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So the other day I had my 05 x5's back window give up the ghost. I had to have it fixed and the dealer was the only one worth options on a weekend.

I pick it up and am leaving when all my dash lights start blinking and beeping. Get the trans. Fail safe error. Etc. I'm thinking alternator and cussing when I take it back in to them.

An hour later that day the customer service rep tells me, and I quote, "good news, your alternator is totally fine. You just need a new battery".

And hour and $480 later I'm back on the road. The next day I run all over the place, AC jammin, radio blarin, and not a single issue. That night on the way to pick my dad up at the airport the red battery light started playing peek-a-boo with me, coming on then going off.

My thought was well they just told me the alternator was good and I just got a new battery so it must be a bad connection.

It stayed off till the next afternoon while driving some clients around. I was on the way back to their hotel to drop them off when all the lights went beep beep beep again and then it dies 100 yards short of the parking lot. Had to ask my clients to help me push it out of the road.


Get towed to the dealer, get a new x5 loaner. And then they call the next day say it's the alternator.

So I'm pissed. I feel like they should have caught it the day before and didn't and as a result may have even bought a battery I didn't need because of this.

Looking for opinions and help with the argument I'll have with them Monday or Tuesday when they replace the alternator.

Does it make sense to argue that the alternator was bad all along and as a result they possibly replaced a battery that didn't need to be? Am I missing other options? I know it's an old car but this is like the perfect storm.

Thoughts??????

Thanks.
 

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I think you answered your own questions...
 

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If the local dealership cannot diagnose a faulty alternator, as opposed to a dead battery, then there's a serious issue with their skill level and/or service dept mechanics/auto-electricians. Any back-yard DIYer with a multi-meter could do this and probably doesn't earn upwards of $100/hour in labour charges...
$480 to replace the battery? Are you serious? Was this a typo?
I'm in the wrong game...
If you paid $480 for the battery, then expect to pay around $2000 for the alternator job.
 

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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 100K miles NOKIAN WR G3 20K miles
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If it was the original battery then it definitely needed to be replaced. Batteries in stock after manufacture are not maintained or charged. Your BMW will NEVER EVER fully charge its battery. For best battery capacity service YOU must regularly and frequently charge the battery.

BMW's are beyond the sense of mechanics, that is the root problem. Their mechanical systems and electronic computer systems are so integrated as to need an experienced trained and certified qualified technician directed by a good manager that will listen to his engineers.
 

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No$480 wasn't a typo. They claimed $250 or some thing for the battery and labor to program the car for the new battery. I felt bent over a barrel because it wouldn't start and I needed it for the next week.

Last call said $1100 for alternator.
 

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Your '05 E53 does NOT need programming when installing a new battery. It's a simple 15 minutes (max) job to replace a dead battery and most battery supply outlets will do this for free (as part of the sales service). Later models do require programming, but not yours. Ask them what they did to justify $230 in labour fees to replace the battery? $250 for the battery is a fair price, but not $230 to install it - they gang-raped you.
$1100 for the alternator job is about right.
I would be asking them to deduct the outrageous labour fee they charged for the battery installation, from the alternator replacement labour charges.
I hope you have plenty of lube handy...
 

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If it was the original battery then it definitely needed to be replaced. Batteries in stock after manufacture are not maintained or charged. Your BMW will NEVER EVER fully charge its battery. For best battery capacity service YOU must regularly and frequently charge the battery.

BMW's are beyond the sense of mechanics, that is the root problem. Their mechanical systems and electronic computer systems are so integrated as to need an experienced trained and certified qualified technician directed by a good manager that will listen to his engineers.
I have never 'regularly and frequently charged the battery' in my vehicle. Two years since replacing the battery (Varta brand) and never a problem.
Agreed that some of the systems in modern cars require software analysis to diagnose some issues, but at the end of the day they are a car, with mechanical components and IMHO any mechanic worth a pinch of dog ****e should be able to work on the vehicle. It's not rocket science or nuclear physics - it's a bloody car!
 

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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 100K miles NOKIAN WR G3 20K miles
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The technical description of the E70 glovebox mechanism is about 20 pages long.

I got rid of my VW TDI a year and a half ago, despite it being the most reliable car that I have had in my 50 years driving, because the stealership's no-service department mechanics were parts-changers, while we the TDI fans learned to diagnose failures from the signs, indications and symptoms, and that the key to longevity was to avoid the stealerships.

Absence of evidence (of your problems with batteries) is not evidence of absence of problems with maintenance of batteries.
 

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Really????? Glove box mechanism description 20 pages long???? WTF is this world coming to? I thought programming a VCR was difficult enough...
My Golf TDi is one of the most reliable and frugal vehicles I've ever owned and is a breeze to work on compared to other vehicles I own. It's also one of the most fun to drive. I have NEVER taken it to a stealership either, as my mechanical abilities are sufficient to deal with any issues that have arisen (and I'm not a 'trained technician' or 'mechanic' - just a person who has basic skills and is analytical in character).
If what you are suggesting is true, then we should all be investing in CTEK battery chargers and/or the company that manufactures them...
If you don't use your vehicle on a regular basis, then there's good argument for trickle charging the battery, but if it's used on a daily basis then I don't see any need to 'regularly and frequently charge' it, assuming you have a good alternator & battery.
Please identify and post where in the BMW owner's manual it states this, so we can all be enlightened...
 

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I paid $178 for a new battery earlier this year. In the vehicle out the door price. This is the second battery I bought for the vehicle. The first was an Exide and it was installed November, 2004. I stopped using $tealers when it became obvious to me that the technicians had only two goals: Make lots of money for the boss and make lots of money for themselves. Diagnosing and correctly fixing the problem were not in the equation. Customers are only good for one thing; supplying all the money mentioned above.
 

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No$480 wasn't a typo. They claimed $250 or some thing for the battery and labor to program the car for the new battery. I felt bent over a barrel because it wouldn't start and I needed it for the next week.

Last call said $1100 for alternator.
Ditto Grumpy...the e53 does NOT require battery registration...that is a new generation BMW thing. In fact, there's nothing in our communication BUS system that uses the systems in the new gen BMWs that do require new battery registration. If you had an e70 X5...then yes, they would have had to hook up to BMW diagnostics to register the new battery. But not your e53 X5...its old school generation...simple plug-n-play. :)

The new gen BMWs have a IBS (intelligent battery sensor)...and that debuted on the 2004 e60, then rolled out to new models that came after. The early e65 & e90 (7 & 3 series) didn't have the ISB...but did have the new style communication BUS. Those models use the BSD bus to communicate between the alternator, battery, and ECU. The new gen BMWs with the IBS communicate this info over the LIN bus.

Again, your e53 has neither the BSD or LIN bus...we have the old K bus or I,K,M,P, CAN, Dianostic BUS.

Also, a 49/H8 battery class size is all you need...and you can pick those up for between $100-$200 depending on vendor. I picked one up at Sam's Club March/2015 for $114...and the specs are slightly higher than the BMW battery.

You have every right to be angry...but try to stay calm so that you can work a deal...and not have them become defensive, dig-in, and forget about being sympathetic to your concerns etc. A cool head usually prevails...especially backed up with facts. Ask question that you already know the answer to so that you can cut through the BULL. But still try to remain calm.

Good luck. Below is some info that might be helpful if they try to pull one over on you...especially about the labor charges to register the battery in an e53:




I don't remember reading which model X5 you have...so can't tell if you have the low or high cluster which means I don't know which BUS system you have...so I'll post both...which you can see does not have the BSD nor LIN BUS:

Low cluster & K bus topological chart



High cluster & I,K, M,P, CAN, DIAGNOSTIC BUS topological chart


Any 49/H8 battery class size battery will fit the e53 and have the specs required






 

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$480? ripoff, you can do it yourself for half that, not hard at all. my grandfather & i also did the alternator ourselves but we are mechanics.
 

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I had a similar issue with wife's E46 recently - battery light on/off a couple of days then no start. Checking the voltage with engine running showed no charge, so new alternator? Not quite. They are usually pretty long lasting except for bearing problems, so replaced the voltage regulator and all now good, with 14 v showing. VR is a fraction the cost of an alternator
 
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