E39 540i Sport Starting Problem
My 1998 540i has a starting problem that is progressively getting worse. When the ignition switch is rotated to the start position a solenoid "clack" is heard with no starter activation. Usually, with repeated turns to the "start" position, it will eventually crank. The problem has been going on for several years and is getting to the point that I am nervous about taking the car out.
1) The battery condition is good. The voltage checks at better than 11.5 volts even after extended time parked. The lights remain bright. This problem has occurred even when getting a jump-start from an running donor vehicle.
2) At one point there seemed to be evidence that the clutch position sensor was preventing the start but this was inconsistent. The solenoid "clack" always occurred which did not seem consistent with a switch problem.
3) I replaced the original starter with an aftermarket unit. This seemed to cure the problem for maybe a month but the symptoms returned.
Any ideas, please?