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Old 01-10-2012, 02:08 AM   #1
Colink
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Default Car wont start - Engine wire harness?

a few days after driving my 318 from Cleveland to Kansas City it died in a parking lot. The battery was still good (just had it replaced a year ago) and the started was not clicking or doing anything (just had the stater replaced 8 months ago) So I had it towed to the dealer and they said it was the alarm system. They replaced it and there was still no signs of life. Now they're saying the engine wire harness needs to be replaced along with the starter and they quoted me a price at $3,000.

A friend of mine knows a guy who works at the dealer and he had him look at it on the side for me and he said that the wire from the alarm to the ignition had gotten too hot and shorted out.

Q: is there an easier and LESS EXPENSIVE way to fix this problem then pulling and replacing the WHOLE wire harness? Would fixing the shorted cable fix the problem or would something else end up overheating too?

Side Note: I've also noticed that my front passenger side blinker will light up when the break is pressed. Is this something that could cause high resistance in the wiring and lead to over heating in the system?
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:48 AM   #2
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Was the alarm factory or aftermarket? I'd say the dealer mis-diagnosed the problem and they should reimburse you for unecessary parts and labor. As for the wiring harness melting, I'd find the source of the problem before you throw any more parts at it. Once you find out what caused the short, then you should replace the wiring harness. You could get one from one of the many part-out threads on here for about a hundred bucks. Just make sure you get one from the same year/transmission ti.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:57 AM   #3
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I think they're taking you for a ride. I have no idea how they came to the conclusion it was the alarm in the first place that disabled your car.

Was the car ever attempted to be jump started?
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:38 AM   #4
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I don't know if the alarm was factory or after market, I'm guessing it was after market but I know that it is a BMW alarm.

How would I go about finding out what caused the short? could it be related to the front blinker having issues? And if I do find out what caused it could I just fix the problem without replacing the whole harness? I really don't want to replace the whole harness because that's a lot of hours of labor to pay for.

No the car was never attempted to be jumped because the battery was new and all the lights and everything was on.
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colink View Post
No the car was never attempted to be jumped because the battery was new and all the lights and everything was on.
Unless the battery was checked with a voltage meter, jump starting may help identify the issue if the alternator which charges the battery when driving is operational or not.

If the battery stopped charging because of the alternator, it may not have enough juice to turn the crank and starter motor over.

It's a quick and simple enough diagnostic that it's worth trying if it saves you $3,000.

My understanding 318ti's in the US cost around $5,000. You need to weigh your options to decide how much you're willing to spend to resolve this issue.

My opinion is to take it to someone who knows what they're doing. The dealership is probably paying an under paid apprentice to diagnose your problem.
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Last edited by RAiMA; 01-10-2012 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:30 AM   #6
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There is no other place to take it that is more qualified than the BMW dealership. At this point I think I'm going to have to get my friend who works on cars to look at it and see if we can do a 'home brew' cure without having to replace the whole harness. If I can get that wire from the alarm to the ignition fixed and the car starts then I'll be happy. I'm just hoping nothing else will short out.
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