Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Last
Results 1 to 75 of 193

Thread: Intermittent starting problem

  1. #1
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    358

    Question Intermittent starting problem

    About half the time I start the car, I hear a click when I hit the Start button and nothing else. This is the same sounding click that the slightly dead battery makes, but my battery is brand new and the car will eventually start.

    I let the clutch up, push it in, press the Start again and usually the car will start.

    My first thought is that the clutch cut off switch is failing. Over the weekend someone mentioned that this may be a grounding issue with the starter motor.

    Before I take it to a dealer, is there anyone here who might have some clue to this problem?

  2. #2
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    The clutch switch may be the culprit, but the fact that it makes a "click" seems odd. If it is the switch, I would think that it wouldn't make any noise at all - same as when you don't have the pedal pressed.

    I would make absolutely sure that your battery is at peak charge. Even with a new battery, you may be a bit low, and these cars have less margin for voltage error than most other vehicles. Afterall, you don't know how long the battery sat on the shelf before you bought it or under what conditions. For that matter, if you have a wet cell battery such as the OE one, you should also verify that all of the cells are full. If you're certain that your battery is tip-top, take it to your service guy. Although, you know it's going to start perfectly every time a the shop.

    On other vehicles, I've had similar symptoms when the starter motor or solenoid were failing. My guess would be the latter.

    Good luck!
    thegunguy

  3. #3
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    16

    Starting Problems

    I had intermittant starting problems with my Alpina. I would get a click on the first try and then the car would usually start on the second try but sometimes it took a third try and then there were times it started right up. I left it at the dealer on three different occasions and ofcourse it started every time. Time went on and after sitting in the garage for a month, with the charger on, it would not start after three try's, so I used the second key with the same results. I had it flat towed to the dealer where it promptly started on the first try. I told them don't call me till you fix it. The result was a new starter, now it starts every time. At least it was under warranty.

    The CE

  4. #4
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2

    Starting problems

    Hi there,
    I had the same problem and the BMW service people replaced the battery once, then the starter button with no improvement. It is in the shop today and I will make sure they will replace the starter motor this time.
    Thanks
    J

  5. #5
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    4
    I have just encountered the same starting problem after not starting car for a few months, changed battery but still the same, just get a click from engine bay, it must be a poor connection due to lack of use, has anybody got any ideas?, I can't get my head round the need for a new starter motor, mine is only 8000 miles old, and I'm sure the dealer would be rubbing his hands with glee if I was to leave it with him,

  6. #6
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lupin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    153
    something similar happened to me.
    The problem was the TCU (telematic control unit) that was draining the battery dead every time I didn't use the car for more than 3 days.
    Luigi
    2001 blk/red

  7. #7
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    4
    defenitely not the battery, logically it would appear to be connected to leaving the car standing for long periods of time, was hoping that other owners may also be guilty of not using their Z8 enough!!

  8. #8
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2

    Finally fixed

    the dealership finally relented and replaced the starter motor - the old one seemed to draw a bit too much power - and everything is fine since (almost a year now without problems)

  9. #9
    Sport Button On - DSC Off mollyshark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    104
    I finally had that fixed. Turned out to be the head unit. Apparently the nav system never really shut down so it was on a constant "on" state. Would drain the battery in no time at all. Like from morning to evening, full charge to nada. Poof. Lone Star replaced the unit and now all works fine (fortunately my extended warranty covered everything but the towing and $5/hr labor...ta da. I got tired of fighting with the dealership.). They still suggested letting it trickle if it will be sitting for more than a week or two at a time.
    ___________________
    MollyShark
    Red/Crema Tan top (both of us)

  10. #10
    blackblue
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    4
    Hi,

    I own an Alpina with 800 miles and I had exactly the same problem. I replaced the battery which seemed to solve the problem, but now I have the exactly same issue. I also hear some electric contact noise, but I'm afraid I have to flatbed my car to the dealer...

  11. #11
    I'm not sure if the electrics are exactly the same on the Alpina, but that sounds very odd that after replacing the battery it did it again. Did you attach a trickle charger to counter anything that may be draining the battery, as it could be the new battery needed a charge to bring it up to full power?
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  12. #12
    blackblue
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    4
    The battery is fully charged and it started to happen again a month after replacing the old battery. Now I can't start the car anymore...

  13. #13
    I'm not sure what to suggest - maybe get AAA to come and check it out, then if that doesn't work I guess it'll have to go to the dealer.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  14. #14
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Interesting issue, please keep us informed !

  15. #15
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Same thing here. New BMW battery 6 months ago. Always on BMW battery maintainer. Takes up to 3 tries to crank her up. I am going to take her to the dealership this week. Don't want to deal with this issue in Monterey in August! Is there a precedent for BMW taking care of this issue for out-of-warranty cars?
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  16. #16
    I'm not sure that there is just one issue at play here, I'm wondering if different things are happening to different cars, thus I'm not sure what the cure is, or what BMW's response could be.

    It would seem it could be be something common to both the Z8 and the Alpina's electric, but logically I'm not sure what, so I think we need to keep discussing it here, and try and to see if it is a common cause, or different similar things on different cars.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  17. #17
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    109
    Some owners still have this starting problem or had this problem in the past.

    As far as I know in 90% the battery causes this problem, even by using a battery maintainer like the standard BMW charger. In Europe the BMW battery charger was not part of the standard equipment, so I do not know about the quality of this charger. There are several types of battery chargers on the market in Germany but there is a big difference in the quality. I am using the current (modern) generation of these chargers which simulate several driving situations and I have no problems with the battery so far. I still have the first battery in my car for seven years now and I only drive the car about 3000 mls a year. It is a shame but there is no time to enjoy the car more...

    A common problem with new batteries in Germany is, that the batteries provided by the BMW dealerships and other shops often do not have the full power. They are often not fully loaded.

    The second reason for the starting problem could be the starting motor. We had some owners with this problem here. After having changed the starter, the problem was solved.

    Two owners of our (500!) members had problems with the ignition lock and one owner had problems with the starter button. It looked similar to an empty battery but only changing the parts solved the starting problem.

    So IMHO the only thing to do is to try step by step the different possibilities to get a solution for the problem.
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  18. #18
    Great info, thanks so much!
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  19. #19
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Car refused to start this morning. Battery was (as always) on the maintainer and voltage before attempting to start was 12.50 V. When pressing the starter button voltage dropped to 11.80 V. I tried it about 10 times; nothing.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  20. #20
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    I want to say the car needs ~13V to start. It's very specific on power. Your battery must be in tip-top condition. Although, some of the issue here appear to be deeper than battery.
    Last edited by thegunguy; April 23rd 2008 at 16:20.
    thegunguy

  21. #21
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Car refused to start this morning. Batter was (as always) on the maintainer and voltage before attempting to start was 12.50 V. When pressing the starter button voltage dropped to 11.80 V. I tried it about 10 times; nothing.

    Dirk, as far as I know when FULLY loaded my (90ah) battery reads 13.8 volts. When you take it off the charger and it gives 12.5 my guess is that it is 1) A battery-jogger discharging cycle or 2) a battery that had one or more deep discharge(s) in the past. Dropping to 11.8 should not be the problem. There is another way to test capacity; switching on all lights (at least 10A) must not give
    a drop in voltage more than 0.2 volts (and the battery should keep this up at least 10 minutes without dropping).

    Could it be that we should not use 'battery joggers' and just charge our batteries fully once every 4 weeks ? (or drive more regularly )

  22. #22
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    One hour on a regular 6AMPS battery charger put the battery back to 14V which was obviously sufficient to start the car. Overnight however, and without the trickle charger connected, the voltage dropped back to 12.6V. That is a significant drain. My first reaction would be that the "BMW Advanced Battery Charger", i.e. the 1.25AMPS trickler/maintainer does not produce enough juice to make up for this drain. I will have to do some more testing to support this. The battery is new (6 months) but could it already be defective?
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  23. #23
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    One hour on a regular 6AMPS battery charger put the battery back to 14V which was obviously sufficient to start the car. Overnight however, and without the trickle charger connected, the voltage dropped back to 12.6V. That is a significant drain. My first reaction would be that the "BMW Advanced Battery Charger", i.e. the 1.25AMPS trickler/maintainer does not produce enough juice to make up for this drain. I will have to do some more testing to support this. The battery is new (6 months) but could it already be defective?
    Beste Dirk, was the alarm (about 300mA) 'armed' overnight ? Does your car have a Sat Track (about 500mA) system added to your factory alarmsystem ? Our Z uses a 90 Ah battery, so to fully charge it with your 6A charger takes about 16 hours. So one hour is very short... Can you tell us what happens if you turn on your highbeam ? Does the voltage drop significantly within 10 minutes ?

  24. #24
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Hi Remko - The alarm was not armed overnight. Good point, yes I do have a satellite tracking system installed on the car "LoJack" (http://www.lojack.com/car/pages/car-faqs.aspx#q2), forgot all about that one. I did not do the high beam test yet as I needed the car this morning, but will report back as soon as I am done with that.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  25. #25
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    351
    I've just joined the "Intermittent starting problem" club. Has happened a couple of times now. When it happens, the car starts immediately on the 2nd try. I always have the battery maintainer on... original battery... and it's an Alpina. So far it has only happened once the car has been out and restarted. Cold startups are fine. I'm perplexed. Going in for an oil change next week and I'll mention it to the dealer. If I find anything out, I'll report back.

  26. #26
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    I was always suspicious of the trickle charger connecting thought the 12V socket inside the car. It never seemed like a smart idea to me - 1) flimsy connection, 2) can wear the window rubber if door is closed. I much prefer my fused direct connection that is wired to the battery with an external connection behind the rear plate.

    I think almost all of this issues are battery related as noted by J?rgen. Even if you have a "new" battery from BMW, its actual age and condition are hard to know. If you go to replace, look into gel batteries like the Odyssey. Their sealed design makes them more reliable when stored. However, you will need to get a different charger.
    thegunguy

  27. #27
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Quote Originally Posted by RRZ8 View Post
    Beste Dirk, was the alarm (about 300mA) 'armed' overnight ? Does your car have a Sat Track (about 500mA) system added to your factory alarmsystem ? Our Z uses a 90 Ah battery, so to fully charge it with your 6A charger takes about 16 hours. So one hour is very short... Can you tell us what happens if you turn on your highbeam ? Does the voltage drop significantly within 10 minutes ?
    Here are results of the 10 minutes high beam test (actually it was 15 minutes).
    I started out with the battery fully charged (13.8V). After 15 min the voltage had dropped to 12.6V, but the engine started three times in a row on the first try.

    I put the battery back on the Autozone charger (2 Amps low setting) and after a couple of hours the voltage was back to 13.6V. Started the car just once (without any problem) and noticed that the battery voltage had dropped back to 12.7V.

    Conclusion: battery does not keep its charge and the flimsy BMW charger cannot keep up with the discharging.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  28. #28
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Here are results of the 10 minutes high beam test (actually it was 15 minutes).
    I started out with the battery fully charged (13.8V). After 15 min the voltage had dropped to 12.6V, but the engine started three times in a row on the first try.

    I put the battery back on the Autozone charger (2 Amps low setting) and after a couple of hours the voltage was back to 13.6V. Started the car just once (without any problem) and noticed that the battery voltage had dropped back to 12.7V.

    Conclusion: battery does not keep its charge and the flimsy BMW charger cannot keep up with the discharging.
    Dirk, so it looks like your battery (is it an OE?) should be replaced, but to be completely sure you can test it with for example the Varta professional battery tester (over here almost every dealer has one). It will simulate a 10A discharge and will measure precisely how much voltage drops in a given time. Readings will be; 1) OK 2) borderline 3) replace.
    Question remains; how large is your complete discharge current when systems are armed. If it is larger than 1,25A your BMW charger can indeed not keep up.....
    From what I understand to completely charge a 'large capacity' battery as we have in our Z8's you need a charger that is powerful enough, at least for the first few 'charging cycles'. It is very important that the first cycles are fully completed, it was even recommended to me to keep the battery on the charger for a longer period of time after the light turns green. I use an ABSAAR charger with a 11 A charging current (still takes 9 hours to fully charge..), and I also have a semi professional 'battery jogger' which simulates charging/discharging cycles as if the car is driving (and prevents deep discharges when doing so). This jogger has a choice of 500mA and 1000mA charge, a polarity check and a simple tester. Imho it is better to only use the 'large' capacity charger and keep the joggers for only shorter periods of time (when you want to be able to immediately start and drive away)

  29. #29
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Here are results of the 10 minutes high beam test (actually it was 15 minutes).
    I started out with the battery fully charged (13.8V). After 15 min the voltage had dropped to 12.6V, but the engine started three times in a row on the first try.

    I put the battery back on the Autozone charger (2 Amps low setting) and after a couple of hours the voltage was back to 13.6V. Started the car just once (without any problem) and noticed that the battery voltage had dropped back to 12.7V.

    Conclusion: battery does not keep its charge and the flimsy BMW charger cannot keep up with the discharging.
    p.s. I had a low battery on my other BMW (X5, capacity also 90ah) and tried to charge it with my precision professional multicharger with a 500mA setting (took a long time af course...) Checked and double checked it, everything seems to be just fine. So it looks like even very small chargers (if given the time) can 'keep up' discharging c.q. leakcurrents...
     

  30. #30
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Car refused to start this morning. Battery was (as always) on the maintainer and voltage before attempting to start was 12.50 V. When pressing the starter button voltage dropped to 11.80 V. I tried it about 10 times; nothing.
    Picked up the car from dealership today;
    Battery was OK. Starter was found faulty and replaced, parts + labor: $1,000 and change. We'll see.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  31. #31
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Must haven been it Dirk, good luck !

    p.s. does anyone know if the starters in Z8 and Alpina are the same ?

  32. #32
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    Looks like I'm joining the ranks of the intermittent starter group. Today for the first time I suffered this problem. The car was last out 5 days ago for a lengthy all-day drive and then put in the garage. Today I went to pull it out to wash it. On first press of the starter there was just a click but no engine start. All the dash lights were lit properly. It started fine on the second press of the button. Then, after washing, I attempted to start and the identical thing happened.

    The car is a 2001 model and is on its original OE battery. It normally sits for 3 to 4 weeks at a time with an aftermarket battery minder plugged into the cigarette lighter socket.

    Since the battery is getting on in years, I'll replace it as I concur that this smells like a battery issue.

  33. #33
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Same here Harvey, also 2001 and on it's original 2001 battery. No startingproblems though. 7 years for a battery is quite something.....

  34. #34
    Sport Button On
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    32
    My 2001 does this also, and it is on it's second battery. It seems as if the longer it sits without starting the greater the odds are of it not starting the 1st or 2nd time. It has never failed to start after an attempt or 2.

  35. #35
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    351
    For those that have experienced the starting problem and replaced the battery, has a new battery solved the issue? Seems to be happening more often on my car. Has always started the second time... except for tonight. Stopped for gas after 45 minute ride and took 3 trys to start.

  36. #36
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    I had the starter replaced and issue is solved, at least for now. Read through a couple of warranty records at the dealership and learned that quite a few owners had their starters replaced under warranty. Seems to be a problem.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  37. #37
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8-NL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    130
    no issues here after 7 years, still on original battery.... (however always on trickle charger)

  38. #38
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by Z8-NL View Post
    no issues here after 7 years, still on original battery.... (however always on trickle charger)
    Even better !

  39. #39
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    I just dropped mine of for service prior to shipping to Pebble, and I left the charger for the service department to keep the battery topped up while she rests amongst her brothers and sisters.
    thegunguy

  40. #40
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    123

    dead battery and no gauges

    Well after 6 years the battery completely bit the dust. Purchased new battery while I was installing it I left the BMW battery tender pluged in. Installation went fine started right up but none of the guages work. I e-mailed Pat Arnold at Classic BMW Plano Texas & his answer is. "On the gauges, unhook the battery and charger...wait 5 minutes, hold the ground cable to the positive cable for appx 1 minute then hook the battery back up and your gauges should work"
    I found this interesting Pat has always been on top of things, will give this a try tonight after work and I will report back tomorrow.
    Pandaman
    2001 silver/black
    Panda8

  41. #41
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    123

    Smile Gauges now working

    The quirky fix that Pat at Classic BMW, Plano, Texas suggested, WORKED. The only issue was touching the negative and positive cables together for one minute. Because of the cable lengths I had to make a seperate wire to join the two. Thank you Pat. Saved me a trip to your fine dealership.
    Pandaman
    2001 Silver/Black
    20,000miles
    Panda8

  42. #42
    Great tip indeed, thanks so much!
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  43. #43
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    351
    Had a new battery put in about 2 weeks ago. I bought a new BMW battery from the local dealer. Thought it was time since the car is quickly approaching 6 years since it's build date.

    So far it has started everytime on the first try except once about 3 days after replacing the battery. I heard the infamous click sound again as if the battery was dead. I reinserted the key and started fine on the 2nd try.

    I'm not sure if this issue is resolved yet but at least it is happening lest frequently.

  44. #44
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Zilver - the issue is not resolved until it is fully resolved. If your battery is new and fully charged and the "clicking" continues, you're probably looking at replacing your starter which is a $1,000 event. Many Z8 and Alpina owners have had their starters replaced.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  45. #45
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    351
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Zilver - the issue is not resolved until it is fully respolved. If your battery is new and fully charged and the "clicking" continues, you're probably looking at replacing your starter which is a $1,000 event. Many Z8 and Alpina owners had their starters replaced.
    Dirk, I think you're right. I wanted to rule out the battery and since it was nearly 6 years old, I don't think it had much time left. And of course, the car starts on the first try whenever it is at the dealer.

  46. #46
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    55

    Starting Problem

    Add me to the list of cars with the starting problem. BMW replaced the battery but it continued. I then replaced that battery with an Odyssey PC-1200. The intermittent problem continued. BMW then replaced the starter. That seemed to take care of the problem but it just returned.

    Admittedly, my car doesn't get a lot of use (7,000 miles on a 2003). I keep it on a trickle charger while it's away for the winter but not during the summer.

    Would anyone know if there's a battery in the key that is charged while the key is in the ignition? I'm wondering if that battery might wear down if it's out of the ignition for some time. The car might start on the 2nd or 3rd attempt because the key took on some charge.

    Rich

  47. #47
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    Yes, the batteries in the keys are charged via the ignition. Ideally, you should rotate keys to keep them both working.

    Rich, I hope you got a different charger for your Odyssey batter. The one from BMW (Deltran) isn't advised for it.
    thegunguy

  48. #48
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    55
    I wanted to keep the charger as new so I bought a Battery Tender Plus which seems to do a good job. Thanks for the tip.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  49. #49
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    That's what I was afraid. The Deltran Battery Tender Plus is basically the same charger that BMW provides. However, it is not recommended for use with the Odyssey gel batteries, primarily due to their low output at 1.25 amps, which is not sufficient to charge the battery for anything other maintaining a full capacity. Odyssey recommends the Accumate Pro for maintaing their batteries.
    thegunguy

  50. #50
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    55
    My intermittent starter problem is back. The starter was replaced Aug of 2007 and I have a 3 year old Odyssey PC1200 battery. As an example of the problem, I took the car off the Accumate Pro charger that has the Odyssey charging cycle yesterday, started the car without a problem and drove about 25 minutes to a friends house for a superbowl party. Came out about 6 hours later and had to push the start button 3 time before the starter would engage. When I got home I put the car back on the charger.

    I came out this morning, disconnected the charger and tested the voltage. It read 13.4 but was slowly discharging. I let it go for a little over an hour and the voltage was steady at 12.8. I put a 10 amp load on it for 10 seconds and the voltage dropped to 12.48. I started the car 6 times in a row without a problem. With the engine running the voltage reads just under 14.0 volts so there's nothing wrong with the alternator.

    The readings suggest to me that the battery is fine. Plus, if it were a low battery I don't know why it would always start on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. It would seem like the problem is again the starter. When the starter was replaced the car had 6,600 miles on it and it now has 8,100 miles so it hasn't been started that often in the 29 months since the starter was replaced. I'm extremely reluctant to put another OEM starter in the car and was wondering if anyone had any experience with an aftermarket made starter or any other thoughts on this recurring problem.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  51. #51
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Same thing here. My starter and battery were replaced 2 years / 2,000 miles ago and the car is acting up again.

    It seems to me that:

    (1) Batteries have a shorter life span if the car isn't used a lot.

    (2) Trickle chargers / battery maintainers cannot be trusted. They work fine on vintage cars but not on modern machinery loaded with electronics and which is much more sensitive to the slightest drop in voltage.

    (3) The fact that the car starts 6 times in a row means that there is nothing wrong with the starter. It just means that less cranking power is needed when the engine is warm.

    I would be extremely reluctant to install a non OEM starter, if there is such a thing. A BMW dealer would definitely refuse to install anything that is not BMW approved. This means that an independent shop would have to do the installation and you would expose yourself to other risks.

    This is what I am going to do this week: drive the car every day or so and charge the battery after every drive with a normal 6 amps battery charger. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll replace the battery again and see if it holds longer when the car is driven more frequently.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  52. #52
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    @Dirk; Are you sure it is the battery? Do you trickle charge or 'jog' the battery?
    @Rich; did you try starting with a starting help (for instance with a 80 amp setting)?

  53. #53
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Remko - no I am not 100% sure, it's too early to tell, but I am fairly sure. It also seems that Z8 owners who frequently drive their vehicle do not encounter this problem. Starters don't go bad from sitting around, batteries do.
    The battery charger is supposed to jog but I do not trust the jogging function so I am doing that manually. Point in case, after a few hours on the charger the voltage is 13.80. Remove the charger, and the voltage drops to 12.5 within the hour.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  54. #54
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    417
    Dirk, what brand jogger are you using? My jogger (H-tronic, Germany) charges to around 13.8 too, and than starts discharging (at 70mA), for 15 minutes OR until voltage drops below 12 volt. I guess in our Z8 batteries (rather large capacity), the voltage will not drop below, so it will stay at the 'higher' side of the spectrum. In this case we might consider it a 'trickle-jogger' (?).
    What I do now is; charge my battery completely (slowly at 500ma) and let it discharge by itself (I found out that the Z8 will start (one cycle) even at 10.8 (!) volt...).
    My Z8 still has the original (2001) battery.

  55. #55
    Team Z8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    297

    Same problem...

    It's a no-start mmm... maybe every tenth time I start up the car. I'll press the start button usually three times before the car starts up again. Kinda uncomfortable not knowing if/when it's going to happen and not start at all, but with an intermitent electrical problem it might be easier to wait for the one mystery part to fail completely before going down a long list of parts and fixes.

  56. #56
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    To me, it seems like a fault in the relay that provides power to the starter. It could be sticking or something like that. This sort of thing has given me problems once many years ago on another vehicle. On the Z8, it has happened to me with a new battery, so I don't think the battery is the problem. I also believe that if the starter is beings supplied power, there would be a large load on the electrical system causing the lights to dim. So it seems obvious that the starter is not getting power. Why? The main thing that provides power to the starter is that starter relay (or starter solenoid, depending on who you talk to). I hear a click when I press my starter button, which implies that it isn't the security lockout, but then I could be wrong.

    I'm not sure where this relay is but have a Z8 electrical CD so maybe I can find it.

  57. #57
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    55
    The voltage yesterday was 12.48 after the 10 amp load and starting the car 6 times in a row. I left the battery off the charger and tested the voltage today. It was 12.33 and the car started right up so I'm not convinced it's the battery. The suggestion that it might be a solenoid problem seems reasonable. I don't recall seeing a solenoid in the engine compartment so it's possible it's mounted on the starter. I also don't know if BMW replaced the solenoid when they replaced my starter of if they sell the solenoid separately.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  58. #58
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    The solenoid is attached to the starter and when a starter is replaced the solenoid is replaced as well. They don't come separate. The loud click that you hear when pressing the start button is the solenoid. You'll hear the same click a second or two later when the solenoid retracts. On the first click the power circuit to the starter is shorted so that the crancking amps will flow from the battery to the starter. With the solenoid closed, there are a couple of things that can cause the starter not to turn:

    (1) Battery doesn't provide enough crancking amps. It might very well show 13.5 Volts but not give enough amps due to an internal problem. Batteries don't age well.
    (2) Bad connection between the battery and the starter, in particular a bad ground
    (3) The piston inside the solenoid is a little "rusty" and doesn't move all the way needed to provide a good connection
    (4) The starter is bad

    Since the car starts at times, I am eliminating option (4). For the time being I am also eliminating option (3) because the starter is fairly new and I will concentrate on (1) and (2).

    I am starting to doubt whether my starter even had to be replaced two years ago. Was my BMW service writer to enthusiastic in writing that $1,200 service ticket ?

    ... to be continued ...
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  59. #59
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    The solenoid is attached to the starter and when a starter is replaced the solenoid is replaced as well. They don't come separate. The loud click that you hear when pressing the start button is the solenoid. You'll hear the same click a second or two later when the solenoid retracts. On the first click the power circuit to the starter is shorted so that the crancking amps will flow from the battery to the starter. With the solenoid closed, there are a couple of things that can cause the starter not to turn:

    (1) Battery doesn't provide enough crancking amps. It might very well show 13.5 Volts but not give enough amps due to an internal problem. Batteries don't age well.
    (2) Bad connection between the battery and the starter, in particular a bad ground
    (3) The piston inside the solenoid is a little "rusty" and doesn't move all the way needed to provide a good connection
    (4) The starter is bad

    Since the car starts at times, I am eliminating option (4). For the time being I am also eliminating option (3) because the starter is fairly new and I will concentrate on (1) and (2).

    I am starting to doubt whether my starter even had to be replaced two years ago. Was my BMW service writer to enthusiastic in writing that $1,200 service ticket ?

    ... to be continued ...
    I can't see how it could be #1 because if this were the case, the voltage on the battery would drop so low under load that it would be obvious on all the dash lights.

  60. #60
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Harvey - the battery voltage does drop under load (read: a succesfull start) to about 10.5 Volts and which is obvious on the interior lights. There is no drop on a failed start i.e. a "click".
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  61. #61
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by DirkZ8 View Post
    Harvey - the battery voltage does drop under load (read: a succesfull start) to about 10.5 Volts and which is obvious on the interior lights. There is no drop on a failed start i.e. a "click".
    So this means that on a failed start, the battery is not connected through to the starter motor. This means to me that it is not a problem of insufficient cranking amps available.

  62. #62
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    I've been digging through some documentation. Here is some info from BMW.

    There are several ?relays? or electronic functions that must be satisfied or ?good? before the starter motor will receive power after the start button is pressed.
    - Electronic Immobilizer Control Unit (EWS)
    - Start relay (not the one in the starter motor assembly)
    - DME control unit
    - Fuse 21 supplying the start button switch
    - Fuse 107 supplying the EWS
    - The relay built inside the starter assembly (this relay has two coils with separate inputs)

    A discussion of the Vehicle Immobilization System is the place to start to understand the start sequence. For interest, and not really on topic, but anyways, here are some key points about the Vehicle Immobilisation System (as read from BMW literature pertaining to the Z8)

    - the key does not require an internal battery to start the car. There is a transponder chip inside the key that is powered by magnetic field coupling from the ring coil in the ignition key slot. While not explicitly mentioned, this is obviously separate from the wireless remote functions in the key as those obviously need a battery to function.
    - A fault in communication between key transponder and EWS3 control unit would be logged in the fault code memory, separate fault logging for each key.
    - Don?t lose too many keys, as the control unit can only handle a maximum of 10 key codes, or 6 replacement keys.

    Ok, so let?s look at how the car starts. First you insert your key. The key communicates with the EWS3.3 control unit. When it satisfies the EWS by sending data for identification and start enable, the EWS releases (enables) the starter relay located in the control unit and also sends a coded enable via datalink to the DME. This enable has to be communicated successfully for the car to start as the DME is responsible to enable the fuel supply and ignition functions. After the engine starts, sends a code change into the key and a new code is also stored in the DME.

    Both the EWS and the DME maintain identical tables of codes. These codes are changed every time you try to start your car. Engine start is allowed only if the code sent by the EWS agrees with the code in the DME. Since the codes of the DME and EWS are matched in production of the car, you can?t do swapping of one or the other of these units for test purposes. If faults cause the codes to not match anymore, it is possible for BMW service to rematch the codes.

    EWS3 is used on various BMWs and I note that automatic transmissions also have an enable switch if the selector is in P or N which must be satisfied for the car to start. This may apply to Alpinas. Interestingly the EWS gets this signal along two paths, one via K Bus and the other via data link. If one or the other is not received, noticeable start delays ranging up to 2 seconds might occur, but then again, this only applies to automatics.

    If a new key is used for the very first time, there is a delay of up to 2 seconds before start.

    I'm going to post a diagram showing the electrical connections enabling the starter. With this kind of information, and the help of a BMW tech to find the various points, it is possible to put a multichannel recording device to show which nodes receive voltage and which do not upon a failed start sequence (the infamous "click" but no start). That seems like the most effective way to find where this problem is occurring. But it implies that the logging device is attached and left on a car for a long period in hopes that the fault will occur. I wonder if this capability is actually built in to the car already.

    edit: the fact that we hear a click indicates that an electromechanical relay or solenoid is being powered on the press of the button. There are only two that I can see for sure, one is the "start relay" and the other is the relay in the starter motor assembly. It isn't clear if there is one on the EWS also, but yes I think there might be. The "start relay" is a small white relay located at the right rear of the engine compartment under a cover located beside the DME box, which is high up just under the hood and ahead of the firewall.

  63. #63
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    55
    We're getting a lot of good information and thoughts about this problem. The fact that in virtually all cases the car does start on a subsequent attempt, and the fact that a number of people have the problem, suggests to me that the problem isn't the battery but something common to all of the cars.

    The problem exists on both Z-8's and Alpina's which have different engines. Does anyone know if the starters are different? If they're the same, I wonder if that model starter is used on other BMW models or are they unique to the Z-8 and Alpina? If they're not unique to the Z-8/Alpina and the other model cars aren't experiencing this problem, then it's less likely that the problem is the starter/solenoid.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  64. #64
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    351
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    The problem exists on both Z-8's and Alpina's which have different engines. Does anyone know if the starters are different? If they're the same, I wonder if that model starter is used on other BMW models or are they unique to the Z-8 and Alpina? If they're not unique to the Z-8/Alpina and the other model cars aren't experiencing this problem, then it's less likely that the problem is the starter/solenoid.
    I had the starter replaced on my car (an Alpina) after having the "click" issues. I thought it was the battery so I replaced the battery first (it was the original battery) and the problem continued until the starter was replaced.

    My starter was replaced in October 2008 and I have had no issues since then. My repair order states a part number of 12-41-1-468-622. I don't know if this is the same part # as the regular Z8. I'm just posting it for a point of reference.

  65. #65
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    55
    The Z-8 parts schematic shows the same number for the starter so It looks like they're the same. It will be interesting to find out if the starters are unique to the Z-8's and Alpina's.
    Rich

    Parrish, FL

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

  66. #66
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    351
    I just looked up the part # for my starter that was replaced. Here's what I found...

    Does not appear to be a unique Z8 or Z8 Alpina part.

    BMW OE# 12-41-1-468-622, 12-41-1-729-981

    Starter - Bosch PMGR
    1.7kW/12 Volt, CW, 9-Tooth Pinion

    Used On:
    (1995-94) BMW 530i 3.0L
    (2003-94) BMW 540i 4.0L, 4.4L
    (2001-93) BMW 740i 4.0L, 4.4L
    (1997-94) BMW 840Ci 4.0L, 4.4L
    (2003) BMW Alpina Roadster 4.8L
    (2003-00) BMW M5 5.0L
    (2003-00) BMW X5 4.4L, 4.6L
    (2003-00) BMW Z8 5.0L

  67. #67
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    The attachment is a simplified diagram showing how power gets to the starter motor.

    I admit to being a bit puzzled about the configuration of the two solenoids in the starter. I copied this directly from the symbol used in the BMW document. Of the two solenoids, the one on the left of the diagram clearly operates the relay contacts, but the one on the right is a bit unusual.
     

  68. #68
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,695
    Lot of research and thought going on here. Has anyone looked over at our other S62 brethren to see if they've suffered from similar problems?
    thegunguy

  69. #69
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    The "click" on my car was clearly coming form the solenoid attached to the starter which leads me to believe that the EWS, the starter relay and the DME gave their OK to activate the solenoid. This is confirmed by the diagram above.

    I tried to test my solenoid by connecting a test light between the solenoid (+) output going to the starter and the ground. There are 3 possible outcomes:

    (1) Car starts
    (2) Solenoid clicks, car does not start & test light on ---> Solenoid works, bad starter (assuming battery is OK)
    (3) Solenoid clicks, car does not start & test light does not come on ---> Bad solenoid

    I started the car at least 30 times over the past 24 hours but the starter never failed ... which is a good thing, I guess. Before the testing though, I tapped the solenoid gently with a RUBBER hammer to loosen up things a bit.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  70. #70
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Test Update:

    I was finally to get a "click" again, this time with the engine being hot. This is what I observed:

    Solenoid clicked, test light did NOT come on, about one second later, the test light came on and the engine started.

    Most likely there is a bad contact inside the solenoid. Since the starter has been replaced less than 2 years / 2,000 miles ago, I would hope that the repairs will be under warranty / courtesy.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  71. #71
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    Twice in the description of the EWS I read that in some circumstances there can be a delay of up to two seconds between pressing the button and the starter being enabled. This delay may be caused by use of a new key. The other circumstance that is mentioned only exists in cars with automatic transmission, but it is an interesting example because it is a situation where the status code is transmitted via K-bus, but due to a fault, not via the data link. I am speculating that this type of situation might occur and cause delays in other circumstances. So, it raises the question, how many of us have continued to hold our button down for more than two seconds after the "click" to see if the car might start after some delay?

  72. #72
    Sport Button On - DSC Off
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    125
    Dirk, I am confused by your statement "by connecting a test light between the solenoid (+) output going to the starter and the ground". Which terminal are your referring to exactly? Can you relate this to the diagram above?

    Do you mean that you put your test light on the terminal that is the top left one on the box labelled "starter"?

    edit: OK, I tried to actually look at the starter assembly and I'll be darned if it is well hidden in the car. So I looked at the picture of it at BMWfans.info instead. Now I think I see what you are talking about. The battery line comes up to the solenoid, and then goes from the other solenoid terminal up to the starter. So, you probed this connection from solenoid to starter, right?

  73. #73
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    It is the terminal in the center of your diagram, the one that powers the starter motor when the solenoid is engaged. It has a thick braided wire going from the solenoid to the starter motor.
    To gain access, the protective plate has to be removed from underneath the car (6 bolts).
     
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  74. #74
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    314
    Quote Originally Posted by harvey2 View Post
    So this means that on a failed start, the battery is not connected through to the starter motor. This means to me that it is not a problem of insufficient cranking amps available.
    You are correct. I no longer think that it is a battery issue.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
    www.bmwccca.com

  75. #75
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    643
    Why would you rule out 3 and 4? They are both possibilities.
    Scott Pettit
    61930
    Silver / Black

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Last