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      04-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #1
Three_thirty_I
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N52 timing/pinging??

I am really hoping some technically minded resident members will see this and be able to help.

Symptoms:
There is a pinging (rattling) noise from the engine under moderate acceleration and in some cases on gear changes, and this is heard even when the engine is still cold which is confusing since it is then not from an over-lean fuel air mixture. This is not the HVA ticking noise! The pinging is only heard while the engine is under load and driving. At low revs the engine stumbles with larger throttle opening, for example 2nd or 3rd gear from yield stops etc. And at around 3200 rpm there is a noticeable but brief dip in power, before replacing the DISA flaps and cleaning the Vanos solenoids this used to be from 3000 rpm to 4500 rpm. But generally the mid revs still feel very lacking in power compared to what is expected.

My '05 E90 330i 6MT (62-69k km) which has the N52B30 motor (190KW/300NM) has been suffering with a pinging problem for almost a year now. The agents could not sort it out when I took it to them whilst still under motorplan. They were also the ones that diagnosed it as pinging to begin with, and all they ended up doing was updating the software, clearing adaptations and checking for loose exhaust mounts. None of which helped in the end and the car was soon off motorplan due to time running out. But on visits back before motorplan had come to an end, the mechs kept insisting that it is normal, and with our fuel, and the 320i's are even worse, or the automatics are even worse - basically the usual "this is normal" BS! Also what did not help was that no codes ever came up, so obviously the car is fine. But the pinging noise persisted and I have posted plenty already on this forum (and others) regarding all of this and my various DIY endeavours to sort this out or have it sorted out.

Things done after an independent so called specialist looked at the car:
Replaced both DISA flaps due to them suspected this was the source of the noise claiming that the engine was not pinging. They also reported that the engine was running cold and at first blamed the thermostat, then later decided that it was one or both of the temperature sensors for engine block coolant and coolant from the radiator - both now replaced. They also reported that the Valvetronic motor was out of spec by 10% which from my understanding means that it's not able to reach the min and max positions of adjustment. With this info at the time I took the car back to the same agent so that they could run further tests and replace these suspected items. But as usual, their equipment found no faults and nothing more was done other than wasting my time. I then DIY replaced the DISA flaps and more recently the temperature sensors. Noise still there and temperatures still too cold.

Other things done in and around the time:
Replaced the spark plugs with new Bosch FR7NPP332 with the factory specified 1mm gap, no difference. Ran a tank of 95 octane unleaded petrol (the fuel always used in the car) with a can of LiquiMoly Injector Cleaner, no difference. Then cleaned both Vanos solenoids, no difference. End of last year I ran a tank with 3 Ron octane booster, no difference either!

Took the car to another dealer and had their workshop foreman take the car for a drive explaining to him the history of the car and what has all been done. Now he suggests opening the engine up to check the cam timing. Now this is chain driven, so I am not sure how this can go out in the first place, but I suspect he is talking about the cam position sensor gears??

So this is where I need advice:

Can the timing, or to be precise, the timing sensor gears be out enough to cause pinging and performance issues without showing any error codes? Being out of motorplan means that I am going to have to foot the bill for this which may or may not solve the problem. Other things that I am considering having tested is the fuel pump pressure and then if that is fine, have the injectors tested, but again, looking at a costly exercise that's not going to fix anything but merely see if anything is wrong with those components.

Timing adjustment for E90 330i N52



In the end, BMW has let me down hugely with this, and I would be very reluctant to buy another car from them, especially the newer models.
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      04-20-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
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The symptoms you're describing are also common with clogged catalytic converters (pinging and loss of power). Don't know if you've checked there.

Timing can cause the pinging and rough idle. So that is also something to check like the dealer wants. I know you said you cleaned the vanos....hmm, not sure where to point you from here.

I have zero idea of why the car would be running at such a low operating temp. Seems like the next object to look at is the thermostat.


Finally, I know you said you're no longer under warranty. However, you did take it in while under warranty and complain about the issues only to be brushed off. This seems like something I would take up with the service manager or directly to BMW. You asked for it to be fixed before warranty ran out and they didn't fix it. Now the problem has gotten worse...I would fight to be sure it was on their dime for not correcting the problem.
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      04-27-2013, 10:02 PM   #3
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My 06 330i ( N52B30) also has pinging at moderate to heavy throttle between 2 - 3'ish,000 rpm. I've noticed its more prevalent when the engine is running at normal temp mode (around 100-105 celsius). Not as much or none when operating in high output mode (around 80 cel).
Since you mentioned you are constantly running around 80 deg cel, then I would check for issues with your fuel system. Can you be suffering from some type of blockage that would reduce fuel pressure during moderate throttle operation? You also mentioned "At low revs the engine stumbles with larger throttle opening". That makes me suspect a fuel or ignition related issue. I know you don't want to continue to throw money at this, but I would first rule out that the integrated fuel filter is not clogged by replacing it. I think the move of the fuel filter into the tank is new for the E90, so I'm not sure there's any reliable service history with how long they actually last.
Is there a way for you to monitor your fuel pressure and air/fuel ratio while the engine is running under moderate load at low RPM? Maybe you can ask if any local dyno shops can help with that.

Good Luck!
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      04-27-2013, 10:43 PM   #4
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I am not very fluent with the N52 engine, but I recall seeing someone have issues with their engine similar to yours. I am not sure but it could be this http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=697252 , give it a shot if you have not already replaced it.
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      04-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebermeister View Post
That makes me suspect a fuel or ignition related issue.
+1

You seem to have covered all the obvious possibilities. But when you think about what pinging (or 'pinking' as we call it in the UK) is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_...g#Pre-ignition

I think it has to be either a fuel issue, an ignition timing issue or excessive carbon build-up in the combustion chambers. My only other thought is, I believe your engine will be fitted with one or more knock sensors (my N53 is). And I wonder if they are working properly, as they should cancel out pinging once it starts, by adjusting the timing.

My car suffered pinging while driving in Europe last summer, but it seemed to be due to poor (Italian) petrol. A couple of tanks of Shell V-Power seemed to sort it...

If I think of anything else I'll add to the debate as it progresses...
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      04-28-2013, 08:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebermeister View Post
My 06 330i ( N52B30) also has pinging at moderate to heavy throttle between 2 - 3'ish,000 rpm. I've noticed its more prevalent when the engine is running at normal temp mode (around 100-105 celsius). Not as much or none when operating in high output mode (around 80 cel).
Since you mentioned you are constantly running around 80 deg cel, then I would check for issues with your fuel system. Can you be suffering from some type of blockage that would reduce fuel pressure during moderate throttle operation? You also mentioned "At low revs the engine stumbles with larger throttle opening". That makes me suspect a fuel or ignition related issue. I know you don't want to continue to throw money at this, but I would first rule out that the integrated fuel filter is not clogged by replacing it. I think the move of the fuel filter into the tank is new for the E90, so I'm not sure there's any reliable service history with how long they actually last.
Is there a way for you to monitor your fuel pressure and air/fuel ratio while the engine is running under moderate load at low RPM? Maybe you can ask if any local dyno shops can help with that.

Good Luck!
Thanks for the reply! Wow, sounds so similar is nature to what mine is doing. Just the temperature ranges that seems different. But mine as said already seems to be stuck at the 80 Celsius temperature mode which is odd, however I took a video of the instrument cluster last weekend with the engine coolant temperature showing with the car from cold start, and while it was sitting around 77 - 84 Celcius most of the time, strangely it did on two different occasions briefly climb to 99 and just over 100 Celcius. But made no sense for the sudden climb and then drop based on what the car was doing. First instance it went to 99 Celcius and this was 5 or so minutes after cold start while the engine was still warming up as such, then the second instance the car was simply cruising at 120 km/h on a level road. Giving it horns or driving sedately makes not difference to the temperature other than the 77 - 84 Celcius fluctuation. Other thing is the fluctuations are very quick changing!

So from this instance, I am still wondering if the thermostat is faulty or if the ECU is causing it to malfunction, the former being more of a concern of course. As mentioned, both temperature sensors were replaced with no change to the temperatures shown, so ruled out this as being incorrect readings.

Now that you mention fuelling, this has been something that I have been suspecting, but somehow strange that it does not affect performance at higher engine speeds and WOT. But some time ago I do remember testing the hesitation and noticing something odd - you would be cruising and then put your foot down and experience the hesitation, but if you immediately back off and then try again it's fine. It's almost as if the engine goes into some sort of relaxed mode and has to "wake up" again before it accelerates.

The fuel filters are never replaced on these cars, so it is so plausible that there could be a blockage, so been thinking of having this replaced which I gather is built into the fuel tank. But I think I need to take my car to a Bosch service centre and have them test the fuel system to see that there is sufficient and consistent pressure, and then if nothing is wrong, have the injectors pulled and tested too.

It would be so awesome if I could get this issue sorted out, because it is driving me nuts!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherj View Post
I am not very fluent with the N52 engine, but I recall seeing someone have issues with their engine similar to yours. I am not sure but it could be this http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=697252 , give it a shot if you have not already replaced it.
Thanks! I know about this issue and usually it is accompanied by a terribly rough idle which I don't have, not to say that this is not an issue though, and if I was going to have them set the timing I would simply have them replace this sensor anyway since it is accessible.

But what is interesting about that thread which relates to my car's problems, is that no codes come up, so as far as the agents are concerned, the car and engine is fine when clearly it isn't! So annoying!!!
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      04-28-2013, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil325i View Post
+1

You seem to have covered all the obvious possibilities. But when you think about what pinging (or 'pinking' as we call it in the UK) is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_...g#Pre-ignition

I think it has to be either a fuel issue, an ignition timing issue or excessive carbon build-up in the combustion chambers. My only other thought is, I believe your engine will be fitted with one or more knock sensors (my N53 is). And I wonder if they are working properly, as they should cancel out pinging once it starts, by adjusting the timing.

My car suffered pinging while driving in Europe last summer, but it seemed to be due to poor (Italian) petrol. A couple of tanks of Shell V-Power seemed to sort it...

If I think of anything else I'll add to the debate as it progresses...
In the case of my car, I highly doubt that it is a carbon build-up problem and the engine has plenty of chance to burn off any carbon deposits that may form. Also when I changed the spark plugs last year they were fairly clean and had no signs of carbon build-up, at least not excessive.

These engines do have knock sensors in the way of one for cylinders 1 - 3 and then another for cylinders 4 - 6. But this was tested and confirmed as functioning normally. This leave timing and fuelling as the cause.
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      05-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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I've been thinking more about this. Since you had your car for this issue at the Agents/dealer while under motor plan/ warranty, with out it being corrected, try reaching out to a BMW Corporate Representative in your area. See about trying to get an technical case open directly with BMW Corp to have a senior corporate tech diagnose what the local dealer could not. The master tech with his equipment might have access to real time data that Independent Mechanics would not.

I'm curious if your air-fuel ratio is too lean during partial throttle at lower RPM. If so, what is causing it? Mechanical, fuel, or software?

If no luck getting time with a BMW Corporate Tech, I think a BMW friendly turner with a dyno should have the equipment to get proper data.

I think my 330 is a VB30 production code. If our 330's are close to identical and can help in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.
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