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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 09-28-2008, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Strange starter problem - when CAR is HOT!

I have a 1998 323i convertible. The car runs great and never really had any problems EXCEPT over the years, every once in a while- when the car is left IN THE SUN and the car heats up, the engine will not start.

Now the problem has gotten worse. If the car is cold, no problem; sitting in the sun I am almost sure it will not start until the interior of the car cools down.

Now here is the weird part- if i HIT the steering wheel hard with my fist- the car usually starts. I have to have the key turned when I hit the wheel and then it turns over and starts just fine.

I do not believe this to be an engine problem (I read several of the other posts) but more like an electrical problem where something comes loose with the heat.

ANY IDEAS? Any ideas on where to look or what to do or replace?
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Could be your battery, how old is it?
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Not the battery

It is actually not the battery without any doubt.

This has happened since the car was new (10 years) and i have had a few new batteries since then.

Also- it is a direct 1-to-1 relationship between hitting the steering wheel and having the car start.

If the battery was bad, I don't think hitting the steering wheel would affect the starting of the car.
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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dodgy ignition switch, check the block terminal on the rear of the switch first.
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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if it turns on when you punch it like that.... thats wierd... like what marti5 said it might be a loose wire in the steering ignition collum. Has someone tried to break into you car? When the iginition wires heat up you might have two wires that bend and touch under the high heat. Take off the collum shroud and check the wire connection for your key ignition. Mabey?
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bevillan View Post
It is actually not the battery without any doubt.

This has happened since the car was new (10 years) and i have had a few new batteries since then.

Also- it is a direct 1-to-1 relationship between hitting the steering wheel and having the car start.

If the battery was bad, I don't think hitting the steering wheel would affect the starting of the car.
Warm start problems are often associated with a battery/electrical problems.
Typically things like hitting the steering wheel do not really have a bearing on the problem and you end up wasting time digging through your dash for some unknown wire that might some how be loose when the car is warm, ie thats not the first thing you think of with warm start problems. So i just wanted to throw that question out there before we have you really taking things apart.

Let us know about the switch.
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