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Thread: Starter troubleshooting

  1. #1
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    Starter troubleshooting

    140k miles. I turn the ignition and there is no click nor crank.

    Battery at 12.4v+.
    Dash and accessory lights come on.
    Engine runs fine when push starting.

    My fuse box doesnít list the starter.
    Iím reading there is no cube relay.

    I actually pulled the starter and it works fine on the bench test.

    What do I do now?

  2. #2
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    .Clutch switch?

    Here is THE electrical manual, to help with fuzes, switches, etc.(sorry, it's for my M, but you should be able to get to one for your car) : http://wedophones.com/Manuals/BMW/19...g%20Manual.pdf

  3. #3
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    Thank you. Feels a little problematic to check other possibilities now that the starter is out.

    Iím thinking about installing a new starter since itís already out and 140k miles old. And if that doesnít work I can start checking other things.

    Other than the fact that Iím starting my troubleshooting with the hardest job, does that sound reasonable?!

  4. #4
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    No, it would take failing all alternatives for me to take out the starter. ................. I can't tell you whether to replace a good starter at 140k. I think it's a matter of how you weigh costs vs time. Others will opine. ........... I wouldn't put anything bick together until the problem is fixed. I think you could check everything with the starter out, with a multi-meter.

  5. #5
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    I vote for the clutch switch, either frayed/broken wire or bad switch.

  6. #6
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    Two votes for the clutch switch. Seems to jive with the no click symptom. So which switch is it?


    I see the two white switches with the red markings. Iím guessing the one on the left is the starter switch since the clutch has to be depressed all the way. And the one on the right is a cruise control switch since it engages immediately upon tapping the clutch.


    Any tips for removing the switch? Itís certainly awkward, being contorted, looking upside down, and my glasses flopping around!
    IMG_1374.jpg
    Last edited by Z3J1; 06-03-2024 at 06:07 PM.

  7. #7
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    Take the seat out?

  8. #8
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    If you have INPA set up you can see in the live readouts if the clutch switch is working or not.

  9. #9
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    Thereís a ring you have to slide out to release the switch from the mount. Look at the new one & you can figure out how to get the old one out easily.
    Last edited by z3forlife; 06-03-2024 at 02:14 PM.

  10. #10
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    I bipassed the clutch switch. I learned to drive long before they had them and they annoy me. Aa I remember, all you have to do is pull the plug and jump it.
    Last edited by zellamay; 06-03-2024 at 05:51 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zellamay View Post
    I bipassed the clutch switch. I learned to drive long before they had them and they annoy me. Aa I remember, all you have to do is pull thee plug and jump it.

  12. #12
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    Clutch starter switch removed. Finally found the trick to pull out the red collar to allow the tab to be pressed down.

    So now as an electronics idiot, how do I bench test this switch is working? I believe continuity but which pins and what am I looking for? Simple words please!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Z3J1; 06-03-2024 at 06:50 PM.

  13. #13
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    What does this continuity test mean? Pin 1 is the brown wire.

    With switch plunger out (clutch not pressed):
    • Pins 1-2: Open circuit
    • Pins 1-3: 1.4 megaohms
    • Pins 2-3: 1.6 megaohms


    With switch plunger in (clutch pressed):
    • Readings are the same as above, except sometimes the readings will fluctuate and then go to open circuit.


    Bad switch?

    IMG_1381.jpeg

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z3J1 View Post
    What does this continuity test mean? Pin 1 is the brown wire.

    With switch plunger out (clutch not pressed):
    • Pins 1-2: Open circuit
    • Pins 1-3: 1.4 megaohms
    • Pins 2-3: 1.6 megaohms


    With switch plunger in (clutch pressed):
    • Readings are the same as above, except sometimes the readings will fluctuate and then go to open circuit.


    Bad switch?

    IMG_1381.jpeg
    Continuity means that there is uninterrupted current. If you set your multimeter to OHMS, then touch the two leads together. That will bury the needle. (mine also makes a beep sound) You want that same thing to happen when you have the leads on the correct pins and then push the plunger. This will tell you that the plunger is closing the circuit and the switch works.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zellamay View Post
    If you set your multimeter to OHMS, then touch the two leads together. That will bury the needle. (mine also makes a beep sound) You want that same thing to happen when you have the leads on the correct pins and then push the plunger. This will tell you that the plunger is closing the circuit and the switch works.
    Thanks. Would the “correct pins”be the ground and each of the other two? So 1-2 and 1-3? As I stated above 1-2 is an open circuit with the plunger pushed in.

  16. #16
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    Make sure you’re doing continuity tests with the plug removed from the switch. You’ll get wonky readings otherwise. Did you look at the schematics at wedophones site. It should show how the switch is wired.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by z3forlife View Post
    Make sure you’re doing continuity tests with the plug removed from the switch. You’ll get wonky readings otherwise. Did you look at the schematics at wedophones site. It should show how the switch is wired.
    Yes my continuity tests were with the switch unplugged. And yes I saw the schematic but I’m not confident in my interpretation. But I’ve ordered a new switch and will test continuity on that one as well and this might start making sense to me.

  18. #18
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    try bypass the clutch pedal safety switch


  19. #19
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    Did you find the fuzes and confirm they are good? That info is in Wed.

    From Wed. p 1240.0.00 , it looks like the test would be either 3-1 or 3-2. ..................
    Another test you should do: On the plug that you took out of the switch:
    It looks like the connector #3 should have 12v when you turn the key as if trying to start the car
    (test this by setting the meter to 12V, then putting the red lead from your multimeter into the #3 hole in the plug, and the black lead onto any metal part of the car, then turning the key as if to start the car)
    and
    The connector #1 or #2 should go to ground (test this by setting the meter to OHMS, then by putting either red or black lead into hole #1 or #2, and then looking for significant needle movement as you touch the other lead on to any metal part of the car,

    I hope I've made sense here. I've never tried to write it out before.

    Now that you have a new switch coming anyway, you can do some comparison tests between new and old.

    EDIT: Mike is right, but you can't try to start it now because you took the starter out. You could put the meter on 12V, red lead on the large wire that goes on the starter, black lead on ground. You should get a 12v reading when you turn the key as if to start the car.
    Last edited by zellamay; 06-04-2024 at 08:25 PM. Reason: comment on Mikes' suggestion.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zellamay View Post
    Did you find the fuzes and confirm they are good? That info is in Wed.

    From Wed. p 1240.0.00 , it looks like the test would be either 3-1 or 3-2. ..................

    Now that you have a new switch coming anyway, you can do some comparison tests between new and old.
    Thanks for the guidance. I see in this schematic that the fuse is #45, which is listed on my box as "electronic emmobiliser", which makes sense now. My fuse is good.

    Continuity test on 3-1 and 3-2, with clutch/plunger pressed, both flash a reading and then immediately goes to open circuit. That doesn't sound right.

    So yes, I'll wait for the new switch and test it and I assume it will look very different on the multimeter.


    Z3 starter immobilization.jpg

  21. #21
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    Could someone give me the idiot's version on what I should be seeing on the switch continuity test between the 3 pins? See schematic in above post.

    For instance, what readings I should be getting below. I received the new switch but unfortunately I'm getting the same readings as the old switch, so that may not be why my starter is not even clicking.

    With plunger/clutch NOT pressed down
    1-2:
    1-3:
    2-3:

    With plunger/clutch pressed down
    1-2:
    1-3:
    2-3:
    Last edited by Z3J1; 06-11-2024 at 12:11 AM.

  22. #22
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    3 should show continuity to 1 when not depressed. 3 should show continuity to 2 when depressed. Set meter to auto range and don’t touch the probe ends with your fingers. It doesn’t show any resistors so I’d assume your reading should be 10 ohms or less. 3 is the common 1 is normally closed & 2 is normally open.
    Last edited by z3forlife; 06-11-2024 at 06:50 AM.

  23. #23
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    Z3forlife, thank you for the guidance. Turns out it’s not the clutch pedal switch. The old switch passed the continuity test and behaves the same as the new switch.

    Well, it turns out there is an error code for the brake light switch though my brake lights work when I press on the pedal. I’m reading that a faulty brake light switch may prevent the starter from engaging. I’m hoping that is the case because I am running out of possible causes.

    With the plunger up (brake pedal pressed down), I have continuity on 1–2 and 3–4. With the plunger down (brake pedal not pressed), no continuity. Is this switch good?
    Last edited by Z3J1; 06-13-2024 at 12:32 AM.

  24. #24
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    The brake switch is two separate circuits iirc. One side can work while the other doesn’t. Cruise is usually affected too.

  25. #25
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    Is my continuity test results to be expected? Regardless, I will order a new brake light switch since there was an error code for it. But I’m curious whether I’m understanding these continuity tests correctly

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