One morning last month the car would not start. It cranked but would
not turn over.
The dealer said the engine was flooded and had to be cleared. Here's
the thing that has us puzzled:
He said, if you back out of your driveway just a few feet and turn off
the engine, then turn it on again and travel a few feet back into the
garage, then turn off the engine, it will flood it, and no amount of
time and re-trying will get it to start again.
Sure enough, we had backed the car out just a few feet the day before,
washed the car in the driveway, and had returned it to the garage
The mechanic said, to avoid this happening again, to travel around the
block once before returning the car to the garage. He said he
frequently sees this with the fuel injected engine.
My husband says this is crazy- he has never heard of such a thing.
Has anyone had a similar experience or know anything about this?
I've certainly noticed this with my 528. It lives on the street, and one
morning after a cold start I realised I'd forgotten my phone and went back
indoors for it - obviously stopping the car for my house keys. On
re-starting, it was unhappy and missed slightly until it warmed up when
all was well again. Dunno about trying this twice ;-)
However, like any flooded engine, I'd try flooring the throttle with the
ignition off, and then keeping it there while trying to start. Works with
*Time is the best teacher; unfortunately it kills all its students.
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
I thought that is what he told me via phone but I may be incorrect in
my recollection. I got out my receipt and here is what it says:
Customer states vehicle will not start.
Inspection showed vehicle very difficult to start, very long cranking
Inspection showed unspent fuel in cylindres.
Clear intake and cylinders.
Thanks for everyone's responses!
Sorry to harp on this, but I'm gonna.
I had never had this happen to me, ever. Then, on Sunday it happened with my
motorhome, and I was trying to sell it. The buyer asked if he could start
it, I tossed him the keys, and it cranked and cranked but refused to start.
It had never done that before, I often will start it by simply reaching in
the window and give the key a quick twist. It never cranks even a full
rotation before it starts, but Sunday when a buyer was looking at it, it
cranked and cranked, and cranked some more. I looked at some stuff and tried
to get a fuse out, but couldn't. I tried again and it started right up. I
was thinking I would need the tow truck to get it home, but it turns out
that I was having exactly the same trouble as you guys had. I had a previous
looker about an hour earlier and he wanted to turn the generator on, but the
gas tank was approaching E and there wasn't enough gas for the generator. I
took the vehicle over to the gas pump, 50 yards away, and put in $50 so it
wouldn't be E if somebody wanted to go on a test drive or take it to a
mechanic. After getting the 50 bucks of gas, I drove it 50 yards back to the
spot where it was. Of course, I started and stopped the motor at the
beginning and end of each leg of the 50 yard trip. About an hour later, a
second looker wanted to hear the engine run, and this is when it refused to
What happens on short runs like that is the plugs get very wet, dripping
wet, with fuel, and the plugs don't spark well when they are that wet. There
are two ways to dry them, pass lots of air over them, or wait for the gas to
evaporate. One method takes several attempts at starting and might seem like
endless cranking, the other method takes a very long wait.
Granted, my motorhome and your BMW share very little other than they have
engines and tires. But the engines in both are fuel injected, albeit the BMW
is a vastly superior system, and the fact is that I used my motorhome in
pretty much the same manner as you used your car before it decided to not be
your friend anymore - we both drove very short distances that involved two
or more starts very close together with extremely short run-times. I would
not have thought that the short trips were the cause of my troubles, and
when you related your story it took me three days to think about what you
went through and how it is nearly identical to what I experienced.
The good news is, there is nothing wrong with your car and you don't need to
worry about it. The bad news is, you paid somebody to turn the key a bit
longer than you attempted to turn it, and you lost a day waiting to get your
I'm not conding their actions, especially without more
information. But diagnostic work has to be factored in. Otherwise is
like claiming that a doctor charged you $100 just to write a
prescritpion, and not include the work to arrive at determining what
I have had the same thing happen to a variety of fuel injected cars.
They will always start, though. It just takes a while of cranking.
(BTW, this only happens about 1 every 50 car- backing- into- the
I had it happen with my 525i. Normally it starts with no trouble at all.
Started it one evening. Ran it for about 2 mins, and switched off. Next
morning, it wouldn't start. Floored the throttle, and it nearly flattened
the battery, before it started.
It's actually a very common affliction of almost any modern fuel
injected car. What happens is the ECU sees the low temperature from the
temp sesnor and enriches the mixture for easy cold starting by opening
the injectors a lot. If you don't run the engine long enough to fully
burn this off or warm up the engine when you continue to stop and
restart the cold engine it keeps dumping more fuel into the intake.
When the mixture is too rich (there is too much fuel to the amount of
air) it will not ignite. This is the "flooded" condition.
You can either just leave the car to rest and the fuel will dissipate or
you can try cranking the engine with the throttle plate wide open. The
problem with the latter is the ECU will see the WO throttle and attempt
to dump even larger amounts of fuel in to match the incoming air.
Some folks who run into this fairly often learn which fuse goes to the
fuel pump and will pull that and crank the engine with WOT for a while
in an attempt to clear the flooding. That may not work as the pressure
on the fuel rail is pretty high, holds for a long time and would
probably be able to deliver quite a lot more fuel from the static
The easiest solution is *don't* flood the engine in the first place.
Once you start the car, try to always let it run for long enough for the
temp gauge to at least budge off the left rest before shutting it down.
Sometimes, it cannot be avoided for safety sake, etc. Certainly,
don't short cycle the engine (start-stop) more than once consecutively.
PS - BMWs don't do this nearly as much or as severely as my old 88 Mazda
RX7 used to. The rotary engines were notorious for flooding if you ever
start them and turn them off before reaching operating temperature.
I take my car out of the garage and put it in the driveway, then put it back
in the garage, then drive it.
And, you can clear the fuel from the motor by holding the gas pedal to the
floor. Do not pump it, hold it wide open. More air than gas will be
delivered, and it should clear it out. It if sputters and tries to fire,
then release the gas so the starting sequence will revert to normal. You
should not have to press the gas to start any fuel injected engine, but once
the engine has been flooded, holding the throttle wide open is the recovery
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