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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 10-30-2005, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 323i Wouldn't Start

I tried to start my 2000 323i recently, after not having driven it for a day or two. It would not start, the headlights came on when I turned the key to the start position and a fairly loud clicking sound occured about once a second. This happened each of the 5-6 times that I tried to start it. I let it set in my garage overnight and it did start the next day, although the automatic transmission was in the "limp home" mode. The transmission went into it's usual status when I shut the engine off and restarted (no problem) as instructed by the owner's manual. Since this incident, the car has started normally dozens of times. I checked the battery and it's indicator shows an adequate charge. The "check engine"/ MIL is not illuminated.
Does anyone have an opinion as to what caused this failure to start? Will the OBD2 system have a record of this incident? I don't yet have such a tool but will probably get one soon. I'd like to know what happened and if a future occurance will leave me stranded away from home.
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Old 10-30-2005, 01:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It sounds like you left the lights on and the battery went flat by leaving overnight it built up enough charge to start the car. When it was cranking the battery voltage went low enough to store a voltage fault and put the trans light on now you’re using the car it has charged the battery so no more warning lights
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Old 10-30-2005, 02:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bad man working
It sounds like you left the lights on and the battery went flat by leaving overnight it built up enough charge to start the car. When it was cranking the battery voltage went low enough to store a voltage fault and put the trans light on now you’re using the car it has charged the battery so no more warning lights
Good "diagnosis", that is exactly what happened !
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Old 10-30-2005, 03:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRuckee
I tried to start my 2000 323i recently, after not having driven it for a day or two. It would not start, the headlights came on when I turned the key to the start position and a fairly loud clicking sound occured about once a second. This happened each of the 5-6 times that I tried to start it. I let it set in my garage overnight and it did start the next day, although the automatic transmission was in the "limp home" mode. The transmission went into it's usual status when I shut the engine off and restarted (no problem) as instructed by the owner's manual. Since this incident, the car has started normally dozens of times. I checked the battery and it's indicator shows an adequate charge. The "check engine"/ MIL is not illuminated.
Does anyone have an opinion as to what caused this failure to start? Will the OBD2 system have a record of this incident? I don't yet have such a tool but will probably get one soon. I'd like to know what happened and if a future occurance will leave me stranded away from home.
I have a 2000 323i also. My transmission went into the "Limp home" mode twice over a three week period. After shutting the ignition, as the manuel says to try, the transmission seemed to work fine both times on restart. I did have the indicator light (looked like a gear box with an explanation point inside) come on both times next to the "D" light on the dashboard. I didn't think much of it, at the time, but when I brought my car in for service I mentioned it to the service manager. He said he contacted BMW who told him the transmission needed to be replaced. They told me if I hadn't mentioned the problem, I would of had to replace the tranny, at my cost, once I passed 100K. Luckily, I was still under warranty by 5K and they put a factory re-built tranny in for the $50 deductible. (Bought the car certified - used at 41K). FYI
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Old 10-30-2005, 08:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think I left the lights on overnight. I can see from the living space of my house into my attached garage through a door with glass in it. If I'd left the car's lights on I would have noticed it. And when I tried to start the car, the headlight switch was in the off position. The car also has a warning chime that sounds if I exit the car with the ignition off and the lights on. I too thought that the car was acting like low battery, but that wasn't the case. When it wouldn't start, I switched the headlights on to see how bright they would appear; they appeared normal. If it happens again, I'll check the battery with my battery (load) tester.
Do you think the OBD2 has a record of this incident? I'm thinking about getting Autoenginuity's OBD2 scan tool and it's associated pc software. This tool is a bit more expensive that some other scan tools. Is it worth the extra cost or is this program useless?
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Old 10-30-2005, 09:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TRuckee
I don't think I left the lights on overnight. I can see from the living space of my house into my attached garage through a door with glass in it. If I'd left the car's lights on I would have noticed it. And when I tried to start the car, the headlight switch was in the off position. The car also has a warning chime that sounds if I exit the car with the ignition off and the lights on. I too thought that the car was acting like low battery, but that wasn't the case. When it wouldn't start, I switched the headlights on to see how bright they would appear; they appeared normal. If it happens again, I'll check the battery with my battery (load) tester.
Do you think the OBD2 has a record of this incident? I'm thinking about getting Autoenginuity's OBD2scan tool and it's associated pc software. This tool is a bit more expensive that some other scan tools. Is it worth the extra cost or is this program useless?
Autoenginuity's OBD2 scan tool does not support transmission EGS module, so from this tool you get nothing regarding your tranny.
As Bad Man Working says, that what happend was due to weak baterry or alternator is starting failing,but do not worry much now, if it happens again you will investigate it further.Now I would suggest to check well charging system and baterry. Drive around 15 minutes , stop the car and with a running engine connect a voltmeter to the baterry terminal , if it shaws 13.5 voltsalternator is OK ! ,if much less than that , you got charging problem. Now turn engine off , turn lights on and check battery voltage, it should be around 12 volts, again if much, much less battery does not keep voltage.
Regarding scan tool software , you could read everything, it cost around 16000.00 dollars !!!, if you are good mechanic and working on new European cars is worth to buy it ! Good luck !
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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OBD2 scanners are not going to be any help on a problem like this, niether would a $16k GT1. All you will see in any modules is undervoltage faults which are as a result of the dead battery. They will not give you any idea of what caused the dead battery. If the problem has only happened that 1 time I wouldnt spend too much time looking into it. I would say either 1) you left something on and it drained the battery or 2) a glitch in the vehicles hardware caused the battery to drain. the only true way to troubleshoot this is to connect an ampmeter inline with the battery and then let the vehicle bus systems go to sleep. After 16 mins when they go to sleep you would then see if the amperage draw is within specs. If the problem isnt currently happening however you will be doing this for nothing. If it happens again or continues to happen then I would take it to the dealer for amperage draw testing or do it yourself if you have the tools and the abilities.
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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just maybe this battery is 5 years old, and decided to die... get a new one...
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Old 12-04-2005, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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So I replaced the battery on my 2000 323i and have not had any problems starting since I did that. The battery that I replaced looks like it was the original item and the "magic eye" on it indicated that the battery was in good condition. However when I checked it with my voltmeter, it only indicated about 10.8 volts. The salesman at the battery shop where I purchased the replacement pointed out that the "magic eye" only shows the condition of one of the six cells... looks like I had one weak cell.
I shopped around for the replacement and found only two places that had a group 94R battery. The local (Reno, NV) BMW dealer wanted $175 for a new battery. Sears, Interstate, Delco don't yet manufacture a 94R aftermarket battery. A local battery specialty outlet, BatteriesPlus, does offer one. It is made by East Penn and is sold as their "Werker" model. It's a perfect fit (I did have to reuse the original's positive terminal shroud) and has the same cca rating as the the factory part. It has a 18/65 month guarantee and with it's $90 price I don't see how I can go too far wrong.
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