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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 01-07-2011, 06:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Starter keeps breaking. I think it's the ignition that causes it.

My wife started the car and then let go so the key went back to the run or on position (between off and crank positions). But the car kept starting making an awful noise, so she went to turn it off and the noise stopped, but the car kept running. So she removed the key and the car kept running. So after she started the car, the car thought the ignition was in the crank position when it was in the middle or run position and in the off position it thought it was in the run position. The car does not start anymore. It broke in October, then was replaced by some one other than me. Then in November, the shop broke my starter when I took my car in to get a state mandated "safety inspection." They just told me that it started smoking. Now in December it broke again.

I don't particularly want to change the ignition. Is there some kind of starter protection circuit or relay I can install, i.e. the one described here:

Model:
BMW E30,BMW E31, BMW E32, BMW E34, BMW E36 vehicles produced before June 1994
Complaint:
Some vehicles have experienced failed starters usually after the vehicle is turned off. Proceeding this failure vehicles have experienced problems such as loss of sunroof, window, and seat heating, also a discharged battery as a result of continued starter engagement, and a whirring noise under the hood after starting. It is a possibility that these problems may occur on a vehicle which has been equipped with an automatic transmission. Therefore the gear selection switch will cause the starter to disengage as soon as the vehicle is shifted into drive or reverse, but will re-engage with the running engine if the gear is placed in neutral or park causing a loud grinding noise and potential flywheel/starter pinion damage.

Remedy:
When a vehicle with a failed starter is located, or complaints about the vehicle are similar to those listed above, the starter electrical system including the unloader relay circuits must be checked for correct function. The starter pinion and flywheel teeth should also be checked in case they have scouring or other mechanical damage which would cause misalignment or improper mounting surfaces.
If the starter electrical system and flywheel/pinion does not reveal a problem, then the ignition cylinder/lock assembly is the cause of the prolonged starter engagement. All of the mechanical portion of the steering lock must be replaced with the electrical ignition switch. If the starter is damaged that too must be replaced.
On E36 vehicles produced before June 1994 the starter protection function can be retrofitted. E36 vehicles produced prior to January 1994 require the installation of a relay socket, adapter harness, and a starter protection relay. E36 vehicles produced prior to September 1992 with the M50 engine will also require a resistor adapter in series with the black wire of the adapter harness to be installed. Vehicles that are produced from January 1994 till June 1994 only require the addition of one wire and a new relay which has the starter protection feature.


Will this protection relay do something about the ignition turning the starter on when the engine is already running or is it for something else?

Is there something else I can do to fix this? :

I have an aftermarket alarm. I don't know if this might be causing my problem.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Can I test to see if the ignition is sending a signal to the starter without jacking the car up and physically getting to the starter? If so, does any one know how to do this? The steering wheel column lock locks the steering and unlocks fine. It seems to operate correctly.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I tested the starter relay. Pins 87 and 30 have ~12.4 VDC constant. Pins 86 and 85 have 11.53 when the key is in the run and crank positions. I would think that the starter relay should have ~12 volts at pins 86 and 85 only when the key is in the crank position. Am I mistaken? In other words, just like when it failed the starter is trying to start (if it worked) in the run position.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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UPDATE:
The starter has 12 VDC at all connections even with no key in the ignition. The starter has one positive and two negative connectors on it. All have 12 VDC on them all the time. No matter what position the key is in. I think it's "trying to start" all the time. Ignition switch is stuck in the crank position, no? I need to replace it or bypass it.

I believe pins 87 and 30 are for the starter on the starter relay. Can anyone confirm this? 85 and 86 seem to be for other electronics to be turned on once the key is in the on or run position. This is the only way the above measurements can make any sense to me (more or less).

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Turns out the starter relay is somewhere else. The starter has 12 Volts with all the relays under the hood removed, oops. But it has 12 Volts going to it all the time, with no key in the ignition even. So does anyone know of a good place to bypass the ignition wire (or what color the pos and neg wires are on the ignition switch)? I want to install my own push button start.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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There are 3 wires that are not connected to the starter. The smallest has 12 volt when connected to the biggest (or positive wire) and the middle size one had 12 volt when connected to the positive wire. Then I unplugged the ignition switch and now it has no power going to it, the middle sized negative wire that is. The small one has 12 volts still. I assume this is the ground. There is no key in the car and the starter is not powered.

You know I had a starter break before and then one broke a month before when I didn't own the vehicle. Never buy a car from a drunk Irishman or any drunk person for that matter. But the first time the starter broke I had power going to it and some how it ceased. And I did not unplug the ignition module, but I one thing I did that was similar is I removed the lower trim panel under the steering wheel. I also adjusted the steering wheel to get this panel off. That might have been what caused the voltage to stop being sent to the starter, since I'm not sure exactly when the voltage went to 0 between the positive wire and the middle sized negative wire. No power can be sent to the disconnected starter right now via the positive wire and the middle negative wire. The black wire with white stripe and red wire on the ignition switch has no voltage going through it, but seem to function, the switch, that is.

I think an aftermarket alarm might be the source of my problems, is this possible (It's not a remote start)? I can't seem to locate it, but parts of it could be inside the panel under steering column. I can take some pictures of this area and post it here. How can I tell if I have a defective ignition cylinder?

I'm not sure I can add a button to prevent this from happening again. The car was sending power to the starter without have any power go through the black wire with white stripe and the red wire, which are the crank wires. I measured them pretty well I thought, but I could have fouled up. This is making me think that adding a start button will not protect my starter. Maybe I have a remote starter on my alarm without even knowing it.starter on my alarm without even knowing it.

Last edited by jimmy154; 01-10-2011 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Where is the starter relay? It looks like this: http://www.eeuroparts.com/Main/PartD...id=61358364175
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have an automatic. So I think it's suppose to be big and yellow.


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Old 01-11-2011, 12:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It was the starter relay that was bad. The relay smelt burnt and the capacitor inside of it was bad/leaking. Capacitors made in the 90's to ~2004 (supposedly) have an improperly copied electrolytic formula (also supposely) that does not contain the correct or enough anti-corrosive additives. It totally sucks I had to rip apart a good portion of my interior to find this relay. This would have been literally the second thing I would have checked, after the fuses. But the problem seemed to be one of a relay circuit malfunction. How it kept sending signal to the starter to start and then when I unplugged the ignition switch (stopping current to the relay) it quit sending signal to the starter and no matter what position the ignition switch was in. I actually used jumpers to confirm the switch was okay after I had already confirmed it was probably okay with voltage and continuity measurements.

Also unless you have the money I would not recommend taking your car to a "professional" you are not friends with, especially in the greatest country in the world, America, if that even needs to be typed. Some moron asked me once, in real life: "why don't you just take it to a professional" and it made me angry and prone to laughter. Every time I get a used car I spent most of my time fixing what a "professional" did.




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Old 01-11-2011, 12:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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Very nice that you were able to chase it down; thanks for sharing the solution!
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The starter works and the car turns over, but does not start. What could the problem be? Could it still be the ignition switch? Maybe it is the EWS? I'm leaning towards the EWS because when the relay finally completely broke the engine was getting spark and fuel. Also I did turn the ignition switch when it was plugged in without using the key. If it is the EWS how can I "reset" it?

Could it be the starter relay? That just has to do with the starting of the vehicle, no? Also any one else find it ironic that a circuit meant to protect the starter destroys it?
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Seems as if the DME is not sending spark and fuel to the engine. I don't know if I have EWS I or EWS II. EWS II came on vehicles produced after 1/95. Mine was manufactured on 7/94, but I seem to have what looks like an immobilizer chip in my remotes. Which came only with the EWS II I think.

If the car starts, could the starter immobilization relay be sending a signal (I guess would be a "high level" signal) to the DME to not let the car start? I would imagine if the starter immobilization relay lets the starter turn over the relay itself is working, but I'm not sure. I think the DME sends inputs and receives outputs from the starter immobilization relay.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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What does the connector under the starter do, closer to the tire, right near the ground?
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It was the starter immobilization relay that was the cause of my problems. I changed the capacitor once again, cleaned and remeasured the relay and soldered with a little more care and now it works. Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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Wow what a project that turned out to be, glad it's solved!
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