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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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 06-25-2013, 10:48 AM
Skam Skam is offline
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Mein Auto: 318i E46 2.0L 2003
Stall and won't start problem

I own a BMW 318i E46 2.0L 2003 saloon RHD and it has been fine until yesterday..

I was driving along when all of a sudden the revs dipped to zero then back up again suddenly, as if it very nearly stalled but just caught itself. The battery light flashed whilst this happened. This occurred in the space of a second. I thought it was strange but carried on driving...

About 2 minutes later, whilst driving in third, giving the car some gas and reaching around 2-3k rpm the car stalled! I pulled over and tried to start it up again, it cranked forever but with no luck. The only warning light on the dash was the traction control light, which by the way was switched OFF when this happened (indicated by an orange exclamation mark in a round arrow in the middle of the dash).

Anyway after multiple tries the car started and then after a couple of seconds cut out. Tried one more time and it started, left it to run for five minutes, cut out. Started again, left it to run for 5, stayed running but with traction control light on and could not turn it off. Managed to turn the car around and drive it home!

Initially I thought it was a power/electrical related problem after seeing the battery light flash up and after just recently installing an 800w amplifier (which I disconnected after breaking down to see if it was the culprit).

Had the battery tested, no problems there. Had a mechanic advise me it was ignition or fuel related, maybe sensor somewhere, and nothing to do with battery or alternator as the car cranks and runs, but didn't have diagnostic equip to test/read fault codes.

Went out in it today and exactly the same thing happened, although this time I got the traction control and an orange handbrake light at the same time.

If I go out and start the car now it will start and run fine, no lights nothing. It's happening when I'm driving.

Just wondering if anyone has experienced this and could give me a heads up on what it could be! It would be much appreciated!

I'm now on the search for someone with a diagnostic computer, as I'm skint and can't afford to pay the garage this week!
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2013, 10:56 AM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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How old is your battery?. And if you installed an aftermarket system without a capacitor and fuse you may have fried your ECU. But let's not jump to the ECU part yet. How old is the battery?. Make sure your battery connection is tight in the trunk and up front in the engine bay on both the negative and positive terminal. If it isn't this will also cause the car to die.
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2013, 11:13 AM
Skam Skam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalibuMafiaV View Post
How old is your battery?. And if you installed an aftermarket system without a capacitor and fuse you may have fried your ECU. But let's not jump to the ECU part yet. How old is the battery?. Make sure your battery connection is tight in the trunk and up front in the engine bay on both the negative and positive terminal. If it isn't this will also cause the car to die.
Thanks for your reply!

I initially was convinced it was the battery as it is 10 years old! (original BMW).

The battery is due a replacement but I feel this is not the cause. I have had it tested, results were 85% charged and good health. (I'm now trying to save every penny in case it's a much more serious problem, buying a new battery may do nothing!)

The amp has been fitted with correct rated fuse and cable (I'm an electrician by trade and am 100% sure it has been fitted correctly). I will check all connections to make sure they are not loose/corroded but all seemed well when fitting the amp; I remember checking this, understanding the importance of a good electrical connection in a car, especially ground connections.

A lack of power to the ECU would not fry it, a cap would only help the battery when the volume is up high, but as I say this fault is happening when the amp is disconnected completely!

Last edited by Skam; 06-25-2013 at 11:15 AM.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2013, 01:26 PM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skam View Post
Thanks for your reply!

I initially was convinced it was the battery as it is 10 years old! (original BMW).

The battery is due a replacement but I feel this is not the cause. I have had it tested, results were 85% charged and good health. (I'm now trying to save every penny in case it's a much more serious problem, buying a new battery may do nothing!)

The amp has been fitted with correct rated fuse and cable (I'm an electrician by trade and am 100% sure it has been fitted correctly). I will check all connections to make sure they are not loose/corroded but all seemed well when fitting the amp; I remember checking this, understanding the importance of a good electrical connection in a car, especially ground connections.

A lack of power to the ECU would not fry it, a cap would only help the battery when the volume is up high, but as I say this fault is happening when the amp is disconnected completely!
I still think it's your battery regardless of the tests you've had. 10 year old? definitely your battery man lol. Battery is cheap and you need a replacement anyways. I would start with that.
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2013, 01:43 PM
Skam Skam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalibuMafiaV View Post
I still think it's your battery regardless of the tests you've had. 10 year old? definitely your battery man lol. Battery is cheap and you need a replacement anyways. I would start with that.
Really, regardless of the test? Ah f*** I have just booked it into mechanics for tomorrow morning and he thinks its ignition/fuel related. He convinced me that if it was the battery (or alternator) the car would not start or run like it was when I was speaking to him. The thing is, I can go outside now, start the car and drive with no problem but give it 15 mins and it will cut out.

Another suggestion someone made was that the fuel pump or filter could be clogged as I'm running it on low fuel at the moment and its drinking from the bottom of the tank? Is that a logical theory?
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  #6  
Old 06-25-2013, 01:47 PM
excaliber excaliber is offline
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Let me know what it turns out to be, I have similar issues with mine.
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2013, 01:49 PM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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If it's the fuel pump it's either bad or not just like a light bulb. And I've honestly never seen a fuel filter clogged. A bad battery makes all sorts of things go bad in our cars and most of it is unexplained. A lot of people come on the forums here with odd issues and we always ask how old the battery is. Usually if some one says 5 years old we tell them change the battery and guess what? it resolves there problem. In your case the battery being 10 years old? you need to change it anyway and it's a cheaper place to start. And if it is your problem? awesome you just fixed it with a new battery you needed anyways.

Have the mechanic test your fuel pressure if your taking it and you'll know right away if it's that or not. But as I said it's like a light bulb, it's either good or bad no in between.
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2013, 02:17 PM
Skam Skam is offline
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Thanks for your help, I'm on your side with the battery subject but will see what the outcome is tomorrow. Will keep you all informed!
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:22 PM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skam View Post
Thanks for your reply!

I initially was convinced it was the battery as it is 10 years old! (original BMW).

The battery is due a replacement but I feel this is not the cause. I have had it tested, results were 85% charged and good health. (I'm now trying to save every penny in case it's a much more serious problem, buying a new battery may do nothing!)
Nothing but take out a still possible culprit and replace something you need to replace anyway. Beyond 10 years is quite rare - I got 9 from mine. I've heard many stories of batteries "testing" good, but still being the problem and a new one takes care of it.

I'll also have to disagree with my buddy Malibu on the fuel pump being like a light bulb bad or not. I've heard of a lot of soft failures..... they still go completely out before long, but sometimes they drag it out for a while.
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2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD

Last edited by ahull; 06-25-2013 at 04:29 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2013, 09:22 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Replace the battery no matter what.
I suspect fuel pump. They do soft fail.

Take a look at the method for 'no start' in the attached.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf No Start Tests.pdf (526.2 KB, 184 views)
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  #11  
Old 06-26-2013, 01:45 AM
Skam Skam is offline
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Just dropped the car off at the garage, luckily without breaking down on the way. He's going to diagnose and give me a call this afternoon. I'm very curious to know the outcome! I hear fuel pumps are expensive? Not that I don't want to spend money on the car, it's just the car picked the worst week to break down as I'm a very broke guy at the moment!

GoForthFast Thanks for the pdf. Very handy to have!

Will also get battery replaced, regardless.

Thanks everyone!
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  #12  
Old 06-26-2013, 05:31 AM
Skam Skam is offline
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Just got off the phone with the mechanic, he said there was a whole bunch of codes on there, the main one being camshaft sensor. He's going to supply and replace for 120 and he reckons some of the other codes will go away once it's replaced. I'm then to take it out for a test drive and if all is well, check codes again and deal with remaining codes if necessary...
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2013, 06:32 AM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skam View Post
Just got off the phone with the mechanic, he said there was a whole bunch of codes on there, the main one being camshaft sensor. He's going to supply and replace for 120 and he reckons some of the other codes will go away once it's replaced. I'm then to take it out for a test drive and if all is well, check codes again and deal with remaining codes if necessary...
Camshaft sensor also gives your symptoms so this sounds like a step in the right direction. You'd still be wise to do the battery and have a fuel pump handy.
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DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD
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  #14  
Old 06-26-2013, 07:59 AM
Skam Skam is offline
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Originally Posted by ahull View Post
Camshaft sensor also gives your symptoms so this sounds like a step in the right direction. You'd still be wise to do the battery and have a fuel pump handy.
That's good to know.

Mechanic just called and said he won't have the car finished now until tomorrow as he had to remove intake manifold to access the sensor, and will need to replace gasket before re-installing manifold. Does anyone know if there's two camshaft sensors in my N42 engine?

Next step is a new Bosch S5 battery, it's expensive but will hopefully help my new amp and sub out.

Then its getting oil change, oil air and pollen filter change and spark plug upgrade (NGK IridiumIX BKR6EIX).

Anyway, hopefully will have the car back tomorrow, will let you know how it goes.
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  #15  
Old 06-26-2013, 10:56 AM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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^^
As far as I know all E46s had two cam sensors. Exhaust side and intake side.
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BMW 2006 M3 - stock - SOLD
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  #16  
Old 06-26-2013, 03:34 PM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalibuMafiaV View Post
^^
As far as I know all E46s had two cam sensors. Exhaust side and intake side.
I don't know for sure about the 4-bangers, but would think they'd have two as well so this is most likely true.
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2003 330i TiAg Sport Pkg ~90k miles
DIY MODS: AA Stage I supercharger, Meyle HD FCAs w Powerflex CABs, Bilstein shocks, Meyle HD Rtabs, Angel Eyes, Clear Corners/Markers w/ LEDs, LED tails, ZHP rims, Akebono pads, AUX input
DIY E46 Merit Badges: Sunroof resurrection, CCV, OFHG, VCG w/ VANOS seals, DISA, Cooling Refresh I, steering giubo, window regs, Magnetic Infandibulator (see wiki)
DIY On deck: Rear Diff bushing. UUC SSK, clutch job eventually, Wavetrac LSD
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  #17  
Old 06-30-2013, 04:21 PM
Skam Skam is offline
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Cars been fine since the cam sensor change, not quite sure if he did one or both but the car is working fine. Thanks for the help
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