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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 03-29-2013, 03:04 PM   #1
Kittepunch
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Exclamation 2003 325xi won't start, and I'm out of options

UPDATE!

So my car has been in my garage for 3 or 4 days, and that was the last time I tried to start it with it turning over but not starting.

I replaced both the cam and crankshaft sensor (Jesus H. Christ that was a helluva job), as well as the fuel filter and the drive belt. I also made sure to check my timing chain to see if it was turning and it was. Everything is plugged back in and back together. Seems like it'll work, right?

Wrong...

I go to start it and... it doesn't even turn over anymore. "Okay, maybe the battery has died from being idle so long", I think to myself. Charge it overnight and get it to full capacity, same thing in the morning. All I hear is the starter's solenoid clicking and my lights flicker, but it doesn't turn over like it used to just a few days ago. I checked the voltage on the battery, on the front terminal, and on the actual starter itself and I'm between 13 and 14 volts on each. However, when I turn the key off and pull it out, my dashboard and my headlights flick on and off 3 times (I've never seen that happen before).

I'm wondering if there's some sort of procedure I have to do to reset the ECU after replacing such delicate equipment or something (I'm really hoping it's that simple).

I'm seriously out of ideas. This thing would turn over just a few days ago and now it's being a stubborn mule.

I know you are all saying "get rid of this piece of junk, etc etc" but it's my first real car and I am the 5th owner so I was expecting some issues. However, I love this thing to pieces and I'm learning a lot about cars so I hope to one day restore it to its former glory.

P.S I checked the fuses and such, and the only one I found burnt out was my fog lights (sweet, solved that problem at least).

I'm not even remotely sure what it could be anymore. Sorry for the huge bump but I didn't want to start another thread with the same issue.

Edit: I just read about some people having similar issues and others were saying it could be my key? I'm fairly certain I'm using the original fob so it's pretty likely that it's dead (I can't lock my car with the key remotely). If it's something this simple, I will shoot myself. Thoughts

-----------

Original post (read update):

A couple of weeks ago, my E46 died just as I was pulling into a friend's driveway. It started to feel sluggish just as I approached his house, and when I went to leave, the car would turn over but not start. After pulling some codes and looking at possible problems, I discovered it was my fuel pump that had gone out. I bought a new fuel pump and replaced it and everything ran fine after that.

Yesterday as I was driving home, the car did the same thing. Just as I got near my house, it started to be really sluggish then just died on my as I was driving. I thought I had messed up the install of my fuel pump somehow because it was the same symptoms. I looked at it today and everything seemed fine with the fuel pump. I hear it working, voltage is fine, fuse is fine, and I even checked to see if there was fuel in the fuel rail at the front. Same thing though. Car will turn over but not start. It didn't bring up any OBD codes unfortunately, so I can't rule anything out right away. I checked my spark plugs and they look clean. The only other thing I can think of off the top of my head is cam/crankshaft position sensors. I heard that was a major issue for a lot of BMW owners.

Any insight from you experts?

Let me know if you need more information.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
basketthis
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Replace the fuel filter? It's under the drivers seat on the bottom side of the car. It can become clogged and should be replaced along with the fuel pump replacement.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
Kittepunch
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Do I have to lift the car for that?
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:46 PM   #4
basketthis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittepunch View Post
Do I have to lift the car for that?
Possibly. I have a big head so I drive the car on ramps to be sure I could get under there. Use the front drivers side jacking point if you were wondering which place to lift it at.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
Mflara20
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You can try this.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:00 PM   #6
White_Knuckles
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Not an expert but that exact symptom of sudden death will occur from intake cam sensor failure. Without diagnostic tools you cannot verify it's dead. My car suffered this and replacement cleared the evil. The swap is simple and there are many DIY's out there. The cost and install time is low. If engine control cannot determine where the cam is, it won't know when firing and timing should occur. Recommend the factory replacement part.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:10 PM   #7
basketthis
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Disclaimer: I'm no expert either. Simply a diy'er.
If it hadn't been for the great community of this board, I wouldn't have made any progress on my car recently. White_Knuckles is actually one of the guys who came forward and helped (and is still helping whenever I replace the next part as soon as it arrives ) me get through my issues on my vehicle.
Main thing is, don't start throwing parts at it. I didn't intend to imply that you must go out and buy a fuel filter immediately. I was only suggesting that it sounds like a fuel delivery issue to me.
Another thing as White_Knuckles just sparked my thought on it. It might be worth it for you to get an usb to obd2 cord and use the BMWLogger software. It's feature rich and will tell you if it is a sensor not working. It will pay for itself the first time you use it. I've been using the software for at least a week and it (along with other guidance) has helped me track down a rich condition at the lambda sensors. Meaning that i have too much air entering in another place. So, it has allowed me to see much more without taking it to someone and paying them every time the engine light comes on to tell me that I'm running rich or lean, or that my camshaft sensor isn't working. Just a thought. Very useful. And please report back. I will try to help with as little basic general knowledge I have.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:00 AM   #8
Kubica
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Fuel filter
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:08 AM   #9
e46alfonso
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angry gf put sugar in the gas tank.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:13 AM   #10
White_Knuckles
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There's a lot of crystal ball business going on up up here and basket reminds us to not throw parts at symptoms. A restricted fuel filter may prevent injectors from firing but it should sputter and sometimes try to run. Again, without a pressure gauge and more information, it's another logical guess. I had a similar issue not to say it's worthy to swap the sensor to find out but chances are you'll need a sensor soon anyway. Same goes with the fuel filter, normally you install one when a new pump is dropped in. There's a chance it's a defective pump or the stupid filter is clogged. Either way, you're solving for lack of fuel or spark.

Edit: or maybe it is a sugar issue? We should start a betting pool.

Vote below:

Intake sensor 1

Fuel filter 2

GF sugar 1
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:28 PM   #11
Kittepunch
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I tried checking those fuses, Mflara20. No dice, they're all intact.

I just bought the BMWLogger software and I'll see what sort of codes I will pull tomorrow. My OBD tester hasn't picked anything up yet so hopefully the diagnostic software will.

I'm still leaning heavily towards the sensors, but I'll say like you guys... There's no sense just throwing parts at it until I figure out what's wrong.

Hypothetically if it is either of those sensors, where do you guys recommend I get a replacement? Should I stay away from eBay replacement parts?

Also, let's say it is the fuel filter... Wouldn't the mean that it wouldn't get any fuel and there would just be air in the fuel rail?
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:57 PM   #12
Kubica
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Replace the fuel filter. It's not smart to replace the pump and not the filter.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:59 PM   #13
Straight_6xi
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How's your car battery?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #14
Kittepunch
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Brand new. It turns over and all the lights come on at full power/without flickering so I think it's fine.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:04 PM   #15
tomoyer
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I my mind, the first thing you should do at this point is replace the fuel filter (which should also have the fuel pressure regulator as part of it). If the fuel filter is clogged or the regulator isn't keeping the correct fuel line pressure, the engine will not run, even though you may well have fuel in the intake fuel rail. I also agree with previously stated posts, when you replace a fuel pump, its also time to replace the fuel filter along with it, and then replace the fuel filter at its regular intervals.
If either of the camshaft position sensors and/or the crankshaft position sensor is bad, it should have thrown the corresponding fault codes, however, it may not have (rare). If the computer doesn't know where the crankshaft and camshafts are in relation to one another, the car will not start, nor will it run. And if one of the position sensors is bad, best to replace all 3 at the same time.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:07 PM   #16
Kittepunch
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I'm leaning towards fuel filter now because when I think back, I recall it being pretty sluggish just before it died the second time (just like it did when my fuel pump went out). If it was either of the sensors, I would assume the car would just die and not be sluggish.

Ordered the part and just waiting for it to come it. I'll replace the filter and keep you guys posted for future reference.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:05 AM   #17
jonnie325xi
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Be sure to check the small piece of rubber vacuume line that connects to the fuel filter for the pressure regulation, I have 2 325's and both had the hose crack and leak, also check it up at the rubber intake down stream of the MAF sensor there is a F type connector coming out of the top there will be two smaller vac lines that is the other end from the filter regulator, again bothe mine were brittle and crumbled to the touch, get a foot of vac line and change them both.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:18 PM   #18
Kittepunch
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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UPDATE!

So my car has been in my garage for 3 or 4 days, and that was the last time I tried to start it with it turning over but not starting.

I replaced both the cam and crankshaft sensor (Jesus H. Christ that was a helluva job), as well as the fuel filter and the drive belt. I also made sure to check my timing chain to see if it was turning and it was. Everything is plugged back in and back together. Seems like it'll work, right?

Wrong...

I go to start it and... it doesn't even turn over anymore. "Okay, maybe the battery has died from being idle so long", I think to myself. Charge it overnight and get it to full capacity, same thing in the morning. All I hear is the starter's solenoid clicking and my lights flicker, but it doesn't turn over like it used to just a few days ago. I checked the voltage on the battery, on the front terminal, and on the actual starter itself and I'm between 13 and 14 volts on each. However, when I turn the key off and pull it out, my dashboard and my headlights flick on and off 3 times (I've never seen that happen before).

I'm wondering if there's some sort of procedure I have to do to reset the ECU after replacing such delicate equipment or something (I'm really hoping it's that simple).

I'm seriously out of ideas. This thing would turn over just a few days ago and now it's being a stubborn mule.

I know you are all saying "get rid of this piece of junk, etc etc" but it's my first real car and I am the 5th owner so I was expecting some issues. However, I love this thing to pieces and I'm learning a lot about cars so I hope to one day restore it to its former glory.

P.S I checked the fuses and such, and the only one I found burnt out was my fog lights (sweet, solved that problem at least).

I'm not even remotely sure what it could be anymore. Sorry for the huge bump but I didn't want to start another thread with the same issue.

Edit: I just read about some people having similar issues and others were saying it could be my key? I'm fairly certain I'm using the original fob so it's pretty likely that it's dead (I can't lock my car with the key remotely). If it's something this simple, I will shoot myself. Thoughts?
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:06 AM   #19
bmwbob89
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Not a key issue or it would not even click. Sounds like your battery is weak or dead. Check the voltage while cranking. It can show good voltage right after a charge and still be bad. The remote part of the key and the EWS chip are two separate things. See if you can re-sync your key. Google how to do it. See if you have fuel pressure. Don't just throw parts at it or you will just waste money. What brand fuel pump did you install when this all started?
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:02 PM   #20
Kittepunch
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Both the filter and the pump are OEM parts. I only replaced those because of another issue I had where my car stalled out on the road because the pump had died.

As for my battery, I know it is defective. It's almost brand new but I've had nothing but issues with it. However, when I tried to start it (when the car wouldn't crank anymore), I had boosted it with my neighbor's Eclipse, so a dead battery doesn't seem like the issue.

My key fob is dead, though, so I'm assuming I'll have to get another one if I want to reset the computer?
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