Correct Parts Can Prevent Costly Repairs

Is your “Check Engine” light on with BMW codes 2882 or 2883? The OBDII (on-board diagnostics version 2) generic codes are P0171 P0174. Don’t let other shops mistakenly replace your Air Mass Meter or MAF Sensor (Mass Air Flow) costing you hundreds! Your most likely problem is an incompatible air filter. The proper air filter for your car is supposed to have a foam backing that directs air through the system properly.


2003 BMW 325i


Reference Number(s): Sl B 12 20 07, Date of lssue: November, 2007
E85 with M54 produced from 3/02 to 11/05; E46 with M54 from 8/00 to 8/06; E46 with M56 from BMW.

12/01 to 12/04

GROUP: 12 – Engine Electrical Systems

SUBJECT M54/M56: Mixture Too Lean – Fault Codes 2882/2883 are Stored in the DME

SITUATION: The customer complains that the “Service Engine Soon” light is illuminated. The fault codes “2882/2883 – fuel trim, mixture too lean” are stored in the DME.

CAUSE: Possible causes may include: incorrect air filter, unmetered air or a defective air mass meter.

PROCEDURE: Remove and inspect the air filter element. Only the filter with the P/N 13 72 1 744 869 must be fitted. lf the filter is the correct one, please follow the test plan and repair accordingly.

WARRANTY INFORMATION: Covered under the terms of the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Please refer to the latest KSD for all applicable labor operations and allowances. lf the appropriate labor operation is not contained in KSD, then a work time labor operation should be used. Defect Code: 13 72 01 48 00

Porsche Boxter – Emergency Hood Release

It is no longer possible to jump power to the driver’s kick panel fuse box to power the vehicle and pop the electric trunk or hood, on Porsche Boxster 987 models (2005 and up). On the 986 model (first generation Boxster) the emergency cable was on the passenger side below the headlight. You could grab it through the fog light hole by gently prying the plastic trim back at the top.

On the newer 987 model (pictured), the emergency cable is now located on the driver’s side, behind the inner fender well, in front of the left front tire. It is directly inward of the left front headlight. Here is a picture of one we did at Autobahn Performance of Fort Lauderdale. You will need a pair of pliers to pull the cable as it no longer has a loop in the end of it. You have to pull it with quite a bit of force to unlatch the hood. Then charge your battery with a charger. Try to avoid jump starting with jumper cables. However, if you do, connect the cars together and let the running car sit at an idle for at least 15 minutes before attempting to start the dead car.

BMW M62 Timing Cover Weep Hole Leak

We have seen this problem several times and it is usually misdiagnosed or not repaired correctly. If you have a BMW model 740i, 740il, 540i, 745i, or 745il with the 4.4 liter V8 (M62) engine, and you have a coolant leak from a small weep hole in the front timing cover, be very careful it is not misdiagnosed as a water pump or valley cover problem. What you probably have is a front timing cover to engine block coolant leak. BMW engineers were smart enough to know their design for sealing the water passage from the front timing cover to the engine block would probably not last forever, so they made provisions for a cavity to catch the coolant leak and eject it through a weep hole at the upper right corner of the timing cover. The cavity and weep whole keep the engine coolant from leaking into the engine oil that would probably lead to engine failure if not detected in time.

The repair is quite labor intensive. Most manuals seem to estimate the repair time around 30 hours. All data repair information service shows the timing cover remove and replace time at 30.6 hours. There are also other labor operations that should be done at the same time as the timing cover that are not included; for example, replacing the valley block cover. The cover is not resealable and should be replaced. Part of the labor for the cover is overlapping (removing the intake manifold), but replacing the cover itself is not included in the front cover time estimate.

From the factory, the timing cover has just a very light sealant on the surface where the coolant passes from the cover to the engine block. BMW now offers sealing strips to better seal this surface. The sealing strips are made of metal that is laminated with a light coat of rubber-like sealant; we also use a small amount of sealant in the corners of the gaskets to ensure proper sealing. Great care must be taken to ensure the parts are thoroughly cleaned.

Autobahn technicians are instructed to clean parts with mineral spirits in a parts washer first, then all sealing surfaces are cleaned by sanding with 440 grit wet or dry sand paper in a figure 8 pattern. At Autobahn we rarely use surface preparation pads or discs; they are too aggressive (even the fine or soft rubber ones) and end up removing surface material and rounding off the edges of the surface. Also, with a perfectly ground flat sanding block, imperfections in the sealing surface can be easily seen and usually can be corrected or eliminated. Contrary to most technician’s belief, it is not much slower to prepare the surface by hand than it is to use a die grinder and high speed surface conditioning pads (“cookie monsters”, 3M Scotchlock pads, or green and yellow 3M surface conditioning pads). The final cleaning step is to wash the parts in hot soapy water and then dry with a hot plate and compressed air. This step removes any contaminants or oils from the surface and allows the sealant to adhere to the surface properly.

Mercedes Benz – Wire Harness Insulation Failure

We have seen this problem for over 12 years now and it appears to be a common occurrence. The wire insulation on various Mercedes vehicles and various harnesses turns brittle or deteriorates to the point that normal engine vibrations cause the insulation to crumble off leaving the wires exposed. The subsequent short circuits can cause anything from the annoyance of erroneous warning indicators to massive electrical fires.

The problem was most common on engines (injector, sensors and coil harness) built in 1994, 1995 and early 1996. There are also common failures with transmission wire harnesses, positive cable harness (usually also incarcerates alternator, starter and oil level and pressure sensors), neutral safety switch / transmission range selector switch harness. On V12 SL600’s with the 120 engine the body mounted engine harness often fails. The harness on this vehicle takes over 40 hours to replace. It is usually only the air mass meter portion of the harness that fails. At Autobahn Performance, we have the factory air mass meter harness with enough wire to connect directly to the terminal at the engine computers. The harness can be rerouted through a new loom that can be placed directly beside the existing wire loom. This can save about 30 hours labor (assuming the rest of the harness is OK).

We fixed the body mounted engine harness for the auxiliary fan resistor. We also preformed the resistor update. We replaced the defective wires only, from the fuse / relay box to the Aux fan resistor that is mounted between the auxiliary fans. Wire harness replacement would be over $4000 parts and labor! Repair was done for less than $500 including the fan resistor’s, brackets and hardware necessary for the resistor update / modification.

The wire insulation for the knock sensors had the severely deteriorated. The engine was replaced by another shop. When the harness was switched from the original engine to the replacement. The unavoidable movement and flexing of the harness caused the wires to short circuit between the knock sensor wires. That resulted in codes and drive ability problems with the engine.

The Mercedes parts catalog must have the two possible harness part numbers reversed or switched. Our vehicle does not have ASR (automatic slip regulation) or traction control. There is no ASR computer and the part number for the throttle actuator corresponds to a non ASR vehicle. Also the data card in Mercedes EPC online shows the vehicle does not have ASR.

The first two harnesses we got from the dealer were part number 210 540 2105 they did not match the original harness in the car. Both of the harnesses we got had boxes that were beat up and had extra delivers stickers stuck to them, indicating they had been shipped and returned several times. The part number tag on the harness was missing so the part had to be ordered by application with the VIN number. The parts manager at the dealer finally decided to order the harness for the vehicle with ASR and the part we received was now the correct part. The part number of this harness is 210 540 3305. It indicated it is for vehicle with ASR. It seems Mercedes has accidentally switched or incorrectly matched the non ASR harness with the ASR equipped harness in their electronic parts catalog.

We had almost the same situation with incorrectly updated part numbers for the front wheel speed sensors on 1990 through 1993, 129 chassis SL vehicles. If you ordered both front sensors one would come as a plastic housing and the other a metal housing. If both were installed on the same vehicle there would be incorrect wheel speed indicated, causing several problems and of course, those loveable warning lights.

BMW Battery Registration

On late model BMW’s, it is important to “register” a new battery when it is being replaced.

This process will increase the longevity of the new battery and will keep any battery and charging system warning lights off. The process can only be done with factory BMW scan tools or high end aftermarket tools like the Autologic. The battery control module charges a battery differently depending upon it’s age and the type of battery installed AGM (glass mat battery) or conventional (lead acid). No longer are radio codes needed as most modern European vehicles have V.I.N. Recognition through the on board diagnosis system of the radio and the vehicle. If all computers have matching V.I.N. numbers the the radio will work automatically.

Codes in all systems should be scanned, documented and cleared because a failing battery will usually set under or over voltage codes and possible many other codes. Also scanning is important to verify other settings that need to be updated or fixed due to the battery replacement. Steering angle sensors can require calibration, windows, sunroofs and convertible tops need to be synchronized for proper express functions.

Gone are the days when major retail chains and gas stations can replace the battery in your vehicle. At Autobahn Performance in Fort Lauderdale, Florida we have the factory equipment and the training to properly service your vehicle’s battery to assure factory specs and warranty requirements.

Models that Require Battery Registration

2002 and newer 7-series E65/66 chassis 2003 and newer 6-series E63/54 chassis 2004 and newer 5-series E60/61 chassis 2006 and newer 3-series E90 E91 E92 AND E93 CHASSIS 2007 and newer X5 series E70 chassis 2008 and newer X6 series E71 chassis.

Flood Damaged Vehicles

No matter how cheaply you can purchase a flood damaged vehicle, it probably won’t be worth it in the long run. We have repaired many flood damaged vehicles. Here in South Florida and coastal areas of Fort Lauderdale, rising water from flash floods are all too common. Salt water flooding is much more damaging than fresh water. Newer Mercedes and other European vehicles are particularly vulnerable to flood damage due to all the state-of-the-art electronic components they have. On top of that, the modern trend is to place these components in low places on the vehicle for better weight distribution for the best handling and dynamics of the vehicle.

Mercedes Benz and BMW chassis have thousands of dollars worth of control units and modules located under the rear seats, only 6 – 8 inches off the ground. If a vehicle is driven into a puddle that is more than 6 inches deep, its possible that water can leak through the body plugs or seals and flood the area under the seats and carpets. Often the owner is unaware of the damage until some electronics malfunction. Meanwhile, the electronics and the electricity flowing through them that are surrounded by water, start to form acid (like inside a battery) that can ruin components, connectors and wires. When the damage is discovered it is usually too late, especially if the damage is discovered due to a musty smell or odor in the vehicle; this would indicate that the moisture (along with the electrolysis) has been there long enough to mildew or form fungus.

If your car is flooded, the key to minimizing the damage is to (1) disconnect the electrical flow through water contaminated circuits. Disconnecting the battery should be the first step. (2) Get the water out and dry up the area as quickly as possible. A wet vacuum can be used to suck up excess water. The carpeting and foam backing on a Mercedes can be up to 4 inches thick. This acts as a sponge and traps the water inside, leading to long term musty smells. At Autobahn Performance we have a portable dehumidifier that can be placed in the vehicle to draw the trapped moisture out of fabrics, carpets and foam under padding.

The next problem to deal with is the electrical connections and components. Any electrical part that is contaminated with water should be disconnected and dried by blasting compressed air through it. The connectors should be cleaned with a solvent and scrubbed with a brush. Components can be cleaned with electrical cleaners. Corroded areas can be cleaned with vinyl bristle brushes and special solvents to remove surface corrosion. Electrical connectors need to be disassembled (pins removed from the connector) and cleaned in solvent. Any connections on components or harnesses that appear to be damaged beyond repair should be replaced. Many electrical connectors and terminals are available from the dealer, but due to their relatively inexpensive cost and difficulty to look up correctly, most dealer parts personnel will try to sell a complete wiring harness. Wiring harnesses can cost upwards of $5000 and can take over 60 hours to install.

At Autobahn Performance, we have access to most dealer parts data bases, so we can look up the wire connectors ourselves. Usually we can repair an expensive or labor intensive harness rather than replacing it. We also have affiliates that can repair some water damaged electrical components, or acquire used components and program them to the vehicle even if they are one time use (previously assigned to a vehicle or VIN).

The most troubling thing about a flood damaged vehicle is that there is usually no way to accurately estimate the cost or extent of the damage. Sometimes after the vehicle is repaired and everything seems to be fine, another problem arises from the same water damage, and still more repairs are needed.

Another common water damage problem is found in the cowl panel (cavity between the engine firewall and the cabin firewall at the base of the windshield) of most Mercedes cars. This is where the climate control system draws in fresh air from the outside. Older vehicles can have corrosion or rust here. This area is almost impossible to repair once it has rusted through. It can be patched but it will leak again within a few years. The replacement panels are available from mercedes but are very difficult to weld in place and usually require removal of the dashboard, engine and other components to install properly. The cowl cavity also has problems from clogged drains.

An incredible amount of water can run off the roof and windshield and collect in this cavity. Debris from leaves that collect on the windshield will restrict the drain to the point that the cavity fills with water and floods components in the cavity and overflows through the fresh air opening of the climate control system into the cabin of the vehicle.

The Mercedes SLK 170 chassis is especially susceptible to this condition. Even minor overflow from restricted drain will cause water to flow across the blower motor, speed regulator, radio amplifier and wire harness connectors. The water is sometimes not discovered for several days and components start to fail; blower motor speeds are erratic or stop altogether, radio stops playing, warning lights appear on the dash, and the vehicle begins to smell musty inside. The carpet and floor insulation system on late model mercedes is made of sponge like foam that is molded to fill all of the irregular cavities under the carpet. The foam is over 6 inches thick in some areas. This foam soaks up and hold water like a sponge.

This SLK was flooded by the customers own lawn sprinkler system. One of the sprinkler heads came loose and the stream of water shot way up in the air and back down on the windshield. The water drains in the cowl at the base of the windshield were slightly clogged with debris and they could not handle the huge volume of water. The water overflowed through the fresh air opening of the AC system and flooded the inside of the vehicle. We had to completely disassemble the interior of the vehicle and replace many of the electronic components; Blower motor and regulator, radio amplifier, Tel-Aid control module / communication module, Radio and the ABS / ETS module (mounted under the hood on the anti-lock brake pump. must also have been electrical short circuit related).

BMW M3 Sub-Frame to Body Reinforcement E46

It is not uncommon for the BMW M3 or other modified E46 chassis vehicles to crack or tear the vehicle body at 4 locations — where the rear sub frame (differential and rear suspension assembly) bolts to the body and trunk floor. All precautions should be taken to prevent this.

This problem is also more likely to occur if the vehicle has oversize tires, is raced or tracked. It’s best to reinforce this weak area before cracks begin. Hard launches or clutch dumps could tear the entire differential and suspension from the vehicle if cracked mounts are left in their relatively weak factory condition.

How to Reinforce BMW M3 / E46 Rear Suspension Mounts

This customer is wisely taking the necessary steps in preventing the cracking problem from developing on his 2003 BMW M3, even before the cracks start. This car has oversize high performance tires and other chassis improvements that would make it a prime candidate for sub frame mount cracking and ultimately a costly failure.

Porsche Intermediate Shaft Bearing Repair & Upgrade

Porsche engines (M96 engine designation) used in Porsche Boxsters and 911’s have a weak link in the bearing that is used to support the intermediate shaft. The intermediate shaft runs through the engine underneath the crankshaft. It is the pivot point for the timing chains.

The shaft bearing fails due to lack of adequate lubrication. There is no pressurized oil flowing to the bearing; the only oil lubrication to the bearings seeps from the crank case through the seals of the bearing, slowly.

Failure of this bearing usually starts with a screeching and grinding sound, then catastrophic engine failure soon follows. The shaft contacts other rotating engine components and can easily damaged other major engine components beyond repair (block or case, crankshaft, connecting rods, etc.). Watch video on intermediate shaft bearing failure (dual row type) dissected on video from a Porsche Boxster with a 2.5 liter M96 horizontally-opposed six cylinder engine.

Mercedes V12 Wire Harness Repair

Autobahn performance is doing another air mass meter wire harness repair on a Mercedes Benz V12. We are getting lots of these cars in for the repair, even being shipped in from across the country. We can repair the air mass meter portion of the body mounted engine harness without removing the harness. Do not attempt to cut open the body harness and repair the wires! This customer did and ended up cutting and damaging non deteriorating wires. You can see in the pictures, the wires are molded into a pass-through loom; it is impossible to separate and untangle the wires without damaging the entire harness. We have repair harnesses in stock to repair the body-mounted engine harness on Mercedes v12 600’s. Usually, only the air mass sensor wires fail. They cost $295 each (2 needed). The harness can be run alongside the factory harness sheathed in long lengths of heat shrink tubing and connected directly to the engine computers.

The other harnesses common to fail are the lower engine harness (also called starter harness or positive cable harness). We can repair your damaged harness but it may be available at a reasonable price from the dealer. If you send me your VIN number for your Mercedes Benz V12, I will send you a price. The throttle actuators have harnesses that come off of them and connect to the body harness. These harnesses fail internally; to check them you need to carefully cut a shallow 1″ to 2″ incision in the covering of each actuator harness and examine the wires inside. If they are bad, we can rebuild your actuators (done at Autobahn) $695 each includes internal motor, plastic gears and new cable harness connector end is disassembled and re-used.

The fuel injection harness sits on the top of the motor and is usually available from the dealer at a reasonable price. These can be rebuilt by us but they must be inspected to give an accurate price. The body harness of the Mercedes Benz V12 usually does not fail or deteriorate on 129 SL’s. If it is, it probably should be replaced with new one’s from the dealer. We could rebuild this harness but it would be expensive and time consuming.

Mercedes Benz Engine Replacement

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