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Discussion Starter #1
Long standing intermittent problem...

I have intermittent starting issues where key turning will produce "sticking solenoid" type clicking but no engine fire up....then it will start OK after clicks ranging from 1 to 5 at times.
This can happen when engine cold or warm.

I have replaced starter motor (BMW), ignition switch (BMW), unloader relays, but problem still recurring.

I know that faulty inhibitor switch is next on my list of causes....anyone have any good or bad experiences or knowledge of this item...how do you know it is that item before spending a lot of cash replacing it and possibly not curing anything.

It could be faulty starter motor I suppose that I could replace under warranty but I would think unlikely being only 17 months old.

Help please
Hayden
 

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My immediate thought is some high resistance in the wiring to the starter motor that you haven't eliminated yet. Also, have you checked the cranking voltage - could it just be a battery? Anyway, worth checking all the battery connections are clean, secure and bright along with everywhere those heavy cables go. Check for corrosion etc. Check the big fusible links. That sort of thing. It won't take much resistance in the circuit to cause problems.

As ever - you are not a million miles away - if you want a second opinion and a cup of tea, bring it round :D
 

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I actually have a starter problems as well, but its a little funny.. and was wondering what ppl think..

It is garage parked everyday and I never have problems starting it every morning.. (when it is garaged)
Although when it is parked on the street fr a short while, it does not start in the first go.. (a bit embarrassing when some ppl r like 'nice car' and then it does not start ;) hahah )

And the second go is bit of a struggle as well.. but it does start ..

But then again, once in a while it does start on the first go when parked on the street as well.. rarely though ..

At first i thought it is just the cold weather..
but its hitting summer now here and it is isnt particularly, wat i call 'cold'
(one had the car parked in the sun for 30mins or so and coming bck to it - it choked) ..

So I am just a bit flustered ..

Any advice or pointers would be much appreciated!!

THANK YOU!!
 

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Where the car struggles to start after a period of non-use, the problem is often the failure of the one-way valve in the fuel pump. When the car is not running the fuel-rail pressure is meant to be maintained for long periods. When the valve starts to leak the pressure slowly drops - as the fuel pump does not run until the engine is cranked (it only runs when the engine is cranking or running), the fuel-rail pressure has to build up during the start, and that takes time, sometimes not reaching pressure during the first attempt.

The fuel-rail pressure can be tested to confirm this using a 'T' piece and a simple gauge. Someone on the E38 Forum tested his at the valve on the fuel-rail with a tyre-pressure gauge!
 

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The fuel rail on an E38 has a test point (a schrader valve) and the E31 does not (unfortunately). I spent hours testing this and you have to be careful to read the testing instructions carefully not to jump to conclusions. The nominal pressure seems to drop off quite a bit as soon as the pump stops and then maintains that pressure for an extended period. If it doesn't it could be any number of things. I had a problem with the fuel pressure regulator passing. A bit of logical thought and clamping the rubber fuel pipes in different places gets to the bottom of it by elimination. Having said that, this all took me days of abuse and sweary-words :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
just an update to this problem.....

turned out to be starter interlock relay.....BMW also replaced starter motor under warranty so hopefully all bases covered.

Cheers lads.

Hayden
 

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thanks for the info guys..

but still wondering.. what is with this problem only occuring if i park it on the street.... ?
Because i have never had this problem when taking it out of the garage..

thats one thing i am really curious about...
any clues ?
I am not technically sound so I have to take it down to my mechanic ... would like some info before i go down there ..

cheers
 

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HD840, glad u sorted problem, but for others with same problem could u tell me location of starter interlock solenoid?
Regards Kev.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HD840, glad u sorted problem, but for others with same problem could u tell me location of starter interlock solenoid?
Regards Kev.
Hi Kev

BMW technician did the job and had to search internet to help him to find it.
It should be in fuse box and make everybody's life easier.

He tells me it is down front passenger side inside the sill.
It seems that the side surrounding speaker has to come off.

Hope this helps.
Hayden
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well....problem has re-appeared.

6 months have elapsed with no problems after previous Starter Relay and Starter replacement, but now the problem is back.

This time the click (or more a tinny donk) happens only on first turn every time after standing all night, OK on second turn and thereafter through the day.

Help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Think I may have "sorted" my problem, when the clicking happens the shift is in P position.If I put it in N, it always starts!!Seems it may be an adjustment issue?
What do you think
 

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Well....problem has re-appeared.

6 months have elapsed with no problems after previous Starter Relay and Starter replacement, but now the problem is back.

This time the click (or more a tinny donk) happens only on first turn every time after standing all night, OK on second turn and thereafter through the day.

Help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Year ago,I had an identical issue that forced me to be towed to the "steelers"
Needs a new starter they said, that will be 150 quid, and by the way we had to fast charge your battery.!
Car ok for a few days, then identical fault again.
This time I metered the batteries and as expectedcell and voltage was down.
Back to the "steelers", jump up and down, replace the original non-faulty starter, get new batteries and the fault never recurred.
Funny, bill was just the same.!
I learnt to always check the batteries voltage whenever I had spurious either apparent solenoid starter faults, or car going into safe mode etc.
 

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Certainly well worth checking the battery voltage - catches everyone at some point. But, if it always starts in Neutral then it could well be the selector switch that lives on the side of the gearbox - or that the cable that runs from the shifter to the selector mechanism doesn't quite make it into Park - check that 'P' is shown on the dash!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
with regard to battery voltage checking:

what is minimum voltage reading (for each battery ?) below which the car will not start.

Thanks.
Hayden
 

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On a healthy (but discharged) battery, the 0% state-of-charge is determined from this table:



....but an unhealthy battery even showing 100% state-of-charge may fail to even engage the starter.
 

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Personally, I would take a reading at the charge point under the bonnet. You would be looking at 12.6V or above. The batteries are wired in parallel so if you measure at the batteries and they are different you've got an even more interesting problem ;-)
 
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