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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:05 PM
Bartosh Bartosh is offline
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Location: Trego, WI
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3
2005 X3 issues with starting. Possible cold temp related.

Just after purchasing our first BMW (during the hottest summer on record) we moved to Wisconsin from Oklahoma, where the BMW had originally been delivered and sold in Texas (this info makes sense later). As soon as the temp in Wisconsin dropped to freezing the X3 stopped starting. Lights in the dash would come on, headlights worked, radio would play, but the X3 wouldn't even crank. One hour later(and 10F warmer) it would start right up. Until one day no waiting fixed the issue and we had to have the vehicle towed to a local mechanic. The mechanic's receptionist had said they could service the vehicle and the only other option was 2hrs away. The mechanics shop didn't have the proper cables for the code reader(but did obtain some and resulted in no codes found), and wasn't able to trouble shoot the issue without assistance form the dealer that was the 2hr alternative. They ended up replacing the starter($400) after assuring us that it wasn't the key transponder. A month later the same issues started cropping back up. The car doesn't crank and all the electronics function, but a jump start works every time. My wife's dad suggested popping the cover off the battery and looking at the fluid level.... bone dry. By putting distilled water in the battery reservoirs the X3 was starting without any issues at all (temporary fix at best for a battery that was 5 years old). Sure enough we get stranded after stopping to shop in a nearby town and decide that a new battery is the only solution. My theory is that the low battery fluid level has decreased the ability of the battery to produce the amps needed start and the charge dissipates over a shorter amount of time (also affected by temp).

Now here's the technical problem - 2 miles down the the road (after battery change) and after a clean start, we stop long enough to eat and the car wont start, AGAIN. Before I continue let me go into more detail because I'm starting to think it may be a BMW Cold Start procedure I'm missing. Wife turns key straight to start - nothing. Wife repeats the same method and - nothing. I turn the key to position 2 wait for the warning lights to go out cycle the key and it starts.

This may be a bit long winded, but history of the issue(s) may help find the problem(s). My wife is at her wits end and we are 3 hours away from a certified dealer (that tried to rob us blind anyway). Any information and links to DIY fixes would be very appreciated. Even if this helps one person not have to go through these frustrating events it will be worth it.

Before I go, I'd like to thank the creators of this site and everyone that participates for the wealth of knowledge that helps poor schlubs like me not just scratch my head and fork over the wallet but understand and enjoy my BMW.
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2011, 09:44 PM
can0n4 can0n4 is offline
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Location: Upstate NY
 
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Mein Auto: '04 BMW X3, '04 330xi
New battery you said? Immediately that was my guess. Do you know what voltage you have while car is running? should be 14 volts

Last edited by can0n4; 12-31-2011 at 09:48 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2012, 10:42 AM
Espen Lysholm Espen Lysholm is offline
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Location: Norway
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 36
Mein Auto: 2012 BMW X3 2.0DA
Hi,

What kind of X3 are we talking about? Petrol or diesel?
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:41 AM
Bartosh Bartosh is offline
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Location: Trego, WI
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 2005 X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by can0n4 View Post
New battery you said? Immediately that was my guess. Do you know what voltage you have while car is running? should be 14 volts
The voltage from the altenator is good. The question is if this model year requires a special cold start proceedure or is there something else wrong. And to answer the next question, it is a petrol; but after the battery change and on cold starts it's as if I have to follow desiel start procedures. There are cold start procedures in the owners manual: press gas pedal half way down then start. It doesn't say anything about needing to wait until the electronics finish there initial tests in key position 2(like waiting on the glow plugs in a desiel).

Edit: The new battery is 770 CCA, 110 more than OEM.
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  #5  
Old 01-02-2012, 07:56 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Mein Auto: '06 X3
Espn, unfortunately we do not get the diesel X3 here in the north american market. Maybe someday soon -- since now they assemble ALL the diesel X3's right here, yet we are not allowed to have them thanks to the EPA and the omnipotent (and unaccountable) CARB.
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  #6  
Old 01-02-2012, 08:44 AM
Espen Lysholm Espen Lysholm is offline
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Location: Norway
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 36
Mein Auto: 2012 BMW X3 2.0DA
OK.

One thing we are used to in Norway are cold starts..... and I have never heard of a cold start procedure on petrol cars. I have a 2004 X3 2,5IA and have had a lot of other BMWs and the starting procedures are the same: Turn the key :-)


1. Is it the same problem if you use both keys? I assume you have a spare key. The key battery could be close to dead and interfere with the immobilizer. I think the key charges when its put in the ignition....???
2. I would have visited the dealer to check if there are any individual choiches that have been made in the car system that influence with the statring procedure.
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Last edited by Espen Lysholm; 01-02-2012 at 08:46 AM.
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  #7  
Old 01-02-2012, 10:30 AM
X3-terrestrial's Avatar
X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
Has any one ruled out the actual ignition switch?
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2012, 06:02 AM
MichiganApril MichiganApril is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 BMW x3 2.5
This is crazy--- there's a "cold start" procedure for x3's? You mean, "Cold"- meaning temperature outside right? Because on my 2004 x3, I haven't done anything like "hold the gas pedal down half way...."- or anything. All I do is turn the key and it turns over.
Are the x3's set to different "starting procedures" automatically? Like, let's say, people in Michigan will have BMW's that have the "cold start" procedures embedded in them already? and people in let's say Florida only have the "hot start"? procedure in them?
I'm confused
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2012, 10:50 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 X3 2.5i
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganApril View Post
--- there's a "cold start" procedure for x3's?
No, there is nothing different from any other vehicle.

The reference to holding the gas pedal down 1/2 way only applies if you are at high altitude AND the temp. is 5deg. F or less (according to by Owner's Manual).

However, it does mention that you should avoid repeated short attempts at starting or you will end up with unburned fuel that can damage the catalytic converter.

So all that is important is to hold the key for a good number of seconds to give it a decent chance to fire, but not hold it longer than 20 secs. at a time.

Releasing the key as soon as it does fire is important too, of course.

I think most owners find the engine fires easily within 2 or 3 secs. - assuming a well charged battery and everything else favourable.

Just occasionally, for no apparent reason, it does require a longer crank or even 2 tries.

Anecdotally, pausing the key turn briefly between position 2 and 3 might be a good idea to make sure that fuel priming has a chance to complete.
(But this is not mentioned in the Owner's Manual.)
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2012, 12:05 PM
Bartosh Bartosh is offline
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Location: Trego, WI
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Mein Auto: 2005 X3
X3-terrestrial-
I'm trying to get test procedures for the ignition switch, any links would be helpful. However, in my experience a switch (if that is all the "ignition switch" is.. no chips or sensors) electronically speaking will either be good or it will be bad. I'd be surprised to see a switch show this much intermittent failure without just completely failing by now.

Espen Lysholm-
Both keys have been used and both keys give the same results.

Update: Since implementing the cold start procedures, or rather my version of them - Key to position 2, Gas half way down, Wait 30 seconds, then start - We haven't had the issues of 5 to 10 attempts before ignition. And let me define attempts - Key straight to position 3, with no crank or roll over... electronics i.e; instrument cluster, locks, windows panoramic sunroof (which I found out will not operate with a bad/ low battery and the above have worked through out the course of troubleshooting this issue).

I have one more hypothesis on the mater. Could the wrong oil weight (having changed latitude from a much warmer climate to a much colder one) be bugging out the computer, because its too thick from the cold. It would explain why the cold start procedures seem to be working (more fuel to get things moving and/or more time for the computer errors to clear) I'll have to do more research on what weight oil they used in Oklahoma. It's just so odd that temperature is playing such a big part in the aggravation.
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