1991e36 320i starter relay or inhibitor switch

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  1. 1991e36 320i starter relay or inhibitor switch 
    #1
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    mech_minded's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    320i
    Year of Manufacture:
    1991
    Transmission Type:
    Automatic
    Car Body Type:
    Saloon

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    Hi all,

    The starter motor is rotating when the ignition key is in it's final position but the starter gear is not engaging with the flywheel ring gear...I renewed the starter motor with a remanufactured bosch item but still have the same situation. I think the solenoid is not being energised. The haynes wiring diagram shows the black/green wire from terminal 50 on the starter going to the stater relay and this in turn is energised via the inhibitor switch (automatic transmission). Can someone tell me where the starter relay is located and where the inhibitor switch is? How do I test these?

    Many thanks, m_m
     
     

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    #2
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    E36Coupe328's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    328 + 325
    Year of Manufacture:
    1995 + 1994
    Transmission Type:
    Manual
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    Generally the starter solenoid (which is actually a really heavy duty relay itself) is an electro magnet.

    Now a normal relay uses the electromagnet to operate a heavy duty switch, where as a starter solenoid also uses this to operate a fork (kind of like a clutch fork) to engage the starter in the flywheel.

    Basically as you hear it spin, none of the stuff inside the car is the issue (unless it is like no starter I have ever seen)

    That leaves faulty, which is unlikely or poor or incorrectly attached connections.

    Now some solenoid designs feature an exra spade terminal designed to give a good 12V feed to other systems while cranking which I have known people to connect to by mistake before and may spin the starter but not operate the solenoid. Unlikely though.


    If it was mine I would provide an independant live feed to the terminal used to trigger the solenoid to test but it's not mine.


    No warranty of any kind implied or given and no liability for any loss, damage or injury, no matter how incurred accepted.

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    mech_minded (01-11-2011)

  5. starter relay and inhibitor switch 
    #3
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    Car Details
    mech_minded's Car Details
    Model of Car:
    320i
    Year of Manufacture:
    1991
    Transmission Type:
    Automatic
    Car Body Type:
    Saloon

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Kent
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    many thanks for the reply, I'm sure that the starter is wired correctly as the connectors are sized to fit each terminal stud. Like you say the 3rd and smallest stud on the solenoid provides a feed to another circuit (the central locking I think). The starter spins but does not engage the flywheel ring-gear when I try to start but it will start with an additional 12v supply to the solenoid as you recommended...this suggests that there is either a problem with another component (starter relay, the auto transmission inhibitor switch or the ignition switch?). I would like to test these and need the location of the relay and inhibitor switch in the car. I had followed the black and green wire from the solenoid to the wiring loom (over the back of the engine) where it splits to go to the diagnostic socket on the o/s of the engine bay by the strut tower and also to the bottom of the fuse box on the nearside of the engine bay. I also took out each relay and done a continuity test from the black/green wire at the solenoid to each terminal for the relays in the fuse box... but there is no continuity there. There is continuity at the female pin (17) in the top of the connector though. I'm at a loss with what to do now..
     
     

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    #4
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    E36Coupe328's Car Details
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    Well as you have shown above only 1 wire is required to operate the solenoid

    Typically the inhibitor switch interrupts the switched live from the key.

    All the above are therfore working as the motor spins when you operate the key.

    That points to insufficient current for it to operate properly.

    If there is a relay switching the final stage that goes to the solenoid that is a good place to look.

    Then again a wire mostly snapped off, frayed, cracked or corroded could increase resistance / reduce current and therfore give your symptoms.

    Let me know if there is a relay switching that wire feed to the solenoid as I can't be bothered to look.

    Additionally make sure the earth lead on the right engine mount is in good order too both on the body and the mount, although these bolts are prone to snapping.

    If it was my Manta I might use a thick jump lead to add a temporary earth to the body from one of the iron engine mounts to rule out the earth but it isn't my Manta and powdery alloy engine mounts don't make a good connection with clamps.

    Oh yeah, I never recommed anything, no warranty implied or given and no liability of any kind accepted for any loss or injury no matter how incurred.

    A poor way to get around this would be to add a relay that is triggered by the original wire that flows insufficient current, if that is indeed the cause, and relays a good fused live

    However this does not get to the bottom of the issue, you could have a complete failure to deal with in that circuit later or worse a burn out. It would merely be a tactical fix to get to work.


    No warranty of any kind implied or given and no liability for any loss, damage or injury, no matter how incurred accepted.

    Free Gas Kit* now fitted to free 328*

    *Based on ROI period exceeded
     
     

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