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      03-18-2013, 05:19 AM   #1
TheRuss
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Question Strong throbbing...

No, nothing like that you dirty-minded people...!

I have a 2009 135i (N54) and I've heard that it's "normal" for our cars to occasionally "wobble" or "throb" a bit when idling - felt as a small jolt through the chassis when sat idling in traffic.
It's never really bothered me, but last weekend I changed my transmission mounts for the M3 items and didn't notice anything different all week. Not sure if the car wobbled at all, but I certainly didn't notice anything out of the usual.

Then this weekend just gone I had new spark plugs fitted (BMW-branded ones from the dealer). Car seemed fine on the way home, then I didn't drive it Sunday. I also installed a new panel filter (just an OEM-style paper replacement from Bosch).

This morning it was cold, approx 1 degree (centigrade) above freezing. The car seemed a little hesitant in its idle when I first started it, though I did have the heated rear screen, heated seat, and max blowers on the windscreen all going, so I'm not sure if it had something to do with that.

Anyway, then I drove a while and when sat idling in traffic felt a really quite violent throb - almost felt like the car behind had just tapped my bumper.

Then a minute or so later it did it again. I had the radio off at this point to listen out for anything, and couldn't hear anything, though my windows were up.

Any ideas what this could be? I'm worried it's something to do with the plugs, but thinking that maybe I could just be feeling the wobbles more because of the stiffened transmission mounts? Also seems weird that I've not noticed any wobbles in a whole week, then got two within about a minute this morning. Hoping it's not a missfire or anything like that - though I have no idea how to diagnose.

No warnings or fault symbols have popped up on the dash at all.

Thanks in advance.
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      03-18-2013, 05:43 AM   #2
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There is a system in the car that automatically drops it into neutral after a certain period of time when you come to a stop. I occasionally notice the slight "throb" you describe when I'm sitting at a traffic light and I always automatically check my rear-view to make sure it wasn't someone lighting bumping me from behind. If it is the same sensation, you're just feeling the car drop into neutral.
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      03-18-2013, 06:15 AM   #3
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Nah, it isn't this - mine's a 6MT. I already have the car in neutral and my foot off the clutch. It's definitely engine related.

Also, just to add some extra info in there - according to my dealer, my car has already had HPFP and injectors done back in 2009 when the car was only a few months old...
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      03-18-2013, 06:36 AM   #4
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Its kind of hard to say i felt the exact same things, but i had some funny idle issues myself. Turns out my #2 injector was leaking and when i would turn the car off for >10 but <20min, i would occasionally get a stumbling startup and even long cranks, which made me think it was the HPFP. BMW dealer had it for a week and they replaced all 6 injectors and plugs. According to the invoice, they plug was soaked with fuel and the other plugs in bank1 were also fouled up.
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      03-18-2013, 06:39 AM   #5
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Hmm, I'm not sure it's this either. As I say - the plugs were changed on Saturday - we didn't notice that they were soaked in fuel or anything when we took them out.

I had just driven the car there though and it hadn't sat around long, though was probably sat for an hour or so, which is long enough by the sounds of it. Hmm.

I'm wondering if the coil pack was damaged or something when the plugs were changed, but I have no idea how to go about checking it.
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      03-18-2013, 06:52 AM   #6
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Did you change the plugs when the car was cold? From what i have read, you should set your torques on the new plugs when the block is dead cold. Something like 17lb or 23(?)Nm
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      03-18-2013, 07:50 AM   #7
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I notice the same thing with my automatic 128i - someone on here had the same issue and they noticed it went away after doing a software update.

I don't think it's dropping to neutral as the throbbing kind of cycle throughs, I also noticed after it warms up it doesn't really happen anymore.
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      03-18-2013, 07:53 AM   #8
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As for fitting the plugs, the engine wasn't totally freezing, but it had been sat off for a while. Torqued to 23N/M.

Doubt that would give this sort of "fault" though.

I've been Googling and it looks like I can use my Cobb AP to read the ECU for fault codes, so I might try that later. Will it show hidden codes, as nothing has come up on the dash...
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      03-18-2013, 09:35 AM   #9
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Never had a problem like that in our 09 135 Vert with PPK.
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      03-18-2013, 12:11 PM   #10
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Hmm, not sure what to make of this then. Does it sound like it could be a misfire? From what I've read a misfire is more likely at higher rpms, whereas this only seems to happen (that I've noticed) at idle...
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      03-18-2013, 01:43 PM   #11
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Ok, so just got home and connected the Cobb to do some fault diagnosis and... Nothing. No fault codes whatsoever.

Now I'm stumped. Only other odd symptoms I've had before is that on two separate occasions the car felt like it was shaking up and down, almost like I was driving over bumpy ground with an equal frequency of bumps, except the car was sat still, idling. First time I thought maybe the road was built over a bridge that couldn't be seen from the road and cars going past the other way were shaking the bridge up and down slightly, but the second time it was on a bit of road that definitely isn't raised or anything. It's almost like an imbalance in the engine or something, but only happens very occasionally. That particular feeling has only occurred twice in almost 8 months of ownership.
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      03-18-2013, 01:57 PM   #12
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No problems here either, N55 with PPK and 25k miles on the odo. Smooth operator.
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      03-18-2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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Right, but mine's an N54, so that's not really relevant. I just really want to know if anybody knows what my problem is/could be.
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      03-18-2013, 11:55 PM   #14
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LOL, will everybody that has never had this problem and has a PPK installed please chime in...

OP, you mention you have a Cobb and M3 transmission mounts....what else have you done, what map are you running, what fuel are you running, and how many miles on the car?
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      03-19-2013, 05:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveAZ View Post
LOL, will everybody that has never had this problem and has a PPK installed please chime in...
I was thinking the same thing! I thought it was just me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveAZ View Post
OP, you mention you have a Cobb and M3 transmission mounts....what else have you done, what map are you running, what fuel are you running, and how many miles on the car?
I'm currently running the Stage 1 Aggressive tune, I have the BMWP exhaust and resonator delete, and I also fitted a BMWP SSK and removed the CDV when I fitted the M3 tranny mounts. However, the idle threw the odd wobble before all the transmission mods. I'm fairly sure it did it before the Cobb tune, as well. I was told it was normal, but yesterday's strong throbs with the new plugs made me think otherwise. The wobbles didn't seem as strong again today though.

Car has just under 37k miles on the clock and I only run it on Shell VPower since I bought it last year on approx 34k miles. Shell VPower is a premium 99RON fuel that we have here in the UK. (I understand the octane ratings vary between the US and UK?)

Car appears to run fine (and smooth as butter) once it's revving. As I said before, no fault codes are logged on the ECU (that the Cobb AP can read anyway - can it read shadow codes?).
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      03-19-2013, 06:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
Ok, so just got home and connected the Cobb to do some fault diagnosis and... Nothing. No fault codes whatsoever.

Now I'm stumped. Only other odd symptoms I've had before is that on two separate occasions the car felt like it was shaking up and down, almost like I was driving over bumpy ground with an equal frequency of bumps, except the car was sat still, idling. First time I thought maybe the road was built over a bridge that couldn't be seen from the road and cars going past the other way were shaking the bridge up and down slightly, but the second time it was on a bit of road that definitely isn't raised or anything. It's almost like an imbalance in the engine or something, but only happens very occasionally. That particular feeling has only occurred twice in almost 8 months of ownership.
That is how a bad coil pack feels. Like you are driving on four square wheels or you just ran over some debris on the road.

It could be when you had your spark plugs change either one of the electrical connectors is not fully seated or a coil pack could have torn or broke. Its very common. Watch this video...

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      03-19-2013, 06:24 AM   #17
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Hi Dackel - it's possible, and that's what I was wondering, being that the plugs had just been changed before it got more severe feeling. Before the plug change it wasn't that noticable.

However, the Cobb isn't showing up any faults, so I'm not sure how to diagnose which coil pack it could be? Without any fault codes, it could be any of them. Or does the lack of fault codes mean that the coil packs are fine?
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      03-19-2013, 06:27 AM   #18
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I don't know about the Cobb's capabilities. I have one but it's just for a back end flash for fueling so I don't really mess with it much.

I've never really had the "strong throbs" but I will say it wasn't until recently that I got my car running pretty smooth. It was always pretty smooth between 2k and 6k..it was down low and up high that the inconsitancies would show.

I too bought mine use at 25K (it has 30K now) and it took me a while to work out the bugs. Frankly I'm still dialing it in...but probably always will be.

Driving it as a stock car initially it was fine and nobody probably ever would have noticed anything. But the minute I started putting power to it...the short comings appeared. I had noticed among other things a slight stumble at low rpms and showed as misfires at high rpms. Those were also caused by a few other things that I slowly worked out. Plugs didn't help the slight misfire...but I will say, since you have just had your plugs done...one of the things I did to the Bosch BMW plugs was to regap them as I had found they varied a bit, .035-.04ish IIRC. They are all at .030 now. One of the other things that helped...a good flushing of the fuel system. I used Redline SL1 and added an entire bottle to the tank with a gallon or so left in it. I then immediately drove that out keeping it to under 3k rpms and circled the gas station until it indicated just a couple miles remaining. I did that at the end of 2 consecutive tanks of fuel. That was one of the most notable differences I felt in my car as far as making it run smooth. Other things of course have been a leaky injector I found (in hindsight that was apparent in cold starts), the carbon cleaning I did (nothing huge there but still needed), and really just kind of going through the car pretty thoroughly as I had no idea what kind of fuel the previous owner put in the car just that the scheduled services were done.

Some of my stuff doesn't necessarily apply to your situation but the minute you start trying to run more fuel and air through it(aka power)...if anything had been neglected..it'll show up, or so I've learned. Now I'm pretty anal and meticulas about everything.

One other thing...don't know if you have access to any coding tools, but if you can get in to the error logs in INPA, I found a fair amount of errors in there that I cleared out. Not sure if they all showed up as codes through other means or not...not thinking so and I know they weren't currently showing anywhere but were in there. (that would worry me if I were under warranty)

Good luck getting it sorted out. Some may say it's normal, I'm not so sure of that...guess it all depends on your definition of "normal."
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      03-19-2013, 06:32 AM   #19
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Great, thanks for the advice. Is the fuel system cleaner really worth it? I thought all these fuel additives just did more harm than good? Will look into re-gapping the plugs, as it's not something I currently have any knowledge of. Can it be done once they've been used for a short while?
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      03-19-2013, 06:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
Great, thanks for the advice. Is the fuel system cleaner really worth it? I thought all these fuel additives just did more harm than good? Will look into re-gapping the plugs, as it's not something I currently have any knowledge of. Can it be done once they've been used for a short while?
If nothing else, I'd just check them..it's not hard but you will need a special BMW socket. And yes, using them for a short while has no bearing on that. Long term, yes as the electrodes will shrink and gap even further. This is why it's recommended that they are changed more often with a tuned car.

This wasn't so much an additive as a cleaner. I didn't want it in my tank for an extended period of time, so after talking to a german car specialist..this was how I chose to do the cleaning. A good douching and done with it
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      03-19-2013, 07:01 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
Hi Dackel - it's possible, and that's what I was wondering, being that the plugs had just been changed before it got more severe feeling. Before the plug change it wasn't that noticable.

However, the Cobb isn't showing up any faults, so I'm not sure how to diagnose which coil pack it could be? Without any fault codes, it could be any of them. Or does the lack of fault codes mean that the coil packs are fine?
You should remove each coil pack and check for any arc tracing. Also look for any cracks. Its not uncommon for the coil packs to split apart when trying to remove them. Maybe your tech was sloppy and broke one? Or maybe the electrical connector is not full seated. It happens.

Checking the spark plug gap isn't a bad idea either.


135i Spark Plug replacement DIY...
http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=602804



IF you continue to drive the car... your problem will only get worse with time and miles. You could have a bad injector too ? Did you ever have the injector recall done? Did they replace all six?

Dack
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      03-19-2013, 07:11 AM   #22
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Thanks both - I think that's a job for the weekend then. I was stood there whilst the tech did the job and he was as careful as he could have been, but number 6's hinged clip on the top came off and he had to clip it back on to get the coil pack out. Other than that he seemed pretty careful - the coil packs are pretty easy to break from what I've seen and read.

What will I see if they've been arcing? A burning/melting of the plastic?

As for checking the plugs, I have the right socket, but I guess I'll need a tool of some sort to check the gapping? How do I adjust the gapping though?

As far as the injectors, I have no idea how many were replaced, but they were done when the car was less than a year old, along with the HPFP. I think the first owner of the car was a BMW garage, so they appear to have just done both in one go, to be safe.

With regards to the injector cleaner, do I have to change my oil after doing this, or should the cleaner not result in any deposits in the oil?
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