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Aloush 01-20-2011 10:55 PM

E46 pissing the F*** out of me.
Been holding back from posting for about a month now. Untill now, I gave up.
long story short. Car does not start. key in position 1 everything is on and in full power including fuel pump. turn it to position 2 and you here 1 click only.

Thought it was battery so I replaced that Under warranty with brand new ac delco battery. still same problem. Alternator giving perfect reading and working properly, only 1 year old. So finally i replaced my starter which was a mission to do. car ran and started great for 3 days after the starter. tonight i hop in it to go out and back to same problem. 1 stupid click is all i get.

P.S one night i tried starting and just gave me one click, left it till next morning and it started fine.


sparkybp 01-20-2011 11:17 PM

Battery voltage should be around 12.5 (fully charged)
After that check that you have minimal resistance between the negative terminal on the starter and any ground point on the vehicle chassis. Set your multi meter in continuity test mode and touch the two leads together. A continuous beep indicates you are in the correct position on the meter. Use this position to test for continuity between the negative terminal and a chosen ground point. If you can't get a good ground near by the starter run a wire from the negative battery terminal to where you are working and touch the other lead on the new wire. Post your results.

sparkybp 01-20-2011 11:21 PM

If you have a copy of any BMW BENTLEY manual it should have a detailed starter troubleshooting procedure which should be similar between most e36s e46 and whichever other BMW's use a similar starting circuit, starter and solenoid type.

Aloush 01-20-2011 11:29 PM

^^ i will try your method tomorrow. It could possibly be the ground on the starter, but when i took out the old starter and replaced it i made sure i tightened everything. Car ran fine for 3 days until today..

I also tested if there is any drain while the car is off and there isnt any after the comp goes into sleep mode.

sparkybp 01-20-2011 11:34 PM

Hopefully this isn't a major problem which is burning out your starters one after the other. I know in some rare cases it may seem like the starter is the problem and everything works out and shortly after you burn out the next one because the initial condition wasn't resolved. Usually when this happens though the starter slowly gives out and shows you signs of weakness when starting. If it worked great throughout the 3 days and died all of a sudden you may have another issue. Does it sound like the solenoid is what's making the one click? if the solenoid is engaging it would click fairly loud especially with the hood open. then it means your actual starter motor is not spinning up.

Aloush 01-21-2011 08:35 AM

what would usually kill a new starter? I understand with my old started it died after 11 years, but what would kill my new one?

MANDD 01-21-2011 03:33 PM

Make sure to check the engine to chassis ground strap. Should be at lower right front of motor/engine mount to body/chassis.


propr'one 01-21-2011 03:50 PM

check the wiring at the starter. It pulls lots of amps.

Aloush 01-21-2011 08:09 PM

Thanks to all who gave suggestions.

Its working for now. Turned out to be the engine ground wire thats on the passenger side like MANDD said. Even tho I have looked at it before i did everything and did a continuity test on it, once i took it out wire brushed it good and placed it back the car started turning on..

Thanks once again

Aloush 01-22-2011 11:01 PM

Exactly what I mean.... :mad:

like i said yesterday cleaned one of the grounds and car ran perfectly for the rest of the day. Come this morning and car would not start with the same problem.

Asking for help again..

EuroSpec_92 01-23-2011 03:37 AM

Make sure you battery terminals are hooked up tight. not just sitting on the posts.

Aloush 01-23-2011 01:36 PM

^^ all tight..

Fern3 01-23-2011 04:58 PM

I'm having the same issue with my e36. anyone know where the engine ground strap is located on e36s?

sparkybp 01-23-2011 08:10 PM

Re-Inspect that ground strap off the motor, do a continuity test between your motor and one of the bolts on the strut tower. If its oxidized enough wire brushing it will just prime it for the next layer of "rust" to get on there and render it unconductive sooner then you'd think. Also when I say "conductivity test" that is the basic test for "there is a connection" since the starter draws a high amount of current it also needs a good solid return. Just because it beeps doesn't mean its legit. Read the Ohmic Resistance Value from one end to the other of the strap and post it here. It should be very very minimal, considering they are using copper wire to make the strap its crucial that it has a very low resistance. You may need to purchase a new one or buy a insulated piece of thick copper wire crimp two rings on each end and rebolt it down as your new ground.

sparkybp 01-23-2011 08:12 PM

ground strap

Originally Posted by Fern3 (Post 1476850)
I'm having the same issue with my e36. anyone know where the engine ground strap is located on e36s?

IIRC it should be in the same place that MANDD mentioned for the e46. If the way he explained is confusing you at all, should be on the passenger side motor mount by the strut tower. Prolly easiest to see from underneath the car.

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