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NL318i 09-23-2010 06:22 PM

First BMW... quick question
Hey all

I've been around the VW scene for several years, and am now just starting with BMW's. I recently picked up a 1988 318i as a second car for the GF as well as a little project car. Car is in great shape with the exception of the two front seats which need replacing. We have had the car inspected with no problems whatsoever and have done several hundred km's of driving in it with no mechanical problems at all. Well there is a slight stumble in the idle when the car is worries.
That changed when the GF called me this afternoon telling me the car began to stutter and stall while she sat in traffic. She managed to pull to a side street where the car died and she could not restart. I arrived, turned the key, and the car turned over and was very hesitant about starting. I pressed the gas and forced the engine to stay running...after a few seconds the car seemed to pick up the idle and run fine.
on the way home I was giving the car a slightly more spirited drive than it gets from the GF while she followed in my car. At a stop sign, I gave the car a healthy dose of accelerator and headed home. When arriving home the GF said a good sized puff of smoke came out of the exhaust when I pulled away from said stop sign. Now when the car starts the exhaust system seems to shake and rattle on start up....almost like the initial back pressure on start up gives it a good seems to run fine after that, although the car may be slightly louder than before....the exhaust also has a violent shake when the engine is shut off.

First....did I break something when I was tearing around to have the exhaust shudder so much on start up and shut down? (I looked and can see no damage to the exhaust system during a quick visual inspection)

Second...and more difficult I know.... I can't figure out the car stalling? No mechanical problems to this point. All Vacuum hoses appear good and the car seems to be running consistently thing...which maybe something, there is a hissing noise from below the rear of the car on drivers side. Is this the fuel pump I'm hearing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

DYMO 09-23-2010 08:10 PM

1. do a tune up. that might help with the stuttering.
2. if you have a rough idle, you may be misfiring

everlast 09-23-2010 09:41 PM

AFAIK, there is no 318i in 1988.. The older ones have a M10 engine and newer ones have M42.

The exhaust 'moves' when the engine bucks, since its attached but mounted on rubber. I doubt you did anything to the exhaust.

The symptoms you describe are common symptoms to a myriad of problems, like vacuum leaks, idle control valve being sticky, bad plug wire / coil (M10/M42).. the list goes on and on.

If you don't know the service history of the car, you'd best start with the basics and move from there; its a bit of a difficult journey. :(

Ceeker 09-23-2010 10:13 PM

hissing noise or buzzing is the fuel pump

NL318i 09-23-2010 10:33 PM

Thanks for the replys guys. The VIN decoder gives my car a production date of 1987 / 12. I should have mentioned its a euro spec car. I believe it was imported from Germany by a Canadian solider who had been stationed there.

After another quick look in the dark, the exhaust seems solid except for a big rattle and shake on start up....probably just a hanger or something.

I have already learned a lot from this forum just by following along for the past few weeks. Thanks again fella and I'm sure I'll be back with more questions soon.

BmW1819 09-23-2010 10:36 PM

icv?? could be a couple things

Bimmer Heaven 09-23-2010 11:45 PM

The euro import explains the impossible 1988 318! First thing i would look is catalitic, if pluged, it can cause the stalling...and the noise. If the car was driven in europe, many places have cheap gas (also had leaded gas) that is known to kill cats! Second guess is fuel pump. A noisy pump may indicate problem with the transfer pump, making it work harder...

daveed 09-23-2010 11:53 PM

Euro import, excellent. Does it have the M40? if so, do the timing belt!

Bimmer Heaven 09-23-2010 11:59 PM

^^^WTF!? lol

HavocSteve 09-24-2010 06:50 AM


What about the MAF? Could the MAF be off just a little? I know this happened to me when the engine got work, it would stutter and then die.

NL318i 09-24-2010 08:35 AM

Daveed. Yes, the car does have the M40 engine. I have receipts showing the previous owner did about $5000 in work on the car over a couple of year period. That included a timing belt replacement almost 2 years ago.
I was really thrown by the 1988 318i as well, as I can only find a little info on it. However all of the serial numbers match and it reads as a 318i (M40), Production date 1987 / 12 . Its funny, All of the cars original documentation is there and is all in German, as is all the labelling on the car itself.
Its in fantastic shape, Ill try to get some photos up later today. No rust on the body at all and the car isn't missing any of the pieces .... which as we all know is so common with older cars. Other than packed in front seats and a knocking exhaust...its excellent.

I think we'd like to get some 15 inch wheels for it...maybe some slightly lower and firmer suspension, and some new front seats. Then i'd just like to keep it as pristine as possible and enjoy some weekend cruises.

Actually I think I'll go for a drive now and check that exhaust again and see how it runs today. Thanks again guys, your input is greatly appreciated.

NL318i 09-24-2010 08:42 AM

Havoc Steve, I'll look into the MAF...thanks.

Another question, what grade of fuel are you all using? I know I used premium fuel in my mk2 jetta, it ran shitty on regular, however I did have the timing advanced on that car as well.

daveed 09-24-2010 11:37 AM


Originally Posted by Eurostyle (Post 1452921)
^^^WTF!? lol

What? The M40 goes through t-belts faster than M20s, just checking if the OP is aware of that.

everlast 09-24-2010 12:04 PM

Well holy shit, I've never even seen an M40 lol. Steve, you keep getting MAF and AFM confused: your M20 (and I'm pretty sure the M40 also) have a AFM. I know its only a two letter difference, but they're completely different components. ;)

daveed 09-24-2010 12:23 PM


Originally Posted by NL318i (Post 1452955)
Havoc Steve, I'll look into the MAF...thanks.

Another question, what grade of fuel are you all using? I know I used premium fuel in my mk2 jetta, it ran shitty on regular, however I did have the timing advanced on that car as well.

The consensus is that 87 octane is the best for the M20, that's what it was designed to use. 91 octane for the M42. Not sure about the M40, it's not a very powerful engine so it's probably lower compression = 87 octane.

EDIT: To get more specialized info on the M40 your best bet is probably to join an Australian/UK E30 forum as they have lots of cars with M40s and will speak english haha.

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