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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 12-01-2012, 12:20 PM
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E93: Does our battery have an eye to indicate status [SOLVED]

== Resolution Update ==

The rough running was solved by installing an Autozone 94R-DLG. Battery light no longer shows and the car runs very smooth after cold starts now + the transmission no longer makes really rough changes in the first few miles.

Dealer attempted to fix using the part numbers which made no difference:
New Battery cable, negative, IBS (12427603567 $ 217.24)
New Adapter for IBS (12517615476 $52.37)
New Adapter lead IBS (61129123571 $13.27)

The original battery would show green in its eye after being charged with a CTEK. Typically it would run fine on the next start but then be back to square one with the eye showing black.

==


This a 2009 E93 with 11K miles on, I've done 700 of those including one long weekend trip.

Since picking it up the yellow battery light shows when parked with the engine stopped (appears in ~60->120 seconds).

The car has been into the dealer twice already for this and other issues. Only the battery problem remains; it often runs rough when starting in a morning and as stated above the yellow battery light shows.

Today I accessed the battery -boy are these big batteries!-. I was hoping to see an eye to check the status like all other cars have these days but did not see one. Is there one under the red module?

With a multi-meter I checked the voltage after burning the headlights for ten seconds. It measured 11.72V. This sounds like an almost dead battery right? Any idea what the dealership needs to replace under warranty? I don't want to go in again with no result. I'd just pop in a new $110 WalMart battery myself to save hassle but have read a special AGM battery is required and needs registering with the car. Apparently this is to make the batteries last longer...

My commute is only 3.6 miles but all my other cars have been fine + we did a really long trip one weekend and it happened the Monday following.
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Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-29-2012 at 04:52 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2012, 12:33 PM
starr_stealer starr_stealer is offline
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I can only say for mine, which had a BMW battery in it, with a 2008 build date. It does have the eye indicator, which normally green means the cell the eye is above is good. The reading your getting with your mult-meter is showing that its dead. A good battery should report over 12V
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starr_stealer View Post
I can only say for mine, which had a BMW battery in it, with a 2008 build date. It does have the eye indicator, which normally green means the cell the eye is above is good. The reading your getting with your mult-meter is showing that its dead. A good battery should report over 12V
Thanks, I'll look for the eye again and email the dealer either way. At below 12V they should replace IMO before it totally dies.


Update: Found the eye; it was under a long black plastic wire clip that stretched the width of the battery. The eye is indeed showing no color; i.e. black.
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Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-01-2012 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:30 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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You need a battery tender.

These cars are battery hogs
They are constantly drawing power even when parked.
You fit the driving profile where they are likely to deny you a new battery unless
there was a recall on a batch of bad battery which there have been to you might check.
A Ctek 3300 battery tender is one of the better ones used here.
Also yes get an aftermarket battery and get an Indy to register it.
If you don't already have and AGM battery, and most cars don't ,just get a battery with the form factor CCA and amp hours close to what you have . I got a Interstate MTP92R/H8 it was 240 installed from my local Indy .

http://www.bawarec.ru/manuals/3er/e9...3er-e90-12.pdf

the above link tells you why there is so much power used by the ibs

Also locking the doors and getting the key fob away from the car will cause it to go to sleep more quickly
an save some current draw on the battery.

Read this one it will give you and idea of the magnitude of the problem

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...hlight=battery

Last edited by ctuna; 12-01-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for links! Having bought four new BMWs from the local dealer and considering a new 3-er wagon one hopes they'll replace the battery under the factory warranty..

We have an MX-5 that sits on my lift for up to three months at time over winters; never had an issue from its battery. In 25 years of driving other than my first used car the only battery I've had fail is a Honda CR-V at four years old - it acted up and totally died within three days. $109 and ten mins DIY to replace.

The guy from Buckhead went to Global Imports - worst dealership in the Metro area by far. Likely they both charged him for a new battery and submitted a warranty claim to BMW. Terrible place; I had a good SA there once but these days won't set foot in the place. Heard too many horror stories.
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Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-01-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:49 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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The number of submodules and processors is way up

The number of submodules and precessors is way up.
Its a big drain on the battery this is the first car I have had to
charge to keep it going. If I was driving on the highway every day it
wouldn't be a problem but that's not the case anymore.
And now the cars always have to be scanning for a keyfob.
They made this way to complicated .

Last edited by ctuna; 12-01-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:21 PM
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1.) Make sure to LOCK your car so that the car shuts off all the computers.
2.) You need to drive the car so that it wams up to operating temperature, and them another half an hour to an hour to keep it charged.

Look into Kat's thread for more info about battery maintenance. A wealth of information in that thread.

We had an 2009 BMW M3 sedan come in today that only had 4,000 miles on the ODO. He was complaining about how the cars battery was dead and how BMW's are a POS because the battery drains. Gee, I wonder why. He sold the car to us and headed across the street to Audi/Porsche.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:01 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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MP3:

It would be interesting to compare notes as to your build date. Mine was early July 2009 and at 3 years old and 20K on the clock started exhibiting issues. Bottom line, the dealership replaced my battery under warranty, but cautioned me with regard to:

1) locking the car every single time I get out of it
2) trying to minimize times the driver's door is opened and closed without starting the car
3) getting it out on the road more for longer drives.

Considering the expense and aggravation of replacing the batteries in these cars, I opted for also getting a CTEK battery tender.

I am like you in that I have a short (5.4 mile) commute, often times done in about 10 minutes. The car barely gets warmed up. Plus, my weekly maintenance routine dictates that doors get opened and closed a lot and let's be real, firing up the engine and driving the car out of the garage then shutting it off is not really going to get the alternator spinning.

Since I received the new battery and acquired the CTEK unit, I've used it twice (in 4 weeks). It takes roughly 1-1.25 hours to bring my battery back up to fully charged. Now that I know the vagaries of the system, this is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:07 PM
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Interesting to hear it is a common issue, but rarely have my wife or I had a long commute and this is our seventh BMW and first battery issue; first used car in over fifteen years though.

The build date appears to be 2009-06-05.

After the new battery I'll check the voltage every week and if it looks bad guess I'll look a trickle charger. If it is really is necessary we can tell friends and family we have both a plug-in car and a regular hybrid now

The reason I think the battery is dead is that it likely sat for the last couple of years before I bought it. It is an ex-demo car so had 5K on before sold and then became a company car in Florida just about when real estate bubble popped. It had 10.3K miles on when I bought it and I suspect it sat around unused the company parking lot 'waiting for re-hires when the economy picks up'. I can tell it's an ex-demo car because the warranty lasts until Nov 2013, it was a company car in Florida because that is stated on the Carfax. A few warranty repairs and lack of heated seats aside it still seems like a steal at $31K. The battery is the only remaining issue; assuming it's the root of rough running at start-up.

I can DIY and intend to keep this car around for a long time (it's a 3rd car and they are too expensive for us new!). I shall try to report back if the new battery handles the short commute or not.

Even with many computers this should not happen; modern electronics are incredibly power efficient compared to just ten years ago. Our cell phones have up to 1.5 Ghz processors and operate for many hours on a tiny battery.

Lots of super-rich people buy BMW convertibles as 3rd/4th/6th cars and barely use them, I guarantee most of them would not tolerate trickle charging. My Miata has a tiny battery compared to the BMW and it holds charge fine.

With 4K miles over four years one should expect to have to trickle charge, but not when used daily.

Anyway either the dealer replaces on the next visit or I replace it myself and look into how to register with the car - I saw some software to download on another forum and could try it using an old laptop. Worst case appears I spend ~$200 on a new battery every three years, not the end of the world. Actually trickle charging seems the worst case, won't be super-happy if it comes to that.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MP3_E46 View Post
Interesting to hear it is a common issue, but rarely have my wife or I had a long commute and this is our seventh BMW and first battery issue; first used car in over fifteen years though.

The build date appears to be 2009-06-05.

After the new battery I'll check the voltage every week and if it looks bad guess I'll look a trickle charger. If it is really is necessary we can tell friends and family we have both a plug-in car and a regular hybrid now

The reason I think the battery is dead is that it likely sat for the last couple of years before I bought it. It is an ex-demo car so had 5K on before sold and then became a company car in Florida just about when real estate bubble popped. It had 10.3K miles on when I bought it and I suspect it sat around unused the company parking lot 'waiting for re-hires when the economy picks up'. I can tell it's an ex-demo car because the warranty lasts until Nov 2013, it was a company car in Florida because that is stated on the Carfax. A few warranty repairs and lack of heated seats aside it still seems like a steal at $31K. The battery is the only remaining issue; assuming it's the root of rough running at start-up.

I can DIY and intend to keep this car around for a long time (it's a 3rd car and they are too expensive for us new!). I shall try to report back if the new battery handles the short commute or not.

Even with many computers this should not happen; modern electronics are incredibly power efficient compared to just ten years ago. Our cell phones have up to 1.5 Ghz processors and operate for many hours on a tiny battery.

Lots of super-rich people buy BMW convertibles as 3rd/4th/6th cars and barely use them, I guarantee most of them would not tolerate trickle charging. My Miata has a tiny battery compared to the BMW and it holds charge fine.


With 4K miles over four years one should expect to have to trickle charge, but not when used daily.

Anyway either the dealer replaces on the next visit or I replace it myself and look into how to register with the car - I saw some software to download on another forum and could try it using an old laptop. Worst case appears I spend ~$200 on a new battery every three years, not the end of the world. Actually trickle charging seems the worst case, won't be super-happy if it comes to that.

You need to tell the car to shut everything off or it just puts the car into 'standby'. I deal with problems like yours on a day to day basis. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Your Miata also doesn't have half the computers this car has.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Hot|Ice=- View Post
You need to tell the car to shut everything off or it just puts the car into 'standby'. I deal with problems like yours on a day to day basis. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Your Miata also doesn't have half the computers this car has.
Thanks! I did lock it tonight; of course some neighbors saw me and are soon bound to ask "why do you lock your car in the garage?"

You are almost certainly correct but it's poor engineering IMO. My undergrad covered a lot of electronics and the two post-grads degrees included a fair amount of embedded controller work.

Hopefully no trickle charging is needed. $200 and faffing with a laptop every three years is not a huge deal as I enjoy working on cars.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:20 PM
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Thanks! I did lock it tonight; of course some neighbors saw me and are soon bound to ask "why do you lock your car in the garage?"
Retraining the brain that the car needs to be unlocked in the morning is the greater battle. You have no idea how many times in the last month I've nearly jerked my arm out of the rotater cuff yanking on the door handle. I am learning though.....

With regard to my issue, the SA alluded to the possibility/probablity that my battery likely had a weak cell. Getting the straw poll vote from the engineer types both here on the 'fest and close to home that is also the concensus. Nevertheless, once burned, twice shy. Being a creature of habit, plugging the car into its tender every other Friday when I get home from work, or on Sunday afternoon after I finish my car washing routine is of little consequence for me.

After all the care and attention I give my car, being told it threw a code of "unfavorable driver behavior" just hurt!
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:42 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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The trickle charging seems like a good option.

That's what I'm doing with my battery .
I monitor the voltage its kind of interesting to see what its doing.
If you leave the hood open let it go to sleep and measure the voltage when you open the doors the battery drops 300 to 400 milivolts . This seem pretty significant on 95ah at battery at 12.6 volts. This indicates its drawing amps rather than milliamps.
The battery on the E46 lasted 8 years without any messing wilth it and all my other cars
have been that good or better. If you let the car sit even locked and asleep I think the battery will be totaly drained in 6 weeks to 3 months.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:37 AM
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One nice side benefit of Escort radar detectors is the "voltage mode". Put it in that, and unless it's alerting, it displays the voltage it's getting. I have made a habit of checking it on startup, periodically while driving, and when the engine is off but electric is on.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:51 AM
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That's what I'm doing with my battery .
I monitor the voltage its kind of interesting to see what its doing.
If you leave the hood open let it go to sleep and measure the voltage when you open the doors the battery drops 300 to 400 milivolts . This seem pretty significant on 95ah at battery at 12.6 volts. This indicates its drawing amps rather than milliamps..
When you open a door the car assumes you're about to start it so it starts waking up all the computers. I have iDrive and I notice that if I unlock the door, open it get in, and immediately start the car, iDrive takes about 20-30 seconds to initialize before a map is being displayed on the screen, because that's about how long it takes the system to boot up completely, give or take. If I unlock the door, open it and get in, and just sit for 20 seconds doing nothing, *then* start the car, iDrive will display a map on the screen in under 5 seconds, which clearly demonstrates that even if you never start the car, the whole vehicle is 'booting up' to be ready for you to drive. And it stays that way for about 14 minutes at which point it will go back to sleep if nothing happens during that time. There are a lot of computers spooling up to get the vehicle ready to start and run and it does it every time the door is opened. So that is why opening the door (or trunk) repeatedly without running the vehicle for an extended period of time will absolutely drain the battery.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:33 PM
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^^^This

Long story short

After driving my usual pattern for a couple of weeks and doing a wash which entails much battery draining behavior, when I put the car on the CTEK tender it took about 1 hour to come back to "FULL".

Today, after getting the car back to "Full" Friday night, I did a very short hop drive, 3 miles round trip then pulled the car out of the garage to wash (entailing multiple door openings, trunk opening, top acuation down and up all under battery power). Drove the car back into the garage and hooked it back up to the CTEK. Charge cycle took +3.25 hours!


My conclusion:
The computers on these cars are energy hogs and if you aren't driving to compensate for it you really need a viable altertative to maintain battery health.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
^^^This

Long story short

After driving my usual pattern for a couple of weeks and doing a wash which entails much battery draining behavior, when I put the car on the CTEK tender it took about 1 hour to come back to "FULL".

Today, after getting the car back to "Full" Friday night, I did a very short hop drive, 3 miles round trip then pulled the car out of the garage to wash (entailing multiple door openings, trunk opening, top acuation down and up all under battery power). Drove the car back into the garage and hooked it back up to the CTEK. Charge cycle took +3.25 hours!


My conclusion:
The computers on these cars are energy hogs and if you aren't driving to compensate for it you really need a viable altertative to maintain battery health.
Yup, that's what I decided to try. If the dealer does not put a new battery in this week I decided to try a CTEK 7002 as it has a recondition mode that several say worked ok.

This battery must be close to dead though; we did two six hour drives one weekend and it still gave the low battery light on Monday morning.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:44 AM
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Yup, that's what I decided to try. If the dealer does not put a new battery in this week I decided to try a CTEK 7002 as it has a recondition mode that several say worked ok.

This battery must be close to dead though; we did two six hour drives one weekend and it still gave the low battery light on Monday morning.
One weekend isn't enough to keep the battery charged. A tender is the your best solution.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by -=Hot|Ice=- View Post
One weekend isn't enough to keep the battery charged. A tender is the your best solution.
We'll see. The eye was showing green this morning after a 30 mins drive last night + locked doors overnight

A CTEK 7002 should arrive on Wednesday; I will leave it hooked up all weekend and see what happens from there. Just glad not to take it into the dealer again
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:09 PM
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Follow up:

Surprisingly no battery fault was detected and it charged to full very quickly. It'll be interesting to see if the low battery light appears over the next few days


The CTEK 7002 arrived and was hooked it up ~6pm today. Started in Snowflake mode (i.e. for an AGM battery) which has eight stages (two stages for each lamp)

Note: Over lunch with the radio on while filling gas the yellow low battery light appeared so the car still has issue despite the doors now being locked overnight

Within a couple of minutes the CTEK it was past lamp 1 (charge to a preset voltage complete)

With the hour lamp 2 was out (7 amp charge phase complete)

Somewhere between 9.30 and midnight the lamp 3 (final slow charge/ test for battery discharge fault complete) was over and it's now on lamp 4 (pulse maintenance mode)
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Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-05-2012 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:00 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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Are you sure you have an AGM battery ?

AGM batterys are suppose to be black and normal battery white per BMW if they
are stock batterys.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:03 PM
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AGM batterys are suppose to be black and normal battery white per BMW if they
are stock batterys.
Thanks. I need to check tomorrow. Voltage used by the CTEK is 14.4 for normal and 14.7 for AGM so I doubt it's the end of the world. It goes to 15.7V in recondition mode!

Just checked. Of course it's a white battery. The CTEK is now running in normal mode; it moved to the test phase in a few seconds

At this stage I pretty much expect to install new battery and have to figure out the DIY registration. If the low battery light shows tomorrow I'll disconnect it over the weekend and try re-conditioning with the CTEK first. It's under warranty but every deal visit costs a bunch with the time off work and it was in twice last month. Non AGM batteries apparently respond to re-conditioning better than AGM.
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Six Euro Deliveries since December 1998 (Owned E46, E90, E91, E92 and E93)

28 vehicles in 26 years of driving so far. Guess I like cars

Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-05-2012 at 11:10 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:16 PM
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How is everything looking?
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Last edited by -=Hot|Ice=-; 12-05-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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  #24  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:19 PM
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How is everything looking?
Will know tomorrow. It's time to sleep now.. 7am start again

Update: The battery eye is as green as it's ever been but the engine still ran rough at initial start-up. Left the ignition on and engine off for four minutes over lunch; the low battery light did not appear but voltage still looks low with the engine off according to an ELM 237/ Torque app.
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Six Euro Deliveries since December 1998 (Owned E46, E90, E91, E92 and E93)

28 vehicles in 26 years of driving so far. Guess I like cars

Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-06-2012 at 10:20 AM.
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  #25  
Old 12-29-2012, 04:46 AM
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MP3_E46 MP3_E46 is offline
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Mein Auto: Miata NC2
== Resolution Update ==

The rough running was solved by installing an Autozone 94R-DLG. Battery light no longer shows and the car runs very smooth after cold starts now + the transmission no longer makes really rough changes in the first few miles.

Dealer attempted to fix using the part numbers which made no difference:
New Battery cable, negative, IBS (12427603567 $ 217.24)
New Adapter for IBS (12517615476 $52.37)
New Adapter lead IBS (61129123571 $13.27)

The original battery would show green in its eye after being charged with a CTEK. Typically it would run fine on the next start but then be back to square one with the eye showing black.

==
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Six Euro Deliveries since December 1998 (Owned E46, E90, E91, E92 and E93)

28 vehicles in 26 years of driving so far. Guess I like cars

Last edited by MP3_E46; 12-29-2012 at 04:52 AM.
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