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Old 07-25-2013, 05:12 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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Intermittent engine vibration on cold start, E36 M3

I have a E36 M3 with 83k miles on it down here in California. I notice that during a cold start (first start of the day), the engine vibrates the car intermittently. Not a high frequency vibration (ie low idle), but the car sorta feels like it's lightly twitching every few seconds for the first 20 seconds it starts. After that, engine is smooth. Haven't heard any knocking.

Any ideas on what's happening? Is a piston seal rubbing? Is a rod bent? I've no idea. The car makes good power, doesn't burn oil and doesn't make weird noises - but the shakes are certainly piquing my curiosity.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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just throwing out something here but maybe a minor vaccuum leak that the ECU can adjust for after a bit of idling?
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1992 3.0L M52 325i (ex-daily driver - track car only)
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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check to see if the heat sensor on your MAF is broken, I had an issue with my first E36 like that and couldn't figure out why until I looked at the MAF. Vaccum leak is also a viable reason for the problem. But if it was the vaccum leak, I would imagine that the issue wouldn't go away. My car would stop too once it got warm (because the heat sensor on the MAF wasn't working the car always though it was warm so it would idle lower than it would on a cold start which caused it to vibrate until it actually got warm). Takes a little longer to warm up in Canada compared to Cali so the 20 seconds sounds about right.

Good luck and hopefully you figure it out
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:07 AM   #4
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When it does it, does the idle drop?
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:44 PM   #5
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Nope, idle remains at 700-800 (when it starts). When it settles at a good temperature, my M3 idles at 500, which seems a tad low.

It doesn't feel like a rough idle - rough idles are consistent and coughy. This feels more like someone imparting some force to the side of my car every couple of seconds, rocking it a bit.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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No codes? Try a different MAF if you have one available

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