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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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Old 12-09-2005, 03:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Car Randomly Turning Itself Off

I have had my 96 328is manual for a year now and several times while driving ive noticed the gauges go to their off positions and then come right back up to where the are supposed to be. I would notice this maybe once every two months or so.

The other day I pulled into a parking lot and stopped and was getting ready to turn the car of when it turned off on its own. It didnt stall it just turned off, like someone had turned the key. So I turned the key off and decided to try and start it to see how bad of a day this was going to be. Thankfully, I think, it started right up with out any problems or warning lights.
When I went home 7 hours latter it started fine and gave me no trouble.

Does anyone know what this might be caused from and how to fix it?
Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.

PS: Every time i start the car i get a Check Coolent level warning which goes away when i push Check and it wont report it again even if I push Check. I have checked the coolant level and it is fine. Im assuming this is the coolent sensor and unrelated but im unsure.
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Old 12-09-2005, 04:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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welcome to bimmerwerkz. the gauges problem could be your cluster starting to act up (common) next time the gauges die, try seeing if your wipers work properly (not on high , just on intermittent) the stalling could be any number of things but i think maybe it just stalled period, has it happened before or again since that time, i really cant comment on it because im really not positive what it could be, i dont think the gauges and stalling are related at all..

the coolent level could just be a sensor like you thought. next time your in for an oiil change or any other service, id get them to investigate further into those 3 things ... the gauges are an easy fix, there is a do it yourself in the FAQ forum.. the sensor as well is easy to do, save yourself some labour money
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Old 12-09-2005, 07:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First thank you for the welcome.

Second the guages didnt fail for more than a half a second if that, i only saw them coming back on i really didnt even see them go off. Also the car did not stall it turned off. I know what happens when you stall this car compared to turning it off. I have unfortunatly stalled the car before and you get a couple warning lights. Where as when you turn the car off you dont get any warning lights you just turn the car off. From that I can tell you that the car did not stall it turned off.

Also the reason why i thought they were related was that if you were driving at say 45 with the clutch out in a MANUAL and the car gets turned off but the key is in the on position the car should restart right? So if i was driving and the car turned itself off but since the key was in the on position it restarted, the guages would go down and then come back up almost instantly. Also since the engine would be turning and continue turning once it was off it would restart right?

Thats how i thought they were related, but again thats dependent on some points that im not quite sure about. If you see a flaw in my logic or have any ideas on what the problem might be please let me know.

Thank you.
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Old 12-09-2005, 08:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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no no, your very clear in what your saying and it helps me picture whats going on.. im wondering if your car is having some kinda mental breakdown lol.. to clarify if i was in manual and the clutch stalls or turns off, no it really shouldnt restart, once the spark and fuel is cut off you should (i think) need to restart the car to get the starter and fuel pump going again..

im wondering if your having some issue with your computer (DME or ECU whatever you wanna call it) i would take it to someone to diagnose the possible problem, it really could be anything from the computer , to a fault in the sparkplugs, fuel pump, even maybe a clogged fuel filter etc, however i think its something to do with the DME more specifically the EWS system .. (EWSII system is the relation between the chip in your key and the cars computer)
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Im being very unclear sorry the car has a 5 speed manual transmasion. And i was thinking along the lines of older manual transmission cars if you were on a hill or something and you wanted to get it started you could push it down the hill build up enough speed and then let the clutch out with the key in the on position. When the tranmission engaged it would turn the engine because the wheels were turning and this would turn the altenator and since the key was in the on position the car would start despite the fact there was no power fromt he battery to turn the starter.
If my car was moving at 45mph and the car turned off but the key was still in the on position and since the clutch was out the wheels continued to turn the engine even after it turned off. Also since the key was in the on position i thought maybe the car would start right back up again or only turn off for a split second which would be unnoticeable. But if the car was standing still it would just turn off and not restart.

Is that plausable and is that what you read from my first two posts. If thats what you thought I was saying excellent im impressed you understood what i was saying cuz i confused myself. Otherwise im sorry for being so confusing.
Again thank you so much for you help.

And thank you for the ideas I will have them checked into soon hopefully.
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I did actually get that from the first couple of posts. The logic works for older vehicles (I believe) depending on what actuallly caused the vehicle to shut off. If the car shut off at all while moving you should have felt it. You would have lost power steering, power braking, and I believe that transmission should have jerked the car a bit and slowed down the car at least. Then again you would have only noticed that if you were turning or braking at the time (Once again following the logic of a push start, if the car was going straight and restarted instantly then the transmission would not have had much of a chance to slow the car down). I'll think some more on this an see what others think about the push start logic before I postulate a possible solution.
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