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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-30-2012, 11:22 AM
akthorp akthorp is offline
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Location: North Carolina
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 102
Mein Auto: 540i, 325i
How long should a battery last?

I had to jump my 540 today. I can't remember when I changed the battery but I think it was at least 4, maybe 5, years ago. I assume it's just an old battery but how do I know it's not the alternator?
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2012, 02:34 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Location: MA
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,628
Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
Check what the voltage is at the battery when the engine is running at >2k RPM.
Should be above 12.5 volts all the way up the ~14.3.
Use a volt meter or read it in the cluster.
My battery lasted 8 years. The battery in my wife's 01 Volvo is original and still working fine....knock on wood.
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2000 540/6 Slightly tweeked...everywhere

Last edited by JimLev; 12-30-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-30-2012, 02:39 PM
bmwtech6367 bmwtech6367 is offline
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Location: Downers Grove, Illinois
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 2000 528I
The average lifespan for a BMW battery is about 4-5 years. If your battery is still original, I would play it safe & replace it. These have a nasty habit of being fine one day, and then the next day one of the cells will intermittently short out and cause a no-start. I've seen it too many times....You can check the age of the battery by checking the production date on the negative post; it will have the week & year of production(26/01, 26th week of 2001). To check the charging system, just put a voltmeter between the jumper lug on top of the driver's valve cover & the ground lug on the passenger shock tower. Check it with the car running. It should be around 13.7 to 14.2 volts. Anything lower or higher could show a faulty voltage regulator...

Last edited by bmwtech6367; 12-30-2012 at 02:43 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2012, 06:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,521
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Some things you replace on a schedule; others you replace when their time is up:
- DIY how to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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