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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 04-30-2015, 08:05 AM
realtordc realtordc is offline
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7.4 A parasitic drain

So I have had battery problems for a few months, recently got a free replacement battery from Autozone as they determined it was a bad battery I bought 2 years ago. But that was 2 months ago and now I'm experiencing the same problems. Wanted to check again to see if it was alternator and Advance determined its a parasitic drain on my battery, it is killing it constantly. They said it is about a 7.4 A drain, it is killing it faster than it was before. What could this be at that high a draw?

As I understand it the way to determine the culprit is to turn the car off, disconnect the negative cable, and then use a multimeter to read amperage between the negative cable and terminal while pulling fuses individually? Is that correct?

So then the question is, once I find which fuse the drain belongs to, how do you correct the problem and kill the drain?
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2015, 08:13 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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drain.... generic post from the fest

a good thread to bring you to speed on battery drain ....the fix can be very low cost ....a stuck relay or bad ground for instance ......it can go up for a replacement telecoms module(one of the usual culprits....see joylove's posts)



I thought you might be interested in reading this web page:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...errerid=343410

From,
swampX3

Last edited by swampX3; 04-30-2015 at 08:19 AM. Reason: add link
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2015, 10:49 AM
realtordc realtordc is offline
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I just went through the fuses in the glove box with a multimeter and none of them showed a voltage drop. To be fair before I did this I had unhooked the battery so it would not be dead next time I needed to go somewhere.. maybe that shut off the drain. (yes I hooked up the battery before testing the fuses)

Should I check the fuses in the ebox as well or are the circuits connected to the ones in the glove box? Any other fuses?
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2015, 11:09 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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get em all and check relays

check all fuses and relays you can get to .... under the hood too .....it varies with model but not too much....disconnect the telecoms box in drivers side rear ....on opposite side to the battery ....often behind pull out panel on most older X's......disconnect sunroof power......double / triple / quadruple check secondary air relay if you have one .....a bad actor.....check its plug and wiring.....it's tucked under the fuse panel on passenger side .....you need to drop the glove box to get at it and some other relays
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2015, 01:59 PM
realtordc realtordc is offline
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Well I do believe I found it in the ebox and hope that is the only drain.

So, as I had previously posted my windshield wipers had been parking up, and I know you'll guided me to a fix for it but I had not gotten around to it and had been doing a 'quick fix' I read about which is to leave the windshield wipers on while you turn the car off - turn it off when they are down, then switch the lever to the off position. Viola, when you restart the car they will be correctly parked, however, if you can start the car.

I found almost a 6A draw on a fuse in the ebox which is where the wiper relays and whatnot are located. I turned the key into accessory mode and let the windshield wipers park in the up position and turned them off, went back and tested the fuse and the draw was gone.

What confuses me to no ends is that I have been doing this for quite a while and this drain seems to have come on strong in the past few days... maybe there is another drain, but for now I'm going to get on fixing those wipers!
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  #6  
Old 04-30-2015, 02:16 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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great job

keep on sleuthing....great job.....and all the festers expect you will have perfect relays .....nicely polished relay prongs with a smear of dielectric grease to make them live long and happy !
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  #7  
Old 06-27-2016, 06:26 PM
Phillips0417 Phillips0417 is offline
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Any updates to this? Our 06 X3 has had this issue since we bought it almost three years ago. It did leave my wife stranded at an Olive Garden when she met some coworkers for lunch. Towed it to our Indy where he replaced the battery and starter. Car worked perfectly for several months, then began happening again. Took it back and he tested and replaced the battery under warranty, and the alternator. Again, good for several months until it began again. Took it back again and again, bad battery. He stated to us that these batteries don't typically go bad and he couldn't warranty another. So, again it worked for several months until it began exhibiting the same problems. Car would start fine in the morning, but as soon as we drove around town and stopped, it would have a hard time starting again. Almost like a dragging starter.

I read up and researched a lot and found that the TCU may be the culprit so I disconnected it and charged the battery back up to nominal voltage. Worked well for several months again and began again. Frustrating to say the least! Obviously it wasn't the TCU module, my wife hasn't been happy she has no Bluetooth. Today she went into town and came back and said I needed to check the battery, sure enough the voltage was 12.1V.

Guess I need to do some digging.
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  #8  
Old 06-27-2016, 06:42 PM
realtordc realtordc is offline
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Well I had to replace my starter a while after my battery, I think the aging starter for one thing was making it crank too hard. But also, I had the problem where my windshield wipers were in the wrong starting position and what I had been doing was letting them run the shut the car of when they were down, then move the wiper lever back to off. This would leave them down until the next time you used the wipers but it was causing the drain. As soon as I stopped doing that the problem got much better, but I had killed the battery. Fixed my wipers, replaced with a gel cell, no problems other than eventually replacing my starter. Maybe it was the weak battery killing the starter rather than the starter killing the battery? I don't know I recommend a gel cell and I checked all my fuses for current and found it on my wipers which is what tipped me off. I'd check all your fuses with a voltmeter. Or whatever they are called.
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2016, 07:40 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Replace the two underside ground straps. I added a 4th strap (the third by the brake booster is protected and clean) in the engine bay running off the cylinder head. Starting, especially when cold, improved tremendously.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2016, 08:25 AM
Phillips0417 Phillips0417 is offline
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The X3 was due for an oil change today so I changed it. While looking around under the car I see a wire tucked up by the exhaust.



I don't know how I hadn't noticed this before all the other times I've been under the car. I searched around for a place I thought it could go and I think I know where it goes but I wanted to confirm and see if anyone else can help me with its placement.

This is the other end, firmly in place.



The entire thing to see it's not very long.



Looking forward for reference.



Where I think it goes.



You bring up ground straps for reasons of parasitic drain. We've had problems with battery draining on this car almost since we bought it. Dealer couldn't find anything wrong, but replaced the starter, battery, and alternator under CPO warranty. I read about the TCU but it's been unhooked for months and it still drained, I've had to charge the battery on more than one occasion.

Could I have just discovered the cause? If anyone can snap a picture under their X for me for placement of this ground strap, I would certainly appreciate it!
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2016, 12:33 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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ground cable image files

https://www.google.com/search?q=bmw+...YLTqFjUc9bM%3A
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  #12  
Old 08-21-2016, 12:42 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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FCP ground strap E83 links

https://www.fcpeuro.com/blog/posts/b...ry-replacement

selection of learnings below ...who da thunk the braided strap was also for sound proofing ?

BMW uses a braided-style ground cable to allow movement between the engine and chassis, and to eliminate transfer of engine noise to the vehicle. Think about it: The only way an engine sitting on rubber mounts can be earthed (grounded) is through ground straps or cables. How else will the electrical components work?

Jumper cables won't work

In the image above, the ground cable has corroded (turned green). At this point, the cable has hardened and loses its flexibility and ability to conduct electricity. Engine movement wears these straps over time, causing them to crack. Once the cable has corroded and cracked the vehicle will develop a long crank, eventually refusing to crank. It is also possible that it fails without warning, but more than likely you'll notice the long crank first. Even using jumper cables won't start your vehicle as the engine needs to be grounded to the chassis first. Since ground straps are responsible for that, it's clear why jumper cables aren't a solution. Severely worn engine mounts are also a contributing factor to ground strap wear.

Last edited by swampX3; 08-21-2016 at 12:45 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-21-2016, 12:53 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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post 9 picture and part reference

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=820543
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2016, 06:44 PM
Phillips0417 Phillips0417 is offline
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thanks for the google search, never thought of that...

Seriously though, I did plenty of searching and actually did read the thread you linked. As you can see mine IS NOT the braided type ground strap. And NONE of those photos capture my specific cable / location, hence why I asked for a photo.

I got woken up early this morning by a happy three year old, so I worked on it most of the day. I ended up putting that ground cable on the lug off the side of the shaft housing seen in the picture with an empty bolt. It looks like that's where it went, now I'm just curious if this vehicle had any engine / drivetrain work prior to us taking ownership. I'll call the dealer tomorrow to check the VIN.

It does also seem that the car cranks better (faster rotation) now. But I've had the battery disconnected and the entire interior out of it all day trying to diagnose a wet passenger (only) floor well, front and back.

Last edited by Phillips0417; 08-21-2016 at 06:45 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2016, 04:14 AM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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There should be a ground strap off the back of the motor to the chassis behind the right front wheel, and another from the exhaust to the chassis about midway down the exhaust. That cable of yours looks like a battery negative cable installed to replace a bad braided ground strap but forgotten to be hooked up.

As for the leak I'd put money down its the vapor barrier in the door.
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2016, 05:52 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is online now
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Also be aware that some ground straps have been eliminated post production. On information and belief, all late model X5 muffler ground straps were cut to eliminate radio interference.
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