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Old 06-10-2019, 03:48 PM   #1
Beemernut
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Default Odd starting issue after replacing starter (96 318ti)

Howdy all, just picked up my TI last Thursday knowing that it needed the starter replaced. Replaced the starter on Saturday (what a pain) and it started great until Sunday. Now it doesn't like to crank immediately until I've turned the key to start position several times and moved the shifter to neutral (I haven't confirmed that this has anything to do with it for certain). Often takes a good 5 or 6 tries before it cranks, and when it does crank, it fires right up no problem. It's either no sign of crank, no clicking, or it cranks like normal and starts the car. Could this be a starter relay issue? Doesn't seem to be a common problem. Battery terminals look fine and the battery was replaced last year. Thanks in advance guys!
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:52 AM   #2
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Check all the connections at the alternator and starter, make sure they're tight.
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:25 PM   #3
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Well, two days ago the thing left me stranded by the side of the road with what I think is a failed alternator. Pulled the alternator and sent it downstate for repair. Fingers crossed this fixes several of my weird issues...
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Old 06-22-2019, 12:20 AM   #4
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Default UPDATE: perplexed. Click no start.

Got my fixed alternator back, installed it again, started the car, alternator not charging. Hmm. I previously trickle charged the battery while I was waiting by the way. Then I try restarting the car for an alternator test via our battery tool at the shop, and click. Nothing. Yes I hooked up the two wires.
Hook up the jump pack, nothing. So I start looking for bad ground straps as a possible as we have a no crank in addition to a no charge condition. Behold, I cannot find a single ground strap underneath the car whatsoever.

I think that 1) I should have a ground strap from the PS pump bracket the driver's side mount arm and 2) I should have a ground strap from the engine to the passenger's side mount arm and there is no trace of either of them. Don't know how the car ever ran in this state. I have jumpered a pair of alligator clips in several sensible (?) locations and I still can't get it to crank.

Does anyone have a PICTURE of their ground straps from engine to chassis? I have searched heaven and earth to get a visual on the ground straps and I find nothing. Is there a specific place I can jumper things to test if this is my actual problem? This thing has been a major basket case in these two weeks of ownership compared to my e28

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-22-2019, 12:46 AM   #5
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I don't have a picture handy. It is right under the coil pack, passenger side. Can't really miss it when you find it, gotta be there.

Could be that or the main in the battery box. I use a power probe to check grounds a multimeter should do though.
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:50 AM   #6
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I know that there's a ground strap that terminates at the passenger side motor mount. Without getting underneath, I can't see where the other end goes, but it must attach to the body down below, since I don't see it up top. And, as Bradstar mentioned, There's the one in the battery box. I don't recall seeing one on the driver's side. As a test, you might try using jumper cables as a temporary strap, maybe one right at the alternator body, the more the merrier.

What did they charge for the alternator rebuild?
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:13 PM   #7
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I was charged $25 for the rebuild.

Tested my theory about the ground straps by hooking a jumper cable between the alternator body and the negative battery terminal. Still nothing but clicks from the starter. Coworker tried to jump me from his Jeep, nothing. POSSIBLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFORMATION: when I first replaced the starter the day after buying the car, the old starter appeared to be BRAND NEW. Whatever my issue is could be something that's either killing starters, or making them show their weaknesses almost immediately, if that makes sense.

If it's a grounding issue, I'm not sure why I still have nothing after connecting the jumper cable from the alternator body to the negative terminal.
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:29 PM   #8
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Also, why on earth is this showing in mobile mode? No obvious way to switch it back.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:43 PM   #9
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Given the information, I'd say there's nothing wrong with the starter. And while some ground straps may be missing, sounds like you've ruled that out. Regarding the alternator - for $25, I'm going to say that they tested it, found nothing wrong, and sent it back to you. A rebuild shop couldn't touch the alternator for that money, and even if they did replace the brush/regulator pack, the part cost alone may be close to $25. It's looking more like something in the B+ circuit - I would start probing with a DVM at the starter, and work back towards the battery. And yes, I know - that's not going to be easy; you'll either need to access from below, or pull the upper and lower intake manifolds. You might be able to attach some pigtails to the starter terminals for access. Or access the main feed to the starter at the alternator?

Also, do make sure you've got around 12.6V at the battery (no load). I know you said the battery was a year old, but sometimes, if there's a fault somewhere, you can go through endless cycles of replace the battery, replace the alternator, etc.. And a really bad battery can defeat a jump, as well.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:17 PM   #10
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Do you have more than one key? I am wondering if the chip in the key may be dying hence the intermittent nature of problem.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:56 PM   #11
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Well, it all came down to a case of the monkey turning the wrench (welp, that's me). The nut that attaches the heavy red cable as well as a black ground cable to the new starter was backing off and making the alternator and starter fail simultaneously. Now on to other important things like the missing spring perches and the oil and coolant leaks...
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Old 06-26-2019, 05:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul somlo View Post
Check all the connections at the alternator and starter, make sure they're tight.
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