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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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Old 01-20-2013, 10:07 AM
Gallant0 Gallant0 is offline
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Location: Canada
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 320i
2003 320i Will not Start


Yesterday before work, I jump behind the wheel of my 320, slam the key into the ingition, and twist it to the crank position.

The headlights come on, the dash lights up, the window defrost screams to life, but there is no crank what-so-ever.

I pop the hood with the hey inserted into the ignition, and I hear coming from the engine, the sound that is made when you push the igniter on a BBQ. The sound of electrical arcs, about 6 per second, and continous.

When I try to crank, the headlights dim, and I hear a humming under my seat (fuel pump?).

Ran upstairs, grabbed my laptop and started searching for answers.

I use the built in voltage meter to determine that my battery runs at 11.6v - and goes down to 11.3 when I try to crank. The battery should be OK, right? I mean, it COULD be better, but if it's above 10 volts it should crank? The ingition switch clicks, so it's probably ok?

That leaves me with a few ideas:

- 1) My key needs to be replaced. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, because the remote unlocks the doors and trunk without any issues. Is there a simple way I can rule this out?

- 2) There is an issue with wiring between the ingition switch, and the starter.

- 3) The starter itself has an issue. I have come to understand that replacing the starter on an E46 is.. a very, very big job. I don't really want to spend a grand on having the dealer take care of it, and may opt to try to do this myself. I would like to however rule EVERYTHING out first.

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!

I know very little about cars, but I work on heavy machinery all day, so I am sure with the help of google and youtube I should be able to follow your suggestions, and at least diagnose this. I am also fairly comfortable on a multimeter.

Again, at this point I am looking for diagnosis.
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