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Palmo

2012 535d (313ps) - engine hunting from cold

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Hi All,

 

I would be really greatful if someone could give me their opinion on an issue(s) I have started to get on my car..... hope no one minds the questions with it being only my second post on here.....

 

It's a 2012 535d which I bought around 3 months ago with only 21.5k miles on the clock. Since then I have covered approx. 5k miles taking it to 26.5k miles. The car is fantastic, fully loaded and drives extremely well in the main. However, (there had to be didn't there......) in the past month, I have noticed that ocassionally when starting from cold (although not all the time) the engine will fire straight up and settle to a 'perfect' idle for around 5-10 seconds and then begins to 'hunt' if I don't drive straight off. It's not horrendous and a few blips of the thottle or pulling away seem to clear it almost immediately. It then never re-appears until a cold start, but again probably only happen once in every 5-10 cold starts.

 

I previously owned an e60 525d (3.0 197) from new for 10 plus years and know they suffer from failing glow plugs and glow plug modules. I did experience this on that old car a few times over the years but there were always fault codes and that hunted / vibrated immediately it fired up and was different to how this feels on my 'new' car. I have scanned it and there are no codes indicating a problem with the glow plug system or indeed anything else.

 

Since buying the car and since this issue began to ocurr, I have personally given it a full comprehensive service (despite being told it had just been done and the service record verify's this - I was a technician on the side in a past life working for a family business) including all filters (oil, air, fuel & pollen) engine oil etc. all using OEM parts. This has made no difference to it, although I did note the car was still fitted with the original fuel filter when I changed it. I also use only Shell V-Power premium diesel (although I have tried BP Ultimate Diesel a few times), but never 'cheap' supermarket diesel, but can't say what it was run on for the first 21.5k miles. The car has spent it's life in Central London covering 18k miles in the first 18 or so months of it's life and then only covered approx. 2.5k miles in the past 4.5 years, so has been stood a lot.

 

I have checked the EGR to see if this was carboned up and it wasn't too bad to be honest at all, I have also removed and cleaned the boost (MAP) sensor from the manifold (there was a little carbon) and also the MAF sensor, non have made a difference. I have however recenlty noticed a small pool of what appears to be diesel at the base of the first 5 injectors, but nothing around the 6th. I cannot see any leaks from spill pipes or from the injector body or unions, although I checked the latter are tight and whilst they were not 'slack' a few were not fully tight either which has made me wonder if they have previously been slackened - maybe due to it being stood and to bleed the system??? Anyway, don't know if this is related but have cleaned it out spotless and am monitoring to see if any more diesel reforms.

 

One other point, the car pulls and performs extremely well from a standing start, but the mid-range - from say 50mph onwards - is not what I was expecting. No hesitation or misfiring or anything like that, just not got the pull I thought it would have. My dad has a BMW E63 635d (2010 - M57 engine) and wife a BMW E92 335d (2008 - again M57 engine) and both feel to have a stronger mid-range pull which has surprised me. So wondering if I do have a bigger underlying issue? I realise the F10 is bigger and weighs more, but with the later N57 313ps engine versus the earlier 286ps M57 engines on the other cars and also having the later 8 speed ZF box, I expected it to pull a little 'harder'.

 

I'm wondering if it's worth checking for carbon in the inlet manifold?

 

Sorry for the longish post, thoughts / comments would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by Palmo

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I had a 2011 530d that did the exact same as you describe on start up, some mornings it would be worse than others but only lasted 5-10 seconds, others it wouldn't do it at all. I was told it could be glow plugs or the glow plug controller so had these changed. tbh I was not fully confident they changed every plug as it remied it quite a bit but not totally so I ended up living with it.

 

By similarity my car was also a central London car and when i took it to the dealer they advised they classed it as a 'low mileage car' and not in a good way (mine had 54k on it when i bought it with a fbmwsh. So at this point they advised if they stripped it down and found it was due to carbon then I'd have to foot the bill.

Mine never showed any codes other than something about the swirl flaps being misaligned or similar and I ended up leaving it until I sold it 6 weeks ago.

 

It drove fine and went really well other than the above and had 120k when I sold it.

 

Good luck in diagnosing and I'll be watching for updates.

 

Oh, and get some photos of the car up, we all like to see new metal.

Edited by sshooie

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Yes i had the same,  only ever happened when the car was first started and always settled down. Once the glow plug controller was swapped over and everything was prefect again.

 

Mine occurred at 55K.

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1 minute ago, sshooie said:

I had a 2011 530d that did the exact same as you describe on start up, some mornings it would be worse than others but only lasted 5-10 seconds, others it wouldn't do it at all. I was told it could be glow plugs or the glow plug controller so had these changed. tbh I was now confident they changed every plug as it remied it quite a bit but not totally so I ended up living with it.

 

By similarity my car was also a central London car and when i took it to the dealer they advised they classed it as a 'low mileage car' and not in a good way (mine had 54k on it when i bought it with a fbmwsh. So at this point they advised if they stripped it down and found it was due to carbon then I'd have to foot the bill.

Mine never showed any codes other than something about the swirl flaps being misaligned or similar and I ended up leaving it until I sold it 6 weeks ago.

 

It drove fine and went really well other than the above and had 120k when I sold it.

 

Good luck in diagnosing and I'll be watching for updates.

 

Oh, and get some photos of the car up, we all like to see new metal.

Thanks for the super fast reply.

 

Some coincidences there then! I love the car and am extremely pleased with it and the spec. It does drive very well, just this issue with the 'some' cold starts and my perception of lower than expected mid-range pull. I'm thinking it's maybe time to strip the inlet manifold off to check for carbon - something I am capable of doing, but just interested to see other's thoughts / experiences and advice first.

 

I will certainly update with what I find and also post some pics up!

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1 minute ago, roundy said:

Yes i had the same,  only ever happened when the car was first started and always settled down. Once the glow plug controller was swapped over and everything was prefect again.

 

Mine occurred at 55K.

Thanks for comments.

 

OK, interesting. Did you have any codes? I know the controller usually showed up with fault codes for all glow plugs on the earlier e60's, but a finding my feet on this one..... and the fact I have no codes was making me wonder on this car?

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5 minutes ago, sshooie said:

Oh, I forgot to add, I had the indi strip the manifold and clean it, he said it was pretty hacky as you'd expect but it didn't cure the misfire.

Hhhhhhmmmm - thinking this is my next step, along with maybe glowplugs / controller?

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I go plugs/controller first, but certainly a 2012 plate with your low mileage, especially a big city car I'd look to decoke too.

 

Make sure you take plenty of pics for us too, it would be a nice 'to do' for a lot on here.

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41 minutes ago, sshooie said:

I go plugs/controller first, but certainly a 2012 plate with your low mileage, especially a big city car I'd look to decoke too.

 

Make sure you take plenty of pics for us too, it would be a nice 'to do' for a lot on here.

I might take a look at inlet later today / over the weekend. Someone elsewhere has suggested that, as you say, with it being a city car and so low miles on a 12 plate, that it may indeed be coked up (I guess highly likely, and with a fiar chance of having 'poor' fuel as lots of people use) and therefore causing issues with the swirl flaps opening and closing...... as I understand it, the swirl flaps are only used during idling / low rpm and are otherwise closed? But if they are being restricted in moving maybe that could explain why this only happens 5 - 10 seconds after firing up and not immediately - presumably as the flaps may begin to move? Maybe I'm completely on the wrong track though and not fully understanding how the system works?  I'll let you know and take some pics.....

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11 hours ago, Palmo said:

Thanks for comments.

 

OK, interesting. Did you have any codes? I know the controller usually showed up with fault codes for all glow plugs on the earlier e60's, but a finding my feet on this one..... and the fact I have no codes was making me wonder on this car?

Yes, mine showed the relay and all plugs were at fault so at the time i just had all of it done. 

 

Still find it hard to believe they were all faulty, think it was more the replay plug throwing up errors etc.

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So, I took the opportunity this afternoon and stripped the inlet manifold off. Much simpler than the older M57 engine in some ways, and more arkward in others. Not too bad a job in total though!

 

The metal insert from the EGR cooler was fairly carboned up and both the inlet bend from the throttle-body and inlet manifold itself were coked up too - not the worst but certainly not the cleanest. The interesting bit is that the swirl flaps, when fully opened, were sticking a little against the motor due to a layer of carbon in the flap seat. The swirl flap design, as most other things, is totally different to the earlier engines which I have always de-flapped, but these don’t look as potentially troublesome so will be leaving alone for now.

 

First impressions upon starting the car after fully stripping, cleaning and re-assembly everything...... very smooth idle, and then smooth on the short initial test drive. So, time will only tell if this has helped with the random cold start hunting issue! 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, roundy said:

Yes, mine showed the relay and all plugs were at fault so at the time i just had all of it done. 

 

Still find it hard to believe they were all faulty, think it was more the replay plug throwing up errors etc.

 

Trouble is mine isn’t showing any codes, hence why I’m hesitating changing the glow plugs / module for nothing. The advantage on the N57 engine, unlike the M57 engine, it looks like the glow plugs and module can be changed without the need to remove the inlet manifold. 

 

If codes are showing for all glow plugs that usually indicates the module is faulty, but to be honest I think it’s good practice to change all the plugs and the module in those cases. Afterall, the glowplugs do more than just help start the engine.

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Cracked egr inlet pipe from the engine? Easy to sniff out on a cold start from next to the egr valve but i think more likely to be what others have said about glow plugs /controller. 

How long did you strip down and rebuild take, im not planning on removing the egr as it was replaced this year but always concerned with sooty inlet manifolds! 

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27 minutes ago, SuperDave said:

Cracked egr inlet pipe from the engine? Easy to sniff out on a cold start from next to the egr valve but i think more likely to be what others have said about glow plugs /controller. 

How long did you strip down and rebuild take, im not planning on removing the egr as it was replaced this year but always concerned with sooty inlet manifolds! 

 

I don’t have any strange smells at all either when starting the car or when it’s running and it starts the ‘hunting’ / vibration.

 

Strip down took around 1.5 hours (taking my time as never done one of these before), cleaning parts took around 2 hours and another hour so so to rebuild, so around 4.5 hours in total. However, if I were to do it again having now done it once it could probably be done a good hour or so quicker - it’s the cleaning that takes the time, especially without the use of a proper cleaning bay like used in garages. I used carb cleaner, brake cleaner and petrol to soak it and finished off using a high power jet wash - it’s come up perfect, but didn’t get a pic afterwards.....

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So quick update on this - started car up a little earlier from cold and it idled ‘perfectly’ - smooth, no hunting, no vibrations at all, the best it ever has from cold since I have had it.

 

That said, it hasn’t always done the hunting thing from cold, but early signs are very promising following the inlet manifold clean yesterday. This has me wondering if it may indeed have been related to the swirl flaps, which as I said in a previous post yesterday, were sticking as a result of carbon build up.

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Engine is still much smoother on cold starts which is great and looks like the inlet decoke has worked! But I still think the engine is a little flatter, in power terms, between say 50-80mph. It launches awesome - very impressive but the mid-range just isn’t what I would expect. Maybe my expectations are too high?

 

Going to look at the injectors this weekend as there are trace sign’s of diesel re-appearing around the base of them again. Ordered new o-rings and washers and am going to remove each and take it from there. The smooth running readings on diagnostic equipment are very good, so don’t think there is actually an issue with any of them, just maybe not sealing correctly? 

 

Anyone had issues with injectors not fully sealing on the N57 engine?

Edited by Palmo

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26 minutes ago, Palmo said:

Engine is still much smoother on cold starts which is great and looks like the inlet decoke has worked! But I still think the engine is a little flatter, in power terms, between say 50-80mph. It launches awesome - very impressive but the mid-range just isn’t what I would expect. Maybe my expectations are too high?

 

Going to look at the injectors this weekend as there are trace sign’s of diesel re-appearing around the base of them again. Ordered new o-rings and washers and am going to remove each and take it from there. The smooth running readings on diagnostic equipment are very good, so don’t think there is actually an issue with any of them, just maybe not sealing correctly? 

 

Anyone had issues with injectors not fully sealing on the N57 engine?

 

They're generally pretty good. Do you have an injector seat cutter?

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13 hours ago, Mashed Potatoes said:

 

They're generally pretty good. Do you have an injector seat cutter?

No I don’t. Is the seat likely to be that bad? Was just thinking I would clean it up the best I can - is that not likely to work.....?

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13 hours ago, SuperDave said:

Remember its pretty warm so your intercooler right now isnt helping much. Water spray!? 

That’s a good point, but it’s been the same since I got the car when the weather was much cooler and it still launches now amazingly for the size of the car..... this post makes it sound like I’m drag racing the car from every set of lights.....lol!

 

It’s only more in the mid-range where I would expect it to be strong than it feels like it is. Over the past few days I have driven my wife’s e92 335d (stock) and my dad’s e63 635d (stock) and both feel much stronger in the mid-range. I get they at lighter but both have the older M57 286ps engine and zfhp6 versus the newer N57 313ps and zfhp8 which I would have thought would have been noticeablely quicker.....?

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Maybe its gearing with the 8speed going too long? have to say mine is also proving more than quick enough even in the hot weather but the shove you get when you put your foot down under 60 does seem to disappear a little bit at higher speeds as well. Maybe I'm just being greedy!

Edited by SuperDave

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3 hours ago, SuperDave said:

Maybe its gearing with the 8speed going too long? have to say mine is also proving more than quick enough even in the hot weather but the shove you get when you put your foot down under 60 does seem to disappear a little bit at higher speeds as well. Maybe I'm just being greedy!

Hhhhmmm - I’m not sure what it is? As I keep saying, from a standstill it feels rapid. But when following another car say on an A road and then pulling out to pass it just doesn’t seem to have the same amazing pull. Maybe it’s because it’s so refined (relatively) but having said that I have passed a few ‘lower powered’ cars that took much longer to pass than expected, which re-enforces the feeling it doesn’t quite have the kick - it’s almost the point where the larger turbo takes over that it seems a little flatter - maybe I do have an issue? Went out again today (as a passenger) in my dad’s e63 635d and that does defo ‘feel’ to have better pull mid-range. Think the only way is to either time them or drive behind each other and see what the difference is........

 

Got to say moving from 11 years of e60 ownership (which I loved) I am equally (if not more) loving the f10 though, what a fabulous car throughout. So capable all round - I also have the adaptive drive option which does give best of all worlds - comfort and very respectable, flat handling for such a big car - all in one package! Love it!

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