My 2001 330xi Won't Start!

Last week I was in my 2001 BMW 330xi, letting it idle while I was waiting for someone to show up. I shut the car off to turn on only the radio but when I did it wouldn’t start again. I thought I tripped out the alarm system so I left it and a few hours later it started again.

A few days later I ran into the store while it was running. When I came back my passenger said the radio just went to static. I looked at the dashboard and some of the lights were on (like when you start the car and things like the seatbelt light lights up). So I shut the car off, went to turn it on again and it wouldn’t start. All it did was “click-click-click-click…” while the headlights and the dash lights flashed. I changed the battery (which was manufactured January 2007) to a new, freshly charged battery. When I tested it with a volt meter it said it was reading 12 volts off of the battery.

I had the car towed to the local BMW dealer where he informed me that my alternator was bad and my battery was bad. He said he connected the car to a GT1 and a voltage regulator and got a bad reading for the alternator. The alternator story I could have bought, but a new and a fairly new battery…come on. I feel like he was playing off the fact that I’m a girl and thought I might not be very bright about cars.

So I brought the car to a guy who ONLY works on alternators to have it rebuilt. He took the alternator out, hooked it up to the diagnostics and found nothing wrong. He thought it might be intermitten so he took it apart to see if it had a bad brush. He said the alternator looked brand new and that there was nothing wrong with it.

Does anyone know what the problem could be? I really appreciate anyones help!! Thanks

When that happened on my car, it was a loose wire. Have someone look under your engine around the starter and alternator. Also check the battery cables.

How do you know what a GT1 is? Al the time I worked for BMW only a handfull of alternators,plenty of water pumps.

Standard starting/charging system testing for BMW nothing special for these cars. Monitor battery voltage when you turn key to start, lets see how far down that starter pulls the battery.

Does your car jump start correctly off that lug in the engine compartment?

The dealer may not be far off. When the battery goes bad on these cars all sorts of wacky electrical things happen. If the battery is the factory original, it’s definitely time for a replacement.

I don’t know what a GT1 is, I haven’t actually gotten the printup of the diagnostics. This is what the guy from the service department told me and didn’t really seem to want to explain it to me. I kept having to ask him questions to get little bits and pieces out of him…apparently he wasn’t even the one who ran the diagnostics. I am a little perturbed to say the least.

I am going to tell the friend who is working on the car about your suggestion and bbowersf’s suggestion. Thanks so much, I’ll let you know how it goes!

If it helps at all the GT1 is the name that BMW gives its scanner,the computer that they use to look at your cars computer. They do have a new scanner that’s being phased in called ISIS (don’t ask me why they call it that)