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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:36 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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Location: pa
 
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Mein Auto: 318ic
Crazy Problem

Hi I have a 1995 318IC. I have searched and searched for weeks about this problem that Ive suddenly come across with my BMW and have replaced part after part with no luck. The car has 185,000 miles on it. up until a few weeks ago ran like a champ. no issues or anything except an occasional idle loop once in a while. Brand new battery 2 years ago. long cold winter and not driving it killed the battery but got a replacement 8 months back. Few weeks ago i get in the car and the engine turns but wont start. listened for the fuel pump but heard nothing, checked the fuse and relays checked good. starter fluid resulted in a stumbling attempt to start but still did not start. Didn't want to but replaced the fuel pump thinking it went out. Car still did not start. Checked for spark had spark. Plugs were wet from fuel. #2 plug had a lot of oil but couldn't tell if it was from inside or dripping down in. The battery eventually drained from the attempts to start so i jumped the car and it fired right up???? drove the car to the parts store to have them run a check on the starter alt and battery, everything checked good. Now the car is at the parts store and it wont start again. Even with a jump. the battery reads 12.75V engine spins briefly but then stops. Its hard to explain but its as if the crank turns one or two rotations then just slips?? starter?? some times i turn the key and the engine don't spin at all it just makes a free spin sound like something is turning but not the crank?? i do know a good bit about the basics of how a motor works but this is very confusing to me. I believe that the reason the engine will not start is because the crank is not turning over enough however every now and then it will turn over strong like 5 or six rotations and then the slide thing but it still don't start. Replaced the plugs tonight as well as the fuel filter and finally gave up.
sorry for the long post but im at a loss here as it really makes no sense i know im getting fuel i know im getting spark (gaped correctly)
what i don't know is what the free spin is about (something is turning but it isn't the crank) and why when it does turn it doesn't fire over?
Why did it all of a sudden start up and drive 10 miles away as if everything was normal and then just not start up again?

Thanks again and any advice would be greatly appreciated as i need to get this car running again.
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:43 PM
hornhospital's Avatar
hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,093
Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
Whoever checked your starter and said it was good is an idiot. The starter bendix is bad, and it's not engaging/holding the starter gear in mesh with the flywheel ring gear. You need a new starter.
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Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #3  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:58 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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That's what i was thinking. It just made no sense why at times it would turn over correctly but most of the time it would not. They checked it at advanced however Im assuming the reason it checked good is because when the checked it with their machine the car started up fine there was no slip so their machine would have thought that it was fine but i don't know. I will look into replacing the starter in the morning. thank you for your help. I guess when the starter is starting to go it will be on and off ( work sometimes and not others).
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2013, 12:59 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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update: Went back to get the car today. was able to push the car and had wife pop the clutch and fired right up. Massive amounts of white smoke poured out the exhaust but car ran fine and smoke eventually cleared up. car drove 3/4 way home till she came to a complete stop and then tried to drive away in 3rd or 4th gear and it stalled. tried to push start again but would not turn over. Pushed it the rest of the way home and it now sits waiting on the starter i ordered to come in and then i will embark on the PITA task of replacing it. Im going to go the manifold route as i believe the transmission removal would be more of a pain. Pretty much know what im up against here from searching but if there are any helpful tips before hand id appreciate it. Thanks
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2013, 01:54 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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well got the starter replaced, what a PITA that was. Car starts no problem now only issue is its running really bad. Idling like a lawn mower. Not sure if it a vac leak or something else. Its almost as if its missing a cylinder?? I drove it up on ramps and it took everything the car had to get it up the ramps, needing a running start. any ideas? Haven't checked fuel pressure but it should be fine new pump and filter. Its running as if like i said missing a cylinder or a ton of water in the gas but its not the later as i don't know how water would have gotten in there. I noticed my ABS light is on to. no CEL though. When the car misses does the CEL flash on these cars like it does on DSM's? Replaced the plugs the other night as well and 1 was covered in oil but im sure its the plug seal. If the plug seal is leaking it wont get down in piston unless you remove the plug right? sorry for all the questions just trying to figure this problem out. Before the starter went the car ran good and strong but did have a loopy idle at times. not sure if that was the beginning of what im dealing with now or it will help diagnose what it might be. Thanks for any help.
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2013, 02:33 PM
Nicky3 Nicky3 is offline
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If you took the manifold off to change the starter, it sounds like you may have missed some vacuum lines when putting it back. Also check the intake boot.
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2013, 03:05 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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I will try that thank you. About my other question though regarding the valve cover gasket. If one of the plug seals is leaking can the oil get in the chamber with the plug installed? I don't believe it can just want to make sure. Thanks
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  #8  
Old 06-16-2013, 05:04 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,093
Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
No, the oil can't get into the chamber with the plug in place.

You either missed a vac line or got a gasket misaligned when putting the manifold back on.

Props for tackling the starter replacement yourself. That is one of the worst jobs on a BMW. Most other jobs on our cars are easy by comparison.
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

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  #9  
Old 06-16-2013, 05:41 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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Yeah it was a job i wish i would have hired someone else to do but now that its over im not to worried about it. Busted a few knuckles but aside from that it was just a PITA everything so tight and no room at all to work. Next time the motor is coming out lol. Anyways my CEL is not on but i decided to do a stomp test anyway and i kept getting 1271 over and over again, 1271 pause 1271 pause 1271 pause 1271 pause.....you get the point. looked up that code and it says coil error #1,#2,#3,#4. Is this code a coil fault or would a misfire read this code as well? If a cylinder is not firing it would certainly explain the idle i have. Not even sure these cars will run on 3CYL or not but it is running just not very well. IM 99.99% sure all gaskets were seated correctly and all vac lines were hooked up. That .11% im not sure is cause im human and realize i could have made a mistake i just dont want to tear it all apart again if its something else. Thanks
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  #10  
Old 06-16-2013, 05:50 PM
Nicky3 Nicky3 is offline
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Run some carb cleaner or a propane torch(not lit!) along the intake manifold gasket. See if your engine runs better. I got those codes and random, multi cylinder misfires when I reinstalled my intake manifold. The nuts have to be torqued down to spec in a star pattern to seal correctly. I too had to change my starter and as you know. it was a royal PIA. Did you put a new gasket on the manifold?
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  #11  
Old 06-16-2013, 06:01 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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Location: pa
 
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yes i replaced all of the gaskets with parts from pelican. also removed and cleaned the ICV and replaced hoses. I guess ill try the propane and see if that helps otherwise back off it comes. This car has been a dream up until recently. If i didnt love the gas mileage so much id drive it off one of these Pa Mountains. That would surely fix the idle problem.
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  #12  
Old 06-20-2013, 08:27 PM
joeck76 joeck76 is offline
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Location: pa
 
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Well im not sure what i did but i fixed the problem. The car is up and running again. I removed the upper intake and removed all hoses and connectors and looked to see if i missed anything which I didn't. Re-installed everything and the car fired right up and idled correctly. This job from start to finish is no joke. I would not recommend anyone who is not seriously mechanically inclined to even attempt to change the starter. From what ive read the m44 and the newer m42's are slightly easier as there are connectors that you can remove to take the electrical box out that sits on top of the lower intake which the ICV sits on. Removing that box itself was the deal breaker for me as you need to climb under the car and disconnect every single connection that goes to it in order to pull it up and set it to the side cause its still connected up top under the wipers where all the main wires go. would have been easier to cut every wire and install quick connects thats how bad it was. I thought removing the tranny would have been harder but on this car 95 M42 4cyl i believe it would have been easier. Dealer wanted $780 to change it out and let me tell you would have been worth every penny. I also read posts where people said you can do it without removing the intake. Ignore those posts its not possible to get to the starter from the top without removing everything. I see now why there are no write ups on changing the starter. Anyway just thought id add my .02 . hope this helps someone out some day. Knowing what i know now i will never attempt this job in this way again. Thanks for everyones help BTW. Im glad to have my car running again.
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