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jdubbs
08-15-2011, 12:11 PM
Last week I started getting a rather dire-looking Replace Battery message on the iDrive screen whenever I'd turn on/off my 550i GT. The error message says something to the effect of "You can continue driving your car, but replace the battery as soon as possible". Anyone else encounter this error?

I took it into the dealer this morning and they are saying it may be due to an "unfavorable driving profile." I actually had something similar happen with my previous 650i convertible... I wasn't driving the car enough (I work from home) and the solution was to use BMW's trickle charger once or twice a week to charge the battery. I'm inclined to think that this is something different, though, because:

1) I had recurring battery-related startup problems with the 650 that I'm not seeing on the GT... when I'd start up the 650's engine, various electronic systems (active steering, comfort access, navigation, etc.) would either fail to start or would reset. With the GT, I'm not seeing any symptoms like that... just this error message.

2) With the 650, I didn't start seeing issues for over 2 years... whereas I've only had the GT for 5 months.

3) I'm driving the GT substantially more than the 650, including one or two hour-long freeway drives each week. To date, 3600 miles driven over 5 months, versus 13,000 miles over 39 months for the 650 (I know, what a waste).

4) After I first got the Replace Battery error, I plugged the GT into my trickle charger overnight, and in the morning I still got the error message, even though the charger indicated the battery is fully charged.

Any ideas?

1STBimmer
08-15-2011, 12:31 PM
Based on what you can read round on the forums the "Unfavorable Driving Profile' diagnostic is the cover-all, blame the owner BS excuse some dealers use to stop digging. I never had an issue with my Z4, and I only drove it about 30 miles a week (16k miles in 36 months). Except when I was an idiot and left the V1 plugged in for a week while the car sat at the airport (Still in that case I just pushed it down the ramp and jump started it - another benefit of manual cars-).

Did you bring up to your dealer's attention that you plugged in the trickle charger and still got the error the next moring? If it was my car I'd ask to talk to the service manager and have them look into the issue (search the e70- X5 forums, there's a thread out there with the kind of diagnostics test the dealer can run to verify the car's electric system).

If they keep saying it's your fault, go see another dealer.

Good Luck.

jadnashuanh
08-15-2011, 12:39 PM
One big difference between the 650 and the GT is the way the alternator works...on the old car, the alternator worked all the time (or at least could). On the GT, it only works when you take your foot off the gas (for at least a minimum time) or while your foot is on the brake. So, the opportunities to actually charge the battery aren't as frequent. On the other hand, the alternator is (probably) of a higher capacity than that on the 650 so when it does turn on, it can throw a lot of energy into the battery.

Now, whether this has anything to do with your situation, I can't say. But, cruising on a fairly level road may not provide very many opportunities for the battery to actually charge, whereas, stop and go may (but takes more energy in the first place). And, with the cruise control use, the opportunities may be fewer than if you were driving it yourself.

It would be a smart move if the car sensed the battery was low and turned the alternator clutch on when on a long cruise (and it might), but I haven't seen anything in the docs that mention that.

It has been said that the car keeps fewer things primed and ready if you lock it when finished rather than unlocked. I don't typically lock the car in my garage, but it might help so on the drain, long-term.

jdubbs
08-15-2011, 01:09 PM
The dealer said they would run a full, extensive diagnostic of the electrical systems, possibly overnight. So I do think they will find something, provided there's something to find. I'm mostly just worried that they're *not* going to find something, and then blame me.

I've only used the cruise control once, on a trip from SF to Joshua Tree (day-long drive, there and back).... traffic in the Bay Area is by definition start-and stop, in SF especially, where there is a stop sign or signal at every intersection... and hills at every turn.

I haven't been locking the car at night, but I probably should... it did help with the 650.

jdubbs
08-15-2011, 04:47 PM
The dealer called and said that while I should be driving the car more, that wasn't the cause of the problem... the diagnostic revealed that the car is drawing more power than it should be, so they are updating the software overnight to see if that solves the problem. Fingers crossed...

jadnashuanh
08-15-2011, 07:53 PM
Considering that I don't put that many miles on my car and many of them are short trips, and hearing your issues, I decided maybe a battery maintenance/charger might be a good idea. I just ordered a Bosch C7 charger from Amazon. Should get it next week (no big rush). Thought about the BMW one, but this one has some nice features. http://www.boschautoparts.com/Batteries/Documents/2213612_BATCHRG_TRDBRO_1010.pdf

jadnashuanh
08-23-2011, 05:00 PM
Well, I got the new Bosch C-7 battery maintainer today, hooked it up, and if its computer is correct, the battery in the car was below 50%! So, people may want to check theirs. My driving pattern is mostly short trips with an occasional longer jaunt. This may have been a good purchase! Actually getting to the battery to take specific gravity readings to verify the accuracy of the computer in the new charger is kind of tough, and it may be sealed, so not easily done anyway. A good trickle charger may be a good investment! Course, you have to remember to actually use it, too.

car-fan
08-23-2011, 06:37 PM
Well, I got the new Bosch C-7 battery maintainer today, hooked it up, and if its computer is correct, the battery in the car was below 50%! So, people may want to check theirs. My driving pattern is mostly short trips with an occasional longer jaunt. This may have been a good purchase! Actually getting to the battery to take specific gravity readings to verify the accuracy of the computer in the new charger is kind of tough, and it may be sealed, so not easily done anyway. A good trickle charger may be a good investment! Course, you have to remember to actually use it, too.

Good Tips:thumbup: Thanks to you and JDubbs for the head sup

car-fan
08-23-2011, 06:37 PM
Well, I got the new Bosch C-7 battery maintainer today, hooked it up, and if its computer is correct, the battery in the car was below 50%! So, people may want to check theirs. My driving pattern is mostly short trips with an occasional longer jaunt. This may have been a good purchase! Actually getting to the battery to take specific gravity readings to verify the accuracy of the computer in the new charger is kind of tough, and it may be sealed, so not easily done anyway. A good trickle charger may be a good investment! Course, you have to remember to actually use it, too.

Good Tips:thumbup: Thanks to you and JDubbs for the heads up