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Old 08-05-2010, 04:24 PM   #1
BMW323ciDriver
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Question Bmw acting very strange & retarded.. Electrical problems?

Hey everyone, I don't know if you guys can help me figure out what the hell is going on with my bmw, but right now it seems to be acting very retarded. Many problems out of no where....

Basically, car wont start (it cranks fine), most lights are illuminated on the dash dsc/break/ some other light, temperature gauge out of whack showing the engine max hot, and the radio dont play any sound through speakers at all even though it gets powers on.

I just replaced the fuel pump and filter 3 weeks ago thanks to the help of a couple e46 fanatic veterans here. So I doubt the fuel pump went out already...

Prior to these problems a day before, the car was working alright, now all these malfunctions are happening. When I scanned it for codes the day before all I got was mainly 02sensor error. Now when I scan for codes the car gives me a reading fail on the obd2 reader and the same codes come up.

But for some strange reason the check engine light is not even showing up anymore whats so ever..even though codes are there. I guessing this is a electrical problem as I seriously doubt all these devices would malfunction/break down at the same time.

So in a nut shell everything was working fine then radio stopped playing sound first as smoke come from under drivers side while driving then the very next day most dash lights started acting weird with a no start engine.

WTF is going on? I tried searching but couldn't find anyone with all my exact problems. I can also post a vid of what its doing.
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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OP, think you have to at least start with the battery...almost always implicated with electrical gremlins.

S/b 12 volts off, 14 v on...plus or minus...many threads on batteries here.

If you know the battery is at least 4 years old, decent chance all your problems are there...in the trunk.

After that, we go elsewhere.

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Old 08-05-2010, 05:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply dmax, I fear this is not the cause of a bad battery but worth a shot. For all I know this battery could be years old although I have hopes but from the looks of things its hard to say. Will have the battery checked out soon.
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:54 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply dmax, I fear this is not the cause of a bad battery but worth a shot. For all I know this battery could be years old although I have hopes but from the looks of things its hard to say. Will have the battery checked out soon.
It's the first place you got to go for all electrical problems...and causes all sorts of electrical weirdness when they start to go...

Eliminate this first before hunting, coz hunting elect. issues is never fun or easy! Though, a new bat for $100 is easy and a good bit of extra security for you!

Let us know.

Doug
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #5
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Because you said the radio doesn't play, I'm guessing something is messing up the i-bus. Do you have any Ipod adapters plugged into the trunk wiring? If so, disconnect those first. Then, disconnect your battery and let it sit for a half hour or so while putting the battery on a separate charger. Reconnect and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:32 PM   #6
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Because you said the radio doesn't play, I'm guessing something is messing up the i-bus. Do you have any Ipod adapters plugged into the trunk wiring? If so, disconnect those first. Then, disconnect your battery and let it sit for a half hour or so while putting the battery on a separate charger. Reconnect and let us know how it turns out.
Well dmax thats a no go, after some testing with a new battery the problem seems to persist In fact now the head lights will not even power on, instead a yellow ABS light shows up on dash?? How the F%$# is the headlights effecting the abs? This must be a MAJOR electrical problem as each device seems to be going out one at a time.

Im really thinking of taking it to a shop, but cash is tight and funds are limited. Unless I can figure this out...

Dombrowski what is this I-bus you speak of? I dont have any ipod adapters hooked up but I did cut a few wires and splice in a few for my 12" subs and amp in the trunk. Hmm maybe your on to something here... As i did notice my 1000 watt amp was getting powered on still even though the damn key wasnt even in the ignition! And the radio was the first thing to strike out... I will double check the trunk for any loose wires.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:46 PM   #7
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In that case, I'd completely disconnect the wire bundle from the factory pre-amp in the trunk and go from there until you solve the problem, and maybe even pull the fuses for the radio and the factory amp.
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:13 PM   #8
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Well dmax thats a no go, after some testing with a new battery the problem seems to persist In fact now the head lights will not even power on, instead a yellow ABS light shows up on dash?? How the F%$# is the headlights effecting the abs? This must be a MAJOR electrical problem as each device seems to be going out one at a time.

Im really thinking of taking it to a shop, but cash is tight and funds are limited. Unless I can figure this out...

Dombrowski what is this I-bus you speak of? I dont have any ipod adapters hooked up but I did cut a few wires and splice in a few for my 12" subs and amp in the trunk. Hmm maybe your on to something here... As i did notice my 1000 watt amp was getting powered on still even though the damn key wasnt even in the ignition! And the radio was the first thing to strike out... I will double check the trunk for any loose wires.
Sorry if you got a new battery based on my advice and didn't need one...though I hope you had tested your old one first to see that it was low on power and then replaced it.

Anyway, it sounds like you've got a large amp drawing power when car is off...so don't know exactly what's that about, but it sounds like you shouldn't necessarily be looking for loose wires as much as wiring it differently.

I'm thinking that you have a strong parasitic draw that lowered your first bat...and now your second.... I'm not strong on audio stuff at all, but if the amp has power before ignition, it's drawing power...how much, I have no idea, but I've heard that new bats. don't always have a full charge...maybe they rarely do...not sure...but if that's true, a new bat. would also give you problems until it'd been driven a while...but also...

I reread your first post, and I missed it and so did everyone else...the smoke part...smoke, then radio dies, etc....

Maybe get to where the smoke came from and work back from there...you checked fuses, right? You remove radio and look behind it? You've got to start with the proximate cause, and those few words I missed might tell the tale.

Does your seat work...you look underneath seat...you wire anything underneath the carpet, etc.?
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:03 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help guys I appreciate it, anyways so far the head lights started functioning again not sure what that was about but must have been a miner tweak. As for the battery I didnt buy one but borrowed a strong working one from my dad and still had the same results.

I have now disconnected the entire sound system amp with subs as well as all the wires i had hooked...so it is stock again. Tried turning key with and without the factory wire harness for the radio amp in the trunk and still got those crazy lights on dash. Checked all major fuses in glove box, radio, fuel pump, instrument cluster and so forth but all are in good shape and not burned out.

I literally took apart different parts on this car to find this error but still no luck Something is not powering right as the fuel relay is not getting power to the pump thus car not starting. I swapped horn relay and still no go. Is the horn supposed to work with out the key in? Cause mine dont do squat unless i put the key in ignition.

The only thing I can think of is somehow that smoke issue must of came from a wire or something under the dash and caused a big short somewhere effecting the entire dme/brain of the car or whatever else that supposed to power things right and its confusing the car big time.

Im at a loss of what to try next....I dont understand how one little short caused all these problems.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for the help guys I appreciate it, anyways so far the head lights started functioning again not sure what that was about but must have been a miner tweak. As for the battery I didnt buy one but borrowed a strong working one from my dad and still had the same results.

I have now disconnected the entire sound system amp with subs as well as all the wires i had hooked...so it is stock again. Tried turning key with and without the factory wire harness for the radio amp in the trunk and still got those crazy lights on dash. Checked all major fuses in glove box, radio, fuel pump, instrument cluster and so forth but all are in good shape and not burned out.

I literally took apart different parts on this car to find this error but still no luck Something is not powering right as the fuel relay is not getting power to the pump thus car not starting. I swapped horn relay and still no go. Is the horn supposed to work with out the key in? Cause mine dont do squat unless i put the key in ignition.

The only thing I can think of is somehow that smoke issue must of came from a wire or something under the dash and caused a big short somewhere effecting the entire dme/brain of the car or whatever else that supposed to power things right and its confusing the car big time.

Im at a loss of what to try next....I dont understand how one little short caused all these problems.
I'd trace back from the wires from this 1000W amp of yours...what power source did you use? How beefy a wire? It was something that draws power before ignition...so I'm thinking maybe from a turn signal wire? (I know they'll stay on if you leave turn signal down after removing key). I don't know the path of wires you laid, but find the path of the wire you tapped into...you said came up from under the seat? I honestly don't know the path of all the wires...other possibility is that it started not from the power, but from the power coming from the amp...so maybe a speaker wire is what fried...though there, I don't see it wrecking all this havoc, unless you bundled it with some essential wiring...follow your work backwards...good luck!

Doug
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:05 PM   #11
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I'd trace back from the wires from this 1000W amp of yours...what power source did you use? How beefy a wire? It was something that draws power before ignition...so I'm thinking maybe from a turn signal wire? (I know they'll stay on if you leave turn signal down after removing key). I don't know the path of wires you laid, but find the path of the wire you tapped into...you said came up from under the seat? I honestly don't know the path of all the wires...other possibility is that it started not from the power, but from the power coming from the amp...so maybe a speaker wire is what fried...though there, I don't see it wrecking all this havoc, unless you bundled it with some essential wiring...follow your work backwards...good luck!

Doug

YES!!! I finally found out what the problem was! It was just a fuse in the glove box fuse #29 engine control to be exact. I dont know how I missed this problematic fuse but im glad I double checked. Car starts up good again!

But for some reason the radio still does not work I guess this problem is separate from everything else. Sucks having no music to listen to but hey at least my car drives again! Im happy, I guess I better do some research on radios not working properly.

Thanks for those that tried to help.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:22 PM   #12
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Update! Finally got sound working again! Turns out that the stock head unit was in fact burned out...that smoke that came from under the dash was indeed from the head unit itself... I replaced it with an aftermarket unit and all is working well. At first it didnt work cause I didnt hook up the amp blue wire but read somewhere that has to be hooked up as well. Now car is 100% back up and running. Sweet!
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:46 PM   #13
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WOW! An updated thread!! Thanks for finalizing.

You had all the symptoms that I have.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:54 PM   #14
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I like this thread. clean. simple. brief. and solution discovered by OP and noted by OP to help others who later on SEARCH and find it.
5 stars.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:56 PM   #15
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Mine is doing the same thing but not smoking and starting and driving just fine. The gauges even freak driving on the highway! I can hear the motor go off and on on the convertible top as well. Now here's the strange thing. It's only doing this when I have the auto lights on. When I turn them off during the day the car is fine. So...I guess I should try replacing the fuse first and then battery second before spending more than that. Reconditioned batteries are cheap and I've had one last me over two years so far. But I'm at work today so I hope the fuse is the issue!

Oh and the sound from the radio will blast louder when the cluster freaks out but it works fine otherwise.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:59 PM   #16
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Ok dumb girl question? Since the OP checked all the fuses and they looked fine, how do I know if they're burned out or not?
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:28 PM   #17
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Ok dumb girl question? Since the OP checked all the fuses and they looked fine, how do I know if they're burned out or not?
There is a filament conecting one leg to another and it can be seen thru thr clear plastic. If it is intact, then fuse is ok. If it appears melted and disconnected, then the fuse is bad.
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:41 PM   #18
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Ok dumb girl question? Since the OP checked all the fuses and they looked fine, how do I know if they're burned out or not?
First, don't demean yourself...not a dumb girl question at all...just more like an ignorant car owner question! LOL

Good flashlight helps...but it sometimes is easy to miss a burned fuse...also, wouldn't be the first time it's an issue with corrosion...or sometimes fuses get loose from driving over lots of bumps for 10 years and never doing anything with fuses.

Start with fuses for the things implicated in whatever is wrong...and you should also pull them out...and if not bad, then reinsert them a few times to clean up any corrosion that might be present...could just be that.

If not, I suggest you put a burning cigarette or something in your radio or CD to replicate OP's problem...then the fuse fix should work for you! Just joking...had to say in case you really are dumb! LOL

Kitty, you should also have your battery tested...s/b 12.5 V off and around 14 volts when on.

You don't use any other irons...just the nine? Must frustrate folks behind you! Try the 6...another nice club!

Doug
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:04 PM   #19
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Thanks! My son walked me through checking the fuses and they're fine. So is the battery. So my guess is DSC module or wheel sensors. We'll start with the sensors first and see what happens...
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:08 PM   #20
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Thanks! My son walked me through checking the fuses and they're fine. So is the battery. So my guess is DSC module or wheel sensors. We'll start with the sensors first and see what happens...
...sorry...dsc or wheel sensors? What lights were going crazy on your cluster? Didn't mention that...or I didn't read well enough. It never hurts to check anything on the car...but not seeing the connection between you having the same issue as OP and dsc...and not sure which sensors on wheel...speed sensors you mean?

Doug
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