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· Redheaded Firecracker
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK, long story but here it goes (hopefully the length will help with figuring out what is going on)...

I drove my car to the airport very early on the 24th - about 4am. I parked it in an uncovered, fully outdoor, long-term parking area.

Around midnight on the 27th, I come back to the car to find it is not starting. The interior lights work, lights turn on, all console lights are on, but the car will not turn over or even make the "rurr rurr" turning sound. What I DO hear is a repetitive clicking sound, then a humming, and then nothing. I turn the car off completely, take the key out of the ignition, turn out all the interior lights and get out my 375 amp jump starter. I hook the jump starter up to the battery, let it sit 1-2 minutes, then attempt to start the car - it starts up with no hesitation... I drove for a solid hour before parking it at my house.

The next day, about 10-11 hours later, I go out to the car to run errands to find that the car once again will not start. Same noises as the night before. I am thinking okay, maybe it is just because the car was exposed to extreme heat (it was 90-92 degrees over the weekend and with it being a tarmac, maybe it caused the battery to drain more? I am unsure.) - so, I get out the 375 amp jump starter again. This time, it does not start nor does it really attempt to.

SO, I take the battery out and take it to AutoZone for a load test. The AZ rep. tells me that my battery is at 9V and this is why my car will not start - so, he takes it back and charges it to a full 12V. I take it home, place it back in the trunk of the car as needed, start the X3 up and voila, it works! I let the car sit for 10-20 minutes, hoping that this would sufficiently charge/restore whatever is going on with the vehicle.

WELL, about 2 hours later, I return to the car to find it is dead AGAIN and this time, no clicking noise coming from the interior of the car. Just a hum and a quick buzzing-type of sound . I turned on my headlights and off again and noticed a bit of delay in them going off maybe 1 second - definitely longer than usual).

Does anyone have any idea what this could be? Would this be an alternator, or could this possibly just be as simple as the battery has gone kaput? Would a battery so simply die like this? I have absolutely no idea how old the battery is, but I can say that I purchased this car on August 26, 2011, so it is at least 2 years old.

I really appreciate any advice you could give me. I know a bit about cars and really don't think this could be the alternator as the interior lights, radio and diagnostic lights continue to work. Even my headlights will turn on. I treat this car really well. I can tell you that I have a passenger-side head lamp out. Would this be causing something to drain? I understand that BMW batteries have been known to go kaput after weeks of sitting in extreme cold or heat, but this seems a bit odd. I had no symptoms of a dying battery nor failing alternator (noise, smell, nothing). Also, I run this car on an almost daily basis. I drive to work every morning around 9am and leave around 6pm, going to the grocery store after work. In total, it gets 2-3 start-ups per day. I have left it for days at a time before with no problems as well in similar conditions as to that at the airport.

Also, the battery has had a green cell this entire time. The only other time my battery "died" (showing a black cell) was in the dead of winter of 2011, about 5 months after I got the car. I used the 375 amp jump starter then as well with no problems after.

I write to you hoping that my fear of a simple dead battery may be validated before I go spending the $$$ at a dealership so they can poke around and tell me something one of you may suggest is wrong.

Thanks all...

PS - If a video helps at all, I can take one and upload it.
 

· Under the lift arms
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13,507 Posts
First off...

start with a new battery... your battery is weak and your more then likely going to eliminate all these problems with that But thats not where you need to end...
You need to conferm that your car is charging..

So after you have the new battery installed (recommend getting the largest CCA battery you can fit) I only run interstate... Its expensive but iver never had to replace a instate battery twice... (This forum will ague that they are what ever these people want to say... you take what you want at face valve)
start the car... Turn on all the electrical accessory head lights heated seats... blower... turn everything you have in that truck on..

and then go to the battery... and place a voltage tester on the batter termanls..
black to black red to red... you should see ruffly 14VDC with the truck running..

This will tell you that the alternator is charging the battery
Then let it run for about 10 min.. shut all the electrical things off... and check the battery...
you should see a slight drop in volage.. maybe 13.7-14dvc


you dont need to go to the dealer... you can do this your self..

and prop's to you for carrying a jumper pack... most people dont do that
 

· Under the lift arms
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13,507 Posts
one reason you dont want to continue to do the old jumper pack and run for a while thing is..

the jumper pack is only going to provide the 12vdc to the battery require to start the engine... after you remove it.. your alternator is doing all the leg work.. that call that... running full feild
so the more you make your alternator run full feild, the quicker you going to burn it out... (its not going to just fail over night stay calm)

you alternator will run full field on initial draw of electrical items... when the peak amperage occur after the item is running the alternator backs down and just maintains the battery voltage..

so by forceing it to charge the batter over and over and over... your shortening its life

Go get a new battery.. and start there
 

· Redheaded Firecracker
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK thanks - this helps my nerves immensely! LOL

I am stopping by to pick up a good battery today. I don't mind putting in the extra $$ since if it isn't the battery at all, I know I can return it and hey, if it IS the battery, I have a good battery on hand.

Good to know about possibly burning the alternator out. I usually take care not to overdo it with things like jump-starting but was in a moment of panic. Luckily, we have a few Zipcars, etc. nearby that I am able to hop into when I am in a pickle and need to get somewhere fast.

I will stop by AutoZone and pick up a good voltmeter/multimeter since I don't have a decent one on hand.

And thanks for the jumper props - you never know where you'll be when you need a jump... or a phone charge! I take that sucker camping and it is fan-tas-tic for charging doo-dads.
 

· Redheaded Firecracker
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
By the way, are batteries usually known for dying so quickly? I ask because I *did* let it sit in the airport parking for a long 4 days... Wondering if maybe that gave the battery a chance to just quit on me.
 

· Registered
Joined
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3,895 Posts
If battery is original (2005) it is more than likely one cell has shorted out. Might be excessive sulfation, internal collapse - doesn't matter, it's had it.

Green eye just means that particular cell is still good, but with one (or more) bad cells it doesn't do anything for you.

Heat probably killed it. Your alternator is likely just fine, but as mentioned, it is not a good idea to over stress it when using a booster pack.
 

· Under the lift arms
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13,507 Posts
Weak battery's will do that, heat will kill them quicker
I can't Guarantee that your battery is bad , but u need to eliminate the small things first

Like u can diag a car that has bad voltage
 

· Redheaded Firecracker
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, snagged me an Everstart Maxx H6 (no H8's and well, I needed a battery). Has a 3-year warranty, so I felt safe with the $100 purchase. Has a 8/13 sticker on it, so it is as new and fresh as it gets.

Put it in the trunk, hooked everything up - car started right up. I popped the hood to have a listen for loose belts, etc. - Nothing suspicious found.

I shut it off and will go out to start it up again in a few minutes with the voltmeter. I hope this is the answer to a pretty inconvenient problem!!
 

· BMW CCA Member
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148 Posts
Okay, snagged me an Everstart Maxx H6 (no H8's and well, I needed a battery). Has a 3-year warranty, so I felt safe with the $100 purchase. Has a 8/13 sticker on it, so it is as new and fresh as it gets.

Put it in the trunk, hooked everything up - car started right up. I popped the hood to have a listen for loose belts, etc. - Nothing suspicious found.

I shut it off and will go out to start it up again in a few minutes with the voltmeter. I hope this is the answer to a pretty inconvenient problem!!
How's the new battery? I have a 2007 X3 and starting to notice the car fires up slowly when I turn the key. Anyway, given my car's age, looking for a new battery and looking at the Maxx H8- are they vented?

Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
 

· Registered
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195 Posts
Had a slow start problem for a while. Thought it was the battery so I changed it. Although the it was a good idea to change batteries, it didn't solve the slow start problem.

The problem ended up being a dying starter. It eventually did die. I had it replaced and all is well again.
 

· Registered
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1 Posts
today is the third time I now await AAA to jump car. Hoping it will start in morning to take to dealer again. New batter in April 12. Then won't start again in March 13. Dealer replaced battery still under warranty. Now car won't start again. last time dealer stated left adaptive light out. I noticed looking at paperwork now - I didn't have it replaced -maybe cost?? I can't remember. but could that be the problem of draining battery. Love the car, but this is a real pain!! charge battery, take to dealer, then 6 months later, same thing!!! Any ideas???
 

· Redheaded Firecracker
Joined
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82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How's the new battery? I have a 2007 X3 and starting to notice the car fires up slowly when I turn the key. Anyway, given my car's age, looking for a new battery and looking at the Maxx H8- are they vented?

Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
It is FANTASTIC - 100% happy with the purchase. Definitely vented, just place tape on one of the two vents. The original tubing also fits like a glove.
 
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