2000 E46 won't start

Hi all,
I'm the proud owner of 2000 323CI with 65k miles on it. I love driving my car, but I must say that at times the reliability of it is less than perfect... and repair bills cost a mint. During my 5+ years
with the car - I've had issues with the A/C, a leaking rear-main seal, bushings, and some bad rubbers (door seals). Of course until now, nothing ever stopped the car from running. Well, the other day I parked the car in the garage, and it was fine. Yesterday, I tried to start the car and, it wouldn't start. I could hear the starter turning or doing something, but the motor never fired up. It was almost as if something had been disabled, or it was out of fuel. I'm not the most technical guy, but I was able to do some searching on this group and find issues with the immobilizer key. I went home last night and tried my spare keys thinking it was the fix, and the car still didn't work.
Does anyone have an idea what this could be? I've never replaced the battery, but as everything (lights, dash, radio) turn on as normal - I don't think that's it. I am probably going to tow it to my service guy this weekend, but I'd love to get a diagnosis or possible ideas before. Thanks in advance.
Lance
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We went through some hard start problems with our demonized 2000 323i. Fortunately it would eventually start and throw a check engine code. It was the cam sensor. During the few days before the problem got "serious" that while sitting at a red light I could "feel each cylinder firing." In other words it was not sitting smoothly and calmly at a red light - you could feel the engine pulsing. I asked around and was told that this was in line with a cam sensor showing signs of fatigue. The 530 has these "moments" occasionally so it may be next. We had the "rough" idle, the car died twice in parking lots (thankfully) and displayed hard start properties. I am sure there are other possibilities (fuel pump, pressure regulator, other sensors) but it is something to look at.
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Hi,
Thanks for the response. I was able to get it started last night after trying for around 5 minutes. It finally started, and it ran rough with thickish white smoke coming out of the exhaust. After a few minutes of idling with the white smoke continue to come out, I decided to park it on the street so I can get it towed the next day. It's at my service place now, but they were reluctant to diagnosis it over the phone, and they said it'll be next week before they can look at it. The only other thing I can think of as a possibility (other than engine trouble) is that water got in the tank somehow, as it had been parked outside in heavy rain for a couple of days prior to the problems starting. It's usually garaged. I guess I'll have to just wait and see.
Lance
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Previously, it wasn't started and run for only a *very* short time - ie stopped it before it got warmed up? They don't like this and can flood when you next attempt a start.
--
*Taxation WITH representation ain't much fun, either.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Thanks. That's a definite possibility. As I do more research, I see this has been posted by quite a few people as an issue with the E46.... and most bimmers. I also remember the smoke smelling pretty heavily of gas. The thing that makes me nervous is that white smoke is usually bad news. Of course, it was late night time when I got it started (hard to see colors), and my wife thinks the smoke was gray. I unfortunately won't know until the middle of next week though, when the service people are scheduled to look at it. Thanks again.
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Dunno what your weather is like, but in the UK at this time of the year you get vast trails of 'steam' out of a cold exhaust. Of course you tend to not notice this unless something is up. The smell of petrol says to me it was flooded.
--
*El nino made me do it

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I wanted to follow up on this. DP, you were correct.... flooded engine. My paranoia costs me $60, but at least the car is fine. Thanks to all for your responses.
Lance
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