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Old 11-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
HowFastIs2Fast
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Serious Electrical Problem-Need Expert Help

I have a 2000 BMW 323I, with 180000 miles on it.

This started after replacing the water pump, and I put in a new battery.
I have an OBD2 scanner that gives me live data from the sensors, and the sensors are working. Here are the problems

None of the instrumentation works...None. Instrument lights work, just no instrument read outs. All are dead. Fuses are good however. F102, and the entire glove box fuses are good.

The computer has no fault codes

The alternator is not charging the battery.

The ECT reaches 235 without the cooling fan turning on.

Also I noticed when I turn off the car, the word brake blinks once red under my instruments

I've looked at the schematics and I'm just not sure what the next diagonistic step should be.

Please help with serious expertise

Thanks

Luke
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #2
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Does the car drive?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:39 PM   #3
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I would disconnect your battery for 30 minutes, reconnect it and see what happens.

If you still have problems, try to access the Hidden OBC Menu using in the link below in my signature and test the dash make sure the dash is working.

Report back what happens.
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Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temps, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

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Old 11-06-2012, 06:34 PM   #4
HowFastIs2Fast
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car drives, however due to the cooling fan not working I cant drive in town because it will over heat, and the instrument cluster doesn't work so access the hidden obd is not possible
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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I would check grounds...

Maybe when you change the battery you disconnect/loose a cable....
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:42 AM   #6
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Fusable link, up underneath dash behind the fuses. That would be high amperage fuse 101.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1724937
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:28 PM   #7
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Did that link help you fix your problem?
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #8
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No like I said in the original post, all fuses are good. F101 doesn't exist in my car, and F102 checked good. the E-pack all checked good, and the DME relay checked good when power wasn't applied. I'm not sure how to check if a relay operates correctly when power is applied. The connector however did give me 12V so I know that power is going to the relay, and fuses.

When you say check the grounds, it's a pretty broad statement, and their are quite a few grounds. x6454, x165,x166, x494 all seem good.

I took it to a shop, they've done nothing to it but plug the $20000 diagnostic tool into it and hit the print button. Here is what they say :

camshaft position sensor needs to be replaced.....If that were true the engine wouldn't run now would it

Their is a vacuum leak....hmm what does that have to do with my electrical problem, plus guess what...I've replace all my vacuum lines and oil separator valve and intake boots, so I think that code is wak

The instrument cluster is going out...Hmmm electronic gauges GOING out?? it seems like digital gauges are either working or not working...their is no gray area.

The alternator needs to be replaced...Well I told them that. It's not charging the battery...umm thanks for that expertise

and the cooling fan isn't kicking on...hmm brand new electronic fan not being turned on, however the obd2 can read the ECT as it reaches 240 degrees.

What relay would tell the ECM activate when the coolant temperature reaches above the normal parameter

It seems like the ECM isn't operating properly, just my opinion, but I was hoping that someone with a lot of knowledge could throw another hypothesis out there.

Does the instrument cluster simply take in data from sensors, or does it actually have relays that control operation of the engine?

Also, I'm thinking like with a computer, if you wiped the MS42 management software and reloaded a fresh package, do you think that would have any effect.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowFastIs2Fast View Post
Also, I'm thinking like with a computer, if you wiped the MS42 management software and reloaded a fresh package, do you think that would have any effect.
I was just going to suggest this. If you have access to Winkfp, try it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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If the alt isn't charging the battery, I'd start there. First make sure that the alt is or isn't putting out power. Check the cables from battery and from alt.

There are main engine ground cables...look like metal straps.

Look under +/grd terminals under hood for corrosion.

If your battery isn't getting charged, how are you starting it to get to the shop or to see your temp is 235 degrees? Also, I'm not sure which sensor is the ECT, but 235 is way too high for cooling temp and thus you shouldn't be driving it when it reads this.

You didn't say if you had a manual or automatic, but if manual, the relay is that black box on top of the fan and afaik there is some aftermarket replacement for this, but I wouldn't risk it.

Your car can run, I believe, with bad camshaft sensor...but not, afaik, a bad crank position sensor.

Start with the basics...in your case, the battery. Don't trust the autozone guy who might have told you yours was fine...just saying! Check the bst too...that gives guys issues too.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:38 AM   #11
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Dmax, wouldn't you agree that if he is having multiple problems that something might or must be unplugged? Also if this is the case the fuse would be good but wouldn't test good with a test light.
Looking on spaghetticoder, the fan is powered by the temp sensor located on the lower radiator hose, fan speed is determined by voltage signal at the fan relay. OP is this sensor plugged in and fully seated in the socket?
Using a test light test the Positive connection at the alternator, key in position 2, you should get light indicating the alternator is indeed receiving bat voltage.
Diagnosing an electrical problem is bad enough, doing it on a forum conversation is worse.

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #12
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Since all he did was wp and the battery, and he's having electrical problems, I, personally, love proximate causes.

A new battery doesn't mean a charged battery (we haven't heard of its voltage yet) and nothing personal, OP, but a few here have hooked up their batteries the wrong way (reversed)...and others got a battery with terminals too small to make a good connection on our clamps...so work through the fundamentals first.

Also, consider all aftermarket things you've installed too, before going too crazy with 'possible' stuff.

I'm still liking the battery, bst, corroded ground...basic stuff.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:57 PM   #13
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DMAX

I'm shooting pins with a multimeter and testing fuses with the ohm meter. All fuses are reading .000 ohms or good. The new battery when I got it from autozone read 12.4 V. After I put it in my car and drove around the block once it read 11.9. I drove it to the mechanic off of the battery. When I drove it to the shop the outside air temp was 40 and once the ECT got up to 230 I pulled over and let it cool down. The shop was only 2 miles away. I didn't want to risk the drive really, but I didn't have another option at the time.

Before taking it to the mechanic, I measured voltage at the alternator. It read 12.0V.

When I discovered the instruments were not working that's when I plugged the scan tool in to see if the sensors were working and saw that they were.

To help add to the overall picture. I had a bad water pump that was leaking. That was originally the only problem. Everything else was working. Then while trying to get home without overheating the car, I was killing it at the lights then starting back up and driving. One of the lights, I couldn't start back up, I just got the sound of the sillinoid clicking rapidly. Battery read 11.4V. I got it towed back to the house replaced the water pump, and to make sure that the starter was not the thing that went out, I jumped the car. So I successfully determined that it was just the battery. I can't remember at this point if the gauges worked. So I went to autozone, got a new battery, and thought my problems were solved. I put the battery in. Started it up. Checked the pump. All looked good. I got in and started to drive around to get the coolant circulating through the block and looked at the gauges. Everything is dead...DAMMIT.... Then I start trying to figure out what the hell I did to deserve this.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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I think checking the fuses with a test light with key in pos 2 is better. You will then see if you have bat voltage across the fuses. When you find one that doesn't show voltage on one side or the other, you then investigate everything on that circuit.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:13 PM   #15
HowFastIs2Fast
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KAG64

My car is still sitting at the Mech. shop so I can't double check the connections, however I am certain that I did check those connections before starting it up.
What I can't find is how much voltage does the instrument cluster need to power the gauges. If the answer is more than 12V, then the answer might be as simple as replacing the alternator. And if the fan also requires 12V min to power on, then that will diagnose that problem as well. Can anyone confirm the voltage required to power the instrument cluster? and the voltage required to power the fan.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:14 PM   #16
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If you didn't rinse off your belt after doing wp and if that was very recent, your belt could be slipping due to the coolant...you might notice PS being weaker too.

But, on the cluster...if someone did a mod to, say, the needles or something, the cluster could just be unplugged...you wouldn't be the first. 2 screws at top and it comes out.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:58 PM   #17
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Ah, my bad, missed that it was at the shop. The fan/temp sensor is a thermistor which means the voltage the fan control sees changes as resistance increases and decreases, before i changed my profession i had a tool called a "power probe", great tool to have.

Quote:
Electric Fan

Under certain operating conditions, the engine control activates the electric fan at various speeds.

The electric fan is activated by means of a power output stage directly on the fan motor. The motor control module activates this power output stage by means of a square-wave signal with duty factors (variable pulse width) between 10 and 90 % thus controlling the various speeds of the electric fan. Pulse duty factors less than 5 % and greater than 95 % do not trigger activation but rather they are used for fault detection purposes. The power output stage features its own positive and ground supply.

The fan speed is influenced by the coolant temperature at the radiator outlet and the pressure in the air conditioning system. The fan speed is reduced as the vehicle speed increases.
That is as specific as I can find.

The instrument cluster is a different matter. Many wires and some carry 12v and others not. There are many pages of info on that subject. I guess there is not much else to do until you hear from the shop. I've sub'd to keep the updates.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:03 PM   #18
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Problem Solved

Due to my 80hour work week schedules, It took me a long time to get a whole day where I could trouble shoot and diagnose the problem. Here is the overview of what had happened since I put it in the shop.

The shop "diagnosed" the car. Here is the garbage they feed me: upon inspection the instrument cluster needs to be replaced, recommended replacing the alternator(this I told them was not working), recommended replacing the inlet camshaft sensor, recommended a smoke test for and air leak that is causing a code to pop up. Grand total 3500. I declined all repairs. Below is a Long and Short story depending on your Time.

Long Story

-I towed the car back-$60, took the alternator to the shop to get it rebuilt. -$100. Installed the new alternator. Started the car, nothing changed, except my voltage meter now told me the battery was being charged. I turned the car off. Took out the instrument cluster, checked the resistors, capacitors, and circuit board, all looked good. Did the same for the ECM, all looked good. Checked the DME relay, it clicked when power was applied. Applied 12V to the fan, the fan kicked on. Confirmed that 12V were getting to the fan. It was. Started car. Here is where everything got fixed.......While the car was running, and the alternator was charging the battery, at about 12.5-13V, the instruments all turned on, the car ran the battery up to 14.6V or so. Fan kicks on and everything is fixed.

Short story-instrument cluster needs 13V to operate, and the ECM also needs 13V-15V to control the car.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #19
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Excellent!
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowFastIs2Fast View Post
DMAX

I drove it to the mechanic off of the battery. When I drove it to the shop the outside air temp was 40 and once the ECT got up to 230 I pulled over and let it cool down. The shop was only 2 miles away. I didn't want to risk the drive really, but I didn't have another option at the time.
Were you in a lot of stop and go traffic? How far up was your temp needle when the ECT was at 230? Just trying to get some correlation on the relationship of ECT temp to needle.

The reason I ask is, I lost my fan near Birmingham and didn't realize it until nearly 4 hours down the road. Never had any needle movement with the outside temp around 50 degrees. Made it to Branson, MO without a fan and no issues. Completed the drive back to near Atlanta without it again with the outside temperature never getting above 35 degrees.

For those wondering the car had an aftermarket fan on it that I am assuming the plastic hardware gave way.

Last edited by jakksfor20; 11-30-2012 at 10:48 PM.
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