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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 09-18-2012, 03:21 PM
skiss skiss is offline
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Question X5 sometimes crancks but won't start

Hi there,

I have an X5 3.0i (version E53) with M54 engine.

Recently I noticed a strange behavior: sometimes at a cold start in the morning (in summer even) the engine will not start.
The engine cranks and turns over as normally would but will not start. I can keep cranking it for seconds (longest I did 20 seconds) still the same result.
Leaving the car sit for couple of hours and next time will start at the first key.
I had may mechanic check out the car unfortunately nothing wrong came up (no error code, loose connector, etc.).

So far I couldn't find a pattern of this behavior... however I would say it's happening once out of 20 times.

Dear reader, Thank you in advance for any suggestion you may have.

Regards,

Last edited by skiss; 10-10-2012 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Update
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2012, 03:46 PM
skiss skiss is offline
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For the benefit of the reader:

Visit to the dealership did not help. After 2 days and over $200 (out of my pocket) for diagnostics the dealer recommended replacing fuel filter ($410) and/or fuel pump ($720) which I declined.
Planning to purchase filter from Amazon.com for $50 and install it myself and fuel pump (if required) for $335.
Will keep u posted

It is very disappointing to see all this human greed and ignorance around us...
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2012, 05:26 PM
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DirtyDan DirtyDan is offline
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How many miles - I can see a fuel filter but not sure about a fuel pump. Yes dealers will knock you out of the park for price! BMW's are not difficult to work on as people think.
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:23 PM
skiss skiss is offline
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Thanks for the replay and thanks for the encouragement

The car has 150K, just bought it about 2 months ago, I am not sure if this a pre-existing issue or not...anyway will try replacing the filter (the pressure regulator is incorporated in it) and will see. Anyway the fuel filter looks old judging from it's exterior appearance (doubt that ever been changed).


Last week noticed a different behavior: while driving, after at a 4-way stop when about to accelerate, the engine stalled not starting anymore. The engine started again 10 - 15 minutes later (while waiting for the tow-truck )
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2012, 08:09 PM
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DirtyDan DirtyDan is offline
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Is the check engine light coming on? Have you had any codes pulled with an OBD-II scan tool under the driver side knee area? I have 127k on my 2003 3.0i and it has completely died on me a few times recently. It started right back up after pulling over. I cleaned the Mass Air Flow sensor and reset the check engine light that was saying PO172 lean bank 1 MAF. It is running fine now but when it dies the gas mileage has decreased. I do think you are changing the right part with the fuel filter. I hear that it is the cause of alot of issues. I have not done mine but I have run alot of STP and SeaFoam cleaner through it.

I know this is dumb but when was the battery last changed? These X5's have to have strong new batteries to run or fire up correctly. You need to check this out in the rear trunk under the spare tire. If older than 5-7 years it is probably another cause of no start.
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  #6  
Old 10-15-2012, 08:02 AM
skiss skiss is offline
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No check engine light neither any error code stored. In my opinion the battery should be fine since it cranks the motor for long time with no power loss shown...
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2013, 08:47 AM
kosovoman kosovoman is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 X5 E53 3.0d Mod
I may be wrong but sounds like the seals wen't bad on engine right under the camshaft. Usually if it won't start on the mornings and after the vehicle been sit for a while, it's most likely the seals.
Again i may be wrong. Just trying to help.
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2013, 09:33 AM
DTANDJT DTANDJT is offline
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Check "spark sensor". Your symptoms happened to me. Battery and alternator and fuel were all good. Spark sensor had to be replaced for about $200. They also checked the wire harness but it was fine. Once they replaced the sensor, it started right up.
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  #9  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:08 AM
skiss skiss is offline
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X5 sometimes crancks but won't start - Issue solved

Folks,

thank you all for taking the time and respond my posting with suggestions and ideas.

I am glad to say the issue has been solved. It turned out to be a loose relay in the DME box (located in the engine compartment next to the firewall).

Here are the troubleshooting steps followed that led to fix the issue:

1. measured fuel line pressure (this saved me from a spending approx.$2,000 on replacing fuel pump - recommended by the BMW dealer - LOL such a jokers BTW); this step could be accomplished by hooking up a fuel pressure measure gauge ($40) to the rail.
2. checking the spark signal: for this I've taken an extra spark plug, grounding it slipped the ignition coil on it and cranked the engine - this test showed clearly spark was present.
3. checking the injector pulse: took a long screwdriver, set the tip on the injector body and cranked the engine; when the engine was in mood to run a distinctive clicking noise was present vs. when the engine didn't want to start no clicking sound at all....

the 3rd. step lead me to the conclusion, that when the car is acting up and don't want to start then the injector pulse signal is missing although there is fuel under pressure at the injector. This conclusion made me to open up the DME black box and started thumb pressing connectors, relays and stuff.

Since then I haven't encountered this issue again.

Let me know if anyone has additional questions or concerns.
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:26 AM
upallnight upallnight is offline
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Get some contact cleaner from Rat Shack and clean all the contacts. If the connectors or relays and other stuff wasn't making good contact chances are that there was some arcing going on and you can have some carbon build up from the arcing.

Last edited by upallnight; 02-19-2013 at 11:55 AM.
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  #11  
Old 12-13-2013, 03:54 PM
IbraNafea IbraNafea is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 X5 3.0i
Gentlemen,

I have an E53 engine spins but won't start after parking for 3 days. Previous bad battery was replaced today with a dealer battery. Fuel pump fuse is fine. Car fuel tank is full. still won't start.

Haven't hooked up the computer yet. but I'll definitely let you know what codes I'll get.
BTW, A week ago I pulled out the GM module and got it fixed for a common issue with E53 GM module ( no interior lights and no look/unlock via remote). I Also replaced the final stage unit with an OEM piece. Now both the FSU and the GM module are working just fine but the car won't start. I'm not sure if this is related to the issue but I've never had this problem before even when both the FTU and the GM module were broken. I even unplugged both of them and tried to start up the car with the new battery but it wouldn't start. last time the car started fine was when I put the new FSU to test it and it worked amazing although I smelled some electrical odor but I thought it's the new FTU martial then I got my battery totally dead because it was bad battery.

Thanks you!
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2013, 06:13 AM
skiss skiss is offline
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Lightbulb X5 won't start

Dear IbraNafea,

I had a similar issue approximately a year ago that I was to fix applying the following troubleshooting procedure...

Prior starting the troubleshooting there are two things to consider:
1. is the yellow "service engine on" because if it's not than more likely there is no error code logged in the computer that would give you an indication about the problem...
2. in order the engine to start you need two components working: gas and ignition (spark)

So now let's see the troubleshooting steps:
1. measure the fuel pressure at the injectors (e.g. - hence the procedure is similar for E53) - the fuel rail port on my car is located right under the 2 part plastic engine cover. - THIS TEST IS PROVING THE ENGINE IS GETTING GAS (no tinkering with the gas pump, filter or tank required)

2. get a brand new spark plug and plug it into one of the unplugged connectors (leaving the old spark plug in the engine. Ask someone to crank the engine for you while you have a visual on the new spark plug. In case you notice sparks forming on the plug while cranking proves the ignition signal is good.

3. Have a long screwdriver, place the tip of the screwdriver on the top of the injector itself and your ear on the top of the handle of the screwdriver. Ask someone to crank the engine for you...in case you hear a specific tick-ing noise (sewing machine like) your fuel injector signal is good


I found my problem on the 3rd. step above finding there was no injector signal which I tracked back to the injector signal relay (the one in the engine compartment, passenger side, next to the firewall).

I hope all this helps.

have a great day
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2013, 07:33 AM
IbraNafea IbraNafea is offline
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Thanks for your replay skiss!

Afrer digging in the fuses board located behind the glove box ( dropped down the whole glove box)
I figured that the problem was the K96 relay ( fuel pump relay). I just plugged it out and in again. The car started right away. It didn't sound normal when I started the engine ( all lights were on in the dash) and I felt it was half engine running. Drove it for a lil bit just to charge the battery then turn it off and on again. The car is back and it's awesome and everything reset in the dash to normal!

I attached a pic fro my fuse box. The light green relay on the upper left side is the fuel pump relay.
Thanks: and have a wonderful day!
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Last edited by IbraNafea; 12-14-2013 at 07:45 AM. Reason: adding info
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2013, 11:17 AM
skiss skiss is offline
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Glad to hear that! I bet you just saved a whole lot of money

My problem got solved in the same way... unplugging and plugging the injector relay back in.

It seems like these relays got loose in time from trepidation...

So, lesson learned people! Before going to the dealership and spend thousands of dollars (and still having the problem) try to go through these simple and inexpensive troubleshooting steps.

Bid a great day everyone.
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  #15  
Old 12-17-2013, 06:09 PM
smokimon001 smokimon001 is offline
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is the fuel injector relay located behind the glove box too? per E53

pics would be awesome!

thanks.
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  #16  
Old 12-17-2013, 07:48 PM
skiss skiss is offline
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The injector relay is located in the E-box - engine compartment, on the passenger side, under the windshield, see pictures and technical reference attached as requested.

Hope this helps.

cheers.
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  #17  
Old 12-18-2013, 05:14 AM
smokimon001 smokimon001 is offline
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thanks Skiss, very clear instruction!
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  #18  
Old 12-18-2013, 05:29 AM
smokimon001 smokimon001 is offline
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i am gettting the BMW X5 (E53) Service Manual!!
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