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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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  #26  
Old 09-26-2013, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Has been done from the bottom. Has been done from the top. Both with intake manifold untouched.




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Okay, I haven't thrown in the towel just yet. These are both very helpful articles. My question is, is there a way to test voltage at the starter without disassembling the parts above it? The starter itself is only one day away via shipping, so if I start the process and find I need a starter, then no problem. But honestly, if there was a remote way to test voltage at the starter, that would make life much easier. I'm not much good at electrical schematics, can anyone suggest a place where I can test?

Also, I'm going to get started taking my engine bay apart on sunday. If any local NJ guys want to come by to lend a hand or sip a beverage and laugh at my pain, you're welcome. Just PM or call me. BTW, I'm in Allamuchy now.
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  #27  
Old 09-26-2013, 12:07 PM
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I may make an appearance Sunday afternoon sometime late - you need anything? I've got a lighting rig that hangs on the underside of the hood, fan clutch tools, torx bits.

I think you're going to need a reverse torx socket - E21 I think?????? I'll give you a buzz this weekend to check in. I also have digital mutimeter.
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  #28  
Old 09-26-2013, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
Okay, I haven't thrown in the towel just yet. These are both very helpful articles. My question is, is there a way to test voltage at the starter without disassembling the parts above it? The starter itself is only one day away via shipping, so if I start the process and find I need a starter, then no problem. But honestly, if there was a remote way to test voltage at the starter, that would make life much easier. I'm not much good at electrical schematics, can anyone suggest a place where I can test?

Also, I'm going to get started taking my engine bay apart on sunday. If any local NJ guys want to come by to lend a hand or sip a beverage and laugh at my pain, you're welcome. Just PM or call me. BTW, I'm in Allamuchy now.
You should be able to check the voltage at the starter. I know when I had a key problem and wanted to rule out the starter, I was able to get the starter to crank by jumping across the terminals. That will require you to get under the car and find the terminals though, it's a bit tight in there.
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  #29  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:29 PM
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I've got someone coming by to test it sunday to tell me if it's an EWS problem. If not, I'm diving in for the starter. So... any specialty tools I might need. I know about the reverse Torx. Anyone suggest anything else ? Maybe a huge a$$ chain saw ?
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  #30  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:35 PM
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an E12 Torx socket is the correct size. I mispoke earlier when I said E21. My Bad.
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  #31  
Old 09-28-2013, 02:03 PM
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I had the same slow to start condition right after I bought the car, and it turned out it was the starter in my case. It was covered under the CPO warranty, and the bill was expensive. I don't know if I would do this job myself. It took a lot of hours, and as you know, the access is horrible. I hope it goes easily for you!
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  #32  
Old 09-29-2013, 05:48 AM
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Re: Slow Starting, No Codes, Good Battery

I also experienced the slow-to-start issue recently and it ended up being the starter. My indy mechanic made reference to what a tough job it was to replace. I hope you are able to DIY - it wasn't a nice bill from the indy shop. Good luck.

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  #33  
Old 09-30-2013, 04:10 AM
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Got absolute confirmation that it's the starter. The tear down begins...

It will take me most of the week do to other "life stuff" but with the help of local festers and friends, I should have it buttoned up by Sunday. I'll try to take pics of the job and post a write up for anyone who wants to try this. It looks time consuming, but I don't think it's going to be awful. Famous last words...


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  #34  
Old 09-30-2013, 03:53 PM
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Update: progress so far, I've removed the air box, intake boots, disa, cabin air filter housing, blower cover, two coolant hoses going to the heater core, and chassis brace. I now have clear access to the two bolts holding the starter on. I need a different wrench to remove them, but it looks very promising. I think once the starter is loose I should be able to drop it out the bottom. If I need more room I will remove the control arm, but I'm hoping to avoid that.

So far, this hasn't been anywhere near as difficult as I expected. I know I've only just reached the hard bit, but I think it should be not too tough.


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  #35  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
Update: progress so far, I've removed the air box, intake boots, disa, cabin air filter housing, blower cover, two coolant hoses going to the heater core, and chassis brace. I now have clear access to the two bolts holding the starter on. I need a different wrench to remove them, but it looks very promising. I think once the starter is loose I should be able to drop it out the bottom. If I need more room I will remove the control arm, but I'm hoping to avoid that.

So far, this hasn't been anywhere near as difficult as I expected. I know I've only just reached the hard bit, but I think it should be not too tough.


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  #36  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:40 PM
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Slow Starting, No Codes, Good Battery

You need like an e12 gear wrench.


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Old 09-30-2013, 09:42 PM
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  #38  
Old 10-06-2013, 07:51 PM
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Starter Merit Badge earned. Thanks to Charlesberry for his help, we got the old starter out and the new one in today and after a quick prayer, it fired right up and ran as smooth as ever.

A better write up will follow, but let me say for now, access to the two E12 torx bolts holding on the starter is the big issue. We removed a lot of sub assemblies, left the manifold on and worked from above and below to do the job. All told, still about a six hour job and not for the feint of heart, but still doable in the driveway.

More to follow. Happy motoring...


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  #39  
Old 10-07-2013, 06:00 AM
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That was pretty cool!! Jonathan stuck to his guns and said the manifold doesn't need to be removed and the transmission does not need to be dropped - and he was absolutly correct.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:04 PM
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STARTER REPLACEMENT DIY (sort of)

So diagnosing was the first step. After checking the battery, all grounds, any visible wire, and plugging into a diagnostic computer (sorry, don't know what type) it was confirmed that the starter was the best, most likely candidate so I dove in.

Access to the two E12 Torx bolts holding the starter on is the name of the game here. The starter is mounted to the transmission bell housing and the bolt heads are on the back side with not much room between them and the firewall. Also, the starter is below the intake manifold in the darkest recesses of the engine bay. Before you start disassembly you can't even see it.

Before you start, as with any time you're working on an electrical system, disconnect the battery negative cable.

You have to remove several sub-assemblies to gain access. They're all covered in other DIY's so I won't go into detail, but the list is, from first to last,

Remove:
Air box
Cabin air filter and the tray it sits in
Half roundish plastic cover which covers
The side of the ECU and other wiring
behind the strut tower
Upper and lower intake boots (should come out as one unit)
DISA Valve
Idle Control Valve
Throttle body
Black Plastic plate directly in front of
heater box on the firewall
Two coolant hoses attached to the
Heater Core at the firewall. You'll
lose a little
coolant, but not much.
Both engine beauty covers

Under the car, you will need to remove the Front Lower Aggregate Protective Plate and the Aluminum Chassis Brace.

If you have a strut tower brace, remove that too.

Now you can look down near the firewall and see the two bolts holding the starter on. The bolt on the right is the easy one. Reach down with a flat E12 torx ratcheting gear wrench, slip the wrench over the bolt head and get it loose. You won't be able to remove the bolt all the way with the wrench because it's too close to the firewall. You have to now reach in with your hand and finish removing the first bolt.

Now for the really fun part. This is best done with two people. For the bolt on the left side, one person needs to drop the wrench in from the top, while the other person gets under the car and with his fingers, guides the wrench onto the bolt head. There's barely enough room to work here and once the wrench is on, barely room to move it. We put a longish breaker bar against the top of the wrench and hit it with a hammer to get it to budge, then reached down from the top and applied whatever torque we could by hand to get the bolt to move. Unscrew the bolt as much as you can with the wrench, but again, you'll have to finish the job by hand. This is done from underneath, head towards the rear wheel, and reaching up with your left hand to get your fingers on the bolt and twist it out.

The hard part is done. Now unbolt the large electrical post in the middle of the starter holding on the two larger cables and you can pull the starter out. Mine was stuck and we had to hit it with a breaker bar and hammer, and kind of pry a bit with a screwdriver to get it loose. Remember though, you're working against the transmission housing here and don't want to gauge it with the screwdriver or bar.

Once the starter comes loose, pull it straight out towards the front, then drop the back of the starter down and while supporting the starter, remove the two remaining wires from its front. Now carefully pulling aside the wires and hoses that are in the way, take the starter out of the engine bay through the top, past the intake manifold which is still in place.

Look at that stupid failed piece of hardware in your hand in disbelief that you actually got it out, shake hands with the person or people helping you, congratulate each other, and crack open an adult beverage of your choice. The hard part is done. (This is the most important step in this process.)

Now it's time to put in the new starter. Feed it back into the engine bay the same way the old one came out, with the back going down and in first. Before trying to put the starter in place, reconnect the two smaller wires to the side posts. They are two different sizes so hard to confuse. Now put the starter in place. There is a short guide pin on the transmission that sits at the top of the starter and helps with alignment. Once the pin is in , you should be able to just push the starter back and the bolt holes will line up.

We put the right bolt in its hole in the transmission housing before the starter went in just to help with getting it started. Remember, the right one is the easy one. Thread it in as far as you can by hand, then snug it a bit with the wrench, but not all the way.

The left side bolt is easiest fed in from the bottom. Again reach up with your left hand and get the bolt in its hole and thread it in by hand as far as possible. Now to tighten the left bolt repeat the trick of one guy lowering the wrench, the other guiding it onto the bolt head from below. Now tighten the bolt all the way.

Go back now and finish tightening the right bolt. Now attach the two larger wires to the center post on the starter, and your new starter is in.

Now simply reinstall all the parts you took out to gain access in reverse order, working from back to front. This is the easiest part. Don't forget to check your coolant level and bleed if necessary. I didn't bleed mine after I finished, and it was fine, but I bled it the next day just to be safe.

Now reconnect the negative battery cable, say a quick prayer to the deity of your choice, and turn the key.

You now deserve major congratulations because you just replaced the starter on an E46 without removing the intake manifold or lowering the transmission and that's pretty impressive.

It honestly took near six hours all told, not counting time spent troubleshooting.

Again, major props to Charlesberry for his help, Colin at C Squared Automotive for his advice and troubleshooting help , and especially, thanks to Patti and Kelley for their infinite patience and good humor during the process.

Your Mileage May Vary. No Animals Were Harmed During This DIY (I think)


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  #41  
Old 10-22-2013, 07:25 AM
Rich123321 Rich123321 is offline
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I was hoping it might have been a battery issue but i think its the starter
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  #42  
Old 10-22-2013, 01:20 PM
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Starter Replacement DIY

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Originally Posted by Rich123321 View Post
I was hoping it might have been a battery issue but i think its the starter
Get a friend and dive in. Two sets of hands make it not too bad.


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  #43  
Old 11-07-2013, 05:19 PM
Gaza77 Gaza77 is offline
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Jonathan2263,

How did you guys test and rule out your EWS? You mentioned you were going to check it out. I'm having crazy problems starting the car and even took out the starter to find out that wasn't the issue.

Cheers,
William
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  #44  
Old 11-07-2013, 06:44 PM
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Starter Replacement DIY

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Originally Posted by Gaza77 View Post
Jonathan2263,

How did you guys test and rule out your EWS? You mentioned you were going to check it out. I'm having crazy problems starting the car and even took out the starter to find out that wasn't the issue.

Cheers,
William
I had a friend who owns a good Indie Garage plug a pretty advanced diagnostic computer into the OBD2 port (sorry, can't remember what type). It scanned all the systems in the car and ruled out a EWS failure. A failed starter won't show up in an electronic diagnosis, but interestingly, my bad headlight switch and front passenger window switch did.

If you're sure it's not the starter, be sure to check all your ground straps. Then next, thing about the crankshaft speed sensor. If it's failed it will keep the car from starting. Unfortunately, you have to pull the starter again to get to it.
Also, go through the Key Reinitialization Process to be sure your keys aren't the problem.

Finally, if it is an EWS failure, apparently there's a way to run a patch around it so you can start your car without a trip to the dealer (the only other option). I never got that far but if you SEARCH you may find the procedure.

Good luck...


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  #45  
Old 11-07-2013, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
I had a friend who owns a good Indie Garage plug a pretty advanced diagnostic computer into the OBD2 port (sorry, can't remember what type). It scanned all the systems in the car and ruled out a EWS failure. A failed starter won't show up in an electronic diagnosis, but interestingly, my bad headlight switch and front passenger window switch did.

If you're sure it's not the starter, be sure to check all your ground straps. Then next, thing about the crankshaft speed sensor. If it's failed it will keep the car from starting. Unfortunately, you have to pull the starter again to get to it.
Also, go through the Key Reinitialization Process to be sure your keys aren't the problem.

Finally, if it is an EWS failure, apparently there's a way to run a patch around it so you can start your car without a trip to the dealer (the only other option). I never got that far but if you SEARCH you may find the procedure.

Good luck...


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I had a similar experience, but the indie's shop's computer and my Peake R5FCX each read an EWS fault that turned out to be a bad key.
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  #46  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:30 AM
Gaza77 Gaza77 is offline
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Starter Replacement DIY

Johnathan,

Thank you for the reply. I spent the better part of yesterday rechecking all of my fuses and relays. I also checked the grounds on the more accessible obvious places. I found one bad fuse that was rated 5 amps for the heater and a bad relay. The one in the engine bay at the closest location to the fire wall. Had tested it before and could hear the relay engaging (clicking), but then I tested the resistance over the different circuits and wasn't getting continuity (ohms to zero). Apparently the switch works, but the copper transfer wires aren't conducting. Weird.

I'm going to further autopsy the relay, and it's a great catch, but I don't think that will keep the car from starting.

Like I said, I'll check all the grounds. I'll figure out a way to run continuity test on all of them.

Question: I have a 2001 325i 04/2001 build. According to the Bentley manual does my car have a shiftlock solenoid?

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I opened the bezel and didn't see one and for my steptronic automatic transmission year it doesn't seem to have one. I just wanted to make just in case mine is hidden somewhere else.

Thank you for all the help.

Cheers,
William

P.S. - Oh, and I'll run the initialization again as well to rule that out. Speak soon.


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Last edited by Gaza77; 11-08-2013 at 11:32 AM.
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  #47  
Old 11-09-2013, 03:45 AM
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Starter Replacement DIY

Try switching that relay with a known working one and replacing the blown fuse. It's possible that it's the starter relay and it could be your whole problem right there.

Not sure about the shifter lock solenoid but I think that diagram shows that you should have one. Is it off to the right side of the console ?


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  #48  
Old 11-09-2013, 04:14 AM
Gaza77 Gaza77 is offline
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Starter Replacement DIY

Update:

I checked all the grounds yesterday with except to the engine ground. I need to do that today because I need to get under the car and remove the protection plate. All grounds are good.

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The fuse is/was already replaced. The relay hasn't been replaced and has been identified as the windshield washers motor relay. The one that was not showing continuity is labeled number 4 in the picture.

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As far as the shiftlock solenoid goes, I popped the bezel to see the shifter and there was no solenoid in site. Because I have 2001 325i with steptronic shifting I figured I have the shifter design in the lower left of the page below.

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I was asking the question to make sure or double check what the diagram was saying. I don't think Bentley would forget to draw and label it on the diagram, but you never know.

Thank you for the help. Any more help will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
William


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  #49  
Old 11-09-2013, 05:53 AM
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Why is this sticky-worthy and not cooling system, fuel pump, ccv, broken door lock, window regulators, etc. ?
?
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  #50  
Old 11-09-2013, 11:00 AM
Gaza77 Gaza77 is offline
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Starter Replacement DIY

Ahull,

I don't know why, or if it should be worthy. I just started asking questions doing my research looking for answers to my no start problem.

I've had a lot of good help, however my issue seems to be stumping the group, including myself, so I get some help in areas, but nothing has been definitive in diagnosing and solving my problem.

I did start the tread or sticky. I apologize if I've disorganized or messed up the form some how.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated. I couldn't have come this far without all of your help.

Now, on to check the engine ground.

Cheers,
William


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