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      01-06-2022, 10:28 AM   #1
MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE
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Crank but no start…with observations.

2009 128i coupe /N52 motor 167000 kms (Canada)

So as i have been driving my truck a lot more to keep commuter miles of the bmw I’m been Parking it and it sits for 1-3 weeks between startups.

This time is was a little over three weeks and I thought I should start it up and blow the cobwebs out and take it around the block.

First attempt at start was a hard/rough start out fired right up…then immediately died. Tach bounced around AS IF it was starving for fuel before stalling. Total of 2-3 seconds of run time.

Second attempt was identical.

Between third attempt I wait 20 minutes, add a quart of oil just to be on the safe side as I was reading a bit low the last time I drove it.

Third attempt was similar to the others but I gave it enough constant throttle to prevent it from stalling. It was clear it wanted to stall. About 10-15 seconds of holding the rpm up and the car came to a nice and normal idle and did so without any new sounds or dash lights. I pulled the car forward and then back into my spot to warm up while I went to get my coat. The car felt strong and normal during this short move.I turned the heated seats on(both sides) as it was around freezing where I am.

I came back out 3-5 mins later to a stalled car.

Now it will not turn over at all.

It’s been about three weeks since it was last running.

Starter is cranking every time. I replaced the starter (new Bosch oem unit) Feb. 21’.

Tach shows me about 200rpm during crank attempt. I have read that should indicate my crankshaft sensor is fine? Yes/no?

Battery was replaced a little under two years ago by shop.

Other than my starter dying last year I’ve never had any issues starting the vehicle in the 6-7 years I’ve owned it.

During all the cranking my battery clear became really low. At one point the electronics went haywire and the key got stuck, wipers starting moving on their own, etc. classic bmw.

I have a wall plug in style battery conditioner/charger/booster so I hooked that up and let it charge to full.

I also have a NOCO GB70 intelligent booster pack I have been using to try and jump it.(never both chargers together)


I do observe that when I come back to the vehicle after several hours or a full day that the first attempt at starting offers the SLIGHTEST bit of life/combustion.
After that I never hear or feel any real life other than the starter.

I tried to figure out if it was fuel next:

Autel Maxicom scanner has fuel pump EKPS ‘control’ function, and when I use it it says ‘connected’ and I hear the pump running continuously and it does not stop until I stop it with the scanner.

I accessed the drivers side in tank regulator to see if hoses were lose, all seemed fine.

Car parked with 1/4 tank of fuel, I added 5 L more to see if that helped or to address possible dry pump side tank. No luck.

I believe I can hear pump prime when I unlock car. Prime noise last about 1/4 second longer than the lock cylinder noise.

I bought a fuel pressure gauge and hooked up the Schrader valve. 70 psi while cranking and holds that pressure when I stop and get out to check.

I also tried the starter fluid trick in the intake boot, no luck.

At this point I assumed fuel supply was fine. Am I missing something?

My car has the fuse layout that I essentially hieroglyphics and is under the glove box, so it’s difficult to determine what is what so I pulled everything lethargy seemed related to engine, spark, fuel, etc. no burnt fuses.

I then find online that there is a five-gang of fuses, one related to ignition coils in the box under the hood housing the DME. I finally get in there and notice thankfully that it is BONE DRY, but my car DOES NOT have this five gang of fuses, just some relay in its place. I close it all back up.

I buy a spark tester and test the front three coils, all giving me spark but it seems really slow/weak. The test lite is coming on at slightly faster than a one Mississippi two Mississippi count. Is that too slow for crank speed?


I pulled a camshaft sensor to see if there was anything obviously wrong or rubbing so I reinstalled.

The only lingering issue I have ever had was needing to clean and swap VANOS solenoids but it hasn’t came up in a long time.

I do have the leaking valve cover gasket. If that matters. Nothing new.


I never attempt to start it without the help of the intelligent booster or charger.

Could a battery that’s 1.5 years old but compromised(I’m now assuming) but still holding a charge prevent a booster from turning the car over?

Car is giving me no codes.

It did have a stored vanos code before the no start.

I did bull a bunch of codes related to exhausted battery, and different modules essentially losing power when the battery went flat from cranking on day one.

2DEC was the main one. All of these codes were labeled absent when I pulled them, after I got the battery charged back up for the first time.

Should I assume my DME is okay? I can see and control a lot of info and access modules. When I scan for codes it does not skip scanning the DME.

Also scanner shows oil level sufficient for start up.

I have not tested compression. Are there any tell tale signs to check for without compression tools? It does seem to be spinning freely or slowly when cranking. Tach showing consistent 200rpm.

I opened a couple of spark plug holes after some cranking and noticed a bit of vapor come out, is that meaningful?

Tried starting to ESS unplugged, no luck, but also no oil in connector.

Tried unplugging MAF, no luck.

No oil or fuel leaks.

I am at a loss folks.

It seems so odd that It started and ran/idled smooth for over five minutes and then stalled out while I was inside.

Starting was perfect prior to this day.

Any help would be appreciated.
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      01-09-2022, 06:55 PM   #2
racerhawk
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You said you have spark and fuel pressure, that holds steady when cranking. I would check to see if you are getting injector pulse at the injector plug connector. If there's no injector pulse I'd suspect the cam sensor. If fuel injector pulse is ok, i would check compression to rule out the timing chain drive hasn't jumped time.

I'm assuming that BMW like several other makes triggers at least initial ignition timing off crank sensor and fuel injectors off cam sensor, so that you can have spark or injection without necessarily the other when there's a fault in one of the sensors. and it seems your crank sensor is fine since you have tach reading.

Last edited by racerhawk; 01-09-2022 at 07:01 PM..
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      01-10-2022, 11:10 AM   #3
MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE
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Update: I also replaced my battery to be safe the day after I posted. No change.

I’ll look up how to test injector pulse. I only have a cheap multimeter and a decent scanner. Wouldn’t the starter fluid trick rule out bad injectors? Or are we talking leaky/flooding?

Are there any values on my scanner I can look for that would inform me of timing? If so how would I interpret those values?

Thanks for your input!
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      01-10-2022, 12:26 PM   #4
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Wow, so much info. In future, keep your battery maintainer on the car if it's not being driven.
You've had the car 6-7years, you must be using a garage that knows BMWs. Get the car towed to your garage.
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      01-10-2022, 12:57 PM   #5
racerhawk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE View Post
Update: I also replaced my battery to be safe the day after I posted. No change.

I’ll look up how to test injector pulse. I only have a cheap multimeter and a decent scanner. Wouldn’t the starter fluid trick rule out bad injectors? Or are we talking leaky/flooding?

Are there any values on my scanner I can look for that would inform me of timing? If so how would I interpret those values?

Thanks for your input!
I wondered why it wouldn't start and run for a bit on starter fluid since you said you have spark, but sometimes that happens if you don't get enough starting fluid into the motor. Or it could be flooding like you mention but seems you'd smell gas and seen signs of it when you pulled the plugs, and it would indicate something like the MAF sensor is way off but you tried unplugging it. But try starting with the gas pedal towards the floor and see if it will try to start, no guarantee the throttle by wire will open on cranking lol.

I doubt your scanner has any live data that will tell you the camshaft timing is correct. You'll probably have to compression test for low/no compression in a cylinder.
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      01-10-2022, 02:06 PM   #6
MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racerhawk View Post
I wondered why it wouldn't start and run for a bit on starter fluid since you said you have spark, but sometimes that happens if you don't get enough starting fluid into the motor. Or it could be flooding like you mention but seems you'd smell gas and seen signs of it when you pulled the plugs, and it would indicate something like the MAF sensor is way off but you tried unplugging it. But try starting with the gas pedal towards the floor and see if it will try to start, no guarantee the throttle by wire will open on cranking lol.

I doubt your scanner has any live data that will tell you the camshaft timing is correct. You'll probably have to compression test for low/no compression in a cylinder.
Just double checked starter fluid routine: this time took the box and elbows off to spray directly at throttle body. No luck.

My scanner shows me camshaft inlet/exhaust adaptation angles in degrees etc under valvetronic live data. This is no use to observe timing?
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      01-10-2022, 02:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE View Post
Just double checked starter fluid routine: this time took the box and elbows off to spray directly at throttle body. No luck.

My scanner shows me camshaft inlet/exhaust adaptation angles in degrees etc under valvetronic live data. This is no use to observe timing?
You are sure you have spark and it's not flooding? If so seems it would run some on starting fluid unless there was a compression problem.

I don't know if that scanner's valvetronic adaptation angles will tell you if the crank and cams are in sync and the cams are turning.
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      01-13-2022, 11:13 AM   #8
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Any update on the no start?
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      01-15-2022, 01:14 PM   #9
MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racerhawk View Post
Any update on the no start?
So I ordered some parts to Re & Re.

Did both cam sensors, no luck.

Was having issues with my spark when I retested it. Trying to verify all coils and plugs work I though I started noticing weak spark from most coils via test light. As in most wouldn’t illuminate the test light more that once or twice while cranking.

Needless to say they were the original coils,13 years so I thought I should rule out bad coils… bought six new Bosch oem + did oem plugs while I was at it to rule everything out.

We since I had the plugs out of the Block I divided to verify spark the more dangerous way but leaving no guessing.

New coil + new plug out of the block but grounded = I get the test light to light up properly between the coil and the plug BUT NO SPARK at the plug. Nothing.

Any idea why I could have power to the coil/test light but not create any spark?
Test light seems strong and at a regular interval.

Please advise.
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      01-15-2022, 01:57 PM   #10
MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE View Post
So I ordered some parts to Re & Re.

Did both cam sensors, no luck.

Was having issues with my spark when I retested it. Trying to verify all coils and plugs work I though I started noticing weak spark from most coils via test light. As in most wouldn’t illuminate the test light more that once or twice while cranking.

Needless to say they were the original coils,13 years so I thought I should rule out bad coils… bought six new Bosch oem + did oem plugs while I was at it to rule everything out.

We since I had the plugs out of the Block I divided to verify spark the more dangerous way but leaving no guessing.

New coil + new plug out of the block but grounded = I get the test light to light up properly between the coil and the plug BUT NO SPARK at the plug. Nothing.

Any idea why I could have power to the coil/test light but not create any spark?
Test light seems strong and at a regular interval.

Please advise.
Okay so now I am getting spark, sort of.

New plugs giving very small spark but it’s thankfully blue and straight across the contacts.

Old plugs cross tested giving a much brighter but white/yellow spark, gotta be old and less hot.
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      01-15-2022, 03:11 PM   #11
MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Depecheman View Post
Have you checked your ground straps esp the one under the left floor/rail? Sometimes cleaning ( or replace ) the ground contact points is good if there is some corrosion.
I have. The one under the drivers footwell is not great but don’t think it’s totally shot. I have been running all my tests with a jumping cable between the sheet metal behind the passenger headlamp and the oil filter housing metal body. Shouldn’t that be enough to rule out ground?
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      01-15-2022, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE View Post
Okay so now I am getting spark, sort of.

New plugs giving very small spark but it’s thankfully blue and straight across the contacts.

Old plugs cross tested giving a much brighter but white/yellow spark, gotta be old and less hot.
It sounds like your spark is good. It would've been good if you could've done a compression test when all the plugs were out just to make sure your valve timing isn't way off for some reason causing low compression.

Otherwise, I think you should verify the injectors are being pulsed. I don't want to advise you to do anything that would damage electronics, but an unpowered 12V test light connected to ground should work to probe for injector pulse at the connector.

You said you have good fuel pressure. Any evidence of too much fuel flooding it? Will it run now on starting fluid sprayed into the throttle body while cranking? If you have spark and injector pulse, seems it would be the cams somehow got out of time and it might need to go into a shop.
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      01-15-2022, 09:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSEVENTEEN_FIVE View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Depecheman View Post
Have you checked your ground straps esp the one under the left floor/rail? Sometimes cleaning ( or replace ) the ground contact points is good if there is some corrosion.
I have. The one under the drivers footwell is not great but don’t think it’s totally shot. I have been running all my tests with a jumping cable between the sheet metal behind the passenger headlamp and the oil filter housing metal body. Shouldn’t that be enough to rule out ground?
Are you sure you don't have water in your fuel?
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      04-02-2022, 11:55 PM   #14
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I'm having the same issue. Crank and no start but smell lots of fuel from the exhaust. I noticed on my OBD scanner that the MAP sensor doesn't change at all and it's showing the maximum pressure. Like 15 billion PSI. Doesn't change while cranking. Does yours do the same?
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