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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 05-14-2007, 12:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is It My Starter?

My 1984 325e just died today, a block from my house. I had just started driving this morning when I came to the light and I saw the red battery indicator light up, then the engine just stopped running.

All the electrical stuff works (sunroof, radio, windows, lights, etc.) but when I try to start it, I hear the normal click (that I've read is the solenoid switch maybe) and then it kinda half cranks but seems like something's seized up. Is this the starter? I want to buy the part and take it to the service station so that they don't rip me off (being a chick and all) but I want to make sure it's really the starter before I run off and buy one.

Thanks guys!
-Tricia
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The same thing happened to me about 3 weeks ago, my battery light started blinking and my car died when I pulled into the driveway. My radio worked and other electronic stuff as well but it slowly died, I had to remove the alternator because that was the issue. Bottom line is that if your battery light turned on or is blinking, it mainly tells you the alternator is dying or dead. Your started wont work if you try it with low power, the way to really tell is to change the battery for a second while you start it and then unplug the NEGATIVE from the battery and if your car shuts off then you just confirmed that your alternator needs replacing.
I hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, thanks for the advice but my baby is dead. Aparently it lost all its oil, even though I put some in last week, and the engine seized up. It's kaput!
So...I'm in the market for a new E30!
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh wow... sorry to hear. I had my 89 cabrio die on me but it was only the #6 cylinder that went "kaput". Any how, what are you looking for? I recommend earlier e30, maybe an 88 up.
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ouch, that's too bad...I'm in VA too, I'd sell you mine, but it has it's issues also. Good luck, I recommend Craigslist.
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, an e30, but one I could use parts from the current car...so an 84 to an 88 I suppose. I'm not sure if the 89 to 91 e30s would be compatible.

Yeah, I checked out craigslist in DC and even Baltimore. I'm gonna maybe try to get something over the weekend if I can find something worthwhile.
There's one that needs a new transmission, I suppose I could get the one from my car and put it on the new one. That's major labor though, I have no clue what that would run me. Any ideas?
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I replaced both engine and tranny in my 89', I saved money but its a pain in the ass though. You have to remove so much stuff in order to get the tranny out but its worth it if you get a good deal on the car. Well good luck, I hope it all works out, when you buy your new one post some pictures.
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have same trouble, as for the alternator, I thought about that, but there is no light on and the old battery was at the end of its rated life. I'm going to have the bmw alternator checked after pull the codes. Anybody else with ideas?
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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New Update!

So, it turns out that my engine did, and does, have oil in it. So how could the engine have seized up?!!

Could this be some other problem that doesn't require me having to replace the engine? I'm gonna have to have a mobile mechanic come out and take a second look at it. Can anyone think of what to have checked if it seems like a seized engine but has plenty of oil in it?
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Sounds a lot like a broken timing belt to me.....
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Is the timing belt also known as the camshaft drive belt?
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I've never heard it called that, but your timing belt controls the crank and pistons.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricia_in_VA
Is the timing belt also known as the camshaft drive belt?
Yes.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks Starmavin, I'm gonna have another mechanic come take a look at it...you know, one that knows what he's doing--like you!
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I read another post on here that said if the timing belt breaks that there is probably damage to the valves, rocker arm, etc.
Is that correct?

So, I would need a new engine then since those repairs would probably be equal to an engine replacement anyway, right?
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