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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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Old 12-30-2012, 12:22 PM
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akthorp akthorp is offline
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Location: North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 212
Mein Auto: 435GC, 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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Old 12-30-2012, 03:34 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Location: MA
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,219
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.

2000 540/6 Slightly tweeked...everywhere

Last edited by JimLev; 12-30-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:39 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 03:43 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
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
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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