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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 03-09-2015, 04:33 PM   #1
Colby.d17
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2003 M3 battery keeps dying!

So my battery started dying on me and i tested the battery and determined it was the alternator. I had that replaced and my battery was still dying so i bought a brand new battery to see if this was my cause but my battery is slowly still dying. I have no clue what this could be, pleas help!
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:37 PM   #2
WDE46
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Do you have any aftermarket electronics (stereo, ipod adapters, etc)?
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:08 PM   #3
e46dinan
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Check or replace your FSR...
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:09 PM   #4
bmwporscheman
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You may need to put in an Amp.Meter,disconnect the battery minus post,put the meter on the minus post and ground and check the draw on the battery,should be no more than max, 35/40 milli. amps.
if it is more than that, then you have to find what it is.remove fuse by fuse and see if the reading changes.or disconnect control units.
keep in mind that the car has to go to sleep with takes 15 to 20 min. that means everything off, key out, doors closed.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:50 PM   #5
djantlive
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When car is cold, located the coolant control valve under the air intake. If it is hot, then your climate control panel or coolant temp sensor behind the panel is faulty. Pretty common issue. Replace w used good panel is cheap $60 and easy diy
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:48 PM   #6
Colby.d17
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Ill replace the FSR this weekend and if this doesn't solve the issue i will try the coolant temp sensor
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:02 PM   #7
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Don't throw parts at the problem. Buy/borrow a digital volt/ohm meter. Disconnect the negative/ground cable from the battery. Set the meter to show current (milliamperes) Connect one lead to the negative/ground cable and the other lead to the battery. It doesn't matter which lead goes where.

DO NOT TRY TO START THE ENGINE WHILE THE METER IS CONNECTED. It won't handle the current!

Leave the trunk open and make sure everything else is off. Remove your key from the ignition and make sure the doors and the hood are closed. The trunk lights will go off after 5 or 10 minutes. Read the meter; It should read less than 100ma (that's 1/10 of an amp current).

If it reads more than 100ma, you have a parasitic current drain. The next step is to pull fuses one at a time. That is, pull a fuse, check the meter and reinsert the fuse IF the meter reading remains the same.
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
Colby.d17
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Does anybody know what the updated part number is for the FSR?
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:48 PM   #9
e46dinan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colby.d17 View Post
Does anybody know what the updated part number is for the FSR?
Final Stage Unit PN 64116923204
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:48 PM   #10
Colby.d17
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Is there anyway to check/test to see if the FSR has actually failed?
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:29 AM   #11
markusmarkus
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Originally Posted by Colby.d17 View Post
Is there anyway to check/test to see if the FSR has actually failed?

Does the fan for the heater/ac operate at random speeds regardless of the setting on the controller?

How old is the battery? Do you have any aftermarket electronix?

Do you have a digital volt/ohm/amperage meter? You can set up to read amperage and put it between the battery's ground lug and the ground cable to read the actual current drain. Should be less than 100 milliamperes (0.1 amps).
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:35 AM   #12
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For those who do not understand a Multimeter, use a test light and connect it in series with the battery.

If the test light glows bright, you have too much of a current draw. An extremely dimly lit bulb or no light at all is good.

But you can by a cheap multimeter for the price of decent test light, so you might as well get a valid measurement and know what the parasitic current draw is while the car is sitting.
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:01 PM   #13
DaHammer
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Good luck. Got the same thing going on with my 325i at the moment. I didn't notice it until a few weeks ago because until that time the car was a daily driver. Now it sits in the garage for 4 or 5 days at the time and the battery is going down over that time frame.

The battery was replaced November 23, 2014. So it was brand new. After it went down a couple times, I checked it for a parasitic draw and could not find one. So I took the battery back. They tested it and said it was good, but went ahead and swapped it out anyway. The car hasn't failed to crank since then, but it hasn't sat over 3 days yet either. After sitting for 3 days with the new battery, voltage was down to 12.30vdc. That is about 60% charged. So I drove and charged it back up.

I'm sitting here checking for a parasitic draw as I type this. Key off, trunk closed, doors closed, the draw starts at 0.42amp. After 1 minute it drops to 0.06 amp (60mA). After 15 minutes it drops to 0.01amp (10mA). No reason for that to drain the battery. Haven't seen it come back up from that but something is going on. Maybe I got two bad batteries in a row. I doubt it, but who knows. May buy a multimeter that has logging ability so that I can rule out something coming alive and draining the battery.
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Last edited by DaHammer; 03-15-2015 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:56 PM   #14
Colby.d17
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I used the multimeter this weekend to check out the battery and to see if there was a draw coming from somewhere. The meter read 0.28 MA. I pulled every fuse in the glovebox and nothing changed. I have no clue why my battery keeps dying
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colby.d17 View Post
I used the multimeter this weekend to check out the battery and to see if there was a draw coming from somewhere. The meter read 0.28 MA. I pulled every fuse in the glovebox and nothing changed. I have no clue why my battery keeps dying
I think you misread the meter or mis-stated the reading.

0.280 is likely in Amps or 0.280 Amps or 280 mA.

0.280 Amps and 280 milliAmps are the same value and is TOO high and will quickly drain a battery in a day or two.

Keep in mind there are a number of fuses in the DME box under the hood.

You also need to flip the door latch striker so the car will not have a problem going into sleep mode and so forth. Use a screw driver to flip the latch on the passenger door while you are working in the glove box.

Also do not forget that measurements also need to be made at some point with the car locked and the clown nose blinking if your car has one.

As for Logging meters, probably the cheapest meter that has a PC interface and log is the Radio Shack 46 function multimeter with PC Interface item 2200039.

Be careful because they had an earlier meter with RS-232/Serial interface and the newer units with the same item number have a USB interface.

At this moment, this meter is showing as $9.97 if you can find it because Radio Shack is likely discontinuing them. This may be the earlier meter with the Serial interface for $9.97? You can also find these on ebay NIB often for around $30 shipped.

http://www.radioshack.com/on/demandw...01&pid=2200039

Here is the current meter with the USB interface for $44.99 at the moment - http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack...7.html#start=3

Plug your Zip code in to check for inventory in local stores and/or drop in and try to find one.
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299

Last edited by jfoj; 03-16-2015 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:17 AM   #16
DaHammer
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I ordered the TekPower TP4000ZC due to the reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I agree with jfoj, 0.28mA is awfully low. I'd verify that with another meter, if that is the actual reading you got. Another reason I went ahead and ordered the logging meter is because I don't trust my cheap Southwire meter's 10mA reading.

Here is a pretty good article on how to test for parasitic drain:
http://mastertechmag.com/pdf/2009/Ju...siticdrain.pdf
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:24 AM   #17
dmarkle
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Another more empirical way of determining if your FSR needs to be replaced is if your blower fan blows unevenly or isn't responding properly to controls. Though I don't believe in throwing parts at problems, replacing the FSR with the updated part of it hasn't already been done makes good sense to me.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:02 AM   #18
jfoj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHammer View Post
I ordered the TekPower TP4000ZC due to the reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I agree with jfoj, 0.28mA is awfully low. I'd verify that with another meter, if that is the actual reading you got.
The TekPower meter is RS-232, most newer laptops do not have Serial ports anymore, so this requires a USB to Serial converter.

The 2nd Radio Shack meter I posted above that is on sale now for $45 has a USB interface, so it makes life a lot simpler for those with newer computers.

As far as the reading that was posted, I believe it was mis-stated. Like 0.28 Amp or 280 mA which is TOO HIGH, this will drain a battery in a day if the battery is not fully charged and in good shape.

What I find is draws of around 300 mA will slowly deplete a battery. Many times it will not drain a fully charged/good battery overnight on the first round. But as time goes on with a constant drain the battery will continue to be depleted and then all the sudden one day where you leave the car slightly longer, like over a weekend, then the battery will not start the car.
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:09 PM   #19
DaHammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
The TekPower meter is RS-232, most newer laptops do not have Serial ports anymore, so this requires a USB to Serial converter.

The 2nd Radio Shack meter I posted above that is on sale now for $45 has a USB interface, so it makes life a lot simpler for those with newer computers.
True but I have an old Dell D830 running XP with a serial port that I use for all of my diagnostics, so the TekPower is perfect for me. In fact, I have it set and logging as I type this. Very simple to set up.
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Last edited by DaHammer; 03-17-2015 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:12 PM   #20
DaHammer
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I've been logging the current draw on my car for a little over 48 hours now and have learned a few interesting things about it. While in sleep mode, it draws around 21mA. Every 6 to 12 hours, there is a surge of around 160mA. I'm logging at 30 second intervals and it lasts for less than that. Sometimes it repeats a time or 2 in 10 minute successions. The 65mA spikes you see at the beginning of the chart are me pressing the lock button on the keyfob. Everything following those is uninfluenced. So far I don't see a thing that would be causing a drain problem.

BTW, OP, I don't mean to be hijacking your thread. I just thought the data I am gathering was interesting and might offer some insight to your situation as well.
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