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Old 01-17-2006, 06:00 PM   #1
SunnyC
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Help 1997 318IS Cold Start misfire / no start!

Basically, in colder weather (around zero degrees celsius) the car misfires on start up for about a minute or two then it clears itself up.

However, my biggest problem is at minus 10ish or colder (extreme cold) It does not want to start. It just does not want to turn over. It's like it's dead. Seems like no crank. I think this dead / no crank problem started right after we changed the spark plug wires and coolant temp sensor. After struggling and begging that it won't flood I can maybe get it to finally start. It really sounds like I'm doing damage though.

The Whitby BMW Dealer couldn't tell me for sure and neither could Lakeside Motors.

Parts changed in this order:

New Battery in 2003

Then winter 2004 (at approx 160,000km):

1. Coolant Temperature Sensor (apparently tells the computer temp and fuel required)

2. Spark Plug Wires (I think the cylinder 2 cable was arcing) I bought them aftermarket but they are the exact OEM wires that were on my car originally. I think only wire 2 was bad but they came as set.

Points 1. and 2. were changed at the same time.

3. Idle Control Valve Apparently they also cleaned my injectors and they tested my coil by swapping with a used one they had. It also cost me approx 2hrs of troubleshooting (maybe a month later than 1 and 2)

4. Thermostat (unrelated to start problem but it was definitely stuck open)

5. Crank Case Vent Valve and hose (Changed by Whitby BMW) plus 2 hrs of troubleshooting
6. Spark Plugs (from BMW) (I changed after i got the car back from Whitby BMW)

7. Diverter Valve (i've been told that this is not start related, only emissions related)

8. Cam Sensor (a fault code was in the computer) Changed a month ago.

I think that's it for parts..... the last I was told was that the expect that it is an injector problem but nobody can tell me for sure. The misfire fault was on cylinders 2 and 3 after the cam sensor was changed. After changing all these parts, I still have the problem although the misfire is not as harsh. My biggest problem is the no start when the car is frozen.

On a side note: Once in a while (one every 50 starts) when the car is warm I'll get the long cranking duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh sound but it's starts after a few seconds with no misfire (actually sounds like a honda or a toyota)

Any ideas? Could it be my starter? Ignition coil? Crank Sensor? Injectors? Fuel Problem? Computer?

Thanks!

Last edited by SunnyC; 01-17-2006 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 01-18-2006, 08:57 AM   #2
Hasselhoff
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For the misfire problem, here's what I would try:

Start the engine and let it misfire for a short period of time. Turn it off, then pull the all the spark plugs and compare the number 2 and 3 plugs to the rest of them. If you're having an ignition problem, the plugs should smell strongly of gas and may also be wet, compared to the others. If it's a fuel delivery problem, the plugs will be dry and no different than the rest. This'll at least give you an idea of where to start investigating further.

For your starting problem - is your car failing to turn over (ie. starter not cranking the engine over)? Or is it cranking over, but not starting?

Edit - have a look at this thread http://maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64462
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:07 AM   #3
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... I need more information, as Hasselhoff asked... does the car even turn over in extreme cold, click even?.. or completely dead? Do the lights / accessory functions work in the car?

Also, is your ambient temperature sensor in tact? (The reading on your OBC accurate?). Your ECU uses this to adjust the air/fuel mixture in colder temperatures when starting the car.
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Old 01-18-2006, 06:51 PM   #4
SunnyC
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Thanks for the advice......I'm going to try and clarify the no start condition. I'm even thinking of video taping the sound in the morning....and posting that. It's just too hard to describe in words. As soon as it gets frigid I'll get out there and tape it.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyC
Thanks for the advice......I'm going to try and clarify the no start condition. I'm even thinking of video taping the sound in the morning....and posting that. It's just too hard to describe in words. As soon as it gets frigid I'll get out there and tape it.
.. is it a loud grinding sound?
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:24 AM   #6
SunnyC
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It's not a loud grinding sound........maybe a better description is that the engine is "stiff" or is binding in the really cold temps. I'm trying to think of the sound a car makes when it has a battery with low cranking amps. Except I have a new BMW battery from the dealer .....actually a 328 (not 318) battery because it was recommended for me to do that by the dealer.

Not sure if this is relevant, I changed the battery in 2003. HOWEVER, the battery was already a Sears replacement. I was upset with Sears but they told me that they didn't see a problem with the cranking amps. The new battery I bought (3rd battery on a 1997 car) seemed to help when i first changed it (I'm having a hard time remembering because I've changed so much stuff). Does that help? Thanks for your help!
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:55 AM   #7
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What you're describing sounds like a slow crank or hard start condition... like the starter's having a hard time turning the engine over.

This is usually caused by the starter motor/system creating an excessive draw on the battery - either because the starter's worn internally, or due to a bad connection to the battery. In most cases (that I've seen at least), the culprit is a bad connection at the starter.

First thing I'd do is have a look at the wire connections at the starter motor. Check for any rust, corrosion or worn/frayed wires. Disconnect the wires and clean the starter terminals and connector ends on the wires with some med-fine grit sandpaper (make sure you disconnect the neg cable on the battery first!). Also have a look to make sure the starter wires are in good shape and aren't worn through anywhere.

If that doesn't help at all, it's more than likely an internal problem with your starter. You can remove it and have it bench tested at a shop to confirm if it's gone or not. In most cases, if you take it to a good starter motor repair shop, they can rebuild it for you at a fraction of the cost of a new/refurbished unit.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:58 AM   #8
mirek
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i dont want to read everything, but have you tried push starting your car when it wont start?
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:35 PM   #9
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Could be a constant draw off the battery taking the much needed amps away during the night to turn over quickly. If you do not use the car say for 5 days is the battery dead?
A leaking diode in the alternator will do this (my old Audi had this problem). Plus on top of stealing power from the battery when not charging, it would cut the amperage away to stop charging the bat any more then 50-60%. Would always turn over slowly unless I used a battery charger then it would turn over like every other car . Same effect from the cold but thicker oil made cranking engine over much slower kinda like what you describe.
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Old 01-25-2006, 10:58 AM   #10
SunnyC
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Hasselhoff....i think my next attempt will be the starter......any idea how difficult it is to access on the 318IS? I don't know cuz i haven't looked yet. I will have it bench tested.....actually i'll leave it outside, let it freeze then have it bench tested.....

mirek.....the car is an automatic and no i have not tried that....mainly because if i'm driving a 'bmw' the damn thing should start

jeffrie......thanks for the reply.....the battery doesn't go dead over a few day period if i don't drive it......i've even tried boosting it while trying to start it.......that doesn't help.
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:11 AM   #11
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I don't think it's too hard to access the starter on your car. You'll have to get at it from underneath. Charlie may be your best option if you don't have the space to do it yourself, or a mechanic you bring it to.

Here's another quick test you can perform before bench testing your starter (taken from the Bentley manual):

Turn on your headlights before attempting to start the engine and leave them on while you try. If the lights go out, the battery cable may be loose or the starter may have a short circuit. If they stay on, the starter solenoid is most likely at fault.
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:46 AM   #12
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replacing a starter on a 318 is horrible. The bolts are at a 45' angle and hard to reach, Make your life easier and get ujoint and long exension. Or save yourself the trouble and get a mechanic to do it.
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:06 PM   #13
SunnyC
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Hasselhoff, who's Charlie?

Mirek, I should have a long extension. I have a few Premium Socketsets from Canadian Tire......what is a ujoint?
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:14 PM   #14
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Charlie owns Bimmersport and has worked on many Max member's cars. You'll sometimes see his ad at the top of pages - click on it, or use this link here:
http://www.bimmersport.ca/
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Old 01-25-2006, 03:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasselhoff
Charlie owns Bimmersport and has worked on many Max member's cars. You'll sometimes see his ad at the top of pages - click on it, or use this link here:
http://www.bimmersport.ca/
I'll vouch for charlie. he's good.

This is what i'm talkin about

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