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Thread: What the hell else could it be?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    1994 318i

    What the hell else could it be?

    So I have a 1994 bmw 318I...one day my car died after leaving a car wash...I have tried everything and can't get it started...it has spark....it has new spark plugs...new fuel filter...new fuel pump...new relay...new fp fuse#18...and a new dme/ecu....it still wont start....for some reason it's not getting power to the fuel pump fuse or relay...any ideas??

  2. #2
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    e36, e46 ZHP, MkiV Tdi
    just to try and help everyone keep the info centralized - looks like a couple of other threads on same issue/vehicle/OP are in the forum already:
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...tarting-Issues
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...43591-Dme-help
    '95 325iS - auto to manual swap done!

  3. #3
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    Wow.
    Either you took it to a car wash, or maybe it ran out of gas. You think you have spark, or at least "it looks like" it has spark. You're looking for a new DME, and not sure which to buy. And you were taking it to a Euro shop for diagnosis last week, but never advised us of the results, instead starting yet ANOTHER thread, with less information, and no progression from the other two threads.

    You know, if you had stuck to the original thread, we could have saved you from buying a DME.

    What did the Euro shop say?

    How did you verify spark?

    You say that "it's not getting power to the FP relay".....WHICH terminal of that relay has power, and which doesn't, and under what conditions?

    The very first reply to your very first thread said "stop throwing parts", yet that's what you've continued to do.

    You need to get the car to a shop, as you said you were doing a week ago.

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, at an independent, formerly @ dealer
    BMWCCA 274412 SCCA 334928

  4. #4
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    I was low on gas when I went to.the car wash...I waited because there was a gas station connected to the car wash...after pulling out the car died on me....the vdub shop checked for spark and it had spark.....it got narrowed down to.the dme...it was wet and completely trashed...I replaced it with a new one...it still will not start...mechanic wants another $150 just to find out if it is the camshaft position sensor or.the crankshaft position sensor...it is.not getting power to.the fuel pump fuse number 18...so regardless I needed a.new dme either way....I am trying to save the $150 by seeking help...I do apologize for starting so many threads im.new to using forums...I will stick on just this forum post from here on out...here is a list of what has been done
    Fuel pump
    Fuel filter
    Fuel pump relay
    Fuel pump fuse
    New spark plugs
    Replaced dme

    I will get back to you on what ports are working on the relay asap

  5. #5
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    '98 ti (M powered)
    If you are getting spark, the dme is not dead. And neither is the crank sensor. If either were, you would not have spark.

    Hot wire the fuel pump relay to be sure that's it. If water causes a short, the new fuse would blow the first time it saw power.

  6. #6
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    If you had spark, the problem wasn't the DME. Which should be obvious, because the same problem still exists. The VW shop obviously knows nothing.....because, if you have spark, it can't possibly be the crank sensor or the cam sensor, either.

    Look, if the DME is delivering spark, then it knows the crankshaft position. Lack of cam position (even if that was an issue) will not prevent fuel pump activation.

    Replacing the fuel pump makes no sense at all, because you've already said it's not getting power. Ditto the filter.....the pump's not moving gas, because it has no electricity, why would you replace the fuel filter?

    And if the fuel relay isn't getting power, why would you replace the fuel relay? If everything you've said is correct, then the main relay is likely bad. But, DON'T replace it....TEST IT!

    The shop you visited knows nothing about BMWs, or even VWs.....because you don't go checking crank sensors on a VW, if you have spark, either....SHEESH!

    I'm sorry man, I just hate it when parts are shotgunned at an issue, without testing.

    Really, I'm not so sure about your having spark, because I really don't trust a damned thing that shop told you.

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, at an independent, formerly @ dealer
    BMWCCA 274412 SCCA 334928

  7. #7
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    I replaced the fuel filter because I had an extra given to me and the one that was on it was stamped 6/17/1994....I also checked for spark after it left the shop...I cranked it while someone watched for spark up front. The dme I pulled off was extremely corroded and rusty...I dont trust the shop either hence why I prefer not to go back. A friend of mine took the top plastic piece of the fuel pump relay and pressed the metal switch while I tryed to start it..well it started but it would only stay running if he held it down. Once he let it go the car dies...and I will test the main relay

  8. #8
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    That's not a valid test, for a relay. You see, the test method being used simply removes the need for the activation signal. That signal is usually delivered by the GROUND side of the circuit, by the DME.If POWER were missing, that test would not be successful. So what you're missing is the ground, most likely. (I say "most likely" because it's late, and I'm not going to go looking at that circuit again , tonight.Sorry.)

    Is this DME properly grounded??? Because many early E36's need to have the DME externally grounded, to fire the injectors. You should check for injector pulse. (Easiest way on your car will be with a mechanic's stethoscope, $15-20 at Sears, Autozone.)

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, at an independent, formerly @ dealer
    BMWCCA 274412 SCCA 334928

  9. #9
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    Ok will do..I also am only getting power on terminals 30 and 86 for both the main relay and fuel pump relay. And both relays were clicking when I tested them. And I just plugged the dme into the same port that the old one came out of. I was told they are plug and play as long as you matched the part number on the dme prior to 95

  10. #10
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    What Chris is trying to say I think is that some of the E36's need to be externally grounded because their original ground goes bad and you have to modify and externally ground it
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  11. #11
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    How do you ground the dme?

  12. #12
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    IF the stock mounting brackets are clean, and tightly holding the DME in its stock location, that should be grounded. If not, for testing purposes, you can use a piece of wire, with an alligator clip properly attached to each end. Or, you can even use a battery jumper cable: one end clamped to the DME, the other clamped to a good clean chassis ground.....(the three strut mounting bolts are good, but the center strut bolt is NOT.)

    Even if this doesn't make the car start immediately, you need to make sure the DME remains properly grounded as you work your way through testing.

    Remember that all tests which were previously done are meaningless, unless and until basic parameters are in place (like a grounded DME)


    Now, up above you stated that you didn't have power at the fuel pump relay -- but you DO. You have power at both "in" terminals which are supposed to be powered. Therefore, what you are missing is the GROUND, which comes from the DME, into pin 85.

    If you are truly positive that you have spark, an ungrounded DME becomes the most likely suspect....but you will also have no injector pulse if this is true. Put a long screwdriver (or better yet a mechanic's stethoscope) on the top of one injector, near the electrical plug, and put the other end to your ear, then have someone turn the key to start position. Do you hear a very defined, timed clicking sound?

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, at an independent, formerly @ dealer
    BMWCCA 274412 SCCA 334928

  13. #13
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    Okay so I grounded my dme once with alligator clips in the other time with the stock mounting brackets and then I did my testing at my ports and I am still not getting a ground connection. I still have to buy a stethoscope so I can check the other issue

  14. #14
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    As an aside, since you had water damage once already be sure that compartment at the base of the windshield remains dry.

    If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

  15. #15
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    Do you have any aftermarket alarm system on this car?

    Try locking the car, and then unlocking it, via the driver's door lock, then try to start it.

    And, again, please recheck that you are getting spark......I am not doubting you, any more than I would doubt myself, under these circumstances.

    Chris Powell
    Racer and Instructor since, well. decades, ok?
    Master Auto Tech, at an independent, formerly @ dealer
    BMWCCA 274412 SCCA 334928

  16. #16
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    It was the dme....I have 2 of them and one has no spark and the other has no fuel...both tested by a bmw authorized mechanic...so basically I need to find one that will fit my car or have one repaired

  17. #17
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    Can anyone here give a definitive answer about interchange between the Bosch 1.7 "990" DME and the 1.7.2 "282" DME (used 1/94 until EWS II) ?
    Will they interchange? It appears the .2 indicates DISA II (both use same components)
    I am trying to help this guy out and am pretty confident the earlier 1.7 DME will work for him. An exact match for his car falls into a very small date range.

    If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

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