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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lago Vista, TX
Posts: 17
BMW Roundel 3 cranks to start cold - 98 328i

1998 328i 140 k miles.

Ok..when cold only (overnight or setting long time during day)....

When turn key to start first time, starter turns but will not start, almost no signs of life.

when turn key to start second time, starter turns but will not start, almost no signs of life.

When turn key third time, engine starts and runs perfectly.

Almost always 3 times required to start when cold, somtimes more.

When warm, starts and runs perfectly.
No codes or warnings are shown/given.

Changed fuel pump, fuel pump relay, pressure regulator, all spark plugs, O2 sensors.

Was thinking it was a fuel issue as I can not smell excess fuel after first two cranks; not so sure now.

Would like to get some opinions before changing any more parts out.
Old 06-03-2012, 06:42 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 180
Sounds like it could be fuel related,

with a fuel pressure gauge in the line, turn the key to position 2 and you should hear the fuel pump kick in and pressure up the system to 3.5barg.

When started the fuel pressure regulator should maintain that 3.5, try pinching the return hose and see if the pump is strong enough to build a head of pressure rapidly, don't pinch the hose for too long!

when you shut the engine off, the pressure should not bleed off for quite a whiile (im not sure how long). There is also a flow test, where you run the pump with the fuel hose off and into a bottle, I think you are supposed to get 1/2 pint in 30 seconds (but check on that)
Old 06-03-2012, 11:48 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento CA
Posts: 1,095
You have several temperature sensors on this car and I suspect that one of them is not accurate.

The water temperature sensor is under the top plastic cover, near the front of the head, right next to the crankcase vent hose.

@ 14F 7k - 11.6k ohms
@ 68F 2.1k - 2.9k ohms
@ 176F 0.27k - 0.40 k ohms

The resistance specs are the same for the air temperature sensor. The Bentley says that your air temperature sensor is screwed into the intake manifold. I was thinking that it was in the mass airflow sensor. Bentley is far more reliable than my memory.

The temperature sensor in the right end of the radiator does not talk to the fuel injection, so you can ignore that one.
Old 06-03-2012, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lago Vista, TX
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Thanks all for the suggestions. I will dig deeper this week into your comments and hopefully will post my 'successful' repair.
Old 06-04-2012, 06:54 AM
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Location: Lago Vista, TX
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Changed all temp sensors and still have same problem..
Old 07-06-2012, 12:45 PM
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Hi David, I'm experiencing the exact same problem with my 1998 328i. Have you solved the three crank problem?

Thanks in advance for letting me know!
Old 09-09-2013, 12:29 PM
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Still not fixed! Cranked so much starter went bad. Changing that was a major pita!
Changed out .. All temp sensors, fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, spark plugs. Gave up..
Old 09-10-2013, 05:27 PM
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