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Old 04-18-2017, 02:51 PM   #1
BKMrSteel
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Battery drain help

99/00 328i, my battery has been draining completely flat for a few months now. It takes about a week for the car to be dead, and only continues to drain further. If I charge it up, the car starts strong, and works perfectly, even after a few days of sitting.

I know how to check for parasitic draw, and test battery voltage. I don't think the battery is bad, but it very well may go draining like this.

Reading it's probably the FSR, any other things to check? I'm not experiencing any other symptoms, and the climate system works normally. When I first got the car I would get a Peak scan tool code for the FSR at random, but never in OBD tools.

Aftermarket radio, radar detector, hid headlight retrofit with a relay and independent wiring for each. I don't suspect any of this, or my work, but someone will ask.




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Old 04-18-2017, 02:58 PM   #2
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Your FSU is the most likely cause. I have also had an issue with the electrical fan relay, and a communation module in the trunk activated by an SOS function on an auto dimming mirror.

Leaving anything connected in the cigarette lighter can also drain the battery.
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:06 PM   #3
westendhooligan
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Does you battery light turn on? Alternator maybe?
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:11 PM   #4
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Hey I would check for a parasitic draw. I know it says you know how to do this, but for the E46 once you set up the multimeter you'll want to roll your passenger side window down and let your car go into "sleep mode" which usually takes 16 minutes. After that, you'll have to pull each fuse (the fuse box located above the glove box) 1 by 1 checking to see when the multimeter drops from a higher multimeter reading to 0.00 or 0.02 to determine which fuse and corresponding system is causing the parasitic drain. I just had to do this to check for a parasitic drain, but once my car went into sleep mode, I saw the draw was 0.01. It ended up just being that I had a faulty battery. Check out this video that helped me visualize what to do:

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Old 04-18-2017, 03:12 PM   #5
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Perform a Current Draw test. Do you have a Meter that can read 10 Amps DC and has Max & Min Hold?

This is a nice think for have for around $20 that will allow you to switch the meter in and out of the circuit - https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-64970-P...rent+draw+test

You will still need to watch for the car to go into sleep mode after about 20 minutes.
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:28 PM   #6
SSchwab
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Do you power the radar detector through the cigarette lighter?
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Old 04-18-2017, 04:08 PM   #7
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I get so confused.

Do you drive the car every day, and it still goes dead, or does it go dead when you don't drive it for a week? If the latter, then you have a weak battery and no more testing needs to be done. You just have to live with it until you get a new battery.

To do a parasitic drain test, open all doors and the trunk. Disconnect the negative post on the battery and connect your meter (set on Amps) so that one lead is connected to the negative battery wire and the other is connected to the negative battery post. IGNORE ANYTHING THAT THE METER SHOWS FOR 16 MINUTES. After 16 minutes has elapsed, now you can observe the meter display and see what the current flow is. be sure to NOT open or close any doors or the trunk lid or you must wait for 16 minutes again.

Your car has a Keep Alive circuit that is active for 16 minutes after you last change the status of any electrical load. The idea is that you might leave a light on and lock the door. The car knows this is an error and after 16 minutes it shuts down so that the battery does not go flat while you are shopping or at work. The Keep Alive (or Stay Awake) is by definition a parasitic drain, so you do not want to measure for parasites while the timer is running. Get it? You must wait for the timer to time out, then you can see if there is a parasite. You must not change the state of a door for example because this is a monitored condition for the timer to turn on again. If you think you will be under the hood to test for parasites, then you have to open the hood first and wait for 16 minutes. If you close something, the interior lights will come on again and you have to wait for 16 minutes.

Open all doors, hood, and trunk lid. Turn the ignition off and remove the key. Wait for 16 minutes. Observe the parasitic draw on the meter that you have connected, set to DC milliamps.
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Old 04-18-2017, 04:25 PM   #8
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The test described above is great AFTER you confirm you are not powering anything through the cigarette lighter and leaving it connected when you shut off the engine.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:48 PM   #9
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Nothing is powered through the cigarette 12v. Hard mounted detector, and it's been unplugged. I hardly drive the car right now, so if it sits for a week or more the doors won't unlock. Starts no problem after a few days. The alternator is working, and it could also be a weak battery, but I don't see a weak battery discharging its self to dangerous levels on its own.

Using a charger on it for now as needed, and forming a plan before digging in.

Thanks for the advice, sounds like I'm suspecting the correct things. I've lost my multi meter, of course lol. Post more if I'm stumped after testing with one.


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Old 04-18-2017, 07:13 PM   #10
CalVol
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If the battery is 12.3-12.4v before startup, it's marginal. If mine gets down to 12.1v it will lose memories (radio settings, etc). You can also do a load test on the battery, from a cold start, if voltage drops below about 10v during crank, it needs replacing. GL...

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Old 04-18-2017, 10:29 PM   #11
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Try pulling fuse 37 at night then put it back before you drive the car. The aux fan is a confirmed overnight battery drain similar to the fsr.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:13 PM   #12
BKMrSteel
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Battery drain help

3 days of sitting, battery is at 11.5v and everything still works. If I start it the alternator charges no problem.


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Old 04-20-2017, 07:10 PM   #13
BKMrSteel
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Okay,

Fully charged the battery, and my charger didn't indicate a bad battery. I'm being lazy because I don't get around very well. The FSR seems like it would be presenting more symptoms then a flat battery, like problems with the blower, and it's not. I'm going to have the auto store load test the battery, and replace if needed.

I'm looking around at different 94r and h7, checked out the official forum page. anyone know a current killer deal or strong recommendation?

I ran the scan tool and found codes for all the emissions devices. Evap, air pump, and o2 sensors. Understandable because I don't have secondary o2 sensors, but didn't expect evap. Could this system draw power when the car is off?

No other codes, and haven't done a draw test yet.

Anything more I should consider? Planning to jump in this weekend.



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Old 04-20-2017, 07:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKMrSteel View Post
3 days of sitting, battery is at 11.5v and everything still works. If I start it the alternator charges no problem.
Obvious problem!!!

Do not rely on your "battery charger" to determine the battery health. Have the battery properly checked.

If the battery is good and fully charged and drops to 11.5 Volts in 3 days, there is an OBVIOUS draw. A good battery should not drop below 12.4 Volts in 3 days regardless of where you check the Voltage with a 50mA or less draw. Battery should be not lower than 12.5 Volts depending on how the meter rounds.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:43 PM   #15
BKMrSteel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
Obvious problem!!!



Do not rely on your "battery charger" to determine the battery health. Have the battery properly checked.



If the battery is good and fully charged and drops to 11.5 Volts in 3 days, there is an OBVIOUS draw. A good battery should not drop below 12.4 Volts in 3 days regardless of where you check the Voltage with a 50mA or less draw. Battery should be not lower than 12.5 Volts depending on how the meter rounds.


Lol thank you. I keep saying the same thing to my friends (mechanics) and I keep getting pushed to a new battery. I'll properly test things this weekend.


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Old 04-21-2017, 05:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKMrSteel View Post
Lol thank you. I keep saying the same thing to my friends (mechanics) and I keep getting pushed to a new battery. I'll properly test things this weekend.
I am not pushing you to a new battery, I am saying that the average battery charger CANNOT and DOES NOT properly test a battery. If you had a battery charger that cost $1k or more, than maybe it could be a decent charger/tester.

Your battery charge probably tells you how much percentage of charge is in the battery, not if the battery is good or bad.

I would guess if the battery is 4+ years old, without checking it, maybe a good candidate for replacement, but a proper test will confirm this quickly and easily.

Once you know you are working with a "known good" battery that is properly charged, then you will know how bad the draw is in the vehicle.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:41 PM   #17
BKMrSteel
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Battery drain help

Would cheap eBay led interior lights do this? I don't have problems with them turning off, but they have been becoming more buggy with time, cutting out, and not working. My drivers door switch is acting up too. I'm replacing them with normal t10 bulbs first chance regardless.


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Old 04-21-2017, 02:49 PM   #18
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Has the battery been properly charged and tested yet?
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:24 PM   #19
jdstrickland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKMrSteel View Post
Nothing is powered through the cigarette 12v. Hard mounted detector, and it's been unplugged. I hardly drive the car right now, so if it sits for a week or more the doors won't unlock. Starts no problem after a few days. The alternator is working, and it could also be a weak battery, but I don't see a weak battery discharging its self to dangerous levels on its own.

Using a charger on it for now as needed, and forming a plan before digging in.

Thanks for the advice, sounds like I'm suspecting the correct things. I've lost my multi meter, of course lol. Post more if I'm stumped after testing with one.


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A weak battery can easily be discharged after a few days of non-use, then work fabulously for weeks on end when the car is used every day. My car ran like this for almost a year once. If I drove it, the battery worked fine. If I parked it for a week or so, I had to get the jumper cables out or roll the car down the driveway. (rolling down the driveway is risky because it's not very long and there's only one shot at the bump-start, then the car is in the street and the jumper cables still have to come out.)

You have better odds of a weak battery than anything else.
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Old 04-21-2017, 04:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
A weak battery can easily be discharged after a few days of non-use, then work fabulously for weeks on end when the car is used every day. My car ran like this for almost a year once. If I drove it, the battery worked fine. If I parked it for a week or so, I had to get the jumper cables out or roll the car down the driveway. (rolling down the driveway is risky because it's not very long and there's only one shot at the bump-start, then the car is in the street and the jumper cables still have to come out.)

You have better odds of a weak battery than anything else.
jstrickland, I just went through a similar experience with my Lexus but at times I could go a couple of weeks before I had a problem. I ended up replacing the battery a couple of weeks ago and it has been fine so we will see. When it first happened I bought a jumper battery and put it in the trunk while I took several weeks to figure out what was going on. That little jumper battery saved my butt when the battery discharged so badly the engine stalled at a red light. I quickly fetched the jumper, hooked it up and started the car and I was on my way in minutes.
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