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3rd Battery Failure - Dealer's refusal to replace

Discussion in 'E83 X3 (2004-2010)' started by PeteC, Sep 2, 2009.

    PeteC guest

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    An informational post and rant

    I have an 2006 X-3 with an extended warranty. It has about 35K on the odometer. I try to drive it 1-2X a week. When I do not drive it for over a week I put a trickle charger on it (1 AMP). The vehicle has not given me any problems other than a battery failure last year 3,000 miles back. The dealer was pleasant at the time stating that the battery was covered under warranty and promptly replaced it. Its been starting fine up until last week when I noticed that the battery was dead (eye=black) again. I went to the dealer this morning and they said something was draining the battery - looking at my telephone cigarette ligher charger (which I do not leave in the car) blaming that for my problems and stating that I would have to buy a new battery ($200) and install of said battery ($100 and change) and the replacement battery was not covered.

    Consumer Guide's® Auto Editors have scoured repair bulletins and questioned mechanics to search for commonly occurring problems for a particular vehicle. In some cases we also give possible manufacturer-suggested solutions. In many instances these trouble spots are Technical Service Bulletins posted by the manufacturer, however, we have our own expert looking at additional vehicle problems."

    "Battery: The battery may die overnight if the key is left in the ignition on vehicles with electronic immobilizer system. (2004-06)"

    Vehicle is always in the garage and I never leave the key in the ignition.

    "Battery: Battery can die after parked for 3-4 days most likely due to problem in general module (body control module). (2004)"

    My X-3 is a 2006

    "Electrical problem: The transmission may intermittently revert to fail-safe mode due to multiplexing problem requiring reprogramming. (2005-06)"

    I can answer this question for my X-3

    "Engine noise: Engine may ping under light load, idle too high or stumble on acceleration until warm requiring ECM reprogramming. (2005-07)"

    Never hear the engine ping on my X-3

    "Engine stalling: The engine may run rough or miss (the check engine light may also come on) due to problems with the original ignition coils and the carmaker is replacing them with Bosch coils. (2004 and prior)"

    My 2006 X-3 runs great with no issues.

    "Engine temperature: Engine may lose power at high altitudes (over 5,000 ft.) during hot weather due to vapor lock inside the fuel pump. (2004)"

    My 2006 X-3 resides in the midwest.

    "Headlights: Automatic headlights may not go off when exiting a tunnel or parking garage due to miscommunication between rain sensor and headlight module. (2005-06)"

    Never noticed this on my X-3 - but never really checked.

    "Information stickers/paperwork: When the outside temperature drops below freezing (32F) the telematics control unit may malfunction and emergency "SOS" calls will not go through. The battery may also be drained. To make sure the recall was performed, look for the sticker on the door frame. (2004)"

    I have a 2006 X-3

    "Sunroof/moonroof: The sunroof may not close in hot weather or after being parked in direct sunlight because the channels expand and get tight and the anti-trap sensors stop the motor. (2003-04) "

    I have a 2006 X-3

    After a couple of weeks had a dialog with BMW Customer relations. The customer relations diagnostics were the same as the BMW Service center. That was related to my driving of the vehicle.

    1 - The problem still exists and the battery I purchased will most likely fail again. (trickle charger or not).
    2 - Bring vehicle to a non BMW non service center certified BMW mechanic to diagnose parasitic drain.
    2 - filing a formal complaint with the State's Attorney Generals office.

    Is there a DIY way to measure any parasitic drains?
    • Member


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    Disconnect the positive pole and put an ammeter in between the cable and the pole.

    To find the component that is draining the battery, you need to disconnect systems or components one by one to find when the drain drops or stops. I would start by pulling each fuse to isolate the circuit where the drain occurs. Then, (assuming this indicates a circuit) I would start disconnecting things on the circuit.

    This isn't hard work, but it can be sheer drudgery - and it might reveal confusing results if you have one circuit interacting with another. Good luck!

    PeteC guest

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    I can read ODB and IBUS. Lately been watching the chatter and noticed that I can see the devices on the bus shut themselves down. I have a number of multimeters both analogue and digital. So wondering if I find the culprit device and if its related to some electrical device still under warranty would BMW replace said device and battery? Also found the following relating to parasitic battery drain diagnostics:


    So wondering if I find the culprit device and if its related to some electrical device still under warranty would BMW replace said device and battery?
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor


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    Be careful when measuring parasitic drains by disconnecting the battery. If you pull the battery then connect the ammeter, there will likely be a spike big enough to pop the fuse in your meter. That may work fine on older cars, but probably not your X3. I suggest a clamp on probe meter. Also, you must wait for everything on the bus to go to sleep before you can determine key off draw. The key must be out of the ignition, all the doors must be shut, glove box, etc. You will have to wait up to 30 minutes (maybe more, probably less) for everything to go to sleep. Make sure you can read the meter with the doors and hatch closed (or faked closed.) Pulling fuses one by one will be a real PITA, since there are dozens of them.

    PeteC guest

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    Thank you Paul,

    PeteC guest

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    I did a couple of things -

    1 - Testing the vehicle no parasitic drain was found.
    2 - I have disconnected the trickle charger for periods of time from 1 week to 3 weeks with no slow cranking after those periods.

    Conclusion -

    Early mentioned replacement battery was defective. It appears new and is still sitting on a shelf in my garage. Will do some diagnostics on it. New battery continues to function fine with current weather/temperature extremes in the midwest.

    55864 guest

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    Battery going south

    It has been my experience that what you have been seeing is just all too common. On many of the latest model cars that I deal with on a daily basis, especially those like BMW's, Mercedes and Porsches that are filled with so many electrical requirements, suffer from what seems like pre-mature battery failures. Some are worse than others but all seem to have one thing in common. If for any reason these batteries become slightly drained and do not fully recover immediately then they seem to have problems maintaining a proper charge from then on, and especially if they are dormant for more than a few days between trips.It also seems like once this happens it is hard to recover these to full charge and 100% ever again. I have had about a 70% success rate by recharging these batteries for 10-24 hours with a full size battery charger. On several of my customers Porsche 911's I have installed 20% larger batteries and that has cured the problem but on most BMW's that is not possible due to space limitations. I would love to read some in-depth testing on the problem but what I have heard through the technical grapevine is that it is simply a combination of high demand from the vehicles battery and charging system along with batterys that are slightly compromised, that is they check fine but are on the borderline of performance rating. I know there has been a lot of talk of car makers going to a larger (40+V) battery systyem to meet the high demands of the future.

    That said, BMW owes you a battery for sure.

    Good luck,

    mose121 guest

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    Is there a chance that your charger is causing the problem? could it be overcharging the battery causing failure? Have you checked the actual output of the charger? BMW does not recommend trickle chargers due to similar scenarios. They have automated battery tenders for people just like you. I'd say that in combination with your driving profile are probably the biggest issues. Lord knows if you had an E60 five series it would have self destructed by now.:D

    PeteC guest

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    Yes I purchased two battery "tenders" for the BMW's. These are 1-2 AMP trickle chargers. They are Black and Decker and came with numerous connectivity features. IE: Clamps, connectors, temporary and permanent style. I hooked both of these up directly to the batteries via a connector with a cap making them easier to use.

    Another issue that could have occurred was the BT "sticking" problem. I never saw it but I've read about it. The BT phone leaves the car but at home its only about 50-60 feet away. That too could have been a reason for the parasitic draining.

    Funny in that both cars utilize the group 49 style batteries (large) and currently they both have group 48 style (smaller); one being a Sears Diehard and the other being an Autozone Duralast. I understand that the cranking amps are less but they have both have functioned well for me with no issues to date.

    camtscott333715 guest

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    Batteries and BMW Warranty

    My 2006 X3 was having issues with slow crank and dead battery, practically from the day I bought it new. BMW would NOT warranty the battery, stating it was perfect. Finally, after being stranded a number of times in 18 months, I went out and bought myself, a heavier duty Interstate Battery.

    Took the old BMW battery into the dealer and told the service manager: "next time you see the BMW rep, please shove this were the sun doesn't shine and let him know how satisfied I am, as a customer".

    It's ridiculous when BMW knows they have a problem and won't fix it.

    So far (knock on wood) I have had no issues at all with the Interstate Battery. I live in a climate where it can get cold. The other day, after the vehicle sat outside for 3 days, totally cold-soaked with -15F temps, she fired right up! On a 3 1/2 going on 4 year old Interstate....

    Since moving away from my favorite dealer and to a smaller community where there is only one BMW dealer for 200 miles, I'm thinking when I replace my X3, it might not be a new BMW, for the local dealer here is nothing more than a total rip off.

    PeteC guest

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    The Dealer called about extending my warranty on my 2006 X3. I basically said there was no reason to extend it based on this one issue of the battery. I have since not had any more problems with the battery. I also did keep my original battery; as it still looks new and waiting for the "right" opportunity as it will come some day.

    I have about 40K now on the vehicle. I did drive it this past year from the MW to FL twice. First time it was right after Christmas. Mostly ice and snow until TN and the vehicle behaved well. The second time in the summer; again the vehicle behaved well.

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