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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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Old 09-21-2013, 07:10 PM
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Thumbs up Starter Replacement DIY

I recently started experiencing a Slow To Start issue. I turn the key and sometimes it turns over very slowly before it starts. Once it's running everything is fine. No codes or warning lights. It feels like the battery is failing, but I just had it tested and it's putting out 12.64 volts and 840 cca on the tester at the parts store, and its only just over two years old. I tried both keys and it does the same thing.

My next guess is a failing starter. Does this sound correct, and how do I test it?

Or does anyone think it may be camshaft or crankshaft position sensor? Would it still run solid, as it does, if one of these was the problem?

I'm hoping for advice on how to proceed with troubleshooting as I can't afford to just throw parts at it. I searched but didn't seem to find anything relevant, just people who's cars plain old wont start.

It's a 2003 325i with about 92k miles and auto transmission.


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Old 09-21-2013, 10:50 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Some of these things aren't worth testing. Sounds like battery.
If that is the spec, then it's good, but I question the accuracy of testing. I'd like to see you try to jump start the car with another battery while the donor engine is running to see if that makes a difference. Or just try another battery that is close to new.

Starters can fail that way, but typically don't. Have been known to bind, but rare. I'd exhaust the battery question before the trouble of replacing the starter.

Also check all the battery cable connetions from the trunk to the starter motor. Dont neglect grounds, including the engine ground strap.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Some of these things aren't worth testing. Sounds like battery.
If that is the spec, then it's good, but I question the accuracy of testing. I'd like to see you try to jump start the car with another battery while the donor engine is running to see if that makes a difference. Or just try another battery that is close to new.

Starters can fail that way, but typically don't. Have been known to bind, but rare. I'd exhaust the battery question before the trouble of replacing the starter.

Also check all the battery cable connetions from the trunk to the starter motor. Dont neglect grounds, including the engine ground strap.
Or he can completely disconnect the battery. Attach the jumper cables directly to where the battery is suppose to be plugged into and see if the car starts right away.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:56 AM
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Re: Slow Starting, No Codes, Good Battery

Never trust those damn battery tests. If the car starts fine but just cranks slow(more noticeable when it starts to get cold) its the battery most of the time.

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Old 09-22-2013, 12:13 PM
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Slow Starting, No Codes, Good Battery

Okay, it's not the battery. I put in a new battery and its not starting. Since I last started it last night, it's gone from sluggish starting to not starting. This morning it turned over slowly a few times but didn't start, and now it won't turn over. I jumped it but no joy.

I'm thinking starter or crankshaft speed sensor. However, there were no codes last night or this morning. That rules out Crankshaft Sensor, right ?

Anyone ??? Anything else I should look at ? Again, don't really feel like just throwing parts ($) at.



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Old 09-22-2013, 12:22 PM
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I had a slow crank problem for a while that turned out to be a faulty ground cable at the battery. Do the cheap and easy stuff first.

Check all of the grounds. There's an engine ground strap that I have read can break or become loose. Google for help, there's lots of chatter about it out there.
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Old 09-22-2013, 01:24 PM
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I have also seen many (inadequate) ground-related problems. It never hurts to run a second ground wire to the chassis.
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:44 PM
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I have also seen many (inadequate) ground-related problems. It never hurts to run a second ground wire to the chassis.
I love a guy who comes here for advice, but doesn't pay attention. Now this is the third person to give this advice, but he pleads with us for any ideas.
Heck, I even posted a pic of the ground strap for him!
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:21 AM
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I love a guy who comes here for advice, but doesn't pay attention. Now this is the third person to give this advice, but he pleads with us for any ideas.
Heck, I even posted a pic of the ground strap for him!
Don't get your panties in a bunch. I'm going to get under it today and inspect the ground strap. I had to stop yesterday to go to A local beer fest. I'm just trying to get advice on what to do should it not be something obvious.


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Old 09-23-2013, 10:15 AM
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Slow Starting, No Codes, Good Battery

Well I've now inspected all the ground straps. They look fine , get solid , clean contact, no reason to believe they're bad.

At this point, when I turn the key, I can hear the fuel pump prime, but no click or any other noise, and no turn-over. Again, not to be a PITA, but, any suggestions other than the starter? And can anyone point me to a good starter replacement DIY ? The Bentley Manual makes it sound simple, but that sucker is buried in there.


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Old 09-23-2013, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
Well I've now inspected all the ground straps. They look fine , get solid , clean contact, no reason to believe they're bad.

At this point, when I turn the key, I can hear the fuel pump prime, but no click or any other noise, and no turn-over. Again, not to be a PITA, but, any suggestions other than the starter? And can anyone point me to a good starter replacement DIY ? The Bentley Manual makes it sound simple, but that sucker is buried in there.


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Sometimes if you whack the starter like with a small block of wood or rubber mallet, you can get a couple more starts out of it and it pretty much confirms the thing is dead.

There has definitely been some discussion recently about being able to do it "arthroscopically" (vs the PITA way, but probably still a PITA) with a bunch of ratchet extensions with some "wobblers" thrown in. There was a picture of it I'm recalling..... EDIT: was actually for getting to the allen bolt on the crank sensor right below the starter.

I do recall some starter discussion though that says to do it from the top, IIRC......
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:53 PM
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See wiki under no start.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:51 PM
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See wiki under no start.
Thanks for the tip. Looks like I'm in for a long day. Oh, joy.


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Old 09-23-2013, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahull View Post
Sometimes if you whack the starter like with a small block of wood or rubber mallet, you can get a couple more starts out of it and it pretty much confirms the thing is dead.

There has definitely been some discussion recently about being able to do it "arthroscopically" (vs the PITA way, but probably still a PITA) with a bunch of ratchet extensions with some "wobblers" thrown in. There was a picture of it I'm recalling..... EDIT: was actually for getting to the allen bolt on the crank sensor right below the starter.

I do recall some starter discussion though that says to do it from the top, IIRC......
+1 hit it with ratchet extension, may confirm failing starter.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:21 PM
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+1 hit it with ratchet extension, may confirm failing starter.
I`m sure this technique will impress the women when Jonathan is out on a date....
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:55 AM
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I`m sure this technique will impress the women when Jonathan is out on a date....
No more dating for Jonathan. Wedding on Oct. 26. But my fiancÚ is impressed.

On a darker note, I think I'm going to throw in the towel on this one and pay a friend to do it. It just looks like too much work for me to do in the driveway.


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Old 09-24-2013, 01:38 PM
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The hammering of starter trick works if the solenoid is failing. I've done it (not on my E46) with success.

I recently had a weird experience with my motorcycle. I keep the battery on a charger unless I'm riding or away from home, so figured it was strong. Got a slow start one day and thought it may be the starter cuz it's 17 years old and probably tired. Long story short, it was the battery. I attached leads and read about 12v steady, but when I kicked over the starter, it dropped to 3v. Have you done that test on your car? It should not drop like that.

I know you said you installed a new battery, but it would be good to check it anyway.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:48 PM
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Can you get that thing down to my garage? heck I even have a loaner for ya.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
The hammering of starter trick works if the solenoid is failing. I've done it (not on my E46) with success.

I recently had a weird experience with my motorcycle. I keep the battery on a charger unless I'm riding or away from home, so figured it was strong. Got a slow start one day and thought it may be the starter cuz it's 17 years old and probably tired. Long story short, it was the battery. I attached leads and read about 12v steady, but when I kicked over the starter, it dropped to 3v. Have you done that test on your car? It should not drop like that.

I know you said you installed a new battery, but it would be good to check it anyway.
Haven't done that yet. I was just assuming the new battery was good. I even brought it back to be checked after the first fail. I'll try it tonight and see what happens.


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Old 09-24-2013, 02:00 PM
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Can you get that thing down to my garage? heck I even have a loaner for ya.
It no work. Only way it's going anywhere right now is on a flatbed.


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Old 09-24-2013, 06:32 PM
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I know you said you installed a new battery, but it would be good to check it anyway.

I checked it with the OBC. It's showing 12V and dropping to 11.9 then back up to 12 with the key turned to the start position. Still no start.



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Old 09-24-2013, 07:21 PM
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Haven't done that yet. I was just assuming the new battery was good. I even brought it back to be checked after the first fail. I'll try it tonight and see what happens.


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Another spot where BMW missed the boat on these cars....they should have built in a removable access panel in the firewall to get to the starter from inside the car....would`ve made things a helluva lot easier....
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:28 PM
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Another spot where BMW missed the boat on these cars....they should have built in a removable access panel in the firewall to get to the starter from inside the car....would`ve made things a helluva lot easier....
You can always make your own with the "blue wrench".............
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Another spot where BMW missed the boat on these cars....they should have built in a removable access panel in the firewall to get to the starter from inside the car....would`ve made things a helluva lot easier....
+1 I've done a replacement, have to remove intake!
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:22 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Has been done from the bottom. Has been done from the top. Both with intake manifold untouched.




http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...be.xpktzzdprIc
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File Type: pdf NO start procedure.pdf (526.2 KB, 176 views)

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