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  • Curious No Spark Issue

    Hi all !

    I have a curious issue with my car that's left me puzzled. Went on a 600km trip to see my Dad with the M3...car seemed to run ok, although, I noticed increased fuel consumption. Parked the car when I arrived...no issues. Went to start it the next morning and she didn't start ! She cranks but doesn't start.

    Now the background....my ignition switch is faulty and I've been starting the car for a while via the OBD port ..can't seem to find an airbag switch anywhere. Anyways, I determined that there is fuel , the issue seems to be with the spark. The sensors located at the bell housing are relatively new...not more than 6k kms on them and they're genuine BMW, I checked the DME relay...seemed to be functional and jumpered it just to make sure. There is voltage at the coil terminals but when the car is cranked there's no spark from the coil socket ( to distributor) Sometimes we get a single weak spark and then nothing. Now the funny thing is that just for trying sake we pushed the car and it started right up ! Drove it 20km, parked it and once again no start !

    I have a brand new coil and still the same thing happens. Checked the OBC relay and jumpered it...still no start.

    I noticed that my tail.pipes became black over the past 6 weeks and when I checked the plugs there was significant carbon fouling....meaning the car isn't running optimally.

    I'm out of ideas regarding what next to check.....any ideas?

    Fuel is being delivered, DME relay switches at key-on, fuel.pump relay is ok...fusible link in trunk is ok, ignition coils seem ok (one.is brand new). What I want to check/change is the ground cable from the engine as I didn't.like the condition mine was in. What next ?

    Thanks in advance !

  • #2
    If you search my name, I went through an electrical hunt which turned out to be a gong show, partially due to mislabeled trigger sensors.

    Yes definitely double check the grounds on your engine, I've also heard of solder cracks forming in the ignition components of the dme.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you buy a brand new ignition switch seems to me if you can it would be money well spent and removes another variable.

      I would jump right in and have the DME either serviced or swapped out also make sure all the basic tuning items are
      replaced ie plugs, air filter, water temp sensor etc just to bring everything up to a good standard

      E30 M3 1987
      Mini Clubman GT
      BMW E36 323 Msport
      Toyota Corona
      KTM 200EXC
      Honda CB50 (1979)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dave @nz View Post
        Can you buy a brand new ignition switch seems to me if you can it would be money well spent and removes another variable.

        I would jump right in and have the DME either serviced or swapped out also make sure all the basic tuning items are
        replaced ie plugs, air filter, water temp sensor etc just to bring everything up to a good standard
        Yeah, you're correct. I'll get the new ignition switch...about time ! The distributor cap, rotor and coil are new. I'll change the coolant temp sensor, O2 sensor and new relays ( DME, Fuel Pump ) for peace of mind.....though I know the issue isn't with these.

        It's just puzzling that the car can start when pushed but not otherwise.

        Thanks for your input

        Comment


        • #5
          Yep there are a few great posts already of similar issues and their updates done to resolve it. BMWi4 and Dave @nz where a few that helped me as well with suggestions and their posts. I too was also a victim of this no-run issue until recently and it sucked! My specific issue was the actual DME had multiple cracked solders on each board that would let it crank and spark, but no fuel would shoot in the motor. I literally drove it home one day, then that afternoon swapped out a leaky hose only to find that it would crank but no run. Drove me crazy as to why?!

          Do you have any access to another M3 in your area you could trade a few beers for parts swapping access? If so try to swap out the DME first, then go down the line from there parts wise. If I could've done this it would've saved me a a ton of time, parts, and of course $$$! Good luck and let us know how it goes!
          ________________
          '88 M3
          '02 E39 M5
          '07 Forester STI *sold
          '06 STI *RIP
          '04 CBR600RR *sold
          '01 Audi S4 *sold
          '91 318is *sold
          Tampa FL

          Comment


          • #6
            Robb.....thanks for the input. I don't know of any other E30 M3 on the road down here. Mine is about the only one apart from the Sport Evo with 5000km which is in another city.

            I was actually thinking of shipping the ECU abroad for testing and possible repair. That may be done while I'm accumulating additional maintenance parts.

            As much as I love driving the car I'm in no hurry to get her back on the road....I have a long list of things I want to sort out and I've learnt with these old cars patience is key.

            Comment


            • #7
              ErikM54life, where are you located?

              A new ignition switch is a good place to start. Have you tried a different coil to distributor wire? It does sound like it was running really rich, so you could have a coolant temp sensor issue on top of it not wanting to spark. I'd double check your flywheel sensors as well. Might be worth pulling the cover off so you can see if you lost the trigger magnet on the flywheel.

              Will
              '69 Datsun 2000 Roadster vintage race car (Street driven on a regular basis :taz
              '59 Alfa Romeo 101 Sprint (HUGE project :uhoh
              '88 M3

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by erikm54life View Post
                Robb.....thanks for the input. I don't know of any other E30 M3 on the road down here. Mine is about the only one apart from the Sport Evo with 5000km which is in another city.

                I was actually thinking of shipping the ECU abroad for testing and possible repair. That may be done while I'm accumulating additional maintenance parts.

                As much as I love driving the car I'm in no hurry to get her back on the road....I have a long list of things I want to sort out and I've learnt with these old cars patience is key.
                Sure and understand completely. I used Programainc.com who did a great job with the repair and associated diagnostics with what the repair consisted of. This was only after I went through 4 new fuel injectors, external and internal fuel pumps, filters, all new spark plugs, new relays and new Crank position sensors. It drove me mad for months until I finally broke down and took it to a shop where they used another local M3 for parts to isolate the issue. I wish I had access to another M3 at the start of my troubleshooting as that could have saved a ton of time and resources which is the only reason I suggested it. Good luck and this board is a HUGE help so keep us posted!
                ________________
                '88 M3
                '02 E39 M5
                '07 Forester STI *sold
                '06 STI *RIP
                '04 CBR600RR *sold
                '01 Audi S4 *sold
                '91 318is *sold
                Tampa FL

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RAD2LTR View Post
                  ErikM54life, where are you located?

                  A new ignition switch is a good place to start. Have you tried a different coil to distributor wire? It does sound like it was running really rich, so you could have a coolant temp sensor issue on top of it not wanting to spark. I'd double check your flywheel sensors as well. Might be worth pulling the cover off so you can see if you lost the trigger magnet on the flywheel.

                  Will
                  I'm located in Lagos Nigeria. Coolant temp sensor is one of the parts that I've planned to order. Every other part mentioned is new...minus the distributor wire.....we tested the coil directly without the wire and there was an initial spark while cranking but after a second, nothing and result was the same with the new coil in my parts bag.

                  Once the parts are all in I'll see if we obtain a result...if not, I'll ship the ECU to the US for testing and possible repair.

                  robb and RAD2LTR thanks a lot and will keep you all updated.

                  Cheers

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