1996 E36 318iS Coupe - Inconsistent Alarm behaviour/non-starting

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  1. 1996 E36 318iS Coupe - Inconsistent Alarm behaviour/non-starting 
    #1
    BMW Master
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    Markie76's Car Details
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    Hi Guys,

    This post is coming out of my 318IS not starting thread (http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...anding-t61507/)

    Basically, got this car Nov2009 - all working fine. Got another car May2010 so this car was parked on the drive and started a couple of time a week but not used daily. Oct2010 refused to start one day and in 3 months has started about 5 times randomly. It has a Scorpion 1218T alarm fitted which seems to work fine - on testing the 2 immobilised circuit outputs they have continuity hen disarmed, but car doesn't start. EWS circuit working ok and 'on' constantly with the transponder key taped inside the antenna.

    Can anyone help with the following;
    I've noticed that when I connect the battery (bonnet obviously open) sometimes the alarm goes off and sometimes it doesn't - but in both instances the alarm fob and everything seems to work ok.

    When the alarm GOES OFF on connecting the battery, the car will start when cranked. But then when switched off (say overnight) and left it doesn't start when alarm de-armed & cranked.

    When the alarm DOESN'T GO OFF on connecting the battery, the car refuses to start when cranked. But the DME relay is getting power and the 2 immobilised circuit outputs have continuity on them. Cycling the alarm with the keyfob - the relays in the alarm box click as normal but makes no difference.

    I have checked the plugs into the alarm box and there is one connector (no 6 on the big block - I believe is the starter circuit) which has melted the plastic around the metal tab. I have checked continuity between the wire and pcb connection in the alarm box and it seems fine.
    Also it looks like wiring from a previous alarm (same connectors as current alarm) is still in place into the loom with some wires cut at the connectors.

    Any suggestions gratefully received

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
     

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    #2
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    billywhizz1984's Car Details
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    I'd cut the alarm out when you know the car is starting.
     
     

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    #3
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    Markie76's Car Details
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    Quote Originally Posted by billywhizz1984 View Post
    I'd cut the alarm out when you know the car is starting.
    Can you explain what you mean by that?
     
     

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    #4
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    hugo318iss's Car Details
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    does it crank when it fails to start or nothing at all?
    318IS PROJECT
    On the to do list:
    Fit: Supercharger, New exhaust - get a twin pipe, Vibe front speakers , Front splitter repair/respray install

    To do :Poss refurb wheels, Sort dents, Put front lights back to OEM, Respray, Remap

    Sideways is the only way forward
     
     

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    #5
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    joylove's Car Details
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markie76 View Post
    I have checked the plugs into the alarm box and there is one connector (no 6 on the big block - I believe is the starter circuit) which has melted the plastic around the metal tab.
    That's some series heat generation (tens of amps flowing in the connector) with a possible risk of fire and burnt out wiring.

    I'd strongly consider removing or carefully redoing all the wiring.

    The alarm may not be salvageable.
     
     

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    #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hugo318iss View Post
    does it crank when it fails to start or nothing at all?
    surely if it didn't crank I wouldn't have said it failed to start...

    To recap, it cranks ok whenever you turn the ignition key - the only time it doesn't crank is if you take the coded key out of the antenna
     
     

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    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by joylove View Post
    That's some series heat generation (tens of amps flowing in the connector) with a possible risk of fire and burnt out wiring.
    Well is it? Wouldn't this be the feed to the solenoid on the starter motor rather than a direct connection from the battery to the starter motor?

    Quote Originally Posted by joylove View Post
    I'd strongly consider removing or carefully redoing all the wiring.

    The alarm may not be salvageable.
    Well, before doing anything, surely need to find out whats wrong
    Don't see the need for redoing the wiring as it was working fine before and nothing 'new' has been done to it since. I agree if a fault or error is found in the wiring it should be redone - but not blindly. I've seen melted connectors before due to working loose and resulting in arcing - a melted/burnt out connector on its own is not a conclusive diagnosis.

    Again, I agree if there is a fault with the alarm it should be replaced. BUT up to now, there is no solid evidence yet it is faulty as it does everything it says on the box, arms, disarms, central locking, total closure.

    At the moment all we know for sure is that there still is an unidentified starting issue - and I don't like it

    The whole alarm going off or not on connecting the battery might be a complete red herring with regards to it not starting....
    Last edited by Markie76; 14-04-2011 at 11:01. Reason: further thoughts....
     
     

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    #8
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    Difflock's Car Details
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    Hi, I'm new to BMW's, so don't know the systems in question that well, yet. Am I right in thinking the EWS is the immobiliser part of the anti-theft device, is a BMW designed system, and is independent of any aftermarket alarm system? When you say that the "EWS is 'on' constantly", is that the condition it should be in? Surely, when everything is de-activated, ignition key cranking the engine, the immobiliser should be in the 'off' state?

    Please forgive my ignorance if I'm wrong; as I say I'm new to BMW's.


    ....."Shop Local."
     
     

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    #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markie76 View Post
    Well is it? Wouldn't this be the feed to the solenoid on the starter motor rather than a direct connection from the battery to the starter motor?


    Well, before doing anything, surely need to find out whats wrong
    Don't see the need for redoing the wiring as it was working fine before and nothing 'new' has been done to it since. I agree if a fault or error is found in the wiring it should be redone - but not blindly. I've seen melted connectors before due to working loose and resulting in arcing - a melted/burnt out connector on its own is not a conclusive diagnosis.

    Again, I agree if there is a fault with the alarm it should be replaced. BUT up to now, there is no solid evidence yet it is faulty as it does everything it says on the box, arms, disarms, central locking, total closure.

    At the moment all we know for sure is that there still is an unidentified starting issue - and I don't like it

    The whole alarm going off or not on connecting the battery might be a complete red herring with regards to it not starting....
    Agreed on most of your points, but do you have the wiring diagram and a multimeter, fluke battery scope and some sort of current probe, plus the time and persistence to debug the wiring pin-by-pin, then on to the alarm with an oscilloscope? Noone here is likely to be able to assist in your non BMW wiring issue, not out of malice, but simply because we have never seen one before.

    If the system was working fine, then suddenly enough current is flowing in the connector to melt it (rating on the connector is probably 10A per pin) then that means you have serious issues. You don't want 10A flowing in that alarm, simple as that. The alarm will activate relays only which need 100mA.

    I would unplug it until you find the fault. You may never find the fault, the alarm may simply have aged and a component has failed, this is easily a possibility.

    Unplugging the alarm will also identify if it is the source of your starting woes.

    How much are replacement alarm brains on eBay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Difflock View Post
    Hi, I'm new to BMW's, so don't know the systems in question that well, yet. Am I right in thinking the EWS is the immobiliser part of the anti-theft device, is a BMW designed system, and is independent of any aftermarket alarm system?.
    Yes. It is solely based around a chip in the key, an antenna ring in the ignition barrel and a black transceiver box under the steering wheel that can disable the engine via the DME/fuel pump etc.

    This installer has glued the chip from the key to a location near the antenna ring to bypass the EWS immobiliser.
     
     

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    #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by joylove View Post
    Agreed on most of your points, but do you have the wiring diagram and a multimeter, fluke battery scope and some sort of current probe, plus the time and persistence to debug the wiring pin-by-pin, then on to the alarm with an oscilloscope? Noone here is likely to be able to assist in your non BMW wiring issue, not out of malice, but simply because we have never seen one before.
    Wiring diagram sort of - have the wire out colour code definition.
    Mutimeter - yes, battery scope, oscilloscope & current probe no.
    Time - no, persistence - some.

    Aren't the 'pinouts' on alarm brains some sort of standard in the market as with other areas of electronics?

    What I was hoping for is someone on the forum who may have come across a similar issue before and could give pointers.

    If I was to go down the replacement 'brain' route I would opt for getting a latest model - I have looked on ebay but no auctions for this model. Besides there no point trying to put out the fire by throwing water at the smoke...
     
     

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