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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 12-09-2007, 07:31 PM
AshleyHall AshleyHall is offline
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Dummies Guide For Cleaning The Idle Control Valve

My E46 was idling rough rough so thanks to a bit of research on Bimmerfest I decided to have a go at cleaning my idle control valve or regulator as it is also known.

Hopefully this may answer some questions people were asking when I was researching.

It is a simple task.

This is a removed ICV

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Tools required: T30 Torxs Driver and bit, Flat Blade Screwdriver, Carb Cleaner and a 10mm Spanner (Wrench for the US wrench!). If possible the torx bit should be a couple of inches long, it will just make it easier and a flexible driver may also be useful.

The whole Job basically involves removing 3 Jubilee clips, 4 torx srews and 1 x 10mm nut and about 30mins.

First remove the large rubber pipe coming from the back of the air filter box held on by a big jubilee clip. This pipe is jointed further down, you'll see two jubilee clips next to each other. You can undo either or both, this wil allow you to remove a section of the pipe. The tube going into the top pulls out.

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I choose to put a rag down the pipe remaining on the car to stop anything falling in.

Then remove the black box which is attached to the inlet manifold. This is held on with two torx screws (T30 I think). You'll have to remove the electrical connector on the top. (BMW connectors have a piece of wire which you press in to unlock it as you pull).

I managed to find a magnetic flexible hand driver. Its worth doing this slowly obviously without dropping the Torx bolts. You can then pull the box away from the inlet manifold. It has about a three inch paddle valve so pull it away square to the engine and remove.

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Once this is done you see a bracket held on with two more torx screws. Again remove these. Also there is a 10mm nut and washer. Again remove and make sure you don't drop the washer, pull this bracket off the fixed bolt (a little pressure will get it out of the way enough) Also remove the electrical connector on the back of the valve.

Once you've done this pull the ICV towards you. You are pulling it out of a rubber bung shown below. If there's not enough room to do this do the next step first.

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You will see that the backet holds the ICV. The ICV sits behind the bracket held to it by a rubber mounting. The trick is to slide the rubber mounting band and bracket off to the left. This is the tricky bit. You need to push it along as parallel as you can, it's not too difficult. If you remember how to pull down a pair a knickers (panties in the US I think!), and for those who don't back then front, not all from one side.

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The above picture shows the rubber mounted bracket back on the icv.

Once you have removed the holding bracket out of the way. The ICV is like a Tee so you will see a small tube on the outer side with a jubillee clip on. Mine had the screw facing down on the Jub Clip so I couldn't get to it. The other end of the tee pushes into a rubber bung. Which you just pull it out from, away from the engine. You can then flip it over to undo the juibllee clip holding on the remaining small hose. You may be lucky and be able to get to the jubilee clip if the screw is already on the top. Then your done. Take it away and clean.

I have big hands and was able to do this without too much trouble. The key to it for me was sliding the holding bracket to the left off the body of the valve, then I had plenty of room to work.

Once removed you can spray inside the valve like mad with your carb cleaner. If you rotate the valve like a motor bike throttle back and fore (a bit jerky) it should rotate around, you will hear a noise. Mine didn't until I got loads of cleaner on it. It was completely stuck.

Putting it back is easier. You can slide the rubber bracket back on before putting it back because the small pipe is off this time and you wont have to flip it to get to the Jub clip. Its worth making sure those jubilee clips are nicely lined up for the next time you want to do the job.....

My BMW silky smooth idle came back, the engine didn't hesitate on acceleration off the mark anymore and I'm sure it sounded better too. The idle speed went up about 200rpm as well.

More money saved thanks to the Fest...so the least I could do is post something back.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2007, 12:24 AM
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crowz crowz is offline
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Thanks for the walkthru, Im sure it will help others out when they run into this.
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  #3  
Old 01-07-2008, 04:40 PM
ShaneLane ShaneLane is offline
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The trick is knowing just how to manuver those knickers!!

Cheers!

Shane
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2009, 07:47 PM
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87vert 87vert is offline
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thanks for posting this.

Today leaving work the car would stall when I had the AC on and idled really low when it was off. Checked the codes at advanced auto and it was p0505 i believe.

Cleaned the ICV, runs great now..

Thanks again
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  #5  
Old 06-10-2009, 06:53 AM
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SeanC SeanC is offline
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Very nice write up! This was a PITA on the M50 due to its location.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2011, 11:28 AM
curtis77 curtis77 is offline
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Brilliant write up! My job for tomorrow weather pending! my 325i has been cutting out and was told it was the crank sensor, changed it yesterday and today cut out again.
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  #7  
Old 08-13-2011, 06:39 AM
curtis77 curtis77 is offline
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Job done, following thses instructions took about half an hour. Only thing i will say, if you are a little heavy handed like i apear to be, take caution when pulling the F shaped vacum connector from the intake. Mine was tight and i managed to break off the lower pipe outlet. super glued for now and new part on order!!
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  #8  
Old 08-13-2011, 09:21 AM
redlightpete redlightpete is offline
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Thanks for the write up! One thing I might add is that on my '00 323it, I needed to disconnect a cable that went through the ICV bracket. Then I was able to pull out the ICV along with the bracket.

Prior to cleaning the ICV with carb cleaner, the car would not run at idle. It would start and immediately die (in about a second), unless I had the throttle about 1/3 open. With lots of throttle I could keep it running at 3k or above, but it would die at lower throttle openings. I actually had the same problem with the ICV on my e30 about 10 years ago.

After cleaning the valve, everything's back to normal. Thanks again!
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2011, 11:44 PM
winder323ci winder323ci is offline
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323ci cutting out

i am having a problem with my 323Ci where it cuts out when in traffic and engine warm, it starts again but i need to try and keep revs up. the problem also arises if it is idling and i give it a quick rev then the revs drop down to around 400 revs and cuts out, it will start again no problem. sometimes it will turn over for around 4-5 seconds before starting then it runs with reduced power. don't know if anybody else has come across this problem but i am going to clean the icv and check all pipes i will let you know how i get on...
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2011, 06:58 AM
winder323ci winder323ci is offline
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Thumbs up cutting out

just like to say thanks to ashleyhall, instructions spot on. took me around 45 Min's start to finish. now running sweet as a nut only thing i will add is make sure accelerator cable is still connected before reassemble....
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2011, 08:58 PM
cconover cconover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winder323ci View Post
i am having a problem with my 323Ci where it cuts out when in traffic and engine warm, it starts again but i need to try and keep revs up. the problem also arises if it is idling and i give it a quick rev then the revs drop down to around 400 revs and cuts out, it will start again no problem. sometimes it will turn over for around 4-5 seconds before starting then it runs with reduced power. don't know if anybody else has come across this problem but i am going to clean the icv and check all pipes i will let you know how i get on...
I'm having the same problem in my 330ci. I'm going to try the ICV cleaning and see if it fixes it.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2011, 11:04 PM
johne johne is offline
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Just used this very helpful write-up.
FYI for everyone, the Torx screws are T40, not the T30 AshleyHall theorized.
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2011, 04:37 PM
eigrp eigrp is offline
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Great writeup. I did this in conjunction with a DISA replacement. Car runs perfectly now.
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2012, 05:30 PM
revyd revyd is offline
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Just cleaned my ICV partly with the instructions from here. Discovered that my intake hose was cracked as well as the ICV being stuck. Can't believe the difference now. Thanks for the great instructions.
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2012, 06:32 PM
illiano illiano is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winder323ci View Post
i am having a problem with my 323Ci where it cuts out when in traffic and engine warm, it starts again but i need to try and keep revs up. the problem also arises if it is idling and i give it a quick rev then the revs drop down to around 400 revs and cuts out, it will start again no problem. sometimes it will turn over for around 4-5 seconds before starting then it runs with reduced power. don't know if anybody else has come across this problem but i am going to clean the icv and check all pipes i will let you know how i get on...

I had the exact same problem on my old Honda Accord. Granted an accord is nothing like a Z3 but just so you know...my Honda's engine blew about 3 months after it started doing that. Perhaps that's nothing to go by, but definitely get it looked into as quick as you can. Dont end up like me, with a blown car sitting outside for a year.
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  #16  
Old 07-10-2013, 10:04 AM
jcrodsa jcrodsa is offline
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Hi guys,
I read this post and thought it would save my life, sadly It haven't... yet!
Here is my story: I own a 318i 1999 E46, engine M43. In the last 8 months I have been reading and spending money to solve a very strange problem with the idle and power.
This is what happens: with an old MAF the car idles perfect but runs underpowered, so guess what? I bought a new Bosch MAF ($500 here in my country) and bad news, the car now runs great, but then on every red light it idles rough and stalls, go down to 1000rpm and dies. It doesn't matter if it is cold or warm, the car just doesn't idle as it should. I have tried three different MAFs and the same thing…. with old MAF car idles perfect, with any new or proven good MAF the car stalls.
So you are thinking on an air leak right? May be idle control valve, vanos seals, or PCV breather? Well I have tried everything, and believe me EVERYTHING! Nothing solves the problem. Quick summary: New fuel pump, spark plugs, MAF, vanos seals, leak tests, idle control valve, run it cold, warm, etc. Nothing changes.
The weird thing here is: With new MAF car stalls, with old MAF car idles perfect!! WTF right?!!! I did a voltage check on both MAFs, and the signals are the same, not significant differences on voltages (~0.20 volts) but then the signal on the ECU (computer) tells the car to inject less o more fuel…. something in the computer is going on…. I am not an expert in this matter, so I took the car to a guy who is…. First thing he said: "this is an air leak"….. Yeah right….. Same story…. checked everything, nothing wrong but idle…. Now he is doing a trial an error with both MAFs to understand if my engine computer has gone bad…. Sadly I cannot test another computer since it has to be codified and that is costly. And I don't want to buy a new ECU without having 100% confidence that it is the problem.
If by any chance, someone has seen something like this, please let me know….. I will own you big time!!
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2013, 03:19 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcrodsa View Post
Hi guys,
I read this post and thought it would save my life, sadly It haven't... yet!
Here is my story: I own a 318i 1999 E46, engine M43. In the last 8 months I have been reading and spending money to solve a very strange problem with the idle and power.
This is what happens: with an old MAF the car idles perfect but runs underpowered, so guess what? I bought a new Bosch MAF ($500 here in my country) and bad news, the car now runs great, but then on every red light it idles rough and stalls, go down to 1000rpm and dies. It doesn't matter if it is cold or warm, the car just doesn't idle as it should. I have tried three different MAFs and the same thing…. with old MAF car idles perfect, with any new or proven good MAF the car stalls.
So you are thinking on an air leak right? May be idle control valve, vanos seals, or PCV breather? Well I have tried everything, and believe me EVERYTHING! Nothing solves the problem. Quick summary: New fuel pump, spark plugs, MAF, vanos seals, leak tests, idle control valve, run it cold, warm, etc. Nothing changes.
The weird thing here is: With new MAF car stalls, with old MAF car idles perfect!! WTF right?!!! I did a voltage check on both MAFs, and the signals are the same, not significant differences on voltages (~0.20 volts) but then the signal on the ECU (computer) tells the car to inject less o more fuel…. something in the computer is going on…. I am not an expert in this matter, so I took the car to a guy who is…. First thing he said: "this is an air leak"….. Yeah right….. Same story…. checked everything, nothing wrong but idle…. Now he is doing a trial an error with both MAFs to understand if my engine computer has gone bad…. Sadly I cannot test another computer since it has to be codified and that is costly. And I don't want to buy a new ECU without having 100% confidence that it is the problem.
If by any chance, someone has seen something like this, please let me know….. I will own you big time!!
Please have the codes scanned, and post them up.
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  #18  
Old 07-10-2013, 03:57 PM
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ahull ahull is offline
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When you get your codes, copy what you wrote above into a new thread unless it turns out to be your ICV. It will keep topics straight and you may get more replies with a different thread title.
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DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
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  #19  
Old 07-10-2013, 08:14 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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What brand MAF did you just buy?
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  #20  
Old 07-10-2013, 09:22 PM
wagontrain wagontrain is offline
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now i know why

Just did this to my 05 e46. now i know why i gave up wrenching for a living. !!!!!!!!!! what a pain in my ass !!! I have spent more money on preventive maint. on this car than any other 10 cars i have had in the past. !!!!!!! the movie money pit must have been writen about bmw cars !!!!!!!! bmw, bring mommies wallet !
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  #21  
Old 07-11-2013, 09:45 AM
jcrodsa jcrodsa is offline
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Just created a new thread with a different topic to keep post straigth!

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...=1#post7704061
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  #22  
Old 08-03-2013, 01:39 AM
Guitarist Guitarist is offline
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I seem to have the exact same problems your had. Im doing this tomorrow!
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