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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 09-15-2010, 01:38 AM
killabill killabill is offline
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Location: UK
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: E46 318i Saloon
BMW 318i Saloon (2003) won't start all of a sudden

Hi Everyone,

Apologies for making my first post about a problem I'm experiencing! I am new to BMW's and bought an 2003 E46 318i saloon 5 months ago and it is in excellent condition and had only done 52k miles when I bought it (it's on 56k now). I've never had any problems with it but this morning (on my way to work!) when I tried to fire it up, the car wouldn't start.

The dials as well as some of the lights on the dash start to flicker and the warning light which has the driver sitting with a big circle in front of it (to the right of the seat-belt light) is on but all other lights then turn off and remain off and I'm subsequently unable to use the wipers etc. I then cannot turn the key to the final stage and the car won't start. It makes a beep noise and then I can hear something slowly ticking away. The petrol dial didn't move either and I originally thought it might be that the car doesn't have enough petrol but the dash initially said that the tank still had around 60 miles left. The remote locking also doesn't work now and I've tried using the spare key but to no avail.

This happened this morning (Wednesday) and the last time I drove the car was Sunday early evening. I've noticed ever since I bought the car that the rear interior light always remains on and I also thought maybe this had something to do with it, but then again if this was the problem, then it should've had an effect sooner rather than now.

I'm wondering whether this is a straight battery problem or could it be something to do with fuel filters/pumps which I've also read on here? I had the AC on before I switched the car off on Sunday and read a post about the battery possibly draining because of this on e46 models made in 2003.

I will try jump starting it later and see what happens then but if anyone has any initial thoughts, I would appreciate it if you could please help diagnose where the problem may lie or guide me as to what I should be looking for.

EDIT: I've tried taking a reading of the battery through the in-built facility by pressing and holding the trip reset button etc and that gave me a reading of _ _ _065 (whatever that means). I tried to turn the car on from here to give me a reading for the alternator but the car still doesn't start. Still not had a go at jump starting it yet as I'm fearful of messing up the ECU or something.

Thanks for your help

Bill

PS: Only discovered this site today and have to say that you've done an immense job in collating a wealth of information regarding the E46 which is particularly helpful for newcomers like myself. The Wiki page is excellent!

Last edited by killabill; 09-15-2010 at 11:50 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2010, 01:01 AM
Sp00k Sp00k is offline
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Location: Moldova
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 36
Mein Auto: BMW E46 316i '01
Quote:
Originally Posted by killabill View Post
Hi Everyone,

Apologies for making my first post about a problem I'm experiencing! I am new to BMW's and bought an 2003 E46 318i saloon 5 months ago and it is in excellent condition and had only done 52k miles when I bought it (it's on 56k now). I've never had any problems with it but this morning (on my way to work!) when I tried to fire it up, the car wouldn't start.

The dials as well as some of the lights on the dash start to flicker and the warning light which has the driver sitting with a big circle in front of it (to the right of the seat-belt light) is on but all other lights then turn off and remain off and I'm subsequently unable to use the wipers etc. I then cannot turn the key to the final stage and the car won't start. It makes a beep noise and then I can hear something slowly ticking away. The petrol dial didn't move either and I originally thought it might be that the car doesn't have enough petrol but the dash initially said that the tank still had around 60 miles left. The remote locking also doesn't work now and I've tried using the spare key but to no avail.

This happened this morning (Wednesday) and the last time I drove the car was Sunday early evening. I've noticed ever since I bought the car that the rear interior light always remains on and I also thought maybe this had something to do with it, but then again if this was the problem, then it should've had an effect sooner rather than now.

I'm wondering whether this is a straight battery problem or could it be something to do with fuel filters/pumps which I've also read on here? I had the AC on before I switched the car off on Sunday and read a post about the battery possibly draining because of this on e46 models made in 2003.

I will try jump starting it later and see what happens then but if anyone has any initial thoughts, I would appreciate it if you could please help diagnose where the problem may lie or guide me as to what I should be looking for.

EDIT: I've tried taking a reading of the battery through the in-built facility by pressing and holding the trip reset button etc and that gave me a reading of _ _ _065 (whatever that means). I tried to turn the car on from here to give me a reading for the alternator but the car still doesn't start. Still not had a go at jump starting it yet as I'm fearful of messing up the ECU or something.

Thanks for your help

Bill

PS: Only discovered this site today and have to say that you've done an immense job in collating a wealth of information regarding the E46 which is particularly helpful for newcomers like myself. The Wiki page is excellent!
You might think about trying with another battery, or jump start, read the internet how, it's safe, i've done on mine when i thought my battery was dead. (turned out the fuel pump was dead).

BTW your simptoms sound like mine, try a new battery, if you hear that the starter turning and no start whatsoever, it means a problem with the fuel supply, try inspecting the fuel pump (under tha back seat, which you will have to takeout to change/inspect the pump, or maybe try underneath the car).
The bubble infront of the driver (sign) is the Airbag system, if it stays one, someone tampered with the system, or had spilled a serious amount of liquid on the passenger seat (because it has an occupacy sensor, very sensibile to liquid intereference). if all the dials and lights are flickering and you hear a clicking noise, means (well meant in my case) the battery is seriously dead...
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2010, 02:01 AM
killabill killabill is offline
Registered User
Location: UK
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: E46 318i Saloon
Many thanks for your response. I jump started it last night and all seems well now. I drove it around and also went to fill the tank with more petrol but I will try and start it again this morning and see if I get any problems.

My dad noticed that one of the rear interior lights (manual one that you can press) was on and we're wondering whether someone pressed this and it was on all that time!

If the car is alright now, do you think I should still look to replace the battery? I guess I can take it to a local car part supplier who can test the battery and confirm whether this is the case. I'm not sure when the battery was last replaced.
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