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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #26  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:11 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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At 4:45 pm today I got the call to come pick up the car.

The service report reads:

22436 PERFORMED SHORT TEST AND FOUND NO FAULTS. PERFORMED ENERGY DIAG TEST PLAN AND FOUND UNFAVOURABLE USER BEHAVIOUR. PERFORMED MIDTRONICS TEST AND FOUND BATTERY AND CHARGING SYSTEM TO PASS. RETESTED SYSTEM WITH MIDTRONIC IN THE MORNING AND BATTERY PASSED. RECHARGED BATTERY. AFTER CHARGING BATTERY RESET ADAPTATIONS AND CLEARED FAULTS.

SA and Service Tech recommendations are: Lock car when coming home at night even though it is in garage, as it will make car go to sleep more rapidly. Drive it more.

Concensus is that I'm not putting enough miles/time interval on the car.

Other option is to opt for the trickle charger/battery tender approach as it doesn't wear out tires and burn gasoline.

Soooo, redirecting my own thread here:

1) Is a battery tender the same thing as a battery charger with trickle charging capablilites? i.e. we have a vintage JC Penneys battery charger that can also trickle charge at 2 amp. What makes a branded "Battery Tender" better?

2) How often is it prudent to trickle charge or "tend" the battery and can it be overdone?

3) Is christening the car Christine at this point a little harsh and just asking for trouble?

Hopefully, this really was a one time glitch and not a 'bug' in the car's electronics. I am really fighting the urge to go tear the trim panels out of the trunk and check the status of the Magic-Eye.
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  #27  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:32 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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1) No, a maintenance charger will be continually reading the condition of the battery, which means that 2) it can't be overdone (some folks just leave it hooked up the entire winter), and otherwise it's hard to say what "prudent" is. I tend to do hook mine up roughly every month, well I should say probably less often that that during most of the year, but then at least that often in the winter months (when battery capacity drops with lower temperatures).

3) I don't know her real name, but it does seem a little harsh to me.

I'd like to put in a plug for the Ctek 3300 I use, a bit pricier than the Battery Tender, but it's water resistant, sealed, and there happens to be a marketing video of a car running over a CTEK, with it holding up just fine. It looks chic, and is extraordinarily easy to use. There are pics by B-737 showing how he hardwired the other quick release plug with the eyelets (there are two sets, the other is with the clamps that most everyone else uses) so that it's (literally?) plug 'n' play. I'm not sure if it was him, but I think he was considering the idea of running it all the way to the grille somehow, where you don't even need to open the hood, but I'm not sure how that could be secured, and I'm pretty sure the wire it comes with isn't long enough anyway. Anyway, it's also sold by Phil at DD (though surely cheaper at Amazon), and was originally the OEM for Porsche, then MB, then a host of exotic car companies (Ferrari, Lambo, Rolls, Bentley, etc).

Here is the process of how their chargers work, according to their site, but I honestly don't know how much is marketing fluff:

http://smartercharger.com/smarter-process/

BTW, I'd like to apologize again for my poor recommendation in the other thread. So, I'm not sure how seriously you will take this rec either now.

The first time I charged my car, it took 24 hours. Never again that long since.
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  #28  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:36 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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Kat:
I use only Battery Tenders on all my rides, 3 BMWs, others vehicles and on and on.
I use them and other like CTEK I think that is right because they do measure the voltage and have a good algorithm for not overcharging the battery and keeping it topped off to a full charge.
As proof I have my M3/4 which doesn't get driven much with a Batteries Plus battery from 2004. It is just fine. My E93 is 5 1/2 years old, my two diesel truck batteries were over 6 years old each and were just your run of the mill Durolast when I changed them out for Optimas.

I have the Sear battery charger and that is good for a good amp charge but not trickle charge. The ones Walmart sells too I tried and they lasted about one season so in the long run I use the battery tender and have for a long time now since about 2002.

CTEK is another company making quality chargers and the BMW model is also an intelligent charger. By the way I never buy the full size battery tender because my cars and trucks sit for days to weeks and the battery tender junior is cheaper and does the job just fine. I have 5 of these and none have failed and all are currently working charging my vehicles.

Hope that helps and didn't want to come on too strong for the battery tenders but any of those intelligent charging models is the way to go. On my BMWs and diesel truck I leave the battery tender junior in the engine bay and just run a cord to the bay. Has had no ill effects in my BMW M3 bay for the last 10 years so a little heat doesn't seem to hurt them...

Last edited by fun2drive; 10-10-2012 at 07:39 PM.
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  #29  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:41 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
BTW, I'd like to apologize again for my poor recommendation in the other thread. So, I'm not sure how seriously you will take this rec either now.

The first time I charged my car, it took 24 hours. Never again that long since.
ILMC:

No worries about the Bug thread.... Honestly, with this issue I've had little, OK, no time or ability to address my little hitchhikers.

Your comments are always interesting and appreciated.

Looks like I have something else I need to research.
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  #30  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:52 PM
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Fun2Drive:

Thanks for the post. I'm not going to quote you here for space, but a couple of questions:

My driving style is 5 days a week generally 2X5.5 miles. Sometimes on Saturdays we'll take the E93 for errand hopping (50-75 mi). Once maybe every 8-12 weeks I get to air it out a little on an airport run or like this weekend it will get to stretch it's legs with a run to Austin and back. So, with this profile, how often would you put the car on a tender?

I can't imagine coming home from work every day and hooking it up, but I wouldn't be adverse to hooking it up on Friday if I knew I wasn't going to drive the car until Monday. Likewise, if I knew the car wasn't going to be driven for a week or 10 days that would be a no-brainer.

Recommendations?
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  #31  
Old 10-10-2012, 08:02 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Ok good, whew. If you want to ask any curious questions about my charger or how I use it, feel free to ask at any time, though I guess it's pretty self explanatory. (I always use the "winter" mode with the snokflake icon, per the instructions when using an AGM battery.) I may even have a pic somewhere of the cords, as my brother recently had electrical/battery issues in his Lexus (they seemed to have gone away). It might be a bit of effort for you, but FWIW, I don't start my car to pull it out to the driveway before washing it. I get it slowly rolling by leaning against the door jamb, have a seat, and hit the brakes (I believe they all work with my fob in, not 100% sure if the brake pedal does without fob, but I put in just in case.) There's always the parking brake of course. I figure I might as well spare the battery, as well as the number of cold starts on the engine.

I too always immediately lock the car to put it to sleep. Now, I have seen people make claims, or at the least wonder about the idea of having a fob within a certain close proximity to the vehicle, making the battery drain more quickly. Well, my fob is never that far away, and I am hoping and assuming that it's a non issue.

edit: I see your response to Fun2Drive now. One way to get an idea of how hungry your battery is at any given time is to observe how long it takes to charge. I've had the 24 hr experience, 12ish, 8-or-less-ish, and even just several hours before. It only takes 30 secs to hook up, I say hook it up whenever you feel like it. Just one evening per week should be plenty*, in my opinion that is. Hm, I did forget that you do have the origami top, well . . .

Last edited by Ilovemycar; 10-10-2012 at 08:06 PM.
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  #32  
Old 10-10-2012, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
It might be a bit of effort for you, but FWIW, I don't start my car to pull it out to the driveway before washing it. I get it slowly rolling by leaning against the door jamb, have a seat, and hit the brakes (I believe they all work with my fob in, not 100% sure if the brake pedal does without fob, but I put in just in case.) There's always the parking brake of course. I figure I might as well spare the battery, as well as the number of cold starts on the engine.
I would love to do it this way, but our garage is narrow, our driveway too, and as I have both a fence and the garage doorjamb on the driver's side, gettting the car moving, then me inside while rolling and the door closed before intersecting with the garage door jamb might be a little heroic. I'm sure there is a physics word problem here somewhere.
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  #33  
Old 10-10-2012, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
Fun2Drive:

Thanks for the post. I'm not going to quote you here for space, but a couple of questions:

My driving style is 5 days a week generally 2X5.5 miles. Sometimes on Saturdays we'll take the E93 for errand hopping (50-75 mi). Once maybe every 8-12 weeks I get to air it out a little on an airport run or like this weekend it will get to stretch it's legs with a run to Austin and back. So, with this profile, how often would you put the car on a tender?

I can't imagine coming home from work every day and hooking it up, but I wouldn't be adverse to hooking it up on Friday if I knew I wasn't going to drive the car until Monday. Likewise, if I knew the car wasn't going to be driven for a week or 10 days that would be a no-brainer.

Recommendations?
We are reminded of BMW's dire warning:

"if your car is driven only for short distances of less than 10 miles over a prolonged period of time (what's that?) without an occasional drive at highway speeds, the engine's charging system will not maintain the battery. Insufficient use of the vehicle (what's that?) could result in short term starting problems and, in the long term (what's that?) could damage the battery."

We've seen previous posts in here of "short distance" low mileage drivers who had batteries die on them and were denied battery warranty service.

I fall into this category.

Watch for future "Dealer argument" threads.
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  #34  
Old 10-10-2012, 10:45 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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You've gotten some great advice from F2D and ILMC, and you can count me in as a 'second' on their suggestions, though I guess I'm really a third.

I'll add some info for others who might be in a similar situation. There are really 3 types of chargers. There's the more powerful ones which can charge at 12-100 amp rates, they can start a 'dead' car almost immediately to a few hours. Then there's the 2-10 amp units which take overnight or longer to invest enough current to start an engine. Both the aforementioned types cannot be left on the battery continuously, and both often have the ability to charge at a fast rate at first, and then slide on down to a slow rate as the battery 'fills up'.

Neither type is good for long term maintenance. For that you want the category, including the specific model, mentioned by F2D. They are 'smart' chargers and have the ability to determine optimum rejuvenation techniques and flow rates to bring a dead battery back to life. I am told that a battery that has been run down to the point where your directionals won't work can never be brought back to it's full life span, but it seems to me that things like the CTEK do a darned good job.

Now a word about what the dealership told you. Horsepuckey. That's the word. Your driving habits should not be killing your battery. Who are they trying to kid? Eleven miles a day with two start cycles and longer trips on the weekend? That should not be running down a battery that has more capacity than a Mack truck, fed by an alternator that can power a small town.

I know of the device they used to test your battery (a Midtronics tester). I have one! They are great for safely testing batteries, explode very few and don't burn out alternators. Kid techs love them because they are 'high tech', give you a print out to dazzle the customer, and make it look like you're smart as hell. The problem is they don't stress the battery and can't pick up certain failure modes which can leave you on the side of the road.

Analogy: You often get chest pains and are short of breath. You go to Dr. Wetbehindtheears. He hooks you up to an EKG, an EEG, a CIA and an FBI. He says there's nothing wrong with you and sends you home where the next morning you die of a heart attack. Or...

You go to Dr. Oldschool. He puts you on a treadmill and watches your EKG traces rapidly become irregular. He knows you have a problem and responds appropriately.

You went to Dr. W. He didn't load the battery with a good old fashioned scary carbon pile load tester. Those'll pick up a weak battery like nothing else. They also look very impressive as they glow like Chernobyl and smoke like a cold tractor.

So, to put your mind at ease about whether you really have a bad battery or not, here's what Dr. Oldschool recommends. Next Saturday morning press your 'Start' button without your foot on the brake pedal (the engine won't start). Turn on your headlights, your radio and your blower fan at max. Wait five minutes, actually time it. Then turn everything off, remove the key, reinsert the key and start the engine. If it starts as strong as ever chances are they were right. If it cranks the least bit slowly, or not at all, they were wrong and you need a battery. Go back and tell them what Dr. O. said. Be prepared for more horsepuckey.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 10-10-2012 at 11:07 PM.
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  #35  
Old 10-10-2012, 10:56 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
Fun2Drive:

Thanks for the post. I'm not going to quote you here for space, but a couple of questions:

My driving style is 5 days a week generally 2X5.5 miles. Sometimes on Saturdays we'll take the E93 for errand hopping (50-75 mi). Once maybe every 8-12 weeks I get to air it out a little on an airport run or like this weekend it will get to stretch it's legs with a run to Austin and back. So, with this profile, how often would you put the car on a tender?

I can't imagine coming home from work every day and hooking it up, but I wouldn't be adverse to hooking it up on Friday if I knew I wasn't going to drive the car until Monday. Likewise, if I knew the car wasn't going to be driven for a week or 10 days that would be a no-brainer.

Recommendations?
It really isn't that hard, especially given that the car is garaged. Pop the hood, connect the red clip to the positive post (R.H.S. by the firewall), connect the black clip to the ground post on the right fender (behind the headlight housing) and plug the charger in. Given how O-C you are on the detailing end, connecting the charger should be second nature. Just my 2 cents-worth.

Edit: Alternatively, following a weekend and long non-driving charge schedule probably would sufficiently charge the battery in-between charges. If the battery runs down again with a weekend charging schedule, then a more frequent charging schedule would seem to be in order.
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  #36  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:00 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
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snip...

Analogy: You often get chest pains and are short of breath. You go to Dr. Wetbehindtheears. He hooks you up to an EKG, an EEG, a CIA and an FBI. He says there's nothing wrong with you and sends you home where the next morning you die of a heart attack. Or...

...snip
You missed the NSA. NSA captures the data points and disseminates them. Sorry, but it was too tempting.
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  #37  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:19 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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You missed the NSA. NSA captures the data points and disseminates them. Sorry, but it was too tempting.
You're right, but the NSA feed is too complex and nobody pays any attention to it. What works best is rumors gathered at cocktail parties.
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  #38  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:24 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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You're right, but the NSA feed is too complex and nobody pays any attention to it. What works best is rumors gathered at cocktail parties.
Rumors are far more simple. The only problem with rumors is that Kat likely would have been told that she needed a new engine....
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  #39  
Old 10-10-2012, 11:37 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anE934fun View Post
It really isn't that hard, especially given that the car is garaged. Pop the hood, connect the red clip to the positive post (R.H.S. by the firewall), connect the black clip to the ground post on the right fender (behind the headlight housing) and plug the charger in. Given how O-C you are on the detailing end, connecting the charger should be second nature. Just my 2 cents-worth.

Edit: Alternatively, following a weekend and long non-driving charge schedule probably would sufficiently charge the battery in-between charges. If the battery runs down again with a weekend charging schedule, then a more frequent charging schedule would seem to be in order.
You are correct. Just like getting in the habit of locking the car when I pull into the garage, getting in the habit of connecting to a smart tender over the weekend starting on Friday evenings should be a no-brainer.

FWIW: I think Dr. O's methodology is worth merit. I may not try it this weekend as I will be runing the car sufficiently to rev up the alternator and keep the battery satisfied - although slightly anal SO has already packed the battery charger in the trunk.

@DSX: I like the Oldschool approach and I thank you for giving me the sequence to test it. FWIW: I am pretty sure that the on/off X 5 sequence was a stressor to the battery. Interestingly, I had never had an issue until the car sat in the garage for two weeks (during the hot weeks of August), referencing your comment that the heat and humidity here in Houston (how is that for alliteration), wreaks havoc on batteries.
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  #40  
Old 10-11-2012, 06:32 AM
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I was afraid they were going to pull that "unfavorable user behavior" BS on you.

It's shameful for BMW to sell an expensive car that a "normal" non high mileage driver can't depend on.

The new BMWs with "regenerative braking" are even worse as they now disconnect the alternator from charging the battery during acceleration and other driving conditions.

If your battery does fail under the warranty / maintenance period I'd push the dealer hard for replacement (did that successfully).

All that said, a battery tender is an inexpensive peace of mind accessory to top off your charge!
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  #41  
Old 10-11-2012, 09:21 AM
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You will need a battery next month.
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  #42  
Old 10-11-2012, 09:41 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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I Googled the CTEK 3300, quite a price range, from very low to outrageous.
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...w=1173&bih=552
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  #43  
Old 10-11-2012, 10:33 AM
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Kat:
I do think your battery is on its way south. I think mine is too but keeping on the tender will prolong its life a good bit since mine is 5 years and 7 months old.
I agree that the problem is they didn't load test the battery. That is the only way to determine if it will be OK or is getting weak.
I am guessing we will see a post from you in the next few months about battery replacement too.

In regards to how do I keep mine charged I honestly leave the tender in the car on the pass side where the jump posts are. I hook up the jump clips to the posts and lay the tender in that general area. When I can I pop the hook and just run an extension cord to the tender. I have also on my M3 just run the clips to the hood and pop the hood open and plug it in too but leaving it in the car engine bay has not caused any issues with it moving around or getting over heated from engine heat in 10 years so I am guessing it is fine in that location.

I experiemented with the best way for me to not spend time doing this and leaving it in the engine bay serves me the best. It really only takes a minute or less to do this and the only down side is to not forget you plugged it in. Yes I have forgotton a couple times and pulled the extension cord loose but other than that it works well.
Smart chargers regardless of which one you pick should keep your battery up.

I will now lock my car in the garage since I was not aware until now of the car doing a pulsing of the system which can only drag your battery down. Why BMW would do this I have no idea but it seems excessive as does battery registration...

My E93 is in Ohio until the end of this month of I would have taken pics of where I store it and the clips too which would give you an idea of where it sits patiently waiting to be used again...
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  #44  
Old 10-11-2012, 10:55 AM
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Some good info in here! So it seems that locking the car will make the car behave a little less like a Christine and actually put it to sleep. I have been in the habit of locking it in the garage anyway, just to make sure the little one does not get in if she happens to stroll out in the garage (pending damage aside, with our 100+F summers, a potential lethal trip for a young child). Seems like I have even more reason now to ensure the car is locked.

As far as naming the Cabrio Christine, I'd hold off but be on guard. If you ever scratch the paint and the primer comes up red, I'd sell.
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  #45  
Old 10-11-2012, 12:01 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laser View Post
I was afraid they were going to pull that "unfavorable user behavior" BS on you.

It's shameful for BMW to sell an expensive car that a "normal" non high mileage driver can't depend on.

The new BMWs with "regenerative braking" are even worse as they now disconnect the alternator from charging the battery during acceleration and other driving conditions.

If your battery does fail under the warranty / maintenance period I'd push the dealer hard for replacement (did that successfully).

All that said, a battery tender is an inexpensive peace of mind accessory to top off your charge!
Yes, your previous post in this thread had me ready for it, so I wasn't too surprised when they said it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David1 View Post
You will need a battery next month.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
Kat:
I do think your battery is on its way south. I think mine is too but keeping on the tender will prolong its life a good bit since mine is 5 years and 7 months old.
I agree that the problem is they didn't load test the battery. That is the only way to determine if it will be OK or is getting weak.. . . . .

I am guessing we will see a post from you in the next few months about battery replacement too. /snip
Yeah, I'm pretty much thinking the same way you guys are that the battery is on its way out. It's not like I've suddenly changed my drive style or cold/start behavior.
I will do the load test and see what that brings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
My E93 is in Ohio until the end of this month of I would have taken pics of where I store it and the clips too which would give you an idea of where it sits patiently waiting to be used again...
Your description is very good but pictures are always worth a thousand words. I may pester you for a photo once you get re-united with the E93.

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Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
As far as naming the Cabrio Christine, I'd hold off but be on guard. If you ever scratch the paint and the primer comes up red, I'd sell.
LOL.

I do have a question about alternators. When the SA was giving me the lecture about driving it more, he said something to the effect that "if you don't get the car up to 60-70 miles for a sustained amount of time the alternator won't spin fast enough or long enough to charge the battery." Does speed really make the alternator spin faster? Or is it just plain old time with the engine running that counts. If it's just time, then I could easily double my commute time by sitting in the gridlocked traffic on the freeway.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:15 PM
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Yes, your previous post in this thread had me ready for it, so I wasn't too surprised when they said it.

Yeah, I'm pretty much thinking the same way you guys are that the battery is on its way out. It's not like I've suddenly changed my drive style or cold/start behavior.
I will do the load test and see what that brings.

Your description is very good but pictures are always worth a thousand words. I may pester you for a photo once you get re-united with the E93.



LOL.

I do have a question about alternators. When the SA was giving me the lecture about driving it more, he said something to the effect that "if you don't get the car up to 60-70 miles for a sustained amount of time the alternator won't spin fast enough or long enough to charge the battery." Does speed really make the alternator spin faster? Or is it just plain old time with the engine running that counts. If it's just time, then I could easily double my commute time by sitting in the gridlocked traffic on the freeway.
Holy Ageist Remark Batman! But here goes...How old is that guy?

He's thinking of generators! Once your engine gets over maybe a thousand rpm the alternator is putting out full rate. Some may take 2k rpm but that's rare.
The alternator is spinning all the time, though there is thought of putting a clutch on it so it presents no load when the battery is fully charged. However, it seems that in the real world the alternator has to contribute something all the time due to the high consumption of all the appliances in our cars now. Toaster oven? Microwave? Coming soon?
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
I do have a question about alternators. When the SA was giving me the lecture about driving it more, he said something to the effect that "if you don't get the car up to 60-70 miles for a sustained amount of time the alternator won't spin fast enough or long enough to charge the battery." Does speed really make the alternator spin faster? Or is it just plain old time with the engine running that counts. If it's just time, then I could easily double my commute time by sitting in the gridlocked traffic on the freeway.
Maybe you should drive it on the weekends rather than washing it.

(I'm just jealous!)

And yes, what DSX said. Alternator output is varied as loading conditions change BUT the output of the alternator has little to do with vehicle speed (MPH) and more to do with engine speed (RPMs). SAs never cease to amaze me...
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You will rue this day, RUE THIS DAY

Last edited by cwinter; 10-11-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cwinter View Post
Maybe you should drive it on the weekends rather than washing it.

(I'm just jealous!)

And yes, what DSX said. Alternator output is varied as loading conditions change BUT the output of the alternator has little to do with vehicle speed (MPH) and more to do with engine speed (RPMs). SAs never cease to amaze me...
So do you suppose coming out of a Texas-turnaround in 2nd gear at 5K rpm would maybe supercharge my battery?
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:48 PM
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So do you suppose coming out of a Texas-turnaround in 2nd gear at 5K rpm would maybe supercharge my battery?
I think it would only be prudent to try this, no matter what the influence on the battery!
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
So do you suppose coming out of a Texas-turnaround in 2nd gear at 5K rpm would maybe supercharge my battery?
It's well known in Dixie that your method will not work unless the hand brake (or 'break' as it seems to be now on this forum) is simultaneously engaged. There may be some sort of switch in the handle, I don't know.
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