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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 01-15-2015, 06:17 PM
John320 John320 is offline
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Location: Ontario,Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2008 X3.0si
Engine ground cable

Engine ground cable (strap, right side low in engine compartment) I didn’t know we even had one of these – just never came across it (from under the car or on any diagrams) and because there’s a ground from the battery to the body – never thought about it. Well it is important!!!
I was having some problems: starter was turning over slower than normal, although this was progressive over a few months and intermittent at times. Battery power was getting used up quickly as well, but with the short drives I do, I wasn’t that concerned. But with the cold weather, things became worse.
So I started to check it out. The battery was in a weakened state by now (couldn't charge it up fully anymore) so replaced it but no real change, starter was still slow, checked the alternator and it showed a slightly low output to battery of 13.6 volts. Not believing I had multiple failures, I took it to the dealer.
They informed me later that it was the engine ground cable #12-42-3-420-477, corroded and broken.
So with a new cable - all is well – fast turnover and alt voltage up to 14.6 (no real load)

I now see on other BMW models, on the forum, people discussing problems with the ground and replacing the cable – I just hadn’t noticed it on our X3 model – I now know - pleased as well – wasn’t sure if a new starter or alt was in my future --- hope this info might help others
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2015, 07:49 PM
DangermouseX3 DangermouseX3 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2007 X3
Is it "right side low" as you look at the engine, or while sitting in the driver's seat?
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2015, 07:10 AM
John320 John320 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2008 X3.0si
The tech said passenger side – low engine compartment. It’s been very cold, and I haven’t yet had a look myself.
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2015, 08:28 AM
rav31 rav31 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6 Tisilver/gray
Quote:
Originally Posted by John320 View Post
Engine ground cable (strap, right side low in engine compartment) I didn’t know we even had one of these – just never came across it (from under the car or on any diagrams) and because there’s a ground from the battery to the body – never thought about it. Well it is important!!!
I was having some problems: starter was turning over slower than normal, although this was progressive over a few months and intermittent at times. Battery power was getting used up quickly as well, but with the short drives I do, I wasn’t that concerned. But with the cold weather, things became worse.
So I started to check it out. The battery was in a weakened state by now (couldn't charge it up fully anymore) so replaced it but no real change, starter was still slow, checked the alternator and it showed a slightly low output to battery of 13.6 volts. Not believing I had multiple failures, I took it to the dealer.
They informed me later that it was the engine ground cable #12-42-3-420-477, corroded and broken.
So with a new cable - all is well – fast turnover and alt voltage up to 14.6 (no real load)

I now see on other BMW models, on the forum, people discussing problems with the ground and replacing the cable – I just hadn’t noticed it on our X3 model – I now know - pleased as well – wasn’t sure if a new starter or alt was in my future --- hope this info might help others
Here's a picture of it; look at the very lower right hand corner of the pic. This is the front passenger side, just under the exhaust header.

Also one under rear passenger, driver side from exhaust to body in the 2nd picture.




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  #5  
Old 01-17-2015, 09:49 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Location: New Orleans
 
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Posts: 1,169
Mein Auto: X3 and 330
poboy ground start fix ...temporary

if in a bind ....you can always just attach a jumper wire from the top of the engine (a conductive metallic part)someplace secure and then to the ground hex lug or some other secure spot on the body
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2015, 07:30 AM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 330i / 2007 X3
Thanks for the tip! FCP Euro just posted this as a tip as well. Ordered the $20 part, hopefully it fixes the long crank issue (even though battery is fresh). Looks like its near the rear of the passenger side, so it should be a quick swap out.

This make sense since its exposed to the elements.

Last edited by bluskye; 02-02-2015 at 07:37 AM.
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  #7  
Old 02-09-2015, 05:28 AM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 330i / 2007 X3
Happy to report the new cable did improve cold start. The car is now starts consistent with a warm start. The X3 always was a lazy starter, but at least its consistent now.

The cable was not cracked, but was corroded. Dealer charged $40 for part #12-42-3-420-477

Swap was easy:
1. Remove plastic underbelly tray
2. Remove big metal belly plate just rear of plastic tray, 4 bolts
3. You will see the braided cable, passenger side. 2x13mm nuts hold it in place
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2015, 05:33 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Location: New Orleans
 
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Mein Auto: X3 and 330
well done plus add to maintenance routines

the ground straps checks are not on most inspection/maintenance routines but must be.....a good find and best wishes
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