BMW 5-Series Starting Problems

lacrossesoakedlacrossesoaked Member Posts: 87
edited August 2017 in BMW
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

  • sixpaqssixpaqs Member Posts: 21
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 15,842
    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.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • rayg20rayg20 Member Posts: 6
    Yes, to all of those questions.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,842
    Yes, to all of those questions.

    Connections at the starter clean/tight?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • rayg20rayg20 Member Posts: 6
    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 Member Posts: 15,842
    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.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • phampham Member 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 Member Posts: 15,842
    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.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • dualies1dualies1 Member Posts: 1
    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?
  • lancer5lancer5 Member Posts: 2
    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 Member Posts: 9,148
    Is the engine actually turning over? If not I'm going to say "weak battery".

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • lancer5lancer5 Member Posts: 2
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 15,842
    Thanks for the kind words. I'm just glad to be able to help fellow BMW owners.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • hduhaneyhduhaney Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 15,842
    Make sure all connections-particularly both ends of the ground cable-are clean and tight.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • crshvctmcrshvctm Member 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 Member Posts: 3
    Thank you I did check them and is well there.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,842
    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.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • smomsmom Member 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 Member Posts: 15,842
    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.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • fmazavafmazava Member 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....
  • sierrajadeussierrajadeus Member Posts: 1
    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 Member Posts: 15,842
    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.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • joeyijoeyi Member Posts: 13
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 15,842
    It's more likely to be the battery; at any rate, check the easy things first.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • ocean22ocean22 Member 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?
  • mrfinaglemrfinagle Member Posts: 20
    Do you live around NJ? bring it to Bill at bimmerclinic. you'll save a lot of grief and he's reasonable/fair.
  • 98bmw540i98bmw540i Member Posts: 1
    Hey, my 98' 540i has just started to act up on the start. I attempt to start the car and it frequently hesitates turning over. the engine starts then it dies. i let my buddy borrow my car last weekend and he found a way to bypass it. by turning the key of then on fast. when i do this the car stays on without puttering out. This leads me to believe its electrical. Can anyone help me with this situation?
  • archangel_350archangel_350 Member Posts: 3
    Any suggessions as to why my car wont start? Iknow I have to have my foot on the brake in order for the car to start, it will not start once I do this, any assistance would be appreciated.
  • archangel_350archangel_350 Member Posts: 3
    Joeyi,

    I seem to be having the exact same issue with my car. 2005/525i, What was your soulution?....Car first started with a small hesitation then it just won't start, it won't even try....(Like if not pressing the brake pedal). Thanks for yoiur prompt response.
  • monica53monica53 Member Posts: 1
    A friend of mine has a 1999 Black color BMW 5-series diesel model, which i am interested in purchasing.The car is in very nice condition both from the interior and the exterior, But the engine sounds very rough and in fact pretty loud, the power delivery is smooth, the automatic transmission gears engage very neatly, the only thing that bothers me is the loud and rough sound of the engine, and yes the car starts instantly, in fact there is actually no disturbing noises from any of the moving parts, is there a problem with the engine or is it natural for a diesel engine to be so rough sounding.
  • egbedokunegbedokun Member Posts: 1
    am just getting on this blog and i feel comfortable that my problem will be solved.
    I have a 5.25i BMW, 1989 model. The car started to give some problems some months ago. The moment the ignition is turned on, the rev will be going up and down and will be dwindling between 200 and 700. after about a minute of doing that, it will switch itself off. Atimes when i'm in motion and i suddenly apply clutch and brake, it will also go off, in the same vein going on very rough raod could be very tough, the car will always go off. My elecrician had checked the Air flow meter, Air valve and could not locate where the problem is. The funny thing is that if the rev is increased to about 800 now, before long it will come back to about 300 or 400 by itself. Pls is there any serious problem that i must deal with here?
  • delgotti2524delgotti2524 Member Posts: 2
    wow im having the exact problem what was the problem
  • delgotti2524delgotti2524 Member Posts: 2
    hey whats up i have a 2004 5 series and it doesnt want to start i bought a new battery all the lights come on amd radio but when i turn the key nothing happens did u resolve ur problem
  • archangel_350archangel_350 Member Posts: 3
    Yes, my issue was the starter...had to be replaced. Hope this helps.
  • kanielakaniela Member Posts: 1
    hey, i now its been a while but i have a 99 528i that i just picked up and the ignition is doing the same thing and yours. In order to ge the car started i must turn the key on half way till the aux lights come on , hold for 10 sec and then turn the key off and then start the car. any clues on to whats wrong with it.... maythe the Key or mabe needs new ignition coil???? please help

    [email protected]
    808-306-1997
    danny
  • dingo5dingo5 Member Posts: 1
    hi i have a 2003 530i just purchased it on the weekend drove it for a few days and started noticing that the shifter light wont go off and just recently the car died
    had the battery tested and it was fine , all the instruments lights are all working but the car won't start
    can anyone help
  • frantz2frantz2 Member Posts: 1
    can someone help my 525xi bmw wont start, the battery is good, all the light and radio functioning well but it would not crank
  • james27james27 Member Posts: 433
    Does this model have a neutral interlock switch? If a manual, often the clutch must be pressed to close this switch. On an automatic, it must be in park or neutral. If the switch or the linkage isn't adjusted properly, or the switch has failed, you'll never get the starter to operate. There are other things, like the starter relay, or an ignition switch, or even the starter motor itself, but not much more in the starter circuit. Now, cranking but not starting has another big list of possible problems.
  • homie74homie74 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 550i and have been having problems with the car not starting and stalling. This happens sporadically, where I go to start the car, and when I push the button nothing happens (All the light, radio, etc. work). After repeatedly pushing the starter button, it will eventually turn on. In addition, the car will stall while I'm driving.

    I took it to the dealership (still under warranty), and they said it was fixed. The believed it had something to do with the break system, that the car was not registering when I was pressing the break while starting the car.

    The problems have started to occur again, and wanted to see if anyone else had experienced the same problems.

    Thanks.
  • kls50kls50 Member Posts: 1
    I have a '83 528e that won't start. It began gradually a couple weeks ago, when I turned the key it wouldn't start but made a buzzing sound. After a couple tries of turning the key off and on, it started. Then gradually it would happen for frequently and take more and more tries before it started. Now it won't start at all. All the lights work and I just got a brand new battery about a month ago.
    Does anyone have an answer? :confuse:
  • jaimeb1jaimeb1 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2011
    I had this problem on my 2003 530 i, what it turned out to be is the EWS control unit. I beleive this unit is located in the steering column and is electronically linked to the key. This is a coded unit therfore you will have to present the BMW dealer with a copy of your license and registration before the install. Total cost was $ 610 installed.
  • rin0rin0 Member Posts: 1
    Hi,
    my car doesnt start in the morning, i tried, charging the battery n putting it back and it starts up fine, but, the next morning it wont start and the battery would be flat. i also bought a brand new battery but it dint change anything.

    Can someone please help me with this?!!
  • james27james27 Member Posts: 433
    You likely have a component malfunctioning and not turning off properly which is discharging the battery overnight. There are ways to isolate this, but the average person doesn't have the skills or equipment to do it. The other main possibility is if the alternator or voltage regulator is defective. Also, make sure that the belt driving the alternator is not worn or slipping.

    If you have a clamp-on or in-line ammeter, you could monitor it and then go through the fuse panel, pulling one fuse at a time to isolate which circuit is drawing the power. That will get most circuits, but some are on fuseable links, which are harder to check.
  • terobe2terobe2 Member Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    I have a 2004 525i and recently started experiencing the car would not start in the early morning. As the day gets warmer, it starts without issue. I have never had any major issues until now. Over the past 3 months, I have gotten a new Starter, Crank Sensor, and Fuel Pump. Oh by the way, the car was purchased new and now has 255k on it. HELP!! I really do not want to buy a new car.
  • michaelmigmichaelmig Member Posts: 6
    Homie... PLEASE HELP! I have a 2008 550i and I love the car. But it does the same exact thing as your did. BMW says its a "phantom issue" and they can't find how to replicate the problem. The computer systems shows no faults... My car sporadically will not start (unless I attempt 30 times); and it occassionally stalls while driving- which scares the hell out of me. I almost got bumped yesterday by a Honda Accord on the street... Any assist that would help my dealer/ mechanic get this fixed would be so much appreciated!! Michael.
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