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I have an 02 5-spd BMW 525i. Why does the engine knock and sometimes shut off ?

(2002 BMW 525i)
in Aurora, IL on June 06, 2012
The car knocks most when it's been sitting for a long time turned off. This is usually when it is most likely to shut off when I come to a stop and am not in gear.

The car also does not seem to accelarate as much in the lower gears (1-3) as it did prior to this problem.

The check engine light also recently came on.

I recently had the car serviced to repair a leaking oil pan, so I'm not sure if the two problems are related.
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