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Old 01-25-2008, 06:41 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2
Euro W201 190e 2.3 16v No Start Troubleshooting (LONG)

M.B. Doc,

First off, I am new here and from the dark side (BMW enthusiastJ), and have very little experience with M-B. I am in the BMW parts business and know my way around e30 BMW’s TO AN EXTENT, but would shy away from calling myself a mechanic.

At any rate, I have an employee that has an ’85 euro 190e 2.3 16v that has been sitting in my shop for the last two weeks. He hadn’t driven the car in four days, it had a hard time starting, he drove it ~1 mile to my shop, and that’s all she wrote. It was a cold rainy and horribly humid day, so my first inclination was ignition.

The cap/rotor were very worn, the wires were garbage (arcing off of the center wire, and plug wire #1), and the plugs were pretty well worn out. As we cranked on it, it would stutter from time to time, but never really “ran”. After a while, it just quite trying to start all together (engine still turns over, just no ignition.

We replaced the worn ignition components (cap, rotor/wires/plugs), and verified TDC. Still nothing. Plugs are wet, and at one point I tried using carb cleaner/starting fluid to verify that fuel is not an issue. Not even a stutter. I pulled a plug out to see if it was sparking. It seemed to spark decent on the first go around, then die out. I used one of those inline “light-up” testers to double check spark, and it seems to light up every go around, on all 4 cylinders (inspected separately of course).

I still think that spark is an issue. The inline tester verified that power is getting to all 4 cylinders, but is it getting ENOUGH??

Today we replaced the coil with a brand new Bosch unit, and still nothing.

Here are my questions:

Will a 16v start on carb cleaner if there is good spark (i.e. do I need to diag the fuel system further)(we have verified fuel flowing from all 4 intectors) If I check pressure, what am I looking for number wise?

Could I be getting a “weak spark” and still lighting the bulb in the inline tester?

If I am getting a weak spark, would my next step be to look at the ignition module?, Can it be tested without replacement?

In advance: Thank you so much for taking the time to read my long winded post!


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Old 01-25-2008, 07:21 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2
More information

We did a compression check with the engine cold, and here are the results:

#1: 60psi
#2: 90psi
#3: 90psi
#4: 30psi

We have not added oil to see if compression bumps up, or done a leak-down test.

After reading through the archives, I realize that these numbers are way low. We'll retest dry and with oil, but of course we cannot test at operating temp, as the car won't run
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Old 01-26-2008, 05:42 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 376
Yes, the compression numbers seems a bit low, but if it was driven to your garage, it should be enough to get it running?

Firing order is o.k.? Looked for a vacuum leak?


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