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E89 Z4 (2009 - current)

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Old 06-04-2019, 05:15 AM
NCRob777 NCRob777 is offline
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A disappointingly eventful first drive after purchase

Good morning, everyone. Had been looking for a roughly 2011-2012 Z4 for about 3 months. Had a specific set of exterior and interior colors I wanted. Found one in a dealer outside of Chicago. 1-owner car, clean history, California car, all scheduled maintenance performed at BMW dealer. I live in central NC - 850 miles away. Flew up this past Friday, bought car, and embarked on my trip back home.

60 miles outside of selling dealer, the car threw a check engine light and lost most of its power (felt like a limp home mode). Pulled off road, stopped car, restarted, cleared the light, power was restored. Went to Auto Zone, borrowed a reader -- P0306 - misfire on cylinder 6. Took to BMW dealer where they diagnosed it to a bad turbo wastegate actuator. Spent the night waiting for the part, part installed Saturday morning, on my way. 100 miles later, same issue.

I noticed this was introduced only under load -- even moderate. I had been driving the car pretty gently. Accelerating very slowly would keep the problem from happening. Speed didn't matter. Back off the highway, Auto Zone, same code.

Had been in touch with selling dealer who was fully supportive and said he'd pay for everything including hotel. Said he sees this on BMWs and is usually a spark plug or coil. This Auto Zone had coils so I bought a new one and installed. Nobody local had spark plugs.

Was able to reproduce the problem shortly after setting sail again so coil wasn't the issue. But throughout all of this, now that I understood what caused the problem, I knew how to drive to keep it from happening. Drove rest of the way home very gingerly and arrived home without further issue.

My own research showed spark plugs is common. Sunday morning I pulled all plugs. 1-4 were fine. 5 had a lot of carbon build-up. 6 had only slightly less than 5 but also a lot of carbon build-up. After replacing all 6 spark plugs I took the Z for a drive and drove it like I stole it. No hiccups, stumbles, or anything. Car pulled hard and without issue.

Any feedback on how typical this is? I also notice a small off-idle hesitation if I've been sitting at a light. An occasional rpm fluctuation if sitting as well. Like a quick dip and then back up.

Should the above be cause for alarm...or is this a well known issue that is just typical for these engines?

Thanks and sorry for the long post.
Rob
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2019, 06:27 AM
jparnes1 jparnes1 is offline
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A disappointingly eventful first drive after purchase

Spark plug threads werenít wet, just carbonized? I experienced this, but my symptoms were less severe. Try this: run your car, turn off the engine and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Pull the #5 and 6 plugs and smell the tip. If it smells like gas, you have a leaky injector, which could cause the problem you had once the plug gets fouled up enough. I have a 2012 and that year and prior have the < index 12 injectors which are known to fail. Theyíre expensive so if the deal pays for the repair youíre good. If not it an easy diy if you have a scanner to code the new injectors.


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2012 Z4 35i, ED 2/24/12, Melbourne Red Metallic, Black leather, 6 MT, ///M Sport, Premium Package, Premium Sound Package, Cold Weather Package, Nav, Comfort Access, LED Angel Eyes, BMWPedals pedal covers, stubby antenna, Luxon strut bar, CF engine cover, LCI side marker, powder coated calipers, Extra Enjoyment Package
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:05 AM
NCRob777 NCRob777 is offline
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Originally Posted by jparnes1 View Post
Spark plug threads werenít wet, just carbonized? I experienced this, but my symptoms were less severe. Try this: run your car, turn off the engine and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Pull the #5 and 6 plugs and smell the tip. If it smells like gas, you have a leaky injector, which could cause the problem you had once the plug gets fouled up enough. I have a 2012 and that year and prior have the < index 12 injectors which are known to fail. Theyíre expensive so if the deal pays for the repair youíre good. If not it an easy diy if you have a scanner to code the new injectors.


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Thanks for the reply. There was no "wetness" (oil or gasoline) on the pugs. They were dry -- just full of carbon.

The one with more carbon is #5 and with less carbon is #6. Both electrodes have a coating of carbon on them. The other 4 plugs look like you'd expect from healthy plugs.
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:52 AM
Mikey48 Mikey48 is offline
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Hey NCRob777, My Z4 35is did the same thing as yours. Mine started to stumble one day and the next it went down hill quick. The car started to skip so bad it scared me. On my way home from work it threw a check engine light. I got home and pulled the codes. Misfire cylinder 1. I knew it was a bad plug. Went to BMW Dealership parts dept and bought a fresh set of plugs. Installed them and she ran like new ! That was at 36,000 miles . I'm at 51,000 now and still running great. I read my owners manual and it states that the car will need plugs at 45,000 miles. It also says if you do a lot of city driving you will need plugs sooner. These are high performance cars and need to be driven a little hard every now and then to keep them running good. Enjoy your new ride ! I love my Z4 the car is Awesome !
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:06 PM
NCRob777 NCRob777 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mikey48 View Post
Hey NCRob777, My Z4 35is did the same thing as yours. Mine started to stumble one day and the next it went down hill quick. The car started to skip so bad it scared me. On my way home from work it threw a check engine light. I got home and pulled the codes. Misfire cylinder 1. I knew it was a bad plug. Went to BMW Dealership parts dept and bought a fresh set of plugs. Installed them and she ran like new ! That was at 36,000 miles . I'm at 51,000 now and still running great. I read my owners manual and it states that the car will need plugs at 45,000 miles. It also says if you do a lot of city driving you will need plugs sooner. These are high performance cars and need to be driven a little hard every now and then to keep them running good. Enjoy your new ride ! I love my Z4 the car is Awesome !
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and reply, Mikey48. That's actually reassuring. I was trying to reconcile this - coil(s) starting to go, not making a clean spark, and causing fouling, injectors dirty or staring to fail, etc. Not sure why 2 plugs would foul and not others and if replacing plugs fixes the symptom, but not the problem. I will drive the car for several hundred miles and then pull the plugs and see what they look like and go from there. Thanks again. -Rob
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:43 PM
jparnes1 jparnes1 is offline
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Coils typically last a very long time, so itís likely something else. So do this if your code returns after new plugs: swap coils from the misfiring cylinder(s) with a good cylinder coil. If the code stays at the original cylinder, itís either the plug or injector. If your new plug looks like crap, itís the injector for sure.


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2016 340i XDrive, Estoril Blue / Black, 6 MT, M Sport, Track, Lighting, Technology, Driver Assistance Plus, Cold Weather.

2012 Z4 35i, ED 2/24/12, Melbourne Red Metallic, Black leather, 6 MT, ///M Sport, Premium Package, Premium Sound Package, Cold Weather Package, Nav, Comfort Access, LED Angel Eyes, BMWPedals pedal covers, stubby antenna, Luxon strut bar, CF engine cover, LCI side marker, powder coated calipers, Extra Enjoyment Package
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:04 PM
NCRob777 NCRob777 is offline
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Originally Posted by jparnes1 View Post
Coils typically last a very long time, so it's likely something else. So do this if your code returns after new plugs: swap coils from the misfiring cylinder(s) with a good cylinder coil. If the code stays at the original cylinder, it's either the plug or injector. If your new plug looks like crap, it's the injector for sure.


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Makes sense. Thank you for the suggestion. - rob
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