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Old 05-12-2006, 09:50 AM   #1
komodo
 
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Unhappy Car stalled and now engine won't turn over... looking for any ideas/help

So yeah, you guys know my luck with cars. There was a short thread in the lounge talking about it, but here's the whole story.

You know how sometimes on manual cars if they're started wrong, they shake violently forward and backwards? Well yesterday I was driving along yesterday going about 30, and it randomly started doing that. I thought maybe it didn't get into gear correctly or something, so I shifted and it smoothed out. Weird.

About 500 feet later I got to a stop sign. As soon as I stopped, I stalled. Weird. I started the car back up, and the revs jumped and struggled to stay up it looked like, but eventually they dropped too low and I stalled again. Weird. I turned the car on again, and the RPMs dropped straight to zero and stalled. Weird. I then tried to start the car again, and it wouldn't turn over. I could hear it trying with the "reur reur reur reur reur" sound, but it wouldn't start.

Luckily I have some amazing friends who are pretty savvy with a wrench (since I'm not). I called them up, and half an hour later there was a line of BMWs up and down my street (yes, I ended up having to buy pizza for everyone who came out, hah).

Rob was the most knowledgeable (as usual) and ended up going down the list of things to scratch off. We were first thinking maybe it was a vacuum leak and the engine was starving, and each additional time I tried it, the hose got more loose or something. No visible hoses were detatched or loose. Airflow was fine, and even removed the intake to allow direct air suction, to no avail.

We then thought maybe it was the fuel, so took off the backseat and listened for the fuel pump clicking on when the key was moved to the ON position. It clicked on, and upon removing the cover in the engine, we think could hear fuel moving through the fuel rail. Okay, another one off the list.

We tried disconnecting a few things, and forgot we left the TPS (throttle position sensor) off when we tried starting the car, so that threw a CEL that confused us for a while. But we soon realized our mistake and went on to the next thing.

The next CEL it threw (checked via the pedal trick) was 1281, something about the DME's memory retention. We tried unplugging the ECU (battery first of course) for 15 minutes to let it reset. We plugged it back in, and the car started!.... for about 4 seconds. It did the same RPM struggle, and stalled again. Start again, stall. Tried to start again, and it wouldn't turn over. Same thing as last time.

Seems like a ECU problem. No signs of wetness, and it hasn't really been in the rain recently, so I'm ruling out the older e36 problem of flooding because of the drain plug. We tried plugging the ECU into Rob's 93 325i (also a DME 413), and his car did the exact same thing, the engine wouldn't turn over.

I thought that meant it was the ECU for sure, but alas wrong again. I spoke with a local BMW tuning shop (strictly german) and they explained the two types of ECUs in 1995 m3's... burgundy label vs clear label. I'm pretty sure the label on my DME was white (if I remember right), and thus clear label, meaning it has the early stages of EWS, and without the microchip setup, it wouldn't start Rob's car anyway, regardless of if it was good or bad. So currently I don't know if my DME is good or bad.

I checked the thread this morning in the lounge, and Rob mentioned he was onto an idea regarding the HFM/MAF. He's still sleeping now though, so I don't know what he was talking about.

Anyway, right now my car isn't drivable. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? What would be the next step for troubleshooting it? Thanks!


Cliffnotes: Car was driving fine and randomly started stalling. Then wouldn't crank at all (engine trying, but couldn't turn over). Ended up resetting the ECU, and it stalled and did the same thing. Throwing CEL 1281. Need to get car drivable, so please read the whole thing above, haha.

Thanks guys.
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:01 AM   #2
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How about a check of the ignition? Is that with old school distributor or electronic?
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:27 AM   #3
ChrisWorrell

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harry i think I should stop by and get the keys and go try and start it without you around. I think you make it nervous.

oh and come over when you can and we can fuck with java. Its weird I had to get java installed to get openoffice to get past initial stages of install. I think I got Java working because it shows up Java Runetime in extentions for firefox but it won't install as an extension, but openoffice is compiling fine atm.
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:44 AM   #4
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That makes me think it IS the ECU. Robs car is a 325i right, and what production month is your m3? I can't remember when they switched over EWS, but at some point they actually reverted BACK to the old system after switching over because of slowdown in production. If your m3 is an early production month, it should work in his 325i.
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Old 05-12-2006, 11:09 AM   #5
komodo
 
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Can I take my DME to the dealership and have them test it? Do they have the ability to do that?
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:21 PM   #6
94bmw325i
 
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yeah when my bros nissan 240sx ecu was messed up the dealership had some sort of diagnostic machines that could tell if there was a problem, so I would assume that BMW dealerships would have that, no idea on the cost though.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:23 PM   #7
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You listed a bunch of stuff but failed to mention checking for spark at the plugs. Also you need to losen a fuel line in eng. compartment to check for actual fuel flow - just losen a clamp and have someone turn key on (not start) make sure you have fuel pressure. That sputtering sounds like a fuel issue (IMO).. I'll try to think of more when my head is on straight - (been up for 41 hours, shitty food, shitty surroundings and weather here in UK sucks balls)
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:28 PM   #8
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I don't know what I can possibly add after Rob, Chris & Ecian have given it a go . . I had a similar experience last weekend, when my engine started sputtering as I was heading towards a red light. It died, but I was able to restart it. I attributed it to bad gas. In fact, I was on my way to buy some SeaFoam for the motor when my radiator exploded on Monday.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:18 PM   #9
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hmmm, id check for power and ignition, as mentioned.

aside from that, it definately sounds like you may be on the right track with teh ecu, considering it threw an ECU code. try calling the stealership to see if you can bring the ecu in.
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Old 05-12-2006, 03:46 PM   #10
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so harry, you were telling me about your car when we were up in athens and yu said your car wouldn't work without octane 93. just a thought, there was a news story about two weeks ago in london wehre a guy tok his brand new mclaren SLR to get gas and got like 1/4 mile down the road and the car stopped. they found out the gas station filled the tanks with water instead of gas.....


its possible that you paid for 93 but actually got 87. you yourself said your ecu was programmed to only work with 93 correct?
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Old 05-12-2006, 04:01 PM   #11
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I am thinking FPR.. OR the vacuum line to the FPR.
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Old 05-12-2006, 04:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chrisdoesntknow
so harry, you were telling me about your car when we were up in athens and yu said your car wouldn't work without octane 93. just a thought, there was a news story about two weeks ago in london wehre a guy tok his brand new mclaren SLR to get gas and got like 1/4 mile down the road and the car stopped. they found out the gas station filled the tanks with water instead of gas.....


its possible that you paid for 93 but actually got 87. you yourself said your ecu was programmed to only work with 93 correct?

its good theory, but i dont think that 87 will not allow the car to start, that would stupid for BMW to program a car to only work with 93, I am sure if he got 87 his car would just run like crap, not not start
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Old 05-12-2006, 07:37 PM   #13
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i dont think BMW programmed it like that, i think he has a chip in it..
good thought zeit, fuel pressure regulator may def. be a problem, but it would atleast allow the car to start, no?
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:21 PM   #14
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If its the ECu Disconect the battery! for like 2 Minuites!!
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:45 PM   #15
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I had some ECU/Harness issues too GL brother!
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