Car wonโ€™t start - battery fine.

Car wonโ€™t start - battery fine.

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MitchT

Original Poster:

13,725 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
Went to give my E36 3 Series a run this morning, for the first time in about a month, but it wouldn’t turn over when I turned the key. I’m pretty sure the battery is fine as it’s on a CTEK MXS5.0, the central locking wasn’t sluggish and the usual dashboard lights illuminated when I turned the key. There was nothing else though. No starter motor noise - nothing! Any ideas?

98elise

19,662 posts

128 months

Sunday 13th June
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Give the starter motor a whack. Use a long piece of wood and a hammer.

carl_w

6,707 posts

225 months

Sunday 13th June
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Dodgy solenoid.

ian332isport

83 posts

198 months

Sunday 13th June
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Could be the EWS immobiliser.

When you turn the ignition on, the EWS will read the transponder inside the key. If it’s not happy for any reason, it won’t crank. There’s a relay inside the EWS module that you can hear click when everything is good. It should click within a second or so of turning the ignition on, and will click back out again about ten seconds after you turn it off.

It’s hidden up behind the glovebox, but you can probably hear it if you get close enough. Maybe open the glovebox too. Failing that, it’s not hard to remove the glovebox.

If you can hear it click, it’s not the immobiliser.

MitchT

Original Poster:

13,725 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
Cheers for the replies. I’ve been out for the morning but will investigate after I’ve had my lunch.

MitchT

Original Poster:

13,725 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
98elise said:
Give the starter motor a whack. Use a long piece of wood and a hammer.
I've had a long, hard look under the bonnet and I can't for the life of me work out where the starter motor is! I've Googled for pics but nothing that's visible looks like it.

ian332isport said:
Could be the EWS immobiliser.

When you turn the ignition on, the EWS will read the transponder inside the key. If it’s not happy for any reason, it won’t crank. There’s a relay inside the EWS module that you can hear click when everything is good. It should click within a second or so of turning the ignition on, and will click back out again about ten seconds after you turn it off.

It’s hidden up behind the glovebox, but you can probably hear it if you get close enough. Maybe open the glovebox too. Failing that, it’s not hard to remove the glovebox.

If you can hear it click, it’s not the immobiliser.
I'm not sure about a click but I can hear a buzzing noise when I turn the key. It stops a few seconds after turning the ignition off.

cuprabob

10,014 posts

181 months

Sunday 13th June
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MitchT said:
I'm not sure about a click but I can hear a buzzing noise when I turn the key. It stops a few seconds after turning the ignition off.
That's probably the fuel pump priming.

MitchT

Original Poster:

13,725 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
cuprabob said:
That's probably the fuel pump priming.
There's a different noise which I thought was the fuel pump priming. This is very much an electrical buzzing noise.

MB140

2,889 posts

70 months

Sunday 13th June
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Take a jump lead and connect one end to the engine block and another to the chassis. (In case you have a bad engine earth. If it starts then start looking for a broken earth.

Matt_E_Mulsion

865 posts

32 months

Sunday 13th June
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Start with the basics, check the battery first even if it has been on a ctek. The odd electrical buzzing could be due to a lack of volts.

GreenV8S

28,859 posts

251 months

Sunday 13th June
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MitchT said:
I’m pretty sure the battery is fine
The only way to know for sure is to measure the voltage. A voltmeter is a very, very useful tool to have around if you intend to diagnose this type of problem.

ian332isport

83 posts

198 months

Sunday 13th June
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MitchT said:
I'm not sure about a click but I can hear a buzzing noise when I turn the key. It stops a few seconds after turning the ignition off.
When you turn the ignition on, or try to start?

Out of interest, what year/model are we looking at?

MitchT

Original Poster:

13,725 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
MB140 said:
Take a jump lead...
GreenV8S said:
A voltmeter...
Unfortunately the extent of my car maintenance knowledge is keeping on top of fluids, tyre pressures, bulbs, etc. I don't possess any of these items!

ian332isport said:
When you turn the ignition on, or try to start?
When I turn the key to the first position. That said, it's not doing the buzzing noise now, just the usual sounds that it makes.

ian332isport said:
Out of interest, what year/model are we looking at?
1999 318is with 1.9 M44 engine.

I think I finally found the starter - it's tucked well out of the way in the dark recesses of the engine bay. I've given it a tap with a hammer via a long screwdriver, but it hasn't made a difference. Maybe I wasn't tapping hard enough.

I suspect I'm going to have to call a guy from a garage down the road, see if he''ll bob round and take a look.

Saleen836

8,890 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
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Stick the car in gear and rock the car,if the starter is stuck this can also free it up

ian332isport

83 posts

198 months

Sunday 13th June
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MitchT said:
When I turn the key to the first position. That said, it's not doing the buzzing noise now, just the usual sounds that it makes.
Just to clarify. First position is accessories, second position is ignition on and third position is cranking. You will only hear the click when you go to the second position.

You really do need to confirm the EWS module is clicking (single click for on. second single click for off). If this doesn't click, it will never try to crank and you have an immobiliser problem.

Alternatively, you can check for 12v on the black/yellow wire on the X20 connector pin 18. X20 is the large 25 pin connector next to the fusebox. There's actually two similar looking connectors, but the X20 is the one nearest to the strut tower. This wire is the 12v feed down to the starter motor. This wire needs to go to 12v for the starter to crank. If the EWS module doesn't click, this black/yellow wire will never see 12v and the engine will not crank.

98elise

19,662 posts

128 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
MitchT said:
MB140 said:
Take a jump lead...
GreenV8S said:
A voltmeter...
Unfortunately the extent of my car maintenance knowledge is keeping on top of fluids, tyre pressures, bulbs, etc. I don't possess any of these items!

ian332isport said:
When you turn the ignition on, or try to start?
When I turn the key to the first position. That said, it's not doing the buzzing noise now, just the usual sounds that it makes.

ian332isport said:
Out of interest, what year/model are we looking at?
1999 318is with 1.9 M44 engine.

I think I finally found the starter - it's tucked well out of the way in the dark recesses of the engine bay. I've given it a tap with a hammer via a long screwdriver, but it hasn't made a difference. Maybe I wasn't tapping hard enough.

I suspect I'm going to have to call a guy from a garage down the road, see if he''ll bob round and take a look.
If it's a dodgy starter it needs a fair whack to get it moving. That's why you use wood so you can give it a fair thump, but not damage it.

It was something that used to happen to older cars, but better engineering these days makes it less likely. I had a MK3 Escort that would need a whack every 4 or 5 starts.

Sheepshanks

24,329 posts

86 months

Sunday 13th June
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ian332isport said:
Could be the EWS immobiliser.

When you turn the ignition on, the EWS will read the transponder inside the key. If it’s not happy for any reason, it won’t crank.
In the same vein, try locking the car, wait a couple of mins, then unlock and try again. If you've got another key, try that. Begin with the car locked.

MitchT

Original Poster:

13,725 posts

176 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
Saleen836 said:
Stick the car in gear and rock the car,if the starter is stuck this can also free it up
Just tried that. Still nothing.

ian332isport said:
Just to clarify. First position is accessories, second position is ignition on and third position is cranking. You will only hear the click when you go to the second position.

You really do need to confirm the EWS module is clicking (single click for on. second single click for off). If this doesn't click, it will never try to crank and you have an immobiliser problem.
Just tried this. When I turn the key to the second position there is a muffled kind of click and an electrical hum starts like the car's electrical systems have woken up. After turning the key back again the electrical hum goes on for a few seconds with the same muffled click happening when it stops.

ian332isport

83 posts

198 months

Sunday 13th June
quotequote all
MitchT said:
Just tried this. When I turn the key to the second position there is a muffled kind of click and an electrical hum starts like the car's electrical systems have woken up. After turning the key back again the electrical hum goes on for a few seconds with the same muffled click happening when it stops.
I’m not convinced you’re hearing the EWS relay clicking. There’s loads of things that power up when you turn the ignition on. There should be a good ten second delay before the EWS relay clicks back out when the ignition goes off.

Your best bet is to remove the glovebox and locate the EWS module. It’s a very obvious click when you’re close to it. You may even feel it if you have it in your hand. The EWS module is about the size of a packet of cigarettes and has one large connector on the end. It will say EWS on it, so easy to identify.

phumy

5,114 posts

204 months

Monday 14th June
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To be sure its not the battery, get it out and charge it over night. Then reconnect and try starting again

I had a ctek on my Aston since last September, went to start it 2 weeks ago, battery was flat as a pancake. I bought a new battery as the old one was 7 years old, once fitted she fired up instantly.

Charge it up properly with a proper charger.