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Thread: Intermittent starting problem

  1. #151
    DSC Off ZbobZ's Avatar
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    trickle charge

    I finally bought a trickle charger. I have not had any further starter issues.

  2. #152
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvey2 View Post
    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.
    Thanks for the excellent update.

    There really are so many reasons to take the car out every few weeks for a stretch.
    thegunguy

  3. #153
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
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    The past few times using the car I have gotten the "click" again. Battery is 3 years old and I had a new starter installed about 3 years ago too.

    I have noticed that when I start my car, I turn the key and very quickly/immediately press the start button. Lately, I've been waiting a few seconds after turning the key before pressing the start button and I haven't gotten any "click".

    I don't know if waiting a few seconds before pressing the start button actually does anything (mechanically) but just wanted to share my experience.

    Could this be a key battery issue? i.e. the keys are getting old and the key battery discharges quickly or does not get enough charge?

  4. #154
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8-NL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zilver8 View Post
    The past few times using the car I have gotten the "click" again. Battery is 3 years old and I had a new starter installed about 3 years ago too.

    I have noticed that when I start my car, I turn the key and very quickly/immediately press the start button. Lately, I've been waiting a few seconds after turning the key before pressing the start button and I haven't gotten any "click".

    I don't know if waiting a few seconds before pressing the start button actually does anything (mechanically) but just wanted to share my experience.

    Could this be a key battery issue? i.e. the keys are getting old and the key battery discharges quickly or does not get enough charge?
    I am starting to have same issue with my car. Having said that I still have original battery (from 2001) in place and leave my car always on battery trickler.
    Just leave key in for few seconds prior to starting the car. No issue then. Do it to quick and I get the infamous "click"

  5. #155
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    The "Clicking" became unacceptable, 4, 6, 8 times before the engine would start.
    Battery is always on a charger when car not in use. When not used, I try to start at least every 2 weeks, which is apparently not enough.

    The starter had to be replaced, again. Last time was 3 years ago and parts are warranted for 2 year so I had to pay even though the first "clicking" was reported within the 2 year parts-warranty period. I should have brought it to the dealership earlier, but wishful thinking made me wait and hoping that the problem would disappear when I start the engine more often. A $1,000 mistake.

    I asked for the old part (to cut it open and try to understand the issue), but the answer was no, or pay another $500 core charge.
    Are we getting recycled parts from BMW ?
     
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  6. #156
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    When warmed? Mine does it mostly when cold. What if a couple of us chipped in and bought the core so that it can be analyzed? Can the solenoid be replaced without replacing the entire starter?
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  7. #157
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    "When warmed" probably means when connected to a "hot" wire, i.e. when attempting to start, and is not related to engine temperature or outside temperature. The solenoid is an integrated part of the starter and can not be replaced without replacing the entire starting unit. The service manager told me that most of his customers with Z8's have the same problem due to infrequent use, which is certainly my case.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  8. #158
    I thought I was over this issue with my car after I replaced the battery, but after about two months of non use, the problem came back this past weekend. Two failed clicks, good to go on the third try, no problems for the rest of the day. Carlos

  9. #159
    Z8Mania
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    EEK!! FWIW Ive been told its not so good for the car to just start it and then put it back in the garage right away- you have to drive it for a bit.

  10. #160
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania View Post
    EEK!! FWIW Ive been told its not so good for the car to just start it and then put it back in the garage right away- you have to drive it for a bit.
    You are absolutely correct about that. It should be brought up to operating temperature.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  11. #161
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    Did your service adviser call us "clicking hens"?

  12. #162
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
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    I'd like to think of myself more as a Nattering Nabob....

  13. #163
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    My car is back at the dealer for yet another starter replacement. This time they're putting in a remanufactured starter that come from BMW with a "lifetime" warranty on parts and 2 years on labor. I'll have to find out if the "lifetime" warranty is transferrable if the car is sold. They also said there's a computer upgrade that goes with the starter replacement that affects the starting system.

    I was wondering if anybody has additional information about this? The total cost is around $980 which is less than my previous starter replacements.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  14. #164
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    Solution

    Read your post and can report....

    The starter is right next to the exhaust. This means that the solenoid gets hot and the contacts get corroded and.....

    I have had 3 starters fitted....all new units and after a while they all fail.....howevr they actually don't fail at all. A couple of clicks on the starter button and the starter will engage and start the car.

    I got fed up with this problem, so took the time to get an expert to work out what was going on. He explained the problem and told me to just leave all alone. 3 years on since the last change and it still clicks sometimes but then starts after a couple of presses.

    I have learn't to live with it.

    You can tell if it's the clutch switch, as then there is no click.

  15. #165
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    Strangely, the starting problem disappeared over a year ago and the car has been used less frequently in that time...which would make me think corrosion isnt the root problem.

  16. #166
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    I get the same thing happen too - totally randomly - but it always seems to start at the second try. Chris

  17. #167
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    SoCalSilver Alpina

    I have had my Alpina for six years and I have been plagued by starting difficulties for all of those years, despite having had it serviced under and out of warranty at the local San Diego BMW dealership. I have replaced the battery twice (with BMW batteries) and I have had two new starter motors placed in the car, as well as other electrical controls.

    I had varying levels of difficulty starting the car, particularly after it sat unused for any length of time. The car is always connected to the BMW trickle charger. I recently replaced the battery and it has been "behaving", but I don't understand logically why a previously weak battery would fail to initiate ignition and then after a number of attempts succeed. Perhaps someone can provide a logical explanation for how this might occur.

    If the problem recurs I will continue to press BMW to service the issue under warranty, as I believe it has never been completely resolved.

  18. #168
    Funnily enough the Z8 Club actually had a very good article on this issue in the latest issue of their magazine, and they traced it down to connector in the engine bay. I don't have the issue with me here so I can't access it, but maybe someone with a copy can chime in.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  19. #169
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    Macfly, if it is a contact issue as the article suggested, why have the replacements of the starter and battery seemed on occasion to at least temporarily resolve the issue? Are you able to send me some information on how to obtain the back issue from the Z8 club? My car is an Alpina, would the diagnosis apply to my car as well? Thanks, Jim

  20. #170
    Z8Mania
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    Maybe its just coincidence. Maybe temperature variances account for the seemingly random times you have success or failures?

  21. #171
    I'd suggest emailing Sonja at the Z8 Club directly, [email protected] and see about getting an issue. I'm not sure why there have been the various intermittent starting problems, because like you I know only what I've read, happily they haven't happened to me! :-)
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  22. #172
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
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    My car (Alpina) has the intermittent starting problems mentioned above. Had battery replaced, had starter replaced and all was good for a while. Just got another new battery and the problem starts again... So a couple of weeks later I go back to the dealer for an oil change and they found a faulty hood switch. Seems the underhood lights were staying on even when the hood was closed. Could this have been draining the battery and causing the starting issues??? Not really sure but just another thing to check for those who have this issue.

  23. #173
    Z8Mania
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    Yes this could be the problem. Microswitches go on these cars. I've replaced several in the roof mechanism over the years. Do you have the car hooked up to a tender? If so I would be a little more skeptical but if the draw is greater than the current supply it could still do it.

  24. #174
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    On my car I'm certain that wasn't the problem. It was on a tender and even when it wasn't it would eventually start. Also, I always check that the hood light is off when I close but don't latch the hood due to the tender wires.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  25. #175
    Z8Mania
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    Its far better to go to the battery directly. One day my car was dead and we tried jump starting it via the convenience terminals in the engine compartment. Nothing would work. We then tried direct to the battery, it fired right up. Also the rubber weather gaskets around the engine bay will slightly deform if you shut the hood down so you can do it with the tender wires. Try going direct to the battery, I think you will be happy with the result.

  26. #176
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    When jumpstarting I totally agree Jerry, but with tenders it isn't thát necessary right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania View Post
    Its far better to go to the battery directly. One day my car was dead and we tried jump starting it via the convenience terminals in the engine compartment. Nothing would work. We then tried direct to the battery, it fired right up. Also the rubber weather gaskets around the engine bay will slightly deform if you shut the hood down so you can do it with the tender wires. Try going direct to the battery, I think you will be happy with the result.

  27. #177
    Z8Mania
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    I don't know. I do know on the new cars you DO NOT want to go through the engine bay terminals for tenderizing- but I would try them first fir the jump due to the sensitive nature of all the new computers these new cars have. The on board computer will shut you down after a little charge is sent to the battery. The tender will think its done its job. On the Z8, I doubt thats the case, but it just seems to me that you are better off going right to the source.

  28. #178
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    I had the starting problem yesterday and today; when pushing the button I heard the solenoid click but nothing happened. Of course first I checked the (2012) battery, in perfect condition. I remembered the 2013 Z8 magazine issue with the 'starting gremlin issue' (corroded pole of starting solenoid) explained. I took the instruction, went underneath the Z8, took of the plastic panel, found the cable, unscrewed it and saw......... no rust at all! (which I think is great for a 13 year old car). Greased it, put it back, checked other positive and earth connections; no corrosions at any place that I could see. Then I tried to start, and...It started! I took it on a trip, and when I tried to start it at the gas station; again only a click! After about 8 times during 3 minutes or so it finally started again but of course I was not satisfied, my problem was not solved. When I came home I went to our lovely forum and read this complete thread until today. Until then I thought it should be the solenoid or the starter engine (Dirk's story). But I kept thinking why in my case (solenoid ánd starter engine looked in perfect condition, solenoid clicked) the solenoid ór starter engine could be the problem. Then I read Jürgen's story;

    Quote Originally Posted by Juergen Wunderlich View Post
    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.
    I took out my other (newer) key and went to the car; it started immediately and time after time. Then I took out my previously used key; nothing happened!
    As Jürgen instructed I waited for some seconds before I turned the older key into position 2 and then again some seconds before starting; It worked!
    This was of course the reason why it started after I inspected the solenoid cable... I kept the old key in the ignition so the electronics (EWS?) already recognized the key...

    In conclusion; I think there are multiple starting issues with our cars, but in my case the key was the issue. Thank you Jürgen!

    Best regards from the Netherlands,

    Remko

  29. #179
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Thanks for your exposé Remko.
    I've heard of owners selling their Z8 because "... the damn thing would never start" !
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  30. #180
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    But is the problem solved than with the remittent use of two keys?
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  31. #181
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-acht View Post
    But is the problem solved than with the remittent use of two keys?
    Only if the key is the issue, and the key was not the issue in my case.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  32. #182
    I always leave my key in the car while its on the tricker charger, and rotate them out every couple of months. I believe that it does get a charge just being in the ignition, even thought its 'off', but can't confirm it 100%.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  33. #183
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-acht View Post
    But is the problem solved than with the remittent use of two keys?
    Ton, it is like Dirk said, in my case my problem seems solved (tried it again an hour ago, no problem, started with one push, as it should).
    Jürgen said in his post that it takes 5 hours to 'charge' the key, so next two days I will charge both my keys in the car for a minumum of 5 hours.

  34. #184
    Z8Mania
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    Did they ever make the key charging device?

  35. #185
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    No idea, we should ask Jürgen...

    Jürgen....?

  36. #186
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  37. #187
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Thanks Dirk, I already forgot that thread....! So 48 hours in position 0 of the ignition is sufficient for charging our keys.

  38. #188
    Is there a similar battery system in the valet key? I'm trying to reconcile the need to charge the main key with the valet key.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  39. #189
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    Valet key ? Huh ?
    Never seen one !
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  40. #190
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    No battery in the valet that I can tell. Just a piece of plastic..

  41. #191

    Valet Key

    Here's my valet key and I think it's just metal/plastic...
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    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  42. #192
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    Sorry for the delay! No, the charging device has never been made because it was too expensive. We offered it years ago to our members but there was no response.

    Please find a picture of the "Prototype" attached. This could be a question for the current Board of Directors (Christian?) to give this project another chance... They have all the information!
     
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  43. #193
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Thanks Jürgen! I understand that a 30 minute drive once a year (!!) is sufficient to keep the key-battery charged. That should be no problem for us right? For 2 keys that would be just 1 hour of driving once a year...... If we can not manage that we would really have to reconsider having an ultimate driving machine in our garage....

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