'93 318is won't start! - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 09-11-2004, 08:15 PM
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Howdy everybody, I just bought my first BMW, and was hoping you all could help me out.

I was test driving it yesterday ('93 318is, 135K, absolutely perfect condition), and pulled over to give it a really good look-over. I stopped, parked it, pulled the key, and did what looking I had to do. When I tried to leave, the key wouldn't turn!

The key would turn about 1/16th of the way, to the first notch, but it wouldn't go any further. After about 10 minutes of wiggling and trying it, it eventually turned over.

I bought it for a song, but it's refusing to start again. I knew when I bought it that the starter was going bad, and that it would need replaced, but a bad starter still allows the key to turn. I'm getting a new starter put in on Monday, but the key is confusing me. Is this some BMW way of telling me the starter's dead, or is there something wrong with the ignition?

Thanks for the help!

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#2 (permalink) Old 09-11-2004, 08:43 PM
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I'm not sure whether this is your issue, but El Presidente (a member on these forums) has some push start ignition thing that's neat on its own, but also specifically helps people who can't turn their ignition key (a problem that happens in certain models, though I'm not sure which are typically affected most often). If you do a search on the forums for "push start" or for other things relating to your problem, you should find a few threads that may help.
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#3 (permalink) Old 09-11-2004, 08:45 PM
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There is an interlock between the key ignition and the steering wheel that locks the wheel in place when the key is out so a thief would have a problem steering the car. That could be bad or binding up. You might try tugging the wheel a little bit each direction to see if you can find a spot where the key will turn. I was "stranded" once in a rental car cause the key wouldn't work. I guy showed up, pulled on the wheel started the car and quietly made me feel like a dumba55.

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#4 (permalink) Old 09-11-2004, 08:52 PM
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I tried working the wheel about, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Also, since the key can turn a little, that doesn't seem like the problem. When I've had cars lock up like that, the key doesn't move at all. I spent about 15 minutes stranded in a rather seedy bar parking lot last night, and would love to find a way to fix it. I got it cheap enough that a new starter doesn't scare me, but I want to make sure that's all.

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#5 (permalink) Old 09-11-2004, 08:57 PM
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If I read your post correctly, you say the key won't even turn. You're right that that has nothing to do with the starter. Must something in the column. Do you know or can you contact the previous owner and get some history? Has something been replaced or worked on that area?

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#6 (permalink) Old 09-11-2004, 08:59 PM
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The key is turning, but just about 1/16th of a full turn, call it 15-20 degrees. It's about where stop #1 is shown in the owner's manual.

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#7 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 04:21 AM
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Sounds to me like your cylinder has "frozen"...El Presidente has the perfect solution...see his push start post for frozen cylinders

J...

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#8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 07:01 AM
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but the cylinder isn't fully frozen yet. Until that happens, my full kit ins't of much use. Thanks for the plug though!

Really, in the situation, it sounds to me like the wheel lock is engaged and wont disengage, and that is preventing you from turning the key. Short of replacing it, all I can really think of to tell you to do is jiggle the wheel and find the sweet spot while trying to turn it.

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#9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 08:29 AM
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I can work the wheel around with no problem, so I doubt it's a sterring issue. However, it's started, after much WD40 in the ignition, to start about 75% of the time. I'm thinking it's a bum cylinder, and I can get that replaced fairly easily. Hope it works!

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