View Full Version : Help starter not engaging flywheel!!

04-05-2004, 12:01 AM
Heres the issue. I have a 1990 325i engine and a 87 325is 5 spd tranny and flywheel. I used the starter from the 1990. I tried to start the car but the starter dosent contact the flywheel. I pulled out the starter but it is working perfectly. I also made sure it was mounted correctly. The 1990 was a auto now a 5spd. Would there be a different starter for the 90 5 speed Vs auto or a different one for the 87 Vs 90 tranny?. Or possibily a different flywheel for the 87 Vs 90. I want to make sure io go get the right parts to get it going again.:confused:

I am stuck and need some serious help*sad*

04-05-2004, 12:52 AM
Uhhh, different ring gears? I'd just get a used/reman starter from an 87 5spd... It'd be worth the time...

Here's the simple concept:

It's an 87 flywheel, logic says an 87 5spd starter will work on it, if this doesn't work, return starter, get 90 flywheel, and 90 starter, and you're set.

However, I'm quite sure an 87 starter will work. I imagine a 90 would too, just has to be manual instead of auto. My Jeep 4l (Renix) was an auto, and the starter didn't work on a real flywheel.

04-05-2004, 01:25 AM
easiest thing would be to get a 87 starter but when i looked it up on a wrecker website it list them as the same. so i went to bav auto..same thing..same starter for 87-90. auto or manual

04-05-2004, 04:26 AM
when i rebuilt my motor, i got a new gear fot the starter, just to save future problems. The one that was listed for my car was smaller then the one that was in it already. And i had the same problem. I just put the old one back in. What i suggest you do, is take the center gear out, take it to a parts store or wrecker. and compare the two. there should only be to sizes. You may have to get it out of a 5 series. i don't know if they would be different, but they did make two type of starters for some reason. I don't think the auto or standard trannie makes a diff, because the one that i put in my car was out of an auto and it worked fine on my 5sp.

04-05-2004, 05:58 AM
It sounds like the solenoid isn't engaging. When you took it out to test it, you said the starter worked, but did the solenoid move the gear out horizontally on its axis? When you tested it, did you use the same pins as the car uses?

When you turn the key, if you just hear a whirring sound it is most likely that you connected the wrong terminals. You have to use the bottom terminal on the starter, not the top one (the top one just makes the starter spin). It is an easy mistake to make, I have done it before. When you turn the key, do you actually hear the solenoid click?

In my '76 2002, I have an M20 engine from an '89 325i automatic (with the starter from the automatic) bolted to a single-mass flywheel from an '86 325e. I don't see any reason why your setup would not work, it just sounds like a solenoid problem.


04-05-2004, 07:59 PM
The dealer said it requires a dual masss flywheel.since it is a 90 engine. I didnt see the starter going on a axsis just horizontal.

04-06-2004, 05:01 AM
Hmm... I'm pretty sure all the US 325i manual cars had single-mass flywheels. Oh well, the dual will work.

Yeah, if the hear doesn't move out horizontally and start spinning, then the solenoid is your problem. Either it isn't hooked up right or it is broken. The starter doesn't spin with the engine all of the time - it only contacts the ring of the flywheel to start the car, then it retracts.

04-07-2004, 02:16 AM
Well i will take it out and see if i can get it looked at tommorrow. I am sure it was working but ..I will get a second opinion. If that fails it is out with the engine and tranny. I will take off the flywheel and see if i can get one that works..Not looking forward to all that.

04-07-2004, 03:07 AM
That really sucks man...i hope things work out for ya


04-07-2004, 04:08 AM
Are you using the upper starter terminal or the lower one? Seriously, don't start taking the transmission out yet!!! This is a common problem, use the lower starter terminal!

You said that when you tested the starter, the gear didn't move out horizontally. Believe me, it has to! That is the only way it will engage with the gear on the flywheel! This is a starter motor or wiring problem, nothing more.

04-07-2004, 04:14 AM
Here, I even have a picture to make it easy for you:

I have been through this before (I drew this picture at the time). If you are turning the key, and all you hear is a whirring sound, you have the upper terminal(#3 in the pic), not the lower one. The black/yellow wire must connect to point #2 in the diagram, it is the lower grey circle. This is a connection to the solenoid.

If you don't understand the pic or something let me know... seriously man... it would suck to pull the tranny and find out that this is the problem.

04-11-2004, 05:46 PM
The starter is definatley working. I did what you said and used the bottom terminal, still only get the click and spin. It is comming out butnot far enough to engage. I wonder if it is possible that the flywheel is on backwards?. Well All options have been exhausted...out with the engine I guess.Well I guess i will be a pro at this when i am done. When i figure it out i will let you guys know. Hope it wasent something stupid.