Car: BMW 318 TDS Compact. 90HP. 168.000KM

Situation: was driving a very intense uphill section at 70km/h, in 4th gear (2.000 rpm). Everything was ok. Engine sound, temperature, etc...

Suddenly, despite my foot was pushing the Throttle at full power to stay at 2.000rpm, rpm started slowly dropping... until the engine STOPPED

What happened ?

This indicator was on! (don't remember if blinking)

enter image description here

So after approximately 30 seconds, I tried starting the engine again. After a few tries the engine started, but hesitated a lot (the RPMS slowly went from 0 to 1000 rpm), and then I just let the engine heat a bit and started driving again.

Then I drove cautiously till my destination.

After opening the hood of the car, I was surprised to see that the EGR part was quite cold.

Please help me to understand what happened?

EDIT : I found there is an air bubble in the Gasoil pipe. Might that be a reason ... ?

enter image description here

  • 3
    That light looks like an injector and the "low power, revs stayed down" sounds like a limp mode. How cold was it when this happened? Note for answerers: some google searching makes it sound like this is a possible fuel pump or injector problem (supporting the warning light as well).
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 1:19
  • 3
    @BobCross ... At a glance, I'd think the fuel pump as well. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 2:57
  • 1
    PS : today, I had to take the same road again, and the problem happened again. It seems it occurs when the car is tilted behind, I.e. when I am climbing a hill. Then Gasoil may not come from the fuel area to the engine ? Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 11:51
  • 1
    Not knowing much about this particular vehicle, I wonder if the pickup for the fuel has become detached. This would get to a lean fuel stated if the fuel got down below where it could pick up the fuel. Don't know, so just throwing it out there. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 16:40
  • 1
    Even if the vehicle is running fine now, it doesn't sound happy. A quick run to the garage to ask them to read the engine error codes is highly recommended. A quick read of the BMW forums tells me that injector system problems are common on this vehicle (i.e., you're not alone and the solutions are well understood).
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


2 options :

  • the pump that pressures the gasoil into the circuit (this pump is just inside one of the rear passenger seats, just over the oil tank) is dead
  • an electrical relay that activates that pump is dead.

Normally, you here a little sound that lasts for 1 or 2 seconds when you turn on your car (lights on, but engine off). Like the sound of a little motor.

When this problem exists, you don't hear that little sound anymore.

This leads your car to stall & totally get off once the diesel level dumps below 1/4 of the tank capacity. When you are near the 1/4, driving uphill, or turning very fast on the left (centrifugal force) artificially increase the effect of the problem by driving the diesel away from the conduit.

The fix is just to replace the pump or the relay that activates it.

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