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Old 04-22-2012, 10:02 PM   #1
chungachguk
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Starting issue?

Hey guys,

I know this issue has been asked a million times, but I am truly stumped and none of the ones I have found seem to be exactly like mine...

Car was driving fine, no issues, no codes, no signs of any issues, until one day.. just didn't start. The dash lit up, the blower came on, but the starter didn't click. Well I thought it was simple enough, so I replaced the starter...(biggest PITA, truly a moronic move by the BMW engineers, IMO, to put the starter underneath the intake manifold, and put the screws from the outside the engine compartment, meaning you need to lower the transmission and use a very VERY long extension to get to it... But all of that aside, starter was replaced... Car started right up. YES, I thought... Too soon!

The car started fine, but when I drove it I could hear something rubbing underneath. It seemed like it was just the driveshaft rubbing on the heatshield... Raised the car, took the heatshield off, lowered the car, tried to start it... Doesn't start. Doesn't click, nothing. Just like it was last time when I thought it was the starter.

So I took everything apart (intake manifold off) and tested the connections leading up to the starter, there seems to be power (12.3V) leading up to it, tested the starter directly, by connecting the wire directly from battery terminal and one form the ground, the starter clicked, so it seems to work.... Just out of curiosity decided to test the old starter the same way... Hold and behold, the old one clicks as well... Still does not start with the key.

Replaced the ignition switch, still nothing, does not even click, so clearly something is missing... Any ideas? I guess I could probably get another starter and see if that one would work, but what are the chances that the new starter (remanufactured) was bad as well?

Anything else you would check? (the battery is fine, since I have 2 e46s and I used the other battery as well, and that one didn't work either, one of the batteries is only about 3 weeks old).

Any guess would be greatly appreciated as I am truly running out of ideas... There are no relays or fuses directly for the starter as far as I am concerned, so is there any other "switch" besides the ignition switch that could be disabling the starter?
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:53 AM   #2
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Personally, I'd guess EWS issue, interference with some aftermarket device such as a bluetooth device near the ignition switch, or a problem with the key itself.

I dont normally like guessing but since you have 0 responses, thought i'd give you some food for thought. Can you rule any of the above out?
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
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Clutch switch? On auto, there must be some switch confirming the car is in park, I'd think.

Battery connection? Grounds. That you tested with a new battery doesn't mean that battery is charged...and even though a battery may have voltage, it may not have the amps you need.

There's some connection on the pos cable from battery that separates in an accident, but I believe guys have had this separate without an accident...some have ziptied it together temporarily.

See if you can push start the car...then check voltage on the alt. If you can, that brings the battery into play again. If you can't...check that cut off switch, different key...and search the many "no crank, no start" threads to get some more ideas. I think the crank position sensor will yield a no crank (check that...I'm not sure).
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:50 AM   #4
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the easiest way to test the PNP (park neutral protection) switch is to put the car in neutral and try to start it. but usually if the switch thinks its in reverse or drive it won't even click
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #5
chungachguk
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It's an automatic, so the first thing I thought was that the car "thought" that it was in gear, so I switched it from Park to Neutral and back a few times, still no luck trying to start it...

Battery connections are clean, and the battery tests strong... Plus like I mentioned I switched the battery from my other e46, and the other one starts easily with both, and this one does not start with either...

Can't really push start it since it's an automatic (another of those times when I realize how much better a manual is than an automatic).

EWS? That sounds like I reasonable guess. I put in a DICE Ipod interface recently, but it worked for a couple weeks after that just fine... Is there any way to check if it is an EWS? And would there be any other symptoms? (doors not unlocking, or I don't know...anything?) Since there is voltage coming up to the starter, it would seem logical that it would be something like a switch or a relay preventing it from starting/clicking.. But since there's no relay, maybe it is an EWS.. Any ideas on how to check before taking it to the stealer? Also (might be a bit of a dumb question) but where is the EWS located on the e46s?

Thank you all for the input... Please feel free to throw any other guesses out there, as I am truly out of ideas... =(
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:40 AM   #6
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Go back to the dice work you did...I've never done this, but if you had to disconnect wires to do it, make sure those are plugged in securely. And check the area around it anyway...maybe something got loose while you were working there.

I'll see if I can find a realoem diagram of ews...haven't messed with mine ever. brb


This is for my car...confirm PNs for yours:

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...95&hg=61&fg=25



Haven't a clue where ews is...though for some reason, I think C pillar. Check spaghettidecoder.org or Bentley
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Last edited by dmax; 04-23-2012 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:44 PM   #7
chungachguk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Go back to the dice work you did...I've never done this, but if you had to disconnect wires to do it, make sure those are plugged in securely. And check the area around it anyway...maybe something got loose while you were working there.

I'll see if I can find a realoem diagram of ews...haven't messed with mine ever. brb


This is for my car...confirm PNs for yours:

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...95&hg=61&fg=25



Haven't a clue where ews is...though for some reason, I think C pillar. Check spaghettidecoder.org or Bentley

DICE plugs directly into the pre-wired harness for the CD Changer, so I didn't really have to mess with any wires... I did mount the module for it behind the glovebox fuses (kind of where all the modules and relays are), so I am wondering if maybe it's pressing on one of the other wires/relays/modules. Will go back and check.

Still no idea on where EWS is.. My guess is either underneath the steering wheel, or behind the glovebox, if I can get home before dark, will have to check them out.

I've read that EWS would be around 600 bucks to replace from the dealer... I can replace it myself, but since they would need to order, reprogram it and then key, I am assuming they will still charge me an arm and a leg... Kinda wish there was a way to at least narrow it down to just the EWS... Almost feel like ordering another starter (since this one is still under warranty) and see if that would solve anything, although really feels like pointless/wishful thinking...

Love BMWs, but things like these blow my mind...
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:08 PM   #8
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Starters do go bad, I'm afraid. I can't say I specifically recall a new one failing here, but I'm sure it's happened...low odds, but there are some odds of that.

BTW, you should get a local fanatic to maybe come by with a decent code reading program to see if there's anything there that can help you narrow this down. For beer and a sandwich, bet you'd get someone local to stop by.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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I have not been following along in the hymnal, so I may be on the wrong song -- but here goes.

The car has a variety of safety systems that prevents it from starting. You seem to have isolated the starter itself, and the electrics -- battery and such. The items that prevent starting are the Clutch Switch or Neutral Safety Switch (manual and automatic transmission, respectively), and the Key Recognition device (Item 3 in the diagram that has been linked). THE ULTIMATE BEHAVIOR OF THESE ITEMS IS THE SAME FOR ANY PRACTICAL PURPOSE.

When you turn the key, and nothing happens with respect to the starter, then you need to determine that the car is safe -- in P or N, or the clutch is depressed -- or that it is not convinced that it is in the midst of a theft attempt.

In these scenarios, the electrics all come up and everything works properly. The instruments move, the lights work, the horn can be activated, and so on. The only thing missing from your universe is that the starter does not work. You can sometimes manipulate the gear selector to find that P and N are actually someplace else. As you hold the key in the START position, see if the car will try to start when the gear selector is moved. This will tell you that the NSS needs to be adjusted. This addresses the issues of the vehicle being safe. If you have a clutch, then you have to isolate the clutch safety switch as the problem. If the car thinks you are not depressing the clutch, then it will refuse to start.

The theft deterence system has an ignition bypass that looks at the key via the ring around the ignition lock (Item 3, above). Item 3 is an antenna, and the key has an RFID thingy built in. The car and the key do a handshake that must go well OR THE CAR WILL NOT START. You can isolate this by changing the key. I hope you have tried different keys already, but if not, give it a whirl before you do anything else. My daughter's car came home on a flatbed once because it would not start. I went to work on the NSS, but the volt meter could not find anything wrong. The mechanic I use a few times per decade told me to use a different key. "Yeah, right," I thought. "That's gonna change things." He was right, the car immediately started. It also worked with the original key after that. It was not reliable with the first key, but that key had the buttons on it. My kid used two keys for a few days, she used the original key unless it didn't start the car. In any case, she bought a new key and never had the problem again.

So, if I am reading your symptoms right, you need to use another key.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #10
chungachguk
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Hey guys...

Welll I got it fixed. Super excited but also feel kinda dumb. Turns out there was bad contact between the ground wire that goes from the body to the engine block... It felt and looked fine, but I took it off just to clean it up and put it back together thinking there's no way that would do anything... Cleaned all the contact with some sandpaper, put it back together and started like a charm!

I guess it might've been something I should've figured out sooner, but I'm still learning all the nuances of electricity, so it took me a while. Thanks to all of you for the help, and once again I'm super grateful to e46fanatics.com.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:10 AM   #11
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where on the engine is this ground wire located as I have the same problem??
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:22 AM   #12
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Yeah where is it? I am having the exact same problems and I would like to be able to go to work tomorrow!
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:28 AM   #13
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I believe the engine to body ground wire is on the passenger side (US right side) of the car near the motor mount. On my E39 it actually connects to the motor mount and is easy to see from under the hood, however, the E46 cannot be seen from under the hood as I recall?

I always tell people as a simple test, they can use a jumper cable and connect from the engine block to the negative jump start connection under the hood near the passenger side (US right side) strut tower.

You could probably use a Voltmeter set on the 12-20 Volt scale and connect it between the engine block and the negative jump start connection under the hood and try to start the car and see how much Voltage drop you can measure. Anything over about 0.5 Volts and your ground is compromised, needs cleaning or replacement!
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:45 AM   #14
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Thank you sir! Alas though, it didn't fix my problem and sorry for bumping an old post guys.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:15 PM   #15
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Old thread but worth a try, car was left on the weekend didn't drive it, this morning didn't want to start, pushing the car and throwing it in gear and let go of the clutch and boom started fine, went to work 8hrs later same issue, went to autozone and a girl with a tool "diagnosed" and said battery is fine, any input what this could be I hear a tick tick noise and it won't start. Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance
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