Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-30-2011, 09:35 AM
vildside vildside is offline
vildside
Location: SoCa
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2007 BMW M6
Unhappy Battery drain overnight

I have a 1999 540i with 120,500 miles on it. I discovered about two months ago my battery was dead one morning. I just changed the battery because it was the original battery. About a week later the new battery (a Sears Diehard, 850 CCA), was dead. I recharged it and started my long journey of electrical diagnostics. I discovered the electrical system of my car was pulling 2.20 amps when the car is off, after the battery has been disconnected overnight. The alternator is good, I have pulled every fuse, changed the ignition switch, changed the FSU (FSR), disconnected the amp and CD changer and something is still drawing 2.20 amps....can anyone help me, please?????

Last edited by vildside; 01-30-2011 at 10:05 AM.
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:17 AM
air_cooled air_cooled is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Canada
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 406
Mein Auto: E39 528i / E34 540i
You have done the troubleshooting that would typically be suggested.

This problem was asked about just recently by another member. The solution was a replacement alternator.
Check the alternator for current draw, you may have a failed diode leaking to ground.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:43 AM
bmw_n00b13's Avatar
bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
Freude am Fahren
Location: Cambridge, ON
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,372
Mein Auto: 99 528iA
That's a lot of draw. Try pulling fuses after the car goes to sleep and pull the fuses one by one and check the draw with each one. That will narrow down where it's coming from.
__________________
'99 528i ('98/12 build). 174,000km BY29428/Royalrot
Breaking My Wallet since 2009
Mods: Stoptech SS brake hose, 280piece toolkit resting on trunk floor, Beisan VANOS seals
'99 540i (grandfather's)

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:44 AM
jamesdc4 jamesdc4 is offline
Registered User
Location: West Michigan
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 38
Mein Auto: 1998 540iA (Mfr 11/97)
With the car running, you can unlock your OBC and use test #9 to determine the voltage being put out by the alternator. Idealy, it should be around 13.7 volts.
You can also go to Autozone where they will test your alternator for free.
What that being said, I believe the draw indicates something else going on other than a failing alt.

How can I tell if I have the High or Low OBC?

How do I unlock the OBC (Low and High)?

GL

Edit:
Moderators,

If the links above are not allowed, please edit and accept my apologies for the violation. We have a rule against this on BF.c, but we allow it if it is soley for the purpose of assisting a member.

TIA

Last edited by jamesdc4; 02-09-2011 at 08:27 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-30-2011, 12:43 PM
mmihailov mmihailov is offline
Registered User
Location: Gaithersburg, MD
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 59
Mein Auto: 02 530I and 01 740I
Hi, in order to diagnose this problem you need to proceed systematically by removing fuses after the car's computer puts everything down in sleep mode. I will describe the procedure I followed when I had a similar problem, although if you are not comfortable with diagnostics of electrical problems then you'd better ask someone to do it for you. First, I am making the assumption that you don't have a precision clamp on DC amp. meter. If you do, then you don't need to disconnect the battery. Most people would not have this amp. meter. You would not be able to purchase it at Sears or automotive store either. Only specialized stores online sell it and its expensive. So, in the absence of an inductive clamp on amp. meter, your only other option is to disconnect the battery and connect a trustworthy amp. meter in series to the battery. Make sure connections are reliable. Having done that, you wait 15 minutes for your car to go to sleep mode - keep the trunk open. Lock your car, turn the alarm on, and push the latch on your trunk lid in to simulate closed trunk. A sign that the car is in sleep mode is that the little light by the gear shifter inside your car goes out. At this moment, your current should be below 50mA. If it is above that, you have a parasitic drain. You can start pulling fuses one after another until the current drops below 50mA. One complication is that after you pull a fuse, the car may wake up and the current draw will shoot up again. In this case, you would have to wait till the car goes back to sleep mode and continue to remove fuses. You should not open/close doors or do anything that may wake up the car while trying to diagnose this problem. I don't know how you measured 2.20A current but this what you get before the car goes to sleep mode. If you really have 2.20A of current even after waiting for 15min, you can be certain that whatever draws this current is warm to touch. I would start by pulling the fuses that supply current to the FSU, radio, CD changer, GPS computer, interior lights, etc. You'll have to be patient and use logic while doing that, but in the end you will get to the rogue circuit. I had a similar problem with my 740I BMW. It turned out to be the MK3 GPS computer in the trunk. I replaced it with a used one from ebay and it fixed the problem. CD changer also can cause problems especially when kids shove junk in that gets stuck. FSU is also a candidate. Also, a shorted diode in the alternator can do that, but I doubt that is your problem. One last note about the condition of your battery. Make sure your battery is fully charged. You say that your car was dead several times after you put a new battery in. I can tell you from experience that regular automotive batteries don't like to be fully discharged. After going dead 3-4 times they tend to stop taking much charge. If you found your car dead several times after you changed your battery, I would have someone test your battery with a battery tester. Most auto parts stores would do that for free. The battery tester checks the battery voltage when the battery is under significant load and is the only reliable method of detecting a battery that does not hold charge. Battery voltage alone is not sufficient information when comes to determining overall battery condition. Good luck and let us know what you find.

Last edited by mmihailov; 01-30-2011 at 12:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-07-2011, 07:49 PM
netdude netdude is offline
Registered User
Location: la
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 46
Mein Auto: 318i
Quote:
Originally Posted by vildside View Post
I have a 1999 540i with 120,500 miles on it. I discovered about two months ago my battery was dead one morning. I just changed the battery because it was the original battery. About a week later the new battery (a Sears Diehard, 850 CCA), was dead. I recharged it and started my long journey of electrical diagnostics. I discovered the electrical system of my car was pulling 2.20 amps when the car is off, after the battery has been disconnected overnight. The alternator is good, I have pulled every fuse, changed the ignition switch, changed the FSU (FSR), disconnected the amp and CD changer and something is still drawing 2.20 amps....can anyone help me, please?????
I'm having the same exact problem. My car is pulling 2.4amps. I've actually gone through and disconnected every fuse imaginable. Nothing has solved my problem.

Right now, I'm just disconnecting the battery every time I park. I did the voltage check of loading the car, rev to 2000 and alternator output at battery was 13.86V. Autozone used their hand held device and said alternator and starter are fine. I'm curious about the diode thing. Anyone know how to check that? I keep reading that maybe it's still the alternator regardless of what autozone says. I'm almost ready to replace my alternator, BUT I'd hate to waste money if it turns out that my alternator is just fine.

How are you doing with your search? Any luck?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-09-2011, 08:33 AM
jamesdc4 jamesdc4 is offline
Registered User
Location: West Michigan
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 38
Mein Auto: 1998 540iA (Mfr 11/97)
Quote:
Originally Posted by netdude View Post
I'm having the same exact problem. My car is pulling 2.4amps. I've actually gone through and disconnected every fuse imaginable. Nothing has solved my problem.

Right now, I'm just disconnecting the battery every time I park. I did the voltage check of loading the car, rev to 2000 and alternator output at battery was 13.86V. Autozone used their hand held device and said alternator and starter are fine. I'm curious about the diode thing. Anyone know how to check that? I keep reading that maybe it's still the alternator regardless of what autozone says. I'm almost ready to replace my alternator, BUT I'd hate to waste money if it turns out that my alternator is just fine.

How are you doing with your search? Any luck?
Disconnecting the battery when parked while it may prevent the draw from the battery, will not recharge it especially if all your driving is just short hops from point A to B.
A good "battery float charger" will be a good investment in that it'll keep the battery fully charged and will be a good piece of hardware to have around even after you solve your issue.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-09-2011, 11:25 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,234
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Dunno but maybe these will help:
- Battery sometimes drains overnight (1) (2) (3)

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-09-2011, 12:06 PM
doru's Avatar
doru doru is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Calgary
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,483
Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Good to see you James.

I came across lots of posts regarding the OP's trouble, and one of the problem was actually the CD player. Try to unplug it, leave everything else alone and see if you still have that 2.2-2.4 A loss. Actually that number (2.4A) rung a bell for me.
__________________
Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket
TMS underdrive pullies - Stewart WP - PSS9 - Beisan Vanos seals - Zimmerman cross-drilled & Akebono Euro - Deka 649 MF - 55w HID headlights - 35w HID foglights - Hualigan double din - ACS (rep) alu pedals - Euro central storage console - Breyton Magic Racing staggered wheels - M5 bumper - M5 steering wheel - Tint
Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-09-2011, 01:16 PM
jamesdc4 jamesdc4 is offline
Registered User
Location: West Michigan
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 38
Mein Auto: 1998 540iA (Mfr 11/97)
Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
Good to see you James.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-19-2011, 10:26 PM
vildside vildside is offline
vildside
Location: SoCa
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2007 BMW M6
First of all I want to thank everyone for their advice on this issue. My latest update on my findings. I let down the front drivers' and passengers' windows. I opened the glove compartment and put a small piece of wood to hold the peg in to keep the glove compartment light off. I locked my car, turn the alarm on, and push the latch on your trunk lid in to simulate a closed trunk. I disconnected the cable from the negative battery post and waited 30 minutes. After waiting 30 minutes, I connected my amp meter between the negative battery post and the negative cable and it read 2.2 amps. I started pulling fuses and the meter kept reading 2.2 amps after pulling each and every fuse and capacitor in my car. I never put any of the fuses back in during this process, because I didn't want to wake up any modules (per mmihailov advice), so I ended up with every fuse and capacitor pulled and the meter was still reading 2.2 amps. I can't understand how every fuse and capacitor is out and the amp meter still gets a reading of 2.2 amps???? I will try the process again to make sure I didn't over look anything.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:18 PM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sylvainia
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,248
Mein Auto: Z4M Coupe, 540i,Silverado
?

How are the grounds? your tests IMHO indicate a short between batt and fuse box right? Any warm wires? As was indicated 2A is gonna generate some heat...

Try one of these before grabbing anything...
laser
or
cheapie

GL and something is drawing current...are all of your components working properly? test all of them...you should see something NOT working right...something will go very slow or wont' work...electricity is lazy and will take the path of least resistance...and you have somehting drawing current...window motor, lock motor something ...I am not an electrical genius like mm...
__________________
99 540i-6 Sport & 07 Z4///M Coupe
Pure
Adrenalin!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:24 PM
vildside vildside is offline
vildside
Location: SoCa
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2007 BMW M6
As of my last post on 02-19-2011 at 10:26 PM. I started disconnecting the ground cable from the battery every time I was parking the car for at least 4 hours. I continued this thru the middle March. On March 21st, I decided not to disconnect the ground cable from the battery and I started checking the voltage across the battery at 3 hour intervals. For 3 days the voltage was measuring at least 12.25V and I was leaving the battery connected overnight as well. From March 21st to as of this post, my battery has not drained and my car has started fine everytime. Whatever was causing the battery drain has stopped. I can't even begin to suggest what the cause was and why it stopped!!!!

April 2, 2011: I forgot to mention that on March 21st, I did unplug the flashlight that is located in the glove compartment. I will keep it unplugged.

Last edited by vildside; 04-02-2011 at 08:59 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:54 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Back in Oaktown, Yay Area
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,541
Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 BMW k75s
Man, I hate crazy, inexplicable malfunctions like that. Maybe somehow it's ambient temperature-related.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-29-2011, 09:52 AM
Bmw420lvr Bmw420lvr is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Belleville
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 215
Mein Auto: 2002 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
With the car running, you can unlock your OBC and use test #9 to determine the voltage being put out by the alternator. Idealy, it should be around 13.7 volts.
You can also go to Autozone where they will test your alternator for free.
What that being said, I believe the draw indicates something else going on other than a failing alt.

How can I tell if I have the High or Low OBC?

How do I unlock the OBC (Low and High)?

GL

Edit:
Moderators,

If the links above are not allowed, please edit and accept my apologies for the violation. We have a rule against this on BF.c, but we allow it if it is soley for the purpose of assisting a member.

TIA
Once I get the #9 test what do u do next?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-12-2011, 10:21 AM
325is52 325is52 is offline
Registered User
Location: sacramento
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: bmw 325is
check the trunk harness...
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-12-2011, 11:41 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21,234
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by 325is52 View Post
check the trunk harness...
Details on the trunk harness here ...

- trunk wiring loom woes ..
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
amp, cd changer, fsr, fsu, ignition switch


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms