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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2012, 02:13 PM
robbob robbob is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 325 Xi, '93 318i
Won't Start - What is Correct Fuel Pressure?

My wife's '01 325i turns over, but won't start.

I've checked and there's spark at the plugs (pulled plug and spark is present when attempting to start), and the plugs are damp with gasoline. (I left the car sit overnight - in case it was flooded, and still no start.)

I've also checked for pressure at the fuel rack Schraeder valve, but my tire pressure gauge topped out at 60 psi so I couldn't determine if the presure is correct. Can someone tell me what pressure should be present?

Anything else that anyone could suggest before I have the car towed to the garage for the normal expensive repair?
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2012, 04:05 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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You might have a faulty fuel pressure regulator since it sounds like you are getting fuel to the plugs.

Running system pressure is about 50PSI and residual pressure is 43 PSI- you state you pegged out at 60? That's to high for either reading. This residual pressure is the pressure your fuel pressure regulator should hold once the pump is shut off. You can check the return line from the fuel pressure reg to the tank for kinks and once it is disconnected you can ensure line is not obstructed from reg to tank, if all is good with return line then it is usually a bad regulator that causes high pressure.

Pull the back seat and turn the key to position 2. See if you can hear the pump running. If so, change your fuel filter, since your fuel pressure regulator is a part of the fuel filter, especially if you have not changed it in a while.

If that don't work, I would then test fuel delivery volume as pump could be running but not giving you the volume you need...1.2 quarts in 30 seconds. You can do this test without running the car, by pulling the fuel pressure relay and jumping pin 6 (red/violet wire) with pin 2 (white blue wire) with a fused jumper wire and the pump will run. You can hook up at the same schreader valve on the front end of the rail to catch the fuel- if you have the fuel pressure gauge T-fitting to hook up to it and a couple feet of fuel hose for dispensing into the measuring container.
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  #3  
Old 12-02-2012, 07:22 PM
robbob robbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
You might have a faulty fuel pressure regulator since it sounds like you are getting fuel to the plugs.
Thanks for the info. I'll give your advice a try and let you know what I find.
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  #4  
Old 12-02-2012, 07:43 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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replace the vacuum line while you are down there. There should be a 3 or 4" piece of 3.5MM (.127") vacuum line attached to the Regulator nipple and a hard plastic vacuum line that runs up to your intake boot, just behind the MAF, it is the bottom vacuum line of the two that are attached to the F connector. You should also see another 3" piece of vacuum line up there too, between F connector and hard plastic line, replace it also, so that you have good suction and that way it will last the life of the fuel filter.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VW-3-5mm-Gas...sories&vxp=mtr

http://boostcontroller.com/index.php?category=8

Last edited by QAfred; 12-02-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-02-2012, 08:16 PM
robbob robbob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
replace the vacuum line while you are down there. There should be a 3 or 4" piece of 3.5MM (.127") vacuum line attached to the Regulator nipple and a hard plastic vacuum line that runs up to your intake boot, just behind the MAF, it is the bottom vacuum line of the two that are attached to the F connector. You should also see another 3" piece of vacuum line up there too, between F connector and hard plastic line, replace it also, so that you have good suction and that way it will last the life of the fuel filter.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VW-3-5mm-Gas...sories&vxp=mtr

http://boostcontroller.com/index.php?category=8
I don't understand why anyone would sell one foot of anything for $2.75 + $3 shipping, unless you are selling at least a hundred of them a day at a couple of dollars profit per sale.

Do I want to know what BMW sells the product for? - I guess I do if you know offhand.

Also, do you know offhand what the replacement interval for the fuel filter is? If not I can look it up.

Thanks for the advice, it's very helpful.
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2012, 08:25 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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it is $2.75 a foot for the braided stuff on e-bay, if you read on. The second link is only .95cents a foot, but you have to buy 10 feet.

60k on fuel filter is what is recommended by most. I go a little longer typically. BMW will tell you it is lifetime (100,000 is what they really mean), but that is probably a little too long.
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  #7  
Old 12-02-2012, 09:07 PM
robbob robbob is offline
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I'll have to check when I last changed the fuel filter, and/or do the output test you referenced.
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  #8  
Old 12-02-2012, 11:15 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is online now
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Some say 30K or 40K for filter, but mine was clean as a whistle when I cut it open at 77K miles. So YMMV.
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2012, 12:43 PM
robbob robbob is offline
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I got a fuel test kit from my local Auto Zone. The fuel Pressure checked out OK at 50 psi while attempting to start. Also, my brother and I tried spraying a Quick Start product into the intake at the MAF, but still no firing. My brother claims if it's a fuel problem, they should start with Quick Start.

So he suspects it's a spark problem. I'm not sure if I mentioned that when we pulled the plug and checked for spark, the spark was yellowish and not blueish. But, I'm not sure what color it should be.

Any other suggestions, anyone???

No work has been done on the car recently, and it has been running fine before this.
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2012, 07:56 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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Did you ever check for OBDII diagnostic codes? Sounds like your getting fuel and spark and the problem is pointing to something like crankshaft sensor, DME relay or something else like that not giving the ECM a signal thereby not allowing it to start.

Also, how did you check for spark? tough to do on our ignition system.
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2012, 08:21 PM
robbob robbob is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 325 Xi, '93 318i
Quote:
Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
Did you ever check for OBDII diagnostic codes? Sounds like your getting fuel and spark and the problem is pointing to something like crankshaft sensor, DME relay or something else like that not giving the ECM a signal thereby not allowing it to start.

Also, how did you check for spark? tough to do on our ignition system.
The OBDII only showed one code for "evaporative emissions system leak detected - very small leak". The check engine light had been on for the previous 3 to 6 months.

Spark was checked by pulling a plug then attempting to start the engine with the plug in the coil/plug holder and the plug grounded to the car with a wire.

What I can't figure is how the engine can't fire if there is fuel and spark getting to the cylinder.
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