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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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Old 10-09-2009, 11:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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e30 unique no-start

I guess every no-start issue is unique, but it's unique in the sense that it's my car, at least. It is a 1988 325is

Bear with me, I'm new to e30s and bmw in general, even though this might be something that would apply to any car. I bought the car in June for 150 dollars. At first, it started with a new battery, albeit with a really rough idle.

This is what I changed over the summer: fuel filter, fuel lines, fuel pressure regulator, sent injectors away for refurbishing, 02 sensor, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, air hoses, coolant hoses, air filter (a squirrel had left his stash of nuts inside) timing - alternator - ac belt - power steering belts, tensioner, water-pump. I gave the car fresh gasoline.

I went to go turn it over after all this, and the car would crank clean but with no start. I've determined that the car does have spark. I couldn't get the car to pull any codes, so I checked the idle-control sensor which tested out with the proper resistance.

I didn't hear a fuel pump when going to start, so I thought it would be that. But when I jumped it with a small wire stuck where the relay goes, I could hear it functioning fine. I tried to start the car while a friend was holding the wire to jump the pump, and still no start.

From there, I thought it would be the crank-sensor, so i bought a new one. Before install, I tested the resistance and the reading came out the same as the old, original sensor. But I changed it anyways, since the wire of the old one had gotten frayed by running into the crankshaft pulley (the plastic guides had broken). Still no luck.

Okay, I admit that I probably am the reason why it won't start. But without me, it would have gotten traded for an Aveo under Father Obama's Japanese car stimulus plan. So have some mercy on this too willing, too unskilled mechanic, and help a brother out!

Some points that I think need highlighting: the car will not start with and without the fuel pump running and I cannot pull codes with the stomp test. Check engine light on the left is on when I go to start.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow......Ok with a squirrel living in there & your no start issue, 1st, I would check all the wiring in the engine compartment, for squirrels are known for eating wiring & hoses etc.

2nd, & next.......Having to jump the fuel pump from the relay connection point, does not seem like the right way to go about this......

I would check all the wiring, install that relay, & then turn the ignition to on & check for power to the fuel pump with a 12v test light......if you have power to the pump then the pump is faulty........


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Old 10-10-2009, 11:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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Best of luck with it, and thank you for saving it from that trade for an Aveo!
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My no-start condition actually turned out to be corroded connectors on the fuel-injector wiring harness.
Now the mechanic wants to charge 400 dollars. Geeze, should that really have been so hard/expensive for a "professional" mechanic to solve. He even had my car for 2 friggin weeks!
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Me TOO!

My car had EXACTLY the same problem! There is a twist together connector that is bracketed to the side of the engine that goes rotten underneath the prongs. Oddly enough the 87 didn't have the connector! I removed it and soldered the wires together with heat shrink all around. Oh and my mechanic only charged me 160.00 to find it so get a new mechanic. The only three rotted away wires in it were for the common injector return, the 1,3,5 common, and the 2,4,6 common. The temperature sensors route through the same plug but don't rot! Go figure!
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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At the end of the day, I shouldn't complain - the guy installed a new/used harness for me, which after looking on the web, goes fro 500 retail.
So really, I guess he wasn't clear about it - he also failed to mention a lot of other little details, like sealing up the males and females of the throttle connector and and filling new coolant in there.

But of all the no start condition research I did before I gave it to the mechanic, I never came across this on the net. I can't imagine it being uncommon.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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Nice of you to keep the thread posted!
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Reviving this thread. I did a head gasket on a car that is turning out to be a bit of rust bucket, and the wiring harness is a little rough. Not terrible, but far from perfect. Now it cranks but won't start. I'd heard of this problem and checked the connector (C191 I believe) but it didn't seem bad. Do any of you know if all the normal tests showed the car was fine and should start? In particular, do you know if the tests on injectors (resistance) and at the harness (battery voltage across prongs, and LED test lights flickered) passed?

I have a crank-no-start problem and I can't find any other problem. In fact, the car is functioning properly and yet will not start. It actually didn't have full battery voltage across the prongs - only 11.5V, but I'd think that'd be enough. But maybe any voltage drop is enough to keep the injectors from firing, and maybe the drop is due to corrosion...?
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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How's the fuel pump?
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Totally fine. Runs when jumpered. Car still won't start even when jumpered. Fuel rail full of fuel (shot 2 feet in the air when I replaced the fuel pressure regulator). The plugs are dry. Confirmed spark at all 6 plugs. Grounds are good.

There's a test in Bentley where you mimic the DME firing the injector - activate the main relay by jumpering pins 2 and 36 on DME harness, then ground pins 16 (for 1-3-5) or 17 (2-4-6) and you should hear the injectors fire. I get nothing. Yet LED test lights in the injector plugs flicker on crank (my buddy said he thought they appeared faint).

Everyone reports mechanics have a hard time diagnosing this as the problem, and that sounds reeeealy familiar. All the tests pass. Yet it still won't start. Voltage drop can occur when the wire is too long or too small (resistance too high for given power) and maybe it's the case that the corrosion can be just slight enough that you see power where it's supposed to be, but it's just not enough.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Reviewing this article might provide some insight:
Tech Tip: Diagnosing Fuel Pumps and Injectors

Though the injectors will light the node, they may not be within ohm spec.
If you want to throw parts at this problem, a guy I know wants to sell a clean harness out of an '89. Probably cheap. PM me if you're interested and I'll give you his number.

Last edited by polska; 05-12-2010 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:22 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Injectors give 16 ohms resistance, right in the hart of spec. I've plugged other injectors into the harness and they don't fire either. I'm fairly certain the injectors are not the problem. At least, for all 6 to have gone kaput is highly unlikley.
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