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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reposted in the correct section

2001 BMW 525i

I bought it used recently. Came with a crap battery that was pretty much dead.
When I turn the car off all my electricity in my car flickers on and off many times throughout the night until it dies. Sometimes within an hour. Everything turns on and off (Headlights, tail lights, dome light, a/c, dash, etc) When I lock the car, the alarm will go off and the headlights will flash 5 min after locking it until the car dies. Had to jump it every morning. And have to keep it unlocked so the police dont come knocking at my door. A friend said it could be the crap battery. I just replaced that today and still having the same problems. Now he says it could be a bad fuse? I checked the fuses in the trunk and I only have 5 of the small fuses in there with like 15 open slots (I dont know much about cars haha).

Does anyone know what could be wrong with my car? I dont want to have to unhook the battery everytime I get out of the car

I would like to add that this was not happening when I bought it. Started happening about a week after and I had no work done on it between then.
 

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Agree. Overnight battery voltage s/b 12.5+. With engine running at 1000 RPM, s/b 14+.

Also, low battery voltage (<= 11V) can cause weird things to happen. The car is designed to go to sleep after 16 min of no activity.
 

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Get a volt meter and see what the voltage is at the battery when the engine is running.
Maybe you have a different problem and really don't need an alternator.
 

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Or, take it to a local Autozone or someplace similar that will do a load test on your battery & alternator & let you know how each are working. It's free, and they can tell you if you have a bad battery or if your alternator isn't working or isn't working good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update:
I have good news and bad news, well depending at how you look at it.
Took it to my roomates uncles shop for a free check up.
Turns out it wasnt the alternator, but some major computer issues. They said if I want it fixed I have to take it to a dealer.
So I opted for a $20 fix instead of a grand or more and bought a battery kill switch.
So far everything is going great. Just need to cut the battery off when I go to bed and turn it back on when I leave in the morning.
Eventually I might put a switch that extends to the cabin but for now I am fine with the trunk

I hope this helps anyone having the same problem as me and wants a cheap easy fix.
I am a broke college student so this was pretty much the only option for me :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I dont know about settings, nothing seems to be affected. Driving perfectly and all my settings seem to be saved.
If I could afford a new bmw I would. I cant, but I am happy with my kill switch at the moment. Made me happy that I could do it myself, since this is my first car project.
 

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Ok - so not to "rain on your parade" here but broke college students buying e39's with electrical issues and no Pre-Purchase Inspections being done PRIOR to purchase = recipe for disaster.

Never purchase a European car as complex as these or any modern BMW, Audi, VW, etc without a sizeable reserve for first year maintance & repairs. I generally allow 20% of original purchase price at a minimum. If you're not ahndy with cars, you may really want to ask if somehting like this is even a good car to own - they are maintance intensive.

You cannot take the cheap way out on these sorts of isses for long. Either you will permantely damage something, cause an electrical fire, or cause other un-related issues to occur.

I would highly consider selling that car and buying a nice, simple car for college - focus on your studies first and buy yorself a nice car to have some fun with later on.
 

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i was a broke college student when i bought my e39 at 100k- it had every problem you can think of. After four years of hands on research it couldn't run any better. Robots are not complex in my opinion, a part either works or not, all of more than 30,000 parts are reparable on the the e39 (the e39 is actually VERY easy to work on considering the new stuff that is coming out). You are not the first or last to experience this electrical problem and while money may be an issue it may also not be. I think it comes down to identifying the exact issue then making the judgment call whether or not you want to or can follow through. The first major issue I had was a leaking oil filter housing and oil pan gasket, BMW said give us $3500- and I thought "im gonna end up with a fonda in the only life i had here" but after visiting this forum I was at a independent bmw mechanic the next day and for $800 it has been bone dry of any oil leaks since. I say don't give up until you at least get official word from the dealer "this is whats wrong this is how much the fix will cost". I usually google guru's on what the dealership says i need like when I programmed my own cluster for $200 instead of giving Bmw of Manhattan $1200.
 
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