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Thread: Misfire? 1992 325i

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    1992 bmw 325i

    Misfire? 1992 325i

    My car runs but is slow and seems to have a misfire or perhaps what sounds like a hiccup?

    Happens once about every 5 sec, will eventually stall the car when driving and I have no issues turning on.

    Changed spark plugs, icv, crank shaft positioning sensor, ran seafoam but still no progress.

    Here is a video
    https://youtu.be/VlF7vu23aJM

  2. #2
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    1992 bmw 325i
    BTW hello to everyone I am new here and this is my first post.

    Bought this as my first project car, paid $1K for it but now I am wondering if it was too much.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    1997 328i
    Hello, welcome!

    So basic maintenance stuff that could still be original on your car: Ignition coils, mass air flow meter (vane style, it sucks and fails), oxygen sensor. All three of these eventually need changing and if they are original will affect your performance. Also injectors, run cleaner every so often (2-3x per year). Lastly, you can smoke test it for vacuum leaks.

    Rockauto has the Cardone Mass air sensor for a good price. Also have Bosch oxygen sensor.

    And here's ebay with a new set of coils:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ignition-Co...e/310743086922

    - - - Updated - - -

    This could also be a sticking Idle air control valve (IACV). There's a chance you can remove it and thoroughly clean it out but that may not fix it. An ultrasonic bath may be able to clean it out but I don't know if the cheap ones will do the trick. You should also check your crankcase vent lines to see that they are free of oil/sludge.
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  4. #4
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    Bmw E36, Lincoln LS,
    What did you gap your plugs to

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys for your response.

    I bought a new iacv on Amazon and it fixed the rough idle issue I had.

    The Cardone Mass air sensor only had 4 pins, my car had 6 on it so it won't work, I'm having a hard time finding the 6 pin version at a reasonable cost.

    I got a compression tester on Amazon and an ignition spark tester which come in today. I will report on the findings tonight once I check that.

    The spark plugs are gapped at .4, I checked 2 of them before installing as they were pre gapped.

    I'm leaning towards in ignition issue and hope it's just the coils, however the guy I got it from was trying to make it into a drifter and who knows what all had been messed with.

  6. #6
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    I also have a '92. Most everything on this engine is pretty reliable with the exception of the MAF and that sounds like the issue I had with mine. Yup, it's an oddball 6 pin and only used for a couple years. Factory replacements are still available --- for about $1200. I was lucky enough to find a good used unit for about $100 but I bought a complete used later model engine including the ECU, MAF and wiring harness for a lot less that the cost of the new MAF. It's ready to go, just in case. Even though the MAF will test OK and the readings look good, there is an extra wire that appears to pass some sort of comparative voltage signal to the MAF. Disconnecting the wire makes the engine run better but still not right.
    See ya later,

    tony
    '98 M3, '92 Dinan3, '05 R1100S BCR, '07 R1200S, Aprilia T

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm3 View Post
    I also have a '92. Most everything on this engine is pretty reliable with the exception of the MAF and that sounds like the issue I had with mine. Yup, it's an oddball 6 pin and only used for a couple years. Factory replacements are still available --- for about $1200. I was lucky enough to find a good used unit for about $100 but I bought a complete used later model engine including the ECU, MAF and wiring harness for a lot less that the cost of the new MAF. It's ready to go, just in case. Even though the MAF will test OK and the readings look good, there is an extra wire that appears to pass some sort of comparative voltage signal to the MAF. Disconnecting the wire makes the engine run better but still not right.
    So when the guy sold me this car I noticed he had 3 of these MAFs in the trunk, all were used and looked pretty beat up, perhaps this was an issue from the beginning, I took your advice and purchased this one

    https://www.1aauto.com/bmw-323is-325...saAttkEALw_wcB

    While I hate spending the money and throwing parts at the car it might be the fix, I don't know if 1aauto is a trustworthy site but hope it is.

    Also I am going to re-gap my spark plugs tonight as well, they are set at .4 however I read online that the e36 should be set at .28.

    Once I do this tonight I should have a better update, and will get back on here to report, hopefully if this is the fix it can help other's too.

  8. #8
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    When doing the compression test, remember to remove all the spark plugs, disable the fuel pump, put a brick on the gas peddle and put the battery on a charger.
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  9. #9
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    Just quick update, got home late from work and while I had enough time to test one coil which seems to have worked ok, the car was just too darn loud and didn't want to cause issues with neighbors. Will finish testing tomorrow and update you all.

  10. #10
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    What did you test on the coil?
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  11. #11
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    I tested the ohms on outer pins, all showed 0.9 to 1, also got the rester with the small bulb in it and it flickers, did notice it flickers less when the car is struggling

    The maf is coming Thursday and will try that hopefully that's the fix.

    The error I get is idle control valve but I replaced that one.

    Here is a video of rpms fluctuating and me showing the error from the error control valve via morse code from the check engine light.

    https://youtu.be/4lEUw5sPvyY

  12. #12
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    You can check both the primary and secondary winding in the coil but that will unfortunately not tell you if high voltage is shorting to ground and that is the main problem with old plastic. So if your coils are original, they are most definitely shorting to ground.

    Your rpm gauge doesn't really show your misfire, you bump the throttle it settles in stages, it doesn't hunt or anything.

    For your ABS light, I would remove and clean all the wheel sensors. Typically grim gets stuck to them, use a rag and wd40 to drag the grim and magnetic particles off of them. For your inspection and oil light, there is a really cheap tool ($8) that can reset them. There is a paper clip method but I wouldn't want to accidentally short things out.
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  13. #13
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    I purchased a new set of coils, will arrive next week. I will take the tires off this weekend to check the ABS wheel sensors, my inspection is due this month and I really wanted to get the check engine cleared before that so that it would pass, thus why I am hurrying to get this working.

    I did notice that once the car is warm (operating temp), it gets really bad, to the point where it automatically turns off and has a hard time staying on when I get it to come back on. The hissing noise it makes (breathing) becomes back to back vs every 10 secs or so. Once I let it cool down it seems to work ok. A guy at work said it might be the DME/ECU and might be shorted out and reading bad temps causing the car to want more air.

    I see DME's on ebay for 15 bucks, but on another thread I saw a guy talking about sending to BMW for linking or something like that? Are these DMEs not just plug and play if you get the correct year model one?

  14. #14
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    I'm not sure if you have to align your DME on the early e36's. Since your have an earlier e36 and they are known for getting the DME wet due to flooding cowl section I think you should remove the DME and open it up. Check for white oxide, get access to both sides of the board and get a can of Deoxit 5% and spray it all down liberally and use an old tooth brush to give it a gentle scrub. Do not install it till its 1000% dry, you have to let it air dry for 24hrs.

    If you do buy a used DME it should be the same part number. No guarantee getting a good one off ebay, I would start with cleaning yours.

    You have two temp sensors, one for the dme the other for the gauge, can't recall which is which but the one for the dme is important for proper fuel mix.
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  15. #15
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    So I got computer out and put some deoxit which I got at guitar center (oddly enough only place that had it) used a toothbrush and cleaned however cannot get in between 2 boards, I think I need a small hex which I can get at work tomorrow.

    Here are photos of the dme before spraying.

    20190523_214751.jpg

    20190523_215012.jpg

    20190523_215016.jpg

    Installed new maf sensor today but still same issue. Once the car runs for about 20 min it stalls and has a hard time staying on, also driving is horrible as power fluctuates.

    --update
    When car finally turned on after a few tries some blue smoke came out the back, I'm thinking the poison is flooding with oil, maybe when cold the poison is not expended and oil goes through it, once it heats up it floods and stalls the car.

    Do these cars have a ccv or oil separator? I have the m50 engine non vanos version. I'm checking compression this weekend, but a compression tester, and car charger, will remove fuse and see results. I really hope it's not a bad head gasket.
    Last edited by eliseogonzalez; 05-24-2019 at 01:51 AM.

  16. #16
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    Cleaned computer, had some corossion and might be damaged as a few of the wires printed on the board were coming off. Put back together after it dried but same issue. I ordered a computer off ebay and will test that.

    See photos below of corrosion.

    20190524_144635.jpg

    20190524_143746.jpg

  17. #17
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    Update

    Compression test results

    Cyl1: 180psi
    Cyl2: 180psi
    Cyl3: 170psi
    Cyl4: 190psi
    Cyl5: 175psi
    Cyl6: 198psi

    Noticed all cylc where dirty except cyl 1. It was clean. Also noticed vapors coming out that cylc when I removed the spark plugs

  18. #18
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    So that DME definitley has some problems, that area that you cited had some ohmic heating, the solder joints failed and caused resistance that heated the area. That can be fixed by someone with some soldering experience. The traces that leaves those 5-6 questionable solder joints would also have to be examined and maybe get beefed up a bit with a fine copper wire addition. Then the area sealed.

    I guess theres a chance the injector in cylinder 1 was leaking, or possibly that cylinder 1 had the only good ignition coil. You should start running injector cleaner every so often. Over all the engine seem healthy.
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  19. #19
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    Do you have any soldering experience? Ideally those 5 joints would need fresh rosin core solder added, but first the old solder removed using copper wire braid. When soldering you cannot allow solder joints bridge over to neighboring joints.

    A soldering iron can be bought for less than $10 or kit to get someone started for not much more. Youtube has 100's of videos on how to learn, its not difficult, one important thing is to not overheat components.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htrcZuK_ZsY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu-nudUAGVo
    Avoid Vogtland Suspensions! Rusted then failed!

  20. #20
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    I do have some solder experience however I really suck at it, I am 37 years old and my hands shake like a 90 year old with Parkinson. I bought a dme from ebay for 35 bucks, same exact model number as this one, really hoping it works without linking of some sort.

    Changed oil just now and it came out brown but not milky so that's a plus.

    Did a ghetto vaccum test, with my vape and was going to YouTube it to help others but it was too dang embarrassing, almost made me feel like I was doing something dirty to the car so let's just say I don't have a vaccum leak based on those findings.

    Wednesday I get the coils, and Friday I get the dme so wish me luck, if this doesn't work I am out of ideas.

  21. #21
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    So got the dme today and that fixed the issue. Thanks everyone for the help!

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