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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Dec-10-2017, 10:47:41 PM   #1
alexjames23
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Default Car starts, then dies? Throwing TPS Codes? Clean your MAF.

Just want to help the E46M public with what seems like a common problem.

I'll try not to bore you all with the story, but my friend was prepping for a track day at PBIR. The car drove down to the track without a problem. Then on the paced laps, the car sputtered a little, then went into limp mode. Upon slowing down and coming to a stop, it died. When he tried to restart it, it would start then die completely (battery still on). Initially, no codes were popping up, then eventually we got a few...

Problem: Car starts, then immediately dies. Car throws codes for Throttle Position Sensor (P0121, P0123, P0221).

What would the next step be using common sense and logical thinking? Replace the TPS(s). Luckily my friend wasn't in any rush to get the car back up and running, so he avoided paying the stealerships $150 (Yes, Braman in West Palm charges this for a TPS).

After lots of scratching heads, and hours of replacing multiple TPSs, I resorted back to my bad start troubleshooting a few years back, which called for cleaning the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF). We removed the MAF, and it started and idled like it should. I would presume unplugging the MAF forces the ECU into open loop, so it just reads from tables instead of requiring feedback from sensors like O2 sensors and the MAF. Anyways..

Will this solve your problem? Simply unplug MAF > Start car. If it idles like normal, then read below. If not, I've heard other people with similar symptoms holding down the gas pedal during start, or unplugging battery for an hour to solve it - Try those.

Solution: Clean MAF with MAF cleaner thoroughly. If that doesn't work, replace MAF Sensor.

Hope this saves people with a similar problem lots of money and time in the future!
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Last edited by alexjames23; Sun, Dec-10-2017 at 10:51:37 PM.
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Discussing Just learned something new about our racks in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)