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Thread: Intermittent starting problem

  1. #76
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    We've confirmed that the model starter used on our cars has been used for a number of years on other BMW's with no indication of a problem. In my mind, that reduces the possibility that our problem is premature failure of a number of starters.

    It seems like the act of replacing the starter fixes the problem at least temporarily. Could some form of corrosion be occuring that is displaced while the starter is being replaced? I know this is a long shot but we have ruled out the most obvious answers. I have a boat and at times a starter fails to turn often the result of corrosion on the wires. The corrosion is difficult to see but many times just removing the wires, cleaning and coating them with dielectric gel solves the problem. Admittedly, boat starters are in a harsher environment than our prized automobiles.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

    2006 Ferrari F430 Spyder
    2011 Porsche Carrera S
    2011 Mercedes CLS 550

  2. #77
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    We've confirmed that the model starter used on our cars has been used for a number of years on other BMW's with no indication of a problem. In my mind, that reduces the possibility that our problem is premature failure of a number of starters.

    It seems like the act of replacing the starter fixes the problem at least temporarily. Could some form of corrosion be occuring that is displaced while the starter is being replaced? I know this is a long shot but we have ruled out the most obvious answers. I have a boat and at times a starter fails to turn often the result of corrosion on the wires. The corrosion is difficult to see but many times just removing the wires, cleaning and coating them with dielectric gel solves the problem. Admittedly, boat starters are in a harsher environment than our prized automobiles.
    Bad ground is a possibility.

    Here is the response that I received from the shop foreman of a Z8-friendly dealership, unfortunately for me, they are 3,000 miles away.

    "..... regarding your Alpina no start issue. Without the car in front of me I have only a few suggestions & thoughts to offer. First off is the battery condition (i.e. is it fully charged & does it have sufficient cranking capacity to start the engine). Secondly is the same voltage present in the engine compartment as at the battery. I know this topic has been discussed frequently on the Z8 forum without much true resolution. I suspect the problem may be a voltage drop issue from the start switch to the under hood area. Unfortunately in all of my Z8 experience I have only duplicated this issue once & that car had a deceased starter. Due to the humid climate you live in. my first course of action would be to check all of the connections related to the battery & starting system. This may sound like a b.s. course of action but I have found that when chasing something intermittent starting with the basics is the best course of action. Another thing to check would be any sort of amperage draw on the battery when the vehicle is parked. When the vehicle is "asleep" (about 15 minutes after the car is shut off) the current draw should be about 35 mA. If you still have the original phone system installed disconnecting the compensator would be a good place to start. (if the draw is excessive) Aside from aftermarket accessories this has been one of the more consistent culprits. I'm sorry that I don't have anything more specific but it's difficult when the car is on the opposite end of the continent."
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  3. #78
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    We've confirmed that the model starter used on our cars has been used for a number of years on other BMW's with no indication of a problem. In my mind, that reduces the possibility that our problem is premature failure of a number of starters.

    ......
    M5 owners have reported starting issues as well.

    http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...mobiliser.html
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  4. #79
    It is interesting to see that cars in the dryer, desert climate of the west coast don't seem to show the issue, while it looks to be happening to cars from the low lands of Europe and the more humid parts of the US. It seems this could be a corrosion issue, either to the ground or within the starter/solenoid unit itself.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  5. #80
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    I spoke to my BMW tech expert on this problem for the first time yesterday and he offered that their dealership has not seen enough of this problem enough to be noteworthy. So, even though there are many models with this starter, can we speculate that having the car sitting idle for longer periods is a significant factor?

    He did wonder if there are electrical troubles corrupting or degrading some of the bus communications because a bad message transfer on K-bus or data link could possibly cause a no-start or delayed start. He suggested that a low battery must have something to do with it, but I countered with the guess that everyone on these boards is using a battery tender, which changed his mind on that.

    We are throwing around the idea of bad grounds and bad connections in general. We are focused on the starter solenoid at the moment because Dirk and possibly others will swear that they hear the solenoid attached to the starter actually switch, and yet have no voltage come out. I think this is a reasonable place to focus attention, but I'm also wondering if this solenoid is more than just a simple solenoid. Could it be that there is a second set of windings in there that must be enabled to fully pull the contacts home? Sounds a bit wild I agree, but the schematic seems to suggest such a thing. If so, then it may be possible that the solenoid is working as it should, but that there is an enable function that is not being satisfied somewhere in the system.

    I hope to hear a bit more information after my contact has done a bit of detective work.

    Also on my mind, by the way, is the fact that whenever I look at a connector or electrical connection point on my car it looks as clean and bright and solid as the day it was made. I've seen a lot of bad connections in cars, but they are always either loose or nasty to look at in some way. I don't see that here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    M5 owners have reported starting issues as well.

    http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...mobiliser.html
    Very good link Dirk, especially the attached PDF in post #7. I had not seen that level of detailed explanation before.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    We've confirmed that the model starter used on our cars has been used for a number of years on other BMW's with no indication of a problem. In my mind, that reduces the possibility that our problem is premature failure of a number of starters.

    It seems like the act of replacing the starter fixes the problem at least temporarily. Could some form of corrosion be occuring that is displaced while the starter is being replaced? I know this is a long shot but we have ruled out the most obvious answers. I have a boat and at times a starter fails to turn often the result of corrosion on the wires. The corrosion is difficult to see but many times just removing the wires, cleaning and coating them with dielectric gel solves the problem. Admittedly, boat starters are in a harsher environment than our prized automobiles.
    This is certainly a possibility. My experience with the larger current connections such as ring terminals on a threaded stud (such as on our starter solenoid) is that if a connection is tight, so that there is solid metal to metal contact, corrosion does not get into the contact area and degrade it, at least not until the degree of corrosion becomes profound and obvious to the naked eye (picture the electrics in an unrestored '69 Triumph Spitfire). If it is loose or marginally tight (like finger tight), then anything can happen. So a tight connection of reasonably bright and clean metal is probably fine.

  8. #83
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    The solenoid has 2 distinct stages each requiring different levels of power: the push stage when the piston is pushed out against the contacts, and the hold stage. The hold stage requires less power so that more is available for the actual starter motor. Could that be what the diagram is showing ?

    On the outside the solenoid contacts might not show any signs of corrosion, but who knows how the inside contacts look like ? Could it be corroded or have carbon built up, or a bit of melted metal (think about the old fashioned points inside the distributor) ? Lots of amps going though there.

    My starter is still under the 2 year mfr warranty and I am going to have it replaced. I'll ask for the old part and open up the solenoid to see what's going on inside.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  9. #84
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    I have (had) the same problem with my car. To explain the current setup of my car: I am still using the first battery for 9 years now, the starter was never replaced and also the solenoid is the first one. I discoverd with a technician of BMW in Munich that the loading time of the car key is up to 5 hours and to start the car you need a minimum charge of the key to get a "go" for the starting procedure from the cars electrical system; from the control unit (I really do not know the right names of the electronic parts in English). In cooperation with an electronic lab we developed a charging device for the key and since then the problem occured never again on my car. It is also helpfull to have a "memory second" between putting the key into the ignition and pushing the engine start button. The process of sending and receiving the necessary "starting information" could take up to 4 seconds, depending on how much time has gone by since the last use of the key and the charging level.

    In my case it seems that the key was the key to solve the problem... BTW we are thinking of manufacturing and offering the key charging device to Club members. This device will work for all BMW keys and will prevent the keys from becoming useless after long storrage periods without use.
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  10. #85
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    J?rgen - do you remember whether or not you heard a distinct click on a failed start ?
    If no, you might have had a different problem.
    If yes, you're blowing my defective solenoid theory out of the window (and you possibly save me $700 in labor charge to install the new starter).
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  11. #86
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    Yes, I always had the "click"!
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

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    Jurgen, it seems that this is in conflict with information from BMW. The technical description of the EWS3.3 system, which is the antitheft and start control subsystem in our cars, explains :
    "A transponder chip is integrated in each of the vehicle keys. A ring coil is fitted about the ignition lock. The transponder chip is powered by the EWS3 control unit via this coil, i.e. no battery is required in the key. The power supply and data transfer take place in the same way as a transformer between the ring antenna (coil) at the ignition lock and the transponder chip integrated in the key."

    So, it is not clear why this communication might be improved by charging the key. However, they say "no battery is required" and this phrase is suspicous to me because they do not say "no battery is used". Perhaps in fact there is a battery included anyway, and while this battery is not absolutely necessary for the transponder, if we theorize that the battery is indeed included as a parallel power supply, then it is possible that a weak or flat battery loads the charging function and delays the rise of voltage to the transponder for a short while, but ultimately the transponder receives its full voltage and begins to operate. Thus the battery may cause a delay in the system if it is weak or low in charge.

  13. #88
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    I don't think the key is the issue with my car...

    as I can drive the car around town all day with multiple starts and stops then suddenly have two or three failed attempts at a start. I've never heard a "click" when the ignition failed...in fact it just silence as I keep pushing the start button and hoping it'll start.

  14. #89
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron's rocket View Post
    .... I've never heard a "click" when the ignition failed...in fact it just silence as I keep pushing the start button and hoping it'll start.
    Sounds like a different problem all together, not related to the solenoid.

    Do you hear the ignition "unlocking" when enter the key ?
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron's rocket View Post
    as I can drive the car around town all day with multiple starts and stops then suddenly have two or three failed attempts at a start. I've never heard a "click" when the ignition failed...in fact it just silence as I keep pushing the start button and hoping it'll start.
    I have always heard an obvious "click".

  16. #91
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    When I get the click I turn the key to off and then back to on. I'll either get another click or the car will start.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

    2006 Ferrari F430 Spyder
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    2011 Mercedes CLS 550

  17. #92
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    Has anybody considered or checked the brake pedal switch that has to be closed before the car will start? The brake must be fully depressed in order to for the starter to engage which applies to both the Z8 and ALPINA. If this switch fails intermittantly, the car won't start.
    FWIW - Case in point...I had several intermittant starts on my Z3 for no apparent reason. I troubleshot all the typical things that would normally cause this situation, but no luck...the problem continued in a totally random patten...ie. cold, hot, etc..
    I also noticed the cruise control would work only intermittantly as well. I finally realized that if this brake light switch is faulty, it can cause at least 2 different situations: 1) the starter won't engage, and/or 2) the cruise control won't engage because the car thinks the brake has been "tapped". As far as I could tell, the brake lights themselves were never affected. I finally ran an OBD test which flagged the "Brakelight switch (BLS)/ brake light test plausibility". I realized this was the switch mounted above the brake pedal (at least on the Z3), had it replaced and the problem was solved. Car always starts and the cruise control has worked flawlessly since.
    I'm coming to this thread late so forgive me if this was already considered. I'm not sure the Z8/ALPINA are the same as the Z3, but this should be considered if it hasn't already been discussed above.

  18. #93
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Terry, you think like I do. I was wondering about the brake or transmission lockout.

    I still ask if anyone has looked over at the M5 groups to see if there has been any similar issues.
    thegunguy

  19. #94
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy View Post
    I still ask if anyone has looked over at the M5 groups to see if there has been any similar issues.
    See post # 78 above.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
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  20. #95
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jawz View Post
    Has anybody considered or checked the brake pedal switch that has to be closed before the car will start? The brake must be fully depressed in order to for the starter to engage which applies to both the Z8 and ALPINA. If this switch fails intermittantly, the car won't start.
    Pressing the brake pedal is not required for my car to start.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
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  21. #96
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    That's good news of a sort. Much more data to contribute to a solution.
    thegunguy

  22. #97
    Sport Button On - DSC Off jpklecker's Avatar
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    On my 2002 I need to press in the clutch to start the car--not the brake pedal. I have never experienced any of the above problems. Each time I drive the car I alternate between the two keys that I have. Maybe what Jurgen says is related to the keys. Do those of you experiencing the click on attempted start use the same key every time? Also I regularly drive the car at least once a week for at least an hour -- 30 minutes to work and later in the day 30 minutes home; most weeks it gets two trips to work.
    John Klecker - 2002 Topaz / Crema (61782)

  23. #98
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    I always press the clutch pedal and never the brake.
    I typically only start the car once every few weeks, and I use only one of my keys over and over.

    To me the symptoms point to a data link failure between the EWS and DME, possibly caused by a bad key code or possibly caused by some communication problem. The trouble I have with the idea of a bad key code being related to the key is that the codes recorded in the key are nonvolatile, and the key code system does not use the battery inside the key. So, I don't understand why there seems to be a correlation between using the key less often and the click problem. I think we don't have enough data to say that there is indeed a correlation, at this point.

  24. #99
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvey2 View Post
    .... I typically only start the car once every few weeks, .....
    Don't you think that this (the non frequent starting of the engine) has a lot to do with the problem ?

    Last week when I started the car, after not having used it for quite a few weeks, I experienced the "solenoid clicking issue" on about 50% of the first 20 starts or so. Since then I must have started the car at least 100 times (always on a full battery) and cannot get it to "click" anymore; cold engine, hot engine, after long drives, after short drives, key #1, key #2 pressing the brake pedal, not pressing the brake pedal. It always starts. Did my solenoid get comfortable again ? I would like Harvey2 and Rich to try to do the same.

    Different owners may have different problems. Going through this thread there are 8 owners that hear a click. Are they all hearing the same click ? Three owners did not mention the click, they simply said that the car did not start, and two owners did not hear a click.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
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  25. #100
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    My car has experienced this even after replacing the battery also. It always has a single "click". After 2 or 3 tries it has always started. But every try has the "click".
    -dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Don't you think that this (the non frequent starting of the engine) has a lot to do with the problem ?
    .
    Yes, I do. All the click-non-starts that I can remember occurred in my garage or driveway, never anywhere else.

    I do remember one time when the car started fine (no click-non-start) in the garage after a long layover of several weeks, then I pulled it out, shut it off, and spent an hour washing it. Then when I went to put it back into the garage, I got the click once, then it started. Other than that, the rest of my click events have been on first trying to start after some weeks in the garage.

  27. #102
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8 Dave View Post
    My car has experienced this even after replacing the battery also. It always has a single "click". After 2 or 3 tries it has always started. But every try has the "click".
    -dave
    Dave - how often do you start / drive your car ?
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
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  28. #103
    I would like to add a data point:

    1) When I was able to use my car regularly I had this problem, but only rarely, maybe 2 or 3 non-starts per year.
    2) For most of 2009 the car was very lightly used because of business travel, and the incidence of non-starts increased dramatically, to about 50% of attempted starts.
    3) At one point I did a battery change - interestingly, the high rate of non-starts was still there, which seems to rule out a direct battery issue.
    4) Over the last month I have again started using the car regularly, and the incidence of non-starts has decreased dramatically. The last ten or so times the car has started perfectly.
    5) Every time I hear the "click".

    Carlos

  29. #104
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    The clicking problem on my car does seem to vary depending on use. More use, less of a problem. That suggests the possibility that with infrequent use moisture or corrosion is building someplace. With frequent use either the moisture drys or the corrosion is knocked off. If correct, wouldn't the starting solenoid be the most likely place for this to be occurring?
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

    2006 Ferrari F430 Spyder
    2011 Porsche Carrera S
    2011 Mercedes CLS 550

  30. #105
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    I'm sure on the Alpina your foot must be on the brake to start the car. The brake peddle engagement has no effect with starting the Z8 or at least on mine its only the clutch. This weekend I took the Z8 to Coffee & Cars in Dallas, the car had not been used in several months, drove the car all day with several stops and never experienced the clicking problem which I have on occasion in the past. Right now I'm wondering if in the past I possibly didn't depress the clutch pedal far enough? Just a thought or maybe a wish???

    Pandaman

  31. #106
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    Well...I don't understand this at all.

    Just started my car last week after four months of sitting in the garage. The car started without any problem and has continued to start for twenty+ times. I'm less the ten miles from the beach and after four months the corrosion should have made my starter stick, but not one click or missed start???

  32. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron's rocket View Post
    Just started my car last week after four months of sitting in the garage. The car started without any problem and has continued to start for twenty+ times. I'm less the ten miles from the beach and after four months the corrosion should have made my starter stick, but not one click or missed start???
    Yes, it is puzzling.

    Please don't assume that we are dealing with a corrosion issue or for that matter a sticky starter. Although it is one of the possibilities, this has not yet been established. It does indeed seem like this problem is related to frequency of use, but it occurs inconsistently, as you have found.

  33. #108
    Team Z8 ZMates's Avatar
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    doh, I couldn't start my car today. I pressed the start button and nothing, no clicking noise...nothing. I disconnected the battery hoping it might reset something. After reconnecting it started right up. Might have been coincidence.

    When I got home went right to the site to see if anyone else had the same problem. You know the answer.

    thanks, John

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    starting

    John,
    A lot of us have had this problem without and answer. Have you tried pushing down on you clutch a little harder???
    Pandaman

  35. #110
    Team Z8 ZMates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pandaman View Post
    John,
    A lot of us have had this problem without and answer. Have you tried pushing down on you clutch a little harder???
    Pandaman
    I'll try that next time it happens (hopefully it won't). I did hit the starter once by accident when I didn't have the clutch depressed and the car jolted forward. That would seem to indicate a sticking switch--I didn't realize there was a switch. I'll try to start it again without the clutch depressed and see what happens.

    thanks, John

  36. #111
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    No pattern here...

    Quote Originally Posted by ron's rocket View Post
    Just started my car last week after four months of sitting in the garage. The car started without any problem and has continued to start for twenty+ times. I'm less the ten miles from the beach and after four months the corrosion should have made my starter stick, but not one click or missed start???
    Yesterday was the first missed start...clean start on my second attempt.

  37. #112
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    In your case, where you disconnected and then re-connected the battery, the issue may be the battery itself.

    A downside to the term "Maintenance Free" is that it puts people into a mindset where they do not routinely check their battery. With yours, there is a possibility that although the terminals look clean, they may not have been making good contact. By removing the cables and re-connecting them, you improved the connectivity between the post and the terminal. I suggest that you clean the post and cable and spray it with a protectant.

    Your issue could have been a number of things. Sometimes it is the simple causes that we overlook.

    Cheers!
    Scott Pettit
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  38. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZMates View Post
    doh, I couldn't start my car today. I pressed the start button and nothing, no clicking noise...nothing. I disconnected the battery hoping it might reset something. After reconnecting it started right up. Might have been coincidence.

    When I got home went right to the site to see if anyone else had the same problem. You know the answer.

    thanks, John
    No click sound means to me that this is a different problem. Lacking other info, I would suspect battery contacts too.

  39. #114
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    Here we go again!

    OK, So I have been out of town quite often for the past 3-4 months and I haven't started the car at all. Went out to start it today and got the "click". Went to try again and the key wouldn't turn. Then it turned and all of the electronics in the car started to flash, the lights(which weren't on) the radio, the dash, you could hear the CD changer spin, etc. When I turned the key off it kept dinging as if the door was open! I have had it on the BMW charger the entire time. I tried my second key with the same results. Almost like there is a gremlin in the car! I now have it on a real battery charger with the key in the ignition in the number 2 position to hopefully charge the key. Has anyone had a similar problem? Am I able to push start the car? Is it time for a tow truck to the dealer? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
    -dave

  40. #115
    Even though it has been on a charger I think that sounds like the battery has just died a natural death. Keeping on a charger will not make it immortal, merely keep it strong during its life, but it can't save it once it passes that final 'sell by date'.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  41. #116
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    Do not, by any means, push start it.

    Is the battery charger also capable of jumpstarting? If it starts with a jump start, the battery is the culprit.
    Scott Pettit
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    It wouldn't jump start so I went to the local Batteries Plus and bought a new battery($124.99). Put it in and it started first time like a charm!! The weather here is perfect now for convertibles so I am glad it was only a battery! Thanks Andrew!

  43. #118
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    I heard the "click" today. Car started normally on the 2nd try. I haven't driven the car for about 6 weeks (car is always connected to the battery maintainer). I had the starter and battery replaced in Oct 2008 and this was the first time I have had the no start "click" since the new starter.

    Unrelated to the no start (maybe) is that I've been having problems unlocking the car. Sometimes I have to hit the unlock button a few times before the driver's door unlocks. The manual states that the car will not unlock unless the key is charged. Since I don't drive the car much I'm assuming the keys discharge more quickly since they are now getting old (7+ years).

    Does anyone think the no start "click" could be the result of a low key battery?

    I've seen key chargers at the dealer... can one be bought for home use?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm perplexed.

    Carmen B.

    2003 Alpina

  44. #119
    It does seem there could be a key issue, I have taken to leaving my key in the ignition, though it is turned off, in hope that the trickle charger will keep it fully alive. I have been driving my Z8 less this year with all the bad weather, so maybe I'll get the dreaded click too, and I'll certainly let chime in if I do, but does anyone else who has had the click leave their key in the ignition while the car is on trickle charge?.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  45. #120
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
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    Lisa and I have spent a lot of time listening to clicks over the last 2 days. This battery was new last year, and I've used the battery tender on and off during the winter (possibly the sunniest winter in Seattle history!)

    Not clear if its the battery causing the problem if it fires on the 30th or 40th try.

    My keys are now 10 years old. How long do the batteries last in these things before needing to be replaced?

  46. #121
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    It appears that the problem lies with the solenoid of the starter motor. There is some kind of build-up on the contact pins of the solenoid which prevents engagement of the starter motor due to not sufficent amps being delivered. Even if the car is not driven on a regular basis, it should be started at least once or twice a week to avoid this build-up on the solenoid contact pins.

    You could try to burn off this build-up by starting the engine several times in a row and then keeping the solenoid contacts clean by starting the engine at least twice a week. If that doesn't help, you might have to replace the starter motor. However, if after replacing the starter motor the engine is not started frequently, you'll have the same problem again. The Z8 is not the only model suffering from this problem. The battery should be kept at full charge as well.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  47. #122
    I guess we are getting towards the time when the key batteries are starting to fail. I known that the Z8 Club are preparing a key charger, so hopefully that will be with us before too long.

    Dirk, that is great info, thanks.

    Has anyone got pictures of this part?
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  48. #123
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    Does not Start

    Everything seemed to be normal when I last drove the car a week ago. But when I tried to start it again yesterday, it would not start. Only a click sound after I pressed the start button.

    I fully charged the battery. Same thing. But the battery needed to be charged again. It almost seemes like there is a short somewhere. I tried to jump start the car with a jump cable to my other car. Still no success. I searched through the list and did not find any thread that had this situation. Any idea?

    Thanks

    Jim

  49. #124
    If it isn't the battery or the key then it could be the starter motor solenoid or relay. Do you keep your battery on a trickle charger?
    Andrew Macpherson

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  50. #125
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    Well, it turned out to be the battery problem after all. I still had the original factory battery. So it actually lasted for 10+ years. Not bad.

    I took the old battery to AutoZone. Took them a minute to diagnose that the battery was bad. I got the Group 49 Duralast battery from them for around $140. Perfect fit. I read a few reviews online, including the Consumer Report, and determined that the Duralast battery was a very good replacement with a 3-year-exchange and 8-year-prorated warranty.

    I did not keep the battery on trickle charger. I'll do that from now on.

    However, I still do not know why I was not able to jump start the car. I'll look into this more.

    Thanks

    Jim

  51. #126
    Z8Mania
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    Hi Jim, I had that happen after 4 years. A rule of thumb is replace the battery every 4-6 years.

  52. #127
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    I couldn't jump start my car when the battery failed either. I was, and still am, puzzled about that. On note of caution though - double check the mileage on your odometer to make sure it didn't change significantly since that failed jump start event.

  53. #128
    Z8Mania
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    How did you try to jump it? With the charging terminal or direct to the battery? I've found the terminal is for whatever reason a bit spotty and direct to the battery works every time.

  54. #129
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    I tried the post under the hood - no luck; and direct to the battery - no luck. My wife even called someone to try it - no luck. I finally ordered a different type of battery pack starter which was successful. As I recall, I used the post under the hood with the new battery pack and it started on the first try.

  55. #130
    Z8Mania
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    Go figure. With my battery, when it died, it would not hold a charge but we could jump it.

  56. #131
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    I tried to jump start with the post under the hood with another car. It didn't work. I also tried to jump start it with a battery starter pack. That didn't work either. But my battery starter pack is old. So I can't be sure.

  57. #132
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Couldn't jump start mine from under the hood last time I had to replace my battery.

  58. #133
    Sport Button On - DSC Off gutMD's Avatar
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    Replaced my 4 year old battery yesterday and the "click" persists.

    In fact, since bringing the car down to my home on Cape Cod by the water the problem has become exponentially worse.

    Yesterday I got the click 7-8 times before being able to get the starter to engage and this during a time when I have been driving the car more often while on vacation. Increased usage, increased moisture, increased failed starts.

    Something, somewhere has to be corroded/sticking and my gut tells me its in the starter as the start sequence seems to make it down to the starter where it is not always executed.
    ---------------------------------
    Regards,
    Gary
    2002 Topaz // Crema

  59. #134
    That is annoying when you are away and meant to be at play! There does seem to be something about the damp that makes it more prevalent, but I guess we are all going to go through this regardless.

    I'll try to figure out from this thread how each issue was resolved, and post it over in the other one as easy reference.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  60. #135
    Sport Button On - DSC Off gutMD's Avatar
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    The relative humidity in this part of the country has decreased significantly over the last 4 days and, lo and behold, the click has resolved!

    Humidity will increase over the next few days and we'll see which way it goes.

    Update will follow.
    ---------------------------------
    Regards,
    Gary
    2002 Topaz // Crema

  61. #136
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    Had the starter replaced yesterday do to this problem...click....click...click. Sure it's only surface corrosion on the solenioid that fires in the pinion......will keep you posted...

  62. #137
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    You may be able to clean the brushes in the starter motor (if you save the part). Then bench test it and if it works, offer it for sale.

    I found a years old compressor that I had abandend in a shed and it was completely frozen. I pulled the motor apart, cleaned it and wowee...it works just like new and is going to be installed in my car hauler as a part of the shop tools.
    Scott Pettit
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  63. #138
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
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    Hey Andrew, I had clicks about 4 or 5 times during our trip. It happened on the way to sushi with you right behind me - started on the 3rd try that time. Car was warm, battery charged and the car was recently washed!

  64. #139
    Hope you had a good run home none the less. So great seeing you & Lisa, ROR!!

    Keep us posted on the starter, good luck with it.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  65. #140
    DSC Off ZbobZ's Avatar
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    clutch switch?

    I replaced my starter button some time back. No clicking starter for a while, then the problem returned. I had another bout with the starter click last week. As an experiment, I pushed the starter button first and then depressed the clutch pedal (reverse of normal sequence). The car started. I had the clicking problem this morning, and this procedure worked again. Two tests don't definitively prove anything, but you might give it a try the next time you have the starter clicking problem.

    FWIW, I've had similar lockout switch issues with other equipment (not BMW), and the above procedure worked.

  66. #141
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Alpina's don't have clutches but experience the same starting problems.
    Dirk

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  67. #142
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    Good point Dirk. I think it is possible that there are several causes for the clicking solenoid. The clutch after start button has worked for me so far. I'll report back from time to time.

  68. #143
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    The switch on the clutch (or on the brake in the case of the Alpina) may be bad and causing a voltage fluctuation during the start sequence. I suggest that the switch be looked in to.
    Scott Pettit
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  69. #144
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Pettit View Post
    The switch on the clutch (or on the brake in the case of the Alpina) may be bad and causing a voltage fluctuation during the start sequence. I suggest that the switch be looked in to.
    Brake pedal on the Alpina does not need to be depressed to start the engine.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  70. #145
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    OT: X5 starting

    Love how I can start the X5 without sitting in the seat or pressing any pedals. Insert and turn key. Handy when needing to cool off the car on a hot day.
    thegunguy

  71. #146
    Z8 Madness
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy View Post
    Love how I can start the X5 without sitting in the seat or pressing any pedals. Insert and turn key. Handy when needing to cool off the car on a hot day.
    Not anymore, our X5 does require pressing the pedal. Not only that, our X5 will not move forward or reverse if the driver side door is open

    This really is a problem, as I often find it useful to open my door and look behind when parking or pulling in/out of tight spaces.

    All these so called "safety" features have crossed the line into insult to the driver territory, if you ask me -- like the warnings on fire logs that read "Warning - Flammable".
    2016 Porsche GTS/MT

  72. #147
    Sport Button On - DSC Off jpklecker's Avatar
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    I agree with Redz8 about the insult to intelligence... problem is those that need the "safety" features usually ignore them, just like our warning message on the radio / navigation unit. A good driver knows how to operate a car without these items. It seems people are getting worse at using logic / common sense as I don't remember so many problems when I was younger and you didn't even need the key to lock to car door. Or, as on my 1969 Volvo P1800S, you had a separate key for the door than the ignition.
    John Klecker - 2002 Topaz / Crema (61782)

  73. #148
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Brake pedal on the Alpina does not need to be depressed to start the engine.
    Yep, Dirk's right about the ALPINA...the brake/starter interlock isn't there. Just stick the key in an fire her up!

  74. #149
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    Its time to update experience on this issue. My car has been driven very little this year and on this last weekend I had many occurances of "click but no start". A few times it took about 20 start button presses to get the engine to finally start. In the first hour the problem occurred on initial start, then at a meal stop shortly after, then once more at a shopping stop. Then, after hours on the road, with two fuel stops along the way, the problem did not reoccur.

    After re-reading all of the posts here, as well as the one referred M5 thread and I'm almost convinced that the problem is one of contact contamination in the starter solenoid. The explanation of a possible weak battery does not fit the symptoms. Car batteries can have a range of voltages depending on whether current is flowing into them (ie. charging), or out of them, and the time between these. When charging a car battery it is normal for the voltage to range from 12.8 to 14.4 volts depending on charge current. When there is no load (or a very light load, like the "sleep" current of 35mA in our cars) it is natural for the battery voltage to come to rest at 12.6 volts. I say come to rest because if measured immediately after charging, the voltage will slowly decline from the charge voltage of, say 13.8 volts, back down to the rest voltage. This is normal.

    The starter is by far the heaviest load on a battery and when the starter is powered, the cranking amps will draw the battery voltage down to below 11 volts, and sometimes below 8 volts on a poorer battery, for the time that the starter runs. Cars are designed to tolerate the dip in battery voltage during starting. It would be abolutely normal for all of the lighting on the car to dim while the starter is running. If you press the start button and no lights dim, then the starter motor does not have any voltage applied to it. If there is indeed voltage being applied to the starter solenoid (the one bolted onto the starter), then the problem must be the solenoid.

    If the entire starter is replaced, the problem will go away. This will be temporary (perhaps good for a few years) if the solenoid on the new starter is identical design and materials to the one that was removed. Replacement of the battery would not solve this problem, nor would any change to the key. If these things solved your problem, then perhaps you had a different problem.

    I can see two courses of action that make sense. One is to operate the starter more often to keep the contacts clean. The other occurs to me since I had the starter in my E30 rebuilt. That is, that it is commonplace for rebuilding shops to replace solenoid contacts when rebuilding starters. This seems like a much less expensive thing to do than replace the entire starter assembly with a new one. Replacing the solenoid contacts would likely cost less than $100 plus the labor of pulling and re-installing the starter. This also brings up the possibility of using better materials in the replacement, but this depends a lot on what solenoid parts are available to the rebuilding shop.

    So, has anyone out there had their solenoid contacts replaced? As for me, I prefer the method of using the car more often.

    By the way, it is unnerving to sit there and press the start button over and over and over and over twenty or thirty times, but the car has always finally started. Have courage.

  75. #150
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Darn, it must be the MOON !

    Car had not been started / used for about 4 weeks and even though the battery was hooked up to the trickle charges (.5 amps), the battery was DEAD. After charging the battery for 48 hrs with the 6 amps charger, the engine would fire up after after a couple of clicks. Two days later the battery was dead again. Car is going to the dealer tomorrow for a new battery and we will see from there.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

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