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This is something that everyone with an S38 engine needs to do periodically. You also need to do it before/during throttle synchronization.

In Rod s own words:

I developed these procedure out of necessity when I first got my M6 14 years ago. The engine would occasionally die when retuning to idle, i.e. when casually down shifting or after a rev off idle. After several trips to the dealer for the problem and no solution, I researched several BMW Repair Manuals, Service Bulletins and compiled the information. Need I say this is the only diagnostics and it is the base line setup for the Ba sic Motronic 1.0. Jim Conforti has confirmed the procedure.

It is not advisable to just twisting the idle screw. I assume if the idle is dropping below the idle speed control valve may be nonoperational. I would suggest that you follow the procedure below. Without a "Check Engine" light how will you know when the M5/M6 S38B35 DME O2 c ircuit is operating open loop? M5/M6 S38B35 also has a closed loop Idle control circuit that performs function s such as "Coast-Off" and an idle adjustment bypass port, how can the proper ope n loop idle speed be set? Is your idle rough? Does your engine occasionally die when coasting down to idle? Make no mistake, this is not the end-all, be-all for idle problems. The Bosch X 5DC plugs should be replaced at every Inspection (15K miles), the distributor ca p & rotor should be replaced at 60K miles and you will want to check the vacuum at each throttle body to ensure the throttles are evenly set. You could also hav e a leaky injector that will raise havoc with idle performance. The S38B35 engines have a manual idle speed set-point adjustment on the 3-4 thr ottle body and a manual CO adjustment on the AFM that sets the DME closed-loop f or the O2 sensor at idle. I have found an occasional need (3 times over the last 7 years) to reset the CO adjustment on the Air Fuel Meter and open loop Idle sp eed in-order to recover normal Idle performance. Fuel blend changes (winter/summ er, MTBE, etc.) create a need to reset the CO and idle adjustment. The more soph isticated Bosch DME's accomplish this as a learning function in the CO & idle co mpensation circuit in the DME. In most cases when I have noticed a high idle con dition the DME is actually functioning open loop. Therefore, if the S38B35 engin es had a "Check Engine" light, it would have been lit!! Attempts to set the idle without using a Throttle Switch Bridge will produce me diocre results at best (you'll just be guessing). Adjusting the CO screw on the AFM without monitoring the O2 sensor will cause the DME to operate open loop at idle. Below are the basics to successfully setting the CO and open-loop idle speed.

Tools: Throttle Switch Bridge, BMW p/n 88 88 613 4 010 (shorts all three pins together NOTE: You can easily make something yourself to short the three sockets in the T PS cable connector TK)

Clamp on Tachometer, Idle setting is 850 +/- 50 rpm's (Note that your dashboard tach is useless for setting idle RPM TK)

Voltmeter for monitoring A/F mixture: ideally, a Fluke 88, recording/averaging m eter is the best, set meter to; 40volt range, record/average. (If you don t have a ccess to one of these $$ meters, then a simple analog meter will work pretty wel l TNK) Procedure: 1)Check to make sure the throttle switch (TPS) closes just as the throttle butte rfly's close (the closer this switch is set, the better the engine will transiti on between idle and non-idle throttle positions). 2) Connect the voltmeter between pin 5 (DME oxygen sensor signal on 15 & 20 pin Diagnostic Connector) and ground (pin 19 on a 20 pin or pin 1 on 15 pin) Diagno stic Connector. 3) Start the engine, while the engine is warming up observes the voltage readin g at pin 5 on the Diagnostic Connector. 4) Once the engine is warm the oxygen sensor signal should read between 5-7 vol ts average (6 volts +/- 3 volt spec.). If you don't have an averaging volt meter , your volt meter will cycle every second or so between 0 volts and 12 volts the cycling should be 50% duty cycle. The cycling is demonstrating that your fuel i njection system is running closed loop. If the oxygen sensor signal is not cycli ng then you will need to diagnose and repair the DME open loop problem. The prob lem could be something as simple as the CO adjustment on the Air Flow Meter. (NO TE: If you are too rich, the meter will sit at zero volts (it will also do this if the meter s battery is dead!). Too lean, it will sit at 12V. As your mixture ap proaches stoichiometric, the needle will start to cycle, but will stay longer at either 12V or 0V depending on whether you are on the rich or lean side of stoic h TNK). 5) Shut-off the engine and install the Throttle Switch Bridge on the cable conn ector for the throttle switch. The Throttle Switch Bridge allows the idle circui t in the DME to operate in open loop mode and sets the idle control valve a nomi nal position. 6) Start the engine, check to see that the oxygen sensor signal is reading 5-7 volts (after reset the recording function) or that the voltage is cycling at a 5 0% duty with a standard volt meter. (the engine will not rev or operate normally with the Throttle Switch Bridge installed) 7) Adjust the Idle speed screw to 850 rpm's (large brass slot screw recessed in the middle of the 3-4 throttle body) using the record/ averaging function will help accurately set the idle speed as it fluctuates. The minimum and maximum rec ord measurements on the Fluke will help you understand the open-loop idle smooth

ness. (NOTE

Loosening the screw increases idle speed


8) Shut-off engine, remove the Throttle Switch Bridge and re-connect the thrott le switch.