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-   -   1991 E36 320i Dirt Track race car, no start??? (

weasle 09-15-2012 02:21 AM

1991 E36 320i Dirt Track race car, no start???
Hi Guys,

Very new here, and to the world of Bmw's, actually to the world of efi, and modernish auto electronics. Ok, as the title suggests, i am building a dirt track race car from a 1991 E36 320i sedan that i got given to me. First thing we did was to gut the car as much as possible, so everything came out, including about 35kg of wiring. To take the wiring out, we cut a wire, then made sure that the car still ran, then cut another wire, then made sure it still ran, etc... so I now have only the essential wiring for the engine, fuel pump etc. I have a new dash mounted between the trans tunnel, and the lower windscreen bar of my roll cage, with switches for the ignition, fuel pump cut off, and thermo fan, along with a few gauges and warning lights etc... Anyway, with all this installed, all i had to do was turn on the ignition switch, and the fuel switch, and press the starter button, and the car still ran fine, no dramas at all. Then some numb nut forgot to disconnect the battery, and did some welding on the car, (i am a professional boilermaker/welder by trade and have done this thousands of times and never blown a computer yet), now it won't start. I have checked all the relays and they are fine, i can power the fuel pump directly at the dash, bypassing the ecu, and the pump pumps, i have power to the coil packs with the ignition on, but don't seem to be getting a spark signal to the coils, and the computer won't allow the fuel pump to work when i hit the starter button as it used to, unless i power the fuel pump directly as i said before. So, i am of the assumption that i have blown my ecu. I got a spare ecu off ebay, but when it turned up it had a different number than what the add said, and it still won't start the car. the ecu number from the original is 0 261 200 403, can i install a performance chip to fix the problem, or do i still need to replace the ecu? Also are there any other numbered ecu's that will work in my car as this number seems to be a hard one to find?

thankyou very much in advance for any help offered,

Matt (weasle).

Kdoherty 09-15-2012 08:12 AM

The DME circuit's probably got fried from the voltage surge. I have no clue how to actually confirm that, but I can tell you that installing a new chip in a dead DME won't make it work again, if you want to buy one for the new DME it's gonna need, go ahead and do that. I'd try to find one locally that way you can confirm the numbers before paying. Also I'd be up that ebay sellers ass for selling me the wrong part and telling me it was something else. good luck man.

weasle 09-24-2012 02:47 AM


plugged in new ecu last night and still no go? All i can think of is cam angle sensor or crank angle sensor crapped out?
Any suggestions?

hornhospital 09-24-2012 08:05 AM

Did you use the wrong-numbered one from eBay or get one that was the right number?

bimmer claus 09-24-2012 09:34 AM

If the ecu is fried its good luck but there are places that you can buy aftermarkets from and have them coded fair warning its like 500 bucks i remember on my brothers the ecus internal memory had some issue he was able to mail it out and it ended up being a couple hundred to have it reprogrammed the second issue comes with mating it to the car this is a giant PITA typically youll have to go to a bmw dealership or other pro who has the computer to sync the two

bimmer claus 09-24-2012 09:41 AM

correct me if im wrong guys but dont you have to mate the ecu to the car had to do this on my 98 when we did it or do the ob1's have no need to be mated

hornhospital 09-24-2012 09:46 AM

OBDI's are plug and play as long as they're the right number and color label.

weasle 09-24-2012 01:19 PM

from what i've read here so far, up until 95 the dme/ecu just plugged in without being coded to the car, (key and antenna for the key), i may be wrong but if this is the case i am fine on that front. I went and boiught another dme from a wrecker in melbourne on the weekend, same number and colour label, and they guaranteed that it had been tested and worked. that's why aim now looking for some other cause to my no start problem. really want to get this sorted as the weather has turned and the track is drying out, so i want to have the car ready for racing in a couple of weeks. all i have left to sort after i get it running again is to buy suspension, but i can't find any cheap soloution for this? ford shocks will fit the rear end but i need to get struts specific for the front, and the wreckers want $175 each for them, but i can get a complete set of front and rear shocks for $520 delivered to my door!

any idea how i would go about testing crank and cam angle sensors?

hornhospital 09-24-2012 08:18 PM

You can test them with an Ohm meter. Crank position sensor should be 1280 Ohms, + or - 10 Ohms. Cam position sensor I couldn't find a test value for it, but I believe it's close to the same.

bimmer claus 09-24-2012 08:29 PM

+1 on close to the same for both

Los 09-24-2012 08:51 PM

Pics of car.

weasle 09-25-2012 01:48 AM

pics of car soon, you will all hate me because i currently have the roof cut off in order to finish welding the roll cage. I plan to finish it rough for the moment, iron out the bugs, and do a full paint and tidy up over the summer racing season break.

so to test the resistance i need a multimeter, is that right? sorry for the dumb questions, i am a real learner when it comes to this fancy wiring, i have always had old cars/engines with carbys and distributers before now.

hornhospital 09-25-2012 07:54 AM

Yes, multimeter. Digital ones are cheap and easier to use than analog meters.

bimmer claus 09-25-2012 08:20 AM

just pick one up at ace or lowes or home depot you can get a decent one for like 30 bucks deff get a digital analogs are a PITA goodluck on finishing the car post some pics!

weasle 09-26-2012 02:05 AM


so, after a batch of extreme dissapointment in plugging in the new dme and still not starting, i decided to have a few cans of inspiration... then started on the electrical from the very beginning again, and alas, i had a dead relay, and a dead dme! so, the car starts and runs perfectly again, thankyou all for your help and suggestions, i had my doubts weather a cam or crank sensor could just crap out like that, but you never know...

pics will follow soon, just gotta finish it off, and then time for racing!

thanks again, matt.

BMW318i_ 09-26-2012 05:14 AM

Nice awsome to hear you have your car running. I'm really interested to see what this dirt track racing is.

bimmer claus 09-26-2012 06:58 AM

Awesome man get some pics up! ASAP!

hornhospital 09-26-2012 10:29 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by weasle (Post 7097050)

i had my doubts weather a cam or crank sensor could just crap out like that, but you never know...

YAY! :clap: and FYI, yes, the position sensors can and do just suddenly crap out and quit working. I had one do just that. No warning, no miss, stutter or other malfunction, it was like you'd switched off the ignition while driving down the road at 50 mph.

Looking forward to pictures. I was track photographer at a 3/8 mile high-banked dirt track for ten years. I miss it.

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