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Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 11:26 a.m.

I bought this car: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/cars-sale/my-e46-325xi-kart/205087/page1/

And my thought was to do a crazy drive to the challenge and compete and then sell. Unfortunately, after a nearly flawless drive home sunday afternoon from the seller, the car is now cranking but not starting. Here's the full story:

1. Pickup car from seller. Have a good time chatting with GRMer as I always do. He sends me on my way, car starts and runs just fine. Drive home, car got a lot of attention on the highway, as the seller promised it would haha. What I did notice though is that from time to time the car would cut out momentarily, the cluster would freak out, but then it would come right back. Honestly if you weren't watching the gauges you would hardly notice. Still - does not bode well for an impending 2000 mile road trip. 

2. Get home, park car in my driveway. Notice big power cable has been shorting on the exhaust manifold. "There's the cutout issue, easy fix." I thought. Waited for car to cool down, wrapped cable with electrical tape where the manifold had melted the shielding away, and moved the cable away from the manifold a bit. 

3. Got back in car to move into garage. Crank no start. hmmmmmmm. Text seller, he said the car did not hot restart one time under his ownership, but otherwise has had no issues. 

4. Checked all the fuses I could see, all show continuity with my multimeter. 

5. Thought maybe I was out of gas, gauge showed 3/8th of a tank or so but I figured it could be wrong. Pushed the car into the garage. 

Since then, I've added about 2.5 gallons of gas, no beans. I believe I hear the fuel pump running however and the fuel pump relay clicking. Plan to test for fuel pressure to be sure. I've found all the fuses listed in the service manuals I can find online and everything tests fine via continuity test with voltmeter. Including the 5 fuses inside the 'e-box' under the hood and the high amp fuses hidden on the back side of the main fusebox, and the really high amp fuse near the battery. Checked codes with my obd2 reader, and have a few, can list them here in a bit.  

What I have noticed is that the DME relay doesn't seem to be clicking. Did some digging and the relay is ground-side switched by the ecu, but the ground signal is not coming when I turn the key to the on position. The wire that connects the relay signal to the ecu is showing continuity. uh oh. 

Thoughts on what to do next? I'm tempted to just remove the DME relay and jumper the pins (or maybe make my own ground side switch) to give it a shot, but I'm thinking there may be something else the ECU needs to see in order to provide the ground to the relay. All I currently have is crappy PDFs of service manuals I can find online, so even some access to better data would be helpful (don't mind paying a few bucks for instant access to something if there are good recommendations). 

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 11:48 a.m.

Did you check the ground for the fuel pump?

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/11/22 11:51 a.m.

There should be a schrader valve on the fuel rail towards the front. Just push on the center with a flathead screwdriver and make sure you have fuel there. Quick way to check. 

Also check the battery to make sure its good. 

I had something similar happen to me on my e46 and it ended up being a bad alternator. It would not totally cut out, but the gauges would go haywire for juts a second while on the highway. 

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/11/22 11:55 a.m.

Also, is the EWS working or coded out? 

Do you know anyone local that could code it out? I can point you to the software if you feel brave, but cant help you from there. 

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/11/22 11:58 a.m.

Go ahead and download this, its safe. It will allow you to really get good info from the car. 
 

Mike’s easy INPA download

I use it on a 64 bit Windows 10 laptop. 

I will check tonight, I think I have an extra OBD cable that I can send you. Is your address still the same where I shipped you the motorcycle engine? I think I have that saved somewhere. 

jfryjfry
jfryjfry SuperDork
10/11/22 11:58 a.m.

Does it fire on ether?

i don't know much about the dme but if you have tested it properly and have the right info, then you might have a problem there. 
 

sounds like a loose wire/bad pin issue.  I've seen a few problems where the pin gets pushed back in the plug.  Always seems like a tough one to diagnose and locate. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 12:08 p.m.

Is there any gauge self-test activity when you try to start? You could try resting a spark plug on the head while wired up to check for spark, which on this engine should also tell you if the ECU's working.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 12:39 p.m.

I tried a little ether and nothing. 

I did just retest and got the dme relay to click, but still no start.

I am very worried it might be an immobilizer issue, but there seems like there isn't any good way to tell quickly if the immobilizer is causing the no start or something else. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 12:39 p.m.

I'll look for self test and also look into connecting to the ECU to see what it says.

hobiercr
hobiercr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/11/22 12:45 p.m.

From the webs:

" Think of the relay as having a left and right side - each consisting of a coil and switch. The left side is for the DME module. One side of the left coil is connected to a constant ground. The coil receives power when you turn on the ignition switch. This closes the DME circuit, which sends battery voltage to the DME module and fuel injectors, as well as the left coil and the switch. As soon as the DME module is powered on it supplies ground to the right coil - closing that circuit and powering the fuel pump. After a few seconds, the DME turns off the relay until you crank the engine."

My $0.02:
Verify ground to left side of DME relay.
Verify power at ECU when you engage ignition switch. 
Verify power at fuel pump after engaging ignition switch.
If all those are good then the DME relay sounds ok.

I'm betting on a bad ground somewhere. The intermittent gauges and now non-start makes me think something is missing in circuit.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/11/22 12:53 p.m.

It grounded a bigass positive cable through the engine, yes?  I'd be looking hard for what that might have fried.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 1:10 p.m.

Just to be thorough with all the suggestions so far (and thank you!!)

1. Fuel pump ground (like my saab) isnt loose, but still need to verify fuel pressure for good measure. 

2. Battery has been on a charger since I pushed it into the garage Sunday afternoon. Showing great voltage now, but wasn't bad originally. 

3. I don't know if EWS (immobilizer) has been coded out. I doubt it. I don't know someone who can, but not above trying it. Would love to quickly determine if it is a possible problem or not though. My address has changed I think, I'll send you a PM. 

4. Ether still no fire. Not sure where to find the best test procedures for the DME. 

5. I think there is a self-test procedure, but haven't tried it yet. I can. 

6. Could absolutely be a bad ground even though DME relay seems to be working again. I will find them and make sure they are all good. 

Racebrick
Racebrick Reader
10/11/22 1:10 p.m.

This is not good.  Let me know if you need parts, and I will go to a yard and get them.  Otherwise I can help this weekend if you need it. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 1:14 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

It grounded a bigass positive cable through the engine, yes?  I'd be looking hard for what that might have fried.

Yes, and Yes, but to my knowledge, it only grounded very temporarily while the car was in motion, and engine kept running until I shut it off. I don't think I let it touch after I noticed the issue, but it may have. I believe I have tested every fuse on the car so far. 

Any ideas where to start with what might have fried? In general the ECU sensors have their own ground wires, and I can see (but haven't checked) the big ground strap intact from engine to body. 

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
10/11/22 1:16 p.m.

Sounds kinda CPSish to me if you're not getting spark.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 1:18 p.m.
Racebrick said:

This is not good.  Let me know if you need parts, and I will go to a yard and get them.  Otherwise I can help this weekend if you need it. 

I may take you up on that, I will let you know. 

By chance do you remember if the headlights were setup to run also with the switch off but the key on? They currently run in one mode with key on and switch off, and another with key on and switch on. I don't remember them coming on without the switch at all when I picked the car up, but it was daytime and I wasn't really watching. If that is a change in behavior, it could be related. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/11/22 1:39 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

Unfortunately I don't have any specific ideas, my experience with these engines is limited to the purely mechanical.  Check codes, if the ecu will communicate at all?

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 2:12 p.m.

Going to work through this list asap

https://www.e46fanatics.com/threads/e46-no-start-%E2%80%93-list-of-possible-causes.1011677/

good news is I am getting cranking, and most things I see about EWS say that EWS fault will prevent cranking. Sounds like ignition switch and crank position sensor may be probable issues but I should be able to test for both quickly. 

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
10/11/22 2:40 p.m.

I hope you get it to the challenge. I'm still tentatively interested, after you play with it. 

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
10/11/22 3:27 p.m.

I got a new key made that wasn't programmed to my car, similar to an EWS fault, and it would not crank. Makes me think yours isn't an EWS issue.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/11/22 3:51 p.m.

Codes are p0414, p0102, p1445, p1451. Secondary air pump, maf, evap solenoid.

I don't think those are causing a no start.

 

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/11/22 3:51 p.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

EWS works in two ways. 
It first recognizes the key and it lets the starter crank, it then exchanges codes with the DME and you get spark. 

It could be cranking but still be an EWS problem. 

I went through this when I swapped an S50 into a 318ti. Was going to code it out but ended switching the EWS computer/keys and key antenna. Pita. 

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/11/22 3:51 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Codes are p0414, p0102, p1445, p1451. Secondary air pump, maf, evap solenoid.

I don't think those are causing a no start.

 

INPA will be your best bet here. 

Does your address end in 7?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/11/22 3:53 p.m.

MAF could, maybe?  Does it try any harder with it unplugged?

Racebrick
Racebrick Reader
10/11/22 3:53 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:
Racebrick said:

This is not good.  Let me know if you need parts, and I will go to a yard and get them.  Otherwise I can help this weekend if you need it. 

I may take you up on that, I will let you know. 

By chance do you remember if the headlights were setup to run also with the switch off but the key on? They currently run in one mode with key on and switch off, and another with key on and switch on. I don't remember them coming on without the switch at all when I picked the car up, but it was daytime and I wasn't really watching. If that is a change in behavior, it could be related. 

They are always on. The turn on when the car is on as drls just not as bright.

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