2008 BMW 135i: The 15-second Crank
July 20, 2009
Scott Jacobs and Erin Riches recently described sluggish start incidents with our 2008 BMW 135i. I drove it in order to fully catalog the symptoms before taking it in, and my trip to the airport was a convenient way to keep it out of the rotation while we waited for an appointment.
For me, the extended cranking didn't happen every time, and it never lasted more than a second or two. The engine had to have cooled for several hours or sit overnight for the problem to rear its ugly head.
These things don't magically go away, so of course it did it again this morning. But this time the 135i cranked for a good 10 to 15 seconds before it finally "caught", just like my '57 Ford after it sits idle for a couple of weeks.
The unsettling part is how the engine kept cranking and cranking, with the occasional false-start stumble, even though all I did was a simple press-and-release of the button.
I wanted to stop it and let the starter rest, but I've never had this happen with a push-button car and I wasn't sure how to go about aborting the start sequence. It finally fired-up just before I implemented my plan: let out the clutch after confirming it's in neutral. We don't have comfort access, so I guess I could have ripped out the "key". Pushing the button a second time might have worked, too. Who has time to practice these things?
Once fired, there were no drivability or power problems on the way to the office. Our 135i's fuel pumps still delivered plenty of fuel when I stomped on the go-pedal and it's never yet gone into limp-home mode or displayed a "Check Engine" lamp. Just now, I even plugged-in a scan tool to see if any fault codes have been stored: zero, zilch, nada.
But there's no use waiting until the HPFP (High-Pressure Fuel Pump) finally checks-out and strands somebody. We're taking it in this week.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 24,661 miles
PS: Now this is what I call a well-equipped airport parking lot...