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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
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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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  4. #4
    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...

  5. #5
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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.

  6. #6
    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!!


  7. #7
    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!

  8. #8
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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.

  9. #9
    Digi
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    It would be my first course of action


  10. #10
    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

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

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

  13. #13
    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.

  14. #14
    Army in Germany
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    Case Solved?

    Hope this is mmy last post this thread...

    After FIVE trips to the dealer, including a two week stay at Stuttgart, the dealer finally took my initial suggestion and looked at the radio (there was a recall on the Business CD radio in 2002). They had tried replacing the expensive Ground Module and the Door Module, but the car still would not go into sleep mode. After much pushing and prodding, they swapped out the radio parts, and 'oila' the car went into sleep mode as it should have been doing.

    I have driven the car for a couple of weeks since then with no battery problems. Upon the advice of the other posts, yesterday I installed a fresh battery---I agree that 4 years is enough, especially after it has been drained to 0% on three different times. Thank you for your input.

    BTW, I never received an email from BMWNA as they said (see posting from them on 27 Jul--"If you prefer, you can call us at 800-831-1117, and please mention Reference #200520700228 so that we can help you more efficiently."). They don't even have my email address!! I called them up, and they took my address and said they'd mail the offer; they would NOT discuss it over the phone. That was 28 July, and they haven't sent me ANYTHING!!



  15. #15
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    Re: HELP--Dead Battery / Dealer Rip Off?

    No. It is an excluded item.

  16. #16
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    Did they really refund your $ as promised?


  17. #17
    Army in Germany
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    BMWNA never followed up


  18. #18
    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

  19. #19
    USA, so they cannot help U.
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    BMWNA warrantee doesn’t cover UR X5 until in the


  20. #20
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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.

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