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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 Wed, Sep-26-2018, 08:27:51 PM   #1
nascar_acj
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Default Limp mode but no check engine light?

Hey guys, my 05 M3 is trying to shit a brick again after being hardly driven all year (up to a whopping 1,500 miles since Jan!) About 7 weeks ago I drove it about 3 hours round trip, it seemed great, then a few days later I'm leaving my neighborhood and it misfires, goes into limp mode, check engine light comes on, so I head home and as I'm pulling into my driveway the light goes off, full power is restored and it sounds fine (!?!?!?!) so I park it in my garage anyways and go to another car and leave it. I later scanned to see if any codes stored and it showed a Cylinder 1 misfire. However, it was no longer misfiring, so I didn't care to tear it apart yet to go changing coils again. Around 3 weeks in I fired it up to see if anything showed up again, it ran fine just idling for about 10 mins. I turned it off, locked it up and walked away.

Now fast forward 7 weeks since the original misfire, due to personal issues I hadn't had the time to mess with it and just drove my trusty Honda. I went to start it mainly because the last time it sat over a month the battery was dead as hell. Fuel pump was a weak prime whine like the battery was going out, and it took a couple cranks to get it to start, but it did and it sounded fine. No codes. I left it running for about 10 mins and heard one rough stumble, kept waiting and then the check engine light came on. Scanned it, just my pesky coolant thermostat light. Cleared it. Refired, no issues, waited and five minutes later it sounds like all hell is breaking loose and I get in and its a super rough idle, felt exactly like limp mode, NO CHECK ENGINE LIGHT, gave it a little throttle and still running rough as hell, but still no check engine light.

Where do I even start here? I feel like I have nothing to go off of. I can't trust it enough to drive around and hope it doesn't kick the bucket on me.

Just need a little guidance! TIA
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Old Wed, Sep-26-2018, 09:33:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Limp mode but no check engine light?

You said it yourself...coils.
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Old Thu, Sep-27-2018, 02:47:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Limp mode but no check engine light?

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Originally Posted by Goose81 View Post
You said it yourself...coils.
Shouldn't I be getting a misfire code as I did before? Every time I've ever had a coil go bad, it's given a misfire code. I would just fix whichever doesn't respond when I pop it open, but the damn thing isn't even losing power every time I run it! It's so intermittent I don't even have time to catch which it is before full power comes back. I have a spare coil ready to roll but I feel like this car is screwing with me at this point.

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Old Thu, Sep-27-2018, 02:58:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Limp mode but no check engine light?

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Originally Posted by nascar_acj View Post
Shouldn't I be getting a misfire code as I did before? Every time I've ever had a coil go bad, it's given a misfire code. I would just fix whichever doesn't respond when I pop it open, but the damn thing isn't even losing power every time I run it! It's so intermittent I don't even have time to catch which it is before full power comes back. I have a spare coil ready to roll but I feel like this car is screwing with me at this point.

True, code p0306. Could be a bad spark plug or injector.
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Old Thu, Sep-27-2018, 04:13:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Limp mode but no check engine light?

Coils, plugs, fuel pump, fuel filter, bad gas, MAF, could be lots of things. You need to drive it and see if it throws a code. When was the last time you changed/replaced/serviced the above?
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Old Fri, Sep-28-2018, 02:03:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Limp mode but no check engine light?

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Originally Posted by Texaz3 View Post
Coils, plugs, fuel pump, fuel filter, bad gas, MAF, could be lots of things. You need to drive it and see if it throws a code. When was the last time you changed/replaced/serviced the above?
Coils have been changed over time, 5/6 have been replaced from original, all within the last 20k miles, but due to being a dumbass I didn't label which were new or old. Mainly because it's typically a "I have a spare in my trunk" and I swapped one or two at a time instead of the whole set.

All spark plugs were replaced around 6k miles or so ago. MAF sensor was cleaned at the same time.

Fuel filter and pump are the original. Wouldn't a failing fuel pump basically kick the bucket? Not just send it into limp mode without a code? I just replaced the fuel pump on my Ram and it left me stranded with no symptoms beforehand. Prime on the M3 was weak (sounded like a squeak) on start up due to the battery being just about dead from sitting. It did start though with a longer crank. Then when I shut it off and restarted it primed normally the several times after. Any chance a weak battery is the culprit? Voltage is fine when it's been running for a bit. However, if it sits more than around three weeks it either needs a jump or takes a bit more effort to crank.

Fuel in the tank is 93, filled up from empty, driven down to around 3/4 a tank. Didn't have any issues the whole week I had driven that tank down. In fact, it was running really damn good (which is rare...)

I just want it to do its thing and tell me what's wrong so I can fix it. Why is that so difficult?!😩 I think my number one issue has been the car sitting. All hell has broken loose every time I let it sit.


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Old Fri, Sep-28-2018, 09:04:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Limp mode but no check engine light?

could simply be a coil connector is loose, had that happen to me after a valve adjustment. Locking mechanism was bad. It's a likely cause
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Discussing Limp mode but no check engine light? 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)