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General E46 Forum
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:54 AM   #41
Jspreezy
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Stinger9, sorry for taking so long to get back into the forum. Been about a month.
Ok, have had my battery on charge over night and still connected while in between checking voltage. I did exactly what you requested.
-connected voltmeter pos to the large pos terminal on the starter and my ground to the small ground strap on the starter. Just voltage alone is 14v. When I try to crank with the key the voltage drops to zero.
-I also used a large jumper wire between the large pos terminal to the solenoid (black/yellow) pos terminal and the voltage also dropped to zero.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:01 AM   #42
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If your voltage drops to zero, the best theory is that your battery is so bad as to not hold enough charge to even begin to turn the engine over.
To test this you should jumper your car with a battery that you are sure is very healthy. The voltage should not drop to zero under those circumstances when you jump the starter again, and the starter should spin your engine.
Let me know.

Refresh my memory, what is the condition of your battery. Age? Tested at parts store?
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:39 AM   #43
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I think I have bad ground to my starter, but don't understand how. The starter is bolted directly to the engine. I only have about 9v at the starter ground strap(as well as where the bolt threads into the starter). When I attempt to star with the key, voltage drops to around zero at any of the positive terminals on the starter and solenoid (3 total).
I placed my voltmeter negative onto the shock/strut upper housing bolt an have a good solid ground, 11v to 12v. When I attempt to crank, no drop in voltage with the good ground. So that would point to a bad ground for my starter and solenoid, correct. A bad ground would cause a drop in volts at my starter?? Again, not the greatest at electrical so any help is appreciated
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:45 AM   #44
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The battery now is about a year old, had it tested and everything checked out fine. But i think I may purchase a BMW specific battery. The battery I had last was an interstate battery and had no problems with that until it just died
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #45
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Had it tested at napa with the battery scanner
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:31 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jspreezy View Post
The battery now is about a year old, had it tested and everything checked out fine. But i think I may purchase a BMW specific battery. The battery I had last was an interstate battery and had no problems with that until it just died
Nothing magic about a BMW specific battery. Any good quality battery above the correct capacity will do just fine.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:18 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jspreezy View Post
I think I have bad ground to my starter, but don't understand how. The starter is bolted directly to the engine. I only have about 9v at the starter ground strap(as well as where the bolt threads into the starter). When I attempt to star with the key, voltage drops to around zero at any of the positive terminals on the starter and solenoid (3 total).
I placed my voltmeter negative onto the shock/strut upper housing bolt an have a good solid ground, 11v to 12v. When I attempt to crank, no drop in voltage with the good ground. So that would point to a bad ground for my starter and solenoid, correct. A bad ground would cause a drop in volts at my starter?? Again, not the greatest at electrical so any help is appreciated
Why do you think a bad ground?
Easy enough to test. Measure the resistance between the grounding strap on the starter and the engine block ground.
Also measure the resistance between the engine block and the chassis ground.
Both measurements should be very close to zero ohms.

Here is a pic of the strap under your car that grounds the engine block to the chassis.

Also check the cable connection from the negative battery terminal to ground.
And the cable connection in the drug bin. Two cables tie together here.

Last edited by Stinger9; 05-08-2014 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:06 PM   #48
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Took both starters and tested and exchanged the battery for a new one. Going to hook everything back up. I'll get back with Tuesday probably. Work and school.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:07 PM   #49
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Where are you located by the way?
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:30 PM   #50
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Just like my tag says: NY
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:50 PM   #51
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I think I figured it out. The starters tested good but possibly weren't strong enough to turn the engine. I turned the crank with a wrench and tried bumping with the key and it attempted to start. I still had the ground jumper on though. Maybe it was dropping to zero because the starter was too weak. Stinger, what're your thoughts?
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:20 PM   #52
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I'm going to add a ground strap from one of my stater bolts to the frame just for my personal satisfaction, ha. But could it have been possible that the starter was not strong enough to turn the flywheel therefore it was causing the volts to drop? And why would the solenoid make a clicking noise only when I had the ground jumper attached? Could I or should I be satisfied with this find? And should I replace with a BMW starter or will a napa one work. I've never had a problem like this out of a starter and the re-manned starter only worked for about three weeks and the no start issue happened again, this leading me away from a starter problem. Thanks for your time and input. It's always a help to have someone asking questions and giving suggestions. Keep you motivated and determined
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:28 PM   #53
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solid advice from Stinger so far, but i have an idea if you are interested. this "drops to zero" thing has raised a red flag. the battery should not drop to zero. it sounds to me like you have a short in a main power/ground cable. i have seen occasions where a B+/B- cable has become damaged or impregnated with acid to the point that it will run accessories (lights, radio, etc..) just fine, but then when heavy load is applied voltage drops to zero. try to turn your radio up loud and see what happens. in these situations the cable has shorted, but still has a few good strands, allowing a small amount of current through. check both cables at the battery first. see if they are still flexible, especially close to the connectors. if they crunch, they are either full of acid or otherwise burnt. even if you have previously cleaned the terminals and connectors it can still be inside the cable. also check for physical damage. there may not necessarily be exposed wire, you'll be looking for a large dent, flat spot, or pinch. you said adding a redundant ground had an affect. try running a jumper straight from B- to the starter case, and see what happens.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:54 PM   #54
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Have you ever found out what the hanging wire was near the drivers floorboard? I would be curious about that.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:00 PM   #55
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Maxwell, that's exactly where I ran my jumper from. The B- to the starter body. That's when it wants to try to start, the voltage still drops but it attempts to start. I tested voltage at the B+/B- terminals and got 12+v. And checked the ground straps, good clean connections. The positive leads from the battery look good and healthy but I have not tried twisting or turning them to see if any corrosion. Although the terminals are very clean and no sign of acid or corrosion noticeable. It's got to be between the starter ground and the starter itself. How could the ground be bad at the starter which is bolted to the block when the ground strap from the engine to the frame is good and solid? Just asking
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:04 PM   #56
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Drbworld, I was an idiot. Should have posted this before but I was a little ashamed of myself. It was the wiring to one of my interior lights, I had to unplug it to remove the panel to access underneath the dash. I was scratching my head for a while on that one. Ha, sometimes you just have to go back to the beginning and start all lver
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:08 PM   #57
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Ok. One other thing u can try is from the battery terminal under the hood near the passenger well, directly to the starter. That should by pass the alternator and other wires. If it cranks than, you will isolate the problem.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:29 PM   #58
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Ok, so take a jumper from the B+ under the hood to the large + terminal at the starter. Sorry just trying to get it right the first time. Or a jumper from the B- under the hood(by passenger well) to the starter frame? Which o these and what will that tell me, that the positive cable from the B+ is possibly bad?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:57 PM   #59
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B+ to the big terminal at the starter. Also try the engine block to the starter frame (test the engine ground cable). It is unlikely that the ground issue is directly at the starter IMO, afaik the starter bolts directly to the block and thus grounds itself through the case.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:59 PM   #60
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You want the battery + terminal to starter. Test on both terminals on starter. The big one is the power from alternator/ battery and the small one is from the ignition switch. Make sure car is on neutral and key is ok last position on.
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