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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 12-03-2008, 06:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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intermittent start failure, when cold it won't turn over

sometimes i go to start my car and it won't turn over. it makes no cranking noise, but the lights to come on. I checked the voltage on my battery and that is good.

i found some instructions on troubleshooting the starter system, but it seems like the starter is buried under the manifold making it impossible for me to reach it and test the voltages going through it- anyone have any experience doing this with out raising the car or taking out the manifold?

does it seem like this would be a starter problem? it seems to only happen in the morning or at night. its a random problem that seems to be becoming more frequent because it's happened twice in one week now.

whats a good rate to get the starter replaced at a shop and/or what else could it be?

thanks a lot for the help
max
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I wouldnt say for sure its your starter, get a diagnostics done, it may be a relay or the camshaft sensor playing up.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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what's a good rate to get a diagnostics done?

when the plug the computer in, will they be able to tell everything that's wrong with the car? and perhaps reset my airbag light?
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Depends where you are in the world,here in the UK 45 to 65 pounds, dealer 150, when they plug in it will tell you everything that has a module connected to it,some of the modules will not respond, this is because you dont have that bit fitted to your car and yes they can also reset the air bag light.

Also get them to erase the adaptions on the engine and gearbox, what this does is get rid of the memory basically,as the car has learnt how other people have driven it and adapted to there driving patterns, so with it erased the car will learn how you drive.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i've been asking around and the shop down the street brought up a good point:
the diagnostics test won't reveal anything if the car is starting normally... and this is only an intermittent problem.

he also asked how the starter sounds when it fires up and it does sound good, so maybe it is just a loose relay or crank sensor.

i guess my best/ easiest shot is replacing the relay. (my wipers went down and replacing the relay was all i needed, a quick fix)

after that, the bently manual describes how to test the crankshaft sensor with a multimeter to determine if its good - but you have to take the manifold off to get to it so thats a huge project - i might as well buy a new sensor and starter and replace them if i go that far...
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow! well my diagnostics will bring up any errors stored over time in DME/ECU/EGS, then you go to the error,re run what ever one it is and it will tell you what the problem is and what part and the part number.

So Im not sure what diagnostic set up they have,just a code reader wont do this.

My set up excluding the lap top only cost me around 80 UK pounds
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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oh really? sweet.
what is this thing called exactly and where can i get one?

yea, i've since talked to two other shops and although every one is nice, they don't seem nearly as helpful as this site!

would your set up tell me the problem even if its just the relay?
that seems very advanced
i'm going to search around for it now but i'd like to hear what you got. is it usb? can i just use my laptop?


thanks marti
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes it will tell you what part and part number, you can use it with you laptop but you will need an adaptor from an RS232 port to usb which you can get from a computer shop, im sure you can find the same thing on ebay where you are, if you do purchase and have any probs using it just P.M me.

Here it is:

BMW Carsoft 6.5 Diagnostic Interface tool OBD OBD2 UK on eBay, also, Diagnostic Tools Equipment, Garage Equipment Tools, Cars, Parts Vehicles (end time 06-Dec-08 18:29:43 GMT)

Regards,

Marti.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If you do buy it and the software dosent work, let me know and I will send you a download of the one I have.

Regards,

Marti.
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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cool marti
thanks a lot for the help

i just put the order in for mine. i'll let you know how it goes after it arrives in the mail in about 2 weeks!~

peace
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just a thought, it may be the crankshaft sensor playing up, which the carsoft will tell you.
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i replaced the water pump and thermostat today and i found that the old thermostat housing might have been leaking a tiny bit because there was a white crusty residue that had built up undernieth it and it had dripped down onto the crankshaft sensor and there was a lot of built up crust around it.

later i tried to start the car and it didn't work again- waited a few hours and it fired up. it doesn't seem to have to do with temperature actually, just a random time thing - sometimes it fires up and sometimes it doesn't.

can't wait to get the computer in.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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same issue :(

I know this is an old thread but im having the same issue.. i have a 99 m3 and just recently im having intermittent crank problems. usually when its hot out. Ive noticed that if i cool down the fuse box under the hood it will usually crank. could one of those relays be preventing it from turning over or should i go after the starter??
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hi guys,
I xhecked ebay, the gadget is not anymore available
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