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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Jul-05-2009, 05:52:40 PM   #1
nitro3421
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Default Solution to car not starting because of key being out of sync?

My 2001 M3 with 34,000 miles wouldn't start last night, no cranking at all, yet all the electronics were working perfectly. Here are the things I tried & concluded were not issues:

-Battery was OK - it's only 6 months old and all the electronics were working fine
-Starter fuse was OK after inspection
-Was not a starter brush problem (i tried rocking the car back & forth in 2nd gear)
-Car started when I push started it (but then wouldnt start on its own after that)
-There were no fault codes

I did a little research on the forums and found one case where someones key was out of sync, causing the car not to start.

I tried my spare key, and it started right up. After this, I tried the other key (that originally didnt not work) and it worked fine after using the spare key once.

It's working fine now, but can anyone help me find the cause of this problem so it won't happen again, somewhere where I dont have access to my spare?

BTW - The problem is NOT this: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...problem+solved
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Old Sun, Jul-05-2009, 07:45:40 PM   #2
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Happened to me a few times too.
I just reinitialized them:
1) Put key in ignition and turn to pos. 1 quickly and back.
2) Remove key
3) Hold open button and press close button 3 times.
4) Release open button.
Doors should now lock and unlock to acknowledge it worked.

Do steps 3 and 4 for the spare keys.
5) Finalize by putting key in ignition and turning it to pos. 2.

Don't know why the key didn't work anymore and what the solution is to prevent it from happening again.
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Old Sun, Jul-05-2009, 08:55:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PIR3lly View Post
Happened to me a few times too.
I just reinitialized them:
1) Put key in ignition and turn to pos. 1 quickly and back.
2) Remove key
3) Hold open button and press close button 3 times.
4) Release open button.
Doors should now lock and unlock to acknowledge it worked.

Do steps 3 and 4 for the spare keys.
5) Finalize by putting key in ignition and turning it to pos. 2.

Don't know why the key didn't work anymore and what the solution is to prevent it from happening again.
Great info, thanks for the write up. I'll try this out and get them re initialized. It's very odd why this would happen in the first place...
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Old Thu, Feb-18-2010, 08:48:43 AM   #4
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This happened to me again tonight, only now I dont have the second spare key. I tried the re-initialization process (i know it worked because of the lock/unlock confirmation) but the car still wont start.

Any ideas?
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Old Thu, Feb-18-2010, 01:06:37 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like the transponder in the key, which will require a new key from the dealership. See here:
http://www.bmwgm5.com/E46_EWS.htm
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Old Thu, Feb-18-2010, 04:10:26 PM   #6
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Yup. The door lock function is completely separate from the EWS (anti-theft) function. And before assuming it's the key - it's really worth checking the starter, they have a MUCH higher failure rate. The EWS part of the key does not use a battery, it is powered up by an RF field generated when the key is inserted in the keyhole (there is an antenna around the keyhole - the black lip thingie.)

And rolling the car back/forth does NOT rotate the starter, so it's not a good test for a defective segment in the starter armature.... At best - the vibration caused pushing the car might jar the brushes back into contact with the armature, making connection. So would beating on the starter with a stick (if you can reach it..) To really test if the EWS system is causing this - you need either a BMW code reader, and/or a voltmeter connected to the solenoid coil connection on the starter.
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Old Thu, Feb-18-2010, 05:35:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
Yup. The door lock function is completely separate from the EWS (anti-theft) function. And before assuming it's the key - it's really worth checking the starter, they have a MUCH higher failure rate. The EWS part of the key does not use a battery, it is powered up by an RF field generated when the key is inserted in the keyhole (there is an antenna around the keyhole - the black lip thingie.)

And rolling the car back/forth does NOT rotate the starter, so it's not a good test for a defective segment in the starter armature.... At best - the vibration caused pushing the car might jar the brushes back into contact with the armature, making connection. So would beating on the starter with a stick (if you can reach it..) To really test if the EWS system is causing this - you need either a BMW code reader, and/or a voltmeter connected to the solenoid coil connection on the starter.
Thanks for the explanation. I have a code reader and this will be my next stop in the diagnostic process. I'll also try rocking the car back and forth (in gear, this should move past the bad spot on the starter?) in the meantime. Hopefully it's the key. Given that the key is nearly 10 years old and the car only has 30k miles, that would hint at the key too.

I'll post the results of my findings when the problem is diagnosed.
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Old Thu, Feb-18-2010, 05:37:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roobe16 View Post
Sounds to me like the transponder in the key, which will require a new key from the dealership. See here:
http://www.bmwgm5.com/E46_EWS.htm
Those symptoms describe my problem exactly. The solution of using another key worked last time for me (too bad its 250 miles away at the moment) Hopefully its just a quirky EWS and not my starter...
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Old Thu, Feb-18-2010, 10:15:37 PM   #9
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Since your car started with the spare key, its not the battery. But you should know that a car battery can have plenty of juice to power all the electronics in your car, AC, radio, etc but not enough to turn over the engine. I've seen this hundreds of times.

My suggestion is to compression start the car and drive it to a dealer. Buy a new key and have it programmed. gluck.
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Old Mon, Feb-22-2010, 12:40:52 AM   #10
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02.21.10 Update:

I got the other key this weekend and brought it back with me hoping it would reset the EWS feature. However, the spare key's battery was completely dead from months of sitting and wouldn't even unlock the doors.

The spare key did not start the car. That being said, is there any way to recharge the spare key (the one with the good EWS)? I know it normally charges while you drive, but what if I cant get the car started to charge it because the other keys EWS is screwed up??
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Last edited by nitro3421; Mon, Feb-22-2010 at 04:37:44 AM.
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Discussing Solution to car not starting because of key being out of sync? in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)