddkk10 is offline
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nice! glad to hear it!
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  #17  
Old 02-29-2012, 08:19 PM
mattrrobbins mattrrobbins is offline
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Try this DIY for cleaning the MAF Sensor and it's Wire Harness Adapter

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=214439

The MAF Sensor Cleaner worked like a charm, my car just started stalling/hesitating/erroneous idle RPM today on the way home from work. It turns out that after cleaning the sensor, the car still responded the same with the sensor connected, when the sensor was not connected = fail safe operating mode where the indications and erroneous engine response stopped. THEN, when I cleaned the MAF Sensor wiring harness adapter and reconnected, all was well. Not sure how that connection got dirty, but it is AZ, and I had it disconnected 8 weeks ago when I replaced my oil filter housing gasket, which was a pain. All in all, thanks for the great DIY and feedback from everyone else.
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