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  1. #1
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    Heads-up for those installing new INTERSTATE Batteries

    Don't know if it is just me, or if anyone else ran into this problem installing a new Interstate MTP-93, or MT-93 or MT-49, but you'll be faced with a few challenges.

    First, here's the battery I am installing (a MT-93, which is identical to the MT-49), and it has an oval opening in the middle of the battery that will face the battery exhaust vent when the battery is installed. The vent kit fits incredible firmly and snug, make sure you get it, and it plugs right into the vent hose BMW installed at the factory:


    This next pic, I had to snip out part of the bottom left side battery exhaust vent (purists, look away in shame, sorry) to make room for the vent tube that is in the middle of the new Interstate battery. It's a tight fit between the battery and the side of the car:



    Next, I found this step absolutely necessary: I had to snip off part of the battery retaining bracket where the battery is held down. With the side mounted vent on the battery, this retaining bracket (if not snipped) would pinch off the rubber exhaust vent hose, defeating the purpose of even having a battery exhaust vent:



    Finally, the new Interstate battery is firmly and snugly installed. Exhaust hose is free and clear, and has plenty of room to expel any vapors from the battery.



    Lastly, note: as an ode to Craig In Canada's Interstate experience (who had horrible luck with this battery, as it spewed everywhere on him), I left out the two bottom oem-factory-installed rubber plugs (the size of a dime, roughly) that fit directly under the battery and help keep the battery quiet & snug in its placement in the battery well. These little rubber plugs are not necessary, and if the battery was to spew (like what happened with Craig) I don't want the stuff draining down into my wheel well (which will happen if these plugs are left in). With these two former plug holes open, any spewing will head out of the battery compartment and wheel well, and down over the back of the suspension carrying arm. Let it do its damage there, and as I hopefully will catch any seepage sooner there since I am always working under the car.


    This last pic is for any of you who are curious about European batteries, this is what BMW installs at their dealers in Germany. The previous owner had the factory oem battery changed in beginning of 2003 (my car is a May 1996 e39) to this Varta, and this battery lasted all the way to my ownership now, a full 8 years later. The Varta is much smaller than the Interstate I installed (was installed with a plastic retaining bracket in the battery compartment well) and it has 110 less CCA than the 750 CCA on the Interstate. 750 CCA is plenty for my little ole' I6:
    EuroDavid
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  2. #2
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    I did not need to make that mod when I used an MTP-93. On the other hand, my E39 didn't come with that cover for the top of the battery either. I also notice that your positive lead is missing some stuff that mine has - the pyro charge disconnect I suspect.
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    Craig,

    Quite honestly, I think the hose could have fit without snipping that vent. I sort of got overzealous, and should probably have left it alone. Once I torqued the battery down firm and snug with that cover, i realized the battery would never, ever move over to the side of the vent.

    As far a s the explosive charge, yes, mine doesn't have it. I wonder when BMW started that (my build date is May 1996, right when a lot of a changes all around the car, in the first 8 months of 1996, were being made)? Was it a North American required safety feature, of did BMW go with the explosive charge on all their worldwide e39s? So, is the theory behind that explosive charge that if you are ever in an accident, the explosive charge will sever the positive lead to the battery, thus preventing what exactly? No sparks (in case gas is leaking?, butg then why I have an explosive charge there)?

    Anyone know what exactly is the reasoning behind that explosive charge on the + battery terminal cable??
    EuroDavid
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    only a couple of low current cables stay connected after the charge - interior lights, hazards, that sort of thing. All the heavy stuff is cut off. No sparks, fires, inadvertent starter engagement trying to drag the car off of a cliff, that sort of thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eurodavid View Post
    As far a s the explosive charge, yes, mine doesn't have it. I wonder when BMW started that (my build date is May 1996, right when a lot of a changes all around the car, in the first 8 months of 1996, were being made)? Was it a North American required safety feature, of did BMW go with the explosive charge on all their worldwide e39s? ......................

    Anyone know what exactly is the reasoning behind that explosive charge on the + battery terminal cable??
    The reasoning is so that they can charge several hundred dollars for the part after a collision. OK, that was just a sarcastic guess. I do know that the explosive disconnect appeared here in model year 1998. which is just another reason 98's are better than 97's, which had more than their fair share of teething problems.
    Vin
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    Anyone know what exactly is the reasoning behind that explosive charge on the + battery terminal cable??[/QUOTE]

    When my '97 E39 was totalled (years ago), the first thing the EMTs wanted to know was "where is the battery?" so they could disconnect it. They looked at me kind of funny when I told them where it was and the correct size wrench they would need. Like Craig said: eliminate chance for spark, fuel pump running, etc.
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    I don't have that black plastic top cover either. I replaced my OEM battery in June of 2003 with the Interstate MTP-93 and the vent tube fit perfectly fine with no issues. I didn't realize how long ago it was. Eight years so far with no problems. I routinely check the electrolyte levels at least once each year and use a battery tender every other week during the winter and about once a month during the summer since I drive mostly short trips.
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    FYI, my RV dealer stopped handling Interstate batteries after they gave him a hard time with warranty claims. He also observed that the quality had slipped.

    He now handles Deka. My fave auto parts store stopped carrying AC Delco, and also signed on with Deka.

    BTW, all these pyro devices, deployed in a crash, add major cost to a repair, and can hasten the act of totalling out the car. This happened with my wife's 7-year-old Camry. The cost of the pyro stuff, plus the control unit, was more than the balance of parts and repairs.
    Last edited by edjack; 04-27-2011 at 10:32 PM.


    Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensliber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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    Anybody know if there are any other disconnects like the pyro charged one on the battery? Id like to bypass them cause i rather be able to follow a hit and run driver for at least a block to get the license plate #'s instead of the protection of not catching fire in the event that a fuel line is supplying that fire. Don't BMW fuel pumps have that feature that if there is a sudden loss in pressure it will shut off on its own anyway?
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    Dave S,

    Yeah, I misjudged when I thought I needed to cut that air vent. I thought it was going to pinch off, and now looking at your picture, I realize it would have been fine. Oh well, thank heavens I did it on the internal part of the car where I can't be reminded everyday of marring that vent.

    What I am curious abut is that your brace fits down on the battery nice and solid. Mine does not. It needs that top plate in order for screws to fit through it, and the screws barely reach (at the end of their threads) the battery plate to hold it down in the well firmly. Wonder if BMW changed the bracket after my 96 year model? I have no way to adjust and/or lower that bracket that I can see?




    P.S. Edjack, based on what Craig showed me in his pics, I'd bought a Deka (or anything else) battery if i was given the choice. Unfortunately, I have to take what I can get over here as it is prohibitively expensive to try and buy things on the economy, anywhere in Europe.
    EuroDavid
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    my bracket only stiffens fender well so it will not hit the battery in a crash . It does no hold the battery down. I have OEM battery. The battery is secured only by a clamp at the battery base. There is a long bolt/screw that goes from top of battery to base of clamp
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    I've always observed that the cross bracket touches the battery enough to help hold it down, as well as stiffen the area from side impact. 4/98 production
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    Neither battery (dealer replacement, AC Delco) that has been in my car was tall enough to reach the brace.

    eurodavid, I understand your plight. I was merely passing on anecdotal informantion.


    Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensliber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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    Hello Ed,the Deka 649MF is an exact fit, and the steel brace has to be used. That's what I replaced the OEM with. Online guide.
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