1st Gen R53 Cooper S R53: Dead in traffic

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by shub, Apr 14, 2015.

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  1. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    I was waiting at a stop light , zoning out- light turned green , went to hit the gas and realized only then the car wasn't on anymore. Tried to restart , turned over strongly but never fired. Had it towed home.

    Not sure what to do, but here's a list of what I've done and haven't done.

    Done:

    1. Checked fuses and relays. Pictograms are infuriatingly useless, but I checked all fuses that had either a picture of an engine with a lightning bolt or a gas pump. I also swapped fuel pump relay around.
    2. I think I can hear fuel pump priming when turning key, car smells of unburned fuel after attempting to start, plugs are wet with raw fuel. Cylinder 3 released smoke when removing plugs.
    3. I cleaned and polished ground strap from engine to frame.
    4. Replaced ignition coil
    5. New spark plugs
    6. Replaced starter motor , because I burned out the old one trying to start it
    7. Put in a different battery, have good voltage.
    8. Re-seated ECM cables. This had the unusual result of getting the power steering to start working again (which I didn't know could work without the car started, until I did this, the power steering had been dead up to this point, but I chalked it up to the car not running) Power steering pump sounds awful while running with car off.

    Haven't done:

    1. New spark plug wires
    2. Checking Schraeder valve on fuel rail
    3. Looking for engine codes
    4. Determining if it's normal for ECM light to be illuminated when key is in position located just before start position.
    5. Determining if it's related to timing chain (the guide rail may have been rattling, but the rattle may have been supercharger PTO in actuality, never was determined.)
    6. Determining if buying a new key is anyhow related . I lost key, ordered a non remote key from BMW. With door open , car chimes with key in ignition and is able to turn engine over. Not sure if this rules out immobilizer or not. This happened one week after getting new key.
    7. Checking compression
    8. Checking for active spark, with an inline spark tester.


    Anyone got ideas for other things I should test?

    Thanks
     
  2. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    First step get a code reader and check for engine codes.

    Check or change your plugs and double check all your connections.
    I have had even new plugs fail and the car not start. Buy OEM NGK plugs.

    Put your car on charger so you do not kill a battery trouble shooting it.
     
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Did you check the fuse box under the hood. There is a relay in there at times looks like it's fine, but has wiggled lose some.
     
  4. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    I'll have to find someone with a code reader, since I can't get the car out of my driveway without a tow. There is no CEL light, could there still be codes though?

    Also, I did look in the fuse box under the hood, but I didn't notice a relay for fuel issues , is there one under there for spark? I'll check that.
     
  5. Eric@Helix

    [email protected] New Member
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    First things first. Check (safely) that you have spark. It's pretty easy to do. The interwebs will have tons of how-tos. That'll probably be your culprit, and if it failed completely and suddenly, it's more likely a relay/fuse/ground fault than something like worn plugs or a failing coil. Plugs and coils tend to fade to death vs. total and complete sudden failure.

    If you do have good spark, you're on to fuel. This will be more involved. First, check that you have gas in the tank. If so, you'll need to check fuel pressure at the rail which involves a special tool (available at any Auto Zoney type store), removing and replacing your intercooler and cranking.
     
  6. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Some times we get so caught up in all the computer/electronics we forget the basics.
    Just like back in the old days Spark Fuel Timing Compression.
    Thats why I like working on my Indian. Its simple like me.
     
  7. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    Update


    Gave up on my troubleshooting . Had it towed , got charged 240 for them to take the belt off and discover the alternator was seized. Can't believe I didn't think of taking the belt off myself ! Well anyways , I spared myself the 700 for them to replace the alternator next, bought the cheapest one off rock auto and installed it yesterday.

    The old alternator was indeed seized , and the housing was cracked nearly in half.

    So the car starts again , but it's all wonky. Engine purrs and operates fine, but the power steering comes online off and on, the gauges turn on and off intermittently , the TCS. Light comes on randomly , the air bag light comes on randomly - and the kicker , the power steering pump stays on with the car off and the key out .

    I ended up pulling the negative battery cable last night. I didn't notice the pump was running until about two hours after I turned the car off. The battery cable was warm to the touch.

    I am theorizing that the power steering pump overloaded the alternator and seized it. I called MINI about extended warranty , my build date of May 2005 doesn't make the pump replacement warranty cut off. Does my model have a fuse or relay I can pull? I don't mind driving without power steering until I get a replacement pump.
     
  8. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    I'm not certain how the pump (if its going bad) effects the gauges. Still sounds like an alternator/battery/grounding problem to me. What alternator amp did you get?

    Do a simple load test on the battery with the car running (probe across terminals at idle) whats the voltage reading?
     
  9. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    Okay, I'll do a voltage test. I was thinking perhaps the pump was causing excessive voltage drop with its perpetual current draw - thereby causing the guages to go hinky
     
  10. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    and too...

    The power steering over loading the alternator I guess could happen but there's a fuse, F39, on the drivers side pillar fuse box that "associates" these two electrically. If its blown i.e. overload, then the alternator isn't charging the battery, then the system sees a low voltage and the pump stops working as it needs to see ~13V. Its a hungry bi-atch especially with the wheels turned full right or left (or WOT on some twisty's:D)
     
  11. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    pull the power on the pump and see if it goes away. Its tight to get to but easy to pull to disable the pump.
     
  12. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    Voltage while car running: 14.4V
    Voltage car off: 12.4V
    Voltage with car running , and then battery unplugged: 17.7 V. When I unplugged the battery cable , the gauges started going bonkers . Why is the alternator voltage so high ? Is the pump causing it to overcompensate ? Or is the alternator bad ? I may have a lemon alternator , but considering my last alternator , a Denso 105A was nearly cracked in half, I'm not sure it's a coincidence that something's causing the alternators to go crazy.
     
  13. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    The alternator only charges the battery. The car really won't run without a good battery. Your voltages sound about right and things going bonkers without the battery in the circuit is expected behavior.

    and from one site I googled about how the charging system works this warning:

    more basic info here http://www.bcae1.com/charging.htm
     
  14. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    Aha, I didn't know it was bad To run car off alternator alone. I thought it was the alternator that that primarily ran the electronics once the car was running. Okay, I'm going to try and disconnect the power to the pump next.
     
  15. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    I'm not following this "and then battery unplugged: 17.7 V. "
     
  16. cristo

    cristo Well-Known Member

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    Pretty sure he means got the car running, then took the + cable off the battery so
    the car was running off the alternator alone, and the voltage went up to 17.7V.

    I'm thinking a new alternator with a functioning voltage regulator should limit the
    output to about 14.5 V give or take a little.
     
  17. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    I agree. 17.7V is not a good thing -- thus the regulator.
     
  18. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    @Cristo

    BTW, BRG for the world! :cornut:
     
  19. shub

    shub New Member

    Nov 16, 2014
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    Yes, it did shoot up without the battery in the circuit, but it's a steady 14.4V with the battery in the circuit.

    Is it possible the steering pump fried the voltage regulator? For the first 3 hours after the alternator replacement there were no electrical gremlins. Now I have a flashing DSC light , air bag light , ABS light, flickering gauges.

    Unplugging the power steering pump has been a relieving silence though. It was quite hot, running continuously with the car off.
     
  20. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    I'd leave the pump out of the circuit and start eliminating things. Might be worth testing the alternator at a local auto place - auto zone, etc. If it tests ok then the battery is suspect. Although battery voltages measure ok there could be bad cells. I can't recall if you mentioned the battery age or new. the clue for me is all the warning lights and weird gauges. These things HATE HATE HATE a less than perfect battery and these are usually the signs.

    Be patient.
     

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