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Steve
Steve, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  25+ yrs experience as a professional working technician; ASE L1 master technician
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94 BMW 318IS: left side of the steering..disconnect..Cant find..relays

Customer Question

94 BMW 318IS, Ignition-- can't turn the car off or start. I have replaced the ignition swith in the left side of the steering, i have to disconnect the battery to turn off the power. Cant find any label identifying the relays. Appreciate if u can help
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

 Can you provide some more detail on the problem you are having?   I cant quite picture the failure...    Does the key turn normally in the switch, and does the movement feel normal (no binding, sticking, etc)?    If it does turn normally, but doesnt work, how do you get the car started after you pull the battery cable?     What part of the switch did you replace, the part the key goes in, or the electrical part?     Any information you can provide will help to diagnose the failure here...

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Steve7654's Post: The key turns normally without engaging the starter or turning it off. To start the car, one has to push it, I have replaced the ignition, the electrical on the left side of the column. the only way to power off is by disconecting the battery.
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

    Htis one is a pretty tough problem to diagnose remotely like this; the engine control system and vehicle wiring on tehis model are complex.


   If you installed a brand new ignition switch (the electrical part of the assembly) then it is probably safe to rule out the ignition switch as a cause here.


   Other than that, the first thing that comes to mind is a stucl relay, allowing the ignition system, fuel pump, and control module to remain powered up after the accessory feed circuit from the ignition switch loses power.     There are several likely candidates for this on the wiring schematics for this model.     Try pulling relays one at a time in the underhood panel, to see which ones kill the engine when it is running.    


   The no crank problem may be a separate issue; the primary side of the starter relay is powered up by the

Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

 transmission range switch which in turn is powered by a 5 amp fuse in the power distribution box.


   Perhaps removing and inspecting the wiring behind the fuse/ relay panels for burned or shorted wires might yield a clue.

Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
    The starter immobilization relay, as it is referred to on the diagrams, is locvated under the dash on the drivers side , to the left of teh brake pedal somewhere (the illustrations are very vague).  There appears to be a strip of 3 larger relays, and teh starter one is the last one on the right side of the row, and is smaller than the others.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
I am going to look at it once i get back home, I got called out to work on friday nite. I am overniting in Dalls. I will get back to you as soon as i get back home. Thank you
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
I will be at home sometime on monday. I really appreciate the help from everyone. thank you

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