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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 09-20-2009, 10:04 PM
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westwest888 westwest888 is offline
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325i limp home mode

I went out to Buttonwillow this weekend with the BMW CCA. It's a racetrack in the California desert. The temps were pushing 100 degrees and went as high as 105. I had a great time all weekend and really enjoyed the instruction, the participants, and the track itself.

However, I learned something new about my BMW. You can put almost any car into limp home mode. I spent way too much time in third gear over 6000 RPM and after about eight laps the engine cut me off - literally. A fuel cut situation where it wouldn't let you go any higher in RPM. After about 10-20 seconds it would let you start flogging it again. The solution was to find any excuse to use fourth gear on the track, to keep the revs lower and the temps cooler.

I thought it was important to share this data point.
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Last edited by westwest888; 09-20-2009 at 10:08 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2009, 12:33 PM
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Did you receive any warning messages? How did you know it was a limp mode?

BMWs aren't equipped for heavy track use so I'm not surprised... plus all modern cars have limp modes.
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2009, 12:44 PM
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Oh man...All this time. I should have put 2 + 2 together. East coast tracks, E90 325i, more skills and experience than my typical students...

Glad you had a fun weekend, glad I was able to make a small contribution to it, sorry to see the limp mode, and should have realized who you were.

By the way, I've experienced "limp mode" in 335i's before, and it's a lot more dramatic than your case. 335i limp home mode basically makes the car practically run like it's on 4 cylinders. When it happened to my student at Cal Speedway a few years ago, we were coming out of a turn and it feels like he's lifted off the throttle almost entirely...I was screaming in my communicator "what the hell are you doing? Keep your throttle in it!" only to have him respond "it's in limp mode" sort of matter-of-fact-ly. I think you were only into the first stage of "limp home" mode where power is moderately reduced.

Next time I need to show you how to put your gauge cluster into diagnostic mode so you can monitor your water and oil temp while on track. That'll give you a good chance to "gauge" when you may be overheating. It was one of the hotter weekends at Buttonwillow and we had more than our share of heat related mechanical issues than usual though, so don't feel bad...

And don't stop bashing 335is.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Oh man...All this time. I should have put 2 + 2 together. East coast tracks, E90 325i, more skills and experience than my typical students...

Glad you had a fun weekend, glad I was able to make a small contribution to it, sorry to see the limp mode, and should have realized who you were.

By the way, I've experienced "limp mode" in 335i's before, and it's a lot more dramatic than your case. 335i limp home mode basically makes the car practically run like it's on 4 cylinders. When it happened to my student at Cal Speedway a few years ago, we were coming out of a turn and it feels like he's lifted off the throttle almost entirely...I was screaming in my communicator "what the hell are you doing? Keep your throttle in it!" only to have him respond "it's in limp mode" sort of matter-of-fact-ly. I think you were only into the first stage of "limp home" mode where power is moderately reduced.

Next time I need to show you how to put your gauge cluster into diagnostic mode so you can monitor your water and oil temp while on track. That'll give you a good chance to "gauge" when you may be overheating. It was one of the hotter weekends at Buttonwillow and we had more than our share of heat related mechanical issues than usual though, so don't feel bad...

And don't stop bashing 335is.
So my instructor was THE HACK. Small world.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwac View Post
Did you receive any warning messages? How did you know it was a limp mode?

BMWs aren't equipped for heavy track use so I'm not surprised... plus all modern cars have limp modes.
There was no computer warning. It felt sort of like I lost 80 horsepower, or like I hit the rev limiter. Then, it would not add on any more speed at all. I'd shift up a gear (third to fourth) and that would drop the revs to 4500, but it wouldn't climb any higher despite me being on the throttle.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westwest888 View Post
There was no computer warning. It felt sort of like I lost 80 horsepower, or like I hit the rev limiter. Then, it would not add on any more speed at all. I'd shift up a gear (third to fourth) and that would drop the revs to 4500, but it wouldn't climb any higher despite me being on the throttle.
That's really odd. Not really a limp mode but a 'pre-limp' mode, like the engine was getting tired of your high-RPM driving and dialed it down to let itself cool before hitting a critical temp - which would trigger the warning and full-blown limp mode.
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  #7  
Old 09-21-2009, 06:41 PM
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Sounds like fun, I need to get to another track day. The limits of my mother's 325i are way too high for public roads..........amazing and fun when flogged, yes. But I know one day it'll all go horribly wrong because I'm not Michael Schumacher. (I don't trust myself)
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:21 PM
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I overlooked these two pictures. Check out the wheels on the right side of the car - they are barely touching the road surface. It is truly fascinating to experiment with these cars on a track, where you can load up weight left/right or front/rear and see what it does to your ability to maneuver the car.
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2009, 07:25 PM
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This happened IRL.
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2009, 09:42 AM
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"Bench racing" about track times driven by professionals are like a bunch of nerds arguing which Princess Leia is hotter, the slave Leia or the no-bra jail-bait Leia. No matter how compelling your argument is, the plain and simple fact is, none of you will EVER get to hit that.
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2009, 10:56 AM
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That pretty cool stuff. Thanks for sharing the pictures and story.

Perhaps you'll be a tad bit nicer now still to the 335, since it appears that the only real track ready BMW is an M car. Even a "measly" 325 can overheat given the right circumstances. The 335 is just pushing the envelope a bit more during regular driving. Of course, all of this has been beaten to death already.
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2009, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
That pretty cool stuff. Thanks for sharing the pictures and story.

Perhaps you'll be a tad bit nicer now still to the 335, since it appears that the only real track ready BMW is an M car. Even a "measly" 325 can overheat given the right circumstances. The 335 is just pushing the envelope a bit more during regular driving. Of course, all of this has been beaten to death already.
Um...Several E46 M3s went into "limp home" territories as well this weekend. Not the "power cut" you'd expect, the oil temperature were getting up high enough to make several instructors cut their sessions short.

It took my masterful instructions to push the E90 325i to a near breaking point... And it took two blazingly fast sessions in B in triple digit temps. Last 335i student I instructed had the car screaming for mercy by lap 4 on the first day with ambient temp in the mid 80s...Can't really equate the two. The honest truth is the 335i does have more than the usual share of issues with heat at the track. There's no denying that.

At least the newer BMWs has "limp home" fail-safe built in.
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"Bench racing" about track times driven by professionals are like a bunch of nerds arguing which Princess Leia is hotter, the slave Leia or the no-bra jail-bait Leia. No matter how compelling your argument is, the plain and simple fact is, none of you will EVER get to hit that.
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  #13  
Old 09-22-2009, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Um...Several E46 M3s went into "limp home" territories as well this weekend. Not the "power cut" you'd expect, the oil temperature were getting up high enough to make several instructors cut their sessions short.

It took my masterful instructions to push the E90 325i to a near breaking point... And it took two blazingly fast sessions in B in triple digit temps. Last 335i student I instructed had the car screaming for mercy by lap 4 on the first day with ambient temp in the mid 80s...Can't really equate the two. The honest truth is the 335i does have more than the usual share of issues with heat at the track. There's no denying that.

At least the newer BMWs has "limp home" fail-safe built in.
Too bad WestWest didn't say that or you could have quoted it in your sig.

I am somewhat surprised the E46 Ms couldn't handle the heat. Might be due to improper servicing or perhaps you need a full fledged race car to handle triple digit temps, no matter what. Are Porsches prone to such breakdown as well?

Makes it even more impressive that F1 cars run for 1-2 hours at a time reaching 18k RPMs with 2 small radiators and 3L worth of coolant. The E90 runs 8L from what I am reading.
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:25 PM
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It took my masterful instructions to push the E90 325i to a near breaking point... And it took two blazingly fast sessions in B in triple digit temps.
+1. We abused that N52 for at least 15 miles of track before she started complaining. I believe I burned a full quart of oil on track.

We were also using the AC on the grid because THE HACK needs a cool head to find his inspired comments.
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  #15  
Old 09-22-2009, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
Too bad WestWest didn't say that or you could have quoted it in your sig.

I am somewhat surprised the E46 Ms couldn't handle the heat. Might be due to improper servicing or perhaps you need a full fledged race car to handle triple digit temps, no matter what. Are Porsches prone to such breakdown as well?

Makes it even more impressive that F1 cars run for 1-2 hours at a time reaching 18k RPMs with 2 small radiators and 3L worth of coolant. The E90 runs 8L from what I am reading.
I don't "instruct" for a living. I market car stuff on the internet for a living. Therefore I "pimp" my excellent insights in my sig. Now if I'm really the über instructor that I claim that I am and offer real professional driver's coaching, yeah, I would definitely put some of the quotes said about my instructing in my sig.

There were a ton of heat related failures this weekend on track. Quite a few were race cars. This past weekend was just tough for most cars, and a lot of people had to take it easy, including myself, to preserve their car and drive it home in one piece.

And yes I did ask Westy to put on the AC while we're on grid. You know us prima-donna instructors. Our comfort comes first above all else.
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"Bench racing" about track times driven by professionals are like a bunch of nerds arguing which Princess Leia is hotter, the slave Leia or the no-bra jail-bait Leia. No matter how compelling your argument is, the plain and simple fact is, none of you will EVER get to hit that.
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