Project BMW update: Expensive Maintenance Likely

Since purchasing the 528it, it would occasionally have the traction control and check engine lights come on along with a small light that simply said “EML.” When this happened, the car would immediately start running rough, stall out, or otherwise become kind of a pain to drive. Initially stopping the car and restarting seemed to solve the problem, but it began occurring with such frequency (and at completely random times) that I had to dive in and fix it. Turns out “EML” stands for “Elektronische Motorleistungsregelung;” translated as “Electronic Engine Power Control,” I soon found out that “Expensive Maintenance Likely” is also a pretty close translation.

The problem was traced to a faulty throttle body; my 1999 model naturally has a fancy assembly with a built-in stepper motor to run the stability and traction control…or in layman’s terms, my car has an extraordinarily expensive ($550!) throttle body that is very complicated and known for bizarre failures. I coughed up the cash for a new OEM part and decided to tackle a refresh of the PCV/oil separator system while I was in there, as I would be staring at all of the parts anyway while I replaced the throttle body. Three hours and three beers later, it was up and running smoothly again. Here’s hoping this is the last expensive failure I have to deal with for a while; I’ve normally had pretty good luck with my BMWs…

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