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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:42 AM
acoste acoste is offline
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What could prevent the car from starting/cranking

Hi All,

I would like to collect the reasons for a scenario when the car doesn't start at all and there is no clicking sound from the solenoid.

Usually people recommend to check the battery voltage which should be really the first step.

/// obsolete part, I was wrong with this:
I also realized that the car won't start if the driver's seat is not occupied. So a broken seat switch or cable could also prevent the car from starting. Please confirm this phenomena, I hope this is not only my car's feature :-)
////

So I start a list here and will update with upcoming new ideas and experiences.

(contains updates thanks to Pshovest, Fudman, AlbertR and ozzM3 )

1. cars with manual transmission: clutch pedal has to be depressed, otherwise it won't crank. The clutch pedal switch can stick in released position and so it prevents starting the car.
2. battery voltage low
3. poor battery connections, check if both are tight enough, you also might check the power connections in the engine compartment
4. broken solenoid on the starter motor
5. failing ignition switch
6. broken relay to starter motor (where is that?)
7. broken transponder in the key
8. immobilizer controller issues in general


Thanks for any comments,
Akos

Last edited by acoste; 01-14-2012 at 09:34 AM. Reason: updates from AlbertR
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:11 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Bad CPS
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:38 AM
acoste acoste is offline
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Thanks, doru
Is there an easy way to rule it out? Like measurement on the connector of the CPS or shorting wires there.
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2012, 12:43 PM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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There is a driver's seat occupancy sensor?? No way. I have leaned into my car and started it without sitting down, I'm pretty sure.

Did you make sure the passenger ejection solenoid and rocket propulsion system was intact?

Are you actually experiencing a no-start or is this list just for kicks and giggles?

There are many, many causes of a no-start. What about no gas?

Bad CPS should throw a code that's stored in the OBD.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 01-13-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2012, 01:09 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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Hi Josh,

running out of gas won't prevent cranking. And this is what I was wondering if CPS could prevent cranking.
Here I'm trying to collect the reasons of having not even a click sound when turning the key.

And yes, I need feedback on the seat sensor because for me this trick worked every time I tried. Like more than 10 times. Maybe I will check this visually tomorrow.


What happens on my car is that once in every 50 starts it doesn't crank, no clicking sound or anything. This is what I try to solve.

Last edited by acoste; 01-13-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2012, 01:16 PM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acoste View Post
Hi Josh,

running out of gas won't prevent cranking. And this is what I was wondering if CPS could prevent cranking.
Here I'm trying to collect the reasons of having not even a click sound when turning the key.

And yes, I need feedback on the seat sensor because for me this worked every time I tried. Like more than 10 times.
I though you meant the engine not turning over. Which seat sensor are you referring to? Like its location? Maybe you can point it out here:



I don't understand this sentence:

"because for me this worked every time I tried. Like more than 10 times"

What worked every time you tried doing what?
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2012, 01:35 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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Sorry if I'm not clear.

"I have leaned into my car and started it without sitting down, I'm pretty sure."

I open the car, don't even touch the seat and the car doesn't crank when turning the key. Now I sit in and it starts up immediately. This trick worked for more than 10 times. I just went down and tried it again.
This is why I think it is about sensing the driver sitting in the car.

I also could not find any driver's seat occupancy sensor on the image you sent and I'm browsing the wiring diagram now.

My car has a manual transmission but I don't think that makes a difference in this question.

Last edited by acoste; 01-13-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2012, 01:52 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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You must have an early E39. E39's from 2000, and possibly earlier w/MT require clutch pedal to be depressed before they'll crank.
A bad Cam or Crankshaft PS will not preventing cranking.

Paul S
BMW CCA 69606

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoste View Post
........."I have leaned into my car and started it without sitting down, I'm pretty sure."

I open the car, don't even touch the seat and the car doesn't crank when turning the key. Now I sit in and it starts up immediately. This trick worked for more than 10 times. I just went down and tried it again.
This is why I think it is about sensing the driver sitting in the car.

I also could not find any driver's seat occupancy sensor on the image you sent and I'm browsing the wiring diagram now.

My car has a manual transmission but I don't think that makes a difference in this question.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2012, 01:57 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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It is a 10/1997 528i manual.
Thanks for the CPS info.
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2012, 02:23 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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WOW, what a mistake I did!
thanks Josh and pshovest!

it is the clutch pedal switch. Almost every time when I tried this seat sensor trick, I pushed the clutch pedal when I sit in without realizing it :-)

My clutch pedal switch was never perfect, it switches off the cruise control sometimes. This means it signals the clutch pedal depressed even if I don't touch the pedal.
So I often didn't have to press the clutch when starting the car because the switch stuck in "depressed" position. Since I had no experience on other E39s, I thought this is normal.

Last edited by acoste; 01-14-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2012, 02:30 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Before you start troubleshooting for "broken" parts, check your battery connections. The positive or ground cable at the battery may be not tight enough. Not loose, but not tight enough. It may be tight enough to allow accessories to light up like the radio but cannot provide sufficient current to start the car. Hence, no clicking or turning over.
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  #12  
Old 01-13-2012, 02:43 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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thanks Fudman, post updated!
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2012, 09:30 AM
acoste acoste is offline
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New causes found on this thread:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=518609

One is a failing ignition switch, and the other is the clutch pedal switch again on cars with manual transmission. The switch can stuck in both depressed and released position too. If it sticks in the released position, the car won't start even if the clutch pedal is depressed.

Thanks to AlbertR and ozzM3
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2012, 09:56 AM
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redbull713 redbull713 is offline
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My 1997 540i seems to have no clutch switch. I can start it without touching the clutch even in gear! Is this normal or is my switch stuck in the depressed(closed-circuit) position?
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2012, 05:38 PM
acoste acoste is offline
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I took out the clutch switch to clean the contacts.
Big surprise is that there is a separate switch for the cruise control and for the start lock, see picture.

The clutch switch for the cruise control (2 Pol) (61 31 8 360 421) contains real contacts so it is possible to clean.

The clutch switch for the start lock (61 31 8 363 710) has a magnet with magnetic sensor in it, which controls a BSP350 FET switch, so there is no reason to take it apart. The switch can mechanically stick, but you can solve that without taking it apart.

Part numbers are valid for my car, but many other cars contain the same.
To remove the switch from the car pull the red piece out, so the hooks can dip in enough.

redbull713, you should also have the clutch switch for start lock according to the database. If you are able to start without clutch press, then it might stuck or it's circuit is broken.
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Last edited by acoste; 01-15-2012 at 12:06 AM.
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