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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:34 PM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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Mein Auto: 06 530xi, 97 M3, 68 '02
$2000 battery replacement..I may set a new record!

Hi,

My first post to this forum, after reading lots of others. I'm mainly writing this as a heads-up to owners of similar 5 series vehicles, but maybe you all have some input for me.

Two weeks ago my 2006 530xi wagon refused to start, reporting a bunch of electrical issues. After having it towed to Bavarian Professionals in Berkeley, the cause was pretty quickly identified - needs a new battery. Seemed simple enough.

Bavpro let me know that BMW no longer sells the original battery, and that the new AGM battery would require reprogramming (not just registration). Predicted bill somewhere around $600. After owning this car for 4 yrs (it was a CPO I bought from a dealer) that was not a surprise...

Here's where it gets interesting:

I have been taking BMWs to BavPro since about 1987, with virtually zero issues. Unfortunately, BavPro was having problems with the reprogramming connection back to BMW (apparently they connect the car to BMWNA via a computer pass-through and the programming is done by BMW) so they took it over to the nearest dealer, who had agreed to reprogram the car.

The reprogramming failed, with the dealer claiming that BMW says that the satellite radio module installed in the car is no longer supported by the new software and the car programming cannot be updated without replacing it. Cost? $1200.

This seems, of course, totally insane. Replacing the battery means reprogramming the car, but reprogramming the car means replacing the $1200 satellite radio module. BMW has decided to stop supporting 6yr old hardware and insists that it be upgraded. I have never actually used the satellite radio, so the next course of action is to attempt to remove it from the vehicle order. For that we have to wait for a BMW rep to visit the dealer, which could be a week. Then we try programming again.

I have been in the software business pretty much my entire working life, and it's pretty clear that BMW simply dropped backwards compatibility for some of the 2006 hardware. Either that or the software architecture is so bad that they cannot support many option or version combinations.

To me, the implications for ownership of a modern BMW are profound. BMW can decide at any point in time that they will stop you from repairing your vehicle, and there doesn't appear to be any alternative.

My 97 M3 sedan is still a blast to drive at 175k miles, the 68 2002 doesn't do many miles any more, but both of them can be maintained ALMOST indefinitely.

Can you say "Mobile Tradition" ?

Comments? Are we missing another option? Is the BMWNA story BS?

Thanks!

Peter
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:38 PM
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legend700 legend700 is offline
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Suggest you have the car airlifted back to Regensburg, Germany, where it was built. BMWNA is giving you bad advise.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:45 PM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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OK...

Which part is the bad advice? The need for reprogramming for the new battery (which actually makes some sense) or the need for a hardware upgrade completely unrelated to the battery (which doesn't)?

Peter
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:49 PM
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TLO03 TLO03 is offline
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the agm battery is true, cost about $280, reprogramming maybe on a 06 but im still skeptical. what i would do is search this forum for the autozone battery thread, get that part number and pick it up on the way to picking up your car..
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:57 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Not sure they insist on updating the entire car. It's not hard to just change what kind of battery it is programmed to use.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...52&postcount=3

Last edited by schpenxel; 10-30-2012 at 04:59 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2012, 06:43 PM
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NoQuarter NoQuarter is offline
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Programming for a switch to an AGM battery is true. No need to do the whole car though.

Time for you to start doing this sort of thing yourself. You will be much happier with the car when the dealers are not making you bleed.

Last edited by NoQuarter; 10-30-2012 at 06:45 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2012, 08:56 PM
mostroad mostroad is offline
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This is fishy in many ways:

1) Yes, to replace with an AGM, you do need to reprogram and register (I just did this on my 535). It's a straightforward process.
2) The SAT radio does not need to be touched by the programming process.
3) A new version of the car software does not need to be uploaded to the car to reprogram the battery.
4) BavAuto is not a BMW dealer (it's an independent shop), and would not have access to connect to BMW to reflash the car (perhaps they're suggesting taking it to the dealer, Weatherford, for them to reflash?)

I live in Marin. Let me know if you want help with reprogramming. I have the cable and the needed ECS software.
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2012, 08:10 AM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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Thanks, and I agree that the story doesn't make sense. I have no reason to doubt what BavPro is telling me, based on more than 20 years of dealing with them, but I will have another talk with them this morning. Supposedly the only reason the car went over to Weatherford is that they are having problems with whatever system they use to program these cars. The rest of the info came from the dealer.

Weatherford is another matter. Their service department has often given me inaccurate or misleading information, and is one of the reasons I take the cars to BavPro as soon as the warranty is up. If you get the wrong SA then customer service is essentially non-existent. The last time they did work on the wagon was to deal with the consequences of a sunroof drain leak that took out some of the electronics, and they had the car for a month. I don't think I received a single call from them with an update during that time. When I picked it up there were multiple things not working so it went back for another week, and they returned the car with a service alert that the air filters would need to be replaced in 300 miles. Since the warranty had ended during the month it sat there, it was not covered...

Peter
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  #9  
Old 10-31-2012, 08:47 AM
BMWMAD BMWMAD is offline
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I also just spent $754 $120 install battery, clear codes,check charging system, $293 new battery, Reprograme the car $389 (discount 6year 100k club -120) ,,,,While this was being done there was some problem and they had to install entire new software package ($1200 value which they did not charge for)

Hind sight is 20 20 Should have just installed a new battery myself, screw the registering the battery to the car crap, cleared a couple of codes with my code reader device and kept on trucking.....The Dealer was great but my god the expense of having a battery go bad on me .....what a mumbo jumbo
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2012, 09:27 AM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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Mad,

Which year/model is your car? Mine is a 2006 530xiT. I wonder if they encountered the same software problem with my car, and that is what triggered the rest of the story?

Peter
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  #11  
Old 10-31-2012, 11:31 AM
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legend700 legend700 is offline
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About 4 weeks ago I replaced the original battery with an OEM AGM one at $293 from the local BMW dealer. I did the installation and coding/registration myself at home.
Within days after the install I went on a 10 day trip (total 1,300 miles) and about 300 miles from home on my return the CEL came on and stayed on. Back home I read out the error file and it had registered a 2DED Powermanagement error. Usually that points to a disconnected battery. I just cleared the error and no problem since. I am assuming that it had something to do with when I disconnected the battery to put the new one in.
Before buying the new battery I spent hours researching this subject. The AGM battery is now the only type available from BMW, and if you can get it for less than $293, good for you. Also. coding and registering this new type battery is required. A charge in the neighborhood of $100 seems OK, but I have heard of some crazy numbers. So shop around.
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  #12  
Old 10-31-2012, 01:37 PM
TMQ TMQ is offline
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I tell you, owning a modern BMW is not for the faint of heart.

The explanation does't make a lot of sense - I'd say try a different dealer, or ask your local BMWCCA chapter for advice on which dealer and SA to try.
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2012, 01:39 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Indeed, on both counts.

$2K should be down right illegal though for something that should be this basic for a dealer
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  #14  
Old 10-31-2012, 02:11 PM
BMWMAD BMWMAD is offline
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2006 525i My wife's car ...I have a 1999 740il for 7 years now.
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  #15  
Old 10-31-2012, 02:19 PM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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Quick update:

Talked to BavPro again and have a little more info.
(Note to mostroad: item 4 in your earlier post appears to be incorrect. BavPro uses ISTA, as do lots of other independent shops, which AFAIK talks directly to BMW)
They have their ISTA system back up and running, so they could do the programming there but my car is over at Weatherford....

One thing that the dealer and BavPro appear to agree on is that changing the battery type does require reprogramming the car. This is out of sync with some of the posts here, and I can't explain it. One other point is that any future need for reprogramming, like a module change, will trigger the same need to upgrade the sat radio hardware.

Assuming that the BMWNA rep is able to remove the sat radio from the vehicle order, it looks like I'm only going to be charged a few hundred for the programming, which will put the total bill in the $6-800 range, about what others have paid.

Peter
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2012, 10:04 AM
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txag_530i txag_530i is offline
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Commuterman-

Go to www.bmwcoding.com and learn how to start coding this stuff yourself. You can change the vehicle order, battery type and lots of other things. I can tell you that the entire car doesn't need to be programmed just to change the battery type.

If I were you I'd pick up the car from the dealer and program the thing myself.
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  #17  
Old 11-01-2012, 02:24 PM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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I think you're right. I found the bmwcoding site when I first started searching for info about the battery change, so I'm getting up to speed. Not sure it makes sense to change course on this one, since it won't save me any $$ now, but definitely something I want to play around with.

Thanks,

Peter
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  #18  
Old 11-01-2012, 04:43 PM
racooper3 racooper3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commuteman View Post
Hi,

My first post to this forum, after reading lots of others. I'm mainly writing this as a heads-up to owners of similar 5 series vehicles, but maybe you all have some input for me.

Two weeks ago my 2006 530xi wagon refused to start, reporting a bunch of electrical issues. After having it towed to Bavarian Professionals in Berkeley, the cause was pretty quickly identified - needs a new battery. Seemed simple enough.

Bavpro let me know that BMW no longer sells the original battery, and that the new AGM battery would require reprogramming (not just registration). Predicted bill somewhere around $600. After owning this car for 4 yrs (it was a CPO I bought from a dealer) that was not a surprise...

Here's where it gets interesting:

I have been taking BMWs to BavPro since about 1987, with virtually zero issues. Unfortunately, BavPro was having problems with the reprogramming connection back to BMW (apparently they connect the car to BMWNA via a computer pass-through and the programming is done by BMW) so they took it over to the nearest dealer, who had agreed to reprogram the car.

The reprogramming failed, with the dealer claiming that BMW says that the satellite radio module installed in the car is no longer supported by the new software and the car programming cannot be updated without replacing it. Cost? $1200.

This seems, of course, totally insane. Replacing the battery means reprogramming the car, but reprogramming the car means replacing the $1200 satellite radio module. BMW has decided to stop supporting 6yr old hardware and insists that it be upgraded. I have never actually used the satellite radio, so the next course of action is to attempt to remove it from the vehicle order. For that we have to wait for a BMW rep to visit the dealer, which could be a week. Then we try programming again.

I have been in the software business pretty much my entire working life, and it's pretty clear that BMW simply dropped backwards compatibility for some of the 2006 hardware. Either that or the software architecture is so bad that they cannot support many option or version combinations.

To me, the implications for ownership of a modern BMW are profound. BMW can decide at any point in time that they will stop you from repairing your vehicle, and there doesn't appear to be any alternative.

My 97 M3 sedan is still a blast to drive at 175k miles, the 68 2002 doesn't do many miles any more, but both of them can be maintained ALMOST indefinitely.

Can you say "Mobile Tradition" ?

Comments? Are we missing another option? Is the BMWNA story BS?

Thanks!

Peter
Ditto on all of it. We Americans should be doing the software and not the Germans. I would think that BMWNA should be able to load the correct program file to your DME. They do older versions based on VIN and options in car. I think they fouled up and some rookie got it wrong on flashing your DME. Shame they don't do the prep work/questions up front and then cost you new hardware to boot.

Apple knows how to integrate hardware and software. They should mimic that model with their software. Also, fault code diagnostics from model to model should be similar and not unique to every model. Mechanically my car is flawless, software wise Apple, Ford or GM could do better with the electronics and user interface stuff. Notice I left Microsoft out. I love driving my 545, but hate all the software complexity. All the different modules to interface and program is just a cluster...
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  #19  
Old 11-01-2012, 04:48 PM
racooper3 racooper3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLO03 View Post
the agm battery is true, cost about $280, reprogramming maybe on a 06 but im still skeptical. what i would do is search this forum for the autozone battery thread, get that part number and pick it up on the way to picking up your car..
I paid $158 for the H8-AGM battery and 3 weeks later took to Fields where they registered battery to car for $75. It is the exact same battery as the BMW branded battery. Johnson Controls/Exide makes the battery here in US. Autozone has a complete unconditional 3 year warranty and 7 year prorated warranty if you buy it from them. So if it dies within 3 years I don't pay one dime to replace it at AutoZone. BMW only warranty for 2 year. Do the math and give your wife a dozen roses with the money you save.

Last edited by racooper3; 11-01-2012 at 05:07 PM.
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  #20  
Old 11-01-2012, 05:05 PM
racooper3 racooper3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txag_530i View Post
Commuterman-

Go to www.bmwcoding.com and learn how to start coding this stuff yourself. You can change the vehicle order, battery type and lots of other things. I can tell you that the entire car doesn't need to be programmed just to change the battery type.

If I were you I'd pick up the car from the dealer and program the thing myself.
I specifically asked the tech who registered my battery and he knew that I was going from lead-acid battery to an AGM battery. There was no complete reprogramming. That is complete garbage. They register the battery and put in the infromation from the battery manufacturer, i.e. total cranking amps, etc. Since my AutoZone H8-AGM battery was exactly the same one they use in that car for BMW brand battery he already knew what settings he needed to code to "register" the battery so proper charging could be done by alternator. Geez.
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  #21  
Old 11-03-2012, 03:34 PM
dkotanto dkotanto is offline
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Bought a non AGM, original type H9 battery from Advance Auto. Made in Germany, fits perfectly, works great. Paid $140. Registered with INPA. Good to go!
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Last edited by dkotanto; 11-03-2012 at 10:20 PM.
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  #22  
Old 11-03-2012, 05:15 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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I got an AMG h8 for 159. Still need to install tho
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  #23  
Old 11-13-2012, 02:09 PM
commuteman commuteman is offline
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A quick update on what happened.

Got the car back with the new AGM battery, the (possibly not required) reprogramming done and the sat radio removed from the vehicle order. Total cost was about $600, within the range that other folks have paid for the switch to AGM.

I'm continuing the discussion with BavPro about the suspicious claim by the dealer that the Sat Radio module had to be upgraded. Specifically, I want to find out if there is any way to verify the claim from a source other than the dealer service dept.

Thanks for all the input, and I'm definitely going to check out the coding path to avoid things like this in future.

Peter
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  #24  
Old 11-13-2012, 04:09 PM
racooper3 racooper3 is offline
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I hate to break it to you Bro' I did the AGM switch for $235, which included the AGM 850 cca battery and reprogramming by dealer in Lakeland. I have the same AGM battery that BMW installs only not their name on it. Can't say I agree with the SAT radio option issue you have. I would definitely go to a third party and perhaps BMW NA Customer Service to have somebody review your part number for compatibility, etc. Good Luck.
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  #25  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:13 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racooper3 View Post
I hate to break it to you Bro' I did the AGM switch for $235, which included the AGM 850 cca battery and reprogramming by dealer in Lakeland. I have the same AGM battery that BMW installs only not their name on it. Can't say I agree with the SAT radio option issue you have. I would definitely go to a third party and perhaps BMW NA Customer Service to have somebody review your part number for compatibility, etc. Good Luck.
$159 here

but did all the coding myself
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