Car Won't Start- Clicking sound

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by JasonMC, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. JasonMC

    JasonMC Stunt Coordinator

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    I was in my car this morning about to go to work and my car won't start. It's a 1997 BMW 540i. I try to start it and nothing happens.

    The interior lights were dim. It seems as though the battery was dying. After work, I tried jumping it with my other car and all I got was a clicking noise. The interior lights were much brighter and my radio turned on. I left the battery hooked up via the jumper cables for a few minutes. I still only get a clicking sound.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  2. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    My simple, non-technical advice would be to try this before spending any money.
    Make sure the connections are good (no corrosion or grime in the way).
    Leave the cables hooked up for awhile longer.
    Have a friend/spouce give the running car a little throttle while you try to get the BMW to crank.
    Other than that, no idea.
    Is the car garaged or outside? Sometimes cars left outside are harder to get going in this bitter cold we're having here in Denver currently. Good Luck.
     
  3. JasonMC

    JasonMC Stunt Coordinator

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    It's garaged. I just left the running car at idle. I'm considering getting a battery charger and charging it overnight. Is it bad for either car to keep the jumper cables on for a while?
     
  4. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Jason, you shouldn't need to leave em connected for more than 10 minutes. If its still not working, could be the starter. Try giving the running car a little throttle after 30 seconds of connecting the cables. No need to gun it, just up to 2-2.5k rpm maybe. If its still clicking, I would bet it is the starter, but Im sure others are more knowledgable on the subject than I.

    EDIT: Also, make sure that the negative cable is attached to negative battery post on the running car, and grounded to the frame of the dead car.
     
  5. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Doesn't sound like a starter to me unless it's a sudden bad ground, That would explain the dimming lights and no radio, but I'd think it's a dead battery.

    Brent
     
  6. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    I had the same thing happen.

    It was the battery.

    Take it to an AutoZone or your nearby auto parts store and have them test the battery for you...then get a cheap replacement.

    - Steve
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Meh, that car is done for, tell you what, I'll be a pal and take it off your hands, k?


    it's the starter relay clicking I'd bet also. Either the bat is dead, or the terminals are corroded/loose/not making a solid connection.
    I've seen cars actually work fine, lights, radio, everything but the starter... very strange. The cold weather we're having doesn't help.
    Don't buy a cheap battery, buy a good battery, I'd reccomend an optima. Set you back a few bucks more but I guarantee it'll outlast the car. I take them with me from car to car [​IMG]

    if you need a hand installing it drop me a line.
     
  8. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Definitely check the battery terminals. Sometimes the ends of the cables may look fine, but won't make a good electrical connection...
     
  9. JasonMC

    JasonMC Stunt Coordinator

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    Update:

    Come to find out, my daughter didn't close her door all of the way and the interior lights have been on since early Saturday. This was the first time I drove it since then.

    I connected both cars with the jumper cables and let it run for 10 minutes. The BMW started right up. I don't have a bad battery, just a bad door closer [​IMG]

    Thank you for all of your help. I appreciate it.

    Jason
     
  10. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    Dittos on cleaning both battery connectors, and if it's the original battery, definitely go buy a good new one. so many people jack around replacing this and that when most of the time it's just the battery,especially considering it's age.Let us know what you go with my friend, you can always count on this forum for advice.
     
  11. Armando Zamora

    Armando Zamora Second Unit

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    Ditto on replacing the battery, if it's the original. In a 1997 car, your battery (if it's the original) is beyond the average life span for a car battery. And considering where you live and the current season, I'd tend toward replacing it. A new battery is a lot cheaper than your time stranded somewhere and the cost of towing (if necessary).
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    FYI, I had a (bought new) '97 328i with only about 55k miles on it. My battery died sometime in April'04 just out of normal wear and tear (not garaged). In June, I also had a faulty fuel pump +12v line because it refused to start one morning. I went as far as replacing the spark plugs as I could of used them anyway, was going to look at the starter when I thought I'd check the fuel pump first. Removed the rear seat cover to get access to the fuel pump, I removed the +12v and used a shopvac to clean all the accumulated dust and dirt and had a friend put his hand on the pump while I cranked to see if he could feel/hear the pump working and the car started right up. So that saved me a bunch of hassle because replacing the starter on the M52 I6 is supposedly a big PITA and my car is certainly not under warantee anymore.

    In July, I traded it in for an '05 Outback 2.5XT though [​IMG]

    Jay
     
  13. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    Another thing that could cause your car not to start and give you a clicking sound could be something I encountered earlier this year. My wife, daughter, and I were headed home from church and were very literally a mile or so from home when all of a sudden the car started decelerating for no particular reason. It finally died on the side of the road literally a half-mile and walking distance from home. I thought it could have been in need of oil or even possibly a battery change, but it wasn't that. The timing chain on the engine had broken, which would have resulted in about $2000 of repair work on the entire engine. April and I decided to take the larger gamble and get a new car instead. So definitely keep an eye on the timing chain on your car's engine if you should happen to hear clicking sounds from your car.
     
  14. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    usually a t-belt will crank but not start, if you have a newer overhead cam engine open the oil fill and look inside the valve cover while someone cranks the car, you should see the cams moving, if you don't, your tbelt is probably gone.

    then you better hope you have a non-interference engine [​IMG]

    chains usually don't break as I understand it, they'll stretch and wear, belts will though.

    just for future reference....
    I'd still replace the battery, they don't like to be drained completely and recharged.
     
  15. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Clean the terminals, check water level, test the battery - does it HOLD a charge?

    If nothing helps, including a new battery - check your alternator.
     
  16. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Quentin just uttered a dirty word.

    Mine died on me. 700 dollars later...
     
  17. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    $700 for a dead alternator. Aye, Carumba. Ask me again why I do all my own work on my cars.
     
  18. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Agreed Todd, a shop wanted $500 to exchange a heater core that I did for less than $70.
     
  19. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    heater cores can be fun.
     
  20. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Sadly, I have no mechanical skills.
     

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