have a 1987 bmw 325i starts then shutd down right away im stumped please help


Asked by May 15, 2008 at 05:01 PM about the 1987 BMW 3 Series 325i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

1987 BMW 325i with 2.7 liter starts then shuts down right away help

19 Answers


Could be a lot of issues, need more information on what you have tested to give a good answer.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Cant be certain with the information given, but I would start by checking the exhaust for restrictions, especially the cat (make sure its not melted down), also maybe try adjusting the top injector screw on the intake plenum, and even do some maintenance to the ignition system if you hear it running rough before it dies.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I have a 325E with a similar problem. The issue is inter mitant though. I am able to start the car every time. Fires right up and runs for a couple seconds then just shuts down. I have to turn the key all the way off and back on to get the engine to refire but it will start right up immediately everytime but most times it will just shutdown again. This will happen repeatedly until one time it will stay running and I can drive it for a random amount of time and without warning sometime it feels like it no longer is on. You can try to rev the engine but will get no response. There is no chugging like it is not getting the correct fuel or air mixture. i have checked the fuel pump and it is pumping fuel. Have not checked the exhaust but it appears to be exhausting gas. let me know if anyone knows of a good way to check this. Nothing appears to be burned or clogged. i get good flow out of the tailpipe. i get the impression there is a faulty electrical component but not sure. The dealer tells me they can not recreate what I am seeing and they are telling me I need to replace a coolant sensor. Could the sensor be bad and causing the engine to think it is overheated and needs to be shutdown? Thanks

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

need more detail on the car. eg, history of car,how well maintained is it ?, as it could be alot of issues causing it,


Car is immaculately maintained. The only thing that looked a bit fishy was oil leaking onto what appeared to be an actuator or controller between the intake manifold and the air filter box. Can you recommend a good repair manual for these cars. We found a haynes manual which are usually really good but it covered so many different makes and years that none of the things in the manual looked like what I was seeing under the hood. Thanks for the quick reply!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

When the car shuts off, does it retain lights, radio, etc?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Try a Chiltons manual. Similar to a Haynes.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Has the car ever been in an accident? My mom had a car, not a BMW, that did the same thing after a minor fender bender. Apparently there is a switch that causes the car to shut off right after starting. I don't know what it is called but it did the same thing.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

you could try a robert bentley manual, have a look at one see wat you think. i would take the car for a diognostic check, for the quickest way to solve the problem.but do fix the oil leak as it cant be doing much good. but be careful as some garages will try to pull your pants down with the price. but the problem does sound electrical. have you phoned a dealer ? the ones over here in england are allways happy to help, and offer advice about any problem. and ive allways found them very helpfull. just tell them the problem and they will tell you what is causing it. and what part you need to get. and they are not pushy trying to make you bring the car to them, like some dealers. eg, audi.


Everyone is pointing in the right direction. I jsut bought the 85 325e yesterday and it had been sitting in agarage for 10 yrs. I had the exact same problem...it would purr and then croak. Check the vaccum system, mine was whistling and easy to locate. That still didn't fix it for me. I had a switch with dirty connections (forgive my lack of technical terms) next to the idle adjustment. That got me firing correctly. I checked to see if the pistons were pumping, as it turns out 2,3,4 and 6 were frozen. We just tapped the outside and the started working. After that I was able to put my foot on the gas and get some reaction. You can always bypass the fuel pump switch and pump some through the system. A piece of wire will do. I think (...emphasize the "think")my problem had to do with gummed pistons. After about 10 million other minor problems I was out on the highway with my new toy...what a blast.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Both chiltons and haynes SUCKS. Get a bently manual, best manual out there for the e30 right now

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

The FIRST thing you should check on your car in a case like that is the Airflow meter .... Is it plugged in ... is it working??? Than Plugs and fuel flow. but 9 times out of 10 its the Flow meter ... Its a common problem with BMWs of that age

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

bentley makes a good manual you can get at almost any bookstore

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

hey go too bimmerwerkz.com they have people there on there that are sure to help you out no problem. i own 89 325i convertable but it has a lot of miles on it but when i bought it didn't have any major problems, the only thing that is wrong with it is that its hard to accelerate and its hard to turn the steering wheel!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Mass Air Flow Sensor??? might be gunked up

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I would lean toward the vacuum problem (partly because it's the easiest and cheapest to solve). Over time the "big snorkel hose thing" (a/k/a intake boot, note attached photo) gets old and may crack where smaller hoses are attached. Solved my problem with some additional short hoses, clamps, and some Plasti-Dip!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

Most likely a fuel problem of some sort. I would suggest changing the fuel filter first. Next look at the fuel pump relay. If those items are fine it's most likely an issue with the the CIS unit, they love to mess up.


Sounds exactly like a problem I had a few years ago with an '87 ES. After two days of searching and trying different things, I removed the ground strap between the oil pan and the frame and cleaned all the oil and corrosion from the ends. Re-installed it and it fired right up, and is running still. Could also be a fuel pump relay, fuel pump (there are two), the main engine relay, the Engine Control Module, the water temp sensor, cold start valve, blown fuse, distributor cap and rotor, plug wires, timing belt damaged, or some of the other things mentioned here. Don in Conyers, Ga

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Hi I have a 1987 BMW 325e. Last night it dropped from drive into neutral than to reverse. Then it shut off I tried to start it up this morning it cranked up but won't stay running. Not sure where to start

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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