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BMW 5-Series Starting Problems

My 2001 525i wouldn't start. Just a "clicking" sound when I turned the key. Thought I may have had a dead battery; friend provided a jump. Still just a "clicking"--would not crank. Disconnected jumper cables, THEN I discovered I did not replace my gas cap the night before after filling with gas. I replaced the gas cap. With the jumper cables NOT connected, turned the key again, Bingo! Started right up. That was three days ago. No problems since then. Was the problem the gas cap or do I have a problem with my ignition system? If it is the gas cap, why did it start the night before when I left the gas station with cap "off"?
Thanks !
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Comments

  • I used to have a 2000 Audi A6 that would have the check engine light on if the gas cap was not back on the car. It drive me nuts when it happened, because the car started normally without the light on, and about 2 miles after leaving the gas station, the light came on. Since I was literally a block away from the Audi dealer where I bought my car, I drove into the service department, and before I got out of the car, my service writer was asking me if my check engine light was on. He told me it was because the gas cap was off. As soon as he put it on and I restarted the car, the light went off and all was fine with the car. BMW has a similar thing in the old 7 series with the check engine light. I don't know about an ignition lock, though.

    The clicking sound, though, is usually when you have a dead battery. I would try to repeat the occurance again. If the same thing happens again, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If it doesn't, then I would look into it a little further. The car will probably start the first time, and then not start again. Try it and see what happens.
  • rayg20rayg20 Posts: 6
    Recently (like the last month) I have been having problem with my 525i not wanting to start. I checked the battery and it is fine. Everything electrical works, but it won't start. However if I try to jump start it using the post in the engine it roars to life. I am at my wits end, Can anyone help?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    I am at my wits end, Can anyone help?

    Has the battery been load tested?
    Terminals cleaned?
    Ground cables cleaned?
    Those are the most likely culprits.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • rayg20rayg20 Posts: 6
    Yes, to all of those questions.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    Yes, to all of those questions.

    Connections at the starter clean/tight?

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Thanks to all who gave me suggestions about why I couldn't get my 1994 525i started. It turns out that the battery was the culprit. I took it out charged it up and put it back in the car and it would not hold a charge so I have since replaced it and the car is fine.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    Glad to hear that the problem is solved. Battery troubleshooting can be hit-or-miss; the OEM battery in my Jeep Wrangler load-tested fine and died less than two weeks later.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • phampham Posts: 6
    I couldn't start my car two weeks ago, then it worked when friend provided a jump. I replaced a new battery after that. After 2 weeks driving with a new battery, then it doesn't start again today. What else should I check?

    How can I tell if the problem is the starter or alternater or anything else? Please advise. Thanks.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    How can I tell if the problem is the starter or alternater or anything else? Please advise.

    If the battery is discharged you either have a bad battery, an excessive current drain on the battery, or a bad alternator. Any good shop will be able to load test the battery as well as measure the current drain and alternator output. My bet is on a current drain, altenator next, and a bad battery last.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • since about 3 weeks ago, sometime I start the car(not all the time), with cluch pressed, key all the way down, not thing happened, but if I let go the cluch and press it down again, then the car start, took it to Torrance BMW, service guy stated, just to check this problem is $1500, as they will have to open the cluch assembly, anuone have any idea whats wrong?
  • I have 2003 BMW 525 (Canadian) was parked for a weak over christmass. Can't start it. Lights work, can hear the starter turning. refuses to fire up. Any thoughts.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Is the engine actually turning over? If not I'm going to say "weak battery".

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • I think so, the starter turns, So I assume the engine is turning. I have never jump started a BMW , But am familiar with Cars in general. I could try jump starting though I am a little apprehensive about it !
  • mrfinaglemrfinagle Posts: 20
    off topic slightly but I just wanted to thank roadrunner from everyone - you seem to be a person we can count on answering our questions, clearly with useful knowledge of the subject
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    Thanks for the kind words. I'm just glad to be able to help fellow BMW owners.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • hduhaneyhduhaney Posts: 1
    I had the same problem,disconnect the fuse for the radio amplifier in the trunk . I think the radio amplifier is powered with a relay. I don;t have the problem anymore, just no radio. I replaced the amplifier,had the same problem. I have heard that there is a problem with the radio drawing excessive current when the ignition is off.Normal current draw should be about 60ma, with amplifier pluged in 600ma.Ther is a serious problem with the radio electrical.I will try to locate the culprit. Still think it is a relay to the power for the amplifier.

    Hardie
  • crshvctmcrshvctm Posts: 3
    I just bought a 535i that doesnt like to start. It does have an old battery that does need to be replaced.. It turns over and holds a charge and when I shut the trunk hard it actually started up. What would cause that problem everything works perfectly. I'm lost
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    Make sure all connections-particularly both ends of the ground cable-are clean and tight.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • crshvctmcrshvctm Posts: 3
    anybody have any suggestions on when and if the timing chain should be replaced. The car has 145,000 miles on it and is a hard job to do. I payed 850 for the car and want to restore it so any and all suggestions are and will be helpful.
  • crshvctmcrshvctm Posts: 3
    Thank you I did check them and is well there.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    Sorry for te late reply; the chains in the M30 engines are pretty durable. They will almost always stretch rather than break(though they can still cause damage should they jump a few teeth. You can pull the valve cover and see how far the adjuster piston is extended. I think that you can also buy a new chain with a master link, which makes the job MUCH easier.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • smomsmom Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 328i 134k miles and love the car - last few weeks sometimes when starting it seems like the car is gasping or something it needs to start is just not available. No clicking noise - and no consistency in when it occurs. So far when it happens I have been able to get it started after two or three try's ---

    Any thoughts or direction would help - I recognize this is for 5-series Bimmers - but would be thankful for help with my 3-series.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    Any thoughts or direction would help - I recognize this is for 5-series Bimmers - but would be thankful for help with my 3-series.

    Have the battery load tested.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fmazavafmazava Posts: 1
    Cold start problem. Engine turns over and its hit and miss if it runs. If it doesnt, the car gets flooded and I have to wait a while to try again. If it gets going, I have to wait again for engine to warm up before It can be driven away otherwise the engine cuts off and steering locks up. After warming up the car drives well indeed for its age. Is it the auto choke? Either way, all helpful suggestions are most welcome....
  • We have a 1988 528E BMW we worked on recently replacing the water pump, hose, alternator belt and fan clutch. It ran fine after we replaced this 2 days ago until yesterday. It won't even start. The battery is charged fully, the alternator is fine according to my husband. The starter may be the problem, but it shows it should work. We don't know if we may have a problem with a sensor. It will light up everything when we go to start it, but it won't even turn over or even click. If you have any suggestions, please give us any advice. My husband is a good mechanic but unfamiliar with foreign cars. Thank you. We are keeping it on this site to view suggestions.

    Sierrajadeus :confuse:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    1. Check and clean all battery cables and engine ground straps.
    2. Load test the battery; a simple voltage test often won't reveal a bad battery.
    3. How do you know the alternator is "fine"?

    My money is on a bad battery.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • joeyijoeyi Posts: 11
    I have a 2005 525 with 65,000 miles. Last week I noticed that when I would start my car, it was not turning over as soon as it should. I thought maybe it was the battery, so I took the car to a reputable battery shop in town. They tested the battery and I was told I definetly needed a new battery (the gentlemen showed me my current volts and where they should be at). Once the battery was installed, the gentleman asked if I would start my car... I did and there was still that hesitation. We repeated this twice and I still experienced the same hesitation and was told it is probably my starter. Later that day I went to start my car and it would not turn over - however all my lights, paneling, radio, etc... all worked fine. Today I took the car to the bmw dealer.... I received a call that the technicians had my car on the computer for 3 hours and they can not detect what the problem is and the computer is telling them there are no faults. Great..... I was then informed I am responsible for the 3 hours of diagnostic repair to the tune of $285.00!!! Well, now that I am into this for $285 with no solution to the problem, I wanted to see if anyone has experienced this problem or if anyone has any idea what the problem may be??? The dealer told me that the starter appears to be fine!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
  • 91bmw91bmw Posts: 1
    i had my car parked in the cold for a few weeks. when i tried to start it it started up fine , then as i slipd it into reverse it stalled, and hasnt started since. I have tried boosting it and i know the gas line isnt frozen. The car tries to start but it just wont turn over. Do you thin its a starter??
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,575
    It's more likely to be the battery; at any rate, check the easy things first.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • ocean22ocean22 Posts: 1
    I seem to have the same issue with the drain current. I get about 2.4 amps drain current which is draining the battery. For mine problem, i unhooked the harness to the amplifier and the current dropped to 0.6A. Were you able to fix the problem?
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