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Old 03-01-2024, 11:00 PM   #1
Andy318
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Default M50+manual swap bastard - No start!

I recently bought a 1996 318ti that had a 93 M50 Vanos and manual swap done. When I went to see the car the first time it started and ran/drove. When I picked it up it didn't start. I've now been messing with it for 5 days and after lots of exploring I have the following info but still no start.

Car: 1996 318ti
Engine: 1993 M50 Vanos
DME: Bosch 413 Silver label w/Turner 413-000 chip
EWS: EWS2
CPS: Tested, 500 Ohms resistance

I'm going to apologize for the long post now but I would like as much of the relevant info stated up front.

The car was bought as parts/donor and will never be driven on the street however I wanted to confirm engine, harness, DME, etc were good. It had a stereo and the battery was relocated to the trunk. I disconnected the battery and removed all the stereo wiring.

After fully charging the battery I tried to start the car by using jumper cables to the B+ post in the engine bay and to chassis ground. Car cranked over (bumped) for ~1 second then stopped (and instrument cluster went out/dark, no power). This was exactly the same thing it was doing when I picked up the car and upon trying it again after getting it home before touching anything!

After checking connections and adding grounds same thing. I checked voltage at starter, 12V. Fuel pump relay is good (swapped and pin tested) and fuse 18 is good (swapped/tested).

Next step was google, lots and lots of google! Was it anything related to the now missing automatic trans? Or EWS?

I dug deeper and discovered it had EWS2. I jumped the two thick wires (1 and 3) and confirmed voltage on using pins 5 and 7 of EWS connector, 12V.

Went to start the car and now it would crank continuously but still no start. I sprayed starting fluid into the intake and tried again, no start. So, likely no spark... back to google. After more searching I learned that EWS and the DME together (along with CPS which I tested OK) allow for fuel pump and ignition (coils) to work for starting and that EWS2 cars need to have a chip installed (programmed) to ignore EWS, not just a jumper or cut wire!

The video I watched talked about cutting wire for pin 66 but to check for continuity first between small green wire at EWS plug and pin 66 on harness. Tested, no continuity. Further investigating revealed wire 7 at 20 pin connector had been cut, same as cutting wire 66, and thus my lack of continuity testing pin 66 to EWS plug.

I've read posts that to testing the DME is as simple as looking for the CEL light on the cluster. Well, removing the cluster shows that it has been swapped (and possibly opened) and light bulbs are missing. I did not completely remove the cluster as the steering wheel was in the way (no tilt steering) and moved on.

Next I cracked open the DME to discover it has a TMS chip, #413-000 for 93/94 325 with vanos. Contacted turner and they could not confirm if EWS was programmed out by default...

I installed everything back in the car, no change. So, TMS chip (hopefully with EWS delete) plus jumper wire (two thicker wires at EWS2 plug) and cut pin 7 wire should rule out EWS2... hopefully, depending on chip!

Lastly, I unplugged one of the coils to test for voltage with the key in position 2 (fully on, not starting). There was no voltage across any of the pins on the connector. This leads me back to EWS telling DME everything is OK or DME is bad. --- Update - Not sure how or why but after reinstalling DME and testing OBD2 and 20 pin port I now have 12V at the coils with key in run position ---

Before sourcing another DME (hopefully 413 Red label) or chip with EWS deleted I wanted to see if there was anything else I can/should check/test first? Many thanks in advance...

Last edited by Andy318; 03-03-2024 at 07:07 PM. Reason: Updated symptom/testing result - Now 12V at coil connectors!
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Old 03-03-2024, 06:18 PM   #2
Andy318
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Update - Car's production date is 03/96 therefore it should be OBD2, as the silver label 413 DME would also suggest. However, I'm thinking the TMS chip that is for a 93/94 325 is operating engine (system?) as OBD1.

My OBD2 port only has 4 wires connected to it (see pics). I connect my OBD2 scanner and it powers on but can't connect in any of the 3 key positions (Off, On, Run)

I then started researching the 20 pin connector in the engine bay. After taking some notes with tests to perform I head out to the car and of course my pins are nothing like I've seen online... My car has pins 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 1, 11, 12, and 7. The testing steps I found online are as follows:

Pin 19 = GND. Tested for continuity and it's OK.
Pin 14 = Constant Power. Tested for continuity to top of B+, nothing. To starter cable, nothing. To two smaller wires below on the right side, bingo! Then test voltage. With key off I get 2.6V on pin 14 and 11V on pin 15. With the key in the run position I get 0.6V on 14 and 10.7V on 15. Please keep in mind the connector cap is off so if there are any connections that require the cap to be on to achieve target test voltages that will require another set of tests. Can anyone confirm if cap needs to be on for car to start/run?

Pin 16 = 12V in run or start. Confirmed 12V with key in run position.

During all these tests battery voltage was 12.6V. I got the same voltage from B+ to chassis and engine ground and the same at fuse box to chassis ground.

I also read not to jump any pins if there is voltage on pin 15 so no pin jumping at this point until I get more info.

Car still cranks but no start... no fuel nor spark so still trying to determine if EWS to DME, DME or wiring. Hope the above info helps someone point me in the right direction. Thanks
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 03-16-2024, 10:19 PM   #3
Andy318
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Update - In the last week or so I removed the cluster and it was missing bulbs. I put in missing bulbs and reinstalled the cluster... still no CEL. At that point I decided to get another DME. In the meantime I removed most of the front end body work and rad assembly as I had a buyer for those parts.

Today I purchased a 413 red label from a 94 325is manual trans. I installed it in the car, connected the battery to the B+ and ground (as usual) hoping for life but still no CEL. The car cranked the same as before but nothing different on the cluster. I threw my hands up thinking the DME i bought was bad and moved on to stripping the rear.

As I had mentioned in my first post the battery had been relocated to the trunk and as I was removing the stock amp, trunk panel etc. it bothered me that both DME's behaved the same and then it crossed my mind that perhaps jumping the car from a battery directly to the B+ post wasn't providing power to everything in the car as it's supposed to.

So I reinstalled the battery in the trunk, adding another chassis ground, and went to try and start the car again and voila, the CEL came on when I turned the key! I then tried to start the car and it started and ran for 2-3 seconds then died. Now, I hadn't heard the car run since last fall when I went to see it the first time so to me this was fantastic!

I tried several other times, crank no start. I removed the jumper from the EWS2 module, same thing, i.e. crank no start. So now what?

I decided to reinstall the DME that came with the car. Well, CEL came on and car cranked the same but no start... so it wasn't the DME.

So, still have work to do but what I confirmed, and I wish I would've come across it in my several hours of searching online, is that you can't start an e36 (OBD1 for sure but probably all e36s) with just a battery connected to the B+ post in the engine bay.

I hope this helps someone else save time and frustration working on e36s.

If there are any other reasons why the car won't start, for example no rad or temperature switch connected, it would be great to know...
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Old 03-18-2024, 02:34 PM   #4
Andy318
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Tried to start the car again this morning and it started and ran for about 3 seconds then died. Would not start again. Crank but no start. This was with the original DME (silver 413 with OBD1 TMS chip).

The car has a fuel leak underneath, and just behind, the drivers seat. I remember reading somewhere that their is a safety cut out for the fuel pump and that if it is tripped the engine will stop running and you can't restart the car until... don't remember the rest but I'll have to try and find that thread/post again.
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Old 03-29-2024, 09:32 PM   #5
Andy318
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This past week I repaired the fuel leak, hard return line rusted and sprung a leak where it bends up from underneath behind drivers seat. After the repair it started and ran for 30-45 seconds. I did not let it run longer because the rad is disconnected and no coolant.

Next project is rigging up coolant system without a rad because I want to be able to start and move the car around (1-3 minutes run time) but have already removed and sold rad support.
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