:help My 1998 323is gone crazy. Key turns in the ignition, car won't start!
I don't even know where to start describing the issue. The car actually belongs to my bf and he is as stumped as I am. He came home, parked it in the driveway, then an hour later, the car would not open (using the alarm remote), then alarm started going off for no reason, he got in, tried to use the valet button to shut it off, nothing. Put the key in the ignition and the key started just turning around, then all the control lights came on, and the key stuck, would not turn at all. Pulled the key out and all the instruments lights stayed on, we finally disconnected the battery.
I've no idea where to start. Anyone ever heard of anything like that? Any ideas, thoughts would be kindly appreciated. The car has 91.000, it's babied, never had a single problem with it, until this. Also the OBC displays Brake light failure, and break lights don't come on. Not sure if that's connected.
I don't think that it's the battery. He replaced it less than a year ago. It almost feels like the ignition mechanism is worn out and somehow got stuck in the "on" position or position 2. When I reconnected the battery everything lit up, just the way when you turn the key to position 2 before engaging the starter.
:-) I still think it is the battery. perhaps drained from a light left open. or a shorted circuit somewhere.
The symptoms as you describe in your first post(and my remote diagnostics can only be as good as how well you describe symptoms) are a close resemblance of when a drained battery is disconnected, and a new battery put in:
You first connect a battery and power up. alarm sounds, a few lights come one, and then it is all reset by the key fob or alarm button as the case may be. Of course a weak battery, when reconnected will not start a car no matter what you do.
If after you are sure you have a fully charged battery and you still have probs.. then i will suspect other things. until then, my dx is battery ;-)
2nd line of suspicion: anti-theft circuit
You wrote: "then an hour later, the car would not open (using the alarm remote), then alarm started going off for no reason," Check the key fob battery too. possible it's too old and has died. In this case, you keyless entry did not deactivate the alarm and disabled start function. :-)
Last edited by darkhorse737; 08-18-2009 at 02:00 AM.
hey everyone, thanks for some input and suggestions.
It is fixed, took less than an hour of my time. Here is what happened and how to fix it if anyone ever has a similar problem:
When you turn your ignition to position one, you can feel resistence. What happens is as the key turns it pushes a shaped length of metal into the center of the ignition switch and begins to turn it. As the switch turns it makes contact with the various circuits etc., until you turn it all the way to start the engine. At each stage of the key turning, i.e. position 1, 2 and starting the engine you feel resistance. When you get this particular kind of problem the key just spins, the reason being the the metal rod has become jammed in the switch so therefore you cannot turn the engine off because you cannot turn the power off to the switch, hence if you stall the car all the cars functions are still powered.
First thing to do is remove the lower drivers dash panel and also the lower steering column cover to expose the barrel and ignition switch itself. From the image you can see the ignition switch and the location of the grub screws that need to be undone to remove the switch.
The grub screws will be covered by a red sort of wax that need to be cleared away. This exposed two grub screws (one either side of the switch). Undo them with a very small flat bladed screwdriver about three turns and the switch should very easily separate from the casting. Now you can see the exposed end of the ignition barrel and the jammed metal rod. With a pair if pliars turn the rod back towards you, it will snap back. When it moves back to the "off" position, i.e. where you would normally be able to remove the keys from the ignition, you should see (and hear) it pop back. You can now refit the ignition switch and the car should now turn on and off as if the problem was never there.
We're still going to replace the barrel. But at least it's ok
To Replace the Barrel:
You need a rod approx 1-1.2mm in width or a small allen wrench. Put your key in the ignition and turn it to position 1. Now look to right of the key at the barrel and you will see a tiny hole. Poke the rod down this hole and it should press down on some kind of releasing mechanism and by pulling the key the barrel should slide out.
I hope this isn't too long winded but if it stops just one person having to suffer the crappy experiance I just have then it is worth it.
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