Sunday 24 October 2021

E30/E28: Faulty AFM (Air Flow Meter) repairs, worn carbon-track quick fix


The AFM or Air Flow Meter uses a metal flap that is opened air entering the engine to move a brass arm up and down a carbon-track. The position of the arm along the carbon track alters the electrical resistance through the circuit and this lets the ECU know how much air is coming in, so it can deliver the right amount of fuel to the injectors. The E30 uses a BOSCH AFM unit, also used in many other BMWs with Motronic or Jetronic injection systems.

The analog electrics in the BOSCH AFMs rarely ever fail, but there are two areas that are failure prone after higher mileage - a worn carbon track and a faulty air-temperature sensor.

Saturday 23 October 2021

E46 318i Touring: New front drop-link for MOT

The 318i Touring was up for MOT this week and failed only on the O/S front anti roll-bar link. Normally I would replace these as a pair, which would have been more cost effective as you can get a set of two from eBay for under £15. Time was an issue and I wanted to get it back for a re-test so had to buy one from Euro Car Parts for the same price, around £15. Annoyingly, the eBay pair were Lemforder and the single piece from ECP is Starline, but needs must.

The car has only just passed 104k miles, so this could well have been the original anti-roll bar linkage and boy was it seized on. I only got a couple of turns on the top nut before the 5mm Allen-key in the stud stripped and rounded, so had to cut the rubber boot off to get a 17mm spanner on to the flats at the back. Even so, progress was painstakingly slow. Couldn’t even get a grinder in there as things are surprisingly tightly packed on E46. This made an otherwise quick and easy job last a bit longer, but it is nearly 20 years old.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

E30/E28: Adjusting AFM (Air-Flow Meter) - change air/fuel rich/lean mixture


This is for BOSCH AFM units, fitted to most E30 and other BMWs fitted with Bosch Motronic or Jetronic injection systems.

The AFM, or Air Flow Meter, is a metal flap that is drawn open by air entering the engine and the position of the flap tells the ECU how much air is coming in so it can inject the right amount of fuel. The stock parameters for the AFM are set at the factory and unique to each car and BMW recommend that these settings should NEVER be adjusted... so do it at your own risk!!

Why would the AFM need adjusting??

  • You have done a ‘gas-test’ and the results show your car is running rich (too much fuel for amount of air) or lean (too much air for the fuel being supplied) and wish to adjust for emissions / fine-tuning purposes.
  • You have an air leak after the AFM, so more air is getting in than the ECU is supplying fuel for and the engine won’t run, especially when cold.
  • You have an over-fuelling problem where too much fuel is being supplied for the amount of air and flooding the engine.

Adjusting the AFM in the second two instances is a quick and dirty way to get your car running well enough to drive it, but is not a long-term fix for an underlying problem, so bear this in mind before messing with the AFM.