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Old 11-09-2012, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Crazy electrical gremlin - car sometimes totally dead, until shaken or door slammed

My electrical gremlin started about a year ago with the hazard lights blinking when starting the car. Not every time, but a lot of the time. They would just come on - even though button was not depressed on the center console. Another thing that was also happening was that when the car got turned on, we'd have to enter the radio code to make it work. Just as if there had been a disconnection of power - but there had not been. This was like the hazard lights - periodic and random. Often enough to be annoying, but since the car was old and putting in the code worked, we just dealt with it.

Working with my independent BMW guy we finally decided that the hazard lights were acting like the alarm was actually being tripped, but in silent mode - thus the flashing lights. I finally just completely removed the BMW alarm box from under the rear seat - fully disconnected and put it away. We never activated it anyway since the key fobs wouldn't control the locks anymore. We'd reset the thing, the locks would work a while, then it would stop again. So I just pulled the entire alarm module to remove it as a source of potential problem.

Sometime around then I replaced the ignition switch with a brand new part from Bav Auto (part 61 32 8 356 026 Ignition Switch 1995 525i). That went off fine and it has worked great ever since.

For a while the hazard gremlin went away and I thought we'd fixed it with the removal of the alarm module. The code thing on the radio stopped as well. But over the summer the hazard light thing started happening again, but very rarely. One day the BMW guy wrote me and said he figured out what it must be - the fusible link. So one time while I had it there getting an oil change he replaced it -said the old one was definitely in bad shape.

After the replacement, all was well - UNTIL (you knew it was coming since I'm writing in the forum) the car just started dying! crap! Well, more accurate, wouldn't come on - already dead. We'd drive somewhere - everything working perfectly. Go to get back in - 10 mins later, hour later - usually shorter times - and NOTHING. Not like a dead battery (which is also new in the last year), but as if NO battery. Turn the key and NOTHING happens - no lights, no blinking, no dings, no nothing! After waiting a few minutes, opening/closing a door, shaking the car, whatever we've (so far) always been able to get it to start.

Of all days, it happened today when my wife had our son out to the store to get him some medicine (woke up with bad cold!). She first tried a hard slam of the door -nothing. Then she shook the passenger side of the car - and the hazards lights came on (no keys in!). She did some more moving around after waiting 10 or so minutes, and it started. She was able to drive home like normal.

It sounds like the guy in this post has (at least) one of the exact same problems as me:
Why wont my car start???

BUT, the response doesn't help me (I don't think) since I've removed the alarm module.

If ANYONE can offer any solid advice, I'd sure love it. We were hoping to drive this car until the transmission went (have 226,000+ on it!). I'd hate to have to replace it b/c of this crazy electrical gremlin. And replace it we would since it's my wife's main car. Our old Saturn seems to have died, so I can no longer drive that to work. Having to drive my working truck. What a pain!

thanks!
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