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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-06-2010, 05:06 PM
fartingfool fartingfool is offline
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Location: Tampa, Fl
 
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Mein Auto: 93 325i, 85 325e
Very Rough Idle, Sputtering, Backfiring into manifold

I drove my car yesterday morning just fine, it drove brilliantly here in the currently-cool weather we're experiencing, but today when I went to drive my car it would not happen.

This is a 03/93 325i with 170,000 miles. Pretty well maintained most of its life according to the papers. I've driven it just fine for 2 months.

I turned the key, the car fired up and immediately starting sputtering. It sounded like the motor was missing terribly. I could hear it backfiring into what sounded like the intake manifold (really loud plasticy pops). The engine was idling very sporadically (200-1500rpm) in an almost an oscillating fashion. When I put it into gear, to see if it had any power, as soon as I started letting off the clutch to accelerate, it died.

I let the car sit for the afternoon and came back to diagnose. I had to push the car into the driveway because it simply would not move under its own power. The car will start up every time, but it will just idle as terrible as ever. Eventually the motor will somewhat smooth out (after a few minutes of not touching anything), but intermittent backfiring into the intake will occur. I can still see the motor distinctly shaking from how rough it's idling.

I did the stomp test, got a code 1215 (MAF sensor). I unplugged the maf, hell I took off the whole intake boot and it made no difference to the way the motor was running. I decided to unplug the battery to make sure I wasn't getting ghost readings. I mention the 1215 code to cover all bases. Apparently there are many things that can cause it and I wanted to make sure it was related to the issue I have at hand right -now-.

I plugged the battery back in, did the stomp test, no codes. I then started the motor and check engine light came on. I turned it off, stomp test, code 1254 (Fuel Injector #4). I read that this code can be caused by either a problem with the resistance value of the injector, or it can somehow detect that the fuel stream exiting the injector is fouled? I would like more information on this on how this works exactly. The 1254 code is the only code it throws now.

I would like to also add that when I go WOT, the engine barely responds, sits there throwing a fit, backfiring, then slowly climbs, and the check engine light begins to blink. When I let off the pedal, the CE light stops blinking. It remains illuminated otherwise. I can also see some minor black smoke from the exhaust pipe at idle.

I decided to diagnose the injector and related scenarios for cylinder #4. I could hear the injector ticking away as the motor was running, the resistive value for the injector is 16.5 ohms (same as the others). I then checked the coil for that cylinder, the primary coil read 0.8ohms (within spec according to Bentley).

I can't find any vacuum leaks as far as I can tell. I would check the MAF, but what information I am finding is for a 6pin MAF and I have a 4 pin connector. I could at least tell it was getting 12v, but with the lack of a thrown code now (I did have a previously torn intake boot that I replaced so that's possibly what originally caused it).

I don't know the resistive values for the MAF? How do injector codes work exactly? What would cause this kind of rough idle and backfiring into the intake? I do not notice any metallic or pinging sounds.

I apologize for the huge post, but I feel more details are better than being sparse with them. If anyone is curious enough, I can take a video as well.
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  #2  
Old 10-06-2010, 06:03 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Almost certainly a vacuum leak, even if you haven't been able to find it (yet). It very likely sneezed a hose off somewhere. Just keep looking, especially under the manifold.
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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"

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  #3  
Old 10-06-2010, 06:04 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
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BTW, welcome to the fest. Good job on your first post. We'd rather have too much info than "my cars backfiring...HELP".
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 & New Member Intro Forum Mod/Bimmerfest Misplaced-Posting Tow Truck
BMW-CCA #441426 My E30 makes me do stupid FUN things.

1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"

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  #4  
Old 10-06-2010, 06:36 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 328is
Yeah, it seems we've had some good luck with knowledgeable newcomers lately.
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  #5  
Old 10-06-2010, 06:49 PM
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Corey Milne Corey Milne is offline
FixItFaster
Location: Victoria, B.C.
 
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Mein Auto: EuroS50B30, e83m54b30
I wish I had access to my TIS right now!! I can let you know tomorrow though...
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  #6  
Old 10-06-2010, 11:40 PM
fartingfool fartingfool is offline
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Location: Tampa, Fl
 
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Mein Auto: 93 325i, 85 325e
Thanks for the welcomes! I'm surprised I wasn't a member until today actually. I've been reading the forums for a couple years now, but for whatever reason never decided to actually post anything Times have changed now!

Anyways, seeing as how everyone's first thoughts were that it was a vacuum leak, even with how confident I was with checking, I was wrong. I looked online to figure out where the bulk of the lines would be. They would, of course, all be under the intake manifold. I did a once-over again.

Low and behold, I found something fishy. I attached some pictures for your viewing pleasure. It looks like this vacuum hose blew out, or more likely was previously broken and "stashed back away". The hard plastic tube looks unevenly broken and is, what I assume to be, supposed to be attached to and inside the throttle body and the big rubber hose is supposed to attach to it.

I used my skinny twig arms to reach under and repeat what someone else already did and stashed it back away. It's more or less snug, but I reinforced it with a well-placed zip tie around one of the manifold's runners. I feel like this is only worth fixing 100% only if i have to remove the throttle body/manifold.

The car runs beautifully once again. Thanks everyone.
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  #7  
Old 10-07-2010, 12:19 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Well done! Thanks for posting back your findings.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 & New Member Intro Forum Mod/Bimmerfest Misplaced-Posting Tow Truck
BMW-CCA #441426 My E30 makes me do stupid FUN things.

1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"

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  #8  
Old 10-07-2010, 01:01 AM
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Boab Boab is offline
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Location: Central Scotland
 
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Posts: 529
Mein Auto: E36 323i
Nice one mate & welcome.

Its always nice to find out if the problem has actually been resolved.

I find it frustrating to go on a searching mission, only to find a ton of posts with problems, and no conclusion to say "Thats it fixed!" or, "It wasnt what we thought it was, however this was the problem and its now resolved".

Congrats pal, glad your motor is running sweet
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2011, 08:18 AM
brownrxmd brownrxmd is offline
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Location: wittmann az
 
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Mein Auto: 1993 325I
Great Post. I had the exact same problem, my 93 325i "sneezed" at the shell station yesturday and the drive to the board meeting and the drive home were miserable. erratic idle, hard brake pedal. I took the plugs out this morning cleaned 'em. No change, then thought, it has to be a vacuum leak because of the hard brake problem. I came in here found your post and pics, looked under my intake and my plastic hose is just like yours, I took the MAF and airbox off though and reached under the intake and slid it snug. Now I'm off to Pelican to order the part. A very good post!!
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  #10  
Old 02-09-2011, 10:15 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 328is
Excellent. I love hearing when people fix problems from searching and reading posts of others.
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1966 Pontiac GTO
2007 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 5-door
View my photos: Caught in the Wild
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  #11  
Old 12-26-2011, 11:15 PM
ThatFlushE36 ThatFlushE36 is offline
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Location: Cincinnati
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Mein Auto: '92 325is
I'm having a similar problem, my 92 325is will start fine, and even idle fine for awhile, even drive fine for awhile. But once the engine becomes warm at all it starts stuttering insanely, the exhaust sounds like something running on two cylinders, its hard to gain rpms and doesnt have any power. the car will slow and stale, sometimes even stalling at idle followed by a loud pop of backfire from the exhaust. The car will even die completely, i had to leave it over night somewhere a couple days ago. if i come back after it cools down i can start it and have a minute of it running ok to move it, but barely enough time for anything. the previous owner of the car installed a 2" straight pipe instead of the muffler. I was thinking it might be my idle control valve, and i checked it and any vacuum tubes around it, seemed fine. However, the cooling duct to the alternator was ripped to shreads, (i have a new one being shipped) but i did spray the engine bay (not thinking it thru) and water may have gotten into the main alternator thru the ducting. also the engine cover isnt to be found. I have a friend with an OND-1 scanner who is coming over to scan it tomorrow, but I really need to figure out what specifically is the problem in order to fix the problem. Just got the car not a week ago. Any idea/suggestions or anything?? Anything would be appreciated.
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2011, 09:38 AM
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KitsuKo KitsuKo is offline
'92 325I Rollin Stoned
Location: O.C. Westminster
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 E36 325I
*facepalm*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR_LVR View Post
Donít be afraid to ask for help from other BMW owners who may have experienced the same problem. Listen to their input. This forum has some of the nicest and most knowledgeable people around.

Be willing to do research on the problem. Remember, Google is your friend. Search it and search this forum as a lot of the problems have been experienced before.

Best regards,
Steve
E36 Bentley Manual
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  #13  
Old 12-27-2011, 10:11 AM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Location: in the sticks you piney
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatFlushE36 View Post
I'm having a similar problem, my 92 325is will start fine, and even idle fine for awhile, even drive fine for awhile. But once the engine becomes warm at all it starts stuttering insanely, the exhaust sounds like something running on two cylinders, its hard to gain rpms and doesnt have any power. the car will slow and stale, sometimes even stalling at idle followed by a loud pop of backfire from the exhaust. The car will even die completely, i had to leave it over night somewhere a couple days ago. if i come back after it cools down i can start it and have a minute of it running ok to move it, but barely enough time for anything. the previous owner of the car installed a 2" straight pipe instead of the muffler. I was thinking it might be my idle control valve, and i checked it and any vacuum tubes around it, seemed fine. However, the cooling duct to the alternator was ripped to shreads, (i have a new one being shipped) but i did spray the engine bay (not thinking it thru) and water may have gotten into the main alternator thru the ducting. also the engine cover isnt to be found. I have a friend with an OND-1 scanner who is coming over to scan it tomorrow, but I really need to figure out what specifically is the problem in order to fix the problem. Just got the car not a week ago. Any idea/suggestions or anything?? Anything would be appreciated.
uhhh...ok. did you buy it like this??

first things first. the alternator ducting will not cause this sort of failure. it is designed to assist in keeping the bearings from overheating. most of them of this vintage are deteriorated or missing.

that being said, without an engine cover, washing the motor will allow water to collect in the spark plug wells causing all sorts of rough running. get that cleaned up, use a shop vac if necessary.

also check under the 'search function' for "wet dme". yours is old enough to have had this issue, although it may have been addressed/remedied. no way to tell for sure.

the next items are going to be the maintenance things like filters, plugs, oil, and checking for vacuum leaks due to tears in the intake boot (google that, you'll get plenty of hits), spark plug boots (they tend to tear as well with age), and get the cooling system replaced. all of it.

and read the stickies at the top of the page.

especially this one!! http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=366718

now we can all go back to our regularly scheduled flaming...thank you.





df
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  #14  
Old 12-27-2011, 10:14 AM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Location: in the sticks you piney
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KitsuKo View Post
*facepalm*
i know...noobs


but i was very good

























































just in case teh modz r wachin...

df
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2011, 10:32 AM
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KitsuKo KitsuKo is offline
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Location: O.C. Westminster
 
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Mein Auto: 1992 E36 325I
Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
i know...noobs


but i was very good



df
^That is very true

Fixed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR_LVR View Post
Donít be afraid to ask for help from other BMW owners who may have experienced the same problem. Listen to their input. This forum has some of the nicest and most knowledgeable people around.

Be willing to do research on the problem. Remember, Google is your friend. Search it and search this forum as a lot of the problems have been experienced before.

Best regards,
Steve
E36 Bentley Manual

Last edited by KitsuKo; 12-27-2011 at 10:35 AM.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2016, 05:54 PM
Atbat170 Atbat170 is offline
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Location: Tallmadge, Ohio
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 325xi Wagon
Spuering and stalling

I just read a post regarding the same problem I am experiencing, however new to the sight, please forgive me...lol. my 2003 325xi is sputtering, bouncing, and sounds like plastic popping under the manifold, HELP!

Kind regards,
Frustrated in Ohio
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2016, 07:13 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You Kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 19,294
Mein Auto: E24x2,E36x2,E30x1, F150
Atbat170, you need to post that in the E46 forum. Your 2003 325ix is an E46. This is the E36 forum.
That said, I believe you have a vacuum leak.
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 & New Member Intro Forum Mod/Bimmerfest Misplaced-Posting Tow Truck
BMW-CCA #441426 My E30 makes me do stupid FUN things.

1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"

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