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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Florence, Italy
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2001 BMW 330d IIIM
Intermittend starting problems when (luke) warm - SOLVED

I have had intermittent starting problems that drove me crazy. When the engine was LUKE WARM it was not possible to start. That is: turn key, starting motor comes on, engine does not fire (or maybe fires once or twice and then dies).
This typically happened after parking for 1-2 hours. Cold engine always started perfectly (early morning, also at -10 degrees easy start), and warm engine starting fine as well. Only LUKE WARM had this problem and usually when I was in a hurry.
Waiting until the engined cooled down always solved the problem.

Battery in perfect condition, checked fuel pump: ok (including its fuse ok).
The car is a 330d, IIIM, diesel, European model (E46 with the M57 engine).

To analyze what was happening I bought an OBD2 to USB cable and installed the software to readout the fault codes. There it was: each time the engine did not start there was an error on the CAM sensor!

Mounting a new CAM sensor is really easy. It is located on the engine block close to the last fuel injection valve (so closest to the front of the car). Just unmount the engine cover and there it is. Disconnect cable, unscrew 1 screw, remove and mount a new sensor. (Price around 50-100 Euros.) Use a new o-ring. My sensor came with a new o-ring included.
E voilą. Problem solved!

I wanted to share this experience on the forum since others might have similar issues, and when reading through previous posts I noticed that there is a lot of confusion about possible causes. My feeling is that this typical pattern of reproducible starting problems with a luke warm engine must be related to a malfunction of the sensor in a specific temperature range. Hence it is unlikely that this is caused by failure of the fuel pump or other components.
At least in my case mounting a new CAM sensor solved the problem.

Good luck to all.

ps. I believe that the M57 diesel engine has only one CAM sensor (I could only find the one described above), while other BMW petrol engines have two (one for each CAM shaft in that case?). In that case I assume that there can be a similar issue with either one of the two sensors.
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cam sensor, starting problems

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