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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:16 PM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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2004 X3 won't start

Howdy,

Looks like this has happened a few times today. My X3 won't start, symptoms as follows:
  • A few days ago, tried to start it up. turned over, almost fired, then died
  • Motor turns over fine and seems to be firing on one cylinder or maybe 2
  • No code whatsoever via OBD, computer thinks the car is fine.
Battery is sufficiently charged, and there's no other symptoms of a weak battery. Just turns over and over, never quite firing well enough to start. Plugged fuel filter? Some other non-code problem?

Nothing like this has happened previously, always started right up as expected. Car has 90000 miles.

Thanks!!

Last edited by wbrproductions; 10-20-2011 at 06:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:19 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
Howdy,

Looks like this has happened a few times today. My X3 won't start, symptoms as follows:
  • A few days ago, tried to start it up. turned over, almost fired, then died
  • Motor turns over fine and seems to be firing on one cylinder or maybe 2
  • No code whatsoever via OBD, computer thinks the car is fine.
Battery is sufficiently charged, and there's no other symptoms of a weak battery. Just turns over and over, never quite firing well enough to start. Plugged fuel filter? Some other non-code problem?

Nothing like this has happened previously, always started right up as expected. Car has 90000 miles.

Thanks!!
If it is the original battery it probably IS the battery. Even with a good meter they can fool you.
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  #3  
Old 10-20-2011, 09:55 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
.... seems to be firing on one cylinder or maybe 2
I wouldn't suspect a clogged fuel filter (or fuel pump problem) unless the tank has been run to empty a few times.

If the starter is turning the motor over that energetically for repeated attempts, while agreeing that BMW batteries can fool you, I'd be looking at other things.

It does sound like a spark or mixture problem - could be too much air from a cracked intake boot (common issue at your mileage).

Less likely - time for new spark plugs?
Or, check that Bremi coil packs (if factory fitted) were replaced with Bosch ones under a voluntary recall notice for 2004's.
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  #4  
Old 10-21-2011, 08:40 AM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Supercourse -- thanks much. I've got new plugs ready to install, and will take a close look at the intake boot while doing that.

That would explain the motor suddenly dying in mid-start. Had the same thing happen on my BMW motorcycle, actually... Really appreciate the thoughtful reply.

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  #5  
Old 10-23-2011, 10:37 AM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Follow up on this. I've completed the removal and inspection of the intake boot. It's intact and doesn't look like it's leaking, but I'm going to replace it anyway given its age and the low cost vs. replacement time. However, based on the thread linked below, I believe my DISA has failed. The flap shown in the picture spins freely with no resistance:



I'm assuming replacing this is the next step, can anyone confirm this?

DISA thread: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=566433

Thanks!

Last edited by wbrproductions; 11-13-2011 at 11:55 AM. Reason: image link broken
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  #6  
Old 10-23-2011, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
Howdy,

Looks like this has happened a few times today. My X3 won't start, symptoms as follows:
  • A few days ago, tried to start it up. turned over, almost fired, then died
  • Motor turns over fine and seems to be firing on one cylinder or maybe 2
  • No code whatsoever via OBD, computer thinks the car is fine.
Battery is sufficiently charged, and there's no other symptoms of a weak battery. Just turns over and over, never quite firing well enough to start. Plugged fuel filter? Some other non-code problem?

Nothing like this has happened previously, always started right up as expected. Car has 90000 miles.

Thanks!!
Disconnect the battery, let it site without power for a few hours, reconnect and see if it starts. This may sound odd, but I had a similar issue with my X3 and this did the trick.
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  #7  
Old 10-26-2011, 08:55 AM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Supercourse -- apologies if this is covered elsewhere. How do I eyeball the coil packs? I have no idea where they're located.

Thanks again.
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2011, 09:09 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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You have to take a big plastic cover off the top of the engine on the passenger side.

You don't see much at all until that is removed - I think the purpose is aerodynamics or just to make the engine area look nice.

Or so that the flat-rate table for auto shops can add a bit of time to spark plug replacement?

Does anyone know for sure - and which auto maker was the first to do it?

For some reason they all followed suit.

A coil pack sits on top of each plug, and replaces what us old timers grew up with - a single ignition coil feeding a distributor with individual HT ignition wires going to each spark plug.

No questioning the merits of that automotive advance, except a failed coil pack might be more serious (and costly) than a degraded ignition wire.

(But minimizes radio interference as a bonus.)
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  #9  
Old 10-27-2011, 07:01 AM
projects projects is offline
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DISA won't lead no start, ur car can run without it.

check my post http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=577634 see if there's any help
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2011, 12:57 PM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Well I've repaired the DISA, removed and checked the intake boot (looks like it's already been replaced once), cleaned the ICV, replaced the plugs, replaced the battery (was in need of replacement) and reinstalled everything. Same problem still present -- engine turns over and sort of starts, but does run properly and dies. Still no code displayed in my reader.

Projects, is there any way I can confirm that the Vanos is causing this problem, w/o tearing apart that part of the engine?

Thanks,
wbrproductions
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  #11  
Old 10-30-2011, 02:25 PM
projects projects is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
Projects, is there any way I can confirm that the Vanos is causing this problem, w/o tearing apart that part of the engine?
wbrproductions
there're 3 ways to check if vanos got problem.

1.use BMW DIS, it can activate vanos, but result might not right, because you have no enough oil pressure as car can only crank but no start.

2.check compression, if the compression check gave u stupid number, it may. if u use BMW DIS disable vanos, and check the compression, the numbers are same, the for sure timing got problem.

3.find a banjo fitting to vanos oil port, blow high pressure air to vanos, while use battery power to activate intake and/or exhaust solenoid. it'll free the vanos anyway. if it works, you can hear the cam shift sound(open the valve cover can let u easy tell if it works). related video u can find on youtube by searching bmw double vanos. banjo fitting u can buy from ebay or anywhile u can find, I just made one from old broken hoses.

For clean up head, u can either open the valve cover(need change valve cover gasket which is cheap and easy to do), clean it phsycally; Or use any engine flush product on the market after u can start engine and right before change oil.

Good luck.

Last edited by projects; 10-30-2011 at 05:01 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-30-2011, 10:08 PM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Projects -- thank you, will work through the steps you posted. Much appreciated.
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2011, 03:51 AM
UberXY UberXY is offline
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Given all you have done so far, at this point I would R&R the injectors to check them for water.
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  #14  
Old 11-03-2011, 01:28 PM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projects View Post
there're 3 ways to check if vanos got problem.

1.use BMW DIS, it can activate vanos, but result might not right, because you have no enough oil pressure as car can only crank but no start.

2.check compression, if the compression check gave u stupid number, it may. if u use BMW DIS disable vanos, and check the compression, the numbers are same, the for sure timing got problem.

3.find a banjo fitting to vanos oil port, blow high pressure air to vanos, while use battery power to activate intake and/or exhaust solenoid. it'll free the vanos anyway. if it works, you can hear the cam shift sound(open the valve cover can let u easy tell if it works). related video u can find on youtube by searching bmw double vanos. banjo fitting u can buy from ebay or anywhile u can find, I just made one from old broken hoses.

For clean up head, u can either open the valve cover(need change valve cover gasket which is cheap and easy to do), clean it phsycally; Or use any engine flush product on the market after u can start engine and right before change oil.

Good luck.
Projects, I did the compression check and confirmed the weird results: all were between 60 and 120 psi, which I assume is way to low. Is this the fitting I need to unhook then blow air into (pic below)? So I need to rig up a banjo fitting to an air hose to get some good air pressure in there, correct?



Thanks!

Last edited by wbrproductions; 11-13-2011 at 11:38 AM.
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  #15  
Old 11-03-2011, 04:50 PM
Wobbles Wobbles is offline
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Fuel pump.
Press the center of the schrader valve on fuel rail while someone cranks the car.
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  #16  
Old 11-03-2011, 06:06 PM
projects projects is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
Projects, I did the compression check and confirmed the weird results: all were between 60 and 120 psi, which I assume is way to low. Is this the fitting I need to unhook then blow air into (pic below)? So I need to rig up a banjo fitting to an air hose to get some good air pressure in there, correct?



Thanks!
couldn't see the pics. don't know what other tests u've done. For your result, i'm 90% suspect vanos seized. decent compression should be >150psi while vanos disabled.

for blow pressure air into vanos, you'll need some thing like this: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/BMW-Vanos-Tes...item19bfcce50b or like this http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/20...showimage.html

I made one from old banjo fitting without spend a penny. while blow air into vanos, u'll need activate soleniod intermitent by using jump wire to battery power, do intake side first, then exaust side. after u done this job then try to start engine, it may not start due to too much fuel in cylinder, try keep crank about 10 second.

For fuel system check, if before and after change spark plugs, they were wet, then, either pump or injector was working. leave plugs out for a night will help for better start. your fuel system should be about 50psi, you can use fuel pressue guage test it or just press the schrader valve(fuel system service valve), if fuel shot out, then fuel pump will be ok. u don't need crank, just key on engine off.

you may need check spark as well. but anyway, you can just tried to free vanos first.

Last edited by projects; 11-03-2011 at 06:14 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-12-2011, 05:23 PM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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OK, after some screwing around at the junkyard, I've manufactured the tool in the pic below. Projects, just want to verify that I shouldn't go above 30 PSI, and I need to engage both the intake and exhaust solenoids on and off a few times with the air connected. I'm assuming there's polarity to the solenoid connectors as well?

Thanks again.


Last edited by wbrproductions; 11-13-2011 at 11:32 AM. Reason: photo links broken
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  #18  
Old 11-13-2011, 06:27 AM
projects projects is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
OK, after some screwing around at the junkyard, I've manufactured the tool in the pix below.
u have to fix your pix permission. nobody can see those pix, but u.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
Projects, just want to verify that I shouldn't go above 30 PSI, .
30 PSI is only oil pressure to vanos, to free vanos, u might need let pressure go up to 100-125PSI, just don't stay too long. hook up a air open/close valve, get a friend, one of each activate solenoid and air pressure, u can do these your own, but need setup right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
and I need to engage both the intake and exhaust solenoids on and off a few times with the air connected.
yes, but u don't need do intake and exhaust same time. one of each time will be more controllable,

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrproductions View Post
I'm assuming there's polarity to the solenoid connectors as well?
yes there is polarity of solenoid. check the diagram if u can or just check the wire color, u'll know, brown will be ground. but it's not that important, it just a solenoid, if one side doesn't work, go the another.

Good luck and u r on ur own now.
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2011, 11:12 AM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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Apologies, pictures should be viewable now after moving them to flickr...

Projects - Thanks again.

Last edited by wbrproductions; 11-13-2011 at 11:56 AM.
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  #20  
Old 11-20-2011, 10:23 PM
wbrproductions wbrproductions is offline
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OK, after following the steps that projects outlined, I was able to start the car today. Had to use a bit of starting fluid to get it going the first time, but it started relatively quickly after that and seems to restart w/o problem now. Will try again tomorrow on a cold morning to verify.

If anyone else encounters this problem and wants to borrow the weird-ass but functional vanos air-tool I built, PM me and I'll mail it to you @ postage cost.

Thanks to all in this thread for their suggestions, they all helped.
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  #21  
Old 01-05-2012, 08:48 PM
brodyjones1 brodyjones1 is offline
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I have same problem. What is a vanos? what should i do?

2004 x3 2.5L 110k wants to start but stalls. if i press gas it won't turn, too rich. I did run gas down to bottom of tank. I'm bieng told I need new DME/ Computer. Codes 29B5, 28B2, 27A1, and 2796 so i'm told. My problem is a lack of trust as the mechanic only stands to make 100. dollars in labor and the part is 1500. then why is he calling me once a week for the job?
If someone can tell me what to do before i let them change my computer , i'd appreciate it.
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  #22  
Old 01-05-2012, 10:03 PM
projects projects is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brodyjones1 View Post
2004 x3 2.5L 110k wants to start but stalls. if i press gas it won't turn, too rich. I did run gas down to bottom of tank. I'm bieng told I need new DME/ Computer. Codes 29B5, 28B2, 27A1, and 2796 so i'm told. My problem is a lack of trust as the mechanic only stands to make 100. dollars in labor and the part is 1500. then why is he calling me once a week for the job?
If someone can tell me what to do before i let them change my computer , i'd appreciate it.
Sounds like DME internal RAM problem to me, but with out a detail test, it's only a guess.

Also a really bad EGR valve may also make such problem.

good luck
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  #23  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:03 AM
kmom kmom is offline
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to wbrproductions on "wont start"

I was wondering if you ever figured out what the problem is. My car doesn't start right either. If I put gas in the car, it'll start right up. I'll drive somewhere, get out...get back in ten minutes later, turn the key and it won't start. two or three more times, then it starts. but the next time i try to start it, it starts right up. there is no rhym or reason. I've had it checked out by BMW of SA and their machines show no indication there is anything wrong. they show no codes. A BMW/MINI mechanic is a friend. He's checked it out. He cannot figure out what's wrong with my car.

It's CRAZY!

Last edited by kmom; 11-19-2012 at 08:04 AM. Reason: forgot to say something pertinent
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  #24  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:05 AM
kmom kmom is offline
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Also, my injector coils keep burning out. I've replaced them a few times. i wonder if this is related?..and when my car has a hard time starting, white smoke comes out of the back exhaust and smells like gasoline.

Can someone out there help me please
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:07 AM
kmom kmom is offline
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Hi. I was wondering if you ever figured out the problem with your car and if you did, what was it? I have the same problem.
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