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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 4-year-old bosh battery that the previous owner got installed by a Euroshop. Two weeks ago the battery totally died on me. I took the battery to Advanced Auto, had them hook it up to a charger and battery condition reporter. It was showing my battery was at 165 CCA (rated 720CCA) :dunno:. They kept the battery on the charger overnight and called me the next day and said the battery is fine it just needed to be charged. Two weeks pass by and the battery is dead, once again. I kept it on a trikle charger for 2-3 days after the battery was fully charged by advanced auto. Is it time for a new battery?
 

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BeeemerBro
5,4,6 BMW X3 All...196K +
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Battery 4 years or older...replacement of battery is needed.

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Anti-Hack
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Check ground straps first. Batteries can easily last more than 4 years. My record is 18 and counting.


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Where are the straps located?

On the E9x I don’t know for sure; on the E83 one is behind the brake booster, one is behind the front passenger wheel connecting the engine block to chassis, and the third is on the exhaust about beneath the rear seats. If the colts can’t flow, battery won’t charge.

Load test your battery. Not a static volt test, but a load test.


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I would check how your alternator? See if it's charging your battery?
How would I check that?
You have a multimeter? Black wire to ground and Red wire to alternator power source. Should be reading 14v if your battery is reading 14.x volts while the car is running... Anything below 12v means your alternator isn***8217;t charging...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You have a multimeter? Black wire to ground and Red wire to alternator power source. Should be reading 12v if your battery is reading 12.x volts...

Yeah, but I left it at work :rofl:. I might just take the car to advanced auto tomorrow and have them load test the battery and take a look at the alternator. Does this ground look bad?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think I'm gonna take the car to advanced auto, have them check the battery voltage and load test it. Also, take a look at the alternator voltage and then keep the car on a trickle charger. Once it's fully charged, I am going to pull it off the charger and see it the battery dies again.
 

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I have a 4-year-old bosh battery... Two weeks ago the battery totally died on me. I took the battery to Advanced Auto, had them hook it up to a charger and battery condition reporter. It was showing my battery was at 165 CCA (rated 720CCA) :dunno: [I "Dunno" either -- I DON'T know how CCA can be measured (as opposed to Voltage)]. They kept the battery on the charger overnight and called me the next day and said the battery is fine it just needed to be charged. Two weeks pass by and the battery is dead, once again. I kept it on a trikle charger for 2-3 days after the battery was fully charged by advanced auto. Is it time for a new battery?
How would I check that? [IF the Alternator is Charging Battery -- SEE BELOW]
... How would I do a load test on the battery? I don't have a load tester [YES, you DO -- Your Starter Motor Load Tests your battery every time you start the engine -- IF you measure the battery Voltage IF the Starter can't crank the engine -- SEE BELOW]
Yeah, but I left it at work :rofl: [Multimeter/DMM]. I might just take the car to advanced auto tomorrow and have them load test the battery and take a look at the alternator. Does this ground look bad?
Ground Cable OK:
I'm NOT sure where the ground cable you show is located, but some exterior corrosion or copper sulfate (blue color) does NOT affect it's ability to conduct electricity. If the Starter Cranks the engine at the normal RPM during cranking, there is NO WAY it would affect how the Alternator charges the Battery. So FORGET ABOUT the Ground Strap for now.

System Voltage Measurement:
If you don't have your DMM to measure voltage at the Jumpstart Terminals (preferred test location), you can use a Scan Tool that can read Parameters to read System Voltage, either with engine OFF (Battery Voltage), or RUNNING (Alternator Charging). OR, you can use "Hidden Menu 9.00" to read System Voltage on your Instrument Cluster. ONLY problem with that is you have to Activate Hidden Menu 9.00 EVERY time you turn on Ignition when you want to view Voltage.
http://e90.wikifoundry.com/page/BC+hidden+menus

Battery Voltage needs to be ~ 11.9V or Greater, to crank Starter instead of just having Starter Solenoid "Click" or "Chatter" (ratchet-like ~ 5 clicks in 1 second). Any time Starter simply clicks, check Voltage one of the three ways described above (DMM, Scan Tool, Hidden Menu 9.00). If < 12.0 V Battery Voltage, charge the battery at 6 Amp or 10 Amp rate for 10 or 15 minutes, and then crank starter, which should NOW crank.

Alternator Voltage Output:
You can Read System Voltage any of three ways described above. Safest way to monitor System Voltage or Alternator Output as you drive is using Hidden Menu 9.00, as it displays Voltage in Real Time on the Instrument Cluster, and it requires NO DMM or Scan Tool. When the engine is Running, and Alternator is Charging (as it SHOULD be at all times when engine is RUNNING), the System Voltage you measure with ANY of the 3 methods above should be between 13.5V and 14.8V. On my system which has NEVER had a charging issue, I have seen System Voltage as high as 15.2V.

A replacement "Remanufactured" Bosch 180 Amp Alternator is in the range of $400 plus CORE charge. A replacement Bosch Voltage Regulator is $31. So WHAT are you going to replace FIRST if you go to "Part Throwing MODE"?? :bigpimp: :tsk:

From your description of events to date, your vehicle seems to either have:
1) A Defective Alternator or Voltage Regulator which does NOT properly charge the battery while the engine is running; OR
2) A "Parasitic Draw" or "Quiescent Current" which is battery drain when the engine is OFF and the Electrical System should be "Asleep".

YOU can conduct measurements yourself, as described above, adding (A) checking battery voltage 10 minutes AFTER engine shutdown, and again (B) 8 to 12 hours later (overnight) to determine if you have parasitic draw (if Voltage B is at least .2 V LESS than Voltage A). Of course a failing battery can lose Voltage overnight as well, so disconnect (-) Battery Terminal overnight to see if DISCONNECTED battery loses Voltage at same rate.

Load Test:
If the Battery "Fails the Starter Load Test", when you press START and get a Click or nothing, measure Battery Voltage via one of 3 methods, and if Voltage is ~ 10.0 to 10.5 V, your battery has failed the Load test, as it has an internal fault or "Bad Cell". If you were to put it on a charger for several hours, and it tested to have ~ 12.5V+ after removing the charger, the SAME thing would happen when you pressed START = Starter Solenoid just clicks, and Battery Voltage has suddenly fallen to ~ 10.5 V.

NONE of this is "rocket science". Just take some time to understand how to use a DMM and the basic CONCEPTS described above, and YOU can analyze your own electrical system issues. Be aware that MANY people in shops and "behind the counter" do NOT have proper concepts of vehicle electrical systems. ALSO, be suspicious of those who tell you "BMW electrical systems are completely different from other vehicles" or similar conspiracy theories, or who ALWAYS blame the battery for ANY electrical issue. MOST people find it easier to understand things they can SEE, and you can't see electricity, UNLESS you short-circuit something. ;)

George
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Ground Cable OK:
I'm NOT sure where the ground cable you show is located, but some exterior corrosion or copper sulfate (blue color) does NOT affect it's ability to conduct electricity. If the Starter Cranks the engine at the normal RPM during cranking, there is NO WAY it would affect how the Alternator charges the Battery. So FORGET ABOUT the Ground Strap for now.

System Voltage Measurement:
If you don't have your DMM to measure voltage at the Jumpstart Terminals (preferred test location), you can use a Scan Tool that can read Parameters to read System Voltage, either with engine OFF (Battery Voltage), or RUNNING (Alternator Charging). OR, you can use "Hidden Menu 9.00" to read System Voltage on your Instrument Cluster. ONLY problem with that is you have to Activate Hidden Menu 9.00 EVERY time you turn on Ignition when you want to view Voltage.
http://e90.wikifoundry.com/page/BC+hidden+menus

Battery Voltage needs to be ~ 11.9V or Greater, to crank Starter instead of just having Starter Solenoid "Click" or "Chatter" (ratchet-like ~ 5 clicks in 1 second). Any time Starter simply clicks, check Voltage one of the three ways described above (DMM, Scan Tool, Hidden Menu 9.00). If < 12.0 V Battery Voltage, charge the battery at 6 Amp or 10 Amp rate for 10 or 15 minutes, and then crank starter, which should NOW crank.

Alternator Voltage Output:
You can Read System Voltage any of three ways described above. Safest way to monitor System Voltage or Alternator Output as you drive is using Hidden Menu 9.00, as it displays Voltage in Real Time on the Instrument Cluster, and it requires NO DMM or Scan Tool. When the engine is Running, and Alternator is Charging (as it SHOULD be at all times when engine is RUNNING), the System Voltage you measure with ANY of the 3 methods above should be between 13.5V and 14.8V. On my system which has NEVER had a charging issue, I have seen System Voltage as high as 15.2V.

A replacement "Remanufactured" Bosch 180 Amp Alternator is in the range of $400 plus CORE charge. A replacement Bosch Voltage Regulator is $31. So WHAT are you going to replace FIRST if you go to "Part Throwing MODE"?? :bigpimp: :tsk:

From your description of events to date, your vehicle seems to either have:
1) A Defective Alternator or Voltage Regulator which does NOT properly charge the battery while the engine is running; OR
2) A "Parasitic Draw" or "Quiescent Current" which is battery drain when the engine is OFF and the Electrical System should be "Asleep".

YOU can conduct measurements yourself, as described above, adding (A) checking battery voltage 10 minutes AFTER engine shutdown, and again (B) 8 to 12 hours later (overnight) to determine if you have parasitic draw (if Voltage B is at least .2 V LESS than Voltage A). Of course a failing battery can lose Voltage overnight as well, so disconnect (-) Battery Terminal overnight to see if DISCONNECTED battery loses Voltage at same rate.

Load Test:
If the Battery "Fails the Starter Load Test", when you press START and get a Click or nothing, measure Battery Voltage via one of 3 methods, and if Voltage is ~ 10.0 to 10.5 V, your battery has failed the Load test, as it has an internal fault or "Bad Cell". If you were to put it on a charger for several hours, and it tested to have ~ 12.5V+ after removing the charger, the SAME thing would happen when you pressed START = Starter Solenoid just clicks, and Battery Voltage has suddenly fallen to ~ 10.5 V.

NONE of this is "rocket science". Just take some time to understand how to use a DMM and the basic CONCEPTS described above, and YOU can analyze your own electrical system issues. Be aware that MANY people in shops and "behind the counter" do NOT have proper concepts of vehicle electrical systems. ALSO, be suspicious of those who tell you "BMW electrical systems are completely different from other vehicles" or similar conspiracy theories, or who ALWAYS blame the battery for ANY electrical issue. MOST people find it easier to understand things they can SEE, and you can't see electricity, UNLESS you short-circuit something. ;)

George
I'll check the battery voltage tommroow morning using my scan tool and let you know the voltage before starting the battery and the voltage while the battery is started. As always, thank you for the knowledge you provide and the information you put into your answer.


Any time Starter simply clicks, check Voltage one of the three ways described above (DMM, Scan Tool, Hidden Menu 9.00). If < 12.0 V Battery Voltage, charge the battery at 6 Amp or 10 Amp rate for 10 or 15 minutes, and then crank starter, which should NOW crank.

I had that issue happen today. Hooked the car up to a 1.5AMP charger for maybe 1hr 30 min. Went out to start the car and it cranked fine.

A "Parasitic Draw" or "Quiescent Current" which is battery drain when the engine is OFF and the Electrical System should be "Asleep".


How do I know when the car is "asleep"


I think the battery might've died today because I changed my door lock actuator yesterday and kept unlocking and locking the door to see if the new door lock actuator works fine. So, the car might've not went to "sleep" well :thumbup::rofl:
 

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... How do I know when the car is "asleep"...
Approximately 15 to 30 minutes (depending upon whether you lock vehicle or NOT) after the Remote Key is removed from the Insert Compartment, or the vehicle is exited & locked, the START button illumination, and Gear Indicator Light next to Shift Lever, will go OFF/ Dark. System is THEN in Sleep mode and should STAY that way until unlocked or door opened.

First step when Parasitic Draw during sleep mode is suspected is to measure reduction in battery voltage over 8-12 hour period. Make sure to wait 10 to 30 minutes after engine shut-down before measuring the first voltage. "Surface Charge" from Alternator Output while engine is running takes awhile to dissipate.

Please let us know what you find,
George
 

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I just got through a battery issue. It sounds to me like you could have a battery drain issue. In my case, the car was not going to sleep. As I investigated this, I found that when I pulled the fuse #13 (gauge cluster) the car would then go to sleep and the drain was gone. One easy way to check if your car is going to sleep, is when the car is running or ignition is on, press the window lock button so it lights up. Keep the window open so you can see the light. Then shut off the car and wait 5 minutes and see if the window lock light is still lit. If it stays on, then your car is still awake and will be drawing about 4 amps. Unfortunately I found this diagnostic trick after spending a good chunk of $ on a clamp meter. I learned this trick from Dr.Dean BMW Doctor on YouTube. Please let us know what you find.

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My apologies I thought I was on the E60 blog so the fuse number may be different but very similar in electronic layout.

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I’ve yet to see a >5 year old BMW that did NOT have ground issues. If you touch it and it feels “crunchy”, the corrosion is not just superficial. We had a Chevy bus at the local company that had intermittent no-start issues (accompanied by only the solenoid click) that was traced to a faulty ground that otherwise “looked” good, but testing between the starter and battery post showed issues with the ground circuit.

I can’t say over the inferwebz if the Earth straps are the major cause, but I’d guarantee they are a minor cause. Consider them to be a replacement item on any older BMW. On the E83, many of us install extra Earth straps, one can’t have enough grounds. The E9x has perhaps greater electrical complexity, so it would have an even greater need for clean and proper grounds to ensure proper electron flow. I’d estimate that 90% of electrical issues on the E83 chassis are traced to faulty grounds. I replaced the first on my ‘08 in 2014, the one on the exhaust, after the directionals wouldn’t shut off after my 12 minute commute in the morning in winter. The braided cable looked fine, less green corrosion than yours, but when I twisted it around, the individual wire strands broke due to being so brittle. Where there is corrosion there is loss of original material, resulting in smaller gauge wire (larger number), and yes these vehicles are sensitive enough to respond negatively to it. I recommend replacement with 4ga insulated battery cable.

As mentioned above, you can load test with a DMM. Or you can buy your own Load Tester at Autozone which DOES show CCA. They’re not expensive and will pay for itself in short order. Even if the issue is the battery itself, it may not be the problem; any issue with the electrical circuit can/reduce the life of the battery.


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