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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-01-2012, 10:20 AM
rjohio rjohio is offline
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Battery or Alternator Issue?

I've got a 2008 528XI with 75K miles (and the original battery) on it. Over the last couple of months the clock has been losing time and occasionally has required a reset, along with the trip computer. I was prepared to buy a new battery but when I went to pick up an aftermarket Duralast, which I then was going to have registered (as recommended on these boards), the guy at Autozone did a test on my battery and told me that it was reading low but not so low that it needs to be replaced. Instead he informed me that the voltage after starting the car showed up as 15V, which he claimed is too high - and that this likely means that I will need a new alternator, rather than a new battery (which is fine with me because I've got a CPO warranty which presumably covers the alternator but not the battery). I called the local BMW dealer, and he said that he would bet his life that a 4.5 year old 5 series with clock reset issues just needs a new battery, and not a new alternator, but that he'd be happy to run a diagnostic test on the car at the cost of $130.

Obviously I'm not interested in dropping $130 for a test that will only result in me then having to pay dealer prices for a new battery. If I need a new battery, so be it, but if I don't, then I'm happy to fix whatever needs fixing.

Any views on suggested next steps?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2012, 11:13 AM
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phlfly phlfly is offline
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If your car CPO you should drop the car with clock reset problem no question ask, you should pay 50 bucks only. If dealer is telling different then go another dealer.
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2012, 11:22 AM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjohio View Post
I've got a 2008 528XI with 75K miles (and the original battery) on it. Over the last couple of months the clock has been losing time and occasionally has required a reset, along with the trip computer. I was prepared to buy a new battery but when I went to pick up an aftermarket Duralast, which I then was going to have registered (as recommended on these boards), the guy at Autozone did a test on my battery and told me that it was reading low but not so low that it needs to be replaced. Instead he informed me that the voltage after starting the car showed up as 15V, which he claimed is too high - and that this likely means that I will need a new alternator, rather than a new battery (which is fine with me because I've got a CPO warranty which presumably covers the alternator but not the battery). I called the local BMW dealer, and he said that he would bet his life that a 4.5 year old 5 series with clock reset issues just needs a new battery, and not a new alternator, but that he'd be happy to run a diagnostic test on the car at the cost of $130.

Obviously I'm not interested in dropping $130 for a test that will only result in me then having to pay dealer prices for a new battery. If I need a new battery, so be it, but if I don't, then I'm happy to fix whatever needs fixing.

Any views on suggested next steps?

Thanks!
See if you can find a plug-in cigarette lighter socket voltmeter locally and if not order one online. This will allow you to monitor your system voltage before, during and after starting and during driving. Just before starting a fully charged battery should show 12-12.5V. For the first 15-20 seconds the alternator should ramp up to about 14-14.2V then settle in around 13.5V-14V. 15V or higher would mean your voltage regulator is going bad.

Overvoltage can be very harmful to electronic modules in your electrical system.

One day the dashboard on my 545i lit up like a Christmas tree with error codes. I put my voltmeter in and during startup I was hitting 17V! Changed out my alternator and all is well.

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3721-Bat...hter+voltmeter
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  #4  
Old 11-01-2012, 12:51 PM
rjohio rjohio is offline
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PHLFLY: The CPO would only cover this if it turns out that the alternator is bad -- so that's why the $50 deductible wouldn't apply to the diagnostic tests if this is due to a bad battery, and I'd be out the $130 plus battery costs if the dealer tests suggest a new battery is needed.

BIMMERFAN52: Thanks for the advice - I will pick up a voltmeter. I suppose that if it reads >15.0, that will put me on better ground in agreeing to the diagnostic test at the dealer, because it will make it more likely that the issue is something other than the battery.

In the meantime if others have different views, I'd welcome hearing them.

Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2012, 01:39 PM
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phlfly phlfly is offline
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I don't know about this, I have always paid only 50 bucks even that job would not coverd by CPO, so took car back. Most warranties are paying for troubleshooting time to auto shop.
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