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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-24-2012, 12:56 PM
jerryp777 jerryp777 is offline
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Location: Temecula, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 325i EDM
1996 BMW 328i cranking but not starting

Guys, found it for sale and tried to get it running. I worked on this car all day yesterday to no avail. 1996 328i automatic - no mods.
Here is the problem: Owner was driving and it just quit. Would not start. It cranks strong.

Cranks good but no hint of starting. Has plenty of gas. Check engine light is on when cranking.

First thing, checked all fuses - ok
Checked and Replaced fuel pump relay with another - works fine
Checked fuel pump by applying battery power directly to connectors on fuel pump - pump ok.
Checked fuel rail pressure by pressing relief valve and it shot out at first and then trickled down and stopped. Installed a good used pump (blue top), same condition.
Pulled codes w/ generic reader: It had 5 codes plus 2 repeats. One was the crank sensor. Found it in bad physical condition almost broken off at 90 degree elbow. Replaced with a used one I had. Codes cleared and tried starting again, no start.

Tried reading again: 2 codes came up again: P1765 (CAN) and P0121 Throttle /Pedal Position sensor/switch. Same ones that were repeated at first. This came up over and over after erasing/clearing codes and trying to start.
Came to forum and searched for this no start condition and found these suggestions:
Fuses, (good)
Fuel pump and DME Relays (replaced)
Fuel pump (replaced)
Crank sensor (replaced)
DME (replaced)

Took a DME from another 96 328is, checked REALOEM for fit. Same DME. No luck.
Checked all over for anything that would stand out and found nothing unusual.

I am at a loss here... Never had a car beat me before! This one is beating me!!!
Anything else you might suggest?
Did not check physically for spark because once in a while I heard one of the cylinders pop and nothing after that.
Could an old gas filter cause this? Fuel regulator?
How much gas should shoot out of the pressure valve? I don't have a gas pressure gauge.
Any help would be appreciated.

Last edited by jerryp777; 11-24-2012 at 01:10 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:54 AM
ZeGerman's Avatar
ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,510
Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 328is
Hmmm... You've done a ton of diagnostic work so far (nice job!), but with no luck. A clogged fuel filter or faulty FPR could cause a no-start condition, so I'd get yourself a pressure gauge and see what's going on with that. Also, checking for spark only takes a minute, so I'd check that, too. Might as well put the simple stuff behind you.

Are you sure the used crank sensor you installed is in good/functional condition?
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1998 BMW 328is
1966 Pontiac GTO
2007 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 5-door
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:25 AM
jerryp777 jerryp777 is offline
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Location: Temecula, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 325i EDM
Thanks for the reply ZeGerman. I will check for spark today. The reason I ASSUMED it had spark is once in a while you could hear at least one cylinder fire! Car is a bit far from me. I had a crank shaft sensor from a donor car but not 100% sure that it is good, better than the broken one which was throwing sensor code! But I might buy one and try it. Someone said in the forum to use a tire gauge to measure fuel pressure...Is that workable? Seller said that he had the fuel filter changed at tune up a few months ago! Cannot trust mechanics these days! Sorry if you are a professional but I have seen horrific estimates/diagnosis that had nothing to do with the real problems and went sky high in dollar signs! This has me thinking non-stop for a solution! I will take a couple of coil packs which I have as spares, a spark plug to test as well.
Since I will have my 1999 328is with me, I will swap the TPS for testing purpose only. I am getting the TPS code. Could the TPS keep it from starting?
Someone suggested EWS but car was running when it went down! I do not want to mess with EWS. If anything, I will do a EWS delete!
To do list:
Check for spark
Swap number 2 coil pack with good one (someone suggested # 2!) but I will try others since I have 2 on hand.
Check for fuel pressure
Check fuel filter to see if it is new
Swap TPS with a working one
I will let you know how it goes today!

Last edited by jerryp777; 11-25-2012 at 10:27 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:57 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
If it was EWS you'd get zilch when you turned the key. No spin, no nuttin.

Used CPS, I wouldn't trust it. Was it the crank position sensor or the cam position sensor that you changed? If the cam position sensor is weak you'll get intermittent/no spark.
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2012, 07:00 PM
jerryp777 jerryp777 is offline
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Location: Temecula, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 325i EDM
Well. I am back to ground zero again!
I went to the used parts yard and looked for different parts I might need and left only with a TPS sensor! I tried the TPS sensor and nothing.
I have replaced the crank sensor with a used one.
Today I took out spark plug #2 and tested for spark = ok. Swapped coils with number one cylinder and no difference. I could smell gas on them from earlier cranking!
Fuel pump tested for 12v at pump = 11.3 volts. It pressurized, because during cranking, I released the pressure valve on fuel rail and it shot out pretty good and strong!
MAF sensor was messed up inside, so I borrowed mine from the 99 328IS and nothing.
Exchanged battery with my car as well. No difference.
So, I have spark and I have gas.
Already had tried another DME.

I started checking for mechanical issues. The main fan turns as the engine turns, so that tells me the engine components are in fact turning, however, as my assistant was cranking I noticed a noise coming from under and in front of valve cover where the timing chain and Vanos are!!! It sounded mechanical and repetitive, NOT normal!!! Not very loud but loud enough to concern me.
Tomorrow I am going back during daylight and pull the valve cover completely out, so I can see if the chain/cam sprockets are ok.
Every time I crank the engine, it throws the same codes: P1765 and P0121 (TPS). Reset. Try cranking again and pull codes: same two codes immediately. Over and over. That is NOT normal.
Anyone have any ideas?

Last edited by jerryp777; 11-25-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2012, 01:13 PM
jerryp777 jerryp777 is offline
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Location: Temecula, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 325i EDM
Last night I did some research on what CAN means as in CAN throttle valve is, which is one of the codes coming up as P1765.
It stands for Computer Area Network!!! Robert Bosch invented it to communicate with all modules and computers in cars. It has become the standard for all BMWs. It is a bus protocol. It has to do with ABS, ASC, automatic locking systen, OBC, instrument clusters, air bags, etc...This is geeky deep stuff!!! Here is one link: http://www.talktomycar.co.uk/can.htm.

Just some quotes from the technical write up that applies to us, Bimmer freaks:

"The CAN-bus protocol was created back in 1984 by Robert Bosch Corp. in anticipation of future advances in onboard electronics. The first production application was in 1992 on several Mercedes-Benz models, but CAN is now being used on more and more new vehicles.
Loss of communication codes may indicate a wiring problem on the bus, or a fault with a module. Isolating the fault may require unplugging modules one at a time until the fault is found. Just remember that all modules on a bus network need three things to function properly: power, ground and a serial data connection."
"When diagnosing bus or module communication problems, you usually start by checking for voltage at the module, then the ground connection, and finally the data line. If all three are good but the module isn't working, the module needs to be replaced."

So after reading pages of this stuff, I am left with the impression that it could be related to the 2 computers in the car: DME and Automatic Transmission controller for code P1765 and that would explain the other code: P0121 TPS/pedal sensor. They are not communicating with the computer! Could be as simple as a wire that is touching another wire (stripped or crimped by something) or a bad ground/sensor/module.

Car computers provides or bridges everything to ground, it acts as a switch of sorts. It receives information from sensors and modules, and if it is within the set limits, it will activate it or if, outside of the limits, the CEL, air bag, transmission light, etc... will light up.
So, when we receive fault input from computer as a CEL, and plug in the OBDII scanner, that what the computer will tell us in the standard form of a PXXXX code.

I am going to the car again and removing the valve cover to see if everything mechanically is sound. Will update later today.
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2012, 01:24 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 328is
Thanks for updating us. I'm curious to learn what you find out.
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1998 BMW 328is
1966 Pontiac GTO
2007 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 5-door
View my photos: Caught in the Wild
For sale: E30/E36 front sway links
For sale: OEM E36 328 catback
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2012, 05:35 PM
jerryp777 jerryp777 is offline
Se7en
Location: Temecula, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 325i EDM
Well, took the valve cover off and checked for anything broken or about to break! Found nothing abnormal even though you can hear some muffled unusual clicking when cranking. Not the lifters or Vanos.
I was pressed for time so I tried quickly to check some of the wiring and connections to the TPS and throttle valve but did not make any difference.
I am more familiar with the M50 engine rather than the M52. Under the throttle body, there was an electrical connection to a valve, assuming is the IAC because there were two small coolant hoses connected to it.
My question is: Why would that keep the engine from starting? Both codes point to the throttle section, but the main one, I would think, is the TPS and it was replaced.
I basically gave up on the car unless I can find an answer.
It just cranks away with no signs of life whatsoever. I just think it's a bad ground or a pinched/bare wire somewhere... Frustrating!

Last edited by jerryp777; 11-26-2012 at 09:19 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2012, 07:58 PM
SCJon SCJon is offline
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Location: Charleston, SC
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,976
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328is
This is a fascinating read. I am amazed at all the work you have done and how quickly you've done it. Good luck, I cant wait to see what the culprit is.
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  #10  
Old 11-26-2012, 09:15 PM
jerryp777 jerryp777 is offline
Se7en
Location: Temecula, CA
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1993 BMW 325i EDM
Thanks for the compliments. If anyone has any ideas on what this problem is please let me know. I will tell the seller/owner what to look for. Right now he is thinking throttle controls.
He is a young kid in love with BMWs, not for the status, but for what it stands for! He loves it!! (We know that feeling, even though sometimes I want a divorce, but then after the blow up, I tell it that I love her, as I pet the fender! ! LOL!

Last edited by jerryp777; 11-26-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2014, 10:56 AM
jandj328is jandj328is is offline
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Location: Nova Scotia
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 382is
Did you ever find your problem?? i have the same problem and i am going to post what i did and renewed to see if i can find help too.
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