The E36 engine constitutes an important part of BMW 3-series automobiles. The engine contains a built-in system for informing the user of specific engine problems. By using a paper clip, you can force the E36 to flash the engine codes. You must compare these codes to a list of BMW diagnostic flash codes before determining the problem. These flash codes are four digits in length. The code of "1444" means your engine has no problems.
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Turn your BMW off and remove the key from the ignition.
Slide your hand below the steering wheel column to locate the diagnostic port. The surface of the column is slightly raised over the port.
Pry the cover off the diagnostic port.
Bend the paper-clip into the shape of a "U," and push the its edges into the diagnostic port.
Watch the dash of the BMW. The "check engine" light should blink. Make a note of how many times it blinks before a pause. For example, if the light shows a pattern of "Blink-Blink-Pause," "Blink-Pause," "Blink-Blink-Blink-Pause" and a final "Blink", the code is 2131.
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