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Bmw 320i e46 2002/misfiring

Greetings from Finland. On cold/moist mornings, the engine starts to shake after a while on idle run or if you start driving, very soon you'll lose power and get an engine misfiring signal. When the engine is warm or upon restarting, no problems whatsoever. The past four years (had this problem for six years now), the local BMW workshop has just replaced the coils (cyl. 2 & 5). This has helped for a couple of days and the problem has returned. Now they've started suspecting the hydraulic valve lifters, but I'm not too happy to pay for yet another wild guess. I've seen exactly the same problem in numerous threads, but never one working solution. I've started losing some oil and there was a clear coolant leak, which was repaired. Clear smell of gas in oil.

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  • rory328 May 26, 2009

    Hi Rory here from CT South Africa. Ive been having the exact same problem as to how you have described it.Very frustrating my cars been in the workshop for two weeks I was told its the cats on the exhaust which I had replaced.Then the problem returned long story short I have spent so much money and no one can seem to find the fault.

    Thanks for your input John just not looking forward to the next bill.Such a shame I love this car to bits but makes me wonder if its time to trade in for something else.





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Hi Retze

From your report on the symptoms of your problem, it definitely points to an electrical problem, which is aggravated by cold and damp.

The smell of fuel in your oil, points directly to a misfire and non combustion on one, or more cylinders, and the subsequent unburnt fuel washing down the bores and into the fuel, thus breaking down the viscosity of your oil, and going to give you premature , and excessive wear on your engine before too long, if not already.

As you say loosing oil, which I expect is going out the exhaust, due to ring or piston wear.
This problem must be cured quickly !

I would firstly suggest, all the spark plugs are removed, and inspected very closely for contamination signs, from oil or fuel.

This will hopefully give you a clue, as to the problem cylinder/s.

Also a dry and a wet ie:- ( injection of some oil in the cylinder ) compression test should be carried out, on cold engine.
This will tell you if your valves, pistons and rings, head gasket,etc are all serviceable, from the pressure readings.

A master guage should also be connected, and your oil pressure checked to give your oil pump, and lubrication system, to hopefully give it too a clean bill of heath.

Now as to my gut feelings as to where your problems may lie ?

I too suspect the spark plug coils, as they are problematic with BMW, as they are also, with my specialist subject, Jaguars.

They are sometimes difficult to fault, as the problem can be intermittent.
And usually the clear sign is the spark plug condition on removal, which is the give away !

I am also very concerned as to how long ago you changed your engine oil & filter, as if you can smell the fuel in your oil, it must be thinned down considerably, and also affecting your hydraulic valve lifters.
Mind you if worn or faulty, you can usually hear the problem.

Your first line of attack is remove the spark plugs, and inspect those plugs !

Let me know what you find, and give me your feedback as to your thoughts on my comments.

Good Luck !

Remember to give me a rating if you think I have been of assistance, thanks !


Posted on Jan 22, 2009


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