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    1996 Z3 - Failed CA Smog Check ... Monitors won't reset ...?

    Hello ... I have a 1996 BMW Z3, 4 cylinder. It is inexcellent condition and it does not have any performance issues. The vehicle has only 29,800 original miles. It has spent its life parked in the garage and only very seldom is it driven. In California, Smog inspections are required every 2 years. Two years ago it did pass smog inspection fine but it took several attempts to get it to pass. The emissions are very clean, however, the computer monitors took time to set. In order to get the monitors to set the battery was disconnected and also the system was "zeroed out". Then, after driving for over 300 miles and constantly going back to the smog station to get a reading on the monitors the monitors finally did reset and it passed smog.
    So now, 2 years later it is due for smog again this year. A new battery was placed in the car and I am now having a repeat experience of the events from two years ago when the computer monitors would not reset. The smog station has again said the emissions are very clean but the monitors are not resetting. I took the car to a BMW service shop and they 'flashed' the computer. Since then I have driven it over 400 miles and gone back to the Smog station numerous times to have the monitors checked. Now, after an additional 400 miles of driving none of the four computer monitors have yet to reset.
    The service adviser at our local BMW dealer spoke with their mechanic who is familiar with emissions and they suggested that I drive the car for a short period in 2nd gear 'near RPM redline' and they thought that perhaps this would get everything "warm" enough to reset. This did not work either and after doing it and advising my smog technician what the BMW Dealer suggested he informed me that this procedure was probably "not a good idea" to drive for any distance at near redline RPM.
    I am open for any professional suggestions that you may have regarding the procedure to follow to get these computer monitors to reset so my "Z3" will pass CA Smog Certification ....
    Many Thanks
    Last edited by vika1961; 01-18-2013 at 03:15 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Good Afternoon.

    I don't know what you mean about the "monitors reset", in a BMW. In OBDII cars, the readiness bit must be set for it to not set the MIL (Check Engine) light, after service or some such. BMW needs 5 drive cycles without any codes to set the readiness bit.

    First step, get any codes read. Most auto-parts places can help with that. It may be there is something there that isn't setting the MIL, is enough to not allow the readiness bit to set.

    Second, make five drive cycles as described here: Drive Cycles

    Here in Seattle, I can get two in one day driving to work.

    That should reset the readiness bit, allowing testing via the OBDII port.
    There are SOME BMW's that cannot be read by commercial software, Mostly certain //M cars. It's a possibility. . .
    Last edited by Giznaz; 01-18-2013 at 04:53 PM.
    '99 Z3, '04 X5

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    Is your engine getting up to full temperature (about 1/2 scale on the gauge)? Low engine temp. usually won't turn on the check engine light, but it might be preventing you from completing the drive cycles.
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    Hello - Thanks for your response ... The engine temperature gauge stays consistently at just a fraction over half way after the vehicle is running after just a few minutes. It does not have low engine temperature.
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    Hello ... Thanks for your response.. By 'monitors reset' I mean the 5 drive cycle lights that are tested when the smog technician takes his reading. The lights on the handheld instrument are not registering that the drive cycle information are ready (none of the lights come on ).

    Regarding the first step you suggested, the codes were checked and then the computer was flashed. Regarding your second step you referred me to a site with the drive cycle information for 'the readiness bit'. This is the same information that the smog station gave me . I followed the drive cycle set on three occasions and still none of the readiness lights would turn on. ... I do thank you for your response however.


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