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Discussion Starter #1
I have a warning light on in my 2006 BMW E90 320i sedan. The car has done 60k km and I have noticed no problem in the way it handles. The warning is, I think, the "engine" symbol. The manual states this symbol has a different meaning depending on where it is located (either in "panel 1" or in "display 2" areas of the instrument panel), whether it is yellow or red, and whether or not it is flashing. In my case, its yellow, its in panel 1 and its not flashing. The manual says in this case the cause is "engine fault with adverse effect on exhaust emissions".
I would appreciate any advice or information about this error.
 

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You need to get the codes read mate, it's almost impossible to diagnose otherwise.

Maybe you have a local garage that will not charge too much for the diagnostic? Sorry can't be of more help but without that code everyone will be just taking a stab in the dark.

Good luck :thumbsup
 

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Discussion Starter #3
catalytic converter failure

I just got a call from the service centre - the problem is the catalytic converter, which they say which requires replacement. Once it is replaced, they will do more checks on the sensors. I pressed them on whether the fault could be the sensors and not the catalytic converter, but they are sure the converter is faulty and has to be replaced. Failure to replace it could cause further problems in the engine, not just poor quality exhaust.

Since it is attached to the exhaust manifold it is a major job, and it will not be cheap (quote is around Aus$ 2800, or 1765 UK pounds).

Ouch! I would welcome any comment from people who have had a problem like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The codes showed that the catalytic converter (CC) inside the manifold was not functioning, the CC outside the manifold (which has a much lighter work load and basically cleans up after the first one) is fine. I asked the tech to quantify the function of each CC and he said he could not, but he can later show me the details of the diagnostics. Basically he said CCs are either functional or not functional.

The cost breakdown is Aus $1830 for the CC, 450 labour (the exhaust manifold has to be removed), diagnosis 200, + a few gaskets, total including sales tax around $2800 (1765 UK pounds). He said the diagnosis they did on the 4 sensors (2 per CC, one upstream, one downstream) was all OK, but the sensors/diagnosis of sensors may malfunction in the presence of a faulty CC, so it is necessary to retest and calibrate the sensors after the CC is replaced.

He said it is unusual for this to happen in a fairly new car, but not rare. The cause is usually poor quality fuel, or dirty fuel. No other cause was mentioned. He thinks that E10 fuel (10% ethanol) can be a factor, but I never used it. I have always used 92 octane or above, but of course I do not know what the previous owner used. And of course Australian fuel is of low quality compared to European fuel (this has been in the news from time to time, too much sulphur etc, BMW says it prevents them from getting improved fuel consumption with advanced engines).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I went ahead with the BMW centre to replace the CC (I decided against removing the car and trying a non-BMW centre, after the second discussion with the tech when I felt he was honest and speaking frankly ); I later got a call from the tech with remarkable news.
My car model only has 1 CC, and 4 sensors (the BMWs with larger engines have 2 CCs). They replaced the CC, and then rebooted the sensors and repeated the diagnostics and they found everything was flawless - absolutely no problem with the sensors, or anything else.
I said that is good news - then he said there is even more good news. He applied to management to see if a partial parts warranty could be applied to my car, since it is fairly new, and they agreed! I got 50% off the cost of the CC, so I paid Aus $913 instead of $1826 for the part. The total cost of the job, including labour and GST was $1836 (1161 UK pounds).
I suppose $1836 sounds like alot to pay to fix your car, but as I walked out I felt like I had won the jackpot!

Its a very good result, there is nothing here to complain about...
 
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