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Old 01-08-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
leebro61
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4
My Ride: 07 335i, 06 325ci
2006 325ci No Start... questions inside!

Hi All,

This is my first post on the forum, though I have already found many useful threads on here about previous "no start" issues. The car in question is my wife's '06 325 Coupe with ~62k miles on it. Any insight/suggestions would be appreciated.

Here is the background info: The car had been a reliable daily driver until this issue. When we went to start the car after having been parked overnight it would crank perfectly fine but would not "catch". The car has approximately 1/2 tank of fuel as measured by the cluster gauge and also verified when we changed the pump. The fuel is from a local mom and pop style "ethanol free" fuel station that we do not use regularly. Maybe this is me being paranoid and frustrated, but it smells a bit funny compared to what I'm used to? It seems like they have decent turn over so I don't know if this is a plausible explanation...

About a week before the car quit, on one of our first cold, damp nights the car had some rough running after a cold start. The car ran and drove several times since then without issue. This is on the same tank of fuel that is still in the car.

Based on suggestions from searching the forums I have already replaced the following parts:
  • fuel pump and tank seal
  • fuel filter/fpr

...and performed some basic diagnostic checks:
  • Verified fuel pump is turning on
  • Measured voltage at the fuel pump with "key on"... only seeing 4.9v... found mixed remarks on if this was correct or not?
  • Checked fuel pump fuse in main fuse panel
  • Checked fuel pump fuse in secondary panel on drivers side of engine bay
  • Swapped fuel pump relay and horn relay (horn worked both times)
  • Verified the fuel rail is pressurized (crudely, by depressing relief valve on rail)
  • Tried both keys
  • Removed and cleaned all spark plugs
  • Removed fuel pump fuse and cranked motor in case cylinders were flooded
  • Charged battery

After wiping the plugs off and spraying with brake cleaner the motor sputtered to life for a second or so and then died. This was before I swapped the fuel pump and filter, so I assumed the motor was not getting fuel and ran temporarily on the brake cleaner. After swapping the pump and filter I tried spraying brake cleaner directly into the intake (post MAF) to see if the car would run temporarily and it would NOT. In general, it seems like the longer the car sits in between attempts the closer it will be to running on first crank. Then, with subsequent cranks it becomes evident that it is not even close to firing.

I'm wondering now if the issue is spark related. I'm assuming that since the car randomly stopped running without any sort of mechanical event (money shift, hydrolock, etc.) that the compression is still fine, although I can/will test if necessary.

Is it possible to check spark with a coil on plug ignition using the same method as a distributed or wasted spark ignition... meaning, pull a plug/coil and ground it while cranking? It seems like it should be fine but I'm always hesitant to try new things on cars with expensive electronics that I don't fully understand.

Anyway, I would think that even if one or two coils failed the car should still start and run, albeit rough. Is there something that could prevent the car from firing the ignition?... blown fuse, issue with DME, crank position sensor?

I think at this point I have tried every piece of advice that seemingly worked for all of the other posters. I didn't mind replacing the fuel pump and filter since the parts were relatively cheap (~$200) and seemingly common failure points for lots of people, so I can chalk that up as preventative maintenance.

Any votes for bad gas, spark plugs, crank position sensor?

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

Lee
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:53 PM   #2
jfoj
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 9,717
My Ride: '06 330CiC, '03 M5
Diesel? Kerosene? BioDiesel?

What do the plugs look like wet and oily?

Might try holding the pedal to the floor and cranking to clear out the engine, this puts the engine in clear/flood mode and shuts injectors down.

Although you used brake cleaner to try can start the car, get a $3 can of starting fluid, far more volatile than brake cleaner. If you get the car to start on starting fluid, you have a fuel delivery issue of some sort.
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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Lower hose fan switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299

Last edited by jfoj; 01-08-2013 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:20 PM   #3
leebro61
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4
My Ride: 07 335i, 06 325ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Diesel? Kerosene? BioDiesel?

What do the plugs look like wet and oily?

Might try holding the pedal to the floor and cranking to clear out the engine, this puts the engine in clear/flood mode and shuts injectors down.

Although you used brake cleaner to try can start the car, get a $3 can of starting fluid, far more volatile than brake cleaner. If you get the car to start on starting fluid, you have a fuel delivery issue of some sort.
It's definitely not diesel or kerosene. I had a TDI volkswagen for a number of years and have not yet forgot the smell. I also think the diesel fuel pump nozzles are generally too large to fit in my gasoline cars. The fuel definitely smells like gas (at least in comparison to diesel or kerosene), but slightly different than I'm accustomed to, but this could be all in my head I guess.

Good question on the plugs. When I pull them after cranking they are definitely wet. Based on color and smell it appears to be pure fuel on the plugs. I will try the WOT cranking method tomorrow and report back. I can also spring for a can of starting fluid.

BTW - I stumbled on to a few of the links in your sig via a google search. Very informative stuff

Last edited by leebro61; 01-08-2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #4
leebro61
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4
My Ride: 07 335i, 06 325ci
Can anyone comment about checking spark by grounding a plug? I don't see why that wouldn't work but I've never tried it on a car with coil on plug ignition. Am I going to get zapped and end up laying on my garage floor like this guy?
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
leebro61
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4
My Ride: 07 335i, 06 325ci
Update... I must have threatened the car by buying a set of spark plugs and a can of starting fluid because it started up first try tonight, before I even swapped the plugs or tried the starting fluid.

I initially went out to the garage because I found a post on here saying that his starting issues were caused by low battery voltage, and despite the battery being on a low amperage charger (as mine was), when cranking the voltage would drop dramatically and the car would not fire. I learned about the hidden diagnostic menu and brought up battery voltage. With the key in the on position, voltage was 11.7 (charger unhooked). When cranking the car the voltage dropped to ~9.8 or so (hard to tell as the numbers change fast), however to my surprise the car started after only a few revolutions... seemingly a "normal" start.

We let the car run for a few minutes and shut it down/restarted several times without issue.

Despite the success starting, the car had random episodes where it would stutter and shake for ~5 seconds or so and then eventually clear up... similar symptoms to what I described in my first post. Unfortunately because I haven't isolated the cause of the starting problem I don't think we are very confident in driving the car anywhere. We currently have ~half a tank of fuel. I think tomorrow we are going to siphon out as much of the current gasoline as possible and try to put fresh fuel in. If that doesn't fix the problem then at least our lawn mower will be pleased that it gets to taste premium
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