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Old 01-08-2010, 06:43 PM   #1
Zero2_2005
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Another Battery Issue!!

My car battery has been getting drained lately and I have been having problems starting my car!

_____________________
What I have DONE so far

New starter

My battery has been tested and holds a very good charge. Was tested at Advance autozone and they say there might be a drain somewhere.

Battery is only 2 to 2 and a half years old so its still relatively new.
________________________________________________________

I have been reading threads lately and have come down to this:

Cannot be starter cause starter was just replaced last spring.

It could be FSR

It could be Voltage Regulator

It could be Alternator
____________________________

I may be leaning towards voltage regulator in the alternator but I have a new FSR coming in and I will be trying that

By the way Advance Auto Zone charged my battery overnight slowly and was fully charged and was tested to be good.

If I remembered correctly the voltage was 12v or something like that when off.

Lights flickers when trying to turn on and the car clicks.

Last edited by Zero2_2005; 01-08-2010 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:00 PM   #2
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What have you done to look for electrical leaks?

In my old E36 I hunted a parasitic drain for months before figuring out it was just the battery. I know you've done everything you could to eliminate that as a possibility, but be careful about looking every other way. Your thread title may speak volumes. Did Autozone check cells? I don't know enough about bats. or Autozone to speak authoritatively, but there are other tests, like a load test, that yet might indicate the battery is bad...and that $100 would be a lot easier than what sounds like the hundreds of $ and many hours you'll spend with all these other things...just saying don't take bat out of equation yet.

Have you locked your wife in the trunk yet to see if the light stays on in there...or I've heard of glove box lights staying on...not recently, but know sometimes they would.

Have you had someone install any electronic device in your car of any type--like the guy who discovered his 1000W amp was affecting his battery...that was pretty recent. Ipod, phone, CD player, remote starter...anything? Often these mysterious bat incidents are related to something incidental, so don't dismiss them. If there was anything at all related to anything electrical in your car, odds are its a proximate cause.

Anyway...HTH...really. Don't mean to lecture...just hoping maybe some of this will help you find a connection...and then you can disconnect it! LOL

Doug
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero2_2005 View Post
My car battery has been getting drained lately and I have been having problems starting my car!


If I remembered correctly the voltage was 12v or something like that when off.

Lights flickers when trying to turn on and the car clicks.
Your battery won't hold the charge, that's why when you had it fully charge at Advance Auto and started the car but all you had were lights flicked and car clicked but not turned on. You need new battery!

To be sure about that, either borrow a good used battery or jump your car, if car starts then your battery is no good.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:16 PM   #4
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What have you done to look for electrical leaks?

In my old E36 I hunted a parasitic drain for months before figuring out it was just the battery. I know you've done everything you could to eliminate that as a possibility, but be careful about looking every other way. Your thread title may speak volumes. Did Autozone check cells? I don't know enough about bats. or Autozone to speak authoritatively, but there are other tests, like a load test, that yet might indicate the battery is bad...and that $100 would be a lot easier than what sounds like the hundreds of $ and many hours you'll spend with all these other things...just saying don't take bat out of equation yet.

Have you locked your wife in the trunk yet to see if the light stays on in there...or I've heard of glove box lights staying on...not recently, but know sometimes they would.

Have you had someone install any electronic device in your car of any type--like the guy who discovered his 1000W amp was affecting his battery...that was pretty recent. Ipod, phone, CD player, remote starter...anything? Often these mysterious bat incidents are related to something incidental, so don't dismiss them. If there was anything at all related to anything electrical in your car, odds are its a proximate cause.

Anyway...HTH...really. Don't mean to lecture...just hoping maybe some of this will help you find a connection...and then you can disconnect it! LOL

Doug
Its been doing this even when I had the original battery. I bought a new battery about 2 to 2 and a half years ago to try to solve this and it didn't about 2 years later. It only helped for awhile then this starts happening. It could be like what you said earlier that it could be a bad cell. Again if it was a bad cell then how long do these cells in the battery last then? If saying I had a new one, how long?

Last edited by Zero2_2005; 01-08-2010 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:21 PM   #5
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Your battery won't hold the charge, that's why when you had it fully charge at Advance Auto and started the car but all you had were lights flicked and car clicked but not turned on. You need new battery!

To be sure about that, either borrow a good used battery or jump your car, if car starts then your battery is no good.
Look at response below

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Old 01-08-2010, 07:24 PM   #6
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Okay just got done charging my car for about maybe 30+ mins. I am going to leave my car till tomorrow and see if I can start it again. I know the alternator is still good saying the battery is charged. Right now I can still start the car but we'll see tomorrow.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:26 PM   #7
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Your battery won't hold the charge, that's why when you had it fully charge at Advance Auto and started the car but all you had were lights flicked and car clicked but not turned on. You need new battery!

To be sure about that, either borrow a good used battery or jump your car, if car starts then your battery is no good.
When they had it charged the car started up right away
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:32 PM   #8
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OP,

I honestly don't know if cells can be filled now with distilled water...but I bet some have tried.

So you got a bat 2 years ago coz you were having problems starting car.

New bat and you shortly after had probs. starting car again, right?

So this problem has been going on for over a year and a half or so?

You could have had a drain for that long assuming you've driven every day and recharged what you'd lost through the drain.

A few thoughts: see if you've got any codes stored, even though you don't have any lights...think you can still have codes stored.

You're in a very cold place right now, right? What oil do you use? I'm thinking that if it's too thick, i.e. over 0w then that might be robbing your battery of a lot of juice every day you've been starting.

A bat could go bad in a year or two...not out of the realm of possibility.

How does the 'trouble' starting the car 'go'? Cranking a lot, or sounds like it's very slow cranking? Trying to understand better what's going on.

Is car inside at night or in garage? What's the temp been up there?

Any other car issues...like leaking fluids? Have you done any maintenance recently, like maybe near or around alternator? Maybe dripped something on belt causing alt to not charge bat so well?

Inquiring minds want to know! LOL

Back to you and I'll try to help... or at least keep your issue bumped up!

Doug
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for Replies guys!! Yes I do live in a very cold environment!! Midwest Wisconsin. Car is always garage but garage have no insulation. No code and just did a code read. The more drained the battery the slow start it has. Then eventually lights flicker and then click click click. Headlights are on though. heaters work and all electronics works. I use 0W40 mobile one. No new alternator yet. Did new power steering tube change. The 2 tubes that attaches towards the radiator. I did see some fluid soaked under the atf reservoir. I know some people has had problems with atf fluids getting on their alternator causing it bad or the volt reg bad.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:13 PM   #10
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could voltage regulator cause the drain?

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Old 01-08-2010, 08:53 PM   #11
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Hmmm? Do some research on whether you might be able to just spray the alternator with an electronics cleaning spray (CRC makes a 'plastic safe' one just to be...you know...safe). I have no idea and am hitting the hay, but that might be it.

Also, don't try to just start your car to see if it still starts and then turn it off...or just idle it for a while, as that will drain it more. If it was me, and I think you said you had a charger...charge overnight and if a search says it's okay to clean alt. from PS fluid, go ahead...let it dry very well...and then try to start it. If it starts, go for a long drive...and pray you're done!

Also, try spraying the connector for the alt too...think there's both a connector and lead to the battery, right? haven't changed it myself yet, but was reading about it.

Oil in connectors/motors could definately mess things up. That said, you've had problems for a long time it sounds like. Still could be the battery being bad, so at some point, get it load tested...and it sounds like you're thinking of new battery, so that's probably a good thing anyway...with your temps, not good to get stranded for that.

GL...and good night!

Doug
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:08 PM   #12
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When they had it charged the car started up right away
In this case, either your alternator is bad or something are draining your battery, do these test to determine which one is bad:

Determine good or bad battery:
1/ With the battery fully charged, before connecting to the car, measure the DC voltage, it has to be greater than 12.5v, if it's less than 12.5v, battery is no good.
2/ If the batt. is greater than 12.5v, connect it to the car, with ignition key set at "OFF" position, measure batt. voltage again, it should be still the same volt as above. If it's less, then you have something shorted or partial shorted and cause the battery to drain.
3/ If the batt. checked out good on step 2 above, then connect the volt meter to the battery terminals and monitor its voltage, set the ignition key to 2nd position but not turning the car, switch on all electronic devices, AC, heater, fan and head lights, etc., one by one, if you see voltage drop significantly when one particular device is switched on, turn off that device, if the voltage jump back up, that device may be at fault, if the voltage remain low when you turn off that device, then your battery is bad because it won't hold the charge.

Determine Alternator is good or bad:
4/ If battery checked out OK at steps 1,2 and 3 above. Now turn off all devices, start up the car, the car should start, measure the voltage at battery terminals, the charging voltage for the alternator should be greater than 13.5v, if less, then your alternator is bad (check the driven belt as well, a loose belt can cause the alternator output lower voltage).
5/ If the charging voltage is >13.5v, with the engine running, rev up to 1.5k rpm, turn on all devices one by one, and observe any voltage drop, in any case, it should not drop at all because the higher rpm will output constant >13.5v charging voltage regardless of the load even with heavy audio amplifier(unless that device is bad or shorted), if one particular device caused the voltage drop below 13.5v, that device or its associated wiring is no good. Disconnect that device and test again. the voltage should go back up to >13.5v.

If all steps above checked out OK but once a while you still have lights flicker and car clicked problem, then I'm 100% sure that your battery is weak, replace the battery to eliminate any consequence.

Last edited by taibinhvuong; 01-08-2010 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Wrong typing word: week, weak.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:17 PM   #13
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Ah, and make sure your battery terminals are clean and tight too, some time a dirty or loose terminal will cause the same problem that you experienced.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:18 PM   #14
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Ok thanks for all your advice and especially your time.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:40 PM   #15
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let us know what is actual wrong when you fixed the problem.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:44 AM   #16
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Checking battery if at fault:

Checked battery when disconnected: 12.5V exact
Checked battery when connected: 12.5V exact
Checked battery when connected and 2nd position and car off: 11.3V <-----Could this mean bad battery?
Checked battery when connected and 2nd position with all electronics on: 8.53V <------Could this mean bad battery?
Checked again with battery connected and car off the voltage kept dropping from 12v to 11.3v. Disconnected battery the voltage went from 11.3v to 11.9v. Connected battery again but then car won't crank.
Within 10 mins to 15 mins the voltage is at 11.9v with car connected and car won't crank just dash light flicker and click click click.

Alternator check if at fault:

Checked Voltage while car running: 14.0V exact <-----Good alternator?
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:46 AM   #17
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I am about to get a new battery soon and do another test!! I really have no idea whats going on!!
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:09 AM   #18
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Zero2_2005

Based upon your last post, assuming you are using a quality Voltmeter, your battery is not fully charged and/or is bad.

1. Fully charged battery Voltage is at least 12.6 Volts. With a surface charge (just coming off the charger or the car being run) Voltage should be slightly higher than 12.6 Volts. One issue you may have is where you live and the low outside temps. A battery is chemical device and the colder the battery is, the less energy it can produce. It is possible that in your area a brand new, fully charged battery may not have 12.6 Volts in the extremely cold temps. This is why a high CCA (Cold Cranking Amp) battery is most likely a must for your area. Sometimes battery heaters are required as well and/or plug in trickle chargers like the Battery Tender.

2. If you are measuring 14.0 Volts with the car running, this is fine. Most charging systems operate between 13.5-14.5 Volts when working properly. Slight side note, some newer cars (GM in specific) actually have a Amp sensor and will fully shut the alternator off at times when the battery is charged and the car does not need a lot of power from the alternator. This is done to reduce engine load to improve fuel economy. Your car most likely does not have this feature, just mentioning it for anyone else looking over this thread.

3. When cranking engine, battery Voltage should drop no lower than 9.6 Volts. If it go lower, more than likely the battery is not fully charged or it is bad. Sometimes faulty starters and/or high Voltage drop in battery cables/connecitons can cause this higher Voltage drop. But you need to begin with a known good battery.

4. If you Voltmeter is actually a multimeter, does it have an Amperage function? Does if have a 10 Amp capability? This is important and will help you determine if your draw from the car is excessive. Usually a typical draw when the car is off is around 100 milliAmps, or 0.1 Amp. Anything above this vaule is not good.

5. 8.53 Volts with key on and car not cranking is BAD. Again either a battery that is not fully charged (agrees with the 12.5 initial Voltage) and/or a battery with a bad cell.

6. You can take the battery back to have it charged and load tested at the parts store, most have automated testing devices that eliminate the guy behind the counter messing up the test. But my rule of thumb is that batteries are only good for 3 years max. Does not matter car, cell phone, laptop, UPS, alarm system. Once you are near year 3 and you have any problems my reaction is to replace the battery then worry about anything else after I know I have a good battery.

7. Now this being a BMW you have a lot of connections after the battery assuming your battery is in the trunk. So you need to move from the battery terminals outward and measure the Voltage drop to determine if there are any bad connections. Only valid way to verify Voltage drop is while cranking the engine. You should not have more than about 0.7 Volts drop in all your cabling between the battery and starter terminal. Do not forget to check the ground or negative side of the starting path as well.

What are your temps in your area now? Lows during the day & night?

Good luck and let us know what you find.

jfoj

Last edited by jfoj; 01-09-2010 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:24 AM   #19
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Checking battery if at fault:

Checked battery when disconnected: 12.5V exact
Checked battery when connected: 12.5V exact
Checked battery when connected and 2nd position and car off: 11.3V <-----Could this mean bad battery?
Checked battery when connected and 2nd position with all electronics on: 8.53V <------Could this mean bad battery?
Checked again with battery connected and car off the voltage kept dropping from 12v to 11.3v. Disconnected battery the voltage went from 11.3v to 11.9v. Connected battery again but then car won't crank.
Within 10 mins to 15 mins the voltage is at 11.9v with car connected and car won't crank just dash light flicker and click click click.

Alternator check if at fault:

Checked Voltage while car running: 14.0V exact <-----Good alternator?
Your test concluded that your battery is no good, replace it and everything will be fine.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:42 AM   #20
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Checking battery if at fault:

Checked battery when disconnected: 12.5V exact: So far so good.
Checked battery when connected: 12.5V exact: So far so good.
Checked battery when connected and 2nd position and car off: 11.3V <-----Could this mean bad battery?: Sign for weak battery.
Checked battery when connected and 2nd position with all electronics on: 8.53V <------Could this mean bad battery?: Yes, most likely.
Checked again with battery connected and car off the voltage kept dropping from 12v to 11.3v. Disconnected battery the voltage went from 11.3v to 11.9v. Connected battery again but then car won't crank.: Bad battery.
Within 10 mins to 15 mins the voltage is at 11.9v with car connected and car won't crank just dash light flicker and click click click.: 100% bad battery.

Alternator check if at fault:

Checked Voltage while car running: 14.0V exact <-----Good alternator?: Yes, good alternator.
Conclusion: BAD BATTERY.
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