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Thread: Resurrecting the Rocket

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    South Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    373

    Resurrecting the Rocket

    No, that doesn’t mean what you think it does...

    Greetings to ZHP mafiosi old and new; I’ve been away for some time.

    In mid-October 2016, my ‘04 330Ci ZHP went up on blocks; the radiator had begun to leak, and I traced a slowly-worsening oil leak to the oil filter head gasket. The final straw was when the starter rather abruptly gave up the ghost; fortunately this happened while the ZHP was parked in it’s garage spot. Regrettably, job changes and short funds put repairs out of my immediate reach. Twenty-six months, countless rental cars and motorcycle rides later, I finally plunked down the $2K for new parts and set to work. Last week I replaced the oil filter head gasket, reattached the alternator and power steering pump. After that, a Zionville mechanical coolant thermostat went in, as the car has an ESS TS2 supercharger and I want to keep the engine a bit cooler if possible. Over the past week (cleaning as I went), I removed the old starter and installed a new one, replaced the PS pump and water pump pulleys with ECS alloy versions, replaced the hydraulic tensioner pulley with a new OE pulley, installed new belts, new OE hoses, new Mishimoto radiator and new OE temperature sensor, reinstalled the CAI and MAF, re-connected all hoses and wiring, and put in new oil filter, fresh oil, and fresh BMW coolant with Redline Water Wetter to both engine and intercooler. I added Lubri-Moly degunkifier to the oil, which is a sacrificial fill. Fuel is old, but 91-octane ethanol-free, full to the top of the tank and stabilized from the moment the car stopped working; it still passes the smell test, too.

    Tonight came the acid test: I turned the ignition, and nothing happened. Tried a second time; still nothing. Tries three and four—no go. Crap! Then I remembered that the car has a clutch pedal—DOH! Depress clutch pedal and turn key—BINGO! Uhh, sort of, that is. The engine turned over and started, but repeatedly misfired and stalled. Next step—I replaced all the plugs, which were due to be changed (mileage is 131,047); I followed that by testing the fuel rail for patency. Through the spark plug holes the cylinders looked black and carbonaceous; I’ve a feeling adding some Seafoam to each cylinder is in order. Re-starting the engine, I was again met with frequent misfires, but I was able to use throttle pedal to keep the engine running for close to ten minutes, during which time the cabin started to fill with smoke. On exiting the vehicle, I discovered three areas of concern: 1) a small coolant leak is present near the thermostat; 2) the cats were glowing red-hot, which I’ve never seen them do before; 3) with every misfire, an electrical flash appeared behind the engine and underneath the firewall, roughly over the top of the transmission housing.

    The coolant leak is of little worry to me; I should be able to trace it once the radiator cools and I can remove the expansion tank cap to facilitate removing the fan housing. The cats concern me a bit more; I’m guessing they’re glowing due to misfires sending burning fuel into them, which isn’t great but also isn’t the end of life as we know it. The arcing electricity bothers me greatly. I’m reasonably certain it’s not from the starter, which (AFAIK) I re-wired properly. That leaves me at something of a loss; what on Earth am I looking for? We’ve never had rodents burrow into our engine bays, so I’m guessing that’s not the problem. I’m thinking it’s time to head to HD and buy a fiber optic scanner, so I can look in that tight space whence the arcing appears to be emanating. Any thoughts? What might I have missed?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited by MsRN; 12-12-2018 at 10:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Picton, ON
    Posts
    5,979
    great work!

    the electrical flash definitely sounds like the starter, simply because it's right in that area, and that part was disturbed recently! i would double-check the connections there for sure.

    do you have a code scanner? that would help significantly with diagnosing the misfires.
    peter

    2009 BMW 335i M Sport 6MT

    2007 BMW X3 3.0si M Sport 6MT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    South Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    373
    Thanks, Slater!

    Thanks for your suggestion; the starter seems the right place to, erm, start. Hopefully that's it.

    I DO have a code scanner. I was chalking the misfires up to an engine that's seen no use in two years, combined with a fuel rail that hadn't been purged of air, combined with plugs likely fouled during the starter failure. That said, I probably ought to scan for fault codes. I know I'll find one from the mechanical thermostat, to be sure.

    I absolutely LOVE your 330iT ZHP 6MT! The Touring is my favorite E46 platform (I've owned all three body styles).

    Quote Originally Posted by slater View Post
    great work!

    the electrical flash definitely sounds like the starter, simply because it's right in that area, and that part was disturbed recently! i would double-check the connections there for sure.

    do you have a code scanner? that would help significantly with diagnosing the misfires.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    5,982
    The only other wires that I can think of that are in that area are the secondary O2 sensor wires... perhaps something melted back there.
    I know when my car sat for a whole winter, it misfired like crazy upon restart but new plugs resolved that for me.
    Trying to think outside the box...Was the exhaust coming out the tailpipe reasonably well? Rodents could of gotten up there... don't put anything past those little monsters

    How was swapping the starter with the supercharger in the way?
    Dinan CAI &Throttle body, ESS Tuning TS2, Bimmerbrakes gen3 headers, UUC SSK & DSSR. Achilles oil pump, VAC oil pan baffle
    M3 Motor mounts, UUC Trans mounts, Modified clutch style LSD 3.15, TMS front subframe reinforcement, Koni Yellow sports,
    H&R sport springs,
    UUC sway bars, BMW Perf. Rotors, UUC SS brake lines, Hawk HPS pads, CSL replica wheels,
    Rotora strut bar, FXR HID conversion, M3 Mirror conversion, BSW stage 1 speakers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    South Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    373

    Resurrecting the Rocket

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockethead View Post
    The only other wires that I can think of that are in that area are the secondary O2 sensor wires... perhaps something melted back there.
    I know when my car sat for a whole winter, it misfired like crazy upon restart but new plugs resolved that for me.
    Trying to think outside the box...Was the exhaust coming out the tailpipe reasonably well? Rodents could of gotten up there... don't put anything past those little monsters

    How was swapping the starter with the supercharger in the way?
    Socketheadóthanks for the suggestions; given the proximity of the O2 sensors to red-hot cats, thatís a distinct possibility. Exhaust seemed to be flowing decently; that said, Iíll shine a light up the tailpipe to be sure. As for the starteróit was my basic nightmare; I tried from up top with the S/C in place and failed, but decided there was absolutely no chance I was removing the supercharger to get at the starter. Underneath, I was finally able to remove the starter bolts using multiple 3/8Ē locking and wobble extensions and a swivel adaptor; however, the starter was frozen to the registration dowel on the transmission bell housing. Two hours of work with a 3# masonry hammer, a taped-up motorcycle tire lever, German-Italian stubbornness (erm, tenacity,) cajoling, imprecations and threats finally persuaded the old starter to emerge. The new starter went in after ninety minutes of effort, and sounds glorious.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    5,982
    Ugh I dread doing that to my car! I have a TS2 as well, it needs a clutch so I guess I'll find out soon enough.
    What did the smoke in the cabin smell like? Do you think it's rich on start up or leaning out?... that could tell a lot...

    BTW Kpro says hi! She hasn't really been on here since our twins were born in 2013 but I keep her up to date on happenings. She got an M2 last June...
    Dinan CAI &Throttle body, ESS Tuning TS2, Bimmerbrakes gen3 headers, UUC SSK & DSSR. Achilles oil pump, VAC oil pan baffle
    M3 Motor mounts, UUC Trans mounts, Modified clutch style LSD 3.15, TMS front subframe reinforcement, Koni Yellow sports,
    H&R sport springs,
    UUC sway bars, BMW Perf. Rotors, UUC SS brake lines, Hawk HPS pads, CSL replica wheels,
    Rotora strut bar, FXR HID conversion, M3 Mirror conversion, BSW stage 1 speakers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    South Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    373

    Resurrecting the Rocket

    Congratulations to you and kpro! Iíve apparently missed a lot of good things since Iíve been away from the forum. Our only child just turned eleven. Enjoy yours as much as possible right now; they grow up far too quickly!

    If you do have to remove your TS2, I have a spare new gasket I bought in anticipation of going that route. Since youíre with kpro, you likely have a low-profile transmission jack, which should make the job a bit easier for you. I also recommend a good headlamp; it makes the whole process less painful.

    Status updates: 1) the small coolant leak is at the thermostat, which is what I expected. Iíve tightened the t-stat bolts a bit more in hopes that will solve the dilemma; if not, Iím ready to drain the cooling system and re-attach the t-stat with new gasket material. 2) The O2 sensors and wiring appear perfectly intact, which is a relief. Inspecting the starter, Iím reasonably sure electrode proximity is to blame; rotating the inner positive cable end (there are two) by 90 degrees should eliminate the problem. If Iím REALLY lucky, itís also the source of my misfires. Thatís my fault for wiring the starter before I bolted it in place. 3) I found a new oil leak at the dipstick tube/oil pan interface; time for a new o-ring!

    Ohóand the smoke in the cabin smelled strongly of unburnt fuelóIím leaning towards a rich mixture (sorry for the somewhat intentional pun).

    And an M2? Lucky, lucky lady!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Picton, ON
    Posts
    5,979
    Quote Originally Posted by MsRN View Post
    Thanks, Slater!

    Thanks for your suggestion; the starter seems the right place to, erm, start. Hopefully that's it.

    I DO have a code scanner. I was chalking the misfires up to an engine that's seen no use in two years, combined with a fuel rail that hadn't been purged of air, combined with plugs likely fouled during the starter failure. That said, I probably ought to scan for fault codes. I know I'll find one from the mechanical thermostat, to be sure.

    I absolutely LOVE your 330iT ZHP 6MT! The Touring is my favorite E46 platform (I've owned all three body styles).
    thanks! sadly....but not sadly to the new owner... the Touring is/was for sale. the new owner (a forum member here) is taking ownership on saturday. i am going to miss the crap out of it.

    i would say i'll owner another - and maybe i will - but i think (hope) my next car purchase is from stuttgart.

    did you get a chance to scan the codes yet?


    Quote Originally Posted by MsRN View Post
    Underneath, I was finally able to remove the starter bolts using multiple 3/8” locking and wobble extensions and a swivel adaptor; however, the starter was frozen to the registration dowel on the transmission bell housing. Two hours of work with a 3# masonry hammer, a taped-up motorcycle tire lever, German-Italian stubbornness (erm, tenacity,) cajoling, imprecations and threats finally persuaded the old starter to emerge. The new starter went in after ninety minutes of effort, and sounds glorious.
    that was awesome.


    Quote Originally Posted by MsRN View Post
    Status updates: 1) the small coolant leak is at the thermostat, which is what I expected. I’ve tightened the t-stat bolts a bit more in hopes that will solve the dilemma; if not, I’m ready to drain the cooling system and re-attach the t-stat with new gasket material. 2) The O2 sensors and wiring appear perfectly intact, which is a relief. Inspecting the starter, I’m reasonably sure electrode proximity is to blame; rotating the inner positive cable end (there are two) by 90 degrees should eliminate the problem. If I’m REALLY lucky, it’s also the source of my misfires. That’s my fault for wiring the starter before I bolted it in place. 3) I found a new oil leak at the dipstick tube/oil pan interface; time for a new o-ring!
    here's hoping the wiring adjustment fixes your misfires!

    and as for the o-ring... sitting will do that to rubber bits. sitting is awful for cars.
    peter

    2009 BMW 335i M Sport 6MT

    2007 BMW X3 3.0si M Sport 6MT

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    16,353
    Welcome back! I hope you get 'er running well. Good to see you on.. (I bought your Stewart Water Pump if you recall). And my car is now supercharged with a TS1. Keep us posted!

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


    ZHP Performance Package, Cold Weather Package, Leather, Jet Black/Black/BlackCube, NAV
    ESS Stage 1 Twin Screw Supercharger, Sprint Booster, BMW Perf Intake, Magnaflow Exhaust, Dinan TB & STEP S/W, Ground Control Coilovers, UCC Sway Bars, Apex EC-7 18x8.5 ET38
    Dynavin D99+, Hardwire V1 (w/V1 Connection), BSW Stage 1 Speakers, Kicker Amp/Subwoofer
    BMW Performance Strut Brace, Orion V2 Angel Eyes, No-holes License Plate, SMG Paddle Shift Mod, Besian VANOS, Gold DISA, Fan Delete, M3 Side Mirrors
    Note: Actual car no longer resembles signature picture

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    5,982
    If you'd like to catch up with Kpro and you are on facebook, PM me with you user name there and I'll pass it along to her. 11 years old... almost a teenager, yikes lol. Our kids have been a fun ride so far but having identical twin boys has its challenges...

    Yea, if you starter is arcing, that will definitely momentarily kill your electrical system every time it arcs... sounds like you found your problem.

    Hold on to your gasket! ESS is no longer selling the twin screw so who knows how long parts will be available
    There is another member here, Ryan (rkneeshaw) that is also TS2 supercharged. He's having intake gaskets made since the ESS price for that gasket is insanely expensive.
    There is a hidden ESS supercharger group on Facebook but you have to ask to join. I'm not on Facebook but I hear there is a lot of good info there. If your interested in joining that group and your a member on e45f, go to the forced induction forum, there is a thread there where you can ask to join. If your not a member, I can ask for you...

    Great to see you back on here!
    Dinan CAI &Throttle body, ESS Tuning TS2, Bimmerbrakes gen3 headers, UUC SSK & DSSR. Achilles oil pump, VAC oil pan baffle
    M3 Motor mounts, UUC Trans mounts, Modified clutch style LSD 3.15, TMS front subframe reinforcement, Koni Yellow sports,
    H&R sport springs,
    UUC sway bars, BMW Perf. Rotors, UUC SS brake lines, Hawk HPS pads, CSL replica wheels,
    Rotora strut bar, FXR HID conversion, M3 Mirror conversion, BSW stage 1 speakers

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