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General E46 Forum
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:18 AM   #1
ParalyzerX
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Calgary, AB
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My Ride: 2003 BMW 330i
320i wont start - Barely starts after multiple attempts

Hi there I have an 03 320i that doesn't start or barely starts. This is what happens:

In the morning the car does not start at all for the first few cranks. On the third or forth attempt the car will start to sputter and act like its about to start and then it will be "running" but barely. It is misfiring and shaking. I will then shut it off and try to start it again and it will start no problem at all like normal. About 30-40 minutes later I go out and try again and starts no problem as well. The next day this happens all over again -> No starts for 3-4 attempts --> barely starts very rough --> starts no problem until its left for a long time and repeats.

I can hear the fuel pump when I turn the key to on and there is also no engine codes. Anybody have any idea?
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:05 AM   #2
paraklas
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When my car experienced the same symptoms, it was an exhaust camshaft sensor fault. It didn't trigger the engine light, but it did store a fault code.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:08 AM   #3
ParalyzerX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paraklas View Post
When my car experienced the same symptoms, it was an exhaust camshaft sensor fault. It didn't trigger the engine light, but it did store a fault code.
Yeah the symptoms point to camshaft or crankshaft sensor but I have used two different OBD readers and have found no codes.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:39 AM   #4
jfoj
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Could be a lot of different things, without codes, it is a bit hard to pinpoint.

Just because you hear the fuel pump by no means does this indicate the fuel pressure or volume is good.

I am surprised there are not any codes as it sounds like you have having misfire with fuel cut off?

Could also be a crank or cam sensor but the crank sensors do not fail often on these engines.

Suggest you read the first 2 links below in my signature and rule out the obvious problems first.

The only sensors that I would suspect at this point would be the cam sensors, but this is just a guess. Intake cam sensor appears to be more important overall for engine start up from my experience.
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Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

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

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Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:06 AM   #5
Saintluk2
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Would an intake leak cause this ? I remember I left one of my intake boots unplugged and experienced similar symptoms, but with an engine light.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:37 AM   #6
lszlszx
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I believe there is an electrical test for those sensors, measuring resistance.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:19 AM   #7
ParalyzerX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lszlszx View Post
I believe there is an electrical test for those sensors, measuring resistance.
Do you have a link for this test?
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:28 AM   #8
freewheelin_76
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This. Could definitely be fuel system related. My problem was/is somewhat similar and ended up being fuel system. I also had no codes or light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Could be a lot of different things, without codes, it is a bit hard to pinpoint.

Just because you hear the fuel pump by no means does this indicate the fuel pressure or volume is good.

I am surprised there are not any codes as it sounds like you have having misfire with fuel cut off?

Could also be a crank or cam sensor but the crank sensors do not fail often on these engines.

Suggest you read the first 2 links below in my signature and rule out the obvious problems first.

The only sensors that I would suspect at this point would be the cam sensors, but this is just a guess. Intake cam sensor appears to be more important overall for engine start up from my experience.

Last edited by freewheelin_76; 10-30-2013 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
3coupe
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It is very hard to diagnose without any codes. Have you tried a BMW specific code reader? I've never used one, but have heard people mention "hidden" codes that aren't read by a regular OBD reader. (I might have misunderstood that though).


Other things that could cause those issues would be a vacuum leak or bad MAF. Both are known to cause issues with no codes.

It could also be a leaky VCG with oil getting into the spark plugs. This could cause issues that go away after the oil is cleared out while it's running poorly.


There are just so many possible causes that this might be one of those problems where it's worth the $100 to have it looked at rather than throwing parts at it.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:04 AM   #10
ParalyzerX
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Could it possibly be a bad fuel pump that isn't totally dead but just weak? or clogged filter?
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