325I won't start in heavy SUNLIGHT - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 06-30-2004, 06:04 PM
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I have a 325IC, black convertible, i love the thing. I bought it for $2.6K and have put another $4.5K into it fixing it up, it's a lot (i got ripped off on the buying price, didn't know at the time) and I'm broke now but I have this awesome car.

Right now I'm working on this problem where the car won't start....it's intermittent and ONLY happens when there is direct, hot sunlight on the hood. Keep in mind, NOT when the engine is hot, for example I can drive the hell out of it, turn it off, then turn it right back on, and it starts no problem. I thought the ignition coil was bad (sunlight/heat causes expansion in coil which irritates crack or corrosion, increases resistance, can't spark), but I replaced the coil and the problem persists.

My only idea at this point is that maybe the fuel injection computer, which is located directly under the passenger side dash, above the glovebox, is failing in the heat. That would explain why it's only sunlight and not engine heat that causes it, and perhaps a bad connection getting agitated by the sun? I'm guessing here. I might try putting a white towel over it next time I park in the sun and see if that helps....

Oh yeah when it won't start, it will crank and crank and crank at full voltage, but just won't start. I've already replaced the battery and alternator. I haven't tested for spark yet because it only happens in the blazing sunlight and I haven't been able to see the spark with all that light. That's something I need to do though.
Any tips on the best way to test for this, btw? I've heard just pull a spark plug wire and stick a phillips screwdriver into it and hold the screwdriver by the handle close to the valve cover and you'll see voltage arcing.

Does it sound like I'm on the right track? Could it have anything to do with the idle valve solenoid?

Separate question: Could the fact that my fresh air blower only operates at the full force setting (4) and not at any other setting (1 2 or 3) be related to the idle valve solenoid?

Another separate question: my timing belt was changed at 105K miles. I'm at 145K now. I know I should change it before 165K. Any ways to predict, diagnose, hear, or feel when the timing belt is going? Or should I just take it on faith and replace it pretty soon?

Yet another separate question: I hear a growling, scratching sound from under the engine block between 2.5K and 3.5K rpms. A guy at autozone said it might be bad "lifters". I've been driving with this sound for about 10K miles...Any idea about that?

Sorry for the massive post......any replies to any of this is GREATLY appreciated. One day I'd like to drive this thing across the country!
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#2 (permalink) Old 06-30-2004, 07:37 PM
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I'm not sure on the starting thing but to me it sounds like a fuel pump issue. You can take the back seat out for a few days and when your doesn't want to start but cranks over pound on the black cover on the passenger side. The fuel pump is on that side and somtimes by hitting it, it will start working. If this works it's time for a new fuel pump. Also when was the last time the fuel filter was replaced? Fuel filters should be replaced every 20K miles or once a year which ever comes first.

The blower for the heater and a/c only works on high cause the resistor has gone bad. Current/voltage gets stepped down when it runs through the resistor causing the fan to turn at a slower speed. But when you turn the fan on high it bypasses the resistor and gives the fan full power.

Timing belts should be done every 45-50K miles on an "i" engine. Baised on your milage I would change the belt sometime soon. A timing belt on an "i" engine is something that I would not push to see how long it will last because when they break 99.9 percent of the time you have to buy a new head. There is no way to tell if the belt is going to break other than taking everything apart and looking at the belt, but by the time you go through all that trouble you are better of just changing the belt. When you change the t-belt it is recomended that you do the water pump at the same time cause there is a lot of related labor involved when you are changing the t-belt.

The M20 engines in the E30's dont have lifters. You may have rocker arms that are out of adjustment. If you know what you are doing and feel confident in adjusting them yourself the gap should be .010in. If you arn't that experenced I recomend you take it to a shop that has experence with older BMW's and let them do it.
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#3 (permalink) Old 07-08-2004, 10:56 AM
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thanks!

I'll change the timing belt and water pump next.

As for the car not starting, well putting a white towel over the passenger side dash actually is helping alot. So it's probably my fuel injection computer.

Where do I locate the fuel filter?

What is a rocker arm and where do I find it? (I've got a bentley manual, but it is sometimes very vague).
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-09-2004, 12:15 AM
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Fuel filter is just in front of the left rear tire under the car. The rocker arms are under the valve cover.
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