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Dead batteries - there might be hope! Don't give up!

Discussion in 'Warranty questions' started by Bumer, Jun 2, 2010.

    Bumer guest

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    Though this information might be helpful to someone, so here it is:

    This spring, after few months of neglect over the winter, battery in my M3 went completely dead. After jump start, driving around, and driving around more, it just would not keep the charge. It was dead again by next day.

    So, I went to Advanced Auto Parts to test the battery (if you did not know, AAP provides free battery charge and inspection, just bring it in, and those guys will do the magic).

    After quick inspection on one of their fancy machines, I was told that the battery is no good, and the inspection machine says it completely dead. AAP does not carry this type of batteries, and they have to be purchased from BMW dealer.

    After several calls to BMW dealers, and realizing that new battery will set me back $200-$300, I went back to AAP, and asked them to give it a try and place my battery on slow charge. Thanks to them, they did. Next day, I picked up my battery. The guy at AAP told me that it was charged, but only marginally, and still might need new battery.

    That was about a month ago. The battery is still alive and kicking, and the car starts great *knock on wood*. :p

    I would not be surprised if many of you know this, but just in case someone doesn't, hopefully this information will help.
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    bcweir

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    Glad to hear it, but there are a couple of other things you might want to check

    Check the regulator on your alternator. Your alternator may not be charging the battery sufficiently. If you find yourself having to recharge the battery frequently, have that checked.

    Also check to see if anything is causing an excessive drain on your battery. The final stage resistor (aka FSR, for your climate control) is a known notorious culprit here. Other possible causes are door switches for courtesy lighting getting stuck. This will cause a battery drain by remaining in the "closed" position, causing the circuit to be completed no matter what position the door is in.

    Bumer guest

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    When battery was not holding charge, I was thinking about various reasons for that.
    I even had my neighbor's kids get into the trunk to see if may be the trunk light stays on after I close the trunk. :)

    But after slow charge it seems to be working well!
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    steven s

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    Is this the original battery?
    If you are in a cold climate, I would replace it before getting stranded.
    Assuming there are no charging problems of course.
    But that's me. I consider the failed battery as a warning.

    captharley guest

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    Batteries do not last forever. If your battery is over four years old, it is on its last legs. Buy a new battery!
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    14th BMW

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    Recheck it?

    It would be interesting to find out if your battery has had a miraculous recovery or is still on life-support by taking it back to the battery guys and having them test it again, since its been a month. Also, don't the BMW batteries have a "protected zone" in them that's separate from the main battery with just enough of a charge to start a car if you left your lights on or something similar?

    captharley guest

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    A waste of time. Your perceptions are correct. I just went through this with my '06 530. Battery died and I charged it up overnight. Started the car fine for about a month. Battery died again after I stopped, started,stopped, started several times. Charged it again and it started the car. Brought it to BMW and they said everything was OK; my computer said "all systems OK." Following day, I washed and waxed the car and vacuumed it out with all doors, trunk lid and hood open. Put car back in garage and that evening, we were preparing to go out and the car was dead. Took the car back to BMW and told them what happened and that the battery is gone. Well they tested it on the "machine" and it said that it was OK (I just drove the car 20 miles and had the car on charger overnight. Then they put a real load test on the battery (which they did not do before) and lo and behold, the battery failed. Installed new battery and all is back to normal.
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    az3579

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    Honestly, just buy a new battery. If the battery is around 4+ years old, it's not worth the aggravation of trying to put life back in a "used up" battery.

    Batteries should not cost $2-300. Go to Advance Auto and buy a battery from them for a lot less than the dealer.
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    bcweir

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    If you own one of the following cars, be sure to read this link!

    * 2002 for 7-series (E65/66 vehicle platforms);

    * 2003 for 6-series (E63/54 vehicle platforms);

    * 2004 for 5-series (E60/61 vehicle platforms);

    * 2006 for 3-series (E90/9 1/92/93 vehicle platforms);

    * 2007 for X5 series (E70 vehicle platform);

    * 2008 for X6 series (E71 vehicle platform).

    The above listed vehicles require that a battery be registered. It's not like with the older vehicles where you just plop a battery in and connect two battery cables. Battery registration has to be done either with a scan tool that can do this, at the dealer, or an independent service center equipped to do this -- it's not a DIY job because it requires the BMW GT-1 diagnostic computer.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3828/is_200906/ai_n32129310/

    JAMAICAN TWIN TURBO guest

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    Great info
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    SASMITH

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    5 series E60 BAttery

    My 528xi has 3200 miles & was bought 6 months ago - CPO - I have had a dead batery several time & the dealer says the battery tests OK - no dead cell. Suggested I get a trickle charger to keep it up - to me that's not acceptable. ANy one else having this problem?

    alstroberg guest

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    Registered Battery

    Sounded a bit like a new AKC breed, but then I was astounded at the news of a $400 replacement battery because of the need to get a BMW battery & have it registered at the dealer.
    Thanks to the article referenced by bcweir, there is some light & maybe an alternate path.

    it states " Ignoring the registration process after replacing a battery won't trigger a DTC or turn on the MIL. However, a savvy BMW specialist warned me that skipping the battery registration process can dramatically shorten the life of a battery..."

    This means one could get a good spec, reasonable cost, replacement battery for say $125, & install it yourself. Then make the decision to electively have it registered at the next service op -or- save the $, eventually buying another battery and still being money ahead.

    I have a problem with authority.
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    tomekk

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    Better late than never ... here's a tidbit from internal e-mail communications from BMW to all service managers:

    "To all, Please print the attachment and provide it to your Service Advisors.:

    Battery maintenance requirements from the Owner’s handbook

    Battery Care

    If your car is driven only for short distances of less than 10 miles over a prolonged period of time, without an occasional drive at highway speeds, the engines charging system will not properly maintain the battery.
    Insufficient use of the vehicle could result in short term starting problems and in the long term could damage the battery.

    In case the car is not operated for several weeks it is advisable to:

    A.
    Consider using a proper trickle charger, following the charger manufacturer’s instructions, to maintain the battery’s state of charge.
    Advanced Battery Charging System with Alligator Clips
    This Advanced Battery Charging System can help you extend the life of your battery. Simply plug the 1.25-amp charger into a standard 115-VAC wall outlet and connect the alligator clips to your terminals under the hood. The device's on-board microchip monitors and regulates the charge- virtually eliminating sulfating. It can even help extend the life of your battery.

    PN: 82 11 0 406 881

    B. Consult your BMW center regarding battery storage and removal.
    "

    But this "registering battery" monkey business ... unbelievable! Soon we'll have to buy lug nuts with RFID chips from BMW ... for $100 per ... and wheels mounted with non-BMW lug nuts will be promptly shed by the vehicle :)

    Too bad I like my 5er so much.
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    bcweir

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    There are a couple of workarounds for battery registration.

    a) My favorite -- avoid cars that have this feature. Started with the 2002 E65/E66 7-series and started to appear in every new model after that. So if the new model came out in 2002 or later, I'd bet dollars to roundels you have a battery registration requirement.

    b) For those who would hate to pass up a really nice BMW on account of this, there is a solution for you also. Do a search on 'battery registration' on this forum. A certain BMWCCA member owns a $400 device that allows him to register his battery himself, saving him the $200 to $400 premium the dealer will charge you. Just one use pays off the device, since that's two to four Ben Franklins you won't be surrendering to the dealer.
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    tomekk

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    Rats, really couldn't find it... any more specifics / tips?
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    bcweir

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    Took a little digging but I found it

    Here you go. If you have any other questions, you may want to talk to CSMB5 about his.
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    tomekk

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    That helps, appreciate it! I don't think I'll be getting that system though ... there was another post somewhere here about how BMW uses non-lead batteries (forgot the abbreviation for the new material) and these run $250 (street price) - supposedly more resistant to deep discharge, and better suited to the constant "power drain" environment of a modern electricity sucking BMW.

    Off topics: This guy goes way back with PDP-8 ... my earliest interactions with computers was PDP-11 :) what a blast from the past.
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    Zeichen311

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    They're called "absorbed glass mat" (AGM) batteries. These are still lead-acid batteries but the electrolyte is held in a fiberglass mat instead of sloshing about in the battery.

    You have it backwards, they are in fact less amenable to deep discharge than conventional lead-acid batteries. This and overcharging must both be avoided for optimum life. That's why a new battery has to be registered in the car: To reset the charging profile used, prevent overcharging and avoid premature failure.

    The biggest advantages of AGM batteries are higher energy density (greater ampacity [amp-hour capacity] for a given physical size) and safety (no electrolyte [acid] spill if the battery is inverted or cracked in a crash). They're also more vibration-resistant and work better in low temperatures.

    (Another PDP-11 guy here. :))
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    bcweir

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    Thank you for reminding me about AGM batteries, NTS.

    I remember wanting to get one of these, but I discovered that one weakness of these batteries is that they don't supply as high a CCA as my 750iL requires. As I recall, I think the minimum battery for my car has to put out 800 CCA or better. When I first bought this car, I was having no end of electrical issues. I discovered a cheap 540 CCA Walmart battery in there. Putting in a proper battery (the "proper" battery for these cars is an ENORMOUS group 49 monster) resolved a lot of those problems.

    You haven't seen energy-hungry until you've visited an E32 or later 7-series.
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    floydarogers

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    From a guy whose 1st computer usage was on an IBM 360 and Interdata-3, you two are hopelessly young.

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