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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 convertible and E86 Z4 coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 02-16-2010, 03:42 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Z4 3.0si Strange Engine Behavior

Was driving my 3.0si home from work and noticed some strange behavior from the engine and throttle control. This has happened a couple times before, but it hasn't re-appeared for awhile.


Here's the symptoms:

1.) When at a stop, transmission in neutral, lightly revving the engine (2500 RPM) feels sluggish and the RPMs hang at the peak of the rev longer than usual, and the engine takes longer to slow down to idle.

2.) When returning to idle after 1.), the engine goes as low as 500 RPM for a second and feels and sounds a little rough, and then returns to idle around 700 or 800 RPM.

3.) When at a stop and idle, rapidly revving the engine by quickly pressing the gas pedal first produces a "pop" sound and then the engine revs up.

4.) Engine just sounds different when going wide open throttle on the highway. There's just something different about it.


I don't know if it has something to do with the throttle adaptation - I reset it a couple times in a row once I got home and haven't tried it again yet - or something else.

If it does what happened before, then I would expect that it will be fine again tomorrow.

Not sure what's going on. Hopefully you guys have some insight.


ScottyD
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2010, 04:21 PM
Huz-Z Huz-Z is offline
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Did you fill the car up with gas recently?

Has it snowed in your area? In my part of Canada, I've noticed that snow can blow into and sometimes fill the gas pump nozzles after a snow storm. If you are in an area that recently had a snow storm, you may have inadvertently put some water in your gas.

Just a wild guess!

If the problem goes away at the next fill up, we'll find out if I was right. Just check that the gas pump's nozzle is clear before you fill up.

Huzz
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  #3  
Old 02-16-2010, 04:48 PM
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The HACK The HACK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyD View Post
Was driving my 3.0si home from work and noticed some strange behavior from the engine and throttle control. This has happened a couple times before, but it hasn't re-appeared for awhile.


Here's the symptoms:

1.) When at a stop, transmission in neutral, lightly revving the engine (2500 RPM) feels sluggish and the RPMs hang at the peak of the rev longer than usual, and the engine takes longer to slow down to idle.

2.) When returning to idle after 1.), the engine goes as low as 500 RPM for a second and feels and sounds a little rough, and then returns to idle around 700 or 800 RPM.

3.) When at a stop and idle, rapidly revving the engine by quickly pressing the gas pedal first produces a "pop" sound and then the engine revs up.

4.) Engine just sounds different when going wide open throttle on the highway. There's just something different about it.


I don't know if it has something to do with the throttle adaptation - I reset it a couple times in a row once I got home and haven't tried it again yet - or something else.

If it does what happened before, then I would expect that it will be fine again tomorrow.

Not sure what's going on. Hopefully you guys have some insight.


ScottyD
I'm pretty sure 1) is for emission reasons. The RPM hangs to burn off excess fuel in the event of a free-revving engine. Without the RPM "hang" un-burnt fuel will exit as hydro-carbon. Especially when the engine is not loaded the hang is more prevalent. I'm also pretty sure 2) is also related, for emissions reasons the injectors are shut off and the engine management only gives enough "throttle opening" to prevent the engine from stalling once the RPM drops free of load.

3) is pure speculation, but since the Si engine does not have throttle butterflies but rely solely on valve opening and lift for throttle control, the pop could potentially be related to valvetronic. Just a wild @ss guess.

4) Could be psychosomatic. I know when I got my Subaru, every single noise would send me to NASIOC asking questions, thinking there's something wrong...Only to be assured by the masses that "it's normal. All Subarus make a ton of weird noises. It's part of the charm."
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  #4  
Old 02-16-2010, 08:39 PM
RufusKing RufusKing is offline
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it could be a timing issue as well. but likely computer controlled. I like the previous answers better.
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2010, 05:46 AM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Quote:
Did you fill the car up with gas recently?

Has it snowed in your area? In my part of Canada, I've noticed that snow can blow into and sometimes fill the gas pump nozzles after a snow storm. If you are in an area that recently had a snow storm, you may have inadvertently put some water in your gas.

Just a wild guess!

If the problem goes away at the next fill up, we'll find out if I was right. Just check that the gas pump's nozzle is clear before you fill up.
You know, I also thought it could be water in the gas. I'm inclined to think it's something else though since as I expected, the engine felt fine again this morning, and it wasn't doing any of these strange things again. I don't think water in the gas is an intermittent problem - you would probably have more constant problems until you burn through the bad stuff or put in a bottle of dry gas - right?...

Quote:
I'm pretty sure 1) is for emission reasons. The RPM hangs to burn off excess fuel in the event of a free-revving engine. Without the RPM "hang" un-burnt fuel will exit as hydro-carbon. Especially when the engine is not loaded the hang is more prevalent. I'm also pretty sure 2) is also related, for emissions reasons the injectors are shut off and the engine management only gives enough "throttle opening" to prevent the engine from stalling once the RPM drops free of load.

3) is pure speculation, but since the Si engine does not have throttle butterflies but rely solely on valve opening and lift for throttle control, the pop could potentially be related to valvetronic. Just a wild @ss guess.

4) Could be psychosomatic. I know when I got my Subaru, every single noise would send me to NASIOC asking questions, thinking there's something wrong...Only to be assured by the masses that "it's normal. All Subarus make a ton of weird noises. It's part of the charm."
I would agree that I am possibly just thinking the behavior is different, when its actually the same.

But, I would also say that from one day to the next, I can tell that something is different. 1.) and 2.) don't always do that, and 3.) definitely doesn't always do that. 4.) is more of my perception, and it's possible it is because I'm listening more carefully - but it still sounds different to me.

None of the symptoms were there this morning. That's the odd part. They will come up again in another week on my drive to or from work and go away again for another week or so.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2010, 09:17 AM
Huz-Z Huz-Z is offline
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Is this a recent problem, or have you been finding it on an intermittent basis for a period of time now?



I don't know whether water will dissolve in gasoline, but if not, you will get water "slugging" into the engine and maybe that is causing the problem. If you look here:

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/de...ity-d_290.html

You will see that water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot while gas weighs 42.5 pounds per cubic foot. I expect that the gas line from the car's gas tank draws from low in the tank. And, as water is heavier than gas, if its not dissolved, it will soon settle to the bottom of the tank and you will get the water slugging into the engine after the tank is filled with water-conatminated gas. Once you have run all the water that is low in the tank through the engine, the car will run fine - until you fill up again with more water contaminated gas.

I'm hoping it does turn out to be bad gas (water) as that can be rectified by switching to a reliable high quality gas station. Hey - why not try that for a few weeks - just for laughs - and see if the problem persists?

Good luck!!!!

Huzz

Last edited by Huz-Z; 02-17-2010 at 09:26 AM.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2010, 09:25 AM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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It happened a couple times back in January, and I thought back then it was probably water in the gas. That was the first I noticed it though.

The Shell (I always get V-power) station I normally went to did have some construction going on, so I did switch to another Shell for the latest fill-up, and yesterday was the first occurrence of it happening again on this new fill up.

The car had been sitting inside my garage (tank 95% full) for almost a full week with the winter storms we had here in DC lately. I don't remember if the car was sitting for awhile before the occurrences back in January or not.

Maybe it's worthwhile to try the Chevron across from the Shell (gotta go top-tier you know...).
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  #8  
Old 02-17-2010, 09:39 AM
Huz-Z Huz-Z is offline
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It may be an idea to try switching brands. The local Shell stations are likely all getting their gas from the same source and the water (if that is indeed the problem) may be getting in there, rather than at the individual Shell stations.

Cheers!

Huzz
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2010, 11:01 AM
Jermy1304 Jermy1304 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huz-Z View Post
It may be an idea to try switching brands. The local Shell stations are likely all getting their gas from the same source and the water (if that is indeed the problem) may be getting in there, rather than at the individual Shell stations.

Cheers!

Huzz
I used to fill up at Valero with Premium and had low range RPM problems. It would almost stall when i started it and not run efficiently. I switched to Chevron(with Techron) and all has been well since. Took about 2 tanks of gas and one extra bottle of Techron to clean it out. Do as recommended and switch up gas stations to a different one( try to use Shell or Chevron) and see if your problem improves.
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2010, 01:09 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Yeah, I'll try another brand for the next fill-up and see what happens.

Last edited by scottyD; 02-26-2010 at 05:57 PM.
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  #11  
Old 02-26-2010, 05:57 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Filled up with another brand at another station, and was fine for a couple days...and today the symptoms came back, so it probably has nothing to do with the gasoline.

I was stopped at a red light for a minute and I shut the engine off and let it set for 20 or 30 seconds and after I started it back up again, it seemed fine again.

Very strange.

One of the other symptoms I would add to the original post would be shifting is more clumsy. The engine doesn't match up to the transmission like it normally does, and there's a slight but noticable jerk as the clutch is let out and the drivetrain syncs-up. The revs seem to drop more quickly than normal when under load - which is different than the revs hanging when revving at a stop.

Last edited by scottyD; 02-26-2010 at 06:02 PM.
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  #12  
Old 02-26-2010, 08:48 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Was doing some searching and found this...

SI B 11 05 05
Engine March 2009
Technical Service

This Service Information bulletin supersedes SI B11 05 05 dated December 2006.

SUBJECT
N52 Engine Runs Poorly with Camshaft Sensor and VANOS Faults


MODEL
E90 (3 Series), E60 (5 Series) with N52 engine produced from 3/2005 through 6/2006

E90, E91 and E92 (3 Series) with N52KP and N54 engines from 7/2006 production

E85 and E86 (Z4) with N52 from 1/2006 production

E83 (X3) with N52 from 9/2006 production


SITUATION
Vehicles equipped with the N52, N52KP and N54 engines may be difficult to start, run rough and have the "Service Engine Soon" lamp illuminated.

Any of the following camshaft sensor or VANOS faults, as well as various misfire faults, may be stored in the DME fault memory:

2A9A Cam sensor, inlet signal signal invalid for synchronization

2A98 Crankshaft-inlet camshaft, correlation - Value outside reference range

2A82 VANOS intake - stiff, jammed mechanically

2A9B Cam sensor, exhaust signal signal invalid for synchronization

2A99 Crankshaft - exhaust camshaft, correlation - Value outside reference range

2A87 VANOS exhaust - stiff, jammed mechanically

CAUSE
The VANOS solenoid valve is jammed or sticking.

CORRECTION
Perform the diagnosis and repair procedure as described below.

PROCEDURE
E90 (3 Series)and E60 (5 Series) with N52 only:

Remove the VANOS solenoid, intake or exhaust, depending on the fault codes stored and, using shop air, gently blow out any visible particles and reinstall.

It is no longer necessary to replace the VANOS solenoid on the N52 engine.

Reprogram the vehicle using CIP17.01 (Target data Status E89x-05-06-510) or higher for the E90, and Target data Status E060-05-06-500 or higher for the E60.

The modified MSV70 DME data contains additional VANOS solenoid activation logic to flush out any foreign particles.

E90, E91 and E92 (3 Series) with N52KP and N54 engine and E83, E85, E86 with the N52 engine only:

Swap the faulted VANOS solenoid with the opposing solenoid to verify whether the fault follows to the opposing location. If the fault follows, replace the VANOS solenoid.

Part Number Description Quantity
11 36 7 516 293 VANOS Solenoid 1
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2011, 11:07 AM
pingpong pingpong is offline
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I'm having the exact same problems with my 3.0si. My warrant expires at the end of the month, so it's definitely something I want to get the dealer to fix before then. Any updates on your end?
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:12 PM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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Not really. It got worse this winter and it started acting up a lot more. I got code P1554 thrown a couple times which didn't really tell me anything.

I took the intake VANOS solenoid out and cleaned it up, and the engine seems to be running alright now. We'll see if that continues. I didn't touch the exhaust solenoid. The solenoids are $100 each so I tried cleaning first before having to buy new ones.

If you're under warranty then take to the dealership and they should replace the solenoids if you reference that service bulletin.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:23 AM
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scottyD scottyD is offline
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I wanted to close the loop on this in case someone else has similar problems.

I continued to have the engine noise, idle issues, and shifting sluggishness that I previously posted, however the frequency of occurrence increased to daily or every other day. Fuel economy was also very poor when the problems were present. Colder weather was really the only time I had these issues - never over the summer. Cycling the engine off and on again would almost always fix the problem instantly - if not, 2 cycles would do the trick. I started to get the service engine soon light about once a month and code P1554. My searches on other N52 engine forums and BMW SIB 11 05 05 led me to suspect the VANOS solenoids.

Over the thanksgiving holiday weekend I replaced both intake and exhaust VANOS solenoids (2X 11367585425) and the screws used to fasten them to the engine (2X 07119904094). I changed the oil at the same time. I am at 70k miles currently. The used solenoids that came out looked fine, although they did have some small amounts of dust/debris that appeared to get past the o-ring seal at the front of the engine.

Since replacing the solenoids, the engine feels smoother and I have not had any recurrence of the problems I had immediately before the replacement. I am convinced that the VANOS solenoids were the problem. It seems that many others out there with the N52 have had similar results. I would suggest replacing both since if you're already replacing one (if only one is bad), you might as well replace both since the second one may not have much life left either.

I ordered the solenoids, screws, oil, and filter from ECS Tuning as the solenoids were at the lowest price I could find online ($97.23 each), and the whole package was cheaper shipped to me from ECS Tuning than picking up locally at Tischer here in MD. Tischer had the solenoids around $103.22 each, and it irritates me that they charge $2.00 just for local pickup as well as sales tax since I am (unfortunately) a MD resident. Amazing that shipped from Ohio was cheaper than picking up a few miles down the road.

As I mentioned I changed the oil at the same time, and I replaced the solenoids while the oil was draining. I removed the plastic engine cover and the plastic cover panel above the radiator to give me a little more access. One screw holds each solenoid in place. The electrical connectors are easily disconnected (squeeze in at the metal clip and pull connector out), and I would advise doing only one at a time to avoid a mix-up between the intake and exhaust. When pulling the used solenoids out be sure to have a rag underneath since a small amount of oil drips out and can land directly on the serpentine belt. They can require a moderate amount of force to remove. Be sure to get the old rubber o-ring as well as plastic collar from each solenoid before putting the new ones in. I cleaned the o-ring sealing area on the engine with a rag, and then used fresh engine oil to lube the new o-ring and installed that first. I lubed the new solenoid inside and out with fresh engine oil and installed, which can also require a moderate amount of force to do. Not sure if there was a torque spec for the screw, so I just did a bit more than hand tight. That should be it. Took me about an hour since I was taking my time and being careful.

I hope that helps someone else down the road avoid a costly repair bill at the dealership.
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