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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 10-23-2008, 06:12 AM   #1
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E46 Battery & Jump Starting

Well the first cold day and my 330i doesn't start. I turn the key and I get a whirring noise and the lights are flashing in sync with a clicking noise. The car ran perfectly the day prior with no symptoms of a failing battery.

At this point though I'm not positive it is the battery as all the accessories seem to be powering fine. I come inside and read a few E46 threads. There is a lot of debate about the battery, starter and altenator - Hmmm.

Back outside I hook up the posts under the hood (positive & negative) to my powerstarter. If it's the battery then the car should start - right. Nothing, same flashing lights and the car won't turn over.

Okay so being an old guy I think I'll hook up the powerstart directly to the battery posts - if it's a low battery then surely it will start now - wrong. Same symptoms.

So now I'm thinking it can't be the battery as I was giving it plenty of juice. Back in - I read a few more posts. Most of the folks who have experienced this (Car won't start and lights flash) have had to replace the battery.

I decided perhaps the powerstart was faulty so I used jumper cables between my daughters (E30) 325iX (running) and the 330i - nothing - same symptons.

After another hour of reading posts I decided to take the battery out of my other E46 325Ci (semi-stored in the garage) and swap that right into the 330i. Viola - car starts first time confirming it was indeed the battery. - I drive to NAPA and pick up an Interstate for $100. - Problem solved - but with a nagging question:

My question to the folks here is why won't the car start with a booster or a jump start? If I am using jumper cables how does even the complex electronic systems in the E46 know where the power source is coming from?

I am worried now that if I ever get a low battery on the road even AAA wouldn't be able to jump start the car.

Have other folks jump started successfully????
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:41 AM   #2
BavLar
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I jumped successfully once when battery was dying using wife's Tahoe. Of course now I realize that I risked some sort of electrical issues using something that strong. New battery and no problem since. At the time I hooked directly to battery.

On the other hand, I tried using my 330 to jump a Dodge Ram, unsuccessfully. Apparently the cables were too thin because it melted the rubber coating of the cables. Again, right off the battery instead of under the hood. Not sure of the difference, but I will jump to/from only small cars now and do it from under the hood.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:08 AM   #3
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ive jumped my 328 a few times. its still here, 1500W system and all car functions running just fine.
and i jumped it form the engine bay terminals every time.
ive also used my BMW to jump my bike.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:42 AM   #4
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My E46 had a completely dead battery after several months of no use. Completely dead. No lights, no flashing, no nothing. I jumped it with high quality cables using my neighbor's Volvo.

I had to leave them connected for about 5-10 minutes before my E46 would turn over but I was successful in starting the car this way.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:27 AM   #5
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If the battery is really low...you'll need to let it charge for a bit. I had the same issue...left it for about 1 hr and started right up (charging at 75A)...

A previous time even jumping it with my other car took some time...time for a new battery.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:34 AM   #6
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Maybe, if you read you owners manual, (hint) it will inform you to ONLY jump start your car under the hood, not to the battery. This IS what it says isnt it?
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:40 AM   #7
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If you read the thread before commenting you would have seen that connceting under the hood was the first thing attempted.

Thanks for your informative response. Go find something where you can actually contribute positively.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:43 AM   #8
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Man talk about funny timing... I just had the same issue. I was able to jump off from two different trucks, but when I tried to jump off from girl's mini and no go. It was a sunday morning so I ended up looking up threads on this site and went to Autozone, did the do in the parking lot and all is well! Just out of curiosity I called BMW of Austin to find out what they charged for said battery change out, more because I have this sick fascination with how much they over charge and how much I save doing things my self. Yeah they told me it would run about 320.00. So I saved 220 bucks. W
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:54 AM   #9
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I had the same issue recently when my expansion tank blew coolant on my alternator and apparently temporarily shorted it out. The battery was dead the next day. Tried to jump it, but only the clicking and flashing lights. Left the batteries connected for about five minutes and it started right up. No problems since.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixtoxi View Post
I had the same issue recently when my expansion tank blew coolant on my alternator and apparently temporarily shorted it out. The battery was dead the next day. Tried to jump it, but only the clicking and flashing lights. Left the batteries connected for about five minutes and it started right up. No problems since.

Hi, do you mean that when you jumped the two batteries together after leaving connected for a while the jump start will work?

Thanks to all who posted a response about leaving connected for a while before trying.

Now that's good advice!.



I am curious, did you have to replace the battery? I have left a trickle charger on the OEM battery I replaced yesterday and it now says that the battery is fine and shows the "green" colour. However yesterday the battery wouldn't hold a charge. I'm wondering if I should throw out the old OEM. Does anyone have a quick solution to testing a battery not just for voltage but for CCA?
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:58 AM   #11
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When you jump a battery from another running car or a battery box, you need to let the main car's battery charge a bit first. Next time you jump a car, hook it up, wait a few minutes and then crank. While cranking, turn as much electronics off as possible (interior lights, headlights, radio, HVAC, etc).

Also, someone else posted using a battery from a Tahoe could damage the car because it has too much power? Tahoe works on 12 volts, same as an E46, same voltage.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:10 PM   #12
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I drained down my battery on mistake a couple weeks ago and tried a jump as well. Had them hooked up for quite a bit. The issue that came into play, at least for me, was that it was the original battery with the car (coming up on 7 years). Once an old enough battery is drained, you just can't get it back. All my lights and accessories would come on too, but the starter was moving too slow. One of the best ways to check the battery is to use your wipers and see if they are going slower than they are supposed to be.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:31 PM   #13
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mindtrack is right. My battery was the oem, about 6 years old and it wouldnt hold a charge longer than 20 minutes after it was charged. I think just replace it and be done with it. Walt
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:47 PM   #14
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Clicking noise in sync with the lights when you turn the key is usually a low battery. It takes a lot of juice to start a E46, and you will have plenty of power to turn on the radio and lights, but not enough to turn the car over.

Don't forget you have a remote battery terminal in your engine bay, so you don't have to go into the trunk to jump start your car.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:54 PM   #15
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It's not the voltage that turns the starter it's the Amperage
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rif Raf View Post
It's not the voltage that turns the starter it's the Amperage
It's both. What turns the strarter is energy. Current is a function of voltage. At a higher voltage you need less current. If the battery voltage is low, then you need more current than "normal", which a low battery can't supply.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:35 AM   #17
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alot of information here you guys really know you're e46's...
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
If you read the thread before commenting you would have seen that connceting under the hood was the first thing attempted.

Thanks for your informative response. Go find something where you can actually contribute positively.
Should you actually be following your own thread.

I dont understand your attitude. I was trying verify what I thought I had read in the manual. I dont really care if your an old guy... or not; when the manual says somethings, its best to probably heed the instructions. There are consequences to trying to jump the battery at the trunk terminals.

Guess you have probably figured that out by now. Did you have to replace your battery? Betting you did.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:41 AM   #19
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Just woke up to this bullshit. It got down to about -15F last night but that's no excuse (It was +8F when I tried to start it). The battery is two and a half years old and as far as I know, there's nothing drawing from the battery. I have the factory battery that's been sitting in my (heated) basement since I bought the new one. What the chances it still has a charge and could start the car?
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:38 PM   #20
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i just replace my battery in my bmw323i and now car wont start
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