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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E30 (1982 - 1993)

E30 (1982 - 1993)
God's Chariot. The E30 was produced primarily from 1982 through 1991. The cabriolet was the one exception which was produced through 1993.

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  #1  
Old 12-04-2012, 08:40 PM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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Mein Auto: 1991 325ic
won't start

The beast wouldn't start on Sunday. The starter was turning, but not turning the motor. So after having it towed home, we took the starter in to be tested, it failed, we ordered a new one. It arrived today, and now that it is installed, we only get a single click. Not the click-click-click typical of solenoid trouble, just one click. The battery is new and fully charged. Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:37 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Your connections are poor and/or the ground for the starter is weak. Either pull the starter again and clean the area that the starter touches, and the face of the starter and reinstall, or run a heavy gauge ground cable from one of the starter mount bolts to the ground clamp on the battery. Better yet, do both. Then clean the positive post of the battery and the inside of the positive clamp, then make sure it's actually tight on the battery post.

I just went through this with an '84 633CSi. New starter solenoid would just click. By simply adding the cable the problem was solved, but I then went ahead and cleaned/reattached everything. It should be good to go for a long time.
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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2012, 05:07 AM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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We did recheck connections last night, but I'm sure it can't hurt to do it again. And I like the idea of giving it a really good ground.

The tow driver mentioned that he had a starting problem with his '86 325i that turned out to have to do with a sensor on the flywheel not being lined up. Bentey's just says to replace in reverse order of removal - nothing about making sure something is aligned. Is there some trick along these lines anyone knows of?
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:56 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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There should not be an alignment problem provided you have the correct unit. CPS would stop it starting but not stop it turning over. Super clean and tight is good. make sure ther is about 3/32" of battery terminal above the clamp on the end of the lead. You need this to get full contact.
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:44 AM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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Will do upon return home.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2012, 05:36 PM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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Update: The starter turns strongly, but the engine does not make any attempt to turn over.
Background: The car was in drive, died at a stop sign, and would not start again. That's when we moved to the first post, but I didn't know that it had been on to begin with.
Bentley's troubleshooting says to replace the starter, which is what we did to begin with. Do we believe that this starter is not good, even though it is turning?
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:38 PM
WickedFast.Inc WickedFast.Inc is offline
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If possible try turning the engine by hand i doubt it lock up but just to make sure id also check the gears on the motor to assure no teeth are missing also look into why the car died at a stop that is a whole other issue but when you get it started it should be looked into. Make a ditch effort and call it defective and get a new one if it doesnt work then im out of ideas. But how does the starter turn but not the engine that would cause the starter to tear itself up wouldnt it?

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  #8  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:25 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepony View Post
Update: The starter turns strongly, but the engine does not make any attempt to turn over. -snip- Do we believe that this starter is not good, even though it is turning?
Please clarify. You say the starter "turns strongly" but engine does not turn. The engine doesn't move at all? That means the drive gear ("bendix" ) is never engaging the ring gear on the flywheel. The starter (new or not) is defective OR you have some teeth missing on the ring gear ( very unlikely ).
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BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?


Last edited by hornhospital; 12-06-2012 at 09:32 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:46 PM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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When the ignition is turned to the start position, the starter makes a rapid, spinning sound, such as one would usually hear briefly immediately before the sound of the engine beginning to crank, but there is no sound of the engine cranking.
If there was some trouble with the flywheel teeth, would that explain it dying at the stop sign, or would the fact that until that moment it ran great, shed any light on the subject?
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:09 PM
WickedFast.Inc WickedFast.Inc is offline
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I dont think your starter is engaging the gear my friend if in fact it was and the engine was refusing to turn what you would hear is that terrible sound of a car running and someone turning the key to the start position again resulting in the engine turning the starter over instead which as you may know pretty much eats all the windings within the starter and destroying it in a matter of about a minute i would look into another starter or take the starter off and turn the key and watch the starter it should send the gear out to grab the engine then when the key is released it retracts to no longer engage

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  #11  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:17 PM
WickedFast.Inc WickedFast.Inc is offline
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Missing teeth would be sorta obvious as well one you should (if enough are missing) hear the engine stop turning breifly as the missing teeth pass or if they managed(unlikely though) to have the teeth stack so to say so two teeth push eachother it might knock some teeth off and i would look into ignition after you fix the starter problem my car died in drive and turned out to be 2 plug wires had fallen damn near apart and were no longer carrying current two new boots later shes still my pride and joy

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  #12  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:36 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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An aside here.....for God sake wicked fast, use a comma and / or period once in a while. Your postings, although they offer decent advice, are headache inducing to read. That is all.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
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Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #13  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:24 AM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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I like this - nice and visual. We'll check it out today.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2012, 04:47 PM
WickedFast.Inc WickedFast.Inc is offline
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I gotcha hh. Im usually working on my car or doing something when i write so im always hurrying.

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  #15  
Old 12-06-2012, 06:22 PM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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Okay, it was visual alright, but maybe didn't help. The spindle certainly did come out, sparks flew all over the place, and now absolutely nothing happens when the key is turned.
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  #16  
Old 12-06-2012, 08:10 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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The starter is defective. Return it and get a replacement. I hope it had a warranty. Then start checking fuses.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #17  
Old 12-06-2012, 08:56 PM
Oscar528 Oscar528 is offline
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Hi bluepony please check the fuse 15 , couple days a go happend the same thing to my car, after a service change. The car show in the display D " drive , but the shift nop was in P " parking .
I buoght a 7.5 amp fuse take a look

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  #18  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:48 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Look in the starter mounting hole for missing teeth. Get some one to turn the motor over (no ign on) by hand and check all the way round. If you can't turn it over and over and over your engine is in some way siezed or the valves and pistons love each other too much. To make it easy to turn take all the plugs out.
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Previous:
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:16 AM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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I thought that if the gear was coming out (is this called the drive pinion?) then that suggested that the starter was doing what it was expected to do. It did come out. But Ken, you are still saying that the starter is defective. Is that because of the sparks?

BMWFatherFigure, I thought that if an engine seized, there would be a horrible noise; can it simply stop turning over?

We are becoming very, very sad, as we haven't been able to drive it for almost a week, and now we won't be able to have parts until Monday or Tuesday again, so I really do appreciate any/all help.

Additional, possibly related information: the automatic transmission was replaced two weeks ago. It has been driving great since then.
I wasn't considering that, as Bentley's describes "Starter makes an unusual noise, turns erratically, or fails to turn" as the flywheel or ring gear damaged, and that isn't what the starter was doing. It seemed to fit much better under "starter operates, but does not turn engine". What do you think?
I will take the starter all the way off today, and take it back to the parts store to see if they will replace it. It is under warranty, but they do insist on using their tester to make certain it is "bad" before replacing. I guess I'll find out, and meanwhile try looking for any visible damage to the teeth. Any hints as to how I'm going to get my head up there?
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:13 AM
WickedFast.Inc WickedFast.Inc is offline
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Well on note of there posts. A starter should not throw sparks thats a pretty good(99%) idication that its defective. And yes it can just stop turning over if it in fact has locked up just follow fatherfigure and you will know very soon.

As far as seeing if teeth are missing i would suggest a flashlight and some jack stands put the front end up and have it turned over by a helper (if it did not sieze)

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  #21  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:31 AM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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Well, I'll be home in the daylight for once, which should make the investigation more pleasant at least.
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  #22  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:48 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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If the starter is throwing sparks, and you can have it do that when they test it, they'll have no choice but to replace it. A starter should NEVER throw sparks, ever.


You aren't talking about where the wires connect, are you? Like it has poor contact with the battery cable or ground? How were you testing it?
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #23  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:45 AM
bluepony bluepony is offline
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We did as above: "take the starter off and turn the key and watch the starter it should send the gear out to grab the engine then when the key is released it retracts to no longer engage" -unbolted and moved as far as possible given the limitations of the wiring harness. One underneath raised car to hold and observe, one inside to turn ignition. It was actually a little hard to see exactly where the sparks were coming from, and it doesn't seem like we really want to repeat, in case of causing more harm.
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  #24  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:13 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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The auto parts store where you bought it should be able to test it on their own equipment, which is actually nothing but a large power supply and a pushbutton switch. You do not have to take the car to them, just the starter.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #25  
Old 12-07-2012, 07:30 PM
WickedFast.Inc WickedFast.Inc is offline
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If it still will not do anything after that there is a chance that the sparks may have presented a short. Causing the main fuse on the battery cable to blow

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