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Old 01-18-2013, 09:28 AM   #1
boongsin12
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No click from starter motor, EDIT: there is a click. 2ND edit

For the last few days, I have been getting a weird symptoms on my 01' 330 ci, with 12x,xxx miles. When I try to start the car after its been parked for a while, it refuses to start. I hear no click from the starter motor. After a several tries of turning the key, all of sudden, the car starts with no problem, there is no hesitation in turning over the engine. This has been happening for the last two days.

I have checked my battery, which is only 6 months old, fuel pump, which is only 2 years old and all the connections. So, I don't think it's battery, fuel pump or the connection problem. While I was able to check these items, I wasn't sure what else I can check and how I can check them. For instance, how do I know if my alternator/voltage regulator is bad? Also how do I know if the clutch switch is bad? Most importantly, is my starter motor going bad? What should I examine?? Thanks in advance for your input!

EDIT: There is actually a click! I couldn't hear it well but it clicks everytime the key is turned.

Last edited by boongsin12; 02-07-2013 at 08:31 PM. Reason: update
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Sounds like it could be a switch problem or the battery is going bad. Others more knowledgeable than I will kick in their thoughts as far as troubleshooting.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:37 AM   #3
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It would not be a bad alternator that would affect your starting, it would affect the charging of the battery.

To check your alternator, start your car and measure you voltage at your +B terminal. It should read 13.7-14.3 Volts.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:09 PM   #4
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Sounds more like the starter solenoid.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:16 PM   #5
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Argh, I was afraid that the starter was the problem. I think i am gonna have to take this one to the local shop. Thanks for your input
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boongsin12 View Post
........I have checked my battery, which is only 6 months old, fuel pump, which is only 2 years old and all the connections........
If the clutch switch were going bad, there's actually a way to defeat it by looping a piece of naked wire through two of the three plug holes. I'll try and find the "DIY" (lol) for that. You'd lose the safety feature of the (functional) switch but lots of people hate that feature anyway.

Another potential culprit would be the oil level sensor connector (bottom of your oil pan, have to crawl under the car).

You might also want to disconnect your batter neg terminal and re-check all the main connections and grounds in the engine electrical system. There are several major grounding points. I don't have an e46 but my e39 has a few critical grounding wires bolted to the chassis, near the battery (neg cable base) and underneath or near the strut towers.

Last edited by pleiades; 01-18-2013 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
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If the clutch switch were going bad, there's actually a way to defeat it by looping a piece of naked wire through two of the three plug holes. I'll try and find the "DIY" (lol) for that. You'd lose the safety feature of the (functional) switch but lots of people hate that feature anyway.

Another potential culprit would be the oil level sensor connector (bottom of your oil pan, have to crawl under the car).

You might also want to disconnect your batter neg terminal and re-check all the main connections and grounds in the engine electrical system. There are several major grounding points. I don't have an e46 but my e39 has a few critical grounding wires bolted to the chassis, near the battery (neg cable base) and underneath or near the strut towers.
How exactly would the oil level sensor affect the turning of starter motor? I will double check the grounds and connection just to make sure.

The reason I kind of settled on for the faulty starter motor is due to this link. I am having a very similar situation.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:44 PM   #8
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The oil level sensor connector .... haven't experienced this myself but have been told a faulty or loose oil level sensor can prevent the car from starting. Maybe a myth?

BTW, did you actually check the connectors on the starter solenoid to ensure they're not loose?
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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The oil level sensor connector .... haven't experienced this myself but have been told a faulty or loose oil level sensor can prevent the car from starting. Maybe a myth?

BTW, did you actually check the connectors on the starter solenoid to ensure they're not loose?
I checked the positive connector under the hood. I haven't checked the physical connection on the solenoid, as I don't have means to get in that deep.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:05 PM   #10
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Starter solenoid isn't engaging. That's the click that you normally hear.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:19 PM   #11
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Hi again!,

So, I got out of work this evening, and tried to turn on my car. Because I only had intermittent problem with starting, I though after a few times of trying I would be able to start the car. But no no no no. It didn't start.

Fortunately, the car was parked in a slight incline. So, I was able to drop it into a gear and got home. After I got home, I turned the car off. Now, I tried to turn on the car again. It started without a problem. My guess is that there is a residual current or whatever that makes the car turn on right after the car was shut off.

Now, I am kind of stumped because I thought the starter was gone and the car was able to turn over immediately after the car was shut off. What about that? Has any one got some ideas?
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:25 PM   #12
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Hi again!,

So, I got out of work this evening, and tried to turn on my car. Because I only had intermittent problem with starting, I though after a few times of trying I would be able to start the car. But no no no no. It didn't start.

Fortunately, the car was parked in a slight incline. So, I was able to drop it into a gear and got home. After I got home, I turned the car off. Now, I tried to turn on the car again. It started without a problem. My guess is that there is a residual current or whatever that makes the car turn on right after the car was shut off.

Now, I am kind of stumped because I thought the starter was gone and the car was able to turn over immediately after the car was shut off. What about that? Has any one got some ideas?

Dumb question,
Would a scan tool help find the problem?
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:37 PM   #13
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Hmmm

I never thought about that as there is no cel light. But I guess that is a good place to discover.

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Old 01-18-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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Get your voltage of car off and on.

I suspect it's nothing but your driving habits. You're taking a lot of short trips and no longs ones. Maybe the radio and lights are on while the car is off...the battery is just barely above the amps it needs to start. You jump started it, drove it home, then tried to restart it...I think you're right...it had enough juice then. If you tried again, or maybe twice, bet you'd run into an issue again.

If you have a charger, put it on...if not, next time you start, drive 20 mins. on highway at least...without radio, etc. on.

If your habits are good, then look into the fsr...well known for going bad and draining battery overnight.

GL...hth
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #15
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Well,

The issue has been persisting for at least a couple of days. Since then, I checked the battery voltage, which is 12.1V off 14.0V on. I don't suspect FSR is bad again, it's only 5 months old... I do drive relatively short distances but not too short.

How durable are the starter motors on our cars? I feel like it is a little premature for the starter motor to go dead at 125,xxx miles. It's that or there is a connection issue which is not obvious to find, I feel like.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:58 PM   #16
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Well,

The issue has been persisting for at least a couple of days. Since then, I checked the battery voltage, which is 12.1V off 14.0V on. I don't suspect FSR is bad again, it's only 5 months old... I do drive relatively short distances but not too short.

How durable are the starter motors on our cars? I feel like it is a little premature for the starter motor to go dead at 125,xxx miles. It's that or there is a connection issue which is not obvious to find, I feel like.
Grounds from engine, battery...remove the battery and check that connection...under +terminal under hood, pull up on bat cables...they may be loose, read up on bst (that gets squirrley).

Ignition switch, starter both fail intermittently...and yes, it's early for a starter...at least, I know mine is still good, and I bet it's original...(we'll see).

12.1 V on the battery after how long it'd been off? Put on the radio and see if the voltage drops...then lights...measure voltage. See if you can get a sense of the amps it has.

I have a one year old battery, new alt putting out 13.9 -14 V.

After driving, I turn off car, V starts then around 12.7 and soon stabilizes at 12.3. I could listen to the radio for hours. Once it's at 12.3 it stays there for a long while.

Corrosion and looseness of cables. If you use a lot of power...have aftermarket stuff installed, subs for your radio...your battery might be good, but just nearly drained. See CCA rating on your battery and get it professionally load tested...needs to be a sizeable machine to do a proper test...not a little handheld that autozone guys might use.

$50-60 gets you a trickle charger...or borrow one from someone.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #17
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At first, I was very skeptical that the battery is already bad considering it being only 6 months old. So, this morning I checked the battery voltage. From the trunk compartment, I got 12.2V and from the engine compartment battery positive terminal, I got around the same 12.2V. So there is no issue there.

One thing that puzzles me the most is that the car started this morning without a problem. Turned the key and it fired up right away. It wasn't the case yesterday morning and last night.

I remember I had a slight problem with battery connection in the engine compartment 5 months back. Back then I solved the problem by replacing the wing nut that holds the positive terminal together. I did check it this morning and it wasn't loose. However, I didn't check the connection from there to the starter, which I have no clue how to check.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:22 AM   #18
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This happened to my car very recently. It ended up being the positive terminal under the hood. I verified this by unscrewing the nut. Tried to start it, but did the same thing. Cleaned off the nut and connection made sure everything was secure and BOOM! If you havnt tried this please do so.

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Old 01-19-2013, 09:23 AM   #19
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Sorry just read the post above me

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Old 01-19-2013, 09:26 AM   #20
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One thing I didn't do is cleaning the cable connection... this might be worth it. Would it be possible that the connection is dirty and corroded hence no start? Another funny observation, which I am not so sure it is relevant, is that I seem to have hard time starting the car when the weather is relatively cold, below 20F. This morning was definitely above 35F.
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