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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 04-13-2012, 09:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New Member, Need Help

Hi guys!
I am brand new here today. I've lurked a good bit, but haven't had any questions just yet.

I have a 1990 525i, and I've done some work on the old girl, and have really been taken by the ease of everything so far.

I have only been turning wrenches as a hobby for about two years now, and the majority of my heavy lifting and major work has been done to my other car, which is a 1982 MB diesel, so I am not great with knowing much of anything in regard to gassers.

Ok, so anyway, my BMW won't start. This problem came on very quickly. Yesterday morning, I had a really hard time turning it over, and then after work to get home, same thing. I had to pump the throttle and it finally took.

Then, this morning, nothing happened at all. I just can't get her to turn over.

As background, I have had no engine related problems yet with her, and prior to yesterday, it has never, ever not started right away.

Can you guys help me out and get me pointed in the right direction for a diagnose?

Thank you!!!
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to Bimmerwerkz.

First, check all your fuses to make sure none have blown. Then check your battery as ground connections. I unfortunately believe it may be a fuel pump issue. On the E36 the fuel pump is located under the rear seats. Their is a copy of the Haynes Service
Manual for the E34 available for download and it contains information on where the fuel pump is. You should be able to hear the pump priming when your turn te ignition on. Sometimes this requires a friend to turn the car on while you listen though.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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+1 (As Vader says)...
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, I kind of assumed is was something fuel related.

It's pretty wicked that the Haynes Manuals are here!

I will say that I turned it over (the started sounded normal and strong) and i couldn't get it to fire, so I popped the hood, thinking maybe it was an issue with the throttle or something, and I could hear a noise that sounded like a real tiny whirr, if that makes any sense.

There is a big box with the air filter in it (which i recently replaced). There is a line (hose, maybe) going from that to the engine. IN the middle of that line, there is a part that kind of pops out and I believe that was where the noise was coming from.

Sorry for layman poor descriptions, I seriously don't know much of the terminology just yet.

Also, let me ask this. To determine a fuel pump issue, I should try to turn the car over (or have a buddy) and listen for the fuel pump making a sound? If it is not, it is bad? Is that correct?
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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That hose you mention, maybe an engine breather-pipe... Shouldn't be the cause though, but well worth checking that ALL the pipes are GOOD (not cracked or leaking/sucking air) and have a good seal to the components
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Werkz.

It could also be a Cam Position sensor playing up, maybe?
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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First Update:

I popped off the wire to the first sparkplug and tried to turn her over while my pal put a screwdriver in the wire and grounded it, and there was no spark.

So, I opened the fuse box right next to the firewall on the driver's side. But, I couldn't see any label for ignition or the like. There was a blown fuse for the auxiliary fax, and I replaced that. Didn't think it would do anything. It didn't. Still now spark to the spark plugs.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What about the other ones? Any spark? If te others spark and that one doesn't the coil pack is probably bad. Check the boots on em as they wear out.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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So, I got it figured out. I don't know if it will help others, but I'll walk through the whole process anyway. I first checked the fuses. There was one blown, and i replaced it, to no effect.

next up, I popped off one of the wires to the spark plugs, and grounded a screwdriver in there while I turned over the car. There was no spark going to the plugs.

Next, I got a voltage tester and checked the two bolts on either side of the ignition coil, and they were both good, and the one on the left went off and back on with the turn of the ignition switch, so I ruled the switch out.

And, then, I put the voltage tester on the point in the actual ignition coil and got nothing.

I called the local parts places, and none had one in stock, so I went to the junkyard. I got real lucky, as they had an 89 3 series in there, so I pulled one from there and replaced the old one, and I'm back in business.

Thanks for all the help guys. Got this one fixed for 8 bucks.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Your welcome. Glad to hear it worked out for you.
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