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Old 10-13-2010, 12:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New C280 Owner - Smoke, Roughness, and Misfire Codes

Hey All, new W202 owner here. Just got a 2000 C280 Sport, 168k, looks great inside, not too bad outside, and the suspension feels good.

I just have this nagging little problem that keeps me from actually driving it.


The engine was running strong, felt excellent, had plenty of power, and was very smooth. The next second, the CEL came on and I had smoke coming from the tailpipe and it was running very rough. Great. It was late at night and I thought the smoke was white so I freaked thinking it was the head gasket. I had it towed home and started it in the garage, the smoke was more grey and it smelled of raw fuel. BUT, the idle was very smooth now, like nothing was wrong. The only codes were for misfires, I don't recall the cylinders off hand. The seller told me it had intermittent issues and his shop told him it had a misfire code, so it's about as expected.

Does it sound like maybe a coil pack is on the fritz and not bothering sending power to the plug? Any other ideas? I hate to run the engine like that in case it's something more sinister.

Thanks!
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yay! someone local....

if you want to have it checked, my mechanics are located at fremont too... i could meet you there on a weekend or something...

i would check to see when the last services were done on it (tune up, replace ignition wires and spark plugs, o2 sensor, maf cleaned....) then i would build a timeline on it..
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Awesome! Are there not many local enthusiasts? I didn't really introduce myself in the last post, I've been in the BMW scene for years and have owned 5 or 6 different BMWs (and my family owns a bunch as well), the 300SE in my sig was just a project car, so this is my first Benz as a daily. I am using it to "get acquainted" with the W202s as I save up for a C43 AMG. I've already got a solid shop that I have been using for a few years and my family has been using for longer than that, they do Mercedes & BMW only. MotorSpeed West in Santa Clara. Ken & Bill are stand up guys.

Anyway, the seller wasn't sure on any of those, I have a feeling it's been a long time. I drove it for about 25-30 miles tonight and it didn't give me a single problem...or CEL to help troubleshoot. Of course not. I don't want to risk taking it on my 45 minute commute on 880 till I have it sorted so it only gets time in the evenings.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Awesome! Are there not many local enthusiasts? I didn't really introduce myself in the last post, I've been in the BMW scene for years and have owned 5 or 6 different BMWs (and my family owns a bunch as well), the 300SE in my sig was just a project car, so this is my first Benz as a daily. I am using it to "get acquainted" with the W202s as I save up for a C43 AMG. I've already got a solid shop that I have been using for a few years and my family has been using for longer than that, they do Mercedes & BMW only. MotorSpeed West in Santa Clara. Ken & Bill are stand up guys.

Anyway, the seller wasn't sure on any of those, I have a feeling it's been a long time. I drove it for about 25-30 miles tonight and it didn't give me a single problem...or CEL to help troubleshoot. Of course not. I don't want to risk taking it on my 45 minute commute on 880 till I have it sorted so it only gets time in the evenings.
im into bmws too... and old v-dubs...

i would get the basics checked then if problem persists then i would suggest bring it to the shop...
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Disconect the snap hinge on the MAF, then un-screw the three screws holding down the air tube right above the flat board on top of the engine. Then get a allen wrench and un-screw the 7 allen screws holding down that flat board. Now, first check to see if all the boots are secure on the coil packs; there should be three on plugs 2,4, and 6, if my memory serves me well. If the car still runs rough and is throwing a misfire code, it could be a bad, coil pack, a bad wire, water in one of the spark plug wells (that was my problem)or a loose wire to the plug. To see if the coil packs are making continuous contact with the plug you have to un-screw a little screw that holds the coil pack in place (it is not a ground screw), becareful because if you apply too much torgue trying to un-seat them you will damage the screw.
Once you have the screw out you can take both booties off, and pull up on the coil packs to un-seat them, and then re-seat them to insure continuity to the plugss. After you do that, put everything back together, but don't put the flat engine cover on, do re-set the snap hinge to the MAF and then star the engine. If you the ck engine light goes out and the car runs smooth you've solved the problem. If not, change the coils, wires, and plugs. Good luck. I hope this was helpful.

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Old 10-17-2010, 04:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm certainly an M104 man, myself (the straight 6, pre1998 model), but that detail about the smoke is quite alarming to me, personally. Misfires (ie, unspent fuel) in the exhaust wouldn't result in colored smoke. In my experience, colored smoke means it's burning something it shouldn't be burning (coolant, oil, etc). And if it happens all of a sudden after some mysterious event, I would be absolutely terrified.

But, as I said, I'm definitely an m104 man. Those V6 models are another language to me!
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Black smoke = rich mixture fuel
Blue smoke = Oil
White smoke = Water/coolant steam (especially if wispy)
White smoke = Billowing white smoke as in James Bond - Brake fluid entering intake via brake booster from a leaky master cylinder (I once suffered this on an Alfa...God forgive me).
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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UPDATE:

First off, thanks for the replies. It's been 300 miles since the last post and for the most part, it's behaved well. No check engine light for the last 300 miles --- until tonight.

Same old symptoms again. Driving along and all the sudden I get the CEL and smoke. It mostly just happens on acceleration. Stopped and pulled codes, missing on cyl 2 and 3. Idled like crap. When I restarted the car, the CEL was still lit, but it was idling smooth like it has been the last 300 miles. Drove off and a few miles down, same thing again. Bad idling and billowing smoke. Codes still for missing on 2, 3, and now 1 and 5. Again, on restarting before driving off, the idle is perfect. Temperature never moved, the smoke is a little too light to really see if it's bluish or greyish, and it doesn't smell like fuel or oil, but it definitely isn't pure white and isn't coolant smell.

What would 1,2,3 and 5 share in common? Do 2 & 3 and 1 & 5 use the same coil packs for the pair or share a common ground for the coil packs or something?

The intermittency is what confuses me the most. 300 miles without a problem, and then surprise. Last time it disappeared as quickly as it started.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds to be more than plugs, wires, or coil packs. At this point I would get it to a reputable mechanic, as the smoke aspect needs to be sorted out. Just my .02.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with sulaco and joe...smoke is very bad. Intermittent running I could live with while trying to fix...but, smoke...no thanks.

You might consider getting professional help before something very expensive happens.
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