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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 04-06-2012, 08:13 AM
JustRich JustRich is offline
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E36 96 catalytic fail?

Hey guys. So my cel popped up over the weekend that read p420 catalytic system below threshold bank 1. The guy I bought it from Supposebly put a new catalytic converter in last January. Then I bought it in April and cel came up saying the cat was bad. So I got if replaced. I then replaced the o2 sensor after the cat and no more cel. Fast forward to last weekend I got a cel... Amy thoughts?? Could it be a bad engine temp sensor not telling the computer to engine is hot enough? It smells as if running rich... I erased the cel i hate seeing it not being able to fix it


Also there's a weird vibrating noise coming from under the dash when in drive at stops.
Also it vibrates even if the ac/heater are on or off.




I don't know how to embed sorry...
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated guys

Last edited by JustRich; 04-06-2012 at 08:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2012, 04:03 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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first, if you got this last january, that was only a few months ago. i think yyou mean that you got it, what, back on jan 11??

then replaced the cat in april of 11??

because it's now april 12, and if all of this has transpired since jan of 12 then you have some serious issues with the car...


now. on to better things. why do you think it is running rich?? what do you actually smell?? why do you think that the engine temp sensor is not registering correctly??

what is your fuel economy?? how does it run?? any sluggishness (ok, it's a 318, granted...), but you know what i mean. does it bog down, hesitate, smoke, surge, or stumble?? i'd worry about these before vibrations. btw, that video was not that helpful...sorry. i'd see about getting someone to look under the car and see if they can locate the source of the vibration. not sure if you'll be able to, though, without putting it on a drive on lift.




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Old 04-06-2012, 05:19 PM
JustRich JustRich is offline
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Yeah sorry haha meant last year sorry sorry. No real symptoms I can think of other than the feint smell of gas from the exhaust? No black smoke just white at cold start up. I was just speculating on the engine temp sensor thinking maybe it's not giving the computer signal saying its hot so it asks for more fuel less air in a already hot cat wearing it out? As for fuel... On a full tank I can get it to 320 in city and highway. Or 32 highway and 24 city... Depends on the street lights an stop signs. It runs ok better than when I bought it I've put a few things it needed n cleaned up some parts. The only thing I can think of that it does is when I press the window roll down button or turn the wheel the rpms drop a bit and come back up. I thinking that's the iac valve. When I sit in the car it sounds like the source is under the dash. If I get out n have someone sit and put it in drive nothing outside changes from under the hood or under the car as far as I can see and hear..
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:08 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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well i would suggest cleaning the iac valve and throttle plate as a maintenance proceedure anyway. you will most likely notice improved idle quality and may even eliminate the vibration issue.

i would also suggest checking the freeze frame data on the code when/if it pops up next. pay attention and look for the fuel trim numbers.

raw fuel smell could indicate an evap leak, which should be able to be detected when the system does a self check. if it were related to a misfire, for you to be able to smell it your driveability would be horrible as well as a poor fuel economy would be apparent.

if it smells like sulphur (rotten eggs) then that is an indicator of running too rich, which could kill a cat very quickly. (they do not 'wear out' as there are no mechanical parts to get worn)


hope this helps.



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Old 04-13-2012, 09:19 AM
JustRich JustRich is offline
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K cleaned the valve though I believe I'll have to replace it eventually.. Just changed my spark plugs and it seems like my valve cover is leaking into them again. Had a mechanic put it on too...would oil all over 3 spark plugs lead down the chain of efficiency below threshold?
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