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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-15-2014, 01:46 AM
nickr1985 nickr1985 is offline
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Mein Auto: E46 Touring, E87
Car battery just caught fire!

Dear all;

I was just trying to disconnect a the battery so I could re-set the car computer (trying to get PDC working and using advice on another thread).
I used the supplied spanner from the car's kit, and started to undo the bolt on the positive side (should I have started on the negative??)

Suddenly sparks were flying and I dropped the spanner...

The spanner literally burned and burned- it was burnt in half and then proceeded to melt through the battery in flames.

I can now see the fluid in the battery through the hole in the top.

Two things

1) WHAT ON EARTH DID I DO WRONG?????

2) Can I seal up the battery with some metal tape or do I need a new one? Electrics are working.

3) Can anyone recommend a good councillor?
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2014, 02:36 AM
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3LOU5 3LOU5 is offline
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How in the hell can a spanner catch on fire ??

Was it made in China out of cheap plastic ????
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  #3  
Old 05-15-2014, 02:37 AM
nickr1985 nickr1985 is offline
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Nope- metal spanner from the BMW tool kit.

Had BMW's for 10 years now- never had a spanner break or wear-= yet this morning it burned in half!
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  #4  
Old 05-15-2014, 02:43 AM
nickr1985 nickr1985 is offline
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Must have been an extremely severe fire- I think electricity was constantly flowing through the spanner.

It was a bit like the poor guy who had a very gruesome end in 'The Green Mile'!
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  #5  
Old 05-15-2014, 04:42 AM
Tommy D Tommy D is offline
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You should always remove the negative first. The spanner probably contacted/laid on the negative and positive terminal at the same time arcing and melting it. Time for a new battery and maybe a fuse.
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  #6  
Old 05-15-2014, 06:38 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy D View Post
You should always remove the negative first. The spanner probably contacted/laid on the negative and positive terminal at the same time arcing and melting it. Time for a new battery and maybe a fuse.
The spanner won't reach that far. Classic case of the spanner touching the positive terminal and ANY part of the body or battery mount; Everything on the body is negative ground. Better to lose only the battery and/or spanner; A friend once got a nasty burn on his wrist, which got into the short circuit undoing a battery terminal this way.

Get a new battery.
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2014, 07:13 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
The spanner won't reach that far. Classic case of the spanner touching the positive terminal and ANY part of the body or battery mount; Everything on the body is negative ground. Better to lose only the battery and/or spanner; A friend once got a nasty burn on his wrist, which got into the short circuit undoing a battery terminal this way.

Get a new battery.
^^ this. If you even nick something metal while also contacting the + terminal, you'll get sparks or worse, hence the logic of removing the - terminal FIRST. Even then, it's worth being extremely careful. I usually put a rag down to protect nearby metal surfaces if possible when I'm messing with the + terminal. You're very lucky you didn't do more damage.
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  #8  
Old 05-15-2014, 07:28 AM
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Scott ZHP Scott ZHP is offline
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Welcome to the wrench welding club. I have a pair of open ended wrenches that I use exclusively for changing batteries. I've insulated them in several wraps of electrical tape (one metric, one fractional). The only exposed bit is the jaw.

Good advice above, ALWAYS remove the negative lug from the battery terminal FIRST. At that point, the chassis is no longer a ground relative to the battery.
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2014, 11:34 AM
cvx5832 cvx5832 is offline
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You started with the positive first, there's your problem. You made contact with the body or the bracket that holds the battery down.
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  #10  
Old 05-15-2014, 11:42 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott ZHP View Post
Welcome to the wrench welding club.
I'm a member of that club too! I was trying to disconnect a boat battery with a Leatherman tool. I was working on the - side first but I slipped and dropped the tool, it landed on the positive terminal and touched some ground point and it sparked, welding itself open before it fell off the battery (luckily).
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  #11  
Old 05-15-2014, 12:04 PM
Caver Dave Caver Dave is offline
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And if you think 12VDC@700-800A is bad... bump that up to 24VDC@1200A

Years ago, was doing battery maintenance (clean/grease clamps & posts) on an M923 with a helper, when he accidentally shorted one of those very large/heavy "military screwdrivers" across some terminals... blew the tops off 2 (of the 4) batteries and instantly VAPORIZED his wedding band, watch, & dog-tags into his flesh!
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  #12  
Old 05-15-2014, 01:02 PM
racin366 racin366 is offline
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As said above, always remove the negative first. You're gonna need a battery for sure, and maybe some other things as well, but you won't know that until you get the battery.
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  #13  
Old 05-15-2014, 02:21 PM
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ahull ahull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickr1985 View Post
Dear all;

I was just trying to disconnect a the battery so I could re-set the car computer (trying to get PDC working and using advice on another thread).
I used the supplied spanner from the car's kit, and started to undo the bolt on the positive side (should I have started on the negative??)

Suddenly sparks were flying and I dropped the spanner...

The spanner literally burned and burned- it was burnt in half and then proceeded to melt through the battery in flames.

I can now see the fluid in the battery through the hole in the top.

Two things

1) WHAT ON EARTH DID I DO WRONG?????

2) Can I seal up the battery with some metal tape or do I need a new one? Electrics are working.

3) Can anyone recommend a good councillor?

1. Answered above.

2. No, get a new one.

3. A guy named Johnny Walker.

I don't know why, but I became strangely excited when I saw this thread title.....
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Last edited by ahull; 05-15-2014 at 02:22 PM.
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  #14  
Old 05-15-2014, 04:14 PM
new_kid new_kid is offline
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1) You add Plus and Minus

2) Yes, but sheet metal is better

3) Dr. Kavorkian



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  #15  
Old 05-15-2014, 04:45 PM
racin366 racin366 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by new_kid View Post
1) You add Plus and Minus

2) Yes, but sheet metal is better

3) Dr. Kavorkian



If you try to reseal a busted battery with sheet metal or anything conductive you won't need Dr Kevorkian.
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