87' 535i Won't Start, then MYSTERIOUSLY starts right up! - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 03:12 AM
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87' 535i Won't Start, then MYSTERIOUSLY starts right up!

I've had my 87' 535i for about 10 months now. Had a new starter installed after purchase, and it runs like a gem. Always starts right up. Never any problems, until this morning. I live in Los Angeles. It never gets below about 52 degrees F here this time of year. When it gets a little cold, it takes about 3 or 4 seconds to start, as opposed to a half a second when warm. This morning it would crank and crank and crank, but NEVER TURN OVER. I tried again, and this time it eventually started, but IMMEDIATELY died. It did this 3 or 4 times, then it just wouldn't turn over at all any more.
I have new plugs, battery is fine, half a tank of gas. Sounds like something electrical, but have no idea what. THEN, I went and tried it again later that afternoon when it was much warmer, and it started immediately, the way it ALWAYS does! I drove it a couple blocks and it drove fine.
What do you make of this mystery? Moisture somewhere?
Note: There is a thin layer of what appears to motor oil in the front of the engine, including on the battery, engine block, etc... Not sure if that has a bearing.
If anyone has any clue about this bizarre incident, please let me know. I sort of don't trust my car now.
Thank you.
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 08:21 AM
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Do you mean the starter would turn the engine over, but it would not start?
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#3 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 10:13 AM
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Check the ICV

Check the ICV
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#4 (permalink) Old 04-24-2007, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastshivy
Do you mean the starter would turn the engine over, but it would not start?
That's right. I'll see this morning whether it happens again. Will post.
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#5 (permalink) Old 04-25-2007, 03:25 PM
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Idle OK

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnn
Check the ICV
It idles just fine at a dead stop. The timing is set perfect. I think it's something else, possibly electrical connection somewhere. It started up perfect the next morning, but what happened the other morning was REAL. One more thing, there is a thin layer of what appears to be either oil, or possibly radiator fluid all around the front of the engine, including battery, distributor, engine block, etc... This may be the cause. I just don't know. I don't 100% trust my car now, until I figure out what happened, and can rectify it.
Thanks.
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#6 (permalink) Old 04-25-2007, 06:30 PM
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Is your check engine light on?
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#7 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starmavin
Is your check engine light on?
No. Check engine light is not on, which makes it all even more baffling. Someone recommended I swap the DME (Digital Motor Electronic Control Unit). Not quite sure where it is.

Thanks.
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#8 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 12:42 AM
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Changing out the DME is a little extreme. Actually not having the check engine light on narrows the problem down quite a bit. Make sure your battery is fully charged and not cranking slowly. First, check the main relays for gunk. Then check the spark. Do this by pulling off a plug wire and sticking a spare spark plug into it and lay it on the motor where it'll contact metal, then have someone crank it. Watch for a strong blue or white spark.
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#9 (permalink) Old 05-02-2007, 02:09 AM
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Not sure if this helps but my 528 will occasionally do that especially if I have run the engine for a short amount of time (less than 2 minutes) and cut the engine off. Such as backing it up a few feet. The only way it will start is if I floor the accelerator and turn the key. I am fairly sure it has something to do with the engine flooding on a cold start and not having enough time to warm up - possibly leaving extra fuel in the cylinders. I just don't know for sure.

It is very seldom it does it but can be frustrating. Good luck and keep us posted.

1998 528i - sold 222,000 miles
1998 540i - sold 159,000 miles
2007 328i Coupe - 30,000 current
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#10 (permalink) Old 05-08-2007, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starmavin
Changing out the DME is a little extreme. Actually not having the check engine light on narrows the problem down quite a bit. Make sure your battery is fully charged and not cranking slowly. First, check the main relays for gunk. Then check the spark. Do this by pulling off a plug wire and sticking a spare spark plug into it and lay it on the motor where it'll contact metal, then have someone crank it. Watch for a strong blue or white spark.
Thanks for the reply. I just had new Bosch Platinum plugs put in about a month ago. They're all firing well because there's no jump or engine stutter when I'm sitting still idling. I'll clean the posts and terminals, but not sure it's the battery because the only time it happens is early in the morning when the air temp is colder and its been sitting all night. At no other time. I was thinking of going to a local Pick Your Part salvage yard and see if I can find a DME for $20.
I really appreciate the good help on this problem. Hope I can figure this out soon.
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#11 (permalink) Old 05-09-2007, 07:13 PM
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How about, the next time it happens, run in and get a hair dryer. Warm the DME for about 10 minutes, then try again. That should make a quick answer of it being the DME coupled with cold temps.

Bob
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