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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 05-03-2009, 06:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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E46 330i hard starting after winter storage - anyone else?

I have a 2003 330i zhp with 28,000 miles. Live in mid-Michigan. Car is stored winters (October - late April, yeah I know, it sucks).

I keep it on a Battery Minder while in storage. EVERY spring, the car is very hard to start the first time out of winter storage. EVERY spring. It takes about 2 minutes of grinding away (off/on for 15 sec) until it sputters to life finally fires. If you let it run a few minutes and then try to restart, it starts IMMEDIATELY. Same if you then let it sit overnight and try to start the next day. Starts immediately.

Last fall, we went on a 2.5 week vacation, so the 330i sat for. When we got back, it did its very hard start thing (actually it did not start at all). I put it on a booster/starter and that did not help. Since it was storage time, I just put it on the battery Minder and stored it until yesterday.

Battery was original, so last week I bought a new Titanium battery from Advance. The 49R. Much stronger battery than what ws in the car. 1000 cca vs. 600 cca. Fits perfectly. Put the new battery in yesterday and tried to start the car.

It did it usual first start of the spring thing. Took about 2 minutes of cranking to get it to sputter to life. Then it ran fine and now it starts easilly. No gas smell.

Consulted with Mike Miller the BMW CCA guy and he thinks this is somehow battery related. I don't see how that can be. Same symptoms with a BMW battery when it was still young and with a brand new, more powerful, aftermarket battery.

To me, it acts like fuel does not get to engine for a while after a few weeks of storage. (Fuel is stabilized, by the way.)

I have stored cars through the winter with many brands and it is only this 330i that has been so cold blooded on first start.

What experience do other people who store E46's have?

Or ideas?

- Geo
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Gas can become varnish over time, and the fuel system may well need some running time with fresh fuel. In the next storage, I suggest a gas storage treatment.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know, but...

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Originally Posted by witeshark View Post
Gas can become varnish over time, and the fuel system may well need some running time with fresh fuel. In the next storage, I suggest a gas storage treatment.

...I DID put in stabilizer. Further, I have stored other (fuel injected) cars similarly and none has been this cold blooded about starting. Further, this hard start occurred after just two weeks storage last fall (vacation). There is something else to this.

Thanks for the thought, though.

- Geo
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't much about this but did you leave a full tank of gas?
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This was a list a friend provided for me:

Hope this helps, it sounds like you may know it all anyways.

1. do walk around the car
2. check all openings, including under the engine/engine bay and inside wheel wells (don't forget to look inside the muffler)
3. if car was not parked with full tank of gas, fill it up. (if gas sits for too long it separates)
4. check battery and all electrical connections (check battery fro proper voltage) (if left outside bring battery in to warm it up overnight, room temp)
5. check condition of oil, if possible do oil change. pour clean oil into and let run out, then cap and refill.
6. check spark plugs (replace or clean as needed)
7. put like a squirt of light machine oil in to spark plug hole (lubricates inner areas)
8. check radiator fluid, (if thick or slushy.. do not start car till brought to room temp)

9. turn power on (DO NOT START)
10. listen for fuel pump running and all other lights to come on (warning lights come on and go off if ok and come on and stay on if problem) (some lights only go off after engine starts)
11. start the car, while running quickly check for normal operation noise, also visually check for any leaks.
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Full tank, always.

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I don't much about this but did you leave a full tank of gas?
Full tank, always.
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice, but reality is that...

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Originally Posted by Fivemanarmy View Post
This was a list a friend provided for me:

Hope this helps, it sounds like you may know it all anyways.

1. do walk around the car
2. check all openings, including under the engine/engine bay and inside wheel wells (don't forget to look inside the muffler)
3. if car was not parked with full tank of gas, fill it up. (if gas sits for too long it separates)
4. check battery and all electrical connections (check battery fro proper voltage) (if left outside bring battery in to warm it up overnight, room temp)
5. check condition of oil, if possible do oil change. pour clean oil into and let run out, then cap and refill.
6. check spark plugs (replace or clean as needed)
7. put like a squirt of light machine oil in to spark plug hole (lubricates inner areas)
8. check radiator fluid, (if thick or slushy.. do not start car till brought to room temp)

9. turn power on (DO NOT START)
10. listen for fuel pump running and all other lights to come on (warning lights come on and go off if ok and come on and stay on if problem) (some lights only go off after engine starts)
11. start the car, while running quickly check for normal operation noise, also visually check for any leaks.
...this only happens on standing for a couple of weeks or more, and then does not re-occur the next time you try to start - it starts rightaway whether later that day or a few days later. Almost like the fuel flows back into tank and/or pump loses prime on long standing. On the other hand, it sure gets the oil flowing before the engine starts - so good lubrication after standing.
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My thought is that at #9: where you turn the key but don't start it will be where the car has everything engaged but engine not turning. This would be where the fuel pump activates, etc. Your issue is (my best guess), here somewhere.

I think that you should definitely consult a BMW specialist for sure. I'm sorry that I couldn't help, I don't have a lot of experience in storage of vehicles.

Sorry bud
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