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Old 11-10-2012, 07:29 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Atlanta
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My Ride: 2001 330ci Coupe
Befuddling no start no crank situation...

Ugh.... ok so recently I had a situation where my 2001 330 coupe wouldn't start. Wouldn't crank, nothing. I looked through the forums and I ended up bypassing the clutch start interrupter switch (not sure what it's "technically" called) and it worked great for a few days, other than losing my cruise control. Then it started happening again and I figured I'd try the ignition switch. Got one for $20 bucks on Ebay, installed and it worked great for 2 days. Thought I had it fixed. Then it started happening again! I know most people on the forums have been saying the key, but it does the same thing with both of my keys. Sometimes it cranks right up, sometimes I get nothing.

I know a starter could cause this as well, but before I go into all of that mess I wanted a few opinions as to possible other options!

Here's the details:
The problem seems to be completely random. I can't recreate it by jiggling wires, nothing to do with being hot or cold (so it seems anyway), etc.
I get no strange clicking sounds.
I can hear the fuel pump running when I turn the switch on.
I can hear the clutch pedal switch or relay click (i assume that's what it is, it's a little click coming right there from the clutch pedal area) but only when it is going to start. If I don't hear the click, I know its not going to crank!
I checked the battery: 12.5 at rest, 9-10 under load
All lights and accessories seem to be strong, just no crank.
Seems to be very random: sometimes I get in and it starts up just fine, even 10-20 times in a row, other times I have to try and where from 2-30 times before I hear the clutch pedal switch engage.
I changed the ignition switch (used switch from junk yard)
Bypassed the clutch switch (reversed once I found out it was still doing the same thing)
No strange lights on dash and she runs just fine when she starts up!

Are there any relays that would cause this issue? The reason I'm asking is because (correct me if I'm wrong here) it seems to me that the clutch pedal switch would be between the DME and the starter. If its the clutch pedal switch click I'm hearing intermittently, I would think that its not the starter since the starter is further down the line, right? I'm having a hard time thinking it is the DME or the EWS because those seem to come along with issues that I'm not experiencing when I have read other posts on the forums.

A professional mechanic I know (general mechanic, not bmw) said he thinks its a relay but I don't wanna just keep throwing parts at this if any of you have had this experience and can help.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:55 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA USA
Posts: 23,192
My Ride: 330CiC, M5, X5, E93
Get your battery properly tested.

If you say our battery 9-10 Volts under load, this is likely your problem?

A good solid battery should not drop much below 11 Volts when cranking as the batteries in these cars are typically way oversized anyway.

Also check the engine to body ground, under car passenger side near the motor mount and slightly behind the strut as I recall. The body side is usually the problem.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:07 AM   #3
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My Ride: 2001 330ci Coupe
Great suggestion. On my way to get the battery tested right now and when I get home I'll check that ground as well. I'll post an update as soon as I check.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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Check the connections also under the + terminal under hood and the ground nut inside right side drug bin. Also, pull up on battery cables...some bats terminals are a little small and even though the nut on clamp is tight, the cable isn't...and while there...check on the bst which has given some folks an issue too.
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