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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 01-26-2010, 12:10 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Fuel Gauge/Tank problems

Hi everyone! Thanks for the previous threads on fuel gauge problems. I wasn't able to find something quite similar enough to my problem, so I'm going to post a new thread.

I have a 325i with the M54 engine. My car runs normally until I hit a quarter tank left, at which point it seems I have run out of gas. I was told that most likely one of the fuel gauge sensors is gummed up, so I have repeatedly tried different fuel system cleaners to try and free it up, but which no success.

Now, here's the funny part - when I am completely run out of gas (remember, the fuel gauge still says I have a quarter tank left) and I go to fill it up, it only takes a little over 13 gallons before it's full. This was puzzling until I did a little research and found that the car actually has two tanks- the main gas tank, and a smaller expansion tank, which I assume is holding the rest of my gas that I'm not getting use of.

I also learned about the two fuel gauge sensors (the right one that is integrated with the fuel pump, and the left one, which is just a gauge) both accessible under the back seat.

So, can anyone tell me, what's broken here? It seems like the main fuel pump and sensor (the right one) are working, because fuel is being pumped to the engine up until I have a quarter tank left. It seems that the left sensor is working because I DO in fact have gas in my tank when my car starts coughing and dies (remember it only takes 13 gal to fill up. should take 16 - 17gal). Is there another fuel pump that I don't know about that pumps fuel from the smaller expansion tank? (I bought a Chilton repair manual for 3 series and have been tearing through it as well but haven't been able to figure this out)

Thanks in advance for your help
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2010, 12:40 AM
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kimmy kimmy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tice03 View Post
Hi everyone! Thanks for the previous threads on fuel gauge problems. I wasn't able to find something quite similar enough to my problem, so I'm going to post a new thread.

I have a 325i with the M54 engine. My car runs normally until I hit a quarter tank left, at which point it seems I have run out of gas. I was told that most likely one of the fuel gauge sensors is gummed up, so I have repeatedly tried different fuel system cleaners to try and free it up, but which no success.

Now, here's the funny part - when I am completely run out of gas (remember, the fuel gauge still says I have a quarter tank left) and I go to fill it up, it only takes a little over 13 gallons before it's full. This was puzzling until I did a little research and found that the car actually has two tanks- the main gas tank, and a smaller expansion tank, which I assume is holding the rest of my gas that I'm not getting use of.

I also learned about the two fuel gauge sensors (the right one that is integrated with the fuel pump, and the left one, which is just a gauge) both accessible under the back seat.

So, can anyone tell me, what's broken here? It seems like the main fuel pump and sensor (the right one) are working, because fuel is being pumped to the engine up until I have a quarter tank left. It seems that the left sensor is working because I DO in fact have gas in my tank when my car starts coughing and dies (remember it only takes 13 gal to fill up. should take 16 - 17gal). Is there another fuel pump that I don't know about that pumps fuel from the smaller expansion tank? (I bought a Chilton repair manual for 3 series and have been tearing through it as well but haven't been able to figure this out)

Thanks in advance for your help
Hey Tice, Welcome.

While there is not truly a separate auxiliary fuel tank, the tank is somewhat saddle shaped. (see: http://bmwfans.info/parts/catalog/E4...taching_parts/ )

There is a simple siphoning tube (which BMW illustriously likes to call a "sucking jet pump" ), which transfers the fuel from one side to the other.
also see:
http://bmwfans.info/parts/catalog/E4..._level_sensor/

I am wondering if maybe this has gone south on you.

You may also want to verify the individual fuel level sensor level output from the "hidden" OBC functions. (see: http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index...uter_Functions )
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:46 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Wow! Thanks so much for the quick reply! It makes a lot of sense. Is the "sucking jet pump" accessible from those two holes under the back seat where the fuel pumps and sensors are? Or is that something you can see from under the car? What's the best way to get to it?
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:57 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmy View Post
Hey Tice, Welcome.

While there is not truly a separate auxiliary fuel tank, the tank is somewhat saddle shaped. (see: http://bmwfans.info/parts/catalog/E4...taching_parts/ )

There is a simple siphoning tube (which BMW illustriously likes to call a "sucking jet pump" ), which transfers the fuel from one side to the other.
also see:
http://bmwfans.info/parts/catalog/E4..._level_sensor/

I am wondering if maybe this has gone south on you.

You may also want to verify the individual fuel level sensor level output from the "hidden" OBC functions. (see: http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index...uter_Functions )
Wow! Thanks so much for the quick reply! It makes a lot of sense. Is the "sucking jet pump" accessible from those two holes under the back seat where the fuel pumps and sensors are? Or is that something you can see from under the car? What's the best way to get to it?

(Still learning how to use the forum functions. Wanted to make sure I replied correctly, showing quote I'm replying to)
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:19 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Ok, So this is what I've done and what I've learned so far: I dug in and removed the back seat of the car and removed the left and right fuel sensor and pump to have a look around. The "sucking jet pump" IS located inside the fuel tank and is connected to the left fuel sensor. The fuel return connects to the left fuel sensor and the fuel runs down through the sucking jet pump which creates a siphon that pulls fuel with it from the left side of the tank, over the hump, and down to the bottom of the right side of the tank where it mounts to the base next to the strainer of the right fuel pump/sensor.

So, up till now, it has made perfect sense that the sucking fuel pump must not be functioning properly because the fuel is not making it from the left side of the tank to the right side of the tank, so it seems like the thing to do would be to replace the sucking jet pump. BUT, I just ran across another person with the same problem who solved it in a different way (see this link: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=572062). Here is the quoted text from ssm1991 on E46fannatics:

"Had the same problem. The starvation starts at high rpm then progressively goes down to, at my worst point, even idling. FUEL PUMP was ready to give way...An indirect way of checking fuel pump performance is to look at the fuel levels of both tank lobes using the OBC Hidden Codes, option 6.0...Below half a tank, the left value should always be 000 or close to it after the engine runs a few minutes. There's a 'sucking jet pump' inside the fuel tank that transfers the gas from the left to the right via venturi action from the returning fuel. If the fuel flow wasn't strong, there won't be enough vacuum to make it work, so gas remains on the left. I lived with this problem for almost a year (engine dies at 1/4 tank), before the fuel starvation happened. When I changed the pump the 'sucking jet pump' did its work too."

So, this guy's theory is the siphon is not working because the main fuel pump is starting to fail and thus not pumping enough fuel through to the engine to have enough overflow coming back in the return fuel line to create the siphon.

This would make some sense with the other symptoms that have been popping up now: at higher rpm's my car stutters periodically (3 or 4 times a day) and also hesitates noticeably off the line. I always thought a fuel pump would just die and go bad all at once though... Does it really have such a gradual break down when it dies, that it would still pump fuel to reach the engine most of the time, but just less of it?

Another clue that it's the fuel pump - after i got done taking everything apart and putting it all back together (without replacing anything) the siphon worked for the rest of the tank, but the next fill up, it stopped working again. So somehow just messing around with it reset something temporarily.

I think I will go ahead and replace the right fuel pump. I'll report back the results.

This thread was helpful for removing the fuel pump and sensors:


http://http://forum.e46fanatics.com/...ight=fuel+pump
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2010, 11:42 PM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Ok, for anyone that's interested (anyone who's contemplated changing their fuel pump because they aren't getting enough power at higher rmps, or because your car is acting like you just ran out of gas, but your gauge says you have over a quarter tank left) - I was going to change my fuel pump thinking that would create higher pressure in the return fuel line so the sucking jet pump (siphon) would work to take the gas over to the right side of the tank. I decided first to change my fuel filter since it was only fifty bucks (verses a $250-330 fuel pump) and I have 80k miles on my car anyway, so it probably needs it.

So, after the fuel filter change (without changing the fuel pump) I have ALL my power back through the whole range of rpms! I think my car might be faster now than ever since I've had it (I bought it with 40K miles on it). Also, wha-la! My sucking jet pump is working!!! I think, anyway. I used the hidden OBC test #6 (see wiki for how to do this) to track my fuel level in each side, and now the left side' just got sucked completely dry and all the gas is in the right side (I had a little less than half a tank when I switched my fuel filter.

I'm going to fill my tank up all the way now to see if everything is working right. If the fuel filter solved the problem, the left side of the tank should always empty first.

If you change the fuel filter and the same symptoms persist afterward, then maybe you didn't change the filter soon enough and the pump is starting to burn out. If you are just starting to experience these symptoms above, hurry and change your fuel filter, and you might get lucky like me and not have to burn out your pump.

This is just strengthening my conviction more and more that the dealer is just full of crap. They say the fuel filter (along with your trani and differential fluid) are good for life. THAT's because they want your fuel pumps to burn out so you can experience their "Ultimate Service!!" and buy more parts, and/or have to keep coming in for a new car (it's actually really smart on their part). Do your maintenance the good old fashion way (Actually change your oil at 5k, change your fuel filter every 50k, change the trani and dif fluid regularly... CHANGE YOUR STEERING FLUID!!! (Steering fluid pumps seem to be going out a lot) and things won't keep braking!!!!!

I will report back after driving on this next tank to see if this was the final fix.
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:19 AM
Abuja_325i Abuja_325i is offline
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hi Tice03....pls can you tell me how to use the wiki to use the hidden obc test #6.....I kinda have the same problem my man
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:33 AM
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SchwarzeEwigkt SchwarzeEwigkt is offline
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You also might want to use the cluster test function (it's in the wiki too). Your fuel gauge might not be in the right range; mine read an 1/8 tank high all the time until I reset it. Running the cluster test moves all the needles from their zero point to their max point, so it'll show you where the gauge is calling empty and full.

It's tons of fun to watch, too.
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2010, 11:07 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Originally Posted by Abuja_528i View Post
hi Tice03....pls can you tell me how to use the wiki to use the hidden obc test #6.....I kinda have the same problem my man

Gladly, As mentioned above, it is found in the wiki, but it took me a few tries to figure out, so I'll try to describe it to you in a little more detail if that helps. Most of this you'll pick up on as you mess around with it. It's actually pretty fun.

While holding the trip reset button on your dashboard (left button) turn the ignition to the on position. The display should say "test in the upper left corner. When you see this, let go of the button and then just start pushing it (19 times) until the upper right corner of the display says 19. Stop (release) for a second and the upper left corner will alternate every couple seconds saying "on," then "off" back and forth. While it says "off," push the button for half a second and let go. If you did it right, the number in the upper right corner of the screen will reset to 0.0 (upper right hand corner... it might reset to 1.0.. can't remember) and it should still say "test" in the upper left corner of the display. You just unlocked the rest of the test functions (function 19 is unlock) now start pressing (tapping) the button until you get to the function number you want. If at any time you mess up, you can just keep tapping it and go around the cycle of tests, or you can turn the key off and try it all again. Messing around with all this doesn't do any harm. They're just tests. One of the functions is a reset though and I don't think I'd mess with that.

Fuel tank is function 6, see the interpretation and how to read it below:
6 Fuel Level sensor inputs in liters

* 6.0 109330+ Fuel level averaged; Left half sensor input=10.9 liters; Right sensor input=33.0 liters
* 6.1 0439+ Total tank level averaged; vlgs 6.0: 10.9+33.0=43.9 liters
* 6.2 0442+ Indicated value (44.2) and tank phase

I'm not really sure what indicated value means, but I've noticed that it's always a little higher than the "tank level average" (6.1), so I think it adds on whatever fuel is in the reserve tank. It's like the total fuel in the car.

Once you get to Function 6, or whatever function you want, just stop pushing the button and wait - the test (6.0) will automatically start and will just keep going until you turn the ignition off. As you tap the button, it will toggle through the tests from 6.0 to 6.1, then 6.2 then around again. If you want to get out of this test and select a different test press and hold the button for a second or two and then it starts blinking and allows you to tap through to the other tests.

One cool thing - once you are in any of these tests, you can just start your car up and drive around with them running. Doesn't hurt anything. I'm sure it was meant to be used that way in fact. Doing this helped me observe what was actually going on in my tank between fill-ups and has helped me conclude already that the fuel filter DID indeed fix the "suctioning jet pump" problem. No more dead on the side of the road with a 1/4 tank full of gas!

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:20 AM
Abuja_325i Abuja_325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tice03 View Post
Gladly, As mentioned above, it is found in the wiki, but it took me a few tries to figure out, so I'll try to describe it to you in a little more detail if that helps. Most of this you'll pick up on as you mess around with it. It's actually pretty fun.

While holding the trip reset button on your dashboard (left button) turn the ignition to the on position. The display should say "test in the upper left corner. When you see this, let go of the button and then just start pushing it (19 times) until the upper right corner of the display says 19. Stop (release) for a second and the upper left corner will alternate every couple seconds saying "on," then "off" back and forth. While it says "off," push the button for half a second and let go. If you did it right, the number in the upper right corner of the screen will reset to 0.0 (upper right hand corner... it might reset to 1.0.. can't remember) and it should still say "test" in the upper left corner of the display. You just unlocked the rest of the test functions (function 19 is unlock) now start pressing (tapping) the button until you get to the function number you want. If at any time you mess up, you can just keep tapping it and go around the cycle of tests, or you can turn the key off and try it all again. Messing around with all this doesn't do any harm. They're just tests. One of the functions is a reset though and I don't think I'd mess with that.

Fuel tank is function 6, see the interpretation and how to read it below:
6 Fuel Level sensor inputs in liters

* 6.0 109330+ Fuel level averaged; Left half sensor input=10.9 liters; Right sensor input=33.0 liters
* 6.1 0439+ Total tank level averaged; vlgs 6.0: 10.9+33.0=43.9 liters
* 6.2 0442+ Indicated value (44.2) and tank phase

I'm not really sure what indicated value means, but I've noticed that it's always a little higher than the "tank level average" (6.1), so I think it adds on whatever fuel is in the reserve tank. It's like the total fuel in the car.

Once you get to Function 6, or whatever function you want, just stop pushing the button and wait - the test (6.0) will automatically start and will just keep going until you turn the ignition off. As you tap the button, it will toggle through the tests from 6.0 to 6.1, then 6.2 then around again. If you want to get out of this test and select a different test press and hold the button for a second or two and then it starts blinking and allows you to tap through to the other tests.

One cool thing - once you are in any of these tests, you can just start your car up and drive around with them running. Doesn't hurt anything. I'm sure it was meant to be used that way in fact. Doing this helped me observe what was actually going on in my tank between fill-ups and has helped me conclude already that the fuel filter DID indeed fix the "suctioning jet pump" problem. No more dead on the side of the road with a 1/4 tank full of gas!

Hope this helps.
DONT wanna seem rude, but what if my trip reset button & as well as the time set button (right) r not working could it be a fuse or something????
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:32 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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A funny thing happened the other night while I was out on the town with my girlfriend and my sister and her boyfriend. On the way driving home (this was before I replaced the fuel filter) I hadn't been paying attention and the fuel level started getting down to quarter tank level. The car started choking and sputtering and I realized we were going to have to hike to get gas (i've had a gas can in my trunk lately... for some reason ) Earlier I had been showing off the little trick I learned with the OBC, and it happened to be running as we were running out of gas. Seeing all that gas in the left side of the tank gave me an idea. There was a median going down the middle of the highway, so I waited until we rolled up to the next intersection and then flipped a hard (sliding) U-turn. All the gas sloshed up over the hump and into the right side of the gas tank, the car stopped choking and took off and we were able to make it across town to the next gas station!!!

It sucks that my car has had this problem, but it was so hilarious that we were laughing about it the rest of the night, and happy to learn a new technique for not being stranded. Luckily, I'll never have to do that again now that things are fixed...(knock on wood)

Uhm.. after having shared that, I want to say - I do NOT encourage this. It's not safe! Please don't do it! (I'm not responsible for your actions! It was such a good idea though...)

Having messed around with this a little more, I've realized that is doesn't take "sliding" U-turn to get the gas to slosh over - just a normal U-turn with a little bit of momentum will do it, so be safe!
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:38 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Originally Posted by Abuja_528i View Post
DONT wanna seem rude, but what if my trip reset button & as well as the time set button (right) r not working could it be a fuse or something????
Hmmm.. I'm not sure about that one. I would just keep looking around on the other threads and see if anyone else has had that problem. You won't be able to play around with the OBC until that gets fixed.

What kinds of symptoms is your car having fuel wise? How many miles are on it? What year? I think regardless of exactly what's going on, if you've got over 50k miles on your car, I would start by replacing the fuel filter, because it needs to be done anyway to preserve your fuel pump.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:43 AM
Abuja_325i Abuja_325i is offline
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lolol........ai bet you got some tender love & care that night from your GF....lolololl.......
Thanks a bunch for sharing this experience. I think i'll not do an "evil knivle" stunt like you, rather I'll just try and make sure I don't let it go PAST the quarter mark, until I try all the options I have b4 me until this problem is solved....:-)))).....take care my man...
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:03 PM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Originally Posted by Abuja_528i View Post
lolol........ai bet you got some tender love & care that night from your GF....lolololl.......
Thanks a bunch for sharing this experience. I think i'll not do an "evil knivle" stunt like you, rather I'll just try and make sure I don't let it go PAST the quarter mark, until I try all the options I have b4 me until this problem is solved....:-)))).....take care my man...
lol - haha, she loved it Good idea - keep the gas filled up! One of the reasons I was leaving the gas at a lower level is I was planning on changing the fuel pump and wanted to minimize the fuel spillage in the back seat. Glad I don't have to do that yet now.

Hope you get it figured out. Keep searching the forums, there's a lot of similar experiences and one of them might be just your ticket.

Problem solving like this is so much more worth it than paying the dealer to figure it out. They wanted to just start throwing parts at it and were going to charge me a little over 1k to replace both fuel sensors and pump, the filter, and then see if that fixed it. It ended up being $50 and a little bit of problem solving time instead.

Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:14 PM
Bimmer4Pooh Bimmer4Pooh is offline
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Thumbs up Thanks!!! Tice03

Tice03,

Thank you so much for posting your gas tank problem and the resolution!!! I was about to get rid of my 2001 325ci after no auto shops were able to fix my gas tank problem (the same problem you had before). I gave it a try and asked the auto shop to replace my fuel filter and it WORKSSS!!!!! My car runs even better than before and I was able to use the ENTIRE tank of gas!!! Thank you soooo much!!!

Bimmer4Pooh
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:09 AM
SAResident SAResident is offline
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Strange you had to change your fuel filter so soon. I have 303000Km/189000Miles on the clock and have not yet replaced fuel filter, unless the dealer did so at some stage and did not bill me. We are told in S.A. that our fuel quality is sub-standard which I would think may be a cause of early filter deterioration, but yet I have good mileage on mine.
As for comments about changing oils and such like sooner than recommended, all you're doing is giving your money to others instead of the dealers. I use the recommended Castrol Magnetec and do servicing at the recommended manufacturers intervals of 25000Km. My motor is the 2.2Lt straight 6 (M54) with double-vanos and has been running well from the beginning.
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Old 11-02-2011, 04:20 PM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bimmer4Pooh View Post
Tice03,

Thank you so much for posting your gas tank problem and the resolution!!! I was about to get rid of my 2001 325ci after no auto shops were able to fix my gas tank problem (the same problem you had before). I gave it a try and asked the auto shop to replace my fuel filter and it WORKSSS!!!!! My car runs even better than before and I was able to use the ENTIRE tank of gas!!! Thank you soooo much!!!

Bimmer4Pooh
Can't tell you how much satisfaction it gives me to know that someone else benefited from this. It was so frustrating while it was all happening!! And it was such an easy fix in the end! Good luck with everything!
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Old 11-02-2011, 04:57 PM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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all you're doing is giving your money to others instead of the dealers.
I'm glad that you have been able to make your car last so long while settling for the dealer's schedule. Frankly there aren't many of us on this forum that subscribe to that practice. We've experienced differently, and that's why we're here. I can't help but think that your car would have lasted much longer if you had changed the fluids more regularly the first 100k miles. I didn't come up with this idea. I've heard it from many x-bmw mechanics. The engine inside is pretty gummed up after 100k if you only stick to the recommended maintenance schedule.

Plus, how much does the dealer charge for an oil change? I can use the recommended oil specs and do it myself for $30.00. I can do it three times as often and still pay far less than the dealer charges for one service. (I would also gladly give my money to somebody else rather than the dealer.)

The dealer tells you that the transmission fluid is good for life, yet mine started to gum up and it was very hard to shift around 80,000 miles. Once I changed the fluid, it was as smooth as butter. Would you just follow the dealer recommended maintenance schedule if your tranni was seizing up on you? In my case, it did start to seize, so I had to do some homework to figure out what to do next. All I'm saying, is the bmw dealers claims have not held true for me in any instance yet, so I recommend a little more preventative maintenance than they do.

Several BMW technicians that I have known would agree with you about them swapping things out sometimes without telling you. I'm not opposed to this. There are a lot of little adjustments and freebees that you don't know about when your car is under warranty and being serviced, but the problem with that is you are left not really knowing what it takes to keep your car running well, and when the warranty is up, time to pay. I obviously don't know why your fuel filter has lasted so long, assuming they have never changed it, but, if they really have never changed it, I'm would assume that you will get more power and throttle response if you decided to go ahead and do it. With mine, I didn't notice the power void (it was so gradual) until I changed the filter, and bam, it was like night and day.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:35 AM
SAResident SAResident is offline
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I agree it is always best to replace earlier rather than later when it comes to critical items as repair costs can be quite high after the damage is done. It's possible that I'm getting good mileage because I do mostly free-way driving, constant speeds up to 120 to 140 km/h and not so much of that stop-start town driving. Another factor could be the general climate temperature here that seldom gets to freezing and when it does it's for a few hours at a time. Could be the viscosity of the oil is affected by constant low temperatures, just a thought. In previous years not so long ago, we only had leaded fuels here and there used to be quite a build up of carbon residue and whatever else in the oil. I remember as a basic check I would put some oil from the dip-stick on my finger and rub it around and you could see it was quite contaminated. I would say we've had un-leaded fues here now for the past 15 years and my BM has been running only on it. When I do the oil on the finger check now, the oil does appear a lot cleaner. This could be one of the reasons our dealers recommend the longer intervals between changes. Also, these new synthetic oils of today are a lot better at not becoming all gooey as you say. Anyway glad your filter solved your problem.
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  #20  
Old 01-21-2012, 09:05 PM
ranamunna ranamunna is offline
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Location: Lahore, Pakistan
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: X5 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by tice03 View Post
Can't tell you how much satisfaction it gives me to know that someone else benefited from this. It was so frustrating while it was all happening!! And it was such an easy fix in the end! Good luck with everything!
Hi tice03,
Thanks for sharing all the problem and the solution to your problem in such detail.
I own a X5 2002. It's a Japanese model. I started having this problem about a year ago and have already spend more the 1000$ by taking it to serveral mechanics and replacing several parts including gauges but no luck. In fact, earlier the car use to stop at quarter tank and now it stops at half tank on gauge.
What in your experience must be causing this. If you don't mind helping me.
Thank you so much.
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  #21  
Old 01-22-2012, 02:08 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Location: Utah
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 98
Mein Auto: 2003 325i, M54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranamunna View Post
Hi tice03,
Thanks for sharing all the problem and the solution to your problem in such detail.
I own a X5 2002. It's a Japanese model. I started having this problem about a year ago and have already spend more the 1000$ by taking it to serveral mechanics and replacing several parts including gauges but no luck. In fact, earlier the car use to stop at quarter tank and now it stops at half tank on gauge.
What in your experience must be causing this. If you don't mind helping me.
Thank you so much.
I'm a beginner myself and mostly only have experience with my 325i, so all I can do is speculate a little with you about what the problem might be. Also, I don't know what types of differences we'll encounter with a Japanese model. What did you spend the $1,000 replacing? Have you replaced the fuel filter yet? What about the fuel pump?

After seeing a picture of the x5 fuel tank online, it looks like the fuel tank is divided in half more equally over the drive shaft than my 325i tank is, so it might make sense that you are loosing half your tank instead of a quarter, assuming you are having an issue similar to mine. It also appears that the x5 uses a sucking jet pump or siphon similar to the 3 series to deliver the fuel to the other side of the tank. It all looks the same from what can see, but I guess there's always the possibility that the x5 could have some unique issue that I don't know about it. If you have not replaced the fuel filter, I'm betting that is the problem, given that fuel is still reaching the engine when the tank is full. It should give you the other side of your tank back if you replace it. If you already replaced it and are still having the problem, I would say there's a chance your fuel pumps is going out or there's another clog somewhere decreasing the pressure in the return fuel line to make the siphon work. Normally when the fuel filter or fuel pump is the issue, you would very possibly experience less power in the upper range of your rpm's at the same time. Have you noticed this? Or any sputtering when you step on the gas pedal? You start with replacing the fuel filter not only because it is the most likely culprit, but also because it's the cheapest. Then the fuel pump. What has been done so far? Please report back and let us know what ends up fixing it.

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  #22  
Old 01-22-2012, 02:45 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Location: New York
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,347
Mein Auto: '04 330Ci 6-speed
Never saw this thread before, but just read it in its entirety. Interesting to see you come from the amateur on this issue to the expert.
Originally I would have told you to replace the two sending unit gaskets when you had both of them out for inspection, but I guess you did OK by reusing them as you've had no issues with leaks up to now.
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  #23  
Old 01-23-2012, 02:06 AM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Location: Utah
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 98
Mein Auto: 2003 325i, M54
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Never saw this thread before, but just read it in its entirety. Interesting to see you come from the amateur on this issue to the expert.
Originally I would have told you to replace the two sending unit gaskets when you had both of them out for inspection, but I guess you did OK by reusing them as you've had no issues with leaks up to now.
It really is amazing the things that you learn on these forums. I haven't really contributed to many of the other threads on this forum, because they were so well documented. For some reason there aren't a ton of people with this type of fuel tank problem. So i had to dig quite a bit. I just didn't trust paying the dealership to haphazardly start throwing parts at it with my money hard earned money, which is what they recommended.

I know I said I didn't replace anything when I took it apart the first time, but i think i just meant I didn't replace the pump or anything that would affect how my tank was functioning. I'm pretty sure I replaced the sender gaskets as I was following the DIY in the link I posted earlier on in this thread. I ordered several of them and i think I still have a couple left somewhere. They were only five bucks if I remember correctly. Honestly, I don't know if they really need to be replaced each time as long as they are still soft and rubbery. I took the senders out a couple more times after replacing the gaskets the first time, and i didn't replace it again those times. It's been fine. One of the times I reinstalled the fuel sender with a fold in the gasket on accident, and it was leaking all over the place. I had to wait for it to drain to a low enough level before i could open it again, and i think I did use the same gaskets that time as well, only installed correctly, and it has worked great.

I think you shouldn't reuse any metal gaskets though, like the VANOS gasket for instance. When you reinstall the VANOS unit, there is a ridge in the gasket that flattens as you tighten everything. If you have to go back in, it's best to have another gasket, imo.



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  #24  
Old 01-23-2012, 04:37 AM
n1k85 n1k85 is offline
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Location: Wolves, UK
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 2004 X5 3.0D
Tice03, Thanks for your advice on this thread!

I'm from UK and having the same problem as you, but with my 2004 BMW X5 3.0D (Same as ranamunna I guess?

When I bought my car back in December it had problem where as the fuel gauge would not go past half full, incorrectly telling me that I had 300+ miles left to go and half a tank of Diesel. I would think I had loads of fuel left, but then would get the "bing,bing,bing" sound and 'Fuel Injection System' fault followed by the engine stalling. (Because it actually had no fuel in it...)

I discovered that because it worked perfectly from Full->Half that the 'High Level' fuel sender unit was working ok, but the lower Fuel Sender Unit (with the float at the bottom) that does Half->Empty was not working correctly. I ordered a new one for £67 and fitted it myself.

Fitting the fuel sender was an easy job and over the next few days I noticed the needle had gone past the halfway mark (which it had never done before) and seemed to be working fine...

That was until a few days later when the needle reached the quarter tank mark and showed I had 159 miles left to go. Shortly after I got the "bing, bing, bing" 'Fuel Injection System' error again shortly followed by the engine stalling. Luckily I had a full can of Diesel in the boot, so filled it up and off I went.

Since then I've had the Fuel Sender out again and fiddled around with stuff here and there to try and get it working correctly. Unfortunately the only way I can really check this myself is to drive the car and see if it stalls or not...Which is not ideal. (Although I have my trusty full can in the boot)

I put £50 of Diesel in it last week and have watched the fuel range/distance remaining figure and fuel needle go down as they should, i thought maybe it was working now!

A few days ago I noticed the Fuel Guage was on a quarter and the Range/Distance remaining displaying 161miles. I watched the gauge like a hawk all the way down to 159miles (and taking the drive pretty easily) and sure enough a few miles later and I got "bing, bing, bing" 'Fuel Injection System'

So again I filled it up with the can and put another £50 in at a local station. I just now know that when my car shows a quarter of a tank (159 miles) it really means empty...

That was until I read your posts on this thread about the Fuel Filter. At this point i'm willing to give anything a go, so I've just ordered a new Fuel Filter and hopefully will get it fitted in the next couple of days.

I'll post the results up here and let you know if it solved my X5 fuel issue!

Thanks again for the help!

Nick
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  #25  
Old 01-23-2012, 08:03 PM
tice03 tice03 is offline
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Location: Utah
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 98
Mein Auto: 2003 325i, M54
Quote:
Originally Posted by n1k85 View Post

...That was until I read your posts on this thread about the Fuel Filter. At this point i'm willing to give anything a go, so I've just ordered a new Fuel Filter and hopefully will get it fitted in the next couple of days.

I'll post the results up here and let you know if it solved my X5 fuel issue!

Thanks again for the help!

Nick
I hope it works! I honestly don't know much of anything about x5's and especially not diesels. If you have the same set up with the sucking jet pump and all, it is worth a try!! And yes, please let us know the results.


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