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  1. #1
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    Symptoms of bad starter or ignition switch?

    I've been having a problem for the past month that when I turn the ignition key, I hear a hum from the starter but doesn't immediately turnover. After two or three turns the starter with activate, I dont want to be stranded, so I was thinking of following having the battery tested but how to you test out starter/ignition switch? Or should I just replace all.

    Thanks in Advance
    fomanch
    86 325e
    193k




  2. #2
    carl
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    Re: Symptoms of bad starter or ignition switch?

    your starter shouldn't be humming. what you're hearing is probably the fuel pump.
    so what happens when you go to turn the key? does anything happen? do you get a clicking? no noise at all? please describe exactly what happens and we should be able to help you narrow it down.

  3. #3
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    Re: Symptoms of bad starter or ignition switch?

    You know what, you may be right about the humming, I don't hear anything else when I turn the key. On my 528e, when the starter died, I heard some clicking.

    fomanchu
    86 325e
    193k

  4. #4
    carl
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    but it will start after a few tries?

    if you turn the key and get nothing for a few tries and then it turns over, its probably your ignition switch.
    if you turn the key and get a clicking sound but your lights work, its probably your battery.
    if you turn the key and don't get anything every time you try, its probably your starter solenoid or (less likely) the starter itself.

  5. #5
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    Re: but it will start after a few tries?

    This is the symptom

    /if you turn the key and get nothing for a few tries and then it turns over, its probably your ignition switch/

    I will order one and replace...I'll also have my battery tested while I'm at it.

    Thanks for the quick response Carl.....

    fomanchu
    86 325e
    193k

  6. #6
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    How to Test

    Look for voltage between pin 11 in the diagnostic connector and ground. A convenient ground is at pin 1. The diagnostic connector is the capped plug near the oil dipstick, see the link for pin numbers. You should see normal battery voltage with the key in position 3 (START). If you do not see this consistently, the ignition switch (or starter relay or P-R-N switch if you have an automatic transmission) is bad.

    If you always get NBV between pin 11 and ground with the key turned to START, then the ignition switch is fine. My money says that your ignition switch is OK, that the hum is the fuel pump, and that the starter is the problem.

    You can try to crank the starter manually by turning the key to position 2 (ON) and putting battery voltage into pin 11. You can do this by jumpering pins 11 and 14, this simulates turning the key to position 3. If you do that and it still won't crank, it's the starter or its solenoid. You can tell the difference by whether or not you hear clicking.

    Mark
    1987 BMW 325, 83kmi

  7. #7
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    Re: How to Test

    Thanks Mark, I'll try the test this weekend!!

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