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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-23-2011, 07:08 AM
MrJanka MrJanka is offline
MrJanka
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mein Auto: 97' 328i Cab
Power drain: I've searched. Please help

So I thought I would give this a go on here and see if anyone could help me. I'll go ahead and thank everyone ahead of time: Thanks for your time.

I have 97 328 vert that sometimes likes to die overnight. It's an intermittent issue and seems to happen more frequently when moisture is involved; rain/snow/sleet. The car will have power but not enough to full turn over when it's been sitting for 5-6+ hours. The battery's only a year old and in good condition. Luckily I have a stick and a steep driveway and can jump it by popping the clutch. I have feeling this is not that good for the tranny, so I've come here for you guys to help me out!

Any ideas?

In addition to the information above my trunk switch that controls the on/off power to the trunk lights is loose and wiggles freely. Sometimes I have jiggle the switch to get the lights to come on regardless if the button is depressed or not. I've tightened the switch but it still comes loose over time. Related?


Thanks again.

Last edited by MrJanka; 02-23-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:32 PM
aaronfannie40 aaronfannie40 is offline
Aaron
Location: Austin Texas
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 52
Mein Auto: E36 328i
how many miles does it have? and is the power drain common in cold weather
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2011, 06:06 PM
MrJanka MrJanka is offline
MrJanka
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mein Auto: 97' 328i Cab
It has around 133,000 on it. I recently bought it, I haven't had it in the winter time yet. This is my first winter owning it. I don't recall having any power problems when I first purchased it, (when it was warm out) other than the battery dieing rather quickly if I left the ignition on without the car running for a short amount of time. I took it too advance and they said my battery was fine.

It's been parked for maybe 5 hours and it barely had enough juice to start. I am driving it short distances though, very short distances. To work and back which is less than quarter of a mile. But whenever I had too start it with the clutch I usually let it run for a long time so the battery can charge. But it will still die quickly.

Just ran out to sheetz to get something to eat. The stores like 2 blocks away. It would barely start when I pulled out of the driveway and barely start at sheetz. Got home parked it, turned it off tried to start it again and theres not even enough power to start it now. :-(
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2011, 07:36 PM
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crisscross crisscross is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 M3 Boston Green
Have you checked the alternator?
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2011, 07:42 PM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Location: Fort McMurray AB
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 12,610
Mein Auto: '96 328is Cosmos
Have you tried turning off the interior lights completely, to see if that's causing an issue? Have you checked the wiring bundle by the trunk hinge? Taken out the hood/glovebox/trunk bulbs to make sure they're off when the car is?

Is it still doing that with all of these?
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2011, 07:36 AM
MrJanka MrJanka is offline
MrJanka
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mein Auto: 97' 328i Cab
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesin View Post
Have you tried turning off the interior lights completely, to see if that's causing an issue? Have you checked the wiring bundle by the trunk hinge? Taken out the hood/glovebox/trunk bulbs to make sure they're off when the car is?

Is it still doing that with all of these?
Yes it is still doing it. Went to Advance to have them check it all again. They said the Battery and Alternator are fine. The trunks bundles of wires were fine. And there are no lights staying on.

Ill be driving put in neutral turn the car off and try to turn it back on immedialty after while still moving theres not enough power to start it, so I have to start it with the clutch again.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2011, 05:05 PM
capecodbmw capecodbmw is offline
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Location: mass
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: dodge
you need to hook a multimeter up between the negative battery cable and the neg. post on the battery and check for amperage draw. Once you see how much it is drawing(if any) start pulling fuses and relays one by one to start to isolate where the elctrons are "leaking". I know how to do this work, just not very good at explaining it. Try to find a friend who is good with a meter and you will find the problem.
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2011, 03:58 AM
MrJanka MrJanka is offline
MrJanka
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mein Auto: 97' 328i Cab
The meter has a pos and neg tip do I just put both tips between the cable?
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  #9  
Old 02-25-2011, 04:20 PM
n2red n2red is offline
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Location: Sylva, North Carolina
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 59
Mein Auto: 328is, x5 4.6is, SL500
I had a similar problem with my '97...... a 4 amp parasitic draw. After amping out the system, the culprit was my alternator. When I disconnected the B+ lead on the alternator, the amp draw dropped to .002 amps. Replaced the alt and everything is groovy again.

.... did this job 5 hours ago.....

If you pull the fuses and still cant find it, look there... btw, the alt can still be charging, and still be bad...... as I discovered.
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2011, 06:23 PM
MrJanka MrJanka is offline
MrJanka
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mein Auto: 97' 328i Cab
Thanks red. I finally replaced the battery with the correct sized one today. The PO had a smaller battery installed that didn't take up all of the space in the battery compartment nor was bolted down... I feel more confident that this may help the problem to an extent or hopefully resolve it. If not, it was something that needed corrected anyway.

When I was replacing the battery I found a quite a bit of water in the battery compartment and on the battery and cables themselves. Like I had stated in my original post the problem seemed to be persistent during hazy days involving condensation. I actually found a group of stink bugs hurdling together for dear life behind my trunk carpet, I guess they thought it would be a good place to make it through winter... They thought wrong
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2011, 07:00 PM
n2red n2red is offline
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Location: Sylva, North Carolina
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 59
Mein Auto: 328is, x5 4.6is, SL500
Great!... hope the battery replacement is the cure. Not sure about the convertible, but my coupe has a battery compartment that is 20% larger than the battery..... more room for contraband.....
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  #12  
Old 02-26-2011, 06:22 AM
MrJanka MrJanka is offline
MrJanka
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mein Auto: 97' 328i Cab
I would say my compartment in my vert was about 40% larger than the battery that was installed. And it seemed to fire right up this morning... Ill wait a little bit and post back
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