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BMW E36 3 Series 1992-1998 (318i/s/ti, 320i, 323i, 325i/s, 328i/s, M3, conv) 325I E36 M50 idle variability

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Registered: 03/09/11
325I E36 M50 idle variability
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 9:15 PM
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Type code CB41
Type 325I (EUR)
Dev. series E36 (4)
Engine M50
Transmission HECK
Gearbox AUTO
Prod. date 1991-09-04
76,428.656 miles (like new)


  • Hard to start after sitting more than about 5 minutes. Sometimes when really cold not so hard to start. Hard = 10 seconds or so on the starting motor. Two tries never needed. When hot and sitting less than about 5 minutes either starts immediately or backfires throwing off tube to idle speed control valve. Backfire is rare, about once a week and the car is used daily with about 4 starts a day.
  • When started no idle speed control for about 30 seconds. You have to feed it gas to avoid a stall. After 30 seconds idle control kicks in fine.
  • Once idle control kicks in, idle varies noticeably but does not stall. This idle variability is present in park or when breaks are on. Under load (no breaks on) forward or reverse, even without any foot on the gas, the idle is fine.

Attempts at repair (by reliable garage):

  • Checked all hoses for vacuum leaks, replaced one, cleaned out idle control valve. No change. Another backfire also occurred.
  • Cleaned so no carbon deposits to cause backfire. Replaced idle control valve with one from my parts car that runs fine. No Change.

Looking for advice. Thanks in advance.

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