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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 08-19-2011, 04:15 PM
beckfuss beckfuss is offline
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2007 X3 Dead Battery

A new battery was installed in my 2007 X3 several months ago. Recently the X3 sat idle in my garage for two weeks. When I went to start it up, the battery was dead. Is this considered normal? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2011, 07:50 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Two weeks of idle time in the garage is a bit quick for a relatively new battery to discharge. Could be a problem with the battery itself (it's not outside the realm of possibilities that the battery was defective), but it's probably more likely there's a drain being applied by the vehicle.

The computer (ECU) of most modern vehicles uses the 'door lock' command to put the vehicle into 'sleep' mode. So it's generally a good practice to lock the doors, even inside your own garage, and particularly if you know the vehicle will sit for a while.

One thing I kind-of figured out on my own with C5 Corvettes (and it may apply to BMW's as well) is that you need to remove the key from the ignition when the vehicle sits idle for lengthy periods, or it will draw down the battery much more quickly; I managed to almost completely draw down the battery of my C5 simply by leaving the key in the ignition for a week or two (and obviously, the doors unlocked). A few years later (but before I got a trickle charger for it), I left it locked inside my garage for 2-1/2 months without fully discharging the battery (although it was noticeably weak when I finally did start it). So, I put '2 + 2' together and figured that the key in the ignition kept the vehicle 'awake' until the battery drew down to nearly dead. Finally, I got smart about a vehicle I wanted to keep -- but wasn't driving regularly -- and purchased a trickle charger (a Battery MINDer) to keep the battery strong. Never a battery charge problem since, although when I use one on my X3, I've noted a strange characteristic: the Battery MINDer frequently goes in and out of it's maintenance mode. Still haven't really solved that one, but the X3 battery is always strong when I go to start it...

All that being said, almost every modern vehicle will continue to draw from the battery, even when the car is sitting idle in a garage with the key out of the ignition and the doors locked. Most manufacturers do what they can to minimize this draw, but devices like security systems need power to perform their assigned functions, so over time, they will discharge the battery if the battery is not replenished by driving the vehicle, or using a trickle charger.
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2011, 08:57 AM
SpartanGA SpartanGA is offline
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I had battery issues with my 2006 X3. My battery died, so I replaced it. Only to have it dead again in 3-4 weeks.

After research, I found the bluetooth module is a problem with some newer phones. I dont know the details, but I did notice my phone would show a bluetooth connection when I was in the house, even though I was not aware of any bluetooth device. I didnt think anything of it as the phone worked fine. Apparently the X3 is continuing to look for and lock onto my phone when it is off and this 'searching' kills the battery. It has something to do with an approved list of phones, of which my new blackberry was not on it and most new phones are not.

I unplugged the bluetooth module completely (in rear storage area. Left side of rear hatch area opens to show the bluetooth module (silver finned box) of which you can unplug. I was not certain if just unpairing would solve it, so I just unplugged it. I actually removed it completely.

Zero issues since and that was 8 months ago.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2011, 06:08 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timfitz63 View Post
The computer (ECU) of most modern vehicles uses the 'door lock' command to put the vehicle into 'sleep' mode. So it's generally a good practice to lock the doors, even inside your own garage, and particularly if you know the vehicle will sit for a while.

...... but devices like security systems need power to perform their assigned functions, so over time, they will discharge the battery if the battery is not replenished by driving the vehicle, or using a trickle charger.
Interesting point.

For the X3, I was thinking that when left unlocked, the sleep system does activate but only after some period of time (not a clear cut interval, but maybe 20 mins. or so, similar to the timeout for the radio).

At that point, the only noticeable thing drawing power is the little orange light for the A/T shift position. (Not sure of the purpose of that staying on.)

If something like the overhead light had been left on, this seems to get turned off when the sleep system takes over (but will go back on again next restart).

If you lock the doors, the sleep system might activate immediately, that A/T light goes out, and the clown nose starts flashing.

In my case, with no options, and no electronic accessories, battery depletion when sitting either locked or unlocked for a week or more hasn't been an issue.

So I would surmise that the current draw from the clown's nose (and immobilizer) is not much different from that for the little A/T light.

Cigarette lighter outlets are outside the sleep system control, allowing a battery tender/minder to be connected there if you choose.
(Seems to be a European thing for always live outlets, Asian and domestic makes favor ignition-switched outlets.)
But that means, of course, that some other personal entertainment/productivity devices left unwittingly on can drain the battery.

I don't think that locking the X3 turns those 12V outlets off.
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2011, 06:49 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Super, my domestic cars and trucks all have live lighter sockets when the key is "off".
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2011, 09:05 AM
beckfuss beckfuss is offline
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Thanks everyone for all the help. I don't always lock the X3 in the garage but I will from now on. I don't use Bluetooth. I keep it turned off on my phone and I have never synced the phone to the X3 so I don't think that is the problem. Yesterday the fasten seat belt warning went off for absolutely no reason. I was buckled in and there was nothing in the passenger seat. I pulled over and fastened the seat belt on the passenger side and the warning stopped. I am now wondering why that happened and if there is a connection between that and the dead battery. Thanks again.
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2011, 10:23 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
For the X3, I was thinking that when left unlocked, the sleep system does activate but only after some period of time (not a clear cut interval, but maybe 20 mins. or so, similar to the timeout for the radio).

At that point, the only noticeable thing drawing power is the little orange light for the A/T shift position. (Not sure of the purpose of that staying on.)

If something like the overhead light had been left on, this seems to get turned off when the sleep system takes over (but will go back on again next restart).

If you lock the doors, the sleep system might activate immediately, that A/T light goes out, and the clown nose starts flashing.

In my case, with no options, and no electronic accessories, battery depletion when sitting either locked or unlocked for a week or more hasn't been an issue.

So I would surmise that the current draw from the clown's nose (and immobilizer) is not much different from that for the little A/T light...
It might go into 'sleep' mode after a specified period of time; I was kind-of extrapolating my own observations and experiences with the C5 Corvette to the X3, which may or may not apply. It all boils down to how BMW set up the ECU logic for 'sleep' mode in the X3.

But I'm not sure the 'battery saver' feature (which turns off lights after a period of time to prevent battery discharge; the C5 also has that feature) is quite the same as 'sleep' mode. They may act independently of one another, and key on different 'triggers' to activate.

The A/T light and 'clown nose' indicator for the security system are both almost certainly LED's, which consume very little power. I have a dealer-installed ignition kill switch installed in my '97 GMC Jimmy that has an LED indicator light, and I've let that thing sit for a couple of weeks with it blinking away without even getting close to discharging the battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
... Cigarette lighter outlets are outside the sleep system control, allowing a battery tender/minder to be connected there if you choose.
(Seems to be a European thing for always live outlets, Asian and domestic makes favor ignition-switched outlets.)

But that means, of course, that some other personal entertainment/productivity devices left unwittingly on can drain the battery.

I don't think that locking the X3 turns those 12V outlets off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
... my domestic cars and trucks all have live lighter sockets when the key is "off".
These could be a source of draw on the battery, but only if something (e.g., a cell phone or iPod charger) is continuously plugged into it during those extended idle periods.

Even if the 12-volt outlets are 'live' when the car is shut off, when nothing is plugged into it, there's nothing to complete an electrical circuit; and therefore, no draw on the battery.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2011, 12:58 AM
x3oiler x3oiler is offline
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I have experienced intermittent complete battery drain overnight for nigh on 5 years. Does not happen very often. Sometimes I can leave the car parked for 2 weeks while overseas and it is fine, then sometimes with normal daily driving - overnight the battery can go flat. But this happens maybe once very 6 or so months. No idea what the cause and hard to isolate due to the intermittent nature. So I bought an automatic battery isolator.

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView...r&form=KEYWORD

When the battery drops below 11.9 volt it disconnects the battery. It is not relay based but FET based. I had to remove some of the polystyrene next to the battery to fit it but not a big deal. I was worried that starting the diesel would run over the 350amp peak current rating but all is good so far. ie the X3 starts fine with the isolator in circuit.

So now if the dang thing that is draining the battery has its wicked way it will not kill the battery . . . in theory.

The only problem then is if this happens, I have to access the battery with no power on the car to press the reset switch to re-connect the battery and hopefully start the car. Yes this is possible ie the rear hatch can be accessed with no power in the car.

Not the best solution - the best is to isolate the cause of the intermittent drain - but it may provide some added insurance.

Time will tell . . . . .
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Last edited by x3oiler; 09-03-2011 at 01:01 AM. Reason: Link bad - fixed
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2012, 06:12 PM
DMOZZ DMOZZ is offline
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Mein Auto: 2007 X3 and 1995 318ic
Batteries...

Hi

I previously complained about my E83 eating batteries. I am taking it in to another BMW shop next week. It will be interesting. I bought a cutout switch and put it on the negative terminal of the battery. I found it cheap on Ebay but it does not fit really well. Both terminals are too big.

I found out something interesting though. Many of the auto stores will sell you a 48 battery. The 49 battery fits like the stock battery, has a lot more cranking amps, and is the same price. I bought the Bosch from Pep Boys for $110 with a 3 year full refund and 96 month pro-rated.

I am cussing BMW engineers daily for designing a car that eats batteries. $(*#&(@(@&!!!!!!!
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  #10  
Old 08-25-2012, 06:32 AM
x3oiler x3oiler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x3oiler View Post
I have experienced intermittent complete battery drain overnight for nigh on 5 years. Does not happen very often. Sometimes I can leave the car parked for 2 weeks while overseas and it is fine, then sometimes with normal daily driving - overnight the battery can go flat. But this happens maybe once very 6 or so months. No idea what the cause and hard to isolate due to the intermittent nature. So I bought an automatic battery isolator.

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView...r&form=KEYWORD

When the battery drops below 11.9 volt it disconnects the battery. It is not relay based but FET based. I had to remove some of the polystyrene next to the battery to fit it but not a big deal. I was worried that starting the diesel would run over the 350amp peak current rating but all is good so far. ie the X3 starts fine with the isolator in circuit.

So now if the dang thing that is draining the battery has its wicked way it will not kill the battery . . . in theory.

The only problem then is if this happens, I have to access the battery with no power on the car to press the reset switch to re-connect the battery and hopefully start the car. Yes this is possible ie the rear hatch can be accessed with no power in the car.

Not the best solution - the best is to isolate the cause of the intermittent drain - but it may provide some added insurance.

Time will tell . . . . .
The above battery isolator is a bust. Worked for a while but too many bad effects on the car electronics due to lower voltage during cranking . . then it blew up anyway - went into permanent open circuit.

I have traced my intermittent battery drain to the stock business CD head unit or the aftermarket parrot blue tooth module that connects to it. ie one or the other is not always turning off. But the GPS that is powered via the head unit gives a good indication so I can catch the problem. ie the GPS does not sometimes turn off with the ignition. Turn head unit on then off (after ignition of) and GPS goes off and I know the suckers are now shut down. So readers with un traced battery drain might consider manually turning off the stereo before turning off the ignition at least for a time. If no longer an issue then it will be the HU at fault.
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  #11  
Old 08-25-2012, 09:07 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMOZZ View Post
Hi

I previously complained about my E83 eating batteries. I am taking it in to another BMW shop next week. It will be interesting. I bought a cutout switch and put it on the negative terminal of the battery. I found it cheap on Ebay but it does not fit really well. Both terminals are too big.

I found out something interesting though. Many of the auto stores will sell you a 48 battery. The 49 battery fits like the stock battery, has a lot more cranking amps, and is the same price. I bought the Bosch from Pep Boys for $110 with a 3 year full refund and 96 month pro-rated.

I am cussing BMW engineers daily for designing a car that eats batteries. $(*#&(@(@&!!!!!!!
They are not supposed to do that. I'm not saying you don't have an issue that's draining your battery but it could be from short trips. My car sat in a parking garage for 9 days while we were on a cruise and it started like it had been run yesterday. If you can I suggest putting your car on a maintainer occasionally. I have the BMW unit that works like a dream. You also may be a good candidate for an AGM battery. At replacement time I'm going with a Deka 9AGM49. My X3 came with a group 49 battery from the factory. I have the 600 watt cooling fan, heated seats and heated steering wheel. I'm assuming that's why it has the 49 and not the 48.

The attached picture from my rear hatch light override switch project shows the bigger OE battery.
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  #12  
Old 08-25-2012, 09:29 AM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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The car shouldn't eat batteries unless you're driving it only for short distances and/or there's something draining it. I've left my vehicle for weeks at a time and it starts up just fine.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:15 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x3oiler View Post
....
I have traced my intermittent battery drain to the stock business CD head unit or the aftermarket parrot blue tooth module that connects to it. ie one or the other is not always turning off.
I had read that Parrot kits can be a bit temperamental so I went with one of these harnesses:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...ls_o00_s00_i00

and have had no problems with it shutting down on ignition key off.
(I have the older 3300 model with the screen, so that has the advantage of readily confirming that it is off.)

But given that the Business CD has both ignition switched and non-switched power going to it,
something going wrong in the head unit could give rise to the intermittent Parrot shutoff problem you observe.

(I do get the occasional noisy startup of the Parrot that is often mentioned in user reviews, but that's a separate thing.)

Hard to say which is the culprit in your case, but at least you have a workaround.
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  #14  
Old 08-25-2012, 09:17 PM
DMOZZ DMOZZ is offline
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I have heard that story about the fact that I may not be driving long enough from the service rep at the BMW dealership. For one, the BMW engineers are dumb___es if they engineered a car that must be run like that to keep the battery up.

But that is not it. I have had the battery completely drain in two days. I have also jumped the battery to start it, driven 5 minutes, and with that quick charge, it would start again. It is a problem with parts of the car "not sleeping". I would love to send those engineers who designed this to the dunce corner. I expect more from a BMW. This has totally disenfranchised me from the BMW brand. I have owned 5 now and still have 2.
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  #15  
Old 08-26-2012, 09:34 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMOZZ View Post
I have also jumped the battery to start it, driven 5 minutes, and with that quick charge, it would start again.
You should not do that. Alternators need power to make power. You can kill one dead trying charge a dead battery with one. It's called "alternator death". And as I said before.... it's not supposed to be draining the battery. It was not designed that way.

As for driving it enough..... All cars are like this. It takes a lot of power to start the car. A battery is like a bank account.... If you keep drawing on your battery without making enough deposits it will eventually zero out.
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