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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

First post from me...

I'm trying to get an Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo started, but to no avail. Wondering if I can lean on the knowledge of the forum to help? The car has been parked up since circa. 2015, with the battery disconnected thereafter. When the car was parked up it started and ran just fine.

Here's the current status:

- Same battery as when the car was parked up which has been "fully" charged by trickle charging over a couple of days.
- Fuel tank has circa. 15x - 20x litres of newly added standard UK spec unleaded fuel. Tank was near empty when this fuel was added.
- Vehicle fluids full, but in need of a thorough flush and change.
- Starting attempts made both with and without "jumping" where the car used for jumping is revving at circa. 3000rpm.
- Engine cranks on starter motor.
- Cannot hear fuel pump prime when key is turned to any stage of ignition.
- Fuel pump works (as checked by directly linking a battery up to it).
- Fuel reaches the fuel rail (when fuel pump linked up directly to a battery).
- Key has two brand new batteries in it, but when pressing either button on the key it does not audibly (pings, bongs, clicks, unlocking sounds, etc) or visually (lights flashing, etc) interact with the car at all.

I have yet to check the following:

- Electrical continuity of fuel pump to ignition.
- Fuses.
- Spark plug condition and gaping.
- Electrical continuity and working order of ignition system.
- Engine compression.

I suspect there is an immobiliser at play here (key not communicating with car, fuel pump not priming on ignition, etc...), but I cannot find an aftermarket one or anything in the history talking about one being fitted, even as standard? There was what looked to be a remote garage door opener (had a remote in the passenger compartment and there was another white box zip tied into the engine bay near the air filter), but it wasn't wired into the car in anyway and was terrible plastic quality with well corroded insides.

Will continue to do diagnosis, but any steer would be most appreciated in order to lead me to the exact issue sooner rather than later!

Many thanks in advance for any and all contributions offered.

Best,

Alex
 

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Hi Alex,

Always good to hear of another BiTurbo on the forum. You'll have to give some of its history sometime. If you have fuel and I suspect you'd know from the starter sound if you had lost compression, then the only thing left is a spark so that's what to check.

Re immobiliser, remove the trim panel to the left of the steering column (leave the lower panel in place for now) and you'll see all the under dash wiring. IF you see loads of black wires or anything that looks non-standard, that will be your alarm/immobiliser. You say your key fob has new batteries but isn't interacting with the car in any way - no flash of indicators, central locking, beeps or sudden coming alive of the dash? Could be it's lost its code?

Does your OBC come alive and display the date/time and is the radio working? With the ignition on, is the Throttle body responding to your pedal input - you can hear it move if someone pushes the pedal (or remove the boost intake pipe to check). I have started my car in the past without the boost pipe connected (it won't rev as the MAF won't see the airflow).

Sounds like you've made good progress so far but do remove a plug and check for sparks as the next step.

Cheers,

Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the swift and helpful reply; appreciate it. Yes, will give more details of the car in due course for sure.

To answer your questions in order as you kindly wrote:

- I removed the inspection panel to the left of the steering column and did not find any random black wires to speak of (didn't want to remove the whole panel as there are wood fascia panels and overlapping joints to the radio surrounds which will no doubt involve snapping clips and damaging wood if I attempt it). All the wiring looks very OEM to my eyes. Please do see the attached pictures though; perhaps you spot something that I did not? N.B. The car in question is a LHD despite being in the UK.
- Yes, the radio had lost the code (good pointer; thank you); after much searching thorough the car history, by chance I actually found it written down; youtube video search of how to type it in properly and all is working with the radio now.
- The OBC does not appear to be working; no date, time, nothing... (see attached picture that shows a working radio and a blank OBC screen)
- The throttle does move at the throttle body when the pedal is pushed as you describe.

So, after today's fault diagnosis work, here's the current status further to the above and my original message:

- Battery charged overnight.
- Engine cranks stronger now, again with jumping (...strange as would have thought voltage/current would be primarily set by the car one is jumping from).
- Appears that radio code entry may well have also resulted in less kombi warning lights being present? Maybe the slightly higher battery voltage is a part of this too...? (see attached before and after photos of the kombi showing the difference in warning lights (apologies for poor photo quality))
- Engine still does not start.
- Still cannot hear the fuel pump prime at any stage of ignition/starting.
- Removed No.3 from bulkhead spark plug; could not get spark whilst cranking even with minor plug gap sanding and holding plug close to metal bolt for a good earth. Have not checked any other spark plugs.
- I did not gap the plugs, but noted that when I removed the spark plug it did not really smell of petrol, see any recent residue and certainly did not look like the cylinder had fired in a good while.

I still suspect there is some kind of immobiliser at play, but probably standard OEM base spec. OBC not working looks to be an obvious possible culprit? Would explain not hearing fuel pump priming and no spark?

As before, very much appreciate thoughts/idea offered.

Best,

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #4
...oh and I forgot to say that the above post photo that show the two dirty white plastic boxes; these are the remote and other box that I found in the engine bay that I suspect was the garage door opener - a google search shows the brand either doesn't exist anymore or has moved into other sectors...
 

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The obc likely needs a LCD screen replacement, not a typical feature of an immobiliser to cut the OBC. Here is a company that has replacement LCD screens

https://www.partworks.de/gearworks-de/Automarken/Deutsche-Automarken/BMW/

IIRC the B10 BiTurbo uses Motronic 1.2.

A few links

Bosch Motronic Basic Motronic 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fuel Injection Technical Article

A bit wordy but helpful

Also, BMWTechinfo troubleshooting (the navigation is atrocious until you figure out where stuff is) could be helpful as the S38B36 used Motronic 1.2 though of course the B10BiTurbo does not have the resonance flap.

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/

Go to cd3 (header link is Automobiles since 1985)

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/Index_cd3.htm

Go to Auto since 1985 Rep Man 14

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/421en/index.htm

There you will see 11 engine electrical and 12 fuel system. Both will have S38B36 information which uses Motronic 1.2. I dont know much about the B10 Bi Turbo, but if I had this issue I would run through the diagnostic troubleshoot steps in the manual.
 

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Hi Alex,

That's a nice late car - full climate, leather dash

Where are you in the UK? The Alpina electronics guru is Phil Crouch from CPC Performance Engineering. CPC Performance Engineering Ltd - Home

There are so many interlocking modules that a once over from Phil might be a good investment. The coding plug on the back of the instrument binnacle needs to be read by the OBC or it will be in PPPP (for example). The OBC also has an immobiliser function (the Code button), so I've always tried to ensure it works (one thing less to worry about).

Under the bonnet, turbo side, look into the ECU box by the windscreen - that's where you'll find the boost controller for example - the LED light on the variable boost knob needs to be on when the ignition is on for the car to start.


If the plugs are dry and you're not getting a spark that smacks of an immobiliser somewhere - what make and model is the one on your key ring?

Cheers,

Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The obc likely needs a LCD screen replacement, not a typical feature of an immobiliser to cut the OBC. Here is a company that has replacement LCD screens

https://www.partworks.de/gearworks-de/Automarken/Deutsche-Automarken/BMW/

IIRC the B10 BiTurbo uses Motronic 1.2.

A few links

Bosch Motronic Basic Motronic 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fuel Injection Technical Article

A bit wordy but helpful

Also, BMWTechinfo troubleshooting (the navigation is atrocious until you figure out where stuff is) could be helpful as the S38B36 used Motronic 1.2 though of course the B10BiTurbo does not have the resonance flap.

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/

Go to cd3 (header link is Automobiles since 1985)

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/Index_cd3.htm

Go to Auto since 1985 Rep Man 14

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/421en/index.htm

There you will see 11 engine electrical and 12 fuel system. Both will have S38B36 information which uses Motronic 1.2. I dont know much about the B10 Bi Turbo, but if I had this issue I would run through the diagnostic troubleshoot steps in the manual.
Hi "de Witt". Thanks for taking the time to join in my thread and thanks a bunch for those handy links; most useful - thank you.

From what I understand the OBC has an immobilising circuit in it (I found this video most useful as it gives a quick demo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im60y6Lxtzw). And so if it won't even illuminate, twinned with the fact the car won't start (no spark, no fuel...?) it looks fairly likely that the OBC maybe has a larger problem than simply a display that is not working? That said, can I try to type in the code with a non working OBC display to see if the car starts? Sounds tricky to me...

Best,

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Alex,

That's a nice late car - full climate, leather dash

Where are you in the UK? The Alpina electronics guru is Phil Crouch from CPC Performance Engineering. CPC Performance Engineering Ltd - Home

There are so many interlocking modules that a once over from Phil might be a good investment. The coding plug on the back of the instrument binnacle needs to be read by the OBC or it will be in PPPP (for example). The OBC also has an immobiliser function (the Code button), so I've always tried to ensure it works (one thing less to worry about).

Under the bonnet, turbo side, look into the ECU box by the windscreen - that's where you'll find the boost controller for example - the LED light on the variable boost knob needs to be on when the ignition is on for the car to start.


If the plugs are dry and you're not getting a spark that smacks of an immobiliser somewhere - what make and model is the one on your key ring?

Cheers,

Dave.
Thanks; it was my father's. Be careful what you wish for re: leather - age and gravity can be unkind. I much prefer smatterings of alcantara, but that's a personal preference with car interiors...

The car is based in Surrey. I'm based in Cheshire and Surrey. Cheers for the CPC recommendation; not sure I'm there yet, but yes, might be worth a once over by those with more type specific knowledge than I. I think I'm one step behind ensuring the correct code inputted or investigating PPPP type error codes as the OBC itself simply doesn't illuminate. Display broken? No power feed? Electrical short? Broken unit full stop? What might be the typical issues that go wrong with the OBC? Strikes me as sensible to make sure the OBC is working before progressing any further with fault finding...?

The LED on the variable boost knob is alight when trying to start the car - I take it you mean the one in the passenger compartment and not an LED in the engine bay where you mentioned?

There is no separate immobiliser on the key rings. Just two keys; one "dumb" key simply for locks and one "smart" key that has two buttons and a red LED that lights up when you press either button, but again, the key does not interact with the car in anyway at present. Unsurprising if the OBC is not working?

All roads point to OBC?

Thanks for your continued help and support.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Alex,

That's a nice late car - full climate, leather dash

Where are you in the UK? The Alpina electronics guru is Phil Crouch from CPC Performance Engineering. CPC Performance Engineering Ltd - Home

There are so many interlocking modules that a once over from Phil might be a good investment. The coding plug on the back of the instrument binnacle needs to be read by the OBC or it will be in PPPP (for example). The OBC also has an immobiliser function (the Code button), so I've always tried to ensure it works (one thing less to worry about).

Under the bonnet, turbo side, look into the ECU box by the windscreen - that's where you'll find the boost controller for example - the LED light on the variable boost knob needs to be on when the ignition is on for the car to start.


If the plugs are dry and you're not getting a spark that smacks of an immobiliser somewhere - what make and model is the one on your key ring?

Cheers,

Dave.
...the keys look to be original BMW.

Alex
 

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Hi "de Witt". Thanks for taking the time to join in my thread and thanks a bunch for those handy links; most useful - thank you.

From what I understand the OBC has an immobilising circuit in it (I found this video most useful as it gives a quick demo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im60y6Lxtzw). And so if it won't even illuminate, twinned with the fact the car won't start (no spark, no fuel...?) it looks fairly likely that the OBC maybe has a larger problem than simply a display that is not working? That said, can I try to type in the code with a non working OBC display to see if the car starts? Sounds tricky to me...

Best,

Alex
Yes, correct the OBC does have an immobilizer feature, however the OBC is not unlit in this mode but shows a code prompt and displays the code as input is received. My comment is that the aftermarket white unit that you pulled wont cut the OBC display or OBC function or at least Ive never seen an aftermarket one do that.

From my experience the LCD is a weak point in the OBC design. I also think popping in the code on the non-working OBC display is not a favorite, Id consider Daves suggestions first.
 

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Yes, don't get too hung up on the OBC - it's just me listing things to look at but by no means did I mean to laser in on this as the top priority.

The LED light I refer to is by the variable boost control knob in front of the gear stick. If it stays on and steady all is good. If it flashes it's displaying a fault code. If it doesn't light at all I suggest there is a fault.

Getting a spark and fuel to the plugs is important. Fuses, Relays, Crank Trigger?

I'm in Surrey too if you need photos of anything.


Dave.
 

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If you hold a flashlight up to the OBC screen, can you see any LCD numbers/letters? (normally the backlighting dies on the screens, not the complete display) If it is completely black and you do not see anything on the screen, I would recommend starting to check fuses in the fuse boxes(under hood and under rear seat). Perhaps one is corroded or dead. It is very possible the vehicle is immobilized due to the OBC being out of commission - DME thinks someone pulled it out/code is enabled. If its been sitting that long, could be some critters got to the wiring or just a relay or fuse or worst case, possible the General Module is wacked.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Hi All,

Thanks for all the comments, tips, links and hints above. Very much appreciated indeed. Apologies for the radio silence; life has been a bit manic of late and not had time to work on the car until today (I've moved to Cornwall - car still in Surrey!).

Today I can add the following prognosis:

- All fuses are in very good condition (checked within engine bay and under rear bench fuse boxes); fuse wires themselves all look to be intact with only the larger amp rating ones having minor amounts of corrosion on fuse wires/strips themselves (nothing to worry about IMHO). Contacts into the fuse boxes all show almost no corrosion at all, on what looks to be the fuse side and car side contacts. Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised.
- Same statement as above for all the relays, but I have not evaluated the working order of each relay one by one. That said, there were signs that some of the connections/contacts/pins had got hotter than others.
- I've shone a torch (flashlight) on the OBC screen to see whether just the backlight has gone at various stages of ignition, but I cannot see any digital display whatsoever no matter how I hold the light source.

So...

I really do think I'm narrowing in on the OBC; managed to pop the radio out, but ran out of time today to get the OBC out itself in order to check the bulbs. Think I will buy some replacements either way (they are pretty cheap from what I understand?); that way will be a productive session when am next working on the car.

As always, would be good to hear your thoughts?

Thanks and regards,

Alex
 

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Hi All,

Another quick update further to my last post above:

- The OBC lightbulbs work just fine after a quick bench test hook up to a battery (however like a wally I broke one bulb upon removal so will need to get a another bulb now anyway - doh!).

So...

Re-reading the thread and reflecting, most likely culprit is the OBC LCD screen itself now (which I'd be surprised at as the OBC looks to be in great condition based on my today visual inspection)? Are there any bench tests I can do to check the LCD screen prior to replacing it?

Looks like I need to do as "de Witt" said above and get into the fault finding diagnostics as per the links he kindly shared...; that or call in a pro.!?

Glad to hear thoughts as always?

Best,

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The obc likely needs a LCD screen replacement, not a typical feature of an immobiliser to cut the OBC. Here is a company that has replacement LCD screens

https://www.partworks.de/gearworks-de/Automarken/Deutsche-Automarken/BMW/

IIRC the B10 BiTurbo uses Motronic 1.2.

A few links

Bosch Motronic Basic Motronic 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fuel Injection Technical Article

A bit wordy but helpful

Also, BMWTechinfo troubleshooting (the navigation is atrocious until you figure out where stuff is) could be helpful as the S38B36 used Motronic 1.2 though of course the B10BiTurbo does not have the resonance flap.

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/

Go to cd3 (header link is Automobiles since 1985)

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/Index_cd3.htm

Go to Auto since 1985 Rep Man 14

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/421en/index.htm

There you will see 11 engine electrical and 12 fuel system. Both will have S38B36 information which uses Motronic 1.2. I dont know much about the B10 Bi Turbo, but if I had this issue I would run through the diagnostic troubleshoot steps in the manual.
Right, so based on the following link that looks to be the most relevant page I could find, https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/repair/main/137en/htm/929.htm ; I would align with malfunction 3, meaning to check the power feed. Based on shark.armchair.mb.ca/~dave/BMW/e34/e34_89.pdf shared by "DaveW" in another post in this thread, according to p237 and p239 I think I need to check continuity/power feed to pins 6, 8, 9 & 17 whose location can be found on the connector block visualised on p313, Figure 1. I think this is correct, but it would be great to triangulate my opinion as I'm rapidly running out of both time and talent...

Thanks in advance,

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I also came across the document entitled "OBC_IV_updated.pdf" that details the following Emergency Deactivation procedure:

"Emergency starting procedure if the
code has been forgotten:
• Disconnect (for 1 minute) and
reconnect the battery.
• Turn the ignition key to position 1;
the alarm will sound.
• A time display will appear and run
down to zero for 15 minutes.
• After 15 minutes, the engine can be
started.
• Emergency deactivation can be
stopped by inputting correct code."

It strikes me as highly likely that the car has its "Starting Interlock" activated, but I cannot see the display to be able to even attempt this procedure...

Anyway, another thought that has sprung to mind based on today's research is that of the battery condition...?
 

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May I ask something, on one of the cluster pictures I can see the missing battery light and the ABS and EML bulb is lightning. Normally after switching on Kl15 the ABS and EML light should be switches off after some seconds.
If the EML has a massive problem engine can not start.
 
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