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7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

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  #1  
Old 03-28-2011, 10:00 AM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 E38
95 740i - Battery keeps dying

Hey Guys,

I have a 1995 BMW 740i.

Few days ago, my alarm keep on going off. Next day, I have a dead battery. So I had my battery boosted and searched this forum about the alarm issues and followed one of the advice saying to " disconnect the alarm sensor on the hood ", did that.

A few hours later, I have a dead battery again. I guess it was my fault for not driving the car around. So, I called the roadside assistance (comes when you buy a battery). They gave my car a boost and I'm up and running.

Drove the car for about 15 minutes, didn't bother locking the car overnight in case the disconnection of my alarm sensor in the hood didn't work. Tried to start my car this morning, again, battery dead. My battery is a year old and comes with a 3 year warranty. Also, my battery is one of those 1000 CCA battery.

Not sure if I should replace the battery and/or look elsewhere for a problem.

Note: battery icon in the dash does not light up when the car is running.

Any info would be helpful. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2011, 10:08 AM
Jaap Jaap is offline
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What's your voltage with the engine off and with engine running?
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:32 AM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Couldn't tell you. Didn't have a voltmeter available at the time.
What should it be with the engine off and running?
Just called BMW in Vancouver and was told if i need a new battery, it would be $280. If I need a new alternator it would be $1000 + labour. I know it's not the alternator since my battery light never came on before the battery died. Nor did it come on when I got my battery boosted.
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2011, 01:28 PM
Jaap Jaap is offline
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Unlock your cluster, see Obtaining secrets from the Check Control (E38)
and you can see the voltage.
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2011, 03:19 PM
Joe@Bavarian Joe@Bavarian is offline
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You should start with fully charging the battery. Use a battery charger with a 2A charge option, you want a slow full charge. After this is done do a load test on the battery (take it to a parts store for a free check).
If the battery is good. Check your alternator. You should be putting out 14.1 -14.8 volts on avg.

If all checks out, then you have a draw in the system.
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  #6  
Old 03-28-2011, 03:26 PM
redpicker redpicker is offline
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^^
This.
You need to charge your battery. A slow (trickle) charger is best. It is very hard on your alternator to try and charge a fully discharged battery; put it on a charger until it is fully charged, then see what happens.
If you can check the water levell in the cells, do that, too.

rp
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  #7  
Old 03-28-2011, 04:24 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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All the advice above is good.

For the record, on the E39 side of the house, we went through scores of dead-battery-or-is-it-the-alternator threads plus the Bentleys to come up with a canonical thread on how to 'properly' test your battery & alternator.

A quick /battery(F3) in the VERY best of E39 Links will find it in a couple of seconds, e.g.,

- DIY how to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:50 PM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Thank you all for your advice.

I called the place where my battery came from and it still has 2 years left on warranty. They agreed to replace my battery with a new one and once I get the new battery installed, I will do a load test or see how the charging system is charging my new battery.

Bought a new voltmeter today. That should tell me if my alternator is charging my battery at 14 volts or higher.

Will let you all know tomorrow how it goes.

Thanks again guys.
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2011, 05:30 AM
redpicker redpicker is offline
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You don't really need a separate voltmeter, your car has one build-in. See Jaap's post, above.

rp
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:24 PM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Got the car running. When I test the voltage when the car is running, it's at 14.1 to 14.5. Once the car warms up, the voltage is at 13.85 - 14.2 when the car is running.

When I turn the car off, the voltage of the battery is at 12.6. Is that too low? Maybe because I didn't drive the car around yet to fully charge the battery.

In any event, do I do a battery swap since the store I purchase the battery from is willing to do an exchange. I'm also thinking of using those spiral batteries. Optima Red or Yellow top. I just have to add a couple of $$ for the upgrade.

Would it be worth it?

Thanks again guys.
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  #11  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:32 PM
David-C David-C is offline
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12.6 sounds about right and if there giving u a new battery go for it. That way if the new one dies then u know its something else.
If u want to get altima battery u can if u want there good batterys specially if u have a sound system.

Sent from my PC36100 using Bimmer App
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:38 AM
balance balance is offline
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Voltage sounds right when the motor is on or off, and I would guess the problem is coming from whatever is telling the alarm to cut on.

I wouldn't replace the battery until after the problem was fixed. If this is your only car and you need a temporary fix until you find the problem, disconnect the negative terminal off the battery everytime you shut off the car to stop the short from draining it. Your power trunk will not close completely if this is done though.

Last edited by balance; 03-30-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:45 AM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Well, tried to start the car this morning. Guess what? Battery is dead again. Before I went to bed last night, I check the voltage of the battery and it was at 12.2.

I have no choice but to get the battery replaced with the right one. Didn't get a chance to do it yesterday. Thought after I boosted the battery and drive the car around for a bit would be good enough. Guess I was wrong.

Anyway, I'll post an update to see if the new battery holds up.
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  #14  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:21 AM
goldeagle17 goldeagle17 is offline
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I have a 1991 BMW 735i with only 201,000 miles on it. Only problems I have ever had were replacing the water pump a couple times and the radiator at about 195,000 miles. Six months ago my door lock would require being manually turned twice to lock and unlock. Then the battery began dying if not driven at least within 3 days. The emergency flasher lights would come on when battery charger was attached and I would have to turn it off. I removed the radio fuse per suggestion but that did nothing. After having a tech look at it he repaired the door locks but the battery died within two days without running. Now, it is a matter of hours. After running for about 10 miles the battery will stay charged for only 1 start. And it is a new battery during all of this. When I remove the rear seat to attach the battery cable, the electrical/fuses on the opposite side of the rear seat make a constant clicking just like the sound made by the emergency flashers but the flashers are not on. Several on another site have had the dead battery problem but seemed to find a common solution: replace the failing FSR, i.e., Final Stage Resister. I have never heard of it and neither have any dealers that I have contacted. Which FSR? Where does one get it? How much cost? Or if any other suggestions, please let me know. Thankyouverymuch! Goldeagle17

Last edited by goldeagle17; 04-01-2011 at 11:27 AM. Reason: wrong word illustration
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  #15  
Old 04-04-2011, 05:09 PM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Finally got my new battery today. Went to a company called BimmerHaus because their website say they're cheaper than BMW dealer across the street from them. Everyone tells me it's my battery so I took a chance and just get one installed. BMW charges $280 installed. So I figured this guy would be cheaper. After 45 minutes, went back to him and he told me that it's done. Damage=$390 for the battery and intallation. I asked him why so high? His response was the battery plus installation plus labor plus checking my charging system. I already told him that my charging system is fine. What a rip off! Anyway, I hope that solves my dying battery problems.
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  #16  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:19 AM
Jaap Jaap is offline
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Oh come on that is ridiculous.
I would not accept that.
Did you ask them to check he charging system?
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  #17  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:43 AM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkghost View Post
Finally got my new battery today. Went to a company called BimmerHaus because their website say they're cheaper than BMW dealer across the street from them. Everyone tells me it's my battery so I took a chance and just get one installed. BMW charges $280 installed. So I figured this guy would be cheaper. After 45 minutes, went back to him and he told me that it's done. Damage=$390 for the battery and intallation. I asked him why so high? His response was the battery plus installation plus labor plus checking my charging system. I already told him that my charging system is fine. What a rip off! Anyway, I hope that solves my dying battery problems.

Man, I feel really sorry for your wallet! And they charge you extra I would never accept that. They might be cheaper than dealership but sure they **** your wallet to. I don't know if you can take it back but I will try ...and put them at wall
I had my battery changed in November for about $120. Made in Germany and is the right replacement. Advance auto parts. They ill install to.

Still hope you will figure out about the draining....
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  #18  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:23 AM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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That's what I told the guy. You quoted me one price and now you're charging me another. I agree there are cheaper batteries out there. One of those cheaper batteries was installed in my car. Anyway, both BMW dealers close to my place are busy for a week so I needed a battery right away. Didn't want anymore cheap one but didn't want to get ripped off either. I was wrong, guess I got ripped by this guy. In any event, at least I got the right battery for my car and called a few places and told me that those batteries are around $250 - $290 installed ( depending where you shop ). Anyway, I guess I'm not dealing with BimmerHaus again.
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  #19  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:53 AM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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Sorry again for your experience. I hate to when I am told one story and when it comes to pay is totally different. About my battery : I would feel better too if it was the OEM instead aftermarket. But the one that I bought is made in Germany, and being from Europe I know what it means german build. German car gets at least german parts. Price actually was $220, after that, it was on sale for $180 plus the $60 that I got searching the net for coupons. It is good to know that : if you will google the word coupon/discount + the store from where you are shoping there is at least one Samaritan out there to share a coupon with you.

Anyway I do love your bimmer. Especially the color and rims. You don't see to often that...Enjoy your beast!
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  #20  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:13 PM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Thanks. We all experience bad things once in a while. To make matters worst, I just got a chance to look at the battery BimmerHaus installed. He installed the Interstate MTP-93 instead of the 95R that was supposed to be the OEM equivalent. Gave him a call and he tells me that it works too since it's made for the 540i. What a crook. Anyway, my car is running fine and my voltage is at 12.75. I guess I did have battery problems. It's BimmerHaus' lost since I won't be going back to them to get my 740 and 330 serviced. I'll stick to getting it done at the BMW dealer. Pay a little more but at least they put in the right parts.

Thanks to everyone's help here.
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  #21  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:00 PM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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Originally Posted by Darkghost View Post
He installed the Interstate MTP-93 instead of the 95R that was supposed to be the OEM equivalent. Gave him a call and he tells me that it works too since it's made for the 540i. What a crook..
Glad for you that you find out your problem !!!

You might want to read my experience : Last year I killed my alternator for using the wrong battery. My alternator is water cooled =$350 the cheapest rebuild. OEM is around $1300. The most important is how I killed it : The battery for 740 needs to have a reserve capacity 110 A. This is not the CA or CCA.The E38 has a lot of consumers, more than the 540 that's why needs a bigger battery with a bigger reserve capacity .If you don't have enough reserve capacity , the alternator it will be overload and slowly will die. I was dumb and put a 85 A reserve capacity from my Mercedes and killed my alternator. It took about 3000 miles to do it. I was looking on the interstate link and the battery that you have it has 85 A! The one you should have has 1000 A ! And the dimensions are smaller too. Obviously the guy from bimmehaus is stupid! I know when I start to look for batteries back then I read a lot of info regarding these problems so I recommend to get the right battery so you will not have to worry in the future. I learned from my mistake and it cost me $350 and replaced it myself. I don't know how much reserve capacity your battery should have , since you have a different alternator. For the peace of mind , If I were you I will call the dealership and ask them : how much reserve capacity has the OEM ? If they said 110 get the one with at least 110. Cold cranking A is important too , but more important is the Reserve capacity. This is another reason why the other batteries manufacturers don't make one for the 740. In US only Interstate has license for it as far as I know.I am now running on Autocraft Gold 110 Reserve capacity.
I was looking in the Interstate catalog back then and the battery listed for the 740 has at least 100A reserve capacity.


And yes the guy is a crook and he admitted that by saying : if it fits for 540 should fit for 740. There are 2 different cars !

Ohh ...God! how I wish to face him ! Sorry man, but I get really mad when I am seeing how some guys are taking money and they don't care about your car...

Here is the interstate info : http://www.interstatebatteries.com/c...terstate_f.asp


Darkghost...I wish you all the best!

Last edited by joyism5; 04-05-2011 at 09:07 PM. Reason: spelling check
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  #22  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:17 PM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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Thanks for the info and concern.
I would've love to do a lot of things to this guy for lying and taking me for a ride. But because I come from a family that's mostly in the law enforcement, I kinda can't put myself in a position that might get them involved. I checked the battery out and from the link you provided. My battery has a reserve capacity of 155 and the 95R has a reserve capacity of 180. There was a typo on the link you sent me. Should've said 180 for the reserve capacity and not 1000. Called an interstate dealer here in Vancouver to confirm. They said the MTP-93 should work fine but if I'm not convinced and I want peace of mind, I can take it directly to them for a swap as long as I can prove that the battery came from Bimmer Haus. So, I'm off to get my new battery tomorrow. Thanks again. And I know how you feel when I hear about people getting taken for a ride.
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  #23  
Old 04-06-2011, 05:49 AM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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that's a good news ! I misunderstand the chart I think...Anyway, yout take care and enjoy your beast!
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  #24  
Old 04-07-2011, 12:51 PM
Darkghost Darkghost is offline
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So I finally got my car back from BMW.
They found the culprit withing an hour. The amplifier on my radio is the cause of my battery issue. They told me that they could replace the radio for $3000 or they can disable my radio. I chose the latter. Now I have no radio in my car but I'm sure I'll be able to source one out. Total damage = $98.00.

Just found out that BMW in my area has my car under the Heritage Program Pricing. Because my car is over 6 years, I get half price in labor and 10% off any parts with 2 year warranty on any work done to my car. I think that's a good deal.

In any event, they did thorough check on my car and was told that it's in great shape and needs nothing. They were impressed with my engine. They said it's in great shape.

Anyway, thanks to everyone here for your advice.

Joyism5 - Thanks for your advice and concerns.
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  #25  
Old 04-07-2011, 01:55 PM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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Anytime...If I can help..I'm here...

Glad you find the real problem with your draining before another battery goes bad.

Diagnosis damage is not big, at least this is What I think but the radio quote...holly beep!

I'm sure you will find a good one somewhere...

Enjoy your beast!
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