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Topic Review (Newest First)

  • 02-10-2011, 02:06 PM

    Re: At dusk........alternator check..........

    It turns out the new battery I can't return. so i am going to keep it in the house and charged in the event I need it.

    But the car has been starting fine even in -20C weather, on the old battery.

    I think I might have found a "bug" in the charging system that caused this problem. I started the car, drove it 20 mins and then parked it. I had intended to go into my girlfriend's house to get her and come out. I turned the car off and pressed the button that runs the blower to blow residual heat in the car to keep it warm. but then i decided that I might be in the house only for a short time, so i then turned off the residual heat blower. i was in the house for long than i thought, maybe 30-60 mins (i cant remember).

    Then I came out and the car would not start. only the click click sound. and when i held the ignition to start the clicking got slower and slower indicating the battery was discharging. boosting started the car.

    the only thing different than normal was this turning the residual heat on and then off. and i am wondering if something with that discharged the battery over the time to the point where the car would not start.

    anyone else experience this?
    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 02-10-2011, 11:49 AM

    Re: Weird battery business

    Are you still using the old battery?
  • 02-09-2011, 07:26 PM

    At dusk........alternator check..........

    Park near a wall and turn headlights on, then rev engine slowly and if your lights seem to "power up" a little then your alternator is charging. This however doesn't say how efficiently its charging. I use a ctek smart battery charger on one of my cars and the E31-I just charge using a battery charger once a week or so. Weak batteries cause all sorts of problems- especially in cold weather conditions. Always carry jump leads in the boot (trunk).Keep new battery.
  • 02-08-2011, 01:16 AM

    That's too technical for me doH!

    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 02-07-2011, 12:07 PM

    Re: Weird battery business

    Update: For the last 2 weeks I have driven on the same battery that had the problem in the OP. The outside temp has been as low as -20C and as high as +5C. I have no starting problems with the same battery.

    Any idea as to what might have caused this problem? I did check the posts and connectors and they are clean and tight. I checked the V+ at the batt during idle and its 13.98V so the alt is charging.

    It seems that day that something either was shunting the battery while I was trying to start it, or that the batt was not charging for the 20 mins I was on the road before it would not start from stop.

    One idea I had is that maybe the starter was in a position that was draining the battery but not turning? possible? It was most likely a battery discharge issue because once I was boosted it started up fine.

    Or, maybe the battery was not charging during that 20 min drive?

    Any ideas? I don't want to be stuck again.
    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 01-27-2011, 01:36 PM

    Leave the New One In

    I think your old battery was in the middle of taking a crap.
  • 01-26-2011, 11:15 PM

    Re: Weird battery business

    I checked the voltage at my engine and battery when running at 13.9V so it appears to be charging ok. I checked the posts and clamps and they are clean and tight. I didn't take them off but there is no corrosion other than light oxidation on the surface of the posts and clamps and no crusties anywhere.

    So do you think I bought a new battery for nothing? I haven't installed it yet. The car has been starting strong and fast. Its almost like something drained my battery or the charging circuit didn't kick in. I am not seeing any evidence that its the battery.

    Let me know if you know of this problem. If I recall it happened once before too. And if you think I can return the $150 battery I bought. Eventually I will probably need a battery - can I leave a battery charged in storage for years (probably not)?plexus
    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 01-25-2011, 03:45 PM

    Re: I will check them and clean/tighten them tnx!

    I once had a starting problem with my son's Chevy Truck. We tested the battery (it was OK), cleaned and tightened the cables, and still had problems. With a jump at the battery, it wouldn't start; but hooking cables directly to the solenoid, it started just fine.

    Turns out that there was corrosion inside the terminal on the positive cable that wouldn't carry the amperage required by the starter. Changed the cable and everything was good.
  • 01-24-2011, 11:55 PM


  • 01-24-2011, 02:34 PM

    I will check them and clean/tighten them tnx!

    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 01-24-2011, 01:31 PM

    Battery posts dirty or are the cables loose/dirty?

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  • 01-24-2011, 12:58 PM

    Re: Just had that happen to 2 accords

    I've had good experiences with Canadian Tire Eliminator batteries in my two BMW's over 10 years. I had to replace the battery in each twice over this time, which I don't consider to be unusually bad. So I will continue to use them because for the price they are a pretty good value. Especially now with the $10 warranty that increases the free replacement period from 3 years to 9 years. Free replacements for 9 years. Not bad.

    The car started up fine this morning. So I am starting to rule out a battery issue and thinking this is more unreliable E39 weirdness. Why oh why are these cars so quirky. It does nothing to support trust that the car is going to work for me when I need it to. Alas.

    So perhaps I bought a new battery for nothing. I will keep driving on the existing battery and see how it goes.

    I searched for the forums for this as well and it seems like it happens to other people with no apparent common solution. But it doesn't seem to be a starter issue. What led me to think it was a battery issue was that when the clicking happened, the battery seemed to drain, Also, boosting the car got it started. Perhaps something in the starter circuit is shorting out causing the starter not turn and draining copious amount of power. I think I let it click about 6-8 times and the clicking got slower and slower and almost stopped. A good battery should last longer if there is no short and the starter is bad (eg. solenoid only is working). Maybe the starter gets in a spot where it wont turn and sucks power. Or something else in the starter circuit.
    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 01-24-2011, 11:53 AM
    Craig in Canada

    Re: Just had that happen to 2 accords

    This kind of sudden failing is usually a shorted cell due to the growth of sulfate crystals. You'll often measure a terminal voltage of ~10.4V on these batteries because one cell is completely bypassed.

    A desulfating charger can certainly help. Sulfation is an ongoing process which occurs in batteries that are less than 80% charged. Keep them topped up and natural sulfation should occur at a very slow rate. Throw then on a desulfating charger and it should reverse a lot of sulfation that has taken place.

    Plexus: the fact that yours was fine after "resting" does not mean it's sulfation. Without any voltage readings, maybe you have a starter problem and not a battery problem. Also, fair warning, I bought a Canadian Tire battery for a previous car which had a really long warranty. I was replacing that battery (under warranty) every 18-24 months after that until I sold the car.

    There are only 4 companies or so that actually make batteries: Johnson Controls, East Penn/Deka, Exide, Douglas and a few other minor players. Johnson seems to be tops in terms of quality, and Interstate is a JCI brand. On the other hand, I've had two Interstate MTP-93s which were overfilled from new and puked acid into the car under certain conditions.

    I'm currently (literally) shopping for a Deka in my area (Oakville). Deka also makes AGM batteries (Absorbed Glass Mat) which have no liquid electrolyte and can never leak. They also have an "Exact OE fit" line with everything exactly like the factory made it.

    You need to be sure that you get a battery with a remote venting kit to hook up to the vent tube. Johnson batteries are very highly rated, but I'm tired of acid spills and I'm going to the "#2" - Deka - which seems to have an even larger product line, still excellent quality, and interesting options like AGM for me to choose from.

    I think that CTC battery must have been an Exide. Just about everyone who has (knowingly) used an Exide lately has said they are crap.
  • 01-24-2011, 09:38 AM

    Re: Just had that happen to 2 accords

    Good point about testing the alternator. I will do that. Testing the voltage at the batt will at least give some sign that the alternator is working ok. Its true it could just be a battery issue as well. The new battery I bought is in the trunk. I decided to keep using the current battery until I see a sign that its really dead. Otherwise I can jump from the new battery. But the E39 has some annoying unreliability issues and I thought this might be one of them. It might be. We'll see...

    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

  • 01-24-2011, 12:49 AM

    Just had that happen to 2 accords

    My father has an 06 accord and his battery was fine, water levels good in the battery also. One cold morning (last year) I had to move the accord to get my e39 out of the driveway, accord started fine, I moved it to the street. Pulled the e39 out then i went to start the accord and it was TOTALLY dead. I boosted it and got it back in the driveway, I then tried to charge it and my charger kept going into safe mode and the indicator for "faulty battery" started flashing.

    Flash forward to today, My mothers 07 accord SAME STORY except my charger says battery "FULL". I tried my ooolder reliable charger and it also wont charge. I'm getting the "Polarity Reversed" indicator.

    I'm guessing the cold weather is really harsh on the battery cells. But i never seen them destroyed like these 2 accords batteries after one cold start. (they are tiny batteries though)
    ALSO make sure to test your voltage while the car is running to see if your alternator is working. Should be 14v+ 11v-13v while the car is off depending on how long its been sitting.

    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
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    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)
  • 01-24-2011, 12:22 AM

    Weird battery business

    Temp was -15C. Car sat all night/morning. Started up fine. Drove for 20 mins. Stopped for 5 mins and went to re-start. click click click. Thinking, battery or starter. Click... Click........ Click......... seemed more like the battery. Called CAA. Told 1.5 hours to get to me for a boost. After 1.5 hour wait, nothing. I needed to get to Canadian Tire to get the famed 10-4900-0 replacement. Time was 4.30pm so I cancelled the CAA called (and complained) and called a cab that charged me $20 to boost my car (******s). Car started. Got to CT, bought the battery ($140 including a 9 year free replacement warranty, if you don't know their warranty it means unlimited free replacements for 9 years - pretty damn good). But the car was starting fine, even after sitting for 2.5 hours in -15C weather.

    Why would the battery "die" the first time and then seem to be ok. Is this more weird E39 [Oops!]?plexus
    00 540i M sport/6sp (Dieter)
    71 3.0CS euro (Anelise)
    84 528e (Florian - decommissioned)

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