Question about 2003 BMW 325

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Help me! My '03 BMW 325i will not start. The interior lights and headlamps come on and I can roll my windows up and down. I did try to jump start it because it has been a few days since I drove the car ( 4 or 5) and the rear door was slightly adjar so I thought the battery might just be low but when I turn the ignition switch on nothing (except dash lights) happens......I am car repair and bank account challenged.....I am checking the fuses in the glove box now but I am not sure which ones would make it not start at all...It was running fine when I went to the grocery store Monday eve....any ideas????? Help me, Help me.....:(

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  • 10 more comments 
  • burns_sara Mar 19, 2011

    Thank you for the shout back......as I said I am not very handy with the whole car thing....There is a blinking red light on the radio unit indicating the Anti-theft device. My key is not working to unlock the doors and I have been doing it manually. Could it be that the problem? Is it my key? I had an extra one but my son is 14 and car curious. I was afraid he might take it on a joy ride and I hid the extra key from him.....and as it seems from myself too.....I am an idiot! I have been tearing my house apart all afternoon looking for it. Had a stroke and my brain misfires sometimes.....

  • burns_sara Mar 20, 2011

    Thank you again. I will go try to unlock and relock. I also read a post saying to open doors and trunk, turn the key to the first position, disconnect the battery for about 15 minutes....It appears that the on board computer might reset when reconnected....hopefully, I won't forget anything...lol. What do you think? S

  • burns_sara Mar 20, 2011

    I am being such a girl.....not that being a girl is all bad....but in order to reset like I posted last....do I just disconnect the red cable to the battery? Do I have to take off the black ground wire also? Locking and unlocking the door did not work. The anti-theft light still is blinking. The battery in the key is supposed to recharge when the car is running but it has been out so long...guess I should have done something sooner. I tried to open the key fob with no luck.

  • burns_sara Mar 20, 2011

    I can't find any button anyway. There is no visible button under dash that I can see.

  • burns_sara Mar 20, 2011

    Haven't heard from me in a while because I gave up yesterday and went to bed. I was afraid to disconnect the battery and it was dark. I am going to go out and start again today in the daylight. It is a new day and hopefully I will not feel so frustrated! Will disconnect the battery with doors and trunk open. I hope this will reset the osb and allow the door to turn the alarm off. Still haven't found the key I hid from my son. I will also try your suggestion of pressing the key while it is in the ignition. Seems like a possiblity. I will get back to you shortly.

  • burns_sara Mar 20, 2011

    Ok, that didn't work. Did I read something about there being a radio code? I have a card marked radio pass that came with the car. Would that reset the alarm? Where would I find (and what does it look like) the relay box you were talking about ...Can I just disconnect the alarm?

  • burns_sara Mar 20, 2011

    My radio owners manual says (under the anti-theft protection) "Manual input of a security code or other entries are not required". ......Ok. yippee! I went to make sure the radio still worked and turned it on. The radio memory is still set and I (just for kicks) tried to start the car again......and it started! You are magic....lol.....I am going to run to the grocery store and see if I get stuck in the parking lot......it is still running.....guess I should try to turn it off and start it again while it is in my driveway.....:) ......maybe disconnecting the battery did work to reset? dunno....

  • burns_sara Mar 21, 2011

    No, the red light was no longer flashing when I started the car....I made it to the grocery store just fine. I did start and restart the car several times before I went though. I am printing your long post. You never know what will happen next....Yes, I was extremely frustrated but you helped me through it. I am sure I made you frustrated! I didn't even know how to unhook the battery. It must to frustrating to you to talk someone like me who doesn't know anything about cars through their problems but you really did a great job. You were very patient! I think that the OSB eventually reset itself after the battery reconnect. I just wanted it to happen sooner. I walked away and did some yard work.....then "wallah", it started when I went out to make sure the radio still worked. I am actually pretty proud of myself....this being broke thing made me learn something new! Again, thank you, I know I couldn't have done it without your help. You deserve a whole lot more than what I paid...Your hourly pay rate went way down with my problem! ..I was ready to have it towed to my car repair shop. That all would have cost a whole lot more...who knows what the repair shop would have found wrong with my car! I am still looking for that hidden extra key....any ideas where I would have hidden it? One day when I am not looking for it, I will find it! Brain malfunction....Again....Thank you so much. You don't know how much I appreciate your help. Now, I guess it is time to try to fix my washing machine that broke over a month ago....lol.

  • burns_sara Mar 21, 2011

    Jtourcotte was great! I am a car repair challenged female. He was really very patient even when I asked some really basic questions. I can't tell you how much I appreciated his help and encouragement. He helped save me big bucks by not having to have my car towed to the repair shop! I will definately use him in the future for help with my car...(sorry Jtourcotte, lol). Thanks again!

  • burns_sara Mar 21, 2011

    You are very sweet! My kid won't listen to me either....I just got through removing enough dishes from his room to fill and start the dishwasher....and enough trash that the can needs emptied again. urg! AND I had him mow the front yard on Saturday and when I went out Sunday to begin on the car, I noticed the lawn mower was still in the side yard, just stopped in the middle of the of the row....."It was too hard" (gotta say that in a whiney voice). I told him to raise the mower wheels and try again....but that didn't happen....guess I will finish that today....He is back in school today after spring break....yea! Now, my spring break starts! lol. I will contact the dealer today but they will probably want me to buy a new key....which I probably will when I have the money....just can't do it right now. Don't know what i would have done if I had to have the car towed. The shop will sometimes work with me on payments....I hate being broke! Washing machine quit agitating......and now it appears it won't drain either. I was going to get behind it and lower the drain pipe to see if will drain at all. If not, it is probably clogged. I figured the agitation was a belt or something. I will take the back off to check on that.....but I have to empty some of the water out so that I can move the darn thing first. I have a siphon thing from my fish aquarium....that and a bucket ought to get things started.....to be totally honest both my washer and dryer have to be 15 to 20 years old. I would love to have a matching set, front load that I could stack to give me more space in the laundry room. I have had them repaired before. They are very old....In my 52 years of life, I have never had a matching washer and dryer. My first ones were used, one in gold and one in avacado...quite attractive! Maybe by the end of summer I can replace them with something energy efficient (from the dented and dinged place)....but in the meantime, I have been going to the laundrymat. I will to try to repair because of the convenience and maybe sell them or trade them in at the dented and dinged place. I know my son went to school today with less than clean clothes because I did have time or feel like going to the laundrymat last evening after the whole car debacle. I am still looking for that extra key......you didn't give me any ideas where I could have hidden it from my son...and myself.....lol. I also have some soffet and facia board issues that I am going to tackle tomorrow....have to do a home depot run before that though.....which I was planning on doing this weekend before the car thing....This home repair **** never ends! How old are your kiddos?

  • burns_sara Mar 22, 2011

    You make me laugh! 7 years of junior college....times are tough out there. I will tear into the washer soon. I went to my local Home Depot today and got stuff to repair my rotted facia boards and repair my rotting back fence....also want to get my garden in really soon...am starting seeds tonight. I got a diverter to try above the french doors in the back.....I hate the gutters. They are all going away tomorrow. Probably more rotted facia boards under there...ugh.... Stuff just keeps piling up! This summer I plan on replacing the back fence....it is a patched up mess! Just trying to keep the dogs in right now. Why couldn't Ike have blown it into the next county? You really did help me with my car. I can't thank you enough. I will let you know about the washer...It won't be long....Thank you again. Sara

  • burns_sara Mar 22, 2011

    Since I had my stroke, I don't think I have cleaned my gutters once.....4 years.....they are so full the damage to the facia boards and some of the soffets are have already happened. Maybe I will replace facias, soffets and put the gutters back up correctly. I know I need to do something soon before merkat city continues in my attic..lol....I have had mice, yuck, squirrels and one big huge racoon that died up there over the winter.......stinky! I just haven't been well enough to actually do anything about those things. I am behind on lots of stuff....I was just trying to take the easy way out by removing them. I will take a deep breath or two (much as I did this weekend) and try and make good decisions as I tackle the actual situation....still not sure how that huge racoon got up there but I bet it was all of about seven pounds....still gives me chills.....I will let you know about the washer. I tend to have several projects going at once so I will be working on the outside as well as the washer....trouble with focus. I will talk to you soon. You are a very nice man.

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  • BMW Master
  • 8,206 Answers

Hi, the problem could be a number of things. First, check for a security or anti-theft light on the dash. If none, try starting it in neutral rather than park. You can also try shifting thru the gears while holding the key to start (with your foot on the brake in case it starts in gear). This will test the safety interlock adjustment. If that doesn't work, next check for a start relay in the relay box under the hood. If you see one, try swapping it with the horn or A/C relay. If you don't see one, then we're down to checking the starter itself. By jumping the starter solenoid, you'll be able to tell if the problem is the starter or the starter circuit. This test is explained in the following post. Pleae make sure the car is in park or neutral with the parking brake set before running this test. If the battery and starter are good, it will turn during this test. After running this test, please get back to me on where you stand.

Please see my tip at http://www.fixya.com/cars/r6222268-engine_doesnt_crank_turn_over . These are generic instructions.

Posted on Mar 19, 2011

  • 13 more comments 
  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    yes, a blinking red light is never a good thing. Let me look up the details on your system.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    OK, from what I'm reading, manually unlocking the driver's door is supposed to disarm the system. Try using the key in the driver's door barrel to lock and then unlock the door to see if this will disarm the system. The problem may also be with the battery in the remote. Can you get it open to see if the battery is replaceable? I think the car is supposed to charge the key battery, but that may be defective.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    well, I also saw a post that said to hold the open button down while reconnecting the battery, but a lot of these posts are random--not to be trusted. I'm going by the owner's manual so far.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    disconnecting either cable will work, but I always recommend the negative one to avoid accidental shorts. If you have the positive one disconnected, please disconnect the negative one also. When reconnecting, always connect the positive one first. There should be a " " on the positive battery terminal.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    sorry, I missed that last post. So I assume disconnecting and reconnecting the battery did not help? How about opening the key to check the battery--any chance of that?

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    or maybe turn the key on and leave it on for a while to see if it will charge a bit?

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    does anything happen if you press the unlock on the key while it's in the barrel and ignition turned on?

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    Hi, I haven't heard back from you, so maybe you've solved the problem (?)
    What I think happened is the battery in the key gave out and then the switch in the door also quit. I was hoping I wouldn't have to send you to the dealer to fix the switch in the door, so I wanted you to try the unlock button with the key turned on. This may allow the transmitter to work. If it did, I would then recommend replacing the bettery in the key or the key itself if the battery is not replaceable. Please let me know if I can be of any further help.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    OK, if both battery terminals are still connected, you only need to disconnect the negative one. Just be careful not to let your wrench touch the positive terminal while loosening the negative one. You cannot be shocked by a car battery, but you can cause sparks if you aren't careful.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    well, it's certainly worth a try entering the radio code, though I thought that was only for the radio itself. Does the radio ask for a code when you turn it on? Does it say anything in the owner's manual about it? I only have the 2004 owner's manual. If this doesn't work, we can talk about the starter relay next.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    OK, I'm sure you're well frustrated by now. If you're ready to try something that will get us further along, here is what it is; however, it may be hard to do on your car. In the link I first sent you, there is a test #2 where I show a picture of connecting two terminals on the starter solenoid with a small screwdriver. Even a nail will work for this. Shorter is actually better, otherwise you may short the battery. You have to connect those 2 terminals without letting the nail touch anything else. And here's the kicker--your starter is under the engine intake manifold--hard to reach. Make sure the car is in park with the parking brake set. If your battery, cables, and starter are good, the engine WILL turn during this test. I recommend you have the ignition turned on too to see if the engine will actually start. If the engine starts, we will be much closer to fixing this darn thing.

    So first go to the driver's side fender and peek under the hood, under the pipes you see and toward the cabin/firewall. You should see something like the starter below. The right part of the starter will be stuck inside the transmission bell housing, and the solenoid is on top with the terminals on the left end. I think it's rotated slightly toward you rather than being straight up--good thing. That is where you have to stick your nail or small screwdriver and connect those 2 upper terminals that have wires on them. Keep your hands away from the front of the engine where things are going to rotate. Are you up for this? If you're a single mom, maybe you're going to stretch a bit here? Or maybe your son would like to give it a go.


  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 20, 2011

    OK, nevermind all that stuff I just wrote to you.



    Now tell me--is the red light still flashing?



    I don't want you to get stuck somewhere.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 21, 2011

    Well, for one, I don't do this for the money. I like helping people like you--it's not frustrating at all. The ones that frustrate me are the ones that don't listen (like my kids). So I'm still concerned for your welfare, and I would like for your key remote to work again. This will provide redundancy in case the switch in the door fails to turn off the alarm. Please ask your dealer about how to fix the key. If it's expensive, please get back to me for alternative solutions. The other key may or may not be helpful, as I read in your manual that it cannot shut the alarm.
    Now about that washing machine--what's it doing?

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 21, 2011

    kids are 16 and 26. 26 y/o finished 7 years of junior college last summer but still hasn't found a job. Yes, it's hard to keep old appliances running. We got a new front loading washer a year or 2 ago, but I'm still repairing the dryer annually. Yes, the agitator runs on a belt, but I think the drain pump does too. Depends on the model. If you get into it and can't figure it out, give us a yell. We have access to repair manuals and we have some pretty good appliance experts--certainly better than me. Hang in there--the kids will leave some day and then you'll want them back.

    Jeff

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 22, 2011

    Are you really going to take the gutters down? Facia rotting underneath is probably due to loose gutters. They have to be in tight to catch the rain water as it spills from the shingles. The shingles should extend at least a half inch from the drip edge over the gutters. When I have loose gutters, I replace the gutter nails with long lag bolts. They don't loosen like the nails can. Of course, if you have new facia, the nails should really hold. If you enter a FixYa problem for your washing machine, make it a free one. Then send me a note here, and I will alert my favorite appliance expert to take a look for you.



    Jeff

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