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Hey guys,

I was driving my car tonight and it just stopped running. I checked all of the obvious things to me. No leaks anywhere correct amount of oil it has gas. Is there anything else easy to look for? I hope its not a blown engine. Whats the easiest way to tell if its blown? Pull the head?

Thanks for the help

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If it truly did "just stop running" while you were driving at speed. No warning, no roughness...and it was like someone pulled the ignition key out while you were rolling...I'd check the wire at the firewall that goes to the side of the distributor at the condenser. Check also coil wire at both ends. Check all the smaller wires at the coil while you're at it. Sudden shut off of the motor is usually ignition related.

Maybe your car doesn't want to be filthy anymore and it's telling you to care more! :-)

Give us more info!

Paul Wegweiser

Owner: Zenwrench

Classic BMW Specialist

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You'll have to provide more information if you want a useful diagnosis. Why do you immediately jump to "blown engine"? Were you revving at 7500 rpm and it went "bang"?

But seriously, what were you doing when it stopped? How did it stop, suddenly or slowly? Where there any noises, smells, smoke? Had you done any work to the car, did you just fill the gas tank?

Does the starter crank? Does it almost catch? Do the lights still work?

There are a number of things you can do to diagnose why it is not running, you can find all kind of lists what to check if you do a bit of internet searching. The rule is always--"Keep it Simple." Much more likely a broken wire or clogged fuel filter than a major mechanical malfunction.

Best of luck, Fred '74tii & '69GT3


'74tii (Colorado) track car

'69ti (Black/Red/Yellow) rolling resto track car

'73tii (Fjord....RIP)

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Whats the easiest way to tell if its blown? Pull the head?

I'm not the most mechanically inclined; never pulled a head, for instance. (will soon, though)

But the term "blown" engine, for me, implies that it got, you know, "blown-up" Like, kaboom. Race cars have spectacular explosions when that happens, but they're wound pretty tightly to begin with.

On a lesser scale, my neighbor's mini bike blew one summer. It was obvious.

If the engine stopped without forewarning clanking, banging, pinging, or rumbling, seems like it would mean no spark for some reason.

Good luck.

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I checked for sparks and it is sparking. I also poured a little fuel into the carburator and tried to start it and it still didnt start. Could it have jumped timing? And to further describe what happened. I was at an intersection and I started to let out the clutch. When the clutch was about halfway out there was a slight pop and it shut off. The pop was not very loud as it didnt scare me or anything

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rock a lot both at idle and when the clutch is released. I had to lengthen the wire that powers my tach off the distributor by about an inch because it kept pulling off due to engine motion--and that was with new engine mounts.

Presuming the rest of your electrics work OK (you tried to restart it), that would rule out a bad battery, battery cables or ground...

First thing I'd check is for loose wires--at the distributor, coil etc.

Remember that an engine needs three things to run: spark, fuel and compression--all at the right time. Check each one at a time and you should find the problem. And BTW, it's unlikely that all four cylinders would suddenly lose compression simultaneously unless the timing chain broke--and I've never heard of that happening on an M10...


'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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When you say it is sparking, what are you ckecking?

From your description, it turns over, but you are not getting it to "run". Does it catch at all, or do one or two cylinders fire and then it stops again? As others have said, it still sounds like spark not getting to the cylinders.

I had somthing similar happen when a distributor rotor broke. Went over a bump, heard a soft pop, and then nada. Even if the timing were badly off, you should be getting occasional cylinders firing and backfire, etc.

Rob S
'69 2002; '04 330i ZHP; 2018 X1; 2014 535i; 2017 340i

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If it "just stopped running" I'll say ignition something or other.

The "pop" symptom could add fuel delivery as a problem, but I wouldn't guess so. I always get "spluttering then quit" with fuel delivery failure.

If you have a tii, could be the drive belt between crankshaft and Kugelfisher pump. That broke on me a couple of years back while cruising on the freeway and the symptom was "it just quit running" and acted like ignition/electrical.



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