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1997 BMW 328i: immobiliser..deactivate..power going into the starter

Resolved Question:

I have a 1997 BMW 328i which refusing to start. Appears the immobiliser will not deactivate. The starter works, the battery is fine, there's power going into the starter. It's starting erratically of late, taking sometimes several minutes to start with much of opening & closing or pushing of the key buttons. It now simply refuses to start. I do not have an owner manual (it was bought second hand). Could it a fuse and if so which fuse controls to immobiliser/starter syetm?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: BMW
Expert:  Steve replied 3 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer BMW,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you today.

 

what exactly happens when you try to start the car?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 

Thank you Steve.

 

The short answer, nothing happens.

 

Okay, the buttons on the key open the doors etc. When I put the key into the ignition and turn it, all lights come on normally (nothing "flashes") but when I turn the key to the "start phase" (whatever the correct term) - nothing. The lights on the dash do not dim & there are no warning signs other than the outside temperature is -37 degrees on the little screen below the radio.

 

When the AA came today, the guy checked the battery, it was fine. There was power going into the front (there's a metal widget under the bonnet, and he attached the device clips onto this and one of the nuts from the suspension). He tested the starter and it's receiving power. Then he did something to the starter and asked me to turn the ignition key. The motor turned but wouldn't engage. What he claimed is that it's the imobilisor blocking fuel to the engine (or somehow preventing it from starting).

 

A little history. She starts, generally speaking. What I've experianced is a general & erratic start. Sometimes, as yesterday 22 Dec 2011, she started first time everytime. But today, nothing. Completely non-responsive.

 

More history. When I bought her three months ago, she needed new front pads & sensors, which were fitted by a BMW mechanic. She was also loosing coolant, so the housing nd seals were changed. The warning on the little screen stopped & the brake light on the dash stopped.

 

Yesterday, being 22 Dec 2011, I drove to and from Pretoria twice, a round trip of approx 200km. On the way into Pretoria her temp rose, I refilled the reservoi and again before I left to go back to Pretoria. On the highway, doing I would say approx 120/140km/h the temp gauge needle on the dash never moved past half, where it should be.

 

On the last trip, back to Jhb (Randburg) whilst we were in traffic the temp needle started to pass half and when I got home (five mins?) the finally hit the red. I immediately turned off the car and opened the bonnet. I found hot steam coming from a hole in the upper pipe which runs from the radiator into the (Thermostat?) unit. I allowed the car to cool and then added cold water, started her (again first time) and then reversed her into my property. This morning, won't start.

 

Could the hot steam have affected any of the fuses, and if so which one controls the immobilisors untit? Understand please I have do not have a manual.

 

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX XXX-XXX-XXXX / XXX-XXX-XXXX

Expert:  Steve replied 3 years ago.

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Before reading my answer below, please note that I do not receive any credit or compensation whatsoever for my time and effort until the green ACCEPT button is pressed. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing to do would be to check all fuses. Sometimes a very random blown fuse can cause this. Also try unhooking the car's battery for an hour to reset all systems.

 

Assuming the fuses are good, then there are a few things that can cause this. While not all can be trouble-shooted at home, I hope this information will be helpful to you and yield a possible solution.

 

1) bad key - try another one

2) bad brake light switch - make sure your brake lights work. If not, the switch is above the brake pedal.

3) shifter not fully in park (auto transmission only) - try moving it around a bit, try starting in both park and neutral

4) bad immobilizer (aka EWS) - nothing can be done, dealer equipment is required to fix. When this goes bad or out of alignment, the car does not get the proper signal that the correct key is present, and therefore, the car will not start and the starter will not be allowed to engage. A bad immobilizer means a tow to the dealer, there is no other way to fix.

5) bad transmission position switch (auto transmission only, located on side of transmission, accessed from under car) - this is what signals the car that it is in neutral/park and is safe to start.

6) bad clutch switch (manual transmission only, located above clutch pedal) - this is what signals the car that the clutch is depressed and is safe to start.

7) dead starter / solenoid - not likely, you would probably get some noise from it if this were the case.

8) bad ignition switch/cylinder - also unlikely as you would generally not get all other functions / power to come on inside the car in that case

 

Of course, it could also always be something totally random like a wiring breakage, but this is unlikely and hard to predict.

 

 

I hope that is helpful, please let me know if you have further questions, or if I can clarify anything for you.


It has been my pleasure to help today and I wish you the best of luck with the vehicle.


If satisfied with my assistance, please press the green "ACCEPT" button so that I may be credited for helping today. I am not credited or compensated whatsoever until you press the green ACCEPT button.

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thank you in advance.

 

Steve

Steve, BMW Expert
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 20011
Experience: BMW Expert
Steve and 7 other BMW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX what've suggested and advise. The car is an automatic. There is some issue with the tail-light unit on the right hand side. The one reverse lige doesn't work or is faulty (bulb seems fine). I have my guy coming in from service provider tomorrow morning, so we'll look at this. Thanks

Expert:  Steve replied 3 years ago.
You are welcome best of luck.
Steve, BMW Expert
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 20011
Experience: BMW Expert
Steve and 7 other BMW Specialists are ready to help you

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