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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:27 AM
psgill psgill is offline
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Car wont start with key just clicks, but starts by jumping starter

Mechanic thinks its a bad EWS but suggests i take to the dealer. How much do you think this costs if thats the problem.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:52 AM
acoste acoste is offline
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"Car wont start with key just clicks"
Where is the clicking coming from? Is that the starter?

There are many other things to check before you think it is the EWS.

"suggests i take to the dealer"
Means that he has no idea.


Check this here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=593855

Is your car manual or automatic? If automatic, do you see the position of the selected gear correct on the dashboard?
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:55 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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A bad EWS would not allow the car to start, since it also disables ignition and fuel delivery.

You need to find a BMW specialist willing to troubleshoot the system w/o throwing parts at it.
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  #4  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:59 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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And it could be as simple as a bad starter relay. Your's should be behind the glove box.
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  #5  
Old 03-26-2012, 11:21 AM
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bcbp14 bcbp14 is offline
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How's the battery?
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2012, 12:28 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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The battery must be okay if it starts the car. Read his subject line.
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2012, 01:26 PM
BV93013 BV93013 is offline
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I was experiencing the same problem. Turned out to be the starter.
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  #8  
Old 03-26-2012, 01:35 PM
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bcbp14 bcbp14 is offline
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I did, same problem it was my battery.
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2012, 03:33 PM
psgill psgill is offline
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Its and automatic transmission, while in gear the dashboard reads proper, just funny things like when I put key in to start the car the side mirrors move out of position on their own. Mechanic said starter and ingnition switch checked out fine. Car also has very rough idle when starting but when it warms up its fine. He also said battery was ok.
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2012, 04:39 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Next time it does "funny things," turn on the passenger visor light. If this has an effect, the ignition switch is likely bad.


Excuse me bcbp14, you may have a point. Worth checking.
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Last edited by edjack; 03-26-2012 at 04:41 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03-26-2012, 04:45 PM
1fast lorinser 1fast lorinser is offline
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I had same issue with an acura and it was the battery terminals. Make sure your positive and negative terminals are nice and clean of corrosion and also check your ground wire from the battery. Try and get rid of small easy things you can do yourself before you start paying big money and throwing parts at it.
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2012, 08:16 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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If the suggestions above don't solve the problem, you might consider high resistance in the heavy gauge cable power circuit from battery to starter.

I'm assuming some points from your description:
1 when you jump start the engine, you are using another battery (perhaps on another car) connected to the jumper post on the engine.
2 without the jumper battery, the click you hear on turning the key to start, is the heavy, loud snap that the starter solenoid makes
3 there are no other symptoms, e.g. battery light in instrument cluster, dim lights, normal cranking speed when jumper starting etc.
4 your mechanic meant that your battery passed a full load test when he said it is OK. Not that it is indicating ~12.65V with car in sleep mode.
5 the mechanic tested starter current to rule out a partially failed winding (to rule out marginal starter with marginal battery resulting in no crank symptom)

And conclude from these that the starter control circuits (including EWS), battery and the starter itself are OK & the problem is that the starter is not getting enough voltage to generate the power needed to turn over the engine.

The attached images show that there are connectors between the battery and starter. If these become corroded, or if the heavy cable running from the battery to starter has been damaged one could see high resistance and a significant voltage drop between the battery and starter when the starter tries to draw the ~200 amps (can't find spec, but typical for 1.8 kW starters) required to turn over the engine. The starter would then have insufficient voltage to start the engine. This is the same effect, although different cause, that others refer to when suggesting you check that the battery terminals are clean & tight on the battery posts.

You could test this hypothesis by measuring voltage at the engine jumper post while someone turns the key to start without a jumper battery. You should see full battery voltage of ~12.6 V with key off and at least ~9V while starter is engaged, better would be ~10V. If voltage is too low & the battery & starter motor are in fact OK, there must be high resistance in the power circuit from battery to starter.

I had thought it possible that the safety disconnect on the +ve battery terminal had triggered. However it seems that feature was implemented in 9/97 & would therefore not be present on your 1997 model year. See attached image showing "Battery safety terminal (as of ..."

Circuit diagrams & operation descriptions of various systems available here.
http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/release/en/
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Last edited by rdl; 03-27-2012 at 08:29 AM. Reason: added normal crank on conclusion 3
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  #13  
Old 03-27-2012, 11:12 PM
psgill psgill is offline
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Thanks for all your information, mechanic thought same problem was going on checked out battery starter voltage ignition switch etc.... he is puzzled and telling me to take it to the dealer (stealer) Is there any other suggestions before i get taken to the cleaners.
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  #14  
Old 03-28-2012, 11:40 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psgill View Post
Thanks for all your information, mechanic thought same problem was going on checked out battery starter voltage ignition switch etc.... he is puzzled and telling me to take it to the dealer (stealer) Is there any other suggestions before i get taken to the cleaners.
Based on understanding that:
1 never starts on car battery alone
2 always starts when jumpered with 2nd battery at engine jumper post & ground terminal on strut tower
3 battery terminal are tight and clean to battery posts

Here is a quick and easy DIY check to test battery & cable from battery to starter, before opening your wallet. I should have though of this earlier.

1 jumper with 2nd battery (fully charged) from trunk at car's battery terminals.
2 If no start then must be power cable to starter, or the -ve lead from battery to grounding lug.
EDIT 3 if start then must be weak car battery.

Then:
1 stop engine, key off
2 remove +ve terminal from car's battery.
3 Jumper from 2nd battery to battery terminals only, so nothing connected to car battery +ve post. (car battery is now "removed/isolated" from all circuits)
4 Once jumpers connected, be very careful to ensure the +ve terminal does not touch any metal. Best with assistant to hold +ve clear while you try to start. Extra safety - wrap terminal and jumper clip in towels or rags to help prevent any inadvertent contact with metal.
5 If car starts then car battery is weak.
6 EDIT if no start, jumper -ve side of 2nd battery to -ve post on strut tower while keeping +ve to terminal in trunk
7 if now start, -ve battery lead or grounding lug is faulty (starting when jumpered from engine bay worked through ground on strut tower)
8 if no start on step 7, must be +ve cable from battery to starter

I trust the logic is clear. If not, post back with question.

Good luck.
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Last edited by rdl; 03-28-2012 at 12:05 PM. Reason: logic steps corrected
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  #15  
Old 03-28-2012, 01:59 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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If I understand correctly the car started with it's original battery with jumping the starter. (psgill please confirm) (this is not a jump start from an external battery but forcing 12V to the starter's terminal)
This means that the starter never receives the signal to start up the engine.
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  #16  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:52 PM
psgill psgill is offline
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not 100% sure mechanic just said he got the car to start externally by starter not using key ignition start. I had it towed to dealer today I will post when they give me diagnosis.
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  #17  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:55 PM
psgill psgill is offline
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Acoste I am not sure if starter receives signal i just hear click noise when trying to start with key. Instrument panel (dash) radio, AC everything lights up and works great other than starting.
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  #18  
Old 03-29-2012, 11:57 AM
psgill psgill is offline
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Dealer just called and said they can't get the car to communicate with them And they need to pull parts and replace parts to see if they can get it to communicate. He said the fee for doing that starts at $450 I think that is crazy to charge someone that much without even knowing whats wrong first. Please give me some more advice on what to do next.
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  #19  
Old 03-29-2012, 01:11 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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I would not go for it. A used system is cheaper than the diagnosis.

Here for example:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-BMW-E39-...sories&vxp=mtr

I would pick an oscilloscope and a multimeter and check the module. If you know a motivated electric guy, give the car him to play with. But deep debugging of the system could take lot more time than replacing the units.
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  #20  
Old 03-29-2012, 04:00 PM
psgill psgill is offline
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Does the part have to be coded to car? Wish I knew a motivated electrician. This car is strarting to get on my nerves. My 1996 Jeep cherokee is making my BMW look bad.
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  #21  
Old 03-29-2012, 05:25 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Is this an AT E39? I think your first mechanic was on the right track. Start circuit is fairly simple. EWS does prevent starter operation. I don't think M52 uses a starter relay, only M62. Clicking sound may be relay in EWS module. I'd open EWS module and look for burned contacts. Looks like you can jump pins 1 & 3 of EWS connector and starter should engage. These diagrams are for an M52 up to 3/97.

Paul S
BMW CCA 69606
Attached Files
File Type: pdf EWS 1.pdf (635.1 KB, 248 views)
File Type: pdf EWS 2.pdf (584.2 KB, 165 views)
File Type: pdf EWS 3.pdf (604.7 KB, 164 views)
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  #22  
Old 03-31-2012, 10:22 PM
psgill psgill is offline
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would it possible to bypass ews and just install push button ingnition?
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  #23  
Old 04-01-2012, 09:55 AM
acoste acoste is offline
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EWS sends the ISN to DME all the time. As long as this function is working you will be fine bypassing the switch in the EWS. (I don't think this is your solution since mechanic couldn't communicate to the unit.)
New EWS has to be coded for the reason above.
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  #24  
Old 04-01-2012, 10:07 AM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psgill View Post
would it possible to bypass ews and just install push button ingnition?
Just do it!
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  #25  
Old 07-01-2015, 11:51 AM
smithpatrick smithpatrick is offline
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jumpered 1and 3 pin of ews II unit

After jumpering pins 1 and 3 of the ews2 unit.
result: starter spin fine but no start, dme not recieving feedback from ews2.
check starter, battery and key switch good.
Is my ews2 unit not recieving single from transmitter, in that case it is bad or is my transmitter not sending the key code? How do I know its working?
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