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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2011, 05:06 PM
junkdrawer junkdrawer is offline
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Location: nashville tn
 
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Mein Auto: 95 325i 97 528i
car wont crank when its cold outside battery ok. please help I am stumped

I have a 95 325i ews2 system
the 1st cold morning of the year and my car wont crank at all. the battery is fine. last year had the same problem most mornings and just drove my suv to work. later my keys both failed (transponder chips) so i got a new key and it seemed to be ok from then on. however the weather was warming up by then. I thought that I had fixed the problem by getting a new key.

when I turn the key nothing happens. no crank at all. no click at all on selenoid
lights are bright and radio works fine.
wont jump start.
starts fine everyday when i get home from work as long as the weather warms up a bit compared to morning temperature.

next:
I have the same problem today. I backed mt car out of the garage to do some cleaning. later i started it up and pulled into the garage. after a half hour or so i went to start it again and it was dead. full battery power yet no crank or click or nothing. the tempurature has been dropping steadily all day and its now 24 degrees. I took my heat gun and warmed up the ignition switch, the inside of the automatic shifter mechanism, the fuse box and a couple of the grounds I found in the engine compartment. I then swapped the main relay with another i had and no results. I know that temperature has everything to do with it. thats why i started heating things up to see who is the culprit. I had been waiting for a cold enough day to try this so i can finally discover the problem but i have had no luck warming components up.
does anyone have any other ideas as to what to try the heat on? I dont want to continue to guess at this if possible. it seems noone else on the forum has had this problem.

some guys made some suggestions on what to test as follows with results of tests:

Originally Posted by bmwdirtracer
+1; do Jim's tests. It could be a bad ground, could be a bad ignition switch. Do the tests, you're on the way to finding the culprit. If there's no power on the small wire (usually black and yellow) at the starter when you turn key to "start", check the black and yellow wire at the ignition switch with key in start. If there IS power on the small wire at the starter at key-crank, your problem is with main power, main ground, or the starter itself.


Quote:Originally Posted by thejlevie
The first thing I'd want to know would be if power is being applied to the starter solenoid when you turn the key to start when this condition occurs. If it is, I'd then want to know what the voltage is on the starter main power lug and from the starter body to chassis ground.

The first test establishes whether the problem at the starter or in the start circuit. The second test tells whether there is a problem with the primary power/ground connections. If those tests don't indicate a problem I'd replace the starter.

ok i tested the black and yellow wire at the starter switch . it had power in start position. i then checked the small wire at the starter in start position and it had no power. the main power into the starter was live as i accidentally hit the ground with it and it spun. therefore i know the starter isnt the culprit and the ignition switch isnt either right? I noticed the antenna ring around the keyhole had a couple of cracks in the housing. dont know if that will cause a problem with the ews2 system. what should i test next?

anyone had this problem?
any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2011, 06:02 PM
droptope36 droptope36 is offline
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Mein Auto: 328ic
sounds like you may have a alternator problem my abs light came on when my alternator was going bad
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2011, 06:09 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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first, i would ask how you had the battery checked. have you had the battery load tested or did you just read the volts??

the next things that could make a no crank condition are a faulty starter or ignition switch. i would check for power tot he starter. if no power when cranking then i would suspect an ignition switch. if power to the starter then i would suspect a faulty starter.


df
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:03 PM
junkdrawer junkdrawer is offline
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Location: nashville tn
 
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Mein Auto: 95 325i 97 528i
Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
first, i would ask how you had the battery checked. have you had the battery load tested or did you just read the volts??

the next things that could make a no crank condition are a faulty starter or ignition switch. i would check for power tot he starter. if no power when cranking then i would suspect an ignition switch. if power to the starter then i would suspect a faulty starter.


df
I have replaced the starter
i have tested the ignition switch it is sending power through the black and yelow wire when in the start position.
battery is good . the car wont even start when jump started. same symptoms.
there is not power reaching the starter even thought the starter switch is sending it.
this only happens when its cold so i can see why you would think battery but last winter when this happened i replaced the battery and the starter at the same time.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:12 PM
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ffej ffej is offline
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pull out the EWS-II module and open it up. There may be some sort of problem with the unit itself, a bad solder connection, whatever...
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2011, 11:55 PM
bbrownfd bbrownfd is offline
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Location: Arizona
 
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I am having same exact issue with my 1995 525i.. Worked fine in Arizona never had an issue. Just moved to Colorado and I get no click or anything and all my lights and everything work fine. Even bought new battery and no help. Only happens when below 40 degrees. When it warms up outside cranks up like a champ. Totally stumped. Did you ever figure out what was the problem with yours. I am desperate. This is my only vehicle due to divorce. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:51 AM
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CDirks CDirks is offline
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I think the battery is the culprit in these cases. Cold weather has a pretty large impact on how much voltage a battery can put out. And it could be that the jumper wires you used were too small to carry any voltage to your car. Size, in this case, does matter. If the jumper cables you are using or have used are too small, they won't let through enough voltage to get your car started.

Batteries are rated in CCA (Cold Cranking Amperes). So if you ever decide to get a new battery, look for one with a higher CCA level than you have now, as you obviously could use the extra dependability.

You could also try swapping batteries just to make sure that isn't the problem.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:11 PM
junkdrawer junkdrawer is offline
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Location: nashville tn
 
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Mein Auto: 95 325i 97 528i
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbrownfd View Post
I am having same exact issue with my 1995 525i.. Worked fine in Arizona never had an issue. Just moved to Colorado and I get no click or anything and all my lights and everything work fine. Even bought new battery and no help. Only happens when below 40 degrees. When it warms up outside cranks up like a champ. Totally stumped. Did you ever figure out what was the problem with yours. I am desperate. This is my only vehicle due to divorce. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
mine turned out to be a bad key. if you have a backup key try it . i had to order another key through the dealer and sure enough with the new key it fired right up.. they gave it to me under warranty as the key was only 6 months old. good luck.
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