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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:26 PM
drfuandthecrew drfuandthecrew is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 325CI
battery drain and testing issues

On my 2006 325CI M Sport the battery died after 6 years, no biggie, its time. I replaced the battery and all was good but after a week the car is now dead again which leads me to believe that i have a battery drain somewhere.



I have charged up the battery fully again with my charger, used my multimeter to check the voltage and it reads 12.6 so i know all is okay again, car starts etc.



After reading some post I want to find the drain so here is what I have done and what i'm still having issues with:



1) Removed the positve battery cable off my battery in my trunk

2) Set my multimeter to 10A DCA, placed com lead from meter on the removed batter cable, took my red lead from my meter (mA/Batt/V) port and put it on the battery post.


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This did not create a circuit, my trunk lights did not turn on so I dont know where i'm going wrong.



My thoughs are to see the current draw, start removing fuses until the draw dissapears and narow down where the drain is coming from but since I can not create the bridge between the battery and the battery cable I can not measure the draw at all.



Any ideas on what I am doing wrong, as I must be because everything I have read to date make this seem like a simple troubleshoot, and give me some recommendations/solutions to my problem, thanks for all of your input/help with this issue.
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:40 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is online now
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what are you charging to when the car is running??

i would also put some stress on the alternator by running the lights, wipers and blower on high, high beams, hazzards, and rear defrost, and seat heaters if applicable.

measure the voltage while doing this. your alternator should be able to handle this, so i would not expect to see the voltage below 13.5



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  #3  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:48 PM
drfuandthecrew drfuandthecrew is offline
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Re Drivinfaster,

I charged the battery in my garage with a home battery charger connected directly to the battery in my trunk. If it was an alt issue i doubt it would have died just sitting in the garage, or am i wrong in thinking that? How do i test to see if it is my alt just in case, you could be right?
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2012, 05:58 PM
geeek204 geeek204 is offline
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Mein Auto: e46 325i, e92 335i, A7
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfuandthecrew View Post
Re Drivinfaster,

I charged the battery in my garage with a home battery charger connected directly to the battery in my trunk. If it was an alt issue i doubt it would have died just sitting in the garage, or am i wrong in thinking that? How do i test to see if it is my alt just in case, you could be right?
When you say it died in your garage were you also driving it between when you charged it and when it died? That would indicate an alt issue. To test just do like drivinfaster said: start the car, attach your voltmeter's leads to the battery and check the voltage. Should be aroud 14v with nothing on, then turn on everything like he said. Shouldn't drop below 13.5v. If it does the alt isn't producing enough power to recharge your battery and recover what was used up to start the car.


As for the amp testing, make sure that your meter's fuse didn't accidentally get blown. It would still read voltages in this case, but not be able to complete the circuit like you described. Try it with a simple AA battery and light circuit. Also, when you do end up hooking it up to the battery, make sure that you aren't going to overload it but having all the interior lights, trunk lights, headlights, radio, etc. on in the car. Remember at 12V it will only take 120W of power to blow that fuse!
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2012, 07:31 PM
drfuandthecrew drfuandthecrew is offline
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Storm,

Thanks for the reply. First is that no I was not driving the car between charges, I put in the new battery on tue and by sat it was dead from just sitting in my garage.

Second is i started my car up as mentioned with hibeams/ac/rear def & still @ 13.8 volts so alt is fine.

Thinking that their is something wront with how i set up my multimeter or the fact that the fuses are toast I put new ones in with some foil (I know) set my red lead to 10A on my multimeter and set the dial to 10A DCA on the dial.

It completed the circuit, my trunk light turned on but to my supprise as soon as I did my meter said 1.84....i'm assuming that is 1.84 amp draw with no keys in my car. If this is correct wtf could cause that kind of draw? Could that be a dead short almost? I can not see my trunk lights drawing that kind of current or am i on glue and that translates into .184? Again my meter dial is turned on DCA 10A and my red lead is in the 10A port not the mA port
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2012, 07:42 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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You need to push the trunk latch closed to shut the lights off in the trunk. Then wait several minutes and allow car to go into sleep mode. You will/should see it go down below 100ma once it is in sleep mode.
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:09 PM
geeek204 geeek204 is offline
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Mein Auto: e46 325i, e92 335i, A7
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfuandthecrew View Post
Storm,

Thanks for the reply. First is that no I was not driving the car between charges, I put in the new battery on tue and by sat it was dead from just sitting in my garage.

Second is i started my car up as mentioned with hibeams/ac/rear def & still @ 13.8 volts so alt is fine.

Thinking that their is something wront with how i set up my multimeter or the fact that the fuses are toast I put new ones in with some foil (I know) set my red lead to 10A on my multimeter and set the dial to 10A DCA on the dial.

It completed the circuit, my trunk light turned on but to my supprise as soon as I did my meter said 1.84....i'm assuming that is 1.84 amp draw with no keys in my car. If this is correct wtf could cause that kind of draw? Could that be a dead short almost? I can not see my trunk lights drawing that kind of current or am i on glue and that translates into .184? Again my meter dial is turned on DCA 10A and my red lead is in the 10A port not the mA port
1.84 amps equates to only 22 watts so that is definitely plausible. Definitely get the car into its "sleep mode" by doing what QAlfred said and then check the reading.
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  #8  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:25 PM
drfuandthecrew drfuandthecrew is offline
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Location: Calgary
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Thank you to all for your input & advice. I have found the circuit that is causing a 4.14 amp draw when the car is turned off. I have now pulled the fuse and will see in a week if my battery still has a full charge.

As it turns out it is fuse #49, a 5 amp fuse that controls the following according to the card in my fuse box (Central Locking System, Interior light, Thiefproffing system, window lift front). This fuse controls a lot and now I need to know how to identify which it is and how to fix the problem...if I can.
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