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  #1  
Old 12-26-2009, 07:18 AM
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Question Diesel X5 - Difficulty Starting on cold mornings!

Over the last few days I have been having great difficulty in starting my 3.0 Diesel X5 (2006). When the ignition is switched on the “Pre-Heating” message is displayed and the engine cranks over properly when the key is turned. However, the engine refused to start – it can take up to 30 attempts before the engine will fire! As I live in Northern Ireland the outside temperature has been down as low as –8 degrees!

My diagnostic scanner shows no problem codes and I personally think that the glow plugs may need replaced. The problem is that I can’t see where they are located ….. has anyone ever had any similar problems or tried to change the glow plugs on their X5?

My car has covered 50,000 miles and has full history with the dealer.

Any help appreciated.

2006 X5 Sport. Black Sapphire, Dakota Grey Leather heated/electric seats, Aluminium running boards, coms pack, CD changer.
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2009, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianglasgow View Post
Over the last few days I have been having great difficulty in starting my 3.0 Diesel X5 (2006). When the ignition is switched on the “Pre-Heating” message is displayed and the engine cranks over properly when the key is turned. However, the engine refused to start – it can take up to 30 attempts before the engine will fire! As I live in Northern Ireland the outside temperature has been down as low as –8 degrees!

My diagnostic scanner shows no problem codes and I personally think that the glow plugs may need replaced. The problem is that I can’t see where they are located ….. has anyone ever had any similar problems or tried to change the glow plugs on their X5?

My car has covered 50,000 miles and has full history with the dealer.

Any help appreciated.

2006 X5 Sport. Black Sapphire, Dakota Grey Leather heated/electric seats, Aluminium running boards, coms pack, CD changer.
A bit early for your car to need glow plugs!However ,one or more could be faulty.Could also be your timer control module that is not allowing the plugs enough time to ignite.
When the car does start,do you get a lot of white smoke out of your exhausts?IF you do and it smells of raw diesel,then this is a classic glow plug issue.
Also,try and leave ignition on for about 20 secs before you crank it.
Let me know how you get on ,so we can determine if its just a glow plug issue.
To locate the plugs,remove the plastic engine cover and see see picture below(#25)
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Last edited by powers1; 12-26-2009 at 08:37 AM. Reason: To insert diagram
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:49 AM
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I may be stating the obvious, but you should only start cranking the engine once the "pre-heating" message has gone out.
I've had a few of my glow plug replaced as well as a "contol relay" - not sure if that's the control unit or a seperate relay used to switch the high current the glow plugs require.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:22 PM
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Problem is that sometimes the "pre-heating" light goes out too quickly and if you wait a few more secs,the glow plugs will heat up more and will help starting.In some Diesels,i wait until I hear a click from the relay turning off.
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:24 PM
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I really appreciate your replies. I will try what you suggested and let you know how I get on.

Happy New Year to everyone.
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Old 12-27-2009, 04:14 AM
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If you manage to remove the glow plugs ,do let me know and I will be glad to show you how to easily test them
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:06 AM
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I have removed the engine cover and, after refering to your diagram, still can't ven see the glow plugs let alone remove them! Do you know if the plugs can be accessed more easily if some another part is removed?

Also, tried leaving the ignition switched on for about 20 seconds before cranking but still the engine refuses to fire. When I do finally get the engine started there is a small amount of white smoke from the exhaust.

Any advice appreciated.

Happy New Year.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:00 AM
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Having taken another look for the glow plugs I can just about see the cap of the plug on No.1 cylinder - the inlet manifold must have to be removed to access the glow plugs! Although the inlet manifold does not look overly difficult to remove I can't help wondering how, on a BMW that is less than 4 years old (with 50K and full history) the glow plugs should need replaced. Is it not more likely that there is a problem with the feed to the plugs - as Lawrence said, perhaps the control unit or some relay / fuse? However, to counter my own arguement, would this not bring up a warning light or problem code?

Any ideas how I could check the electrics before removing the inlet manifold?

Thanks again.
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:33 AM
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Glow plugs problem,you should have a lot of white smoke,not just a little!Especially as you said earlier,you cranked 30 times before it starts!Everytime you crank it ,you are releasing unburnt diesel until it starts.
To check the feed to the glow plugs,you need to unplug the glow plug cables (boots) and with a digimeter you can check plug resistance(0.7 to 1.5 ohms) and voltage(ignition on).Can you get to the boots?

You could also have a bad sensor,such as the coolant or the fuel rail pressure .Either way ,I find it strange that you have no error light displayed !
Did you you fill up with Diesel before your problems?Try and think back to any series of events before you had the starting problem...
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:04 AM
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Hello Powers1.
I do get a fair amount of white smoke from the exhaust but, as it is so cold at the moment, I would expect that anyway.

Unfortunately, I can't get the rubber boot off any of the glow plugs (I can see No.1 but don't have sufficient access to remove it). Interesting what you say about diesel and indeed, the problems have only started in the last few days!!

I have a number of BMW technicians in my area and will contact them tomorrow to discuss my problem - today is still a holiday here.

I will let you know how I get on.
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