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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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  #1  
Old 12-02-2009, 06:10 AM
LinemanLu LinemanLu is offline
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'03 330i Cranks but won't start!

Greetings fellow BMW owners!
I have a 2003 330i 4 door that I have had for over a year now and have never had any problems until now! It was running when I parked it in the garage, and 1 day later when I went to start it.... no luck! Here are the symptoms...It cranks at a normal rpm and you can smell fuel out the exhaust and it tries to fire, but won't start! It almost acts like it is a timing issue, or some sensor that went south. The only other symptoms that happend was on two different occasions I have started it after sitting for 5 to 7 days and it ran rough and the check engine light came on. It finally cleared up after driving and the engine light cleared after many miles. Could this be something that was starting to go and now finally has? I do not have a code reader or manual to diagnose these symptoms, but might look into acquiring them. If you have ever heard of this problem and know the solution, please feel free to reply! Thanks and have a great day!
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  #2  
Old 12-12-2009, 11:03 AM
rustyjrbaby rustyjrbaby is offline
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did you find an answer to the problem?

I woke up to the same problems today. It's still in the garage sitting pretty...but won't start. I've crank it a few times, called my mechanic and he says to tow the darn thing in. Does not sound like the battery nor the started....what can this be?? I'm in Northern Cal and it doesn't get that cold....so I'm just confused what it could be. I've changed my windshield just a week ago....but shouldn't be that can it???
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  #3  
Old 12-12-2009, 12:38 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LinemanLu View Post
Greetings fellow BMW owners!
I have a 2003 330i 4 door that I have had for over a year now and have never had any problems until now! It was running when I parked it in the garage, and 1 day later when I went to start it.... no luck! Here are the symptoms...It cranks at a normal rpm and you can smell fuel out the exhaust and it tries to fire, but won't start! It almost acts like it is a timing issue, or some sensor that went south. The only other symptoms that happend was on two different occasions I have started it after sitting for 5 to 7 days and it ran rough and the check engine light came on. It finally cleared up after driving and the engine light cleared after many miles. Could this be something that was starting to go and now finally has? I do not have a code reader or manual to diagnose these symptoms, but might look into acquiring them. If you have ever heard of this problem and know the solution, please feel free to reply! Thanks and have a great day!
It cranks, so it cant be the battery...

Is your fuel pump priming? Can you actually hear it whine a bit when your first turn the ignition on?
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  #4  
Old 12-12-2009, 12:52 PM
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AlboBMW AlboBMW is offline
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When my car doesn't start usually I think of these:

1. Battery....but it's cranking so this is fine.
2. fuel system....but you smell fuel so this is fine
3. EWS problems, but it's cranking so this is fine
4. Plugs....could be but it would not stop the car from starting up.
5. Starter.....from your symptoms sounds like this is the culprit.


How many miles do you have? Have you even changed your fuel filter? If not, I would change it first and hope this is the problem, since this is an easy and fairly inexpensive fix.

The starter, which I think is the fault, is rather expensive and a total pain to get to.

There are guides to perform these jobs, and with tools and patience you can do it.
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  #5  
Old 12-12-2009, 01:39 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlboBMW View Post
When my car doesn't start usually I think of these:

1. Battery....but it's cranking so this is fine.

5. Starter.....from your symptoms sounds like this is the culprit.

The starter, which I think is the fault, is rather expensive and a total pain to get to.
How do you figure? If it cranks over at "normal" speed, that indicates both battery and starter are functioning OK....
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  #6  
Old 12-12-2009, 02:10 PM
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AlboBMW AlboBMW is offline
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
How do you figure? If it cranks over at "normal" speed, that indicates both battery and starter are functioning OK....
that's a good point.

besides of the listed probably causes, I can't think of anything else.

but I doubt we ever hear from the OP again.
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2009, 03:04 PM
Nightmare5336 Nightmare5336 is offline
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Hey both of you my bro's car had the same symtoms last month, it turned out to the spark plugs. (the only thing we didn't check) there kind of a pain in the ass to get too but they can be a diy. i think the bmw stealer's want 60 for parts and labor for a spark plug change. but it could still be the battery someone told me that even though the lights and radio etc... are working at the same time it might not have enoight "juice" to start the car.

EDIT: and bmw maitance guy told us that for some reason spark plugs go during weather changes ??
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Last edited by Nightmare5336; 12-12-2009 at 03:07 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2009, 06:21 PM
rustyjrbaby rustyjrbaby is offline
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02' 330I cranks, but won't start...

I towed my into the shop yesterday...will write to see what my diagnose is...
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  #9  
Old 12-14-2009, 11:30 AM
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Rustyzipper Rustyzipper is offline
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ok, this is wierd.. this same thing happen'd to me an hour ago, cranks fine, batt checks out ok, but will not start. Turns over ok..... The only think I did was back it out of the garge the other day, and move it back in... was cold here.

.. so my question is why the plugs??, do they foul out???, and if they foul out, what would cause it??...


Thanks to any help, and good luck!
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  #10  
Old 12-14-2009, 11:47 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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My bet is on the fuel pump. Mine started out like that: occasionally it would take 10-15 tries before it would start. The interval between these occasions started shortening until one day it would not start. Fuel pump had given up the ghost.

Of course, we can assume that the fuel filter on the car is not the original put in the factory, right ?!?
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  #11  
Old 12-14-2009, 04:30 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
My bet is on the fuel pump. Mine started out like that: occasionally it would take 10-15 tries before it would start. The interval between these occasions started shortening until one day it would not start. Fuel pump had given up the ghost.

Of course, we can assume that the fuel filter on the car is not the original put in the factory, right ?!?
thats safe to assume. not many people do it until they actually come to the fest or E46Fanatics
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2009, 08:02 AM
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Rustyzipper Rustyzipper is offline
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yeeeeeaahhhh,, Found out MY problem, it was flooded for some reason... held down the gas pedal, and varrroooom.

what a easy fix, and saved my $$$$.... Thanks to KeithS on another Thread.


you may want to try this.... ya never know.

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  #13  
Old 12-15-2009, 09:31 AM
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what was flooded?
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2009, 09:35 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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combustion chamber i guess
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  #15  
Old 12-17-2009, 07:43 AM
Nightmare5336 Nightmare5336 is offline
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wait

im just asking, don't u think there is something wrong if all of the sudden your car wouldn't start, i mean i think the engine would be flooded if you cranked it over and over, cause you said u smelled gas??

and rusty zipper bmw told my brother it happens mostly when the plugs are about to go and there's a change of tempetaure. EXAMPLE: driving a good 30-40 mins then leaving your car in a driveway with 20 degree weather. -BMW stealership
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  #16  
Old 12-17-2009, 09:15 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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Nice
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  #17  
Old 12-17-2009, 07:19 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Those are classic symptoms of flooded cylinder. But why does your engine flooded is the question?

Flooded cylinder is a bad thing if too much can become a so called bore wash, and bore wash is a protential lead to compression lost in your cylinder, as oil was washed away by gas and left you with metal to metal.

How to avoid from bore wash?
Never start your car cold and shut it off right away, at the least let it runs for a minimum of 3 minutes or more to give the ecu time to lean out the mixture.
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  #18  
Old 01-01-2012, 07:44 PM
bmw 1 bmw 1 is offline
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bmw not starting

hello I drove my 2001 bmw 330i to the store today an when i came out to leave it would not start it cranked over it did start once and sounded like a race car just for a second then it died and would not start back up.what could it be I am thinking fuel pump but after reading the spark plug comment it makes me wonder where to start first it has been several hours and I just tried to start it again still cranks but will not start can ANYBODY help.
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  #19  
Old 01-01-2012, 09:18 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Originally Posted by bmw 1 View Post
hello I drove my 2001 bmw 330i to the store today an when i came out to leave it would not start it cranked over it did start once and sounded like a race car just for a second then it died and would not start back up.what could it be I am thinking fuel pump but after reading the spark plug comment it makes me wonder where to start first it has been several hours and I just tried to start it again still cranks but will not start can ANYBODY help.
Take it someplace (like Autozone) and have the codes scanned, then post the results here. It`s difficult to diagnose this "blind", it could be a number of things.
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  #20  
Old 01-31-2012, 02:11 PM
Flydwin Flydwin is offline
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Hi,

Maybe it could help someone... BMW E46 2004, I got the same problem as LinemanLu explained, except that I wasn't able to start the engine at all. I was able to ear the fuel pump whine for about 2 seconds at ON position. Is the fuel correctly reaches the engine? Since it was smelling gas at the exhaust and the spark plug were extremely "wet" of gas, it was clear that fuel line wasn't an issue.

Regarding symptoms mentioned here, I thought that my engine may be flooded. I tried to clear it with different tricks (disconnecting the fuel pump fuse's, etc). Nothing changed!!

I switched to next thing to confirm regarding the comment made by AlboBMW. I've also reed on another thread that it could be the spark plugs (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/arc...p/t-97926.html). I replace mine (which I changed ~4 months ago) for brand new... and guess what! Engine started during first crank!

Didn't got any error code.
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  #21  
Old 01-31-2012, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Flydwin View Post
Hi,

Maybe it could help someone... BMW E46 2004, I got the same problem as LinemanLu explained, except that I wasn't able to start the engine at all. I was able to ear the fuel pump whine for about 2 seconds at ON position. Is the fuel correctly reaches the engine? Since it was smelling gas at the exhaust and the spark plug were extremely "wet" of gas, it was clear that fuel line wasn't an issue.

Regarding symptoms mentioned here, I thought that my engine may be flooded. I tried to clear it with different tricks (disconnecting the fuel pump fuse's, etc). Nothing changed!!

I switched to next thing to confirm regarding the comment made by AlboBMW. I've also reed on another thread that it could be the spark plugs (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/arc...p/t-97926.html). I replace mine (which I changed ~4 months ago) for brand new... and guess what! Engine started during first crank!

Didn't got any error code.

What did your old plugs look like when you pulled them out ?
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  #22  
Old 01-31-2012, 03:30 PM
Flydwin Flydwin is offline
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Here's the spark plug before... Replaced by NGK
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  #23  
Old 02-26-2012, 01:31 PM
kenpus kenpus is offline
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Thumbs up Changed Spark Plugs and worked

My wife pulled her 2004 330Ci out of the garage, shut it off then put it back in an hour later. It only ran for less than a minute the second time. 2 days later she went to start it and Just cranked with fuel but no start. Thanks to this formum I learned how to replace the spark plugs and ~60 bucks later and couple hours and it runs great. First restart didn't work but I think I didn't have my foot on the brake? Don't know if that's an interlock. The wife says she thinks so. By the way the coils when good all measure out at .5 ohms and the temperature here was in the low 30's F. Enjoy!
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  #24  
Old 02-26-2012, 02:19 PM
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AlboBMW AlboBMW is offline
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Originally Posted by Flydwin View Post
Here's the spark plug before... Replaced by NGK
wow. those looks turrable. VCG leaking?
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  #25  
Old 02-26-2012, 02:22 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenpus View Post
My wife pulled her 2004 330Ci out of the garage, shut it off then put it back in an hour later. It only ran for less than a minute the second time. 2 days later she went to start it and Just cranked with fuel but no start. Thanks to this formum I learned how to replace the spark plugs and ~60 bucks later and couple hours and it runs great. First restart didn't work but I think I didn't have my foot on the brake? Don't know if that's an interlock. The wife says she thinks so. By the way the coils when good all measure out at .5 ohms and the temperature here was in the low 30's F. Enjoy!
No, there is no brake interlock to start the car, only to put it in gear when it`s running.

What did YOUR old plugs look like ? If they were oily like the ones in the OP`s picture, then you can be pretty certain your CVV has crapped out, and is spitting oil back into the intake.
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