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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-17-2004, 12:01 PM
moonk9 moonk9 is offline
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Exclamation Help! Battery or Alternator???

Since Monday, the battery in my 2000 528i keeps dieing (manu 06/00). Jump, drive, park, dead. Last night I checked the cells; they were a bit low (not to the plates). I refilled with distilled water and drove the freeway for 40 minutes.

This morning, battery dead again! Jumped it and drove the 6 or so miles to work. Shut down the engine and it restarted. That was at 8 am. It is now 2:30 pm, I went out to start the car and it is dead again. ARGH!

Called dealer. Battery $157.00 Diagnostics and install $120.00.

If I can get some diagnostic advice from the board, I can purchase and install battery (practically had it out to fill the cells last night).

The battery light is NOT illuminated on the dash. Is this most likely a bad battery or alternator?

Any advice???

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2004, 12:14 PM
Lanc3r Lanc3r is offline
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First thing I would do is check all connections making sure they are all tight and not corroded.(esp. the hard to reach ones.)
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2004, 03:06 PM
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LmtdSlip LmtdSlip is offline
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How many months is the battery rated for. In my experience batteries have lasted as long as they were rated for and not much more.

You can remove the battery and take it to most any garage or auto parts strore for a free load test. Its best to have the battery as charged as possible before the test.
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2004, 07:28 AM
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dagoo98 dagoo98 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LmtdSlip
How many months is the battery rated for. In my experience batteries have lasted as long as they were rated for and not much more.

You can remove the battery and take it to most any garage or auto parts strore for a free load test. Its best to have the battery as charged as possible before the test.
No do not charge the battery as much as possible before because that will not simulate real driving conditions. I had the same problem before, its the battery. You rarely get more than 4 years out of your battery and that's if you never have it die on you. My battery was fine until one day I was loading up the car for a road trip and left the xenon lights on for awhile. The battery died, afetr that it would die if I used any auxiliary power without the car running. I eventually just bought a battery and never had the problem again. Interstate battery sells a battery that's compatible for much less than BMW and you can install it yourself if you are the slightest bit mechanically inclined. Remove the bracket and terminals and take out battery then replace with new battery attach the terminals and bracket. Shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes. $120 for install is robbery.
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  #5  
Old 11-21-2004, 08:36 AM
Lscman Lscman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonk9
Since Monday, the battery in my 2000 528i keeps dieing (manu 06/00). Jump, drive, park, dead. Last night I checked the cells; they were a bit low (not to the plates). I refilled with distilled water and drove the freeway for 40 minutes.

This morning, battery dead again! Jumped it and drove the 6 or so miles to work. Shut down the engine and it restarted. That was at 8 am. It is now 2:30 pm, I went out to start the car and it is dead again. ARGH!

Called dealer. Battery $157.00 Diagnostics and install $120.00.

If I can get some diagnostic advice from the board, I can purchase and install battery (practically had it out to fill the cells last night).

The battery light is NOT illuminated on the dash. Is this most likely a bad battery or alternator?

Any advice???

Thanks in advance.
I have some advice for you.....

The jump-recharge-dead-jump-recharge-dead process you've gone thru more than once is beating the computer modules & alternator in your car to death. These parts are super costly & may begin failing due to your methods. You're talking thousands of $ to repair these ancillary systems. Don't play around. This may be a simple problem of a battery that's shot and needs replaced. Get the thing fixed at a dealer (tow it or whatever) before you destroy your car. Cut your losses.

When a battery that's three years old or more dies twice, that's an immediate indication to replace it. Repeated recharge attempts are risky. Unless you're an electronic technician who understands how to use a VOM, you try a new battery or take it to the dealer.

My advice is to immediately disconnect the battery cables, so the car's computer systems do not see reduced voltage from a sick battery.

Last edited by Lscman; 11-21-2004 at 08:42 AM.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2004, 09:43 PM
Niftster Niftster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonk9
Since Monday, the battery in my 2000 528i keeps dieing (manu 06/00). Jump, drive, park, dead. Last night I checked the cells; they were a bit low (not to the plates). I refilled with distilled water and drove the freeway for 40 minutes.

This morning, battery dead again! Jumped it and drove the 6 or so miles to work. Shut down the engine and it restarted. That was at 8 am. It is now 2:30 pm, I went out to start the car and it is dead again. ARGH!

Called dealer. Battery $157.00 Diagnostics and install $120.00.

If I can get some diagnostic advice from the board, I can purchase and install battery (practically had it out to fill the cells last night).

The battery light is NOT illuminated on the dash. Is this most likely a bad battery or alternator?

Any advice???

Thanks in advance.

Dagoo is probably correct. You can get the battery checked at most places and they won't charge you an arm and a leg. I've had so many dead batteries in my lifetime, I actually recognized the last time mine was going bad before it actually died. It was just a few weeks ago following the first cold snap of the season. It hesitated ever so little before it turned over, and I drove immediately to the 10 minute oil change place. They checked it and it was bad. The replaced it for around $100.
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  #7  
Old 12-17-2004, 08:24 AM
norcal 528i norcal 528i is offline
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listen to LSC man. You don't have a deep cycle battery. But you keep deep cycling it. Your battery is guaranteed dead right now. Get a new one. You are going to cause harm if you continue on the present course. If once you get the new battery you still suspect alternator get a voltmeter and see what the battery reads when the car is running. Should be around 14v.
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2004, 03:50 AM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lscman
I have some advice for you.....

The jump-recharge-dead-jump-recharge-dead process you've gone thru more than once is beating the computer modules & alternator in your car to death. These parts are super costly & may begin failing due to your methods. You're talking thousands of $ to repair these ancillary systems. Don't play around. This may be a simple problem of a battery that's shot and needs replaced. Get the thing fixed at a dealer (tow it or whatever) before you destroy your car. Cut your losses.

When a battery that's three years old or more dies twice, that's an immediate indication to replace it. Repeated recharge attempts are risky. Unless you're an electronic technician who understands how to use a VOM, you try a new battery or take it to the dealer.

My advice is to immediately disconnect the battery cables, so the car's computer systems do not see reduced voltage from a sick battery.
He probably changed the battery by now.

LSCMAN,
That is a little scary theory. I am wondering why it will damage computer modules etc. ? We all turn on electronic devices around the house hundreds of times. Why would that be different? I can see the logic about the alternator working extra hard to constantly needing to recharge the battery. But what's with the other computer modules?

TIA
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2005, 09:28 AM
Lscman Lscman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz
He probably changed the battery by now.

LSCMAN,
That is a little scary theory. I am wondering why it will damage computer modules etc. ? We all turn on electronic devices around the house hundreds of times. Why would that be different? I can see the logic about the alternator working extra hard to constantly needing to recharge the battery. But what's with the other computer modules?

TIA
This is not scary theory...it's scary fact. Be advised that this person is not crisply turning the 12V source on and off as you might do with a light switch or switched 120 VAC terminal strip. This situation would look very ugly if monitored with an oscilliscope or DC power quality instrumentation.

The electronic "devices" are being subjected to long-duration brownouts from slow battery sag and high frequency voltage spikes from external charger connection. Brownouts result in unintended overcurrent to attached electronic devices (load). In some cases, device power requirements are FIXED, so DC current rises with reduced voltage. In some situations, intended current values will be exceeded and componentry will overheat and fail. Ocillation and other unintended situations can occur as "min V thresholds" are slowly crossed by a battery source that drops by maybe 1 volt or less per hour. I witnessed this rare situation happen on my Corvette. You might visit your garage at a particular moment and even hear relays buzzing, as the voltages sags below 11V. The silent damage being done in computerized systems is hard to witness. Spikes are just as bad as they can blow solid state input componentry. This is a sure fire way to destroy electronics.

Last edited by Lscman; 01-10-2005 at 09:36 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2009, 09:23 PM
arvio69 arvio69 is offline
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Battery or alternator

I have the same problem with my car. I have replaced the battery and still the the problem presits. At times the car will function fine and then for no reason it will not start. It can go days without a problem and the next day it will not start, some days, the same days it will act up. If anyone has advise, I would really appreciate it.
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  #11  
Old 10-29-2009, 08:08 AM
z06bigbird z06bigbird is offline
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I replace the battery in all my vehicles around 3 years or so. Cheap insurance. Never had a failure, and I don't want one.
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  #12  
Old 10-29-2009, 08:10 AM
z06bigbird z06bigbird is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatWiz View Post
He probably changed the battery by now.

LSCMAN,
That is a little scary theory. I am wondering why it will damage computer modules etc. ? We all turn on electronic devices around the house hundreds of times. Why would that be different? I can see the logic about the alternator working extra hard to constantly needing to recharge the battery. But what's with the other computer modules?

TIA
Alternator has a tremendous output; with any modern car, you do not want to charge battery by driving vehicle. Alt will eventually fail from lengthy output of 14.7+ volts (or so).

By lengthy, I mean more than just a few moments or minutes.
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2009, 12:42 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arvio69 View Post
I have the same problem with my car. I have replaced the battery and still the the problem presits. At times the car will function fine and then for no reason it will not start. It can go days without a problem and the next day it will not start, some days, the same days it will act up. If anyone has advise, I would really appreciate it.
Take your car to any chain auto parts store and ask them (politely) to test your battery and alternator. They have testing tool, and can tell you instantly if your alternator or battery is bad.

If all is well, then your next step is to diagnose and probably have to replace your FSU. There is a sticky here on it, or just do a search. Here I did it for you:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=143393

What can happen is after you shut off your car, a bad FSU can cause your heater fan/blower to cycle on an off slowly...and this draws down the battery while you are gone. Come back to start, dead battery...a common problem.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 10-29-2009 at 12:44 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2009, 04:42 PM
fireman-175 fireman-175 is offline
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As a former employee of an alternator/starter repair shop, I have some advice for dead battery jumpers. Jump the car to get home or your office only. Once there, you need to get that battery on a charger and recharge it with the proper tool

Your alternator is not for recharging dead batteries. You will burn up the componants of the alternator and make a repair/sales shop, or better a dealer, very happy you messed up.

Alternators are only for topping off batteries and providing power to you running car.

Save yourself $$$ and buy a charger for you garage.
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