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6-cylinder Engine Starter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

6-cylinder Engine Starter Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$250

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, E12 socket (external Torx)

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)

Parts Required:

Starter motor

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Reliable and working starter

Complementary Modification:

Replace battery

The starter motor is an electric motor powered by the battery, commanded on when the driver rotates the key or presses the START button. The modern BMW starter motor is a permanent magnet direct current electric motor with a solenoid mounted on it. When current from the vehicle battery is applied to the solenoid, the solenoid engages a lever that pushes out the drive pinion on the starter driveshaft and meshes the pinion with the starter ring gear on the flywheel of the engine.

The solenoid closes the high-current contacts for the starter motor. The starter motor then turns the engine. Once the engine starts, a spring in the solenoid assembly pulls the pinion gear away from the ring gear, and the starter motor stops.

ON E60 models, the starter solenoid signal is controlled via a control module from the input of the ignition switch or START STOP button, depending on equipment. Diagnosing the start signal can be tough. In some modules it runs through up to four control modules. If your starter motor is good, but lacks the solenoid signal, start by acquiring a wiring diagram for your vehicle and tracing the circuit. Once you are familiar with the layout, check where the signal fails to flow from.

When a starter motor fails your engine will not start. You may turn the key and attempt to crank the engine but nothing happens or maybe only a few clicks. It is important to be sure your battery is fully charged and in good condition and that the battery terminals, positive connections and ground cables are tight and corrosion-free before condemning your starter.

Another cause of a no-start condition could be failure of the electronic immobilizer system. If the ignition key does not communicate with the immobilizer or one of the electronic modules responsible for granting access to the starting system fails, you may have a situation, which mimics a failed starter. To test the starter itself, you need to make sure that full battery current is available at the main starter terminal (B+) and that battery current is switched on at the small starter terminal when the ignition switch is engaged. If electrical current is not available at either of those terminals then the no-start condition is caused by an electrical or electronic failure and not necessarily by the starter motor.

The engine starter motor is located on left side of the engine below the intake manifold. It is not the easiest part to access on your BMW and can be replaced a few different ways. On all models, you can access the starter from below but it is a tight work space. I prefer to pull the intake manifold on some models. You can pull the intake manifold out of the way to replace the starter on all models. You have much better access and can avoid lying on your back for hours. The dowel for the starter is known to get stuck and with the intake removed, driving the dowel out is much easier.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Jack up the front of your vehicle. See our article on jacking up your vehicle.

Disconnect the negative (-) battery cable. See our tech article on battery replacing.

M54 6-cylinder engine:
M54 6-cylinder engine: I am going to illustrate how to replace your starter from below on the M54 6-cylinder model.
Figure 1

M54 6-cylinder engine: I am going to illustrate how to replace your starter from below on the M54 6-cylinder model. Photos show the intake manifold removed for clarity. If you want to remove your intake manifold to ease access, see our tech article on intake manifold replacing. Working at the back of the starter, remove the 13mm battery positive (B+) cable nut (green arrow).

M54 6-cylinder engine: Then, remove the 8mm and 10mm nuts for the starter electrical connection (green arrows).
Figure 2

M54 6-cylinder engine: Then, remove the 8mm and 10mm nuts for the starter electrical connection (green arrows). Then remove the wires from the starter.

M54 6-cylinder engine: Next, you have to remove the starter bolts (green arrows).
Figure 3

M54 6-cylinder engine: Next, you have to remove the starter bolts (green arrows). The bolt heads are E12 (external Torx). This photo shows the bolts, looking down from the firewall area (intake manifold removed). You can access the bolts easier by unbolting the transmission mount and lowering the transmission, if needed. Using a 24-inch extension, universal joint and an E12 socket, reach up from below the left side of the transmission and remove the starter fasteners. Remove the starter from the engine by rotating it counterclockwise and in a downward direction.

M54 6-cylinder engine: If the starter doesn't come out, the dowel pin may be corroded and stuck in the transmission (green arrow).
Figure 4

M54 6-cylinder engine: If the starter doesn't come out, the dowel pin may be corroded and stuck in the transmission (green arrow).

M54 6-cylinder engine: If you run into this issue, you can drive the dowel pin out using a 10mm punch and small hammer.
Figure 5

M54 6-cylinder engine: If you run into this issue, you can drive the dowel pin out using a 10mm punch and small hammer. A new starter should come with a dowel pin installed; if not, transfer the old one over to the new starter. You cannot access the alignment pin from above without the intake manifold removed. To remove it from below, put your punch into a deep socket installed on a 24-inch extension, align it with the pin and drive it out from below, through the same access area used to remove the starter bolts. Install the starter and tighten the fasteners. Install the electrical connections. Do not over-tighten the battery positive (+) terminal: the stud can break. Reassemble the remaining items and reconnect the battery. Check operation of the starter. Then recheck that all wiring is routed as before.

NG6 6-cylinder engine: 
NG6 6-cylinder engine: Remove the intake manifold.
Figure 6

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Remove the intake manifold. See our tech article on intake manifold removing. Working at the back of the starter, remove the 13mm battery positive (B+) cable nut (yellow arrow). Then, disconnect the electrical lead (green arrow) by pressing the spring and pulling it off.

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Next you will remove the upper starter fastener.
Figure 7

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Next you will remove the upper starter fastener. This one is tough. You can use either an E14 (external Torx) wrench or an E14 socket on a flex-head ratchet; the flex-head allows you to clear the firewall. Once you remove the bolt, discard it. This way you don't accidentally reuse it.

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Using an E14 socket, remove the lower starter bolt (green arrow).
Figure 8

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Using an E14 socket, remove the lower starter bolt (green arrow). Once you remove the bolt, discard it. This way you don't accidentally reuse it.

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Now you can remove the starter from the engine.
Figure 9

NG6 6-cylinder engine: Now you can remove the starter from the engine. Just pull it out of the engine. Wiggle it if it is stuck. They usually come right out with no problem. Install the starter into the engine. Install the NEW starter fasteners and tighten. Install the electrical connections. Do not over-tighten the battery positive (+) terminal: the stud can break. Reassemble the intake manifold and reconnect the battery. Check operation of the starter. Then recheck that all wiring is routed as before.




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Comments and Suggestions:
Shai Comments: When having my starter changed on my 2007 BMW 530 xi 6speed, there was caked up grease on starter and in tranny. Was wondering where build up could be coming from and is it OK to clean it out and put in new starter
August 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Likely from the rear main seal. I would check the engine for leaks toward the rear, if nothing external is seen, the issue may be your rear main seal. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chummy Comments: I have 1998 bmw528i when I try to start the car the dash lights up as usual but when you turn the key ...nothing no clicks just the fuel pump noise....do you think it's the starter? Was fine till a few weeks ago....hasn't been run much recently.....any help would be obliged.
August 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would start by checking he battery and battery cables. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Guam135i Comments: I have a 2008 BMW 528i with 27K miles. All of a sudden the car will not start. I removed and charged the battery to 100%. The problem is when you put in the key the steering wheel will go into its set position. when you press the start button the lights in the dash come on as they should. If you press it again to start the lights go off and the steering wheel goes back to the starting position for existing the vehicle. The starter will not crank or click all you can hear is the fuel pump coming on. Any suggestions, could it be a starter?
June 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be. I would voltage drop test the battery cables to the starter and engine. Then check for the signal to activate the starter at the starter solenoid. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mickel Comments: Resently replaced the starter of my 2006, 535i. Everything went well until I started the vehicle for the first time after installation. I'm gettin. A transmission malfunction message that I didn't have before. What can this be? At this point I'm so frustrated I'm contemplating getting rid of the car all together. Thanks for the help.
June 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Best bet is to check for fault codes. It could something is simple as wiring connected wrong or loosely. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joe joe Comments: BMW 525i I have a friend she had mecanic change the starter.Its being like 3 weeks and out of nowhere it does not turn on. When u put the key get no respond like if the battery was dead brand new battery. Mecanic when and try to reprogram the car nothing.Would love your experts advise
May 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does the instrument panel light up? What is voltage at the battery?Are there any fault codes? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kareem Comments: Thank you for this information which I find to be super helpful. However, I am struggling to remove the starter bolt E14 that hold the starter in its place on a 2010 Bmw 528i as the area is so tight on the rear of the starter that make it entirely impossible to remove it with a Ratchet or flex ratchet as the area do not provide sufficient space to have it removed . However, I was able to removed the positive battery cable nuts with 13-mm wrench ,negative cable with 12 to 13mm wrench I recalled I had to use a different wrench to get it removed, the clips attachment with a screwdriver flathead, and the front starter bolt with a E14 socket, but not the rear starter bolt although I have tried using a 12 point wrench but was not successful as it can cause damage to the bolt. So I am wondering if lowering the transmission mount will indeed provide sufficient space to get the rear starter fastener removed? And doing so would not be difficult, would it? Based on your experience in doing so, what method you find to be the most effective to remove the starter bolt? using a 24 inch extension from underneath or lowering the transmission to removed the starter bolt from the top of the vehicle?
March 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That could work, if you have a universal socket, be sure it doesn't slip. If you ruin the head of the bolt it will only get harder to remove.

You can also try and open end wrench from above. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bruce Comments: Thank you so much. I were not looking forward to taking manifold and everything else off like other sites said to do. You were spot on and saved me a lot of time. They still get a bit stuck and needed to pry it out. Thanks again.
1998 bmw 525I
March 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
RJ Comments: I have a 2008 528i and knowing the fuel pump was weak I was trying to start it for an extended time and it stopped cranking. Reading online trying to find out if there is a relay and or fuse I may have burnt up???
February 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: yOU MAY HAve damaged the starter motor. they can burn out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Noelniev74 Comments: Hello thanks for your help but I did the starter replacement but the car do not start or crank before or after the replacement it have good battery safty cable from the battery is good ,my question is,is thear any different between of brand of the starters I just bought duralast one mechanic tell me it have to be Bosch please let me know
February 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the part number is for your vehicle is should work. Check with the manufacturer or parts retailer. I would assume the issue is elsewhere, not in the starter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mick Comments: what tool can i use to remobe the upper bolt from the starter on a 2008 528i?
January 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See step 3, E12 external Torx. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony Comments: If the intake is removed to replace the starter, what other parts will be required to complete the starter replacement?
December 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Intake seals, any fasteners that are single use. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Lenford Comments: Hi, Read the comments and followup, i am pleased.
I am replacing my starter, 2006 530xi. Do you know exactly what tools are needed and if it has to be cranked with muscle to remove or install, similar to how you would attempt to loosen the tension on belt idler to put on the belt?
August 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll need: Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, E12 socket (external Torx).

You will need strength to break the fasteners loose.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bill Comments: I have a 2007 530xi wagon. I THINK the starter is gone, but not completely sure. When I turn/hit the ignition switch, it clicks and then hums. Recently starting was a little delayed 2-3 or secs before it finally caught. Replaced the coils and plugs maintainence and the starter whirled for about 8 seconds, didn't catch, and then went silent. Are there other components that I should look at and test, before I spend $$$ on new starter and install. I charged the battery and also tried to start with a jump and nothing. There are no codes.
August 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the signal to the starter motor and voltage drop the battery cable to the starter. if both are good, the starter is likely faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
hoshotninja Comments: Are you referring to CAS in NCS expert?
July 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: CAS as in car access system.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
hoshotninja Comments: If its this car access system, what is it and what does it do?
July 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is the control module . system for starting the vehicle and drive-away theft. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
hoshotninja Comments: I just replaced the starter brand new on my '04 e60 525i. worked for a day then it sounded like it wasnt getting gas and the starter sounded like it didn't want to stop spinning. So i came home after work and shut the car off and then tried to restart and the starter wouldn't stop spinning, even after shutting off the engine. I had to run and disconnect the battery. Does the e60 have a starter relay, or controlled by a module like evrything else. And how do i fix this?
July 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your model does not. if the starter is remaining engaged, it is either the starter or the car access system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pierre Comments: hi there,ive got an 523 executive auto, bmw,starting up when the engine is cold is not a problem,when the engine is at normal temp,its cranking for 5 or more ceconds before the engine repond,any advise please.????
June 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and fuel pressure, volume, quality and engine compression. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:40:46 AM