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Thread: If your check engine light is on, click here (pre- '96 only)!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    '90 325i, 95 525i

    If your check engine light is on, click here (pre- '96 only)!

    If you have a pre- '96 (OBD1) e36, this trick will work to tell you why your CEL is on. It will even work on e30s:

    Turn the ignition on (not the engine, just ignition). The bulb check will come on. Quickly press the gas pedal all the way down and lift all the way up 5 full times. You have to do it quickly.

    If you did it right, the CEL will flash once and go out. Then it will begin flashing the fault codes. It will flash in four sequences, representing four numbers. Each sequence will be separated by a short pause of about a second. For example:

    Flash (short pause) Flash Flash Flash Flash (short pause) Flash Flash Flash Flash (short pause) Flash Flash Flash Flash (longer pause) indicates a code of 1444. Each number of flashes in each sequences represents the number in the code.

    After the long pause at the end of the fourth sequence, it will repeat itself and flash the same code again, unless there is more than one code, in which case it will flash that code in the same pattern. Click here for slightly more detailed instructions and a full list of the fault codes.

    Easier than a trip to autozone, and you can find out why your CEL is on in under 5 minutes!
    -Chris
    My e30 build thread/color change here

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Colorado
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    E46 325ci - E53 4.4
    kick Ass
    See my E36 Parts for sale in the Classifieds

  3. #3
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    Damn I wish I had known this about a year ago!!
    '96 Alaska Blue ti w/ Supersprint cat-back exhaust...Dinan CAI & Chip...Eibach Pro-Kit Springs...Bilstein Sport shocks...BavAuto camber kit...Brembo d/s rotors...UUC Short-shifter...Centerforce Dual Friction clutch...Turner Motorsport 9lb flywheel...18 inch OZ Rims...Indiglo gauges...Schroth Harness...ZKW/ProLumen 6k HID...Predator Chromium Angeleyes

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    95 Alpine 318i
    Quote Originally Posted by nick318ti
    Damn I wish I had known this about a year ago!!
    Search is your friend. I know this has been mentioned quite a few times.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    5/94 Euro 325i coupe
    Sometimes I wish I had a check engine light... or not


    Quote Originally Posted by ClintonM3 View Post
    the Audi A4 is a tweaked, cosmetically enhanced, cross platform, put-together overnight VW.
    Quote Originally Posted by joeuser528e View Post
    Staggard setups are for cars that you park at show meets. They go well with 5 screens and 3 12"s.

  6. #6
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    May 2004
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    sunny southern cali
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    01 525it
    good info thanks I'm sure it will come in handy

  7. #7
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    madison, WI
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    89 325ix, 85 eta
    this information is sent via code from the mini u-boat that motors around in your oil. be sure to thank the captain afterword by sending a signal through a quick gas pedal press.

    the wonderful world of ODB1.
    Hold on let me get my laptop and read this on the toilet.
    --DrDub

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    5/94 Euro 325i coupe
    Quote Originally Posted by beatniks325
    this information is sent via code from the mini u-boat that motors around in your oil. be sure to thank the captain afterword by sending a signal through a quick gas pedal press.

    the wonderful world of ODB1.


    Quote Originally Posted by ClintonM3 View Post
    the Audi A4 is a tweaked, cosmetically enhanced, cross platform, put-together overnight VW.
    Quote Originally Posted by joeuser528e View Post
    Staggard setups are for cars that you park at show meets. They go well with 5 screens and 3 12"s.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Billings, MT
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    '90 325i, 95 525i
    Quote Originally Posted by Daved
    Sometimes I wish I had a check engine light... or not
    Euro spec doesn't have a CEL?
    -Chris
    My e30 build thread/color change here

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    San Diego, California
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    2/91 Build NVM50
    Quote Originally Posted by martialartsblac
    kick Ass

    Nice Bumper.. Chrome housing lights though ? ? ?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    E46 325ci - E53 4.4
    Quote Originally Posted by atlantisvip
    Nice Bumper.. Chrome housing lights though ? ? ?
    yea ive since fixed one of those , the other just isent working right now not sure why tho

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    95 M3
    Note: when I try to read the codes on my '93, I have to hold the gas to the floor while waiting for the codes. So after you pump the pedal, you have to keep your foot down. That was the only way I could get the codes.
    Black Iron Racing Lemons Fleet = 5.3L swapped E36, CBR1000 swapped MR2

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gielamonster
    Note: when I try to read the codes on my '93, I have to hold the gas to the floor while waiting for the codes. So after you pump the pedal, you have to keep your foot down. That was the only way I could get the codes.
    I've actually heard that from a few other people. I don't have to do that, myself.

    Everyone keep this in mind if it's not working for you.
    -Chris
    My e30 build thread/color change here

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    1996 Schwarz II 328is
    What does the DME Version mean?

    ZKW Ellipsoids w/ 6000K HIDs - Parking Light Delete - Koni Springs - Koni Sport Shocks - E46 M3 RSMs w/ M-Roadster Reinforcement Plates
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    Coming Soon: 35% Tint

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    '90 325i, 95 525i
    You really don't have to worry about that if you don't know yours. All the codes are the same no matter what version you have, but certain versions have certain codes. Just look up whatever code you have, and no matter what column you look in, it will be the same fault.
    -Chris
    My e30 build thread/color change here

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    why is this thread stickied? rather then waste forum space on the first page, it should be hot linked in the DIY thread.

    I am going to unsticky this thread now.

    Hey man, I'm a professional!

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by themadhatter
    why is this thread stickied? rather then waste forum space on the first page, it should be hot linked in the DIY thread.

    I am going to unsticky this thread now.
    I don't know, maybe for the same reason the oil thread is both stickied, and in the thread of faqs.
    -Chris
    My e30 build thread/color change here

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    000
    I thought this was known by most on here. It's old news to me...

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Dunedin, FL
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    1995 M3
    Is it possible to retrive your stored faults with a trick like this?

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    '90 325i, 95 525i
    All faults stored in the DME will be revealed. If they haven't been cleared, you'll see them.
    -Chris
    My e30 build thread/color change here

  21. #21
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    Is the air mass volume sensor code the same thing as the MAF sensor?

    6" Fabtech lift - 35" MT's - Locked 4.10s

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    Jesus Built my M3 (TYJ)
    Resurrecting an old thread.

    For doing the stomp test, it is IMPERATIVE that you "stomp" as soon as you hit position #2 with the dashboard lights on. I had forgotten how fast you must be....and was getting irritated that I couldn't get my codes to read out.

    Remember...as SOON as the dashboard lights LIGHT... stomp-stomp-stomp-stomp-stomp and you will be rewarded with your car winking back at you.

    OBD-I cars only.
    1995 M3/2/5 : non-lux alpine white III on black
    2013 GX460 4x4 : knights pearl on black
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  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    s50 e36
    I have this thread on my favorites. Ive used it so many times to find out whats wrong.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Hong Kong
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    1993 E30 325ic
    thanks a lot for your input

  25. #25
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    99 M3, 850i
    good stuff...old, but good

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