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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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  #1  
Old 10-02-2010, 12:48 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 528i, M52TU w/stick
Good Replacement Batteries for the e39?

My car seems to have a weak BMW-brand battery. Messing around with a DICE install couple days ago, I listened to the stereo without cranking the engine, and with doors open and cabin lights on for 20-25 minutes....maybe twice the same day. That night I left the DICE plugged into the CD-changer connections in the trunk. Don't know if that mattered....

Yesterday car would not turn over, even once.... just a click. The battery charge indicator is normally green but this time it was black ("insufficiently charged") and would only run the instrument/cabin lights etc. The diagnostic test (#9 ) on my high cluster showed a voltage of 11.6V (with engine off). Normally (when I haven't been mucking around in the cabin with accessories on for half an hour....), the test #9 voltage is 12.6V off, 13.8V with engine running.

I jumpstarted the car, drove it around for about an hour last night and confirmed it had that test#9 12.6V reading (13.8V with engine running) when I got home. This morning, opened the trunk, battery indicator is still in the black (forgot to check last night), and test #9 shows 12.1V. However, the car cranked right up, so I let it idle again for about 10 minutes, shut it down, test #9 reading was 12.5V. Indicator still in black.

I decided to pull the battery from the car and do some basic maintenance (top up with distilled water). I couldn't find any obvious dates on the labels and after peeling back the top stickers, discovered the cell "caps" are not removable, just hard plastic flush-fit inserts that will probably crack if I try to pry them out.

Not sure how to date the BMW battery. It has a long code in the top middle, along the edge, reads "DB0402172006." Manufacturer bar code label says Mfg. by DBMC Winston-Salem, N.C."

Aftermarket choices I have locally for replacement...

Local 49-DL from Autozone is $95 + core fee of $12.
Everstart battery from local Walmart is $77.

Last edited by pleiades; 10-02-2010 at 01:24 PM. Reason: brand spelling (Everstart)
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2010, 01:23 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Both of your choices will probably get you along for another 3 or 4 years. If you want the "best" (subjective I know, since we don't have definitive test data on our wierd Group 49 size from Consumer Reports) is the East Penn Group 49. You can get it in the normal flooded "wet cell" or the Absorbed Glass Mat" (AGM) version. http://www.dekabatteries.com/assets/base/0379.pdf They are sold through various retailers http://www.dekabatteries.com/default.aspx?pageid=10 . Easiest to find are Battery Plus stores. http://www.batteriesplus.com/t-storeloc.aspx Batteries Plus sells them under their Ray O Vac private label brand....they used to sell them under the Werker label. Don't trust the Batteries Plus online application guide, as it recommends a Group 93 size which is wrong. You want a Group 49. Just call any BP store and tell them you want a price check on a Group 49 in standard and AGM versions.

East Penn have long life and very high Cold Cranking Amp (CCA) ratings. 900 CCA! I have the wet cell version and after four years of use, I recently load tested it and it still had over 900 CCA. I bought mine four years ago for $93. I think now they are more like $130 to $140, and the AGM is around $170 or $175. Shop around for best price.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 10-02-2010 at 01:30 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2010, 01:26 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Thanks, I'll give the local BatteriesPlus shop a call, forgot about them....

.......zip ........ just off the phone with 'em, they have two types.

SLI49H8

and

SLI93T8 Rayovac Maximum (<- this the one that's Group 93 and NOT the one I want, right?)


Both $99 after $10 "rebate" from exchange of old battery. Both are wet-cell Rayovac products it appears.


http://www.batteriesplus.com/product...-850CCA/1.aspx

Last edited by pleiades; 10-02-2010 at 01:37 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2010, 01:42 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Battery Replacement with Duralast 49-DL:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1162887
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2010, 02:16 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Thanks, I'll give the local BatteriesPlus shop a call, forgot about them....

.......zip ........ just off the phone with 'em, they have two types.

SLI49H8

and

SLI93T8 Rayovac Maximum (<- this the one that's Group 93 and NOT the one I want, right?)


Both $99 after $10 "rebate" from exchange of old battery. Both are wet-cell Rayovac products it appears.


http://www.batteriesplus.com/product...-850CCA/1.aspx
Weird, mine looks just like the "93" they have pictured, and is 900 CCA and definitely made by East Penn. Here's the deal; if you can confirm the SLI49H8 is still made by East Penn, then I would get it, because the quality is top notch. East Penn, btw, bought out Douglas Batteries, the oem supplier for BMWNA several years ago. Notice how the "93" battery pictured on the Batteries Plus website has the handles just like the oem battery... Same maker I believe...just difference color to the case.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 10-02-2010 at 02:19 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2010, 02:31 PM
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- Battery: A charged battery is 33.5% (volume/volume%) sulfuric acid (4.2 Molar H2SO4, ) & distilled water (Bentley 020-23) with positive plates containing lead dioxide (PbO2) and negative plates of lead (Pb), both mixed with calcium (Ca) to minimize gassing (i.e., loss of water) and other elements (such as tin, antimony, & selenium to harden the plates and simplify manufacturing) in a polypropylene case. In the discharged state, both plates turn to lead sulfate (PbSO4) as the electrolyte loses its dissolved sulfuric acid and becomes primarily water (which can freeze in cold temperatures and the lead sulfate may form insoluble crystals which, over time, reduce the capacity of the battery if it is not recharged immediately after discharge). [Total Volume: unknown but users have reported adding about 20 ml per cell after two years of use]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime fluid (top off only if needed, after removing steel strap, two stickers and then unscrewing the six cell caps, and filling to the fill line which is 1/4 inch or 5mm above the top of the plates at the very bottom of the internal black plastic depth indicator). The OEM battery has built-in hydrometer where green indicates a charged battery and black indicates a discharged battery, and yellow indicates a defective battery. Better to test at 27C/80F by loading battery with 15 amperes for 1 minute (or just turn headlights on w/o engine running) and then perform a 1.265 specific-gravity hydrometer test of each of the six cells (add or subtract 0.004 to the hydrometer reading for every 10F/6C above or below 27C/80F respectively); and a 12.6 volt open-circuit voltage test across the battery terminals (Bentley 121-5, 121-6). OEM specs are BMW 61.21.8.381.762, USA 729905-10, EN 12V 90Ah 720A, SAE 160 RC 720 CCA. Aftermarket batteries are Duralast 49-DL, Duralast 94-R, NAPA #7549, Deka 649MF, Interstate MTP-93; must have side vent and a stamped date code within the last couple of months.


Last edited by bluebee; 10-02-2010 at 02:34 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2010, 07:16 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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I grabbed a 49-DL from the local Autozone. It's in, car spins up real fast. Mfg build date June 2010, made in Mexico. Felt a few pounds lighter than the BMW-labeled battery it replaced. Should I have charged it prior to installing? I'm assuming it'll be golden after a couple hours of driving.
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  #8  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:17 PM
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You'll be fine. It is ideal to charge, but not absolutely required. What is super hard on the alternator, is jump starting a dead battery and letting the alternator charge the battery from zero, back up. Doing that once or twice is probably okay, but multiple times will kill the alternator....the alternator is for topping up the battery not completely charging it.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:46 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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I jumpstarted the car from the terminal bolts under the hood; is that as bad on the alternator? I figure I'll be doing the alternator overhaul before too long.

I was surprised to find that the BMW battery didn't have removable cell caps, but happy to see the Duralast at least does allow for occasional maintenance.
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2010, 11:27 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
I was surprised to find that the BMW battery didn't have removable cell caps
Somewhere in the battery threads, it's noted that the BMW battery DOES have the removable cell caps.

Apparently you just have to remove the stickers to get to 'em.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2010, 12:19 AM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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I'll upload a pic. The caps on my old battery were just flat-flush plastic inserts that I felt would be damaged or cracked if I tried to remove them. Maybe not..... but I did try to pry one out and it wouldn't budge....
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:21 AM
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borderchris borderchris is offline
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I've heard great things about that 49-DL- I actually put in an Interstate only because my local Napa had a steal on them.

You guys are going to laugh, but the battery I replaced was the crusty-looking, original battery, dated 12-02. It actually wasn't dead yet, but was starting to show signs of weakness. I was shocked that it lasted nearly 8 years, but it's the second German battery I've seen that with. My '01 had the original, which died at the 6 year mark.
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:00 AM
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Orxan4ik Orxan4ik is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540iA
My interstate is doing the same thing, but unless it completely dies I just know not to do things that will run my battery down dry.
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  #14  
Old 10-03-2010, 12:03 PM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borderchris View Post
I've heard great things about that 49-DL- I actually put in an Interstate only because my local Napa had a steal on them.

You guys are going to laugh, but the battery I replaced was the crusty-looking, original battery, dated 12-02. It actually wasn't dead yet, but was starting to show signs of weakness. I was shocked that it lasted nearly 8 years, but it's the second German battery I've seen that with. My '01 had the original, which died at the 6 year mark.
Only thing is that your "German" battery is American.

It is Douglass Batteries, Made in USA. The cars came here with no batteries and it was installed here. (I checked with the source).

Some 5 years ago I bought a douglass battery for my E39. I called the factory and asked them if their battery is available retail and if so, who sells them. So they gave me a name or a parts shop and special delivered a brand new fresh battery to them. It is identical to what came in my car (I already knew that) and is the same that the dealer was selling you.

Douglass was sold to another battery manufacturer. Don't are no longer exist.

mw
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  #15  
Old 10-03-2010, 02:40 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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How might I tell if my alternator is on the ropes? I used the cluster test #9 to measure car (battery) voltage with the engine running and not. I've driven the car maybe two hours since installing a new 49-DL battery yesterday. With the engine on, the voltage reading is 13.6-13.8. With it off, the reading is 12.1-12.3. That seems low but my hope is it'll come up after a few more days driving. Still...... maybe the alternator is worn out? Or could this be a sign of a dud battery?
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  #16  
Old 10-03-2010, 04:02 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
How might I tell if my alternator is on the ropes?
When my alternator was bad, the #9 cluster test read 11.4 to 12 volts; and with the new alternator, just about what yours is reading.


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  #17  
Old 10-03-2010, 05:59 PM
hazzem hazzem is offline
haz
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battery replacement

if somebody can correct me if i am wrong, in auto zone.com web site they say the duralast battery 49-dl, does not t fit my vehicle, which is 1998 528i (e39), is that true, i got the duralast gold model number h8-dlg for about 152.00$, can some body help me on this, cause the only battery theyt say available for my car is the duralast h8-dlg
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  #18  
Old 10-03-2010, 06:42 PM
hazzem hazzem is offline
haz
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oplease help

is the 49-dl duralast will fit on my 528 1998 car
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  #19  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:41 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazzem View Post
is the 49-dl duralast will fit on my 528 1998 car
Is it a 528i sedan? It should work. I just installed one in my 1999 528i, fit perfectly. Also, a few posts above, cn90 gave us a link to a do-it-yourself install procedure by someone with a 1998 540i. Look at those pics and see.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1162887

I noticed also that Autozone website listed only the expensive h8-dlg battery but thanks to this forum, I already knew that the 49-dl would work in my car.
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  #20  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:50 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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There is a thread in the e46 forum about how great the walmart battery is


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  #21  
Old 10-04-2010, 04:56 PM
hazzem hazzem is offline
haz
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e39 528 battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Is it a 528i sedan? It should work. I just installed one in my 1999 528i, fit perfectly. Also, a few posts above, cn90 gave us a link to a do-it-yourself install procedure by someone with a 1998 540i. Look at those pics and see.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1162887

I noticed also that Autozone website listed only the expensive h8-dlg battery but thanks to this forum, I already knew that the 49-dl would work in my car.
yes, it is sedan, is the 540 and 528 sedan e39 1998 same exact size in battery compartment,

if it is , so it will fit my car, thanks for reply
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  #22  
Old 10-04-2010, 05:46 PM
wolfen wolfen is offline
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Pep boys. 1100 cca and working like a beast for years.
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  #23  
Old 10-04-2010, 06:25 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazzem View Post
is the 49-dl duralast will fit on my 528 1998 car
Yes, I have the same car 1998 528i and I have Duralast 49-DL.
Great battery for the price (I paid $80 in Jan 2009).
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  #24  
Old 10-04-2010, 06:28 PM
haolibird haolibird is online now
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Mein Auto: E39 540i, E39 M5, E34 535
used / re-conditioned = $35.00

Typically will outlast your car.

Interstate "Blem" (blemished) $45.00

Batteries are a scam.
IMHO

aloha
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  #25  
Old 10-04-2010, 06:31 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
When my alternator was bad, the #9 cluster test read 11.4 to 12 volts; and with the new alternator, just about what yours is reading.
Another day, another test #9, it is up to 12.6V engine off, 13.9V engine running. If I believe my Scangauge, it reads a corresponding 12.8V and 14.2V. Funny, I thought this data would be identical whether from the instrument cluster or the OBCII port....

(I'm about ready to plug that DICE back in, I think....)
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