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Wolf Larson

330D trouble starting, even when warm - not sure what else to check!

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Hi all,

Haven't used this forum before but I've used a few other and have owned an E46 330d for a few years (before that an E36 with the M52 engine).

My car's had a cranking problem for a good while, takes a good few cranks to start, especially in bad weather. The car also has a rhymically lumpy tickover, and occasionally stalls at tickober. So far I've changed:

  • Air Mass sensor
  • battery
  • glow plugs
  • glow plug module
  • fuel filter
  • EGR removal/bypass
  • swirlflap removal/blanking plates

Tonight after installing DISv57 software and clearing faults it's thrown up:

  • 4867 swirl flap actuator - (NOW CURED - 21 JAN)
  • 3E91 speed sensor crank shaft (NOW CURED WITH NEW SENSOR - 21 JAN)

Could either of these cause bad starting? lumpy running? I can replace the cranks sensor (once I work out how best to find it). But what/where is the flap actuator?

Worth noting that by the time I'd got the software working the car was warmed up, and the tickover stable - hence this fault may have cleared (I cleared them when I ran the software as loads of old ones stored). I also ran a balance test and the injectors' pressure/rail seemed okay.

Any thoughts/help/advice appreciated!

Edited by Wolf Larson

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Welcome along. 

Crank sensor could definitely cause starting problems. Doesn't look fun to change based on my recollection from when I was investigating a hot start issue. 

When it's failing to start, does the rev counter register anything?

Swirl flaps have likely been removed (of not, get them out!), So you should be safe to ignore that message. 

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Thanks bud - swirls are definitely out (I removed them a while back and fitted blanking plates), would the actuator mode cause the car to run badly and is there a way of switching this off? As I've just been reading that this code can put the car in limp mode as the car thinks the flaps are stuck shut?

I'll swap the crank sensor - recall doing this on my E36 (petrol), which was quite easy, but access looks a lot harder on this engine.

Thanks again - nice 325 btw, looks spot on that

EDIT: forgot to add I think the rev counter does register while it's cranking, often have to hold the key once started for a few secs to stop it cutting out. Once it's running it stays running, although has cut out a handful of times when the revs have dipped when pulling up at traffic lights and knocking it out of gear (it's a manual).

Edited by Wolf Larson
mor info

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make sure the swirl flap actuator is unplugged even when blanked cos if the actuator is faulty and still plugged in it causes poor boost issues.

This won't throw a dash warning only a fault code.

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Thanks chocka - I'm still getting the actuator warning light. Is the actual unit under the inlet manifold? I must have plugged it back in when i refitted the inlet manifold. Guessing I need to remove manifold again to gain access and remove it. would you be able to let me know what it looks like?

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Hmm, if it's still getting a rev counter reading, my (limited) understanding was that the crank sensor is still providing a signal. I see you've got another, so hopefully this will resolve the matter.

Been a while since I messed with a swirl flap actuator, but it should be somewhere towards the bulkhead under the manifold. If you can get a feel for the Shaft, you should be able to trace it back to find the actuator. 

And thanks - it's not without fault, but I'm happy with it (although it's a 328 now :) )

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Thanks pal, think I've unplugged it - now trying to located the cranks sensor!

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Yes it is under the manifold, can be accessed without taking the manifold off but is a real bitch to reach, it has a 90 degree wiring connector to it.

It won't throw a warning light on the dash though, only a fault code.

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Could this also be a glow plug issue?

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31 minutes ago, The_Judge_ said:

Could this also be a glow plug issue?

His first post says he's changed the glow plugs and module, dude, so I would hope they haven't failed and he hasn't mentioned them coming up on fault codes.

I'm following this as I know I have a glow plug module fault and my new touring is slow to start, but does start.

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I can't read :)

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That's right chaps - popped some brand new Bosch plugs in before xmas which made no difference, the replaced the module - again for a new Bosch one and again made no difference. Glow plugs haven't thrown up any fault codes (checked Inpa and DIS57).

I'll report back once I've done crank sensor (hopefully being fitted tomorrow) and will update my other thread once I've sorted my electronic actuator issue. Have also got the oil warning light coming on and off intermittently - so that's another sensor to swap (oil is topped up and I change it every 4k). Bloody sensors!!!

ps. Rich - happy to talk you through swapping the glow plug sensor, bit awkward but a doddle compared to the crank sensor!

Edited by Wolf Larson
more info added

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11 minutes ago, Wolf Larson said:

That's right chaps - popped some brand new Bosch plugs in before xmas which made no difference, the replaced the module - again for a new Bosch one and again made no difference. Glow plugs haven't thrown up any fault codes (checked Inpa and DIS57).

I'll report back once I've done crank sensor (hopefully being fitted tomorrow) and will update my other thread once I've sorted my electronic actuator issue. Have also got the oil warning light coming on and off intermittently - so that's another sensor to swap (oil is topped up and I change it every 4k). Bloody sensors!!!

ps. Rich - happy to talk you through swapping the glow plug sensor, bit awkward but a doddle compared to the crank sensor!

Thanks mate but i'm not going to replace mine for now. The car starts, albeit slowly, and there are more important things to spend cash on at the moment. This is subject to change though, as is everything to do with me and cars :)

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haha - wise move, given I spent on both and neither are the cause of the problem, far better to get the codes read and diagnose first if it gets worse. 

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My glow plugs haven't worked for 6.1/2 years as the controller is goosed but car still starts first time, albeit a bit lumpy for a few seconds in winter.

 

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yeh,cars in our country do not need glow plugs,although it will start a tiny bit quicker easier as they will get hot,sometimes in the dervs its the relay /module..that needs replaced,ive had glow plug fault code on my car since i had it,tiny biy jittery on very very cold mornigs for 30 seconds or so..

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well mines worse starting than both of yours despite new plugs and module, so this is obviously not the cause. Fingers crossed it's the crank sensor - which threw up a fault code. Will report back at the weekend.

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UPDATE:

So I've now cured the Swirl Flap Actuator fault code and fitted a new crank sensor. I've also cleaned the contacts on the engine earth cable, but the problem still persists: cars cranks over a good few times before starting, even when warm and i occasionally get an uneven tickover.

The other day I pulled up outside somewhere, came back 5mins later, engine was still warm and the car cranked for a about 10secs and tried to fire 4x before finally firing up. When running it seems okay, although the idle is sometimes pulsing between 730ish rpm and 765ish, and occasionally it will stall if I knock it out of gear and allow the revs to die (ie when approaching traffic lights).

With it pulsing at tickover, I ran a few tests using the DIS software with the engine running:

  • Battery was at 14.2V when running, dropped to around 11 when cranking (and once to 9.8 after a long crank). Battery is 1 year old.
  • Actual rail pressure was 300+ at idle and tracks consistently within a few single digits of the specified range. It falls away when the engine stops and quickly builds up when started. 
  • Engine temp didn't get higher than 68 (I need a new thermo)

I then ran a balance test with the engine pulsing at idle. The car 'passed' as all injectors were well within the specified range, but here's what the were averaging at idle

         AVE

Cyl 1: -1.2
Cyl 5:  0.6
Cyl 3:  0.5
Cyl 6:  -0.2
Cyl 2: -1.8
Cyl 4:  2.2

...as you can see cyl 4 was running 'higher' than the others and way up on 2, it peaked at 2.8 at one stage. Building revs evened them out.

Ran the same test again from cold with a stable tickover at idle a few days later and the figures were much more even:

         MIN / MAX

Cyl 1: -0.6 / 0.2
Cyl 5:  -0.2 / 1
Cyl 3:  0 / 0.8
Cyl 6:  -0.4 / 0.2
Cyl 2: -1.2 / 0
Cyl 4:  -0.3 / 0.3

...as you can see the values across each are much closer. Could this be the issue? Could injector 4 be on the way out, even though it's 'within range'?

For me the problem still feels like fueling, although one other area I've yet to focus on is the starter motor, as the engine also seems slow to turn when firing - could this be faulty? Would this throw a fault code? This obviously wouldn't cause uneven tickover though - maybe the two issues aren't connected??II Any ideas much appreciated!!! Driving me nuts

Edited by Wolf Larson

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OK, so it looks my car may have similar issues. It isn't starting this morning (and struggled to start yesterday). It pulses and all the dash lights come on but the engine doesn't crank over :(

 

Anyone got any tips on what I could run through to try and diagnose - I only have INPA ...

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Wolf - with INPA, what fuel rail pressure do you get when cranking? You'll need 200bar for it to try to fire the injectors.

When it's not starting properly, try disconnecting the fuel rail pressure sensor, and then start it up. It'll run like crap with it off. However, if the sensor is off, the car assumes that the injectors have enough pressure, and fires them anyway. This is how I had to get my car to start for a few months at one point - disconnect the sensor to trick it into firing. 

My understanding is that -3 to +3 is OK for an injector. What I'm not too sure about is if that's a single injector, or if one at +3 and another at -3 is deemed OK...

Suf: does it click the starter motor or anything? Got a pile of spares here if you need anything (also found the other injector retaining bracket!)

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6 hours ago, The_Judge_ said:

OK, so it looks my car may have similar issues. It isn't starting this morning (and struggled to start yesterday). It pulses and all the dash lights come on but the engine doesn't crank over :(

 

Anyone got any tips on what I could run through to try and diagnose - I only have INPA ...

Hi Judge - check your battery voltage if you can in INPA and see what it's at when cranking. Friend had this on his 330i, brand new battery which looked to holed charge, but a drop test revealed a duff cell when starting. I've also heard a dodgy alternator can cause the dash lights to pulse when starting...

TriggerFish - thanks, will check that. When the car was 'pulsing' at idle today, a tiny amount of pedal smoothed it out, it's as though the tickover at idle is a few rpm too low

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Haven't connected INPA yet, but basically this is what's happening:

 

 

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Dead battery. Check the voltage with the obc hidden menu. 

Turn the lights to off and try and start it. If it's really dead, they turn themselves on when cranking for some inexplicable reason (based on my experience)

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4 minutes ago, TriggerFish said:

Dead battery. Check the voltage with the obc hidden menu. 

Turn the lights to off and try and start it. If it's really dead, they turn themselves on when cranking for some inexplicable reason (based on my experience)

OK, will check once I boot your INPA vm on my new Mac ....

 

Battery is 2 years old ...

 

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