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Thread: E30 Starting problem - annoyingly intermittent

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    E30 Starting problem - annoyingly intermittent

    Hi All,

    I'm sure plenty of other E30 owners have had starting issues, and I just want to run mine past you all...

    My 325 has started every time I turned the key since I bought it .. until Friday.

    Finished work, jumped in, engine turns over, but no start - not even a splutter. As I had no tools with me, I ran through all the things that I have remembered over the years of trawling BMW forums. I unplugged/plugged the fuel pump relay and DME relay, replugged the coil/plug leads - still no start. I stared it down, swore a bit, then after 15 minutes I turned the key and it started and ran perfectly!

    Saturday morning, same thing, no start, no cough, no spltter. Repeated everything I did, and no luck. Gave up and did some things around the house. After lunch I gave it a try and it started first pop!

    Sunday morning, heading to the cricket... no start, no time to look at it so I left it til I got home around 6:30 - started first try!

    This morning ready for work - no start. Tonight straight after work - it starts!

    Frustratingly, the times it doesn't start, I haven't had time to get stuck in and have a proper look.

    I just cannot work out why it is so intermittent... if it never started, then great, at least I can troubleshoot... I have done all the tests in the Bentley Bible. Fuel pump tests, fuel pump relay tests, DME relay tests, ignition coil tests, and all positive results.
    I have ordered a bunch of parts from BMA for my next service, and included new relays/fuel filter/dist cap.

    Is there anything I've overlooked that would cause intermittent no-starting ??
    Is it common for a coil to break down in E30's?


    Thanks for reading,
    Paul.

  2. #2
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    crank position sensor?

  3. #3
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    After market immobiliser playing up?

    My E30 starts fine after the flat-bed delivers it to the auto electrician.

    JMT

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    Try smacking the fuel tank and seeing if it starts. Another one may be the start relay, check if its actualy working by puttin ur hand on it and gettin someone to try and crank it. I thought that they crank angle sensors usually play up when hot, and you poor water over them to get them to start.
    Second hand/Skid tyres availble
    Want to sharpen your e30's steering? Pm me for a CNC'd steering coupler!
    SilverBullet

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by crimespree View Post
    crank position sensor?
    That's something worth checking, although I would assume it would either be broken or working ... I'll do a bit of a search on it though, thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by JMT View Post
    After market immobiliser playing up?

    My E30 starts fine after the flat-bed delivers it to the auto electrician.

    JMT
    Ha, that's exactly what I am expecting to happen! It's almost guaranteed in fact

  6. #6
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    Jul 2005
    Location
    Melbourne
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    I had a similar problem with my car just wouldn't start, at randomish times - turns out the ignition wire had been cut and spliced to another (smaller gauge) wire to run something (couldn't find WHAT) behind the head unit/heater controls. Once I reconnected it, all good. Be worth checking the ignition wire from the starter switch that runs down the steering column and to the starter motor. If its been tapped into for the imobiliser, might not be providing enough current to start on occasion. Reasonably easy way to test this - if you turn the key to on, and cross the + and - terminals on the starter and it fires, its likely to be somewhere on that wire, as opposed to the starter motor or solenoid.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
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    starting issue

    Just based on research , not experiencing the same issue.....the fuel pump relay is known to cause an intermittent no start problem. Apparently the horn relay is the same spec (on Motronic equipped cars) so it may be worthwhile swapping them when you have the problem or maybe just do it and see if the problem evaporates. FWIW, as I said this is book learnin only...the E30 Resto Bible.
    Last edited by yarpos; 21-01-2009 at 08:50 AM. Reason: cant spell

  8. #8
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    Sounds the same as my SL*T of a touring. I have replaced main relay/fuel pump relay/fuel pump/O2 sensor/temp sensor and am now looking toward CPS. As I dont understand. Mine is only on warm starts though. if left for period of hours starts first go. B*TCH!

  9. #9
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    mecmw had a similar sort of issue with his e36. Turns out the CPS was out of spec, if you have a voltmeter check the resistance across it, the bentley should have the procedure for this.

  10. #10
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    Adelaide
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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far ...

    I will have a read through the Bentley again tonight after work, and with a bit of luck, the car WON'T start, so I can do some meaningful tests (including the crank snesor).

    I will report my findings if I achieve anything - fingers crossed.


    Cheers,
    Paul

  11. #11
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    I had something simular, turned out to be the coolant sensor reading -30deg every now and again.

    I'd be looking at the idle control valve as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by weiss_535is View Post
    Sounds the same as my SL*T of a touring. I have replaced main relay/fuel pump relay/fuel pump/O2 sensor/temp sensor and am now looking toward CPS. As I dont understand. Mine is only on warm starts though. if left for period of hours starts first go. B*TCH!
    These were exactly my symptoms, try the coolant sensor, better yet get it on a scan tool when its doing it.
    Last edited by Doigal; 21-01-2009 at 11:23 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doigal View Post
    I had something simular, turned out to be the coolant sensor reading -30deg every now and again.

    I'd be looking at the idle control valve as well.



    These were exactly my symptoms, try the coolant sensor, better yet get it on a scan tool when its doing it.
    Yeah everyone up here is flat out after chrissie but I have it booked in on the 3rd so I just need to get it hot as possible and start stop a couple of times and drive straight there knowing full well it will sh1t!

    /edit coolant sensor is new also! did that and ICV clean as a whistle and appears to be functioning well!
    Last edited by weiss_535is; 21-01-2009 at 12:16 PM.

  13. #13
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    As a side note, a dodgy coolant sensor or an ICV will still allow an E30 to start.
    Last edited by Gussy; 21-01-2009 at 12:24 PM.

  14. #14
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    still think its worth checking it on a scan tool to see what the reading is, the wires might be screwball further up the line.

    Dont know about that one gussey, like i said the coolant sensor was replaced after reading -30deg C intermittently and (knocks wood) it hasnt happened since then.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doigal View Post
    .... like i said the coolant sensor was replaced after reading -30deg C intermittently and (knocks wood) it hasnt happened since then.
    Are you talking about the blue temp sensor ?

    I know that they can cause lots of various problems, I reckon I'll grab one and replace it regardless.

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