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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 07-18-2008, 02:51 PM
Koda1021 Koda1021 is offline
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07 X3 Dead Battery - 3rd time in 3 months!

Hello Everyone!
I am hoping somebody can give me some insight into what the heck is going on. My mom's 07 X3 battery died again today. This happened the first time about three months ago. BMW Assist came out and jumped it, all was fine. A month later, same thing. The tech that came out this time told my mom to be sure to attempt to drive the car when possible to keep the battery from dying (she works from home, so doesn't leave as much as I do...just to run errands, etc.) She made it a point to get in the car and drive it for at least 20 minutes every single day (she drove it yesterday!). She just now went out to run an errand, and it's dead again!

I called the service department, and I'm already being met by rude statements that the car needs to be driven often to keep the battery charged. I haven't talked to a rep yet, but feel I'm going to get the same thing. As I said to the person at the service department, should my mom have to waste $10 a day in gas just so the darn battery keeps a charge??!!

This is really frustrating, and I'm just curious if there's a known issue with the 07's? I did a search and saw that there have been issues with the 06's. This is really annoying, and I fear that the service department is going to give me grief for the amount of miles on the car!

Thanks in advance for any advice or assistance!
Sasha
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2008, 02:55 PM
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Sounds like a legitimate problem. Explain the situation to the service advisor and tell him/her firmly, but politely, that the problem needs to be solved. In this case, it looks like a faulty battery. I think driving amount is not the concern here.

Our 2004 X3 is still running on its original battery..........(knocks on wood). We parked it for 2 weeks when we went to Germany. Started up normal when we got back.

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 07-18-2008 at 03:34 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2008, 03:10 PM
markled markled is offline
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Do you have any non-oem electrical devices installed in the vehicle?
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2008, 03:15 PM
Vodka G Vodka G is offline
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call that BS ...mordern day cars dun needs be driven EVERYDAY to keep the batt up that's BS

i had the toyota service rep tells me the same thing and i call BS on it (on a co. vehicle which was a prius)

i am sooo sick of service rep telling you that is YOUR FAULT whenevr something is wrong with the car...hummm you should have done this and you should have done that etc.

i say drop the car off and say that you wont take it until is fixed.

you should be able to not drive a car for at least a good week or two without having to jump it......there must be a elect draining somewhere in the system
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2008, 04:10 PM
Koda1021 Koda1021 is offline
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Originally Posted by markled View Post
Do you have any non-oem electrical devices installed in the vehicle?
No, nothing extra in the car at all.
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2008, 04:21 PM
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Your mom started having problems after having the car for a year. If it was not driven much until problems appeared the battery may be toast. Check your alternator. The solution is use a plug-in battery maintainer. What we used to call a trickle charger, but with sophisticated software.
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  #7  
Old 07-18-2008, 05:04 PM
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Kod, there is a parking light feature (mostly used in Europe) that turns on a light in the front and rear turn signal when you leave the indicator stalk in the turn left (or right, but I have only seen it on the left). At night you would notice it, but in the daytime it is very hard to spot with sun reflection etc. Anyway, I offer that as a possibility. The feature is listed in the manual. I have actually used it when parked on narrow streets at night.
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  #8  
Old 07-18-2008, 06:09 PM
Koda1021 Koda1021 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ken View Post
Your mom started having problems after having the car for a year. If it was not driven much until problems appeared the battery may be toast. Check your alternator. The solution is use a plug-in battery maintainer. What we used to call a trickle charger, but with sophisticated software.
Thanks for the suggestion. Actually, about the X3 not being driven much, I realized something interesting. I have an '08 535xi. We are lucky in that the area we live in is very centrally located. My job is only a few miles away, and everything we need/want is at most 10 minutes away. Monday through Friday, I drive the few miles to work (less than 5 minutes) and home in the evening (every now and then making a stop to have drinks with friends or run an errand). When she goes out, she goes a lot further a lot longer. I've never had an issue with my battery.

The longest her car ever sat was maybe 3 days, so there was never an extended period where the vehicle wasn't driven when it died the first time (or 2nd or 3rd for that matter). Although, one interesting coincidence is that all three times happened when we had sweltering heat (today, for instance, was near 100).

Thanks for the battery maintainer suggestion, though. Any particular brand that you recommend?
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  #9  
Old 07-18-2008, 07:49 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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The battery maintainer is a great stop gap for a much older car, but not an 07. The battery is faulty and needs to be replaced.

It sounds like it has developed a "memory". That is when a battery is not charged properly at the beginning and drained. Then completely recharged. This applies to ALL rechargeable batterries from your Ipod to a Boom Box to a full size generator.

This battery was faulty from the git go when it left the factory. It happens but to blame the owner is unacceptable.

The heat is exacerbating the problem and helps prove my point since it changes the electro-chemical process.

Extreme heat or cold will do it to a faulty battery every time.

She should be able to leave that vehicle for weeks and come back and have it kick over.

Do not accept it's your fault.

Last edited by Evlengr; 07-18-2008 at 07:54 PM.
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  #10  
Old 07-18-2008, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
The battery maintainer is a great stop gap for a much older car, but not an 07. The battery is faulty and needs to be replaced.

It sounds like it has developed a "memory". That is when a battery is not charged properly at the beginning and drained. Then completely recharged. This applies to ALL rechargeable batterries from your Ipod to a Boom Box to a full size generator.

This battery was faulty from the git go when it left the factory. It happens but to blame the owner is unacceptable.

The heat is exacerbating the problem and helps prove my point since it changes the electro-chemical process.

Extreme heat or cold will do it to a faulty battery every time.

She should be able to leave that vehicle for weeks and come back and have it kick over.

Do not accept it's your fault.
^What he said.
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  #11  
Old 07-18-2008, 08:25 PM
Mitch3672 Mitch3672 is offline
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Based on what you said sounds like the battery is toast. It's much less likely a bad alternator or electrical gremlin.

We have an 07 mostly used on weekends and often sits in the garage a whole week.
And most of the time the doors are open, hatch open loading kid's gear, loading kid. I can go 10-15 minutes with interior lights on before even starting the sucker.

Never once a starting (or any) issue. Here is Canada it's brutal cold and now brutal hot. No aural sign of a weak battery ever. Starts instantly and strong. Car now has 14,000kms (approx 8500 miles).

Insist they look at the battery.

IMO. a battery minder is unnecessary unless the car sits for more than 3 weeks and often so.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2008, 02:49 AM
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Our 2007 X3 is mostly a week end car. We let it sit for a week all the time. If we do drive to work it is all of 3 miles. Zero problems with dead batteries. Something is wrong with that X3. I'd start with charging the battery and then putting it on a load tester.

Automotive start batteries will sulfate if you look at them funny. No really. Leave them dead for a few days and mostly they are toast.


>>Paste in what EE said. <<

Try taking the car to a different dealer. Some service departments are much better than others. Tell the SA you've had the car in for same problem 3 times now. You are well on the way to a lemon law buyback or a trade assist. Start keeping careful records.
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2008, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Thanks for the battery maintainer suggestion, though. Any particular brand that you recommend?
Griot's lists one for $80 that even has a quick-disconnect feature. I disagree with the previous posters that there is likely something wrong with the car. Modern cars are notorious for slowly draining amperage at rest. Ferraris are almost always second or third, used-on-weekend-only cars. They so typically drain their batteries that new models are optionally fitted with a plug-in battery maintainer built right in. How many miles has the X3 been driven in total over what period of time?

My plan would be replace the battery, have someone check that the alternator works ( almost certainly it will be fine) and keep a battery maintainer on the car. THEN if you have problems you really do have a problem. I am not a mechanic but I do know it's possible to check the amperage draw at rest and ascertain if it is unusually high. Or you could have just had a bad battery!
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2008, 05:55 AM
MPBX3 MPBX3 is offline
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Besides the 2004 X3 on the original battery with no problem, I also have a 95 YJ that sits for up to a month at a time with no problem starting it up.
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2008, 06:37 AM
Mitch3672 Mitch3672 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie View Post
You are well on the way to a lemon law buyback or a trade assist. Start keeping careful records.
Whoa, easy now soldier. No need to bring a gun to a butter knife fight. It's most likely a bum battery. Don't need to ditch the whole car.
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  #16  
Old 07-19-2008, 06:40 AM
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Whoa, easy now soldier. No need to bring a gun to a butter knife fight. It's most likely a bum battery. Don't need to ditch the whole car.
Yeah, no kidding! Personally I was thinking of suing Angelina Jolie for overpopulation!
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  #17  
Old 07-19-2008, 06:53 AM
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My money's on an electrical system problem.

No way should BMW refuse to see the car. You have to get the problem fixed either way and if it's a warranty repair, it's free.

I think it's time to put a boot up someone's behind or move to another dealership. You're not getting good BMW service.

BTW, a battery maintainer is a waste of money. No way a modern car should need one for such a short period of non-use.

Last edited by HT417; 07-19-2008 at 06:55 AM.
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  #18  
Old 07-19-2008, 06:53 AM
Mitch3672 Mitch3672 is offline
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Yeah, no kidding! Personally I was thinking of suing Angelina Jolie for overpopulation!
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  #19  
Old 07-19-2008, 08:56 AM
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Hey Guys, I have the electrical outputs of my old 07 X3 on file from a calibrated military spec oscilliscope.

I took the same readings on my new 08 X3. They were within .3 volts of each other at rest and .2 at standard idle.

The dealership can do the same thing I just did with their equipment (not as accurate mine, mind you, Lol).

This will determine if its the battery or alternator immediately. Either way it's covered under warranty


I think what A/D is pointing out is when you want to fight, to overwhelm the opponent so they will comply right away.

Personally I like to bring a Howitzer.

Last edited by Evlengr; 07-19-2008 at 10:23 AM.
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  #20  
Old 07-19-2008, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post

I think what A/D is pointing out is when you want to fight, to overwhelm the opponent so they will comply right away.

Personally I like to bring a Howitzer.

Yup.
This is a no brainer.
Dealer should take the car, test the battery, charging system and key off current drain. These are easy tests. I can do them and I don't have the specialized tools a dealer will.

From the symptoms I'd bet that battery is unable to hold anything but a surface charge. Car sits for a week and it won't start.


Lemon law threat is just to get your idiot SA to pay attention. Either that or just try another dealer. == In the US dealerships are independent from BMW. Some are much better than others.
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 07-19-2008 at 09:42 AM.
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  #21  
Old 07-19-2008, 03:56 PM
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What the dealership should have done is perform a closed circuit measurement to see how much it takes to kill the battery. If the car is kept in a garage and the key is not removed from the ignition lock completely (semi-removed status), there is a critical distance between the key and the ring antenna where the EWS will detect status permanently changing between "key inserted" and "key removed". This will result in a permanent closed circuit current of approximately 800 mA. If the vehicle doesn't go to sleep in 16 minutes at 30 milliamp normal draw, there is a sleep preventer. The few X3 that I have came across turned out to be TCU waking up the whole car as it checks the status of the car. The TCU needed to be repaired using the MOXA, the other X3 's I came across had expired contract so the Telematics feature was deactivated. On vehicles equipped with BMW Assist, there are additional current fluctuations as high as 500ma that last for approximately 2 minutes. The fluctuations occur every 15 minutes for up to 14 hours after key off. This is considered normal operation of the TCU and should not be considered a fault. Faults of course should have been checked. If there is a module that isn't responding, that's the sleep preventer. And when voltage drops below 10 volts, it's when relays (and all electric switches you see at radio shack or circuit boards) go crazy and click away. When happens they stick and continues flow of voltage from the relay or module to the corresponding component it powers. So that makes it even quicker to kill a battery after having been recharged or recovered. It will eventually kill a cell, as they would feed off of each other. VRLA or AGM battery :

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...71&hg=61&fg=30

We are now using a different type of battery so know that this isn't what your other cars have. AGM stands for absorbent glass mat, or absorbent glass-fiber fleece. VRLA as it is also known means valve-regulated lead acid, or a lead battery with a pressure relief valve. In contrast to conventional lead-calcium batteries, the sulfuric acid in a battery with fleece technology is not held as a liquid in the battery housing, but rather it is completely bound (100%) in the glass-fiber fleece (separators). This gives increased security against the acid escaping and thus reduces the environmental risk. For this reason, no acid can escape if the battery housing is damaged. In addition, the AGM battery is sealed to be airtight. This is possible because the gases are converted back into water by the permeability of the separators. AGM batteries differ from conventional lead-calcium batteries in their environmental compatibility and their retention of gases during charging.

When a vehicle battery is charged, the electrolysis process emits the gases oxygen and hydrogen.

In a conventional lead-calcium battery, these two gases are released into the atmosphere.

In an AGM battery, the two gases are converted back into water: The oxygen created at the positive electrode during charging moves through the permeable glass-fiber fleece to the negative electrode, where it reacts with the hydrogen ions that are brought in with the electrolyte, to create water (oxygen cycle). In this manner, the gases, and thus the electrolyte, is not lost.

Only when the gas production is excessive, that is when too much pressure is generated (20 to 200 mbar), does the pressure-relief valve open, thereby allowing gas to escape while also preventing entry of atmospheric oxygen. Because the pressure in the battery is regulated by a valve, the AGM battery is also known as the VRLA battery (valve-regulated lead acid).

For more info on what causes car batteries to fail : http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-42B.htm
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Last edited by BMW_tech; 07-19-2008 at 04:06 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-19-2008, 04:37 PM
Mitch3672 Mitch3672 is offline
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Originally Posted by BMW_tech View Post
What the dealership should have done is perform a closed circuit measurement to see how much it takes to kill the battery. If the car is kept in a garage and the key is not removed from the ignition lock completely (semi-removed status), there is a critical distance between the key and the ring antenna where the EWS will detect status permanently changing between "key inserted" and "key removed". This will result in a permanent closed circuit current of approximately 800 mA. If the vehicle doesn't go to sleep in 16 minutes at 30 milliamp normal draw, there is a sleep preventer. The few X3 that I have came across turned out to be TCU waking up the whole car as it checks the status of the car. The TCU needed to be repaired using the MOXA, the other X3 's I came across had expired contract so the Telematics feature was deactivated. On vehicles equipped with BMW Assist, there are additional current fluctuations as high as 500ma that last for approximately 2 minutes. The fluctuations occur every 15 minutes for up to 14 hours after key off. This is considered normal operation of the TCU and should not be considered a fault. Faults of course should have been checked. If there is a module that isn't responding, that's the sleep preventer. And when voltage drops below 10 volts, it's when relays (and all electric switches you see at radio shack or circuit boards) go crazy and click away. When happens they stick and continues flow of voltage from the relay or module to the corresponding component it powers. So that makes it even quicker to kill a battery after having been recharged or recovered. It will eventually kill a cell, as they would feed off of each other. VRLA or AGM battery :

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...71&hg=61&fg=30

We are now using a different type of battery so know that this isn't what your other cars have. AGM stands for absorbent glass mat, or absorbent glass-fiber fleece. VRLA as it is also known means valve-regulated lead acid, or a lead battery with a pressure relief valve. In contrast to conventional lead-calcium batteries, the sulfuric acid in a battery with fleece technology is not held as a liquid in the battery housing, but rather it is completely bound (100%) in the glass-fiber fleece (separators). This gives increased security against the acid escaping and thus reduces the environmental risk. For this reason, no acid can escape if the battery housing is damaged. In addition, the AGM battery is sealed to be airtight. This is possible because the gases are converted back into water by the permeability of the separators. AGM batteries differ from conventional lead-calcium batteries in their environmental compatibility and their retention of gases during charging.

When a vehicle battery is charged, the electrolysis process emits the gases oxygen and hydrogen.

In a conventional lead-calcium battery, these two gases are released into the atmosphere.

In an AGM battery, the two gases are converted back into water: The oxygen created at the positive electrode during charging moves through the permeable glass-fiber fleece to the negative electrode, where it reacts with the hydrogen ions that are brought in with the electrolyte, to create water (oxygen cycle). In this manner, the gases, and thus the electrolyte, is not lost.

Only when the gas production is excessive, that is when too much pressure is generated (20 to 200 mbar), does the pressure-relief valve open, thereby allowing gas to escape while also preventing entry of atmospheric oxygen. Because the pressure in the battery is regulated by a valve, the AGM battery is also known as the VRLA battery (valve-regulated lead acid).

For more info on what causes car batteries to fail : http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-42B.htm
Oh brother are you serious?

Or, it's a dead battery....
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  #23  
Old 07-19-2008, 04:43 PM
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If you paid attention Mitch, you'd know the BMW_Tech is one of the most respected posters on here... you could learn something from him.
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  #24  
Old 07-19-2008, 07:52 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Well, at least we all agree on one thing.

The dealer should not have written this off so quickly.

Whether it is due to parasitic drain, or a bad battery is irrelevent at this point.

The point is this is a situation that can be diganosed in many ways beyond "It's Your Fault".

I did /do not show any appreciable current drain in my old or current X3 Even with all the sound gear I have installed ( 3 amplifers, head unit, alarm system, etc...)

One thing I have found over the years of engineering and trouble shooting is go for the obvious first. Over-engineering a diagnosis is the last option. Although BMW-tech's explanation makes perfect sense.

So Koda call the Service Manager or take it over to Passport near AFB and ask for Bob Hall.

He and I have gone the distance with my situation and they have been professionals through it all.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:53 AM
arcticdog arcticdog is offline
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I'm going through the same problem as the OP. (Read my original post here: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=289768)

Right now my 2008 X3 is at the dealer a second time within a month's time for this same problem.
The first time in, they replaced the OEM battery and did the closed-circuit test overnight. They said everything checked out ok.

Apparently everything was not OK, and the battery drained completely over the July 4th long weekend.
This time the SA let the car sit idle at the dealer service center to "confirm" that the X3 would not start after 1-2 days. Indeed the battery died in their hands.
So they did more diagnostics, and my last update from the SA over the phone was that they were reading a draw of 400mA at regular intervals in the electrical system. The SA said they needed to diagnose and possibly replace the TCU computer, but they needed authorization from BMW headquarters to do something so drastic.

So now I await their word. At least the 328xi loaner starts reliably!

By the way, the SA did ask me whether I use a BLUETOOTH phone . I told the SA that when I took delivery, my sales adviser set up the system and paired it with my 1G iPhone. However I rarely make calls while driving, and oftentimes I turn OFF bluetooth in the phone.

Last edited by arcticdog; 07-21-2008 at 10:04 AM.
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