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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. Looking for some help for my X3's problem. Currently it is sitting in my driveway unable to start. The engine began to crank slow over the past few days. This morning I pulled the battery and had it tested, test came back ok. I reinstalled the battery and the car will not crank so I proceed to replace the battery. Still the car will not crank. Could this be due to an alternator failure or a starter failure? Or is it another issue?

Jeff
 

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Did you clean the terminals and the battery posts to a shiny finish? Clue: used to at least crank and now it doesn't with either old or new battery.

Any chance the battery ground lead is corroded where it bolts to the chassis somewhere underneath the trunk floor?

Maybe the 12V supply to the starter motor is corroded.

Starter motors have been known to fail in 05's (but more common on later models).

It's not the alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Did you clean the terminals and the battery posts to a shiny finish? Clue: used to at least crank and now it doesn't with either old or new battery.

Any chance the battery ground lead is corroded where it bolts to the chassis somewhere underneath the trunk floor?

Maybe the 12V supply to the starter motor is corroded.

Starter motors have been known to fail in 05's (but more common on later models).

It's not the alternator.
Thank you for your suggestions. I will check for corrosions on the leads.

Could it be the fuel pump?

Is the starter motor located on the driver or passenger side?
 

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No, wouldn't be the fuel pump.

There are some things other than a bad battery, connections or starter motor that block cranking - such as the key, the immobilizer system, lack of oil pressure - but I don't think that's your problem.

The starter motor is on the driver side and is not very accessible, visually or to remove and replace.
 

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I have an 08 x3. I had a slow start problem. It seemed like it would pause a half a second or so. Then a few times it wouldn't crank at all and I'd turn the key all the way off then back to start and it would start. I tested the battery. It was good. I thought it must be the starter. Took off the manifold, removed starter but it bench tested good. I put it back in and tested voltage at the starter. It read 12.6. Voltage at solenoid read the same. What was the problem you ask
The ground strap from the engine to the frame was heavily corroded and actually pulled apart when replacing it. I have no more problems. CHECK THE GROUND STRAP. The strap is located behind the passenger tire, to the rear of the front tire. I removed the aluminum stiffening plate to make it easier to get the bolt on the frame. All in all a very simple job, but a bitch going through everything to locate the actual problem.
So before you go through everything did, check the ground strap.
 

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Thanks for your help. Is the ground strap located by the front or rear passenger tire?
 

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checking ground

when checking for a good ground during starter and other troubleshooting ...always ...always ...always ....just hook up a jumper cable from say your engine lift hook up front to the regular ground pin/hex sticking out post ....10 seconds and you're ready to test !

then ...if you get er going and it fails when you remove the temp ground you can crawl under and swap the straps
 

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there is more than one ground strap on the system

there is one strap from the engine but others further back ....get on realoem.com with the last seven of your VIN and double check your setup...here are some generic images and a good FESTCHIVE link

https://www.google.com/search?q=bmw...AQIHQ&biw=1914&bih=1286#imgrc=ypW6JzQWsTv0nM:

a good X3 generic of some of the ground stuff from REALOEM.COM

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=PA93-USA-05-2004-E83-BMW-X3_30i&diagId=12_1106

shopping links for the various ground cables/straps

https://www.google.com/search?q=bmw...47PjNAhXDSCYKHQYYCBIQsxgIHg&biw=1914&bih=1286
 

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Discussion Starter #9
when checking for a good ground during starter and other troubleshooting ...always ...always ...always ....just hook up a jumper cable from say your engine lift hook up front to the regular ground pin/hex sticking out post ....10 seconds and you're ready to test !

then ...if you get er going and it fails when you remove the temp ground you can crawl under and swap the straps
Hello swampX3,

Thanks for the info, I will try that now. I did find the ground strap from the exhaust to the body at the rear of the car and bolts are heavily corroded. I found the strap by the front passenger tire and the connection to the body is fine but I need to trace its location to the engine.
 

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good post from Blusky ...pics too

good FESTCHIVE X3 ground strap links with pics/locations etc ...also ....REMEMBER ...you can buy good generic straps from all the usual auto stores/wallymart/trailer places etc etc ...for a fraction of the dealer cost ....get the correct length ...or just buy a longer one and fold it over to make your ideal length and tie it with a tie wrap

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=820543

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Happy to report the new cable did improve cold start. The car is now starts consistent with a warm start. The X3 always was a lazy starter, but at least its consistent now.

The cable was not cracked, but was corroded. Dealer charged $40 for part #12-42-3-420-477

Swap was easy:
1. Remove plastic underbelly tray
2. Remove big metal belly plate just rear of plastic tray, 4 bolts
 

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Discussion Starter #11
there is one strap from the engine but others further back ....get on realoem.com with the last seven of your VIN and double check your setup...here are some generic images and a good FESTCHIVE link

https://www.google.com/search?q=bmw...AQIHQ&biw=1914&bih=1286#imgrc=ypW6JzQWsTv0nM:

a good X3 generic of some of the ground stuff from REALOEM.COM

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=PA93-USA-05-2004-E83-BMW-X3_30i&diagId=12_1106

shopping links for the various ground cables/straps

https://www.google.com/search?q=bmw...47PjNAhXDSCYKHQYYCBIQsxgIHg&biw=1914&bih=1286
Ok I used jumper cables to ground the engine to the ground bolt under the hood and that did not work.

I again used the jumper cable from the exhaust to the body and that did not work.

I noticed when I turn the ignition to start I hear a single click noise, is this the starter?
 

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typical of the starter solenoid trying but just can't make it up the hill

it's typical of the starter solenoid trying to launch but just not enough go to make it ....have you tried the bump on the starter ????
 

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Discussion Starter #14
it's typical of the starter solenoid trying to launch but just not enough go to make it ....have you tried the bump on the starter ????
What is the bump on the starter?
 

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bump on starter

hope you got the links ....but ....just in case ....the bump is to move/assist the solenoid/starter motor to roll over just a bit and try for a new spot in the electrical connections/commutator/brush contact that will allow the starter to get current and roll over the engine.....it's easier with a manual gear box cause you can put the thing in say third and rock the vehicle back and forth a foot or so .....this feeds drive back thru the flywheel etc and tends to jog the starter/solenoid combo just like bumping it with a rod or something
 

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manifold slots to bump starter thru

the earlier and later bmw intake manifolds had slots you could peer thru/poke a rod at the starter body

https://www.google.com/search?q=bmw...AQIHQ&biw=1914&bih=1286#imgrc=gU5SnOAbcaBDaM:

for some reason only known in outer space they put some engines out with no slots ....so ....we ofter pop a 1/2 inch hole in the manifold web towards the rear to get easy access to test the starter and or bump it
 

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Discussion Starter #18
hope you got the links ....but ....just in case ....the bump is to move/assist the solenoid/starter motor to roll over just a bit and try for a new spot in the electrical connections/commutator/brush contact that will allow the starter to get current and roll over the engine.....it's easier with a manual gear box cause you can put the thing in say third and rock the vehicle back and forth a foot or so .....this feeds drive back thru the flywheel etc and tends to jog the starter/solenoid combo just like bumping it with a rod or something
I have an automatic. If I rock it in drive would this work?
 

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no ...autos don't respond to rock

for an 05 ....likely yours has the M54 engine ....gotta crawl under .....pop the vac canister off and get access that way .....or the 1/2 hole in the web from above .....also ....are y'all sure the battery is giving good north of 12 volts ????....terminals all tight etc etc
 
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