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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:00 PM
E34_Drifter E34_Drifter is offline
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Mein Auto: 1991 525i, 2009 Titan
1991 525i...

Heey guys, I just bought a 91 525i automatic for $600. I wasnt looking to buy a car but I had seen it just sitting there down from my sons school. The story behind the car is an elderly lady was driving it down the interstate when she started to have a heart attack. She pulled over to the side of the road and left the car. She is now in an assisted living home and I bought the car from the city . It had been sitting for about nine months before I bought it so it will not start. I was wondering how easy a tranny swap would be and what would should be the first things I should look for? the motor has about 240k miles on it. Thanks guys.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:14 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Why are you considering a tranny swop ?

The first thing you should do is to download the E34 bentley manual and begin reading it, especially the troubleshooting summaries at the end of each chapter. The second thing you should do is to read the maintenance thread at the top of these forums.

These two activities will take you the better part of a day.

Then please get back here and we'll be able to take you through the details.

In short, no start issues could be many things. Is it a no start or a no crank issue ? No starts usually mean bad crankshaft sensors, bad fuel pump and bad fuel pump relay an/or fuse. It could also be a bad dme (ecu), although that's very unlikely. A no crank issue could be bad ews immobiliser system (does not apply to your ride), a flat battery (very likely here), a bad fusible link, loose battery connections, or a bad starter (this is very unlikely).

More than one problem can be at work at one time. However, that is not common, but is something to bear in mind.

Since the car has been sitting for 9 months, there's a chance that the gas in the tank has separated out into its various component fractions. When this happens, combustion generally fails in the car, particularly when it is cold. The way to fix this is to inject starter fluid into the air box (carb cleaner spray can be used in place of starter fluid), lots of it, give it a few minutes to vapourise and then crank the engine, holding the throttle open to max, until it fires up. If it starts, and then subsequently dies, repeat the same procedure but with the air filter out and more starting fluid. Let the engine run and keep assisting it as necessary until it reaches operating temperature. Let it idle for 10 minutes after that, then shut it down, do the stomp test (maintenance thread and youtube has the details), record all the existing error codes, delete all the error codes (and if the stomp test does not work then unclamp the ecu for a few minutes to delete the codes), then restart the car, let it idle for a few minutes, rev for a bit, and if there's smoke coming out the tailpipe, hold at 5krpm for 10 seconds at a time for a total of 30 seconds (only do this when the engine is hot), this clears crap from the engine, then drive the car out to the nearest gas station and fill it with premium.

You may have bought this car for $600 but its a bmw so its not afraid of being revved at idle.

Before you do all of this, check to see if you have sufficient engine oil and coolant.

After the fillup, you can replace the air filter (especially if its a short drive to the gas station and if you're only in the city), or replace the air filter before you take it out of the lot, after the engine has been warmed up good.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-11-2012 at 10:39 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:39 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Considering that you got a good car for next to nothing......you might benefit by paying a mechanic to come down to the lot with you and help you out. Her instincts would be far better and a fair amount of voodo may be involved in getting around a no-start issue if it proves tenacious, and a quick check on important things like the water pump, fan clutch, thermostat, and a test drive, can be done. You can probably turn around and sell this for $1500 to maybe $2000 as well particularly if you have spruced it up and done all of the anticipatory repairs that you should.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-11-2012 at 10:47 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:15 AM
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Monsignor Monsignor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E34_Drifter View Post
Heey guys, I just bought a 91 525i automatic for $600. I wasnt looking to buy a car but I had seen it just sitting there down from my sons school. The story behind the car is an elderly lady was driving it down the interstate when she started to have a heart attack. She pulled over to the side of the road and left the car. She is now in an assisted living home and I bought the car from the city . It had been sitting for about nine months before I bought it so it will not start. I was wondering how easy a tranny swap would be and what would should be the first things I should look for? the motor has about 240k miles on it. Thanks guys.
I'd tackle the no-start before the manual swap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertobaggio20 View Post
No starts usually mean bad crankshaft sensors, bad fuel pump and bad fuel pump relay an/or fuse. Battery
^This is correct. I had a no-start a little while back after it sat for a long time. Replaced the battery and it fired over for a couple seconds and died. My fuel pump relay went. So it needed the juice to find the bad relay, then it worked well.

I disagree with the drowning it in starter fluid and trying to firre it over. You'd just be trying to run the car on the starter fluid, which helps nothing.

The manual swap can be done, and alot of members have done it. Its not very simple and you should be mechanically inclined and have alot of time and patience to spend with it.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:37 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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How would he get the car out of the lot without starter fluid, if the problem is the denatured fuel in the tank ? My starter fluid idea was specific to this situation i.e. there's nothing else wrong with the car except bad gas. My premise is that the bad fuel would run if the engine was hot and not cold, and starter fluid can get you to the point where the engine is hot.

Would he have to drain what's in there and put in new fuel ? I am naturally assuming that the fuel tank might be full. Of course, it could be half full or less, in which case all that would be needed would be a few trips to the gas station for good fuel...but I would still go with starter fluid as its more fun.

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-12-2012 at 07:43 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2012, 08:54 AM
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Monsignor Monsignor is offline
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Originally Posted by robertobaggio20 View Post
My starter fluid idea was specific to this situation i.e. there's nothing else wrong with the car except bad gas.
We dont know that that is all that is wrong with the car.

he would essentially be trying to run it off of starter fluid. That doesnt do anything other than get it to fire maybe 3 cylinders before it dies again. as far as moving it, do what everybody with a dead car does, tow it. you only paid $600 for a car that will run with very minor fixes, use the money you saved to get it home. think of it as a destination fee.

Depending on how much gas is in it, we can determine what to do with it. 9mo doesnt necessarily mean thats its 100% positive bad. It can be drained, and then filled with a few gallons to get it to the gas station.
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2012, 09:04 AM
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luckydog luckydog is offline
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The ,mid 91 and after cars are very nice Included the updated filtered climate controls, the self code check or stomp test. The trademark aggressive sleek 90s 5 series look .The pre" Vanos timing" engines offered a quick ,economical driving experience similer to a two stroke motorcycle in shifting .I never re-greted saving a BMW as they have provided many years of fun quality service. You have to still be realistic about your goals and long term expectations on any car . How i saved a few BMWs is identify the fatigued areas and replace with inexpensive after market Parts.Research This site ,its all you need. Some no start reasons i have had have in my life are - fuel pump failure, fuel filter clog, flooded pistons, Dead batteries and dislodged air hoses , and the rare clogged injectors on a car that sat for years. They are fun and easy to repair using quality time the Bentleys manual for your year BMW and some metric tools.I would invest 600 and tune it up. Pics below -Wht late 91 525i...... Blk early 93, 525i
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Last edited by luckydog; 11-12-2012 at 06:56 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2012, 10:54 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
We dont know that that is all that is wrong with the car.

he would essentially be trying to run it off of starter fluid. That doesnt do anything other than get it to fire maybe 3 cylinders before it dies again. as far as moving it, do what everybody with a dead car does, tow it. you only paid $600 for a car that will run with very minor fixes, use the money you saved to get it home. think of it as a destination fee.

Depending on how much gas is in it, we can determine what to do with it. 9mo doesnt necessarily mean thats its 100% positive bad. It can be drained, and then filled with a few gallons to get it to the gas station.
ok i hear you. But please conceptualise this with me for a sec. Lets say we have a car with denatured fuel and nothing else that's wrong with it. Lets say all the tow trucks are on strike and no one will sell you fuel in a can coz they heard you got an E34 cheap and they are understandably jealous. All you've got is a can of stp carburetor cleaner ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carb-Spray-C.../dp/B004PZP62S ) or starter fluid. Would the method I suggest above work ?

Basically, I'd like to know if denatured fuel would combust better in a hot engine than in a cold one.

I've tried running my car on carb cleaner sprayed into the intake at idle as an experiment. I yanked the fp fuse, started the engine and let it die naturally and cranked for 10 seconds afterwards to purge the rail of fuel. Then I sprayed carb cleaner into the air filter box and restarted the engine with no problems. A good 10 second blast will last for at least 2-3 minutes idling time. An entire can can probably last for 10-15 minutes, which is enough time for you to bring the engine to operating temperature. We know denatured fuel will probably not start the car, and of course the engine is cold at that time. Would it however work if the engine is hot ? Would it work in tandem with carb cleaner ?
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertobaggio20 View Post
ok i hear you. But please conceptualise this with me for a sec. Lets say we have a car with denatured fuel and nothing else that's wrong with it. Lets say all the tow trucks are on strike and no one will sell you fuel in a can coz they heard you got an E34 cheap and they are understandably jealous. All you've got is a can of stp carburetor cleaner ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carb-Spray-C.../dp/B004PZP62S ) or starter fluid. Would the method I suggest above work ?

Basically, I'd like to know if denatured fuel would combust better in a hot engine than in a cold one.

I've tried running my car on carb cleaner sprayed into the intake at idle as an experiment. I yanked the fp fuse, started the engine and let it die naturally and cranked for 10 seconds afterwards to purge the rail of fuel. Then I sprayed carb cleaner into the air filter box and restarted the engine with no problems. A good 10 second blast will last for at least 2-3 minutes idling time. An entire can can probably last for 10-15 minutes, which is enough time for you to bring the engine to operating temperature. We know denatured fuel will probably not start the car, and of course the engine is cold at that time. Would it however work if the engine is hot ? Would it work in tandem with carb cleaner ?
Good thing tow trucks arent on strike, you can buy gas in portable cans, and the fuel is not postively broken down. Whether or not the car "runs" on starter fluid or carb cleaner, it is not meant to be used as a fuel source; nor is the engine meant to "run" using such. As an enthusiast I wouldn't subject my motor to this type of torture test. OP should try to diagnose why the car wont start first.
  • See if car has power, try to jump, or charge the battery (sometimes the batteries are far enough gone that they just need to be replaced)
  • Turn the key, see if you can hear the Fuel Pump priming, it would be a whirring sound in the trunk under the carper on the right side looking into the trunk of the car.
  • if you can, try to fire the car.
  • If it doesnt crank, tow it home to fix and replace parts in the comfort of your own garage/driveway
  • next step is CPS in a no crank scenario.
  • If it cranks without firing, but your fuel pump is working, check fuel filter air filter all that type of stuff
  • drain fuel tank, and get a few fresh premium gallons in there.

Ater all of this is done, you should have a cranking motor with a working fuel pump, fresh filters and fuel, and possibly a new CPS. right there we have the makings of a running car.
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Last edited by Monsignor; 11-12-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:13 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
Good thing tow trucks arent on strike, you can buy gas in portable cans, and the fuel is not postively broken down. Whether or not the car "runs" on starter fluid or carb cleaner, it is not meant to be used as a fuel source; nor is the engine meant to "run" using such. As an enthusiast I wouldn't subject my motor to this type of torture test. OP should try to diagnose why the car wont start first.
I'm not suggesting that the car be driven on this, and carb cleaner is basically a flammable organic solvent in aerosol form so i disagree that it tortures the engine. In fact, carb cleaner often burns more cleanly than standard gasoline....just spray the can through an open flame and see the colour of the flame. I am not referring to the usual non-aerosol degreaser that can be more soapy sometimes. When i did the carb cleaner spray start on my engine, it idled perfectly...in fact it was very smooth...and did not display any problems. I've since drilled a very small hole in my air box, and a can of carb cleaner is in my trunk always, in case it ever proves necessary....with the drilled hole there, I can just aim the plastic nozzle through it and do not have to disconnect anything in the air intake assembly.

OP if you're concerned that carb cleaner or starting fluid is not a good idea, (and to be extremely clear, only if you've ruled out the other common no start issues through tests suggested by the padre above or the bentley manual, and you feel that bad fuel is the problem) , another thing you can do is to simply douse the air filter in gasoline or ethanol, drip dry and reinstall. The incoming air will carry fresh fuel vapour into the engine and get it to start. There won't be any hydrolocking issues....i've reinstalled drip-dried air filters wet with water and have had no trouble (dries out within 30 minutes of driving) and liquid fuel vaporises into gas alot more quickly than water. You'll probably have extra smoke out the tailpipe and an O2 sensor code as the mixture will likely be too rich, but all that will resolve itself once you get the car running on regular gas.

Doing this may be waay easier than maybe draining half a tank of bad gasoline and disposing of it. We're talking 7 gallons here and perhaps more. And this will avoid the cost and inconvenience of towing the car. Don't you think that this is a better solution? PROVIDED, of course, that bad gas does not burn in a cold engine but still burns sufficiently to drive a car, in a hot engine.



And that's what I'm wondering here. : will denatured fuel, the kind that you may have to deal with if fuel is left standing in a tank for a few months, be able to burn better in a a hot engine rather than a cold one where it won't even support a start? Can you hazard a guess at this specifically?



rgds,
Roberto

Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-12-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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  #11  
Old 11-12-2012, 01:26 PM
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I wouldnt want to run my car on bad gas or carb cleaner. Starter fluid is fine to try to fire the car, not to run off of. I dont think a cold or hot engine has anything to do with bad fuel processing any differently. Shouldnt run the car on bad fuel.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:32 PM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Fuel takes more than a few months to go off. Anything under a year should run; OK not the best but run. Over that drain and replace with fresh. Also replace filters and flush lines. Consider removing injectors for a rig clean and flow/ spray pattern test no matter how long the lay-up.
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  #13  
Old 11-13-2012, 09:08 AM
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OP hasnt posted since his initial post. Maybe a lost cause...
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:35 PM
Josh429er Josh429er is offline
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I agree with BMWfatherfigure. I have started a car after its sat with the same gas for nearly 2 years. I'd chase battery, and other electricals first. Once over everything, all fluids, belts, wires. And whatever else.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:00 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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I agree with BMWfatherfigure. I have started a car after its sat with the same gas for nearly 2 years. I'd chase battery, and other electricals first. Once over everything, all fluids, belts, wires. And whatever else.
Ok, I'm glad that the issue about denatured fuel has been relegated to myth status. Thank you Josh and FF for your clarifications.

And the OP is likely not bothered about us in the least. He probably started his car and moved on, cancelling all of his forum accounts everywhere...

When new people come here we should make them read through the bentley manual and the maintenance thread and set an easy pop quiz for them, and only respond to them on their actual problems when they pass that quiz. That's how we will know that they are sincere.

Just kidding OP, update your thread dude.

rgds,
Roberto
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