hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,000 miles

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problem #1

May 262006

318 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles
I am an engineer who performs failure analysis - my observations are based on significant experience in this field. The car is a 1996 BMW 318ti with a 5 spd manual transmission. The engine is stock. I was driving my 318ti on the interstate highway and noticed that the speed was increasing without throttle input. I turned the cruise control off thinking that it somehow had malfunctioned - the speed continued to increase. When the speed passed 80 mph, I depressed the clutch, which of course allowed the car to slow, but the engine immediately attempted to redline - as the tach got close to the red line, I shut the ignition off, and steered the car to the shoulder. With the car in neutral, I try to start it again, and the engine speed increased very rapidly to redline. I tried this 3-4 times over 5 minutes with the same result each time. I finally opened the hood and found that the throttle cable had come loose from the plastic bushing on the lever housing. This problem was the subject of a 1997 recall, and my car had the repairs made (metal rings) that were specified in the recall. They seem to be failing now. There is a news article from england that seems to show an identical failure in a 318. The drivers name is kevin nicolle, and the story appeared on this web page ( www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/11/ntrapped11.xml ). the recall effected 410,000 cars - this recall should be revisited as the repair seems to have created another failure mode that leads to unexpected acceleration. I have a photo of the throttle cable / cable bushing at the time of the failure - I can forward it to any interested parties.

- Hamden, CT, USA