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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 11-14-2019, 07:56 AM
McLarenBMW McLarenBMW is offline
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I live in Canada, we usually reach lows of -30C temps in the winter. We're getting -10C right now and I just got some strange behavior on start-up today, the car shook and the revs bounced around like it was misfiring for about 3 minutes. Revving the engine smoothed it out and it went away after 3 minutes. I would also like to add that I don't drive very often, sometimes my car sits outside for days untouched

Last edited by McLarenBMW; 11-14-2019 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:37 PM
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Do you keep your car outside? Or in garage?
M54 doesn't have specific problems in cold temperature, but should make sure your coolant can hold -30C, and good battery is needed also.

Some moisture in electrics or vacuum leak.. cold can increase effect of some small issues.

I have electric engine pre-heater, which helps start up in cold temperature, I'm not sure if you use those in Canada. But I'm running on Bioethanol fuel, so I need bit extra help for that. In coldest time I use normal gas, because ethanol can make starting problems when it's very cold (like below -20C).
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:57 AM
McLarenBMW McLarenBMW is offline
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Originally Posted by lgr122 View Post
Do you keep your car outside? Or in garage?
M54 doesn't have specific problems in cold temperature, but should make sure your coolant can hold -30C, and good battery is needed also.

Some moisture in electrics or vacuum leak.. cold can increase effect of some small issues.

I have electric engine pre-heater, which helps start up in cold temperature, I'm not sure if you use those in Canada. But I'm running on Bioethanol fuel, so I need bit extra help for that. In coldest time I use normal gas, because ethanol can make starting problems when it's very cold (like below -20C).
It's parked outside on the street and I only use 91 gas as recommended by BMW
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:02 AM
marcozandrini marcozandrini is offline
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Does the gas contain ethanol?
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:32 AM
McLarenBMW McLarenBMW is offline
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Does the gas contain ethanol?
Probably not, I don't think it would be sold in North America if it was bad in cold temps lol
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:53 AM
Fasil Baulty Fasil Baulty is offline
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Get a block heater!
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:55 AM
Fasil Baulty Fasil Baulty is offline
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And pay mind to what oil you use.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:34 PM
meinbills meinbills is offline
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And pay mind to what oil you use.
and use -40w-0 if your weather is that cold.
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Old 11-16-2019, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by McLarenBMW View Post
I live in Canada, we usually reach lows of -30C temps in the winter. We're getting -10C right now and I just got some strange behavior on start-up today, the car shook and the revs bounced around like it was misfiring for about 3 minutes. Revving the engine smoothed it out and it went away after 3 minutes. I would also like to add that I don't drive very often, sometimes my car sits outside for days untouched
Like someone mentioned a minor vacuum leak could have more pronounced symptoms when it gets colder.

I'm in Ontario and don't have a garage but depending on how cold it gets I can tell the vehicle works a little harder to start up and smooth out the idle.

Nothing out of the ordinary about that as all my cars have the same issues depending on how cold it is.

Do you know how many miles on the current plugs? Might be time for some fresh spark plugs
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:53 AM
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I live in Canada. Parking car outside on -30C doesn't caused by M54 330Ci to have any issue regardless using 84 with ethanol or higher grade without ethanol. Engine oil grade doesn't change this as well. So you are looking at wrong area.

I highly recommend owners to do preventive maintenance for car at this age, regardless of brand.

If you want me to take my best guess, it will be lower/upper intake boot leak, one of the vacuum hose broken, fuel pump, fuel filter+pressure regulator (330Ci is 2-in-1), old spark plug, spark plug coil pack, knock sensor.

Following are things that should throw CEL:
1. spark plug
2. spark plug coil pack
3. knock sensor
4. vacuum hose broken - if very big leak
5. MAF - when degraded a lot
6. CCV - crack and cause vacuum leak

Following won't throw CEL:
1. fuel pump - weak pump
2. fuel filter+pressure regulator - weak filter or regulator
3. vacuum hose broken - if small leak
4. MAF - at early stage of degradation
5. CCV - minor crack and minor vacuum leak

All of these can DIY but it is going to be messy in cold winter for job e.g. fuel filter, CCV, rear end knock sensor
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:43 PM
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lgr122 lgr122 is offline
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We can have -30C here in norther europe also, luckily not too many days per year though.

Little bit of ethanol in fuel is just good, because it prevent freezing moisture causing problems in fuel system.

In Finland our standard Gasoline includes 5-10% of ethanol and it doesn't cause problems summer or winter.

Our government strongly support less polluting fuels, so i have electronic device for making M54 run with 85%ethanol fuel. Summertime it runs without issues, winter time starting can be bit problem sometimes, but when engine is warm then it runs fine.

Anyway I didn't make permanent changes, so can still run with normal gas if necessary.

Generally I would think M54 doesn't have special problem because of cold weather. Same issues could come up with some other brand gasoline engine just as well. If you know how to prepare your car for cold weather, then you will be fine with this one as well.
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Last edited by lgr122; 12-08-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:40 AM
marcozandrini marcozandrini is offline
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The first step in diagnosing a problem is to scan the engine computer (DME) for codes. The Service Engine Soon light is on only when an emissions related code is present. Im betting you have a vacuum leak. Plastic and rubber shrink when they get cold.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:16 AM
SPDSKTR SPDSKTR is offline
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I'll be the one to say it...

-30C is -22F.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:19 AM
Fasil Baulty Fasil Baulty is offline
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Originally Posted by SPDSKTR View Post
I'll be the one to say it...

-30C is -22F.
All the kewl people measure in Kelvin, bro.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:42 AM
meinbills meinbills is offline
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Originally Posted by SPDSKTR View Post
I'll be the one to say it...

-30C is -22F.
Haha, thank you. I was thinking -40C = -40F so yeah, -30C must be somewhere way down south of 0F so I didn't bother to look up.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by SPDSKTR View Post
I'll be the one to say it...

-30C is -22F.
Which begs the question, why would anyone want to live where the temperature is that cold, especially when they cant even heel toe downshift......
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Last edited by smolck; 12-09-2019 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:10 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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As mentioned:

- Good tune-up (spark plugs NGK etc.). No vacuum leak.
- ICV cleaned (free fix).
- Gasoline from good gas station (not contaminated), add some Chevron injector cleaner.
- Yes oil type matters: synthetic allows you to start much better than conventional oil.
In extreme winter such as North Dakota, use 0W40 synthetic oil, you will appreciate it in January.
- Check battery age and condition. Carry jump cables, it is a fact of life...Marginal battery may be OK in July, but it will manifest itself in January in North Dakota LOL...
- Least expensive batter for E39 is Exide L5, about $120.
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:10 AM
McLarenBMW McLarenBMW is offline
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPDSKTR View Post
I'll be the one to say it...

-30C is -22F.
Which begs the question, why would anyone want to live where the temperature is that cold, especially when they cant even heel toe downshift......
Haha, I knew a guy like you was good at low blows. All your customers tell me you use too much teeth

Last edited by McLarenBMW; 12-10-2019 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:36 AM
SPDSKTR SPDSKTR is offline
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Which begs the question, why would anyone want to live where the temperature is that cold, especially when they cant even heel toe downshift......

Last edited by SPDSKTR; 12-10-2019 at 06:38 AM.
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  #20  
Old 12-10-2019, 11:07 AM
meinbills meinbills is offline
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Haha, I knew a guy like you was good at low blows. All your customers tell me you use too much teeth
Umm, I don't know what this supposes to mean ...
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  #21  
Old 12-10-2019, 11:09 AM
meinbills meinbills is offline
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Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
As mentioned:

- Good tune-up (spark plugs NGK etc.). No vacuum leak.
- ICV cleaned (free fix).
- Gasoline from good gas station (not contaminated), add some Chevron injector cleaner.
- Yes oil type matters: synthetic allows you to start much better than conventional oil.
In extreme winter such as North Dakota, use 0W40 synthetic oil, you will appreciate it in January.
- Check battery age and condition. Carry jump cables, it is a fact of life...Marginal battery may be OK in July, but it will manifest itself in January in North Dakota LOL...
- Least expensive batter for E39 is Exide L5, about $120.
So according to you, in summer when the weather is nice, we should be able to switch to 10w-40 or 15w-40? If so I have been doing it all wrong. I have been using 0w-40 year round.
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  #22  
Old 12-10-2019, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Which begs the question, why would anyone want to live where the temperature is that cold, especially when they cant even heel toe downshift......
Because no one else does, or few, all Scandinavians
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:25 PM
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lgr122 lgr122 is offline
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Originally Posted by meinbills View Post

So according to you, in summer when the weather is nice, we should be able to switch to 10w-40 or 15w-40? If so I have been doing it all wrong. I have been using 0w-40 year round.
It's not like you got to switch. If everything works fine then you can use same all year and be happy with it. But running 0W instead of 5W can help cold start a bit.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:34 PM
meinbills meinbills is offline
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Originally Posted by lgr122 View Post
It's not like you got to switch. If everything works fine then you can use same all year and be happy with it. But running 0W instead of 5W can help cold start a bit.
No doubt in cold weather, 0W is better than 5W. But my question is for warm weather, is there an advantage/disadvantage to use 0W instead of 10W? If there is no difference, then why not just use the lowest one possible year round, 0W-20 or 0W-30 or 0W-40 instead of 10W-30?
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by meinbills View Post
Umm, I don't know what this supposes to mean ...
Dont feed the trolls
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Last edited by smolck; 12-10-2019 at 08:42 PM.
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