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Discussion Starter #1
This problem happens randomly. After starting the car (Engine warm, hot, or cold) if I shift to Reverse, the car stalls or dies. It happens when I am shifting to reverse not when I am engaging/disengaging the clutch. If I can make it into the gear without it dying or stalling then, I fine, but if not then it has trouble starting afterwards. I've tried to trick it but putting it in gear before hand, but then the starter just cranks and doesn't turn over.

2001 325i MT

If anyone has come across this any info would be greatly appreciated because it drives me :loco:
 

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Engine Stalling

I have a similar problem but mine is a E46 320d and when i turn the ignition on the heater plug light only comes on after a few attempts, it will then start and it switches off when i put it in reverse gear.
 

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Has anyone else experienced this problem?? Mine has done this occaisionally it started doing it right after startup. A restart would solve it. Now its every time I start the car and select reverse(5-speed) it goes dead. No sputter at all it seems electrical -- even the headlights that stay on all the time go out. With the key on still and the engine dead, I can go back in and out of reverse and the headlights will go off every time i go into reverse. I tried to start and let it idle for a while and then go to reverse but no luck.

Tonight I had to push my car out of a parking space....

I checked the codes and there was a main relay code (Peake reader list 19 / 24) i cleared codes and tried reverse a couple more times but they did not come back.

I had no SES or other dash lights come on other than during the usual start.

Thanks in advance.
 

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For one, you could try PMing OP; I'm sure he figured it out by now.

There is a reversing switch, which turns on the reversing lights, and that's the only electrical thing I know of associated with reverse. I don't know how or why, but perhaps when you're opening that switch, because it has a short somewhere, it's killing power to the lights and evidently the whole car too. I'd start looking backwards from that switch. It's not hard to get to; I know I've done it.
 

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is the reverse switch under the center console??
On mine, it was on trans. housing somewhere. It may have been on my e36, but I don't think so. In any case, Bentley lists locations of all elec. components...and there's probably a picture of it in some trans. diy. It has a dedicated fuse, might want to check that first...but then, get under the car.

Get a picture of the part from online so you know what to look for...and don't go crazy. This was only a guess from me...as I said.

Wait for others to chime in...and PM the OP.
 

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I found a replacement for about 7 bux online so if the switch turns out to be it ill be happy. At least when i find it, i can disconnect it until I find the problem or at least isolate it. Im betting 99% on electrical, but who knows. Lets hope. Ill have a look tomorrow when I get home. Thanks for the idea.
 

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I found a replacement for about 7 bux online so if the switch turns out to be it ill be happy. At least when i find it, i can disconnect it until I find the problem or at least isolate it. Im betting 99% on electrical, but who knows. Lets hope. Ill have a look tomorrow when I get home. Thanks for the idea.
My other idea is don't put a $7 switch in a bmw! If it's from a junkyard, it might be fine for a while. But if this is a new aftermarket switch, you'd be lucky if it lasts a month.

Also, I'm thinking it's 'more' likely that a wire coming from the switch has worn insulation or something like that. Check the online wiring diagrams.
 

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I can't think of any reason the Reverse Switch would make the car stall. The only job it performs is to turn the Back Up Lights on. Having said that, I also have no constructive suggestions on what to look for instead.
 

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Does the engine die in the same way as when you turn the engine off? Or is there any sputtering, bucking, etc?

Check under the shift boot. Maybe there is some stray wire where it shouldn't be...?
 

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I can't think of any reason the Reverse Switch would make the car stall. The only job it performs is to turn the Back Up Lights on. Having said that, I also have no constructive suggestions on what to look for instead.
I couldn't think of any reason either, other than trusting his reports about the headlights flickering when he pushes to R...I'm sure the reverse lights go through lighting control module, and it, undoubtedly is connected to the ecu too.

My amateur 'car whispering' abilities, tell me the connection is there. How far it goes, or what it's messing up, I have no idea.

Having no idea doesn't affect me as much as it does you, JD. I'm perfectly comfortable making up plausible sounding theories...especially for odd ball issues.

I also like the 'wire under shifter' thought. I know the ignition is connected to many other things like the radio, so maybe it is an out of place wire that again, is worn down and touching ground.

Good luck with this, OP. Please let us know what you learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I guess I should have updated this long ago...

It ended up being the ignition switch. I found this out by accident when I had the plastics off the steering console while playing around with the wiring. The harness going into the ignition switch I had applied pressure to it and the car behaved like normal. The Ignition switch case is two pieces, which must of been coming loose. I guess when it came loose just enough that the metal inside weren't making enough contact it caused this behavior. I spent $90 on it from BavAuto.com installed it in about 30-40 minutes and then things were back to normal.

I hope this helps others avoid as much frustration as I went through since it was such an odd thing, not many people had seen it before...
 

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Does the engine die in the same way as when you turn the engine off? Or is there any sputtering, bucking, etc?

Check under the shift boot. Maybe there is some stray wire where it shouldn't be...?
The engine dies like you turn it off with the switch.

In addition ALL the dash lights except for the odometer go out with the daytime headlights. There is no flicker in lights or sputter.

Im going to investigate the ignition switch when I get home from work.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Same thing I had with the lights. You should be able to remove the top cover off the steering column and apply some pressure in various directions to the big wire bundle on the top and see if it goes away.
 

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Well I finally made some time to investigate this issue. I was skeptical that the faulty ignition switch would actually affect power to the ignition circuits only in reverse. I still ordered one just in case.

Tonight I took off the bottom column cover. I aced the car in reverse and turned the key on.... Jiggled some of the wires on the switch and BAM everything comes on.

Just waiting on the new switch now.

Thanks for the OP for responding to my PMs and for updating this thread in case it happens to someone else!!

I only found one other documented case of this exact issue outside this site and it was unresolved as well.
 
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