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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > Shop Can't Diagnose: Intermittent Limp Mode (Engine, DSC, DBC, etc Malfunction)



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      06-03-2016, 05:48 PM   #1
lug
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Shop Can't Diagnose: Intermittent Limp Mode (Engine, DSC, DBC, etc Malfunction)

My 2011 E90 328i with 53k has been having some intermittent issues on cold start-up.

It started earlier this week where the car will crank and start, but it immediately begins to roughly idle and the iDrive angrily shows Engine Malfunction, Malfunction in Drive, DBC Malfunction, Start-off assistance inactive, and DSC Malfunction. I also get an SES light.



The car will accelerate with extremely limited power, and ultimately I park it and shut it off because this thing in limp mode has about as much power as a lawn mower. This happened on multiple occasions, and I would shut the car off and restart it, just for the same warnings and rough idling to begin again. But then I shut it off again and would wait a few minutes, restart it, and the car runs as if nothing ever happened. Subsequent warm start-ups seem to be drama free.

I am able to pull the generic codes with an OBDII scanner but I got a bunch of seemingly unrelated codes or ones I couldn't find (P103a, p105b, P1056, B2aaa whatever those are). Using a Bavarian Technic tool, seemingly every module has some kind of error, so I thought this was some kind of low voltage issue making the ECU go crazy on cold starts.

Replacing the battery and registering it with the Bavarian Technic tool on Wednesday, seemed to help. But when I tried to start her up Thursday morning, same story as before except now it would stay in this limp mode even after multiple start-up attempts.

Long story short, I had to get a tow and left it at an indy shop, and naturally they are unable to reproduce whatever the malfunction is. They said there were a bunch of strange errors like when I pulled them up with the BT tool. They took a look at the alternator and claim it's working fine, and everything else looks good. They cleared the codes and had no problems on their test drives yesterday and today.

If anyone has any answers or input, I'd appreciate it! I'd like to not have to worry about getting stranded because my car decides it's tired and intermittently goes into limp mode.

I haven't had any success with searches. Some E92 M3s seem to have a similar issue related to a throttle actuator but they have a specific P0638 code for it.

Edit: The only work done on the car in the last 5k are spark plugs and coils, accessory belt and tensioner, oil change, and the brakes were bled.
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Last edited by lug; 06-04-2016 at 01:03 PM.
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      06-03-2016, 09:39 PM   #2
John 070
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When my car was about 2, it acted like that sporadically, and BMW replaced the DME. Never happened again.....
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      06-04-2016, 01:00 PM   #3
lug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John 070 View Post
When my car was about 2, it acted like that sporadically, and BMW replaced the DME. Never happened again.....
Yikes... the DME on these cars costs $1300, I sure hope that's not what's going on. That's quite an expensive part to throw on the car and hope that was the issue.

Is there any way to rule out a busted DME/is that something the shop wouldn't look into?
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      06-07-2016, 01:43 PM   #4
lug
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Just wanted to update anybody who is interested/has similar symptoms in the future.

The shop was unable to start the car yesterday morning. It was turning over, and was getting fuel, but no spark.

No codes or SES light, but the mechanic had seen this before with E90s that have a malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor. They swapped in a new one and the car has been running just fine since then with no codes.

I'm just concerned the car didn't throw any codes, but perhaps they were hidden in all the weird codes that we cleared from before. Hopefully this fixes it, but I'll update again if the problem persists.

Anyway, if you have this problem, the crankshaft position sensor looks easy enough to get to and swap out. Pelican has a quick DIY http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...eplacement.htm
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      06-07-2016, 03:06 PM   #5
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I've been telling my story lately....when my car was between 2 and 3, it would unexpectedly stall with no codes. After multiple cannot duplicate at the dealership, they witnessed the issue, and could not find any resolution nor any codes other than DSC, which would happen if the car stalled while driving. BMW instructed them to replace the DME, and there was never an issue again. The frustrating part was no codes, which in the diagnostic world, seems to be no problem.

I also notice today, that the bavtech software may show no codes, but the rheingold ista-d still displays stored codes. Not sure why the mismatch.
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      06-09-2016, 06:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lug View Post
Just wanted to update anybody who is interested/has similar symptoms in the future.

The shop was unable to start the car yesterday morning. It was turning over, and was getting fuel, but no spark.

No codes or SES light, but the mechanic had seen this before with E90s that have a malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor. They swapped in a new one and the car has been running just fine since then with no codes.

I'm just concerned the car didn't throw any codes, but perhaps they were hidden in all the weird codes that we cleared from before. Hopefully this fixes it, but I'll update again if the problem persists.

Anyway, if you have this problem, the crankshaft position sensor looks easy enough to get to and swap out. Pelican has a quick DIY http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...eplacement.htm
Have they tested the alternator? I was having some funky issues with a bad alternator that caused similar issues due to inconsistent electrical output - car would start and immediately throw a crap ton of weird unrelated error codes, tcu, dsc, water pump, all "failing" at the same time.

Replaced the alternator a few days ago and problem was resolved.
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