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starter motor woes - electrical issue update

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did some troubleshooting as suggested by the earlier post i made which is copied below:


anyhow, the extra pair of hands was shortlived so i was limited as to what i could do.

Lesson No.1: Never assume the obvious or alternatively, never overestimate your intelligence. more later.

following the suggestions posted. I replaced my ignition switch with another spare i had. No dice. (the voltmeter was a great tool, btw)

However, (and i feel really stupid) upon closer inspection, i discovered that the smaller wire was detached from the starter, Doooh!!!!!!

upon reconnecting all i got upon key-up was the starter motor spinning.

Solenoid does not engage (another question to follow)

i reinstalled my original ignition switch as i don't want to change too much or introduce additional variables into this excercise.

i disconnected battery before removing the starter motor. below is a comparison of the starter i removed (on the left) and a spare i have lying around. Note the smaller size.

Question: is this the coveted M3 starter or is it just a wimpy replacement.

it is a Bosch remanufacture. i very much like the ease with which it came out and the lessor weight, btw.

Question: referring to the photo showing the terminals, it wasn't till i removed this starter that i noticed there were additional tabs on the underside. i did not connect the ingition wire to the lower tab, just the upper tab. Could this affect the solenoid?

Question: can i bench test these starters before installation? if so, how?

thanks again in advance.




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The larger starter shown on the right in your photo visually matches starters I have encountered in my 2002's... right down to the mounting bracket.

Sorry I can't help with ID'ing the smaller unit.

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Take it to a place that sells starters. Most will test for free. An auto electrical shop would be better than a chain parts store, if you have a choice.

The 'start' wire should go to one tab, which might be labeled "50"; the 'ignition' wire should go to the other tab, which might be labeled "15". If you leave off the ignition wire, the worst that can happen is that you might have to crank longer before it fires. If you leave off the start wire, it no crankie.

If the tag says SR440X, that is an E30 M3 starter.

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well Curt, you pegged it. it DOES matter which terminal the ignition wire is hooked up to. i was reviewing the contact points on both starters and noticed that the standard 2002 starter has a tab with 50 on it. that was NOT the tab i connected previously.

therefore, i figured i'd reinstall 'faulty' starter and try again.

VOILA, it worked!!!!.

I'm a little humbled by this and for penance i took care of some minor issues on the car including realigning my wiper arms so they stop properly and replaced a collapsed brake booster hose segment and hosed the huge bird shit that appeared on the windshield.

one more problem i created while dealing with the steering column is that my horn no longer works. i'll deal with that later. maybe in a couple months...

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