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  1. #1
    Army in Germany
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    HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    I hope someone out there has had this problem and knows how to fix it (sorry it's long, but have to include the details):

    In the last month, our 2001 X5 has been unable to start 3 times--dead battery. The symptoms indicate something intermittent and electronic, rather than a bad battery or alternator:

    --car is used daily, but 3 times in the last month the battery becomes so drained overnight that the electric locks won't work, the inside lights don't come on, and it needs 20 minutes hooked up on jumper cables to a running car before it will start. Once electricity is applied, all of the electronics have reset themselves as if the battery had been removed from the car. In other words, the battery was absolutely drained.

    --I don't think a bad alternator or battery is the cause. The symptoms would be more gradual with an alternator problem, and the battery holds a charge and passes a load test (the first dealer charged the battery and gave the car back to us---said there was no problem. It died the next week again....).

    It's been to two dealers here in Germany for this problem. The service shop on Friday said the car is not going to "sleep mode" when the key is removed. However, today they called to get approval to replace two modules (a "ground module" and a "door module" at $500 a piece, labor not included) because they noted current drain to be 80 milliamps (I understand 50 milliamps to be normal to run the alarm, etc). I am not an electrical engineer, but I doubt 30 additional milliamps above normal would completely kill the battery overnight.

    I've seen many posts with battery problems, unfortunately, I've seen few posts from people who have gotten their car fixed. Calling BMWNA was an experience in frustration; they deny that there has ever been any type of problem with the batteries in 2001/2002 X5 cars. Because I'm in Germany, they refuse to get involved ("We aren't allowed to contact our service shops or dealers in Germany").

    Hope there is someone out there who has been through this before.

  2. #2
    SCX5
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    Re: HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    I know you say you don't think it is the battery, but everything you describe sounds like the symptoms of a deteriorating battery. Batteries rarely just die, they usually degrade in apparent fits and starts (or not...). Although some people get very long life from their battery, four years isn't bad. I would go ahead and replace it. Even if that doesn't fix the problem, you haven't wasted the money as a battery would have been due soon anyway.

  3. #3
    x5farmer
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    Re: HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    Is the battery covered under the extended maintance program?????

  4. #4
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    Re: HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    No. It is an excluded item.

  5. #5
    jose
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    DEAD BATTERY: HELP! how do i replace it myself?

    does anyone know if there is any out of the ordinary procedures that i need to take when replacing my dead battery? do i need to connect my X5 to another vehicle with jumper cables or use this accessory http://www.bavauto.com/shop.asp to help prevent loss of computer and radio codes while my battery is disconnected?

    if an accessory is needed, does it have to be the specific one from bavauto.com or can i use i similar device that i already own?

    how about the order in which i attach the cables? i heard that black is first in order to avoid spiking/surging the computer.

    anyone? please any information would be great! i already bought the battery at the dealer. i'm just looking for anything to assure that i will not make things worse.

    thanks

    jose

  6. #6
    Alan Ireland
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    Battery problems & yes a power drainf?

    I own an X 5 2001, 4.4i V8.... The car has died upon me recently. I've noticed alternating problems with windows activating themselves and rolling down when driving, sprinkler systems working sporadically, air conditioning system not working for day's and suddenly working perfect. Central locking system sticking asif not enough power was getting to the locking mechanis to open and close the car. I've noticed upon returning to the vehicle the central locking system had somehow unlocked the car. Though I was going mad at one stage, but I haev confirmed this as actually happening. I was about to seek the services of a young priest and an old priest(exorcism). SO you are all not alone and I'm about to delve in to the unknown ina bid to get the problems sorted.... Thank you for all your posts... hope this helps to confirm what we alreasy know...

  7. #7
    Jim
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    Re: DEAD BATTERY: HELP! how do i replace it myself

    I don't see a response to the post about how to change the battery without spiking the circuit or loosing all the settings.

    I'm now looking at changing my battery as a preemptive strike (it's seven years old, talk about borrowed time).

    I'd like to know if you can use a solar charger through the accessory plug to maintain power.

    I'm located in Toronto so don't have access to the wide choice of batteries in the US. Anyone got a good suggestion other than original equipment?

  8. #8
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    I've had something similar

    For what seemed to be no reason at all, my battery died several times and was about as hard to start as yours was. Fortunately, my car is still under warranty and the dealer found a bad cell in the battery, and replaced it.

    I still had a problem after replacing the battery, however. The dealer found a supposed drain of .55 ma - and they tried to explain to me that .55 ma was far greater than the .50 which is allowed. The culprit was my Phatnoise Phatbox. I disconnected the PB and still lost charge.

    The dealer took the car back - kept it for 4 days - disconnected every module - and couldn't find a thing. However, since it's return, I haven't had a problem

    My theory is that they must've reset a faulty module that wasn't going to sleep even though no module presented itself as defective.



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  9. #9
    Army in Germany
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    Update...

    Thank you for the feedback...here's an update.

    The dealer is going to do an experiment. They will replace the Ground Module and the Door Module (?) to see if this fixes the problem of the car not going into 'sleep mode'. The hunch is that while they observe only an 80 milliamp draw on the battery (50 being normal), they can't physically watch the car all night to see if other electronic subsystems are being switched on. If the car is in 'sleep mode', this couldn't happen.

    As the modules are bloody expensive, if this doesn't fix the problem, they will refund my money and look for problems elsewhere.

    BTW, this is one of larger dealerships in southern Germany, but they have only seen one X5 with similar problems; BMWNA also says they know of no systemic problems. However, when I do a search for "dead battery" on this message board, I get 1285 hits. Makes you wonder...

  10. #10
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    Check your email for our offer of assistance.

    If you prefer, you can call us at 800-831-1117, and please mention Reference #200520700228 so that we can help you more efficiently.

  11. #11
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    Is it really a battery problem?

    On 7/18/05, my 2002 X5 was completely dead. It was towed to BMW of Watertown, CT and they assured me it was a battery problem and installed a BRAND NEW battery ~ total cost $251 (my warranty has expired since the car has 56,000 miles). On 7/28/05, the car was again, completely dead & I mean dead!

    Tomorrow, Monday, I will call BMW of Ridgefield, CT, have the car towed again & anxiously wait to see what the problem is. In the meantime, I am car-less.

    I cannot help but wonder why BMW of NA does not step up now & help their customers, who love their BMW's, before it becomes a publicity nightmare for them. I am hoping that it is just a battery problem. If that is the case, BMW should state that to their customers so they can just put a new battery in, instead of having their customers embarassed as the tow truck appears, yet again.

  12. #12
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    I have heard of many BMW models having issues

    with the car not entering sleep mode and thus running down the battery. So it is not uncommon. I do think it is somewhat worse for the X5 for some reason. You would think they would have a debug procedure for this.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Army in Germany View Post
    Thank you for the feedback...here's an update.

    The dealer is going to do an experiment. They will replace the Ground Module and the Door Module (?) to see if this fixes the problem of the car not going into 'sleep mode'. The hunch is that while they observe only an 80 milliamp draw on the battery (50 being normal), they can't physically watch the car all night to see if other electronic subsystems are being switched on. If the car is in 'sleep mode', this couldn't happen.

    As the modules are bloody expensive, if this doesn't fix the problem, they will refund my money and look for problems elsewhere.

    BTW, this is one of larger dealerships in southern Germany, but they have only seen one X5 with similar problems; BMWNA also says they know of no systemic problems. However, when I do a search for "dead battery" on this message board, I get 1285 hits. Makes you wonder...
    Have them check the FSU or final stage resistor they are notorious for going bad and cause the things you are talking about
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote 76.251.32.170

  14. #14
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    Re: HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    I've seen the final stage for the interior fan cause a drain, I doubt the dealer is trying to rip you off. A battery failing after 4 years is possible.

  15. #15
    ym mot
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    can't believe you won't simply replace the battery

    it's 4 years old, just replace it and move on!!


  16. #16
    dlp
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    Re: can't believe you won't simply replace the battery

    it's 4 years old, just replace it and move on!!

    YEP!

  17. #17
    Digi
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    It would be my first course of action


  18. #18
    Lin Gilbert
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    Batteries should be good for about 3 years

    You're living on borrowed time. I replaced mine last year after similar things happened and have no problems since. Its typical maintenance. Just do it.

    2001 4.4
    105,000 miles

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    Longer than that! Try 8 years.

    BMW batteries can last a LONG time at least in my experience:

    1997 328iC (BostonGrun): 8 years OWM, 3 on replacement so far

    1997 328iC (Hellrot): 7 years on OEM, 4 on replacement so far

    1999 M Roadster: 1 year, replaced under warranty, presently at 8 years and going strong.

    2002 X5: 6 years so far... and I've run it flat once...

    If you are getting only 3 years out of a BMW battery, something is seriously wrong.

    I keep these cars ona BMW battery maintainer when not in use (storage).

    It is NEVER a good idea to try to recharge a totally dead battery using your alternator alone. If you are lucky, you might get away with it, but it will put quite a load on the alternator, and some brands will overheat.

  20. #20
    hotrod3
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    Re: HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    You might check out your alarm system,if you have one. One of my vehicles had the smae problem.I replaced the battery twice,starter once, alternator,and the voltage regulator. Finally the brain on my car alarm went out,and I haven't had a problem since.

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