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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 08-03-2012, 11:43 AM   #1
Bim3Por911
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cleveland, OH
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My Ride: 328i & 911T
Intermittent No Crank Issue

Stupid question. Will a manual transmission bone stock e46 start without the clutch depressed? My car intermittently does not crank. I haven't been stranded yet but am planning a big road trip. I've heard it can be all sorts of things from relays to the starter itself. The battery in the car is a 3 month old Interstate and all connections show no corrosion or looseness.

I'm thinking it's the switch on the clutch. I have a 9/99 build car so it has the early switch, not the one on the clutch master cyl. I think it could be the switch because if I depress the clutch a couple of times the car will start.

Does anyone have the link on the diy for jumpering the switch?

Thx.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
Bim3Por911
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I did a long road trip and took both keys. I had an incident on my trip where the car would not start. I remove the key and walk around the car. Get back in - no start. Get out again and get my spare key. The car starts right up. I drive to a gas station and get gas. I use the old key. It starts right up. I drive 560 miles home. I have one no-start issue on the way home. The symptom is typically the car won't crank and no audible clicks even though all the dash lights are on. It's as if all systems are defeated. I pull the key, put it in again and then the car starts. I assume it's the key and buy a new one. The old one is 13 years old. I hear keys typically only last about 10 years if used often so it's not money wasted.

So now it's one of several things: Clutch module (switch), Ignition switch, or possibly the green relay in the box in the engine compartment that controls the injectors. The problem is so intermittent it's difficult to catch. If it's something like the clutch switch there is most likely no code for that. Currently the car is not recording any codes per my Peake Reader. Could it be caught with Auto Enginuity or a similar more comprehensive reader?
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:46 PM   #3
jfoj
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If you think it is the clutch safety switch, when your start the car and it does not crank, to not release the key. Pump the clutch multiple times to see if the car starts. If while holding the key and pumping the clutch the car cranks, it is likely the clutch switch.

It is likely a ignition switch and/or the EWS antenna ring if it is not the clutch switch. More likely the ignition switch as they are know to go bad although the EWS antenna ring is cheaper.

Unlikely the EWS transponder in the key is bad but it could happen.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:57 PM   #4
Bim3Por911
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I now have five keys (three diamond and two valet) and they ALL are susceptible to the no-start condition so it's not a key transponder. I'll try the clutch pump trick next time this happens. If it responds - good. If not, then it's likely either the antenna ring or ignition switch. I had a '96 e36 about 8 years ago where the antenna ring quit right before I bought the car. When the ring antenna stopped transmitting, the car just would not crank AT ALL and was flat-bedded to an indie shop. An intermittent mechanical switch issue seems most likely to me. I may purchase the BMW 1.4.0 Asian Software from 360.com just to ensure the keys are talking. That would eliminate the antenna and EWS as items. Then it would either be the switch, wiring, or the starter.

Thx
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