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7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

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  #1  
Old 02-02-2012, 11:38 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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98 740iL - Should the shift position indicator light be on when ignition is off

My 740il kills batteries like nobodys business. I have resorted to disconnecting the battery if im not going to be driving it for more than an hour but its getting old now. I want to find the source of the short or the problem so I dont have to disconnect the battery all the time. I know that BMW's have a higher than normal drain on batteries when the key is off and I know that the alarm and other items continue to draw juice but that isnt the problem. My battery will be dead in 2 hours if I dont disconnect it. Major draw. The battery is new and the alternator is charging just fine.

Any help here.....please
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2012, 12:48 AM
sealbeach740 sealbeach740 is offline
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Regarding the shift position light - it stays on for around 15 minutes after you've shut your car down.

Although I've never had to deal with this situation, I've read others have trouble shooted their problems by removing fuses one by one & seeing if a particular fuse removed stops the electrical drain.

For instance, I've read where the Nav system has caused drained batteries (just an example).
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2000 740iS. MKIV, 16x9, DDEs controlled by Euro fog light switch, reversed steptronic +/- pattern, paddle shifters, clear corners, Basslink, iPod video with stereo audio, TV tuner, gauge rings, ///M pedals, backup camera with 'on demand' switch, quad brake lights, Dinan engine & tranny software, windows/sunroof close via remote.

2003 540iS. MKIV, 16x9, PDC, CWP, TV tuner, backup camera with 'on demand' switch, paddle shifters, windows/sunroof close via remote, iPod video & audio.
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2012, 01:01 AM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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Thanks Sealbeach740,

Have done lots of reading for the past 2 hours and have come across other similar symptoms relating to dead battery problems search. In short (no pun intended); GM3 (general module III) behind the glove compartment may be the culprit. Operates interior lights, rear windows, trunk latch and other systems that appear to have quite the effect on the battery. I found this guy in Torrance who reprograms them for $150 but you have to email him to get his address as well as describe your problems and he will tell you if he can help you or not. Sounds pretty legit that he doesnt want to take your money if he cant help you. Anyway.....sent him my symptoms and I am awaiting his reply. The link is below for any who think they may need this service.

http://www.bmwgm5.com/GM3_Repair_Service.htm
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2012, 06:03 AM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegdearborn View Post
Thanks Sealbeach740,

GM3 (general module III) behind the glove compartment may be the culprit....

http://www.bmwgm5.com/GM3_Repair_Service.htm
Indeed the culprit could be the GM III. True also that there is a Technical Service Buletin for the E38 where they are fixing the module by reprogramming. Any dealership or BMW specialized shop can do that. In the TSB also states that modules that have been sent to the BMW were not defective but they were in need of an updated software. Any guy who states that he will repair the module will actually reprogram.
Like Sealbeach 740 stated, there could be other reasons for drain, like Nav unit, Amplifier ...

http://www.meeknet.co.uk/E38/E38_Battery_Drain.htm

Other TSB for battery drain : key left in the ignition half way in, telephone module .
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Last edited by joyism5; 02-03-2012 at 06:10 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-03-2012, 06:13 AM
chrisn7 chrisn7 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyism5 View Post
Indeed the culprit could be the GM III. True also that there is a Technical Service Buletin for the E38 where they are fixing the module by reprogramming. Any dealership or BMW specialized shop can do that. In the TSB also states that modules that have been sent to the BMW were not defective but they were in need of an updated software. Any guy who states that he will repair the module will actually reprogram.
Like Sealbeach 740 stated, there could be other reasons for drain, like Nav unit, Amplifier ...

http://www.meeknet.co.uk/E38/E38_Battery_Drain.htm
Yes its best to test for current drain as per the link to Tim's site, as a lot of perceived problems are actually due to a defective battery-especially the systems battery in the twin battery 750.
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2012, 08:43 AM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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Yes.....repair = reprogram.

I am considering this as step one for two reasons....1) because I have similar symptoms to that of a bad GM3 not including the dying battery and 2) because the testing process looking for the drain on the battery is painful and time consuming.

If reprogramming the GM3 is what I need for fixing the other issues I have and it just so happens to fix my battery problem; money well spent and time saved. If reprogramming doesnt fix my battery issue; I still have the other symptoms resolved and have eliminated the GM3 from possible causes just like one of the many fuses outlined in the troubleshooting process.

This is my thought process.

I gotta tell you, I bought my bmw 2 years ago for 2700 bucks with 130K miles on it and it has really been a great car considering. I just recently put new tires on it and replaced all 4 struts and it feels tight like a new car now. I have a leaking oil cannister and a leaking tranny fluid cannister to fix, this battery drain and some quirky lighting / key remote problems and if I can do all this effectively / cheaply.....I will have an awesome BMW for 5K that I will put in the body shop for some new paint. I was also thinking of getting a long block off ebay and rebuilding it so I have a freshy when this engine finally gives.

I dont know why BMW has such a bad rap....its really a great car. For all the bells and whistles on the car...of course its going to have an advanced electrical system and computers galore....people should expect theyre going to have issues from time to time. The parts are a little pricey I agree but if you know how to wrench, they are so easy to work on it rediculous. The excessive labor charged by many shops is bull and best to avoid a shop that gouges anyway. BMW does not have to be synonymous with expensive. New tires and struts parts and labor = 1100 bucks
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2012, 04:00 PM
chrisn7 chrisn7 is online now
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I hope this works - please let us know! You just mentioned quirky lighting-could this be headlights coming when you turn the key, even though the lights are switched off? If so, this again is a battery problem....
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  #8  
Old 02-03-2012, 06:38 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisn7 View Post
I hope this works - please let us know! You just mentioned quirky lighting-could this be headlights coming when you turn the key, even though the lights are switched off? If so, this again is a battery problem....
No, interior lights only and this is really intermittant. Today my sunroof came to life and started working out of the blue. Hasnt been working right for 10 months. The door locks seem to be working more consistantly too. Definately a ghost in the machine.

I will update if the GM3 reprogramming corrects the battery drain for sure....I know a lot of people suffer this problem and it would be a good thing to have all the possible causes known in these forums. Its exhausting troubleshooting without solid information to draw from.
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2012, 08:58 PM
setconstr setconstr is offline
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Mine did it once turned out to be one the plugs underneath the wood console was not all the way on, I had taken it off to run some wires and did have one of the plugs all the in . That was it
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2012, 01:53 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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So back to sunroof not working and I did confirm that the shifter location indicator light stays on past the 15 minute mark.
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  #11  
Old 02-04-2012, 02:31 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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ok....finally talked with Scott from http://www.bmwgm5.com/GM3_Repair_Service.htm
He doesnt think its the GM3 so now I'm back to square one. I am searching for the cause of the shift indicator light staying on and will be posting another thread for this.
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2012, 03:15 PM
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joyism5 joyism5 is offline
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If the Illuminated Transmssion Shift Indicator stays on after 16 min., the error belongs to the GM 3.
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Last edited by joyism5; 02-04-2012 at 03:17 PM.
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  #13  
Old 02-04-2012, 03:18 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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Thanks Joy.....thats what I am thinking.
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  #14  
Old 02-04-2012, 03:51 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
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Did get good info from Scott on reprogramming the sunroof and the key fob. Both work now......if I can get this pesky dying battery problem to go away. I will finally be able to drive like a normal person and not have to explain a bunch of critical steps to those that borrow my car or worry that they dont carry them out.

BTW....a lot of the key reprogramming steps I found on here did NOT work and Scotts version worked first time out.....it was music to my ears when the car locked and unlocked confirming the programming was succesful. Woo Hoo!!!
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2012, 07:26 AM
chrisn7 chrisn7 is online now
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For future reference, the sunroof re programming is described in the handbook P49
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