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E60 Battery fault?

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Andrew Rolland View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10-January-2008 at 13:07

Heard a car alarm go off lat night about 3 am.  By the time I got up and looked out the window it had stopped.  Went back to sleep and thought nothing of it.

Went out a 07.10 to drive to work, pressed the key fob to unlock the car and nothing.  Walked closer, still nothing, tried the boot release button, still nothing.  Unlocked drivers door with key and opened door, no lights or anything, key did nothing in ignition.

Tried spare key, same thing.  Everything dead.

Phoned BMW assist at 07.20.  We can have someone with you at 08.50. 

Phoned the AA at 07.25. We can have someone with you at 08.50. 

Right.  Sit an wait.  AA turn up at 08.15.

He checked the Voltage using the jump start posts under the bonnet and got a voltage of 4.5V.

He connects a jump start pack to the jump start posts and I turn the engine over.  Engine turned very slowly, probably due to the fact that his battery pack is more suited to starting 1.6 4 pot engines and not big V8's!

Engine starts with usual roar and settles down to a nice idle.  iDrive screen is displaying a transmission fault and then airbag/seat belt pre-tensioner fault.

I ask the AA guy to re-set the airbag light but he struggled to find the engine diagnostic location, as he had ruled out the correct one on the account of the electrical socket being a different size to the plug on his diagnostic computer.

BMW assist arrive and find that the AA are also there and he had to be gently persuaded by myself and the AA chap to help reset the fault.

Plugs the laptop in and runs thru various bits and bobs saying that he would have diagnosed the car before attempting to jump start it.

He clears the fault and says that no other faults are present and that it was my alarm going off in the middle of the night.  The alarm went off due to the drop in power going to it.  It thought that the battery cable was being cut so sounded off from it's own battery.

He checked the battery and said he couldn't find the reason as to why the battery failed and that I should take it for a 45 min run to charge the battery back up and to phone if there is another problem.  Drove to work and car was fine at 10.15.  Will check it soon when I go out to feed the parking meter.

Sounds like random battery failure?

I thought it was some interruption to the power supply because generally there is enough power in the battery to power the internal cabin lights and to get warning lights come up on the dash but I had nothing so thought is was something other than just a flat battery.

My old Mini had it's battery just die one morning, but at least the internal light came on and so too did the ignition lights etc and I even got a chug from the starter and clicking from the solenoid.

The AA guy was a bit concerned that the negative jump starting post sparked as much as it did when he connected his battery pack to it.

I always make sure everything electrical is switched off before switching off the engine and this beast sure lets me know if I leave the head lights on, which I hadn't.

Can anyone shed any light on why this might have happened and why the airbag/seat belt tensioner fault light came on?

Thanks

Andrew

PS

The only positive thing that came out of it was the fact that the car now wants to change my front brake pads in 12,000 miles time and not 11,000 miles as it has always said since I bought it 3 months ago and that was 3,300 miles ago.  Rear brakes 16,000 miles on purchase, 18,000 miles this morning.  Weird or what!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeemaBoy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-January-2008 at 13:32

Hi Andrew

What a hectic tale of events!

I am afraid I can only offer a few answers to your questions...

Your first one of why the airbag/belt tensioner error was set. I have seen many posts about the E90 and the E60 stating that when the battery gets low, or dies, it sets off weird faults within the computers OBD system. It seems that the airbag/tensioner are the most common ones...

You can take relief in knowing that there should not be anything wrong with the car electrical system...as the car seems to be able to know when the battery is draining too fast. My E38 recorded an error stating that there was an open circuit causing abnormal current draw...this actaully came up as a fault code... I imagine that your E65 is a lot more advanced than the E38, so I think it would do this too...

Hope that helps...

Thanks

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-January-2008 at 14:15

Thanks BB but there were no fault codes found.

Phoned local dealer, depending on the size of the battery it would cost between £95 - £145 for me to buy one and they don't have any in stock!

Car didn't give me any indication that the battery was loosing its power too fast, it was fine last night and dead this morning.

Drove the car round the block at work and it was fine.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeemaBoy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-January-2008 at 15:07

Hmmm..maybe a dry cell or something...

But it is soooo strange for a battery to loose its charge so quickly! You usually get plenty of warning though...eg: systems that mis-behave and so forth...

At a guess, I would go with a dry cell in the battery? What does the charge 'eye' say? Is it green? Guess the only way to see is to see if it happens tonight again? Maybe see if you can get a battery centre to run a quick check on it?

I hope it does not happen again and that all this is just another, non re-occuring BMW mystery

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kbannon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-January-2008 at 18:14
How cold was it there last night? Could that have somehow drastically weakened the battery?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xenodrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-January-2008 at 18:17

One dodgy cell in a battery is all it takes to pull down the others - especially at this time of year. The RAC and AA are run ragged with flat batteries every time there's a cold snap!!!

For a couple of quid extra you can get a battery with a three year warranty, well worth it over the lifetime of the battery. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-January-2008 at 08:55

Update

Went out to the car this morning, unlocked by the key remote, opened door and internal lights came on, key in ignition and warning lights came on and went out, foot on brake to start, brake lights came on, turned key, engine turns momentarily and spluts and refuses to start. 

Oh poo!

I decided to jump start it off her Merc as this time I had at least got power to the systems so I thought I won't get a fault displaying.

Being prepared, I had got the jump leads from my dad last night but I had to grab the E39 Haynes Manual to remind me in what order to connect the jump leads.

The poor wee 1.8 Merc engine didn't know what hit it when I cranked over my engine and it started somewhat slower than normal due to the supply power being limited to that of the Merc system.

Got to work thinking that I'll have to order a battery but as the dealer couldn't tell me what size the battery was and neither could the ETK last night, I had to strip out the trim in the boot and sure enough it is the big 110 Amp hour battery at £145 from the dealer.

Current battery has a black indicator which is not good.

Will this be covered by my BMW AUC warranty?

Andrew

PS K it was colder last night than the night before, so it may be a contributing factor but on the colder morning the car performed better. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-January-2008 at 11:03

110 Amp hour battery ordered from Dougie Park Hamilton and will be delivered to Dougie Park Kyle Street Glasgow for me this afternoon.

£145 ouch

John in parts at Kyle Street was very helpful and said this was the first ever battery they have requested for an E60, mine being one of the first E60's on the roads.

He did comment on that it did seem a particularly big battery and he has never sold one as big as that.

ETK says it weights 28.8 kg.  If that was at my work, that requires two people to lift it!

And it is not covered by warranty!

Andrew

Off to hire a crane to lift the batteries in and out of the boot.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-January-2008 at 18:20

...and another update.

Left office 5 pm to drive to aforementioned dealer to pick up battery.

Car dead as the proverbial dodo, just like yesterday morning.

Oh poo!

This time phoned BMW assist and spoke to the same chap who helped me yesterday.  He is really helpful and I think is genuinely interested in finding out what is wrong as there were no faults present yesterday morning.

Got a lift back to warm office.

I told him that BMW warranty didn't know if a battery is covered by warranty and that I should check with a dealer.  Phoned dealer and they said it isn't covered.  Mr helpful BMW assist then says he will check this and sure enough phoned back and told me that the battery is covered and under no circumstances pay £145 for the battery.

He suspects it might be a fault with the IBS Intelligent Battery Switch which as far as I can tell isn't being very intelligent at present.

I think if they can't fix my car I'm due for a replacement car until mine can be fixed.  Sounds alright to me, wonder if there are any M models up for use as a hire car? Hmmmm....

Brain back in gear and have now re-read warranty handbook.  "...the BMW Approved USed CAr Warranty even guarantees your vehicle's battery"! Hmmm BMW dealer telling wee fibs.  Naughty!

Will advise on update later.

Andrew

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 540 V8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-January-2008 at 23:52

Modern technology ay! can't beat it!

Speaking from experience of working in a main dealer for 10+ years (Mercedes commercials! not BMW so no asking for discount lol!) modern vehicles are so riddled with wires and control units and relays and switches and modules and... and...stuff, it's really hard to pinpoint faults nowadays unless you have a trained professional with a diagnostic computer and a couple of hours spare.

Often, something silly like a drained battery can cause some funny gremlins to appear, infact a simple broken wire once caused our top technician to take 9 hours labour to find an electrical fault! It turned out that a company who had ply-lined the van in question had screwed a couple of wires to the interior matal frame and over a course of weeks, rubbed through the shielding, eventually shorting the wires. It caused several fault codes to come up as the wires were for two seperate devices and both were linked to about 3 control units each causing bad readings but only intermittently, also, because these wires were occaisionally touching, this also caused another set of faults due to further changes in the signals carried by the wiring.

The company in question got a bill of nearly £900 for our time and the customer got £200 loss of use too, all for two damaged wires. 20 years ago the same problem would have probably manifested itself my making the brake light blink with the indicators!

You only have the E.C. laws to blame as the safety and emission laws get tougher, our cars need more help keeping within these laws giving rise to all this techno-junk!

Anyway, sorry to waffle on but just to show you, you're not alone!

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-January-2008 at 08:11

...after BMW assist came out on Friday night, they found the fault to be with the DSC control unit.  It isn't shutting down when the car goes to sleep and is still drawing current from the battery.

Wonder if the fact that every time I drive the car in the wet at some point the traction control warning light comes on, the unit has to work most times in the wet taming the V8?  Shouldn't be though.

BMW assist got me going, arranged for me to drop the E60 off at Dougie Park Hillington on Saturday morning and also arranged for a hire vehicle, a pimp mobile!

All my neighbours curtains are now twitching as there is a brand new X5 sat outside my house for most of the weekend.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-January-2008 at 08:33

...still got the pimp mobile and will have it till Friday.

BMW have had to replace the DSC unit, which should arrive today but they want to check it over night to see if the battery survives.

I shudder to think how much a new DSC unit would have cost me if it wasn't under warranty.

Should get my V8 back on Friday night.  Can't wait.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 540 V8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-January-2008 at 14:20

Good news then hopefully! Lets hope any problems you have (god forbid) happen during the warranty period becuase I doubt any electric on that at cheap!

Mike



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-January-2008 at 09:02

Wooooohooooo

Got the V8 back!  Sooo pleased, soooo much nicer than that pimp mobile they gave me and soooo much quicker and comfy.

Part that failed was the DSC hydraulic control unit.  Part #1  This was repaired under warranty.  The girl at reception told me that the part alone was over £1,000.  Enough to make your eyes water!  Thank god for the warranty.

Car got a good wash and a clean on Saturday morning.  Well happy now!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-January-2008 at 08:13

Booooohoooooo

She is broken again!

Went out to the car on Saturday morning at 10 am.  Got in, started fiddling with my Sat nav  to take me to Saltcoats and I happened to look up and saw that the idrive wasn't working.  Looked at the dash and all sorts of weird and wonderful things were being displayed.

Got out and looked at the battery and sure enough the green charge indicator had turned black.  Called BMW assist (3rd time) about 10.20, someone came out at about 12.35.  Told him my above tale of woe and he checked the battery.  He suspected that it was now a case of a duff battery, probably knackered by all the charging/discharging going on when the car was in the garage last time.

He got me going and I drove the car to Dougie Park Kyle Street (as Hillington was closed) where BMW assist had arranged a hire car for me. 

Got a E60 520d SE.  T'is not bad.  It has leather part electric seats but a manual gearbox.

I am pleasantly surprised by the wee oil burner, it is actually a very nice comfy car to drive and I am currently getting over 46 mpg!  That is unheard off for me in a Beamer!

The engine is surprisingly smooth with very little indication of turbo lag, it just pulls smoothly and cleanly all through the rev range without any sudden burst of acceleration like I have experienced in an E39 530d.

Will phone the dealer later and update.

Andrew

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xenodrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-January-2008 at 17:12

Eek !!! Did they actually renew the battery? If they haven't . . .

It wouldn't be the first time I've heard of, or seen, a flat battery being checked with a discharge meter and pronounced D.O.A. The emphasis on "discharge" and the fact that batteries should be checked after being charged.

Did the dealer check to seen what kind of current was being drawn whilst the car is idle? It should only be the ECU, radio memory and clock, which is virtually nil!

 

Keep us posted

 

Cheers

 

Drew

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andrew Rolland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-January-2008 at 08:50

Originally posted by xenodrew xenodrew wrote:

Keep us posted

Click here for an update Drew.

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