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E46 "Service Engine Soon"

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by rich235, Jun 2, 2010.

    rich235 guest

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    I have a 2003 325I manual transmission thats been great for a long time. Just this morning on an hour trip to tampa the "Service Engine Soon" light came on with no apparent degradation of performance.

    Reading the bently service manual it sounds like many different code readers will work? does autozone or local retailers have a bmw reader?

    Also, the small car diagram light on the dash (the one that shows when doors are open) on occasion shows a left side headlight? all the lights work? its a phantom.

    Any suggestions appreciated
    Thanks
    Rich
    • Member

    bcweir

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    An Autozone code reader isn't going to tell you much.

    This is why manufacturers spend millions on proprietary diagnostic machines. The only thing a generic code reader is going to tell you is a generic code. The BMW auto dealer and some independents utilize a diagnostic machine known as a GT-1 service computer, and depending on options, it costs between $100,000 to a million dollars. There would be no need for such an expensive machine if a $100 code reader from autozone did what you think it does.

    I wouldn't trust autozone for anything except energy drinks and fuzzy dice.

    If you're the DIY type, and willing to go through the detective work needed to find out what code 1234 is (the code a Peake or Zymex reader would spit out), this might be worth it.

    Or you can take the car to an authorized independent, and for $50 to $100, you can find out exactly what that code is, then decide if you want to pay the independent to fix it, or arm yourself with tools, parts, maybe a buddy or two, and a six pack of your favorite beverage one weekend to tackle what's ailing your vehicle.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide!
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    bluewagon

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    Service engine soon

    I don't know from what direction you are driving to Tampa. If you are Driving from the south, Sarasota- Bradenton area. Stop at ERIC'S 2650 Stickney Pt Rd (941-923 7507)
    He can check out the code for you. My check engine light goes on now and then. Every time I bring it in it is a running lean code. It gets reset and sends me on my way. N.C.
    bluewagon

    rich235 guest

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    I stopped in to The BMW Dealer in St Pete and they checked it out. O2 heat sensor bank 1 and general module code. They reset it and charged me 130 dollars. They wanted 1300 to replace the Gneral module and the O2 sensor. I decided no to for now. Have you had ERIC/s do any maintenance on your car?

    Thanks for the help.
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    Zeichen311

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    No detective work required, the Peake readers come with a booklet that translates all the codes. ISTR the Bentley manuals also include code translation tables.

    Of course, the code is only half the battle. You still have to decide what to fix to make it go away. O2 sensors are easy; something like "mixture adaption, upper speed range 2" might not be. That's where the expensive diagnostic tools (including the wetware between a good tech's ears) come into play.

    @rich235, don't ignore the O2 sensor for too long. Left untended a failed sensor can lead to catalytic converter damage. If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the sensor soon and take a "wait and see" approach to the GM code. If there is truly a problem, it should reassert itself in short order.

    Assuming your headlights all work--no flickering, not dim, etc.--the intermittent left-front-light warning on your Check Control display may mean the turn indicator is about to fail. The indicator lamp sockets tend to corrode easily, resulting in high resistance and faults. The socket is basically a consumable part (about $5) so usually it's best to replace it whenever you change a lamp (absent premature lamp failure). You can check for this yourself--indicator lamp replacement is covered in the owner's manual. If the lamp and socket contacts are anything other than clean and shiny, replace them both.
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    dave335

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    The O2 sensors are easy to change. Simple DIY. Chris at Zygmunt Motors was selling O2 senors for a really good deal. His email is cmuzyy@aol.com. I think they were $80 for a S52 so I don't think the E46 ones would be much more. There are 4 sensors on the E36. I am not familiar with the E46. The O2 sensor can cause a significant decrease in performance.
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    bluewagon

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    service engine soon

    Yes Eric's has done work on my car. I had him change ALL fluids. He matched Tire rack's price on 2 new tires, the wheel got scratched, but he had it refinished at no charge to me.
    He will not allow you to purchase your own parts and have them put on there.
    bluewagon
    P.S. I had rear wheel bearings changed also
    Have you tried Bavarian auto 1-800-535-2002

    rich235 guest

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    Thanks for the advice, sounds like the Peake reader would be a good chance for me to do some of this work myself at a reasonable cost. I already have th bently manual and a good deal of tools, so I just need to find a good source for the parts. I took a brief look at the pelican parts web site, there must be others. Thanks again.
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    Zeichen311

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    If your local dealer offers a discount to CCA members, don't overlook that option. Even a 15% discount will beat most online sources for many items. More to the point, unless the place is run by fools contemptuous of customer service and loyalty, you'll be building a relationship with them that may pay off later.
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    dave335

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    Other great BMW parts places include the following:

    Tisher BMW - getbmwparts.com - Jason and Evan are excellent to deal with. Great specials as well. As previously stated, not sure if your local dealer offers a BMWCCA discount.

    RMEuropean - http://www.rmeuropean.com/

    Pelicanparts

    Autohaus AZ - http://www.autohausaz.com/

    Turner Motorsports

    A lot of vendors carry the Peake Tools and offer free shipping.

    David
    • Member

    327350

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    cross reference...

    I have a Peake research tool for my 330ci and have used it several times. With the car approaching 130k miles I started getting a check engine light and the peake tool came up with "O2 sensor, cyl 4-6 adaptative limit". I replaced everything that could allow the engine to suck in unmetered air. Code kept coming back. Finally I let my Actron AutoScanner Plus have a crack at the car and viola, it stated that the the O2 sensor on cyl 4-6 was running leaner than 1-3. With that I replaced both pre cat O2 sensors and haven't seen the code since.

    One code reader said adaptive limits, the other claimed a too lean condition - helped me decide that the O2 sensors were shot. $122 and 2 O2 sensors later and the car is fixed.

    I would never have believed it until this happened, but different code readers can yield different results.

    Cheers!

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