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Discussion Starter #1
My Z is a 2000 2.5 liter with 105K on the clock. It had a starting issue with it yesterday and before I start digging in to it I wanted to know if anyone else has experience a similar issue. I drove the car for the first time in a week or so for about 20 miles stopped for several errands and the car started up fine every time. Then I stopped for about an hour while I had lunch. When I tried to start, I got nothing. It has a relatively new battery and it had plenty of juice as all of the panel lights came on and the headlights lit up. The starter did not click or make any sound at all. I was able to push start the car and it fired right up and I drove home. When I got home it started fine. The starter has never shown any signs of having an issue or dying. My only guess is it is one of two issues, a lose connection at the starter or the alarm system. It has an aftermarket Clifford alarm installed by a previous owner and not the owner I bought it from who had no instructions for it and did not know how it operated. I have owned the car for over 2 years and never used the alarm or had any issue with it. Other than the lose starter connection or possibly the alarm, any other possible causes? Thanks
 

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The first thing to check are the battery connections. It happened to me once and when checking the connections they looked good, but I pulled them apart and put them back on anyway. It fixed my issue. Hope yours is just as simple.
 

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BMW CCA 1405
1997 BMW Z3 1.9
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5,177 Posts
... 2000 2.5 liter with 105K... When I tried to start, I got nothing. It has a relatively new battery... The starter did not click or make any sound at all... When I got home it started fine... guess is it is one of two issues, a lose connection at the starter or the alarm system...
Maybe a poor ground or connection at the battery. First and easiest action -- remove the terminal clamps, clean and put back on tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggestions and I have check all of the obvious causes and everything seems to check out. What are the chances I have a clutch interlock switch failing? Has anyone experience this and does it go all at once or does it fail over time and start causing periodic no start problems? Since the one incident the car has started fine.
 

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BMW CCA 1405
1997 BMW Z3 1.9
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5,177 Posts
Could be the clutch switch.

I changed my clutch pedal floor stop from the little OE plastic button, to big metal stop from UUC with a longer threaded stem. I wanted to reduce the pedal travel to the minimum.

I screwed the new stop upward about 1/2 inch, but the starter would not work. So I screwed it back down to where the old stop had been. The pedal must go to the floor to allow the starter to work, but I don't use that much travel for shifting.

I wondered if the clutch switch was adjustable, but didn't went to go up under the dash to find out.
If your OE pedal stop will screw down further, try that, and see if the starter works.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The clutch stop does not seem to be a problem. If I turn and hold the key to start and then press the clutch in it starts well before I hit the clutch stop. I think I have narrowed it down to two of the most obvious causes; either the clutch switch is failing intermittently (which I don’t know if it’s possible) or the starter. I have read other folks have had the same problem and traced it to a dead spot on the starter. When it hits that spot it will not start. So if and when it happens again I am going to try two things, pump the clutch a couple time to see if it’s an intermittent clutch switch and/or rock the car in gear to get it off the potential dead spot in the starter.
 

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BMW CCA 1405
1997 BMW Z3 1.9
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5,177 Posts
... a dead spot on the starter. When it hits that spot it will not start. ... am going to try... rock the car in gear to get it off the potential dead spot in the starter.
Is that a dead spot electrically or mechanically? I don't think either makes sense. But, can the starter gear get stuck on the flywheel?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is the description of a bad electrical spot on the starter. The other approach rather than using a hammer is to rock the car in gear to get it off the bad spot.

"You turn the key and nothing happens
2) You turn the key to start, and either nothing happens, or there is a very quiet single click . Sometimes if you keep trying it will start.
This starter is probably worn out also. There could be a wiring problem, anything from the key switch to any number of safety interlocks and antitheft devices, but most of the time it's the starter. On starters with the solenoid on top (GM, most others) the solenoid grounds through the starter brushes, so when the brushes make bad contact you get the "silent treatment" when you turn the key. The small wire going to the starter solenoid shouild get 12 volts or so when the key is turned to "start". If 12 volts is there and there is no action, then the starter is probably bad.

A CUTE TRICK

Often you can tap on the rear of a starter that does NOTHING: (that is, you turn the key and get only silence: no rr-rrr-rr sound) and make it start one more time. Use a regular hammer, and tap lightly on the side of the starter towards the rear.while an assistant holds the key in the "start" position. Very often the starter will spin the engine over one more time.


What happens is the brushes wear out in the starter, making a bad electric contact. Tapping on the back of the starter with a hammer jars the brushes back in place, where they'll make contact one more time. DON'T BE SORRY! USE THE FREE START TO GO GET IT FIXED!

After you do this the car may actually start a few more times, but IT WILL FAIL AGAIN! FIX IT"
 
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