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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > Just replaced starter



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      10-30-2017, 03:08 PM   #45
cparke
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I have a developing problem with my 2006 BMW 330i that I'm unsure if it is the starter. That's because the problem isn't directly a starter cranking issue. Rather, on an intermittent basis, it seems the ECU is disabling the car from going into ignition 'ON' mode. When this happens, key will lock/unlock doors and put the car into 'ACCESSORY' mode just fine, but you can't get it into 'ON' mode! Pushing the Start / On button, even without holding it or pressing the brake pedal, just cycles the car between OFF and ACCESSORY. It's not possible to turn on the headlights, see the Check Engine light, or Check Control, or other instrument cluster indicators. Cranking is not possible, even if you press the pedal and 'start' button at same time. Just the clock and mileage are displayed while in accessory mode.

So far, it's been the case for me that if I wait a little while with the key out, and then try, car will then start right up (or switch to 'ON' mode without cranking if not holding the button and brake pedal), no trouble at all! In some ways, that' even more bad, since the condition is seemingly transient. I'd like to know if this condition has been found by anyone else to actually be a bad starter (or more particularly, bad starter solenoid or bad starter relay) beginning to fail? As the computer into these cars disables certain functionality when it can readily detect that it is not working, such as a light bulb out, or even washer pump seized (in the latter case, windshield wipers don't even move). So I'm wondering if something similar to that is what is happening here? (i.e. computer detects a short or open circuit in starter or starter solenoid, doesn't allow 'ON' mode)

It's a lot of work to change the starter, would really hurt me if I get all that work done unnecessarily because these symptoms don't even indicate starter is the issue! Would appreciate confirmation if anyone else has seen similar behavior and found a faulty starter to be the issue...

Last edited by cparke; 10-30-2017 at 03:15 PM.
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      10-30-2017, 04:36 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cparke View Post
I have a developing problem with my 2006 BMW 330i that I'm unsure if it is the starter. That's because the problem isn't directly a starter cranking issue. Rather, on an intermittent basis, it seems the ECU is disabling the car from going into ignition 'ON' mode. When this happens, key will lock/unlock doors and put the car into 'ACCESSORY' mode just fine, but you can't get it into 'ON' mode! Pushing the Start / On button, even without holding it or pressing the brake pedal, just cycles the car between OFF and ACCESSORY. It's not possible to turn on the headlights, see the Check Engine light, or Check Control, or other instrument cluster indicators. Cranking is not possible, even if you press the pedal and 'start' button at same time. Just the clock and mileage are displayed while in accessory mode.

So far, it's been the case for me that if I wait a little while with the key out, and then try, car will then start right up (or switch to 'ON' mode without cranking if not holding the button and brake pedal), no trouble at all! In some ways, that' even more bad, since the condition is seemingly transient. I'd like to know if this condition has been found by anyone else to actually be a bad starter (or more particularly, bad starter solenoid or bad starter relay) beginning to fail? As the computer into these cars disables certain functionality when it can readily detect that it is not working, such as a light bulb out, or even washer pump seized (in the latter case, windshield wipers don't even move). So I'm wondering if something similar to that is what is happening here? (i.e. computer detects a short or open circuit in starter or starter solenoid, doesn't allow 'ON' mode)

It's a lot of work to change the starter, would really hurt me if I get all that work done unnecessarily because these symptoms don't even indicate starter is the issue! Would appreciate confirmation if anyone else has seen similar behavior and found a faulty starter to be the issue...
If I were you I would follow these steps...

1 Check the ground straps to make sure they are rust free?

2 Do a load test on your battery

3 Check for voltage going starter using a voltmeter

4 Replace starter
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      10-31-2017, 03:57 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by GoRomeo View Post
If I were you I would follow these steps...

1 Check the ground straps to make sure they are rust free?

2 Do a load test on your battery

3 Check for voltage going starter using a voltmeter

4 Replace starter
Nice checklist! However, these don't check the relay, IBS, immobilizer, or fuel pump problems. The issue clearly is something that the computer has identified and disabled starting without further cranking the starter.

Steps 1-3 pass, so that not knowing any better, that means step 4. However, as the car is starting again, these tests aren't helpful because they can only indicate something wrong while the car isn't starting.

Really would like confirmation that this is symptomatic of what the BMW engine computer does when it detects a bad starter. So guess I'll have to wait until it happens again, and then be prepared to act quickly and test immediately!
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      10-31-2017, 04:36 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by cparke View Post
Nice checklist! However, these don't check the relay, IBS, immobilizer, or fuel pump problems. The issue clearly is something that the computer has identified and disabled starting without further cranking the starter.

Steps 1-3 pass, so that not knowing any better, that means step 4. However, as the car is starting again, these tests aren't helpful because they can only indicate something wrong while the car isn't starting.

Really would like confirmation that this is symptomatic of what the BMW engine computer does when it detects a bad starter. So guess I'll have to wait until it happens again, and then be prepared to act quickly and test immediately!
Yes and no...

N52 engines are not known for having issues with the list you described sorry. From my experience and from this forum.. I can almost tell you your starter is on the way out. Or your battery?

Yes it might start once or twice but that does not mean your starter is good...cheers!
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      11-01-2017, 10:08 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by GoRomeo View Post
From my experience and from this forum.. I can almost tell you your starter is on the way out. Or your battery?
I cannot absolutely rule out battery since I know it is not new or registered properly with IBS. However, I really doubt it, and indirectly can rule it out, save for BMW car electronics programming that thinks it knows better. Two of the three times that this happened on Sunday were shortly after the car had previously been started and driven for some time. Battery has a surface charge in these circumstances.

Whatsmore, as I described, after just giving up and sitting in the car with key removed, helpless for just a few minutes, the electronics apparently resets itself and again allows 'ON' and 'START' mode, and further upon invoking START at this point, it starts right up with no cranking issues whatsoever! There also was no 'LOW BATTERY' indicator on the instrument cluster when 'ON' mode came back (which I got into without pressing brake or attempting start). Hard to believe the battery itself is incapable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRomeo View Post
Yes it might start once or twice but that does not mean your starter is good...cheers!
It's starting consistently without any trouble since the 3 episodes this past Sunday, not just once or twice! Even after sitting 24+ hours parked. Again, that makes me doubt battery itself could be the issue. People in these forums do seem to report classic symptoms of starter failure, but my car blocked me from even trying!

Still could be starter nevertheless?
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      11-08-2017, 11:48 AM   #50
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Just tried again to replace the starter and this time I am able to do it successfully.
I did not remove the intake manifold completely. Just moved it aside enough to access the 2 bolts holding the starter. My starter also seized to the housing so it takes some prying to get it out. I used the E14 wrench to take the bolt out near the firewall. Very tight space and takes a lot of patience. Now the car starts like new.
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