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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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Old 10-28-2015, 04:54 PM
SKRyan18 SKRyan18 is offline
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Location: Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 525i
Question New to BMWs

Hello all.

I had noticed a BMW sitting in the back of my workplace's parking lot for about 3 years. I was told the owner left it there when he was sent to work at another site. I finally decided to try and track him down and see if he was interested in selling. I was able to purchase the car and just received the key and title earlier this week.

I have not been able to start the car, but can't find any obvious reason why. I was expecting some issues as it has set for so long, but to my knowledge it was running before. The battery in it was, of course, quite dead. I replaced the battery and everything seems to be working except that it will not crank. The windshield wipers, radio, power windows, blinkers, and lights are all working.

I worry most that I am having problems with the keyless entry system. All I was given was a key with a button that when push causes the key to emit a light.

When I try to start the car and push the key from the 'run' position to the 'start position' nothing happens, but then I can not turn the key from 'run' back to 'start' again without going all the way back to whatever the position is called when you have power to the radio and interior stuff but not the engine.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I need to try first. Also, any ideas on other things that I should immediately do since the car has been sitting for so long. Thanks.

Type 525I (USA)
Dev. series E34 ()
Line 5
Body type LIM
Steering LL
Door count 4
Engine M50
Cubical capacity 2.50
Power 141
Transmision HECK
Gearbox AUT

Last edited by SKRyan18; 10-28-2015 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 10-29-2015, 06:51 AM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Location: Jersey City NJ
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 10
Mein Auto: 1995 540i
I am new to the e34 myself. But one thing I have learned is to run a good step by step logical diagnostic to get to the root of the problem. You need to give us a bit more information about the no start. Does the engine crank at all?
I agree that the symptoms as described point to the EWS system but as you don't give the month/year of production I cant say if its an EWS 1 or 2.
Have you gone thru syncing the key to the car again? do the keys open the doors, arm the alarms? if so, EWS is probably working and there is a problem elsewhere. but even saying that might be going too far.
as for a sitting car, a change of fluids and a careful review of all the rubber including hoses and tires is called for. If the car was sitting out in the open for 3 years, chances are the tires are dry rotted and that is a recipe for high speed ugliness.
Welcome to the forum. Congrads on your new car! I am having a blast fixing and running mine.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:53 AM
SKRyan18 SKRyan18 is offline
Registered User
Location: Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 525i
The engine does not crank. When I said nothing happens I mean nothing. Everything electronic seems to work. I have checked all of the fuses that I can find, including what I believe to bet the fusible link next to the battery. I have not managed to check the starter itself yet or the start relay or solenoid. If someone could help me find the start relay I would like to check that next. Thanks.
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:03 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is online now
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Location: Denver, CO
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,420
Mein Auto: E34 540i
Have a look around this (E34 ETM), can't hurt to be more acquainted with the electrical system.

Notes: 1240.0-00, 1240.0-01, 1240.0-02 (pages 133, 134, 135) Those are specifically related to the starter circuit)

The locked out "Key 2" position after one attempt to start is normal. It's feature aimed at keeping restarts while running from happening.

Notice, anything from a fuse to the gear selector can get in the way of the starter. There is also an immobilization relay, and the ignition switch itself to consider. That's if you know the starter is functional. I had an old ride of mine that I replaced a starter in only to find out the switch that the clutch pedal attached to was not working, so it kept it from starting as it thought it was sitting in gear.

If it never started, and has truly sat for 3 years, you really might want to be sure the engine itself isn't frozen. I believe it should be a 22mm socket and a breaker bar/torque wrench (1/2" drive or larger) and it should move somewhat freely. Obviously aside from compression resistance. You at least put new oil and a filter in it already right? Better to do that while you know majority has settled to the bottom anyhow. Hell, may as well pull the plugs and make it easy on yourself just getting the crankshaft to make a revolution. If I were you, I'd even pull the fuel supply line to the engine, splice some hose too it and a 5-gal bucket or something, hotwire the fuel pump relay socket, and pump as much of that old fuel out as possible. Put only a couple gallons fresh in to make it easy on yourself. I know this is getting the cart a wee bit ahead of the horse, but better to have it properly in place after sitting that long before trying to fire it up IMO.

Please only move on if you've handled the previous paragraph... You could turn a situation where the engine just needed some TLC to get going to sheared off teeth on the starter, flywheel, or both. Ask me how I know.

The starter can be hot-wired with a ~12-14 gauge wire from the power block (is there one on this car's firewall?) or battery right to the, I expect, "S" terminal on the starter. Or by shorting the big battery connection to the starter and the "S" terminal. Which is also where you would check for the 12v when the ignition is attempted. Work your way back to the failure point from there if the 12v is never applied.

We had another member or two here recently with starting problems, and I hope it isn't some epidemic.
1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red


My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

OBC4 Hidden Functions : Link

Last edited by TheEinstein; 10-29-2015 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Didn't finish thought...
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