Import Auto News: Volume 2 Car Repair & Car Care Advice For Do-It-Yourselfers

BMW Check Engine Light Fault Codes
Thanks to Michael N. (from a tech manual)

Want to know what those fault codes on your BMW are trying to tell you? Read on!

Motronic 1.1 - Most BMWs from 82-87:  These early Motronic systems flash the fault codes automatically. If the check engine light comes on, leave the key in the "ON" position but don't start the car. The check engine light will begin to flash the code after about 3 seconds. Each flash is separated by about 1 second. There aren't many codes on this system but here are what they mean:

1 flash - Air Flow Sensor Malfunction
2 flashes - Oxygen Sensor Malfunction
3 flashes - Coolant Temp Malfunction
4 flashes - Throttle Switch Malfunction

Motronic 1.3 - Most BMW's 88-91: The fault codes for these systems will appear on the check engine light when you turn the ignition key to the "ON" position but don't start it. Then, fully depress the accelerator pedal and then fully release it. Repeat the depress/release cycle 5 times fairly quickly but not too fast. It should be completed in a few seconds.

What you are doing here is clicking the wide-open throttle switch then the idle switch - each 5 times. This signals the Motronic unit to send the fault codes by flashing check engine light. You should see the light flash once, then it will start flashing the 4 digit codes.

If there are no faults, you should see the 1444 code (2444 if you have a 12 cylinder). The codes appear as a series of flashes for each digit. The flashes indicating one digit are about 1 second apart, the next digit appears after a couple second interval. The rest of the fault codes appear in the Motronic Fault Codes Table below.

Motronic 3.1 - Most BMW's 92-94: The fault codes appear in the same way as for the Motronic 1.X systems listed above, but it is much trickier to get them to appear. The timing with which you turn the key then depress and release the accelerator pedal is much more critical. You have to depress and release the pedal 5 times rhythmically but much faster than for the earlier system. It usually takes a few tries to get it right. See the Motronic Fault Codes Table below for a complete listing of specific fault codes.

Motronic 3.3 - Some BMW's 1994 on: Fault codes are not available through the check engine light.

Motronic Fault Codes Table: This table lists all the fault codes I could find. If anyone has others, please let me know. The faults listed are for all different models and some of them are not applicable (like Fuel Injector 8 on a 6 cylinder car):



DME Control Unit


Air Mass/Volume Sensor


Throttle Potentiometer


Output Stage, Group 1


Output Stage, Group 2


EGO (Oxygen) Sensor 1


EGO (Oxygen) Sensor 2


Lambda Control 1


Lambda Control 2


Coolant Temp Sensor


Intake Air Temp Sensor


Knock Sensor 1


Knock Sensor 2


Knock Sensor 3


Knock Sensor 4


Battery Voltage/DME Main Relay


Throttle Idle Switch


Throttle WOT Switch


Speedometer A Signal


A/C Compressor Cut Off


A/C Compressor


Crankshaft Pulse Sensor


Camshaft Sensor


Intervention AEGS


Ignition Secondary Monitor


Fuel Injector 1 (or group 1)


Fuel Injector 2 (or group 2)


Fuel Injector 3


Fuel Injector 4


Fuel Injector 5


Fuel Injector 6


Fuel Injector 7


Fuel Injector 8


Fuel Pump Relay Control


Idle Speed Actuator


Purge Valve


EGO Heater


Fault Lamp (check engine)




Air Pump Relay Control


Ignition Coil 1


Ignition Coil 2


Ignition Coil 3


Ignition Coil 4


Ignition Coil 5


Ignition Coil 6


Ignition Coil 7


Ignition Coil 8


Control Unit Memory Supply


Fault Code Memory


Fuel Injector Output Stage


Knock Control Test Pulse


No Failures


On 12 cylinder models, there are additional codes for the second Motronic unit. These codes are the same as above, but the first digit (1) is replaced by 2.

Warning About Changing 1995 Honda Accord Fuel Filters
Thanks to John L. (from Mitchell's)

Anyone contemplating changing the fuel filter on a 1995 Honda Accord is going to be surprised. The filter is in the tank and the tank has to be lowered to change the filter. This information I found in Mitchell's in the public library in NJ. Honda has not yet told me where the filter is. They sort of, I think, don't want anyone to know this. Remember a clean working filter is important to the injectors and the emission.

Dry Your Car with Water
Thanks to John P. (from his own experience)

When you're done washing your car, spray the whole car with water. Remove the nozzle, turn the water to medium, start at the top and run the water over the whole car. That's it! This creates a sheeting action that will remove 99% of the water, leaving small droplets to blot up. No chamois, no scratches, no watermarks! Works best if the car is waxed 4 times a year.

Remove A BMW Emblem Without Scratches
Thanks to Michael N. (from his own experience)

I had to chip the paint on my own car to find this out! The hood or trunk badges on your BMW are pushed into grommets to hold them in place. These grommets are located at 3 and 9 o'clock.

To remove a badge, use a thin-bladed screwdriver and a clean rag. Lift the badge up a little at a time using the rag under the screwdriver to protect the paint. Once you can get your fingers under the badge, pull it straight up. Be very patient and do not rock the screwdriver. Always lift straight up so that you don't scratch the paint.

Make Your Own Fluid Suction Device Cheaply
Thanks to Randy H. (from 7 series website)

I have a BMW and brake fluid replacement is recommended every two years. There are products that will "push" the brake fluid out using air pressure from a compressed air source. I made my own device to suck the fluid out. This device works for other fluid applications, like removing power steering fluid or other automotive fluids, as well. Works great and very cheap to manufacture! Here's how I did it.

I took a quart jar from my wife's cabinet - a canning type with the ring and rubber gasket lid. Drill two holes, inserting 1/4 inch plastic tubing into the two holes and then sealing with a silicon sealant. The longer hose goes to the wheel cylinder, the shorter one to a vacuum source, such as a vacuum port on a vehicle.

Open the wheel cylinder or caliper bleeding valve farthest from the master cylinder, and suck out the fluid until it turns clear (or blue if you use colored fluids). Advance in this fashion to the next farthest cylinder/caliper until all are cleared of old fluid. Be sure to check to keep fluid in the master cylinder reservoir to prevent air from entering the system.

Changing Oil In Your Rover
Thanks to Phil S. (from his own experience)

When changing oil in your Land Rover Discovery or Range Rover, try using an old milk jug with the bottom and part of the side (opposite the handle) cut out. This acts as an oversized funnel that will also catch the oil as it initially comes out of the side of the oil pan. This will prevent oil from going all over the place, especially on the exhaust pipe. Make sure the mouth of the milk jug is large enough to let the drain plug through or it will plug up the funnel also!

Keep Your Car's Interior Smelling Fresh

Here is a collection of tips for keeping your car smelling fresh - pick the one(s) you like!

- When you vacuum your car, spread some baking soda on the carpet. Let it sit for an hour or so, then vacuum like normal. Never use air freshener. Unless you use the same scent forever, you could have a mix of smells that aren't complementary.

- Cut up a fresh apple and leave it overnight in your car. It's better than the smell of cleaners and perfumes!

- Put some potpourri in your ashtray to keep your car smelling great for up to a year.

- Put a dryer sheet under your seats or spray a product like Febreeze on your carpet to keep it smelling fresh.

Removing Stains & Other Icky/Sticky Stuff

We've all experienced the horror when something "icky" gets spilled inside our cars. Here are a few tips to bail you out the next time it happens to you:

- To remove egg from the interior of your car, pour seltzer water (not tonic or club soda) over it and wait until it stops sizzling, then wipe clean.

- To remove adhesive from stickers or tar, spray WD-40 onto the adhesive. Allow it to soak for a minute, then wipe clean. Reapply if necessary.

- To remove gum from fabric or vinyl upholstery (not leather), place an ice cube in a plastic bag. Apply the ice to the gum, allowing it to freeze until quite hard. Gently scrape away the gum with a dull knife.

Another tip for removing gum from fabric upholstery is to use "Goo Gone" (from your local hardware store). Apply it a bit at a time and it dissolves the gum very quickly. Then spot clean the area. But be careful: Car seats are usually a plastic fiber, not true cloth, which Goo Gone might dissolve. Test in an inconspicuous area first.

- To remove gum from leather upholstery, use canola oil or any type of vegetable oil. This method does not ruin leather's finish or softness.

- To remove gum from your car's carpet, use Murphy's Oil Soap - the light oil base reduces the stickiness of the gum and allows you to wash away the problem. Make a sudsy bowl with two cups of warm water and a tablespoon of soap. Wash the area with a cloth dipped in the mixture. Then rinse with clear water.

Another tip for removing gum from your car's carpet is to rub peanut butter on the area and then clean the spot with soap and water.

- To remove melted chocolate from fabric upholstery, allow melted chocolate to dry and harden. Scrape off completely dry chocolate with a blunt knife. Then use carpet shampoo and a soft bristled brush to gently work shampoo foam into the stain. Use a damp sponge to wipe away the foam. For stubborn stains, try using a liquid stain remover.

- To remove grease and oil from your car's fabric upholstery, blot or scrape away excess oil or grease. Apply an absorbent cloth or rag to the stain and leave it for a few hours. Apply a laundry pre-treatment product (stain remover) to the stain. Sponge with warm water. Note: If the stain is an old one, lather a small amount of petroleum jelly onto the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes instead of several hours. NOTE: Leather interiors should be cleaned professionally.

- To remove grease and oil from your car's carpet, remove excess oil or grease by blotting or scraping. Place a sheet of butcher paper on the stain, glossy side up. Gently press the tip of a warm iron over the affected area. Lift the paper from the carpet after it absorbed the grease. Apply carpet shampoo with a moist sponge if any residual stains remain. Wipe away the carpet shampoo foam with a clean, dry towel.

Another tip for removing grease, oil or tar from your car's carpet is to pour cornstarch onto the spot. Rub in lightly and let sit for two to three hours; then vacuum.

Other recommendations for removing oil and grease from carpet include using a product called Capture (from Sears) or using WD-40. Don't forget to use a regular carpet cleaning product after using WD-40!

- To remove all kinds of stains, try Tuff Stuff (from Simonize). Just spray it on the stain, brush it and rub with a clean terry cloth. The stain will disappear and it smells great, too!

- To remove stains from your carpet, use a cup of warm water with 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap and a clean cloth. Dip cloth into water and soap mixture and lightly sponge stain. Even tough grease will disappear. If it's a stubborn stain, repeat the process.

- To deep clean your carpet, vacuum first. Then get a wire brush and gently drag it over the carpet to make it stand up. Vacuum again to get the dirt out. Then wet the carpet with a damp rag and allow to dry thoroughly.

- When you shampoo your car's carpet, try using a cleaner called Citrus Cleaner (from your local hardware store). When you mix it, use 50% water and 50% cleaner; for tough stains, you can use 75% cleaner and 25% water.

- To remove bugs from your car's surface, use baking soda on a damp sponge and apply to the bugs on the car's surface. Let sit for a minute and then remove by washing the car.

Seek Help With Auto Restorations
Thanks to George M. (from his own experience)

If restoring an older vehicle, broaden your search for best prices on parts. There are more sources than you may have considered, especially for VW's. Join a local car club. Scan the "Net", much good info is available.

Don't Forget:

Repair articles are added regularly. Come back often to check for new maintenance topics.

These repair tips are designed only as a starting point. Please seek the assistance of a professional mechanic for all repair problems beyond your capabilities.

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