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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 09-16-2012, 12:19 PM   #1
Jamie018
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Tampa
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My Ride: 1999 BMW 323i
Unhappy My car won't start

Hi guys
okay so it takes me a lot of tries to finally get my car to start. At first I thought it was the battery, but when I put the key in, the lights and radio, even the air conditioning system turns on. So. I went to autozone and the guy did a test and said that my battery was fine and the problem was the starter. So I took it to a mechanic and told him the problem. He said it's an easy fix, but he called me an hour later saying that my starter was fine (new). He then claimed that the problem was that everytime I got my oil changed, the mechanics who did it, never reset the system that keeps track of the miles of when I need my oil changed.
He then reset it but that didn't work. The car does the same thing. I put my key in, turn it everything turns on, but the car won't start. I have to keep doing that until it finally starts. It took me 20 minutes last time to finally get it to start!


Oh and i don't know if this matters but i followed the DIY on changing the 99 key fob to the diamond key fob, and i did that about a month or two ago. Could the problem be the key battery?
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:26 PM   #2
adaseb
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does it crank?

im confused because at first you say it doesn't start and then after 20 minutes it starts
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:43 PM   #3
scarede46er
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I think it is your key cylinder. Maybe needs cleaning lubrication or replacement. Do one thing, the next time you start the car, try and turn the key to ignition really hard (without breaking stuff obviously) and tell me if the car starts up immediately.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
Jamie018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adaseb View Post
does it crank?

im confused because at first you say it doesn't start and then after 20 minutes it starts
well i hear it doing a little rumbling? sound(maybe). i mean it's a very subtle sound unlike all the other cars when you try and start them
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:06 PM   #5
BMWCaptain
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You need to be more specific on what is happening.g when you try to start your car.

If you have done a search here, then you can tell us what you have done to narrow it down.

What is your battery voltage? At battety and at +B terminal under the hood.

Is there a CEL?

Fuel pump?

There is a lot you can check. Many have experienced this and discussed it.

Good luck.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
dmax
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It's a key issue. Key...or that ring around ignition (ews system, I think)...but I'm going with 'key.' Final random guess.

Ask me how I know!

Do you have another key...valet key? If not, order one.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:58 PM   #7
scarede46er
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If you are like me, you will not need a new key (although it's good to have a spare). First, soak the blade of your key in water and clean off all the dirt you can. Dry it off and then use some WD40 to soak the blade. Use a wire brush to scrape off every inch of it. Use paper towels to wipe off residue.. which should be black. Then spray some WD40 on to your lock cylinder, making sure to spray it from a distance so as to no concentrate it on one spot. Let it soak for 3-4 minutes. Spray some more onto your key and insert it in the lock wiggling and turning it several times to spread the liquid everywhere. Give it about 5 minutes to dry and then try starting it.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:59 PM   #8
TR4G-
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I too have has this problem for a year or so. But not to this extreme (happens once or twice a month) It will sometimes just not start... When I start the car everything happens normally except the car doesn't start, aka no cranking or turning over or anything like that. For me it's completely silent. I end up taking the key out and putting my car into neutral then first then try again. It's hit or miss and when it acts up its super annoying

I have a manual car, and Ive seen topics like this before and the solution has seemed to be either the key antenna or the ignition switch.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:07 AM   #9
scottjoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarede46er View Post
If you are like me, you will not need a new key (although it's good to have a spare). First, soak the blade of your key in water and clean off all the dirt you can. Dry it off and then use some WD40 to soak the blade. Use a wire brush to scrape off every inch of it. Use paper towels to wipe off residue.. which should be black. Then spray some WD40 on to your lock cylinder, making sure to spray it from a distance so as to no concentrate it on one spot. Let it soak for 3-4 minutes. Spray some more onto your key and insert it in the lock wiggling and turning it several times to spread the liquid everywhere. Give it about 5 minutes to dry and then try starting it.
WD-40 is an excellent cleaner, but, never use that crap in a lock.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:22 AM   #10
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I am starting to have no sympathy for any BMW owner with only 1 key. They are just being stupid because everything they lock their key in the trunk, break the driver door lock link or loose it, they are SOL!

So you probably have a few issues to choose from:

1. Your mechanic, well what can I say, he should be selling shoes. Mileage indicator had nothing to do with your no start condition.

2. My first guess is since you recently messed with your key, this may have something to do with your problem?

3. My second guess is you need a new ignition switch or EWS ring antenna? Ignition switch is about $60 in parts, EWS antenna ring is around $20 in parts?

4. PRNDL or clutch safety switch. If your car is a manual trans, next times the car will not start, keep the ignition switch in the start position and start pumping your clutch and push is all the way to the floor and see if this helps. If an automatic, with your foot on the brake, move the shifter from park to neutral.

5. Last item is you may have an EWS issue, but this is unlikely. Before I jumped all over the EWS, buy a new key. Do not buy a Valet key, get either a replacement key or replacement keyfob. Not sure if you will get a new or old style keyfob?? A diamond keyfob from a decent dealer that is not ripping you off is about $160. But again, unclear if the replacement for the early models is a diamond fob or not?
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:55 PM   #11
geniukas5
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Hi,

I have same thing right now... and thing is I assume its something to do with immobilizer, cos I got to the fuel pump and when I turn key not every time it starts pumping fuel. Now I know every time when I will start or not cos I can hear pump working or not. I still haven't done anything diagnose it properly cos just finished yesterday eliminating other problems. I will try to give a good clean before I buy new key but maybe anyone have more ideas that are cheaper then new key? Maybe getting rid of immobilizer just to turn it of??
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:54 PM   #12
David McMahon
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:04 PM   #13
cwgonzalez1192
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Hey guys, I'm having a similar issue; however, I have noticed a pattern:

Regular key w/ remote lock = No response to key turn (has become increasingly frequent lately, but usually I can wait a minute or two and have some luck eventually)

Valet key = Starts on first try (every time so far)

This obviously leads me to believe it has something to do with the electronics in the key but I'm new here and unfamiliar with what all is going on inside the key and the key / starter relationship. Could anyone provide some basic insight to those systems and maybe a diagnosis / prescription? Thanks!
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:21 PM   #14
NumbaOneNewb
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I'm having a hard time believing that any mechanic told you that a starter on this thing is an easy fix.

does anybody know if its even possible to get a good visual on the starter on our cars? I've yet to do mine but from all I read, it isn't fun. Let's just say it is new.

Wait a second. So how were you able to upgrade to the diamond key from the older style key? Ok, I see now. I think I know what the issue is. Let me ask you something. How were you able to keep the transponder fixed in position? From my experimentation with keys, I have had issues with my flip out key blade upgrade DIY that if the transponder is off by even 2mm, it will cause a silent non start issue. did you tape or glue the transponder into place?

It is extremely important that the transponder be in the correct position, and also, not move around. You need to find a way to keep it firmly in place. If it hasn't moved from where you last put it inside that key shell, perhaps moving it slightly in whatever direction to get it closer to the transponder reader ring thing will solve your problem.
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:11 PM   #15
HHI ED
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key turns but nothing happens ??

I have the same prob with my 2000 328I. How all this came to be ...My son locked the original electronic key in the trunk. So I called my dealer and they had a valet key made for $86, which just opens doors and turns ignition on. He used new valet key several times and now the electronic key does not work. Like many of you, we thought it was the battery but it checked fine. Had diagnostics and all was normal. So now I plan to call BMW and find out why the electronic key does not work anymore. ep
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