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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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Old 12-19-2012, 03:02 PM
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James James is offline
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Mein Auto: E36 M3
Need to Disconnect battery for a few seconds to start...

Tried searching the interweb for this issue but couldn't find anything. If this is covered in another thread please point me in the right direction.

Car: 1995 E36 M3 with ~130K miles.

The Issue:

Randomly and occasionally (sometimes twice in one day and then weeks without the issue) I turn the key to start the car and it loses all power instantly. No noise, just a small sound like turning the car off from key position 2. The car in this state is now dead to the world: No lights, windows, door locks or window drop (that 1/4inch thing when you open the door on a coupe). I disconnect the battery for about five to 10 seconds and then reconnect the battery and try again and she fires right up strongly like nothing was ever wrong.

Notes: This seems to happen regardless of if the car has been sitting for a day or so or just driven for an hour. So each time I go to start the car it's a bit of a crap shoot. The battery reset trick has worked every time so far.

My thoughts are one or both of the following:
1) Bad ground somewhere shorting out the computer
2) Relay going bad and becoming flaky

Thoughts? Ideas to diagnose? Although I have a good shop in town that works on my car I am hesitant to take them an issue that is so sporadic. If I can find a way to replicate it reliably I'd have something to take them or could fix it myself if it's shade tree mechanic doable.

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