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Old 02-09-2006, 01:56 PM   #1
edrikk
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Cold CEL Light - E46 320i



Hi all,

I've read many-a-posts, both in this forum, as well as in E46Toronto, as well as E46Fanatics regarding cold weather and the Check Engine Light, but I'm not quite sure if this is the same as what I've read or not...

At any rate, starting a new post on it, to get opinions. No flames pleasea, as I've already done my searches.

I have a 2001 E46 320i, which has a little more than 120,000 KMs on it. The car is mainly (>80%) highway driven (both by myself, and the previous owner), and for me, the highway driving is most times not stop-and-go.

Further information: I purchased the car at 100K, and pretty much right off the bat changed the 2 belts and the plugs (OEM), the Air and Micro filter. I also changed to Mobil1 0W40 Synthetic oil.


Now the "issue". Recently, I have been getting the CEL the first thing in the morning when I turn my car on. It's a little colder outside, but I'm fairly sure this happened one time when it was not "freezing". The exact symptoms are: The car idles very rough for about 10 seconds, then the RPM drops, and the car's engine is loud (sputtering?), and the car starts to shake. At this point the CEL comes on.

Furthermore to the above, I have found this:
1) This ONLY seems to happen if I/someone else needs to turn my car on, move it to get to another car, and turns it off (even if left to warm up for 30 seconds to a minute before turning off), ** THEN ** I go to drive to work, turn the car on, and the above symptoms are exhitibited.

2) I have found that after the CEL comes on, if I let it run for about a minute or so more, then turn the car OFF, then back on, that the CEL light goes away.


At this point since the car seems ok, I haven't taken it in to my mechanic yet, and when I called him he said that the next time I bring my car in that he'll scan the codes to see what's up.

At any rate, and advice, thoughts, etc would be appreciated (at least for interest's sake). If more information is needed, also feel free to ask.

Thanks,
Ed
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:18 PM   #2
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Sounds to me like it's running really rich on start up (idele air control) which the o2 sensor then picks up and reports a fault. When coolant temperature warms up the sensor sends a signal to the DME and it leans the fuel out and the o2 sensor sees a practical mixture and so the CLE goes off.

These cars also came with defective coils and BMW replaces them, it would also do what you are saying but I think it's more fuel/air related.
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:21 PM   #3
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Cel?

If you want, I can scan your car with my Peake tool. Let me know. PM me for more info.

Sorry.....just realized, post 2001 I would need an adapter which I don't have. Sorry....I tried.

Rico

Last edited by rico328i; 02-09-2006 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies guys:

rico --> Thanks anyways for the good will!

Striker --> Running rich *might* sound right... Especially if you consider that it *seems* to only happen after the car was turned on and off "quickly" the *first* time in the day, then turned back on some time after that... Maybe almost like an engine flood?

I thought the coils recall was for later year BMWs... (ie 02 up).
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:35 PM   #5
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Im hardly an expert, but im pretty sure your CEL is supposed to stay on once a fault has been triggered. Do your RPM's drop right as th CEL goes on? If the cluster loses enough power quickly enough it thinks the car's stalling out, which may temporarily trigger the CEL. If the CEL isn't on when you scan the car, its doubtful you'll get any codes.
these are probably a little too basic suggestions, but have you tried
-ensuring the ICV is clean
-inspecting spark plugs/ingnition coils
-ensuring your fuel injection system is clean
-when's the last time your o2 sensors have been replaced


hope it helps, give charlie (bimmersport automotive, or "bimmersport" on these boards a try, very reliable shop)
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Old 02-09-2006, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edrikk
Thanks for the replies guys:

rico --> Thanks anyways for the good will!

Striker --> Running rich *might* sound right... Especially if you consider that it *seems* to only happen after the car was turned on and off "quickly" the *first* time in the day, then turned back on some time after that... Maybe almost like an engine flood?

I thought the coils recall was for later year BMWs... (ie 02 up).
Yup sorry, just realised that your's is an 01. Yes sounds like an engine flood except that the DME will try to compensate by adjusting the injector duty cycles. If it was a little less rich, the DME will case the engine to oscillate, engine revs up and down between 1,000 RPM and 300 RPM. The idle air control is what I would check first and you will have to have it looked at asap as a rich running engine will take a toll on your o2 sensor.
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Old 02-09-2006, 03:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proprone
Im hardly an expert, but im pretty sure your CEL is supposed to stay on once a fault has been triggered. Do your RPM's drop right as th CEL goes on? If the cluster loses enough power quickly enough it thinks the car's stalling out, which may temporarily trigger the CEL. If the CEL isn't on when you scan the car, its doubtful you'll get any codes.
these are probably a little too basic suggestions, but have you tried
-ensuring the ICV is clean
-inspecting spark plugs/ingnition coils
-ensuring your fuel injection system is clean
-when's the last time your o2 sensors have been replaced


hope it helps, give charlie (bimmersport automotive, or "bimmersport" on these boards a try, very reliable shop)
I thought so as well... But nope... It goes away!
Yes, as the RPMs drop the CEL comes on. But even before it comes on, for about the first 5 seconds after the car has turned on I can tell that "oh oh, it's about to happen"...

I've also read that unless the CEL is on when the car is scanned, it's useless, but I've also been told that the car stores the code for the last 1000 starts? Don't quote me 100% on this one...

To be honest, being *completly* mechanically inapt, I have not cleaned the ICV, although I have read in other postings about it. I'll do a search to see how to clean it... If it's reachable from the top, I'll do it.

I ran a bottle of fuel system cleaner through the car when I first bought it, right before the first oil change. I'll grab a fuel injector cleaner tonight and pass that through (depending on the instructions either tonight, or on my next gas fill up).

The O2 sensors have never been replaced as far as I know.


I've read a lot about Charlie, but I love my mechanic's work, and he's the first one I've had whose work and word I trust fully. So he'll get first crack at it if it turns into a "bigger" issue. Because as it stands I can live with it / it's rare.
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Old 02-09-2006, 04:51 PM   #8
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I think that the CEL is coming on because the car is misfiring(when it is almost dying the computer will notice a misfire and record it). However, this is a type of code that is a soft code and does not causethe CEL to stay on unless it is continuous. The root of the problem is not the misfire however, that is just what the computer is recognizing. If the computer ever registers a code, it will stay in the memory until it is cleared so have your mechanic scan it and it will pick up something for sure. Maybe its the MAF??? I know the 540s have that problem because of the MAF starting to die. Don't know if the 320s have the same issue or not.
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Old 02-09-2006, 04:52 PM   #9
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O2's have never been replaced? you may be getting a slow responce time from them then, from what i hear they need to be replaced every 40-60K's. However, O2's should trigger a code.

Yep, definatly go to your mechanic first, i have my own mechanic aswell, but he's had my car for a month, and i think charlie's getting my buisness from now on
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Old 02-09-2006, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proprone
O2's have never been replaced? you may be getting a slow responce time from them then, from what i hear they need to be replaced every 40-60K's. However, O2's should trigger a code.

Yep, definatly go to your mechanic first, i have my own mechanic aswell, but he's had my car for a month, and i think charlie's getting my buisness from now on
Yeah a slow O2 would set the CEL light off because when they are slow, they are slow until they warm up.

Proprone, why has ur car been in the shop for so long? Whats wrong with it???
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:28 PM   #11
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O2 sensor possibly eh?
The explanation definitly makes sense cisco911 / propone...
And yes, the car (when the CEL starts) does feel like it's weak/mis-firing (just sitting there that is)... It will continue this behaviour until the turn-off - turn-on cycle, which will result in "proper sound" and no CEL.

I'll definitly have the mechanic scan the codes...

Thanks a lot!
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:39 AM   #12
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Just as a follow up, I met up with my mechanic to get it scanned, and it turns out that I have 2 fault codes:

P1620 MAP Cooling Control Circuit Signal High (So thermostat)
P1343 Misfire Cylinder 1 With Fuel Cut-off (ignition coil)

I only met him quickly as a favor and he scanned it for me, so we didn't get a chance to do any work (because I was in a big hurry), but at any rate, it looks like I'll be getting these two items replaced at my next oil change (or maybe sooner, we'll see, when I get a chance I guess).
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:07 PM   #13
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Thanks for the update. I did suggest coil but then we had the belief that your car was an 01, so we have now learnt that 01's also have this problem.

Thermostat no closing allowing the car to run rich because the coolant takes long to warm up. We did suggest and concluded it was a rich issue as well, which will trigger the o2 sensor to tell the DME to light up the CEL. When the coolant warmed up, the o2 tells the DME to lean out your mixture and so the CEL goes out.

BTW, I changed my e46 coil about 2 years ago and changed my thermostat last Thursday because it was faulty. Car runs like a charm.
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