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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 10-24-2013, 07:13 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
2005 3.0i Intermittent starter engagement

Howdy,
158,000 miles deep and having starting troubles.

I changed the Starter about 6 months ago (good times) and I'm getting the semi-infamous no start issue.

It seems like it's one of the electronic issues like Tranny position sensor, key chip, ignition switch etc.

My question is how to best narrow down which if these is the likely culprit, I don;t have a code reader for the X3 but I do have a Round Peak scanner for my E32/E30/E39 s.

thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2013, 08:08 AM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Location: Wichita Falls, TX
 
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Mein Auto: 2009 X3
2005 3.0i Intermittent starter engagement

Can you explain how it acts e.g. Starter lugs, doesn't engage, sounds like it's grinding etc...


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  #3  
Old 10-24-2013, 08:13 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
it either starts, or gives once CLICK, then nothing.
If I try it a few times it will start, lately it's been happening more often and taking more tries to finally start.

last night it took 3 mins of trying on two separate occasions.


I can hear the fuel pumps running when I turn the key, it really seems like an all or nothing electric thing.but I may be missing something
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2013, 09:55 AM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2009 X3
2005 3.0i Intermittent starter engagement

Since it's intermittent I'd guess a wiring issue or grounding issue. Do you have access to the starter diagrams and a good multimeter? If so, I'd start checking continuity. Could be the ignition itself, but I'd start checking the starter to ground then work my way thru the schematic.


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  #5  
Old 10-24-2013, 10:28 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
oh I like that thought!

I hadn't thought of a ground issue (despite having one in my Honda accord that fixed a slew of issues).

I have a few decent multimeters but no Electrical Schematic for the E83, are there some floating around or are we talking a Bentlys purchase (which I'm probably due for at 158k anyway...) I was the last person to touch the electrical connections on the starter so I'll start there.

Also here's a left field question, when I replaced the starter I had to remove the vacuum Bomb thing that controls the tailpipe (I'm not sure what that means exactly but from my other BMWs those are Vacuum accumulators)Is it possible that a vacuum issue could cause intermittent starter engagement?

EDIT: found the wiring diagram here http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/r.../e83/index.htm

any thoughts on the vacuum idea?

Last edited by pbowler; 10-24-2013 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Posterity
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2013, 11:23 AM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2009 X3
2005 3.0i Intermittent starter engagement

I don't know about the vacuum bomb thing lol, but I still feel like its a grounding issue/ wiring issue. I'd start shooting wires. My preference is ohms (continuity) . It will be the upside horseshoe looking thing. If you have a multimeter that buzzes when the connection is good then use that nifty tool! Or you can check voltage...


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  #7  
Old 10-24-2013, 07:53 PM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 bmw 525i
I did have a very similar problem on my '05 and after chasing it all around, it was the starter switch.
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2013, 06:52 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
timarnold,

I assume that's in the ignition in the steering column?


Did you change it yourself?

and if so are there any AirBag issues I should worry about when digging around in the steering column?
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:43 AM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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I did it myself. It is really very straightforward. There are no airbag or EWS recoding issues, but its always a good idea to disconnect the battery. Sorry, yes it is in the steering column. You just have to remove the lower valence and the upper & lower covers on the steering column.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2013, 07:18 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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awesome thanks
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2013, 05:31 PM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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OK,
Followup (grrrrrrrrrrrrr), bought a new Ignition switch from a local parts dealer and changed it out hopeful that it would end my issues, no luck.

As soon as I finished swapping out the switch I turned the key and nothing!

I did notice however that the solenoid is clearly engaging, or at least making a loud click.

So my NEW question is this, is it possible that the starter I replaced in March is bad again? If so is there something that could be causing the starter to fail, like an oil leak etc?

I'm still planning on pursuing the electrical ground issue but I'm not really sure how to go about that.

any thoughts?
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  #12  
Old 10-28-2013, 09:07 PM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2009 X3
2005 3.0i Intermittent starter engagement

I don't think it's the starter, but who knows? For wiring you'll need to bust out the wiring diagram.

Check for continuity (ohms) between the ignition switch and the starter. Starter to ground, ignition to ground.

Check for voltage with the ignition turned on. You might be able to check the multimeter by checking voltage between the ignition and fuse box... But I'm not to sure...And checking voltage on the starter is going to be a pita due to its location.

Check voltage on starter. Negative lead to good ground, positive lead to positive terminal on battery.

Do a voltage drop test on starter. Positive lead to battery terminal. Negative lead to negative on starter. Turn ignition on and see if there is a drop in voltage.

There are some good YouTube vids on voltage testing and battery testing. Do you have a Bentley manual? That is where I get most of my info.


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  #13  
Old 10-29-2013, 05:34 AM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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Sorry to hear the switch didn't work out. The engine (and starter as part of it) are grounded to the chassis by a ~10mm diameter cable on the exhaust side of the engine. I think it runs from one of the motor mount bolts to the chassis. When I put the engine back in my E39, I missed hooking this ground up. There was enough secondary ground to fire the solenoid, but the starter would not turn.

The problem with this possibility is it is not likely to be an intermittent condition and it is not likely that this just came loose. It is conceivable that at some time in the past the bolt wasn't tightened. This is pretty easy to check out from underneath.
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  #14  
Old 10-29-2013, 06:00 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grabby544 View Post
I don't think it's the starter, but who knows? For wiring you'll need to bust out the wiring diagram.

Check for continuity (ohms) between the ignition switch and the starter. Starter to ground, ignition to ground.

Check for voltage with the ignition turned on. You might be able to check the multimeter by checking voltage between the ignition and fuse box... But I'm not to sure...And checking voltage on the starter is going to be a pita due to its location.

Check voltage on starter. Negative lead to good ground, positive lead to positive terminal on battery.

Do a voltage drop test on starter. Positive lead to battery terminal. Negative lead to negative on starter. Turn ignition on and see if there is a drop in voltage.

There are some good YouTube vids on voltage testing and battery testing. Do you have a Bentley manual? That is where I get most of my info.


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No Bentley Manual (yet) but I did find a good online schematic.

thanks or the specific info, I will check those runs, not gonna be fun though...
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  #15  
Old 10-29-2013, 06:04 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
Quote:
Originally Posted by timarnold View Post
Sorry to hear the switch didn't work out. The engine (and starter as part of it) are grounded to the chassis by a ~10mm diameter cable on the exhaust side of the engine. I think it runs from one of the motor mount bolts to the chassis. When I put the engine back in my E39, I missed hooking this ground up. There was enough secondary ground to fire the solenoid, but the starter would not turn.

The problem with this possibility is it is not likely to be an intermittent condition and it is not likely that this just came loose. It is conceivable that at some time in the past the bolt wasn't tightened. This is pretty easy to check out from underneath.


No Harm no foul on the switch, it's going back to the store.

I will check the ground cable to the chassis when I'm under the beast, at least it's not snowing in MI yet...

Thanks for all the info guys, I will be disciplined and check the ground runs.

This whole sequence seems very similar to the issues I had when the Starter went bad before, though that was after 150,000 miles, it's only been 8,000 miles and 8 months since I changed the starter, not a fun place to work in an X3...

good times...
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  #16  
Old 10-30-2013, 09:36 PM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
Good Gravy the + lead to the Starter was two full turns loose!!!!!

tightened the nut, starts everytime.

thanks for everyone's help!
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  #17  
Old 10-30-2013, 10:05 PM
joylove joylove is offline
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Nice fix, thanks for closing the thread with your findings!
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  #18  
Old 10-31-2013, 06:34 AM
pbowler pbowler is offline
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3 3.0i | 1990 750iL
thanks.

I ALWAYS close my threads, there is a special place in hell for people who end a thread with "nevermind, fixed it"
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  #19  
Old 10-31-2013, 05:55 PM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Location: Wichita Falls, TX
 
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Mein Auto: 2009 X3
2005 3.0i Intermittent starter engagement

Stupid electrical stuff, makes me mad as hell sometimes! My front windshield washer pump stopped working properly, so I spent 6 hours looking for broken wires and... It was a dirty ground right next to the washer pump.


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