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Old 02-01-2013, 09:16 PM   #1
ZHPSteve
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 29
My Ride: 2004 330i ZHP
N54 Engine requires a warm up period?

I'm looking for some help from others who own or have knowledge of the N54 engine.

Short version;

The engine in our Z4 is running very rough when starting from cold. The service tech at my local dealership is stating the engine requires a warm up period before it will run normally and I'm not buying it as I've driven other vehicles with the same engine and had no such issues. Would appreciate any feedback from other owners with the same engine.

Detailed description;

We have a 2010 Z4 with the 35i N54 Engine in it, we bought the car at the end of the summer, and since owning it have had a few issues that we have taken the car into the dealer to resolve. The issues were around the car running poorly and acting like it was going to stall for the first few miles after starting up from cold. Eventually the problem was diagnosed as one bank of the Fuel Injectors needing to be replaced. Seemed to make sense that the stalling could be traced back to a lack of fuel delivery so didn't question it too much at the time. I did ask if the other bank of injectors should also be replaced, but was advised there was no indication at this time they were experiencing any fault.

Since the colder weather has arrived the car has returned to running very rough for the first few miles after starting from cold (car is garaged in North Texas overnight, so cold is about mid thirties). The rough running includes, rough gear changes on acceleration and deceleration, occasional hesitation when accelerating followed by rapid acceleration, as if you have floored the accelerator and the car is kicking down into a lower gear before launch. The car was returned to the dealership and after having it overnight their tech agreed that the car exhibited the behavior we had described but could not identify the issue. They had the service foreman drive the car the following day and we were provided the answer from him that the engine is running as designed, that because of the sporty nature of the car it requires a warm up period before it will run normally.

During the services mentioned above and prior to purchasing the Z4, we drove a variety of cars with the same engine, 335's 535's and other Z4's. None of them ever showed the same type of behavior, but few of them were driven in the cold conditions or first thing in the morning (except for a 335 loaner we had overnight that had no such problem). I'm certainly no mechanic, however I'm not buying the explanation the dealership is giving.

They are having the service manager drive the car in the morning, along with other models with the same engine to get another opinion so I'm hopeful they will see the difference, but I value the opinion of other owners on here with the same engine. This is a $60K car when new and I just can't see how it would be acceptable for it to run this way.

Any comments or thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks all (Sorry for the long post).
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:29 AM   #2
atinybug
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 379
My Ride: e92 335i
It technically doesn't need a warm-up period in order for it to run properly, that much is BS like you said. But due to it being a direct injection engine and the fuel doesn't wash over the valves like normal, carbon will build up on the valves (it's actually a semi-common issue). The general consensus is that if the car is taken for very short trips very often, without letting the engine get up to normal operating temperature, the carbon will build up faster. I drive about 15 minutes to work each way, and my engine just barely reaches normal operating temps for only a couple minutes before I shut it off, so once a week I take it on a good long kinda high revving drive for 30 minutes or so, I think it seems to help prevent some of the build up.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:59 AM   #3
ZHPSteve
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 29
My Ride: 2004 330i ZHP
So we drove several other cars with the N54 engine, and noticed a significant difference in them, we drove another 2010 Z4 that had just had a software update done and the issue was noticable but not as severe, a 535 which was a worse example of the problem than our Z4 and another Z4 that had just been traded in that was perfectly smooth (although it may have already been driven that day). After searching around some more it looks like the issue may actually be turbo lag, introduced by a software update that was done earlier in the summer when we were troubleshooting an issue with the electronics (iphone hissing and popping). The following article seems to be spot on to what we were experiencing, http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/12/c...afe-causes-un/ does anyone have experience with this? Has there been further updates since that are supposed to address this?
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