The car runs but has no power, it feels like it may stall but does not, just puts along. Any suggestions?


Asked by Jul 23, 2007 at 05:17 PM about the 1987 BMW 3 Series

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Replaced the plugs, distributor cap, rotor and wires.  Did not help power.

33 Answers


The catalytic convertor may be clogged. Take it to a mechanic and have them test the emissions at the tailpipe, or look under the vehicle and see if the catalytic convertor glows red after driving at highway speeds or for extended periods of time.

15 of 15 people found this helpful.

Have you checked throttle cable, I had that replaced when it broke and the car then had fullpower.

10 of 10 people found this helpful.

try a fuel filter

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

the question is very vague, need more details of wat is happening, but, check your throttle cable, also check your cat, fuel filter,fuel line, is the clutch good ? worst case, might be a head gasket causing it to loose compression.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

cheak one of the fuel injetors it maybe cloged

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

check for air leaks around the intake boot

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

like everyone else is syin it could be quite a few things, dont guess just take it to your garage for a check up.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

i agree alot of times in these older cars it can be a problem with vacuum and its a pain in the ass to trace however take 15-20 minutes follow the vacuum lines if you see one unplugged and an obvious place to put it try that first then if not replace the fuel filter it will never hurt to replace a filter of any kind and its easy if still no good try the shop

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

My guess would be a vacuum leak as well. You can check for vacuum leaks by spraying carb cleaner around possable leaky areas ie around the intake boot and other connections. If the idle jumps you knnw you have a leak in that area. also check the gap on your spark plugs many shops say they are pre gapped but it is no always the right gap. also clean out your idle control valve with the carb cleaner. If no of this helps come on over to tell them bottlecape30 sent you.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I had a similar problem with a 240SX when i changed the spark plugs and knocked into the distributor cap knocking one of the plugs out. Which cause the fourth pistion from firing. My question to you is does ur exhaust ping or pop when idle or accelerating?

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

I had a similar problem with my 320 - It was ok on a cold start but one walm lacked power. I took it to the local dealer and diags showed it had a faulty crank shaft sensor. It cost about £30 but it was well worth it. As other's have said, get it on a diagnostics machine, so many engine faults are logged there before you notice a problem...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

You didn't mention if it was a manual or automatic transmission. If manual sounds like clutch to me from the simple description.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

check the catlytic convetor,check the air filter if it was clogged thn there is no power

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Give it a tune up. Oil, oil filter change. Also air and fuel filter. Remove intake boot and clean out throttle body. Change spark plugs and ignition cap & rotor. Use MAF cleaner to clean out AFM and/or IAT sensors.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

INJECTORS INJECTORS INJECTORS. Perhaps I wasn't clear on this matter. Nothing else -- if your cat was clogged, a vac gauge on your intake would have shown this. INJECTORS go bad, kill your mileage, and never set a goddamn thing (computer adjusts, adjusts, adjust some more for clogs --huge value map--then you give up and sell me the car for pennies). thanks

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Ps. How the hell would an oil change help power? And plugs do not cause a miss at idle; neither do plug wires. Bet -- clogged cat. What caused the cat to clog boys and girls?? Bad carburetor -- oops, I mean BAD INJECTORS, more than likely leaky injectors. That is our business -- injectors, but we could care less if you buy from us or not. Poor old BMW used SIEMENS for a few years -- a pox on siemens for their substandard metals -- our electron microscope shows ball and seat corrosion you see in no other injectors. Replace em. Period. For the record --BOSCH RULES. And always has. Thank you for your support.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

PS. Cats will glow red after a hard highway run NORMALLY. THE EXHAUST MANIFOLD WILL ALSO BE RED. Scope analysis will show if the oxy sensor pre cat response is identical or close to that of post cat. If it is, the cat no longer is capable of storing oxygen to oxidize the excess fuel. So -- why do cats go bad? Too many dogs chasing them around -- clogged crappy Siemens injectors. Whew. Now I rest.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hmm, out of 9 BMWs owned, never had injector problems, even with two e30s 280k miles and another E34 with 235k miles. Usually it's plugs, fuel pump, ICV, PCV, or failing MAF/AFM. ☺


Our business is FUEL INJECTION SPECIALISTS. Injectors are all we do -- before and after pics, code PO301 clearing, etc. Plugs make misses, air filters drop mpg maybe, bad Mass Air, vac leaks, etc. are possible. We love it when owners dump $500 in parts to try to chase a rough idle or hard cold start. REPEAT AGAIN AND AGAIN -- rough idle ain't plugs, plug wires, coils or map sensors. If you are unlucky you will have a bad cold start sensor but your mileage will be 8 instead of 20. We also love the chemical cleaners (Rislone is best --"quiets" noisy fuel systems. Check out the label. Priceless). Injectors go bad because of hot soak -- olefins, varnishes, waxes, polyesthers, alcohol residues and octane improvers remain after the higher volatile liquids --gasoline-- evaporate. All day long we see mileage improvement from 19 to 25 or more. We don't care if you send us injector number one. We have been in business in Europe for over 30 years, in over 100 countries, and done over a million injectors. In Europe alone. ASNU is the company. Have fun -- maybe lack of Nitrogen in your tires is the cause of bad cold start issues. Although a miss could be related to a full ash tray. And, maybe an off brand oil filter is why the car smokes on startup. Then again, since injectors are built by aliens (100% perfection indefinitely), injectors cannot be the source of any car problems.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

P.S. Check out our 745i (circa 1985) with 295 horse at the REAR WHEELS --thanks gearhead hq. KKK27 is a beautiful device, so is the upgraded chip. With automatic we run 13.2. And guess what -- the first thing we rebuilt was THE INJECTORS (seeing as how they were unobtainium -- a rare and precious metal).

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Hi I have a bmw 3series e46 2001 and when am driving about its just not got any power and when going up a hull am in 1st gear n struggling

39 of 39 people found this helpful.

HI I DRIV A BMW E90 2009 it shows a sigh of engine malfunction and when I drive even full speed it doesn't have power, when I drive on stip or hill I cant pass first gear

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

Check you air filter .a change transmission fuel

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Ok just bought a 07 320i with same symptoms as an old 03 petrol astra, so this is not just a diesel problem. chugging feeling when driving along as if the engine wants more juice. I'm going to focus on injector cleaner and good fuel source for a couple weeks then get them cleaned or replaced if not to expensive as me budget is low after my unlucky purchase. I'll be back with results.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

So i put injector cleaner in with a full tank of fuel and sent it to a experienced mechanic in the meantime. He inspected the new spark plugs replaced by the previous owner all good, then checked the ignition coils on all four cylinders. While taking them out he noticed one was not inserted properly. So after a through inspetion noticing some other mechanic must have wrecked his head trying to find and clean out the problem he put all carefully back together and bam, so far so good. One of the cylinders was misfiring because of the ignition coils not being properly inserted. Hope the problem does not come back fingers crossed.


Worn vanos seal.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Do u still own the car? Haha


My E49 520i auto loses power after long travel of about 4 to 5 hour.Normally i wait for 30min to cool it down and proceed.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

hi my bmw 320d 2008 E90 it has no power it only drive till 100 on the speedo meter and yesterday as i was driving off i heard a sound but i'm able to change gears its only the speed i'm concerned about please assit what could the fault be

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I replaced gas tank on 2001 325I using the same pump that was working before and now I have no throttle and car starts and dies soon as I hit gas pedal. I have full fuel pressure so I decided to change plugs and do an oil change finding out the previous owner had 8 quarts of oil in now it starts and I have throttle but it putts and I have to feather gas pedal to get full pedal as I hear an light whistle I recon vacuum leak any help is appreciated

I changed the spark plugs and the power, especially uphill returned.

You want to check you micro filters


hi iv got a bmw e46... and ok take off iv got no power then it picks up... it runs fine for a while then goes back.... i did put oil in my radiator but didn’t start my car and sent it off to garage who then cleaned the header tank for me and sent me on my way... i did lose oil as my cap wasn’t put on properly... any ideas plz what my problem could be before i send this to bmw heaven .... i have had the car for 4 yrs amd spent on it

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

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