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    Engine just stops while driving

    I'm looking for someone to give me a logical trobleshooting order to perform to solve my problem. I have a 1986 325es, my problem just started. The engine will stop running while driving. Sometimes it will start right back up but most of the time if I wait approximatly 5 minutes it starts back up. I don't know where to start looking. I do appreciate any advise. Thanks


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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    What is the condition of your ignition and fuel system parts? Are they all original?

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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    The only original part would be the fuel pump.
    I'm having a had time understanding why if I wait a few minutes I could start it back up.

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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    Well, sometimes waiting a few minutes lets something cool down a bit and start working again. I had an intermittant fuel pump that would cause the car to die and then would start fine a few hours later (not a few minutes). Next time it dies you should try to verify if the fuel pump is running and if you are getting spark.

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    mdrew
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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    This has happened to me twice. Once with an E30 and once with an E28.

    This is probably electrical. The first thing to do is replace your fuel pump relay and main ignition relays. Of all the parts, these are the cheapest to replace and good insurance for the future.

    But if that doesn't do the trick (and it didn't for me), I suspect you need a new ECU (electronic control unit). These can be found used or re-built for a few hundred bucks. New (if they still make them) they are price (~900 last I heard) but I think most folks go the used route. They come up for sale on Ebay all the time. Just make sure you match serial numbers.

    I learned this the hard way on my old '85 325e. Spent >1000 bucks throwing parts at the thing. Fuel pumps, ignition coil, etc. etc. Every time I thought I'd get it, a couple weeks later it'd quit on me again.

    In fact, if you can find a decent price on an ECU I'd just buy one and replace it. It'll probably go out sooner or later, and it's good to have a spare.

    Good luck.

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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    If my problem is fuel pump related would the engine kind of spuder before going off mine just shuts down like turning off a switch. I've heard people talk about relays, temp sensers, will these parts or any other part cause the engine to just shut down like discribed.

    Until more info comes in I will check fuel pump.

  7. #7
    mdrew
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    Re: Engine just stops while driving-addendum

    Just to add my above post...

    The reason I think this is an ECU is the nature of the intermittency. What happens is, that due to age and vibration, the the traces on the circuit board start to crack. With the right temperature and vibration, a trace will crack and cause the car to quit. A minor temperature change or vibration will then cause it to work again for an hour, day, even weeks.

    Your symptoms are exactly like mine. The second time this happened to me on my E28 I immediately recognized it, ordered a used ECU on ebay for ~250, and that fixed the problem.

    Fuel pumps can fail, but usually intermittently upon start up - not when running. This has to do with the way the brushes and stator wear. Once running, the dead spots don't matter, but can prevent initial startup.


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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    This Saturday Im going to check that the fuel pump is working when the engine stops ,then move on to the relays. After that should I look at the temp senser? I did read that someone had problems with that. If all looks good I'll replace my ecu. Is there something more I could check before replacing the ecu?

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    Ray
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    one step at a time...

    don't get too far ahead of yourself here.

    after you check and find your fuel supply is OK then the next step is to check the spark. i.e. Make sure you are getting a good spark at the plugs.

    By the way, when your car stops running is your instrument cluster dead, or does it still indicate something?

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    Re: one step at a time...

    When the engine stops every thing else stays on ( instrument cluster , head lights , radio)

  11. #11
    Ray
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    Re: one step at a time...

    It you can get a spark with the car in this state, you have a fuel supply problem.

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    Re: one step at a time...

    Thanks for that info. This weekend I'm going to check for spark when the engine stops. If I have spark I'll look at (pump/relay)?

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    Re: one step at a time...

    Did you check the fuel pump and ECU yet? My son's E30 is starting to have this same exact problem.

    Steve 330ci

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    mine didn't sputter

    When my fuel pump died the car just shut right off and didn't start again until it cooled down a bit.

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    Re: one step at a time...

    I finally got the time to check the fuel pump. It is getting power.
    Does the fuel pump get power in key position two? Mine gets it when you turn key all the way.
    My symtoms have changed now the car has a problem starting right from the start now. It turns over and actually starts then just dies.
    After doing this for sometime it will eventually start. I did notice a rattleing noise coming from a little round rusty thing (don't know the name)just a few inches before the fuel pump. Could this be preventing fuel from getting to the engine?

  16. #16
    Ray
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    Re: one step at a time...

    I just noticed that you have the e model, which means you have 2 fuel pumps which complicates things a little. The in-tank pump is the transfer pump which just moves fuel over to the pressure pump (that is (I think) mounted in front of the left rear wheel).

    Anyhow, I would just jump the fuel pump relay so you know you have power to the pumps, then make sure they are both running properly. (fuel delivery & pressure tests). I have heard that if your transfer pump is weak/bad the main pump can take up the slack IF the gas tank is full. From the sound of things, your transfer pump is a likely suspect.

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    Re: one step at a time...

    Does anybody know when the fuel pumps should kick on.
    Mine gets power when key is turned all the way.
    I heard some people say it comes on in key position Two for about two seconds.

  18. #18
    mdrew
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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    pez,
    Have you replaced the fuel pump and main relays? Don't do anything else till you have done that.

    If the problem persists, I strongly recommend you find someone in your area with a similar vintage e30 and swap ECU's. It's easy to do, and will save you a lot of headache. Then you'll know for sure that it is or isn't the problem.

    If you want convincing that it's not fuel-related do this: The next time it quits on you, immediately loosen the fuel line on the rail or on the CS fuel injector (I think the '86 still had one). As you wiggle the hose off the nipple, you should get a squirt of fuel since, if the pump was working correctly, there will still be residual fuel pressure in the system.

    Oh, and just because you have a spark does not rule out the ECU. The ECU is responsible for the timing of the spark (among other things), not just the presence of voltage.

    I know I'm beating a dead horse here, and I could be wrong in this diagnosis. But I've been down the path you're going myself and wasted lots of time and money. I'm just trying to save you some of that.

    -mcd

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    twrighrt
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    Re: one step at a time...

    My 318is pump won't come on until I put the key to "crank"

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    Re: Engine just stops while driving

    This weekend Im going to pull the transfer pump out of the tank,turn key and see if it works. I don't here or feel it running in the tank put I do have power to it. I would think that I should at lest here or feel it running. So Im getting more confident that the pump slowly stoped working and was causing my stalling, now dosen't work and is causing my won't start problem. Any Thoughts?

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