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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 Mon, Mar-08-2010, 08:17:08 AM   #1
jjangxb0iee
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Default my key won't start the car!

i'll start by saying i have a 2002. i don't have a push button start on my car. then again it is a 2002 and i have no idea when they started the push button start.

so anyway i have a regular key for my car.

the keyless entry works. unlocks, locks, opens trunk etc...

when i turn the ignition all the electrical stuff comes on but the car won't start. anybody else have this issue? didn't find anything using the search.

my spare key works fine. my old key (the one i've used the last 4 years) doesn't look worn out or anything. i don't understand why it won't start the car. i know with the push button keys they need to charge or whatever while in the car, but like i said i have a normal key.
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 08:42:16 AM   #2
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There is one key only for doors but not turn on the car. Maybe that is the one
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 12:24:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by brandon7382 View Post
There is one key only for doors but not turn on the car. Maybe that is the one
well the key that stopped working is the one i used since i bought the car. and then one day it stopped starting the car, and i don't know why.
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 12:41:03 PM   #4
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sounds like the transponder went bad. Even the normal keys (w/out buttons) have a chip that's encoded to the car. If the encoding or chip goes bad, the engine won't crank.

Ironically- I just bought a new key from the dealer and it didn't "crank" so they had to order another new one. I picked it up saturday and again- nothing. All the lights work and it turns but in the crank position- nothing.

Upset that this is now the 3rd trip to the dealer- and still no working second key... I try it one last time out of desperation and it works. Why? I have no clue. BUT- I'm not sure I trust it and have tried a dozen times since then and once it started working, it hasn't stopped. - go figure.
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 12:43:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jav1 View Post
sounds like the transponder went bad. Even the normal keys (w/out buttons) have a chip that's encoded to the car. If the encoding or chip goes bad, the engine won't crank.

Ironically- I just bought a new key from the dealer and it didn't "crank" so they had to order another new one. I picked it up saturday and again- nothing. All the lights work and it turns but in the crank position- nothing.

Upset that this is now the 3rd trip to the dealer- and still no working second key... I try it one last time out of desperation and it works. Why? I have no clue. BUT- I'm not sure I trust it and have tried a dozen times since then and once it started working, it hasn't stopped. - go figure.
yeah that's quite odd. what you explained is exactly what is happening with my key. everything starts up but the car won't start/crank etc etc.

luckily my spare key is working but i'd feel a whole lot better having my extra 2nd key, that works!
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 12:59:39 PM   #6
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sounds like your key died on you. happened to me last year. car wouldn't start all of a sudden. pop in the spare key and everything is good.
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 01:21:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandon7382 View Post
There is one key only for doors but not turn on the car. Maybe that is the one
Nooooo... all the standard keys that come with the car WILL start the car. They all have the EWS chip inside them.

OP - sounds like the EWS chip died. Not a lot you can do about this. It is not battery powered (the battery in the key powers the unlock functions, which you said are working.) There are two different systems in the key - EWS and unlock. Completely seperate systems.

If you have someone with a good BMW code reader - some of them can read the key/EWS status, that would confirm if the key is indeed dead. If it's dead, there isn't much that can be done except to replace it, and the replacement has to come from a dealer.
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 02:42:42 PM   #8
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Nooooo... all the standard keys that come with the car WILL start the car. They all have the EWS chip inside them.

OP - sounds like the EWS chip died. Not a lot you can do about this. It is not battery powered (the battery in the key powers the unlock functions, which you said are working.) There are two different systems in the key - EWS and unlock. Completely seperate systems.

If you have someone with a good BMW code reader - some of them can read the key/EWS status, that would confirm if the key is indeed dead. If it's dead, there isn't much that can be done except to replace it, and the replacement has to come from a dealer.
I had read every thread on the EWS / key systems and I believe there's more to this given my "new key" problems. Both of my new keys failed to initially crank the engine. The second key "eventually" worked but I tried it a dozen times and left it in the ignition for a good 2-3 minutes before it did. I'm now unsure if my first "bad key" was really bad after the second one exhibited the same symptom but eventually worked.

I had read of someone who's key failed to crank and they held in the "cranking position" for 5 minutes and it finally cranked. I had this in mind when my second key also failed to crank. I decided to try it as a final attempt and it didn't take 5 minutes... it was more like 15-20 seconds but- after that amount of time- suddenly it did crank and fire the engine. I don't beleive this can be explained by a bad chip, bad encoding or a bad reader (since the other key worked instantly and consistently).

It would make perfect sense if the chip in the key required some charging or time to "pair". I'm well aware there isn't supposed to be any power required, I'm just saying that based on my (and others) symptoms- this is a much more plausible explanation than anything else I've read when a new key doesn't work. And if that's the case- perhaps an old key can fail the same way in addition to the more common failure modes?
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 03:25:05 PM   #9
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Given the description - holding the key on for an extended period of time, I'd be more suspicious of the starter itself. Known symptom of a bad starter..

If the problem ONLY happened with one key, and never happened with any other key - then it points to the EWS system, which could be confirmed by reading the EWS system with a BMW diagnostics tool. If it wasn't restricted to one key - then I'd be quite suspicious of the starter, and would do some voltage measurements on the starter to see if it has a bad segment on the armature, or a bad solenoid.
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Old Mon, Mar-08-2010, 03:41:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
Given the description - holding the key on for an extended period of time, I'd be more suspicious of the starter itself. Known symptom of a bad starter..

If the problem ONLY happened with one key, and never happened with any other key - then it points to the EWS system, which could be confirmed by reading the EWS system with a BMW diagnostics tool. If it wasn't restricted to one key - then I'd be quite suspicious of the starter, and would do some voltage measurements on the starter to see if it has a bad segment on the armature, or a bad solenoid.
I'd agree with the starter or EWS system conclusion if the original key also "hung" on occasion... but I sat in the dealers parking lot with both keys, swapping good for bad over and over and the good always worked, and bad always failed until I held it in the crank position for 15-20 seconds. Then it started to work and hasn't "hung" since. It's really odd and a battery/pairing delay seems to make the most sense.

Of course it could be the starter or EWS but i can't even begine to figure the odds of that happening repeatably over about a dozen key swaps- always working with the original-always haging with the new key.

Last edited by jav1; Mon, Mar-08-2010 at 07:03:05 PM.
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Discussing my key won't start the car! 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)