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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 12-02-2010, 03:41 PM   #1
mamadci
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Car Won't start in cold weather

I searched for this title and i found many threads but i still don't know the fix for my situation. so every morning i get into the car, put the key in the ignition, turn, but all i hear is clicking sound (more than 1) and dash lights flashing and the car wont start. some days it cranks a few times but then goes to the clicking sound and dash flashes again. it looks like that my battery doesn't have enough juice to crank it (especially in cold mornings). so i took the battery for a test and surprisingly it passed; although it took more than an hour to fully charge the battery. when i fully charged it, it was fine for a few days and now i'm back to where i started. it seems like that the battery doesn't hold charge or something is stilling power when the car is off (i recently installed flip out indash). i dont think there is anything wrong with the starter but not sure about the alternator. anyone had these symptoms before? do i need to replace my battery?
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:05 PM   #2
mrwech
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get a new battery or if you have the battery with the caps on top add some distilled water.When the vbatt is dying it will click and the dash will flash.
If ts a stick shift,try to push-start it and see the results
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:41 PM   #3
MyBlackE46
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You have to winter-charge your battery. I.e If you have a 55mAh battery, it will take approx 16 hours to fully charge it. The alternator isnīt powerful enough to charge the battery more than average use. If you use your stereo etc. and if the weather is colder, it will slowly get discharged until the point when you can no longer fire up the engine. The battery is still fine, just drained.

The clicking sound are the relays not getting enough juice to hold the power circuit. E46īs runs a all power on test on startup, which needs even more juice than just firing up the engine.

"Quick"solution, do a thorough winter-charge of your battery. Not the speed-charging.

Works for me every winter. When the temperature starts to drop, I winter-charge it. And I can start my car in -22 degrees fahrenheit (-30 degrees celcius), with no garage time.


Good luck
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:47 PM   #4
Sansho
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That sure sounds like as failing battery, and cold weather only makes it harder on the battery. Do you know how old the battery is? When I had those symptoms, I knew the battery was 6 years old, so I just replaced it and everything has been fine. However, if it's not an older battery, then there's the chance that the alternator and/or voltage regulator isn't completely well. The only way to know if you have a battery drain is to disconnect the negative battery cable and hook a multimeter up between it and the battery, measuring amps/milliamps. If there's a significant drain, then start pulling fuses one at at time to see what causes the drain to significantly change.

PS. Thank goodness don't have to deal with -22šF, brrrrrrrrr.
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Last edited by Sansho; 12-02-2010 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:21 PM   #5
mamadci
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What do you mean by winter charging? Where does this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBlackE46 View Post
You have to winter-charge your battery. I.e If you have a 55mAh battery, it will take approx 16 hours to fully charge it. The alternator isnīt powerful enough to charge the battery more than average use. If you use your stereo etc. and if the weather is colder, it will slowly get discharged until the point when you can no longer fire up the engine. The battery is still fine, just drained.

The clicking sound are the relays not getting enough juice to hold the power circuit. E46īs runs a all power on test on startup, which needs even more juice than just firing up the engine.

"Quick"solution, do a thorough winter-charge of your battery. Not the speed-charging.

Works for me every winter. When the temperature starts to drop, I winter-charge it. And I can start my car in -22 degrees fahrenheit (-30 degrees celcius), with no garage time.


Good luck
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:23 PM   #6
jcjdavis1
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Hi. Pull the fuse of your latest installation and see if car starts in the morning, if it starts that might be your problem. Also sometimes the 'Hedgehog' plays up causing the heater fan to constantly run with the ignition off,again pull the fuse to check. Jim
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
MyBlackE46
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Originally Posted by mamadci View Post
What do you mean by winter charging? Where does this?
Itīs a setting on some external chargers :

Like the one below. If you look closely, you can see a snowflake icon.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:46 PM   #8
mamadci
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I will try the fuse method cause something tells me that its the indash unit. I remember when i installed my angel eyes i had the same problem, it was drawing power from battery when the car was off so i had to uninstall them. I took my car to walmart today for another test and the guy told me that the battery is fine. Where is the fuse box in e46 coupe btw?
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:58 PM   #9
Andy2108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBlackE46 View Post
Itīs a setting on some external chargers :

Like the one below. If you look closely, you can see a snowflake icon.
Winter charging? lolwut

You mean trickle charging, or battery tending, versus a full 10 amp charge?



Im pretty shure that "snowflake" really stands for "car mode"

dude, your car has a 55mAh battery? That must suck... my phone has a 1800 mAh battery....
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Last edited by Andy2108; 12-02-2010 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:00 AM   #10
sonspot
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new battery or ALT, what kind of test did they do, did they do a winter test to see it was freezing up, I had to get a new battery two weeks ago, on the warmer days it was good but now that winter is here the battery cold crank is good enough to start the car.. you dont have to charge it to test it..
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:16 AM   #11
mamadci
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just a quick update, i pulled the radio fuses out (to disable the aftermarket indash) last night and the car started with no problem this morning????? cranked really fast with absolutely no problem. I just don't understand how the indash can draw power when the car is off. i'll keep it this way for couple of more days and see if the problem disappears. if that's the case, i will take out the indash and put the stock back in OR get it installed by a PRO. did anyone had a similar problem?
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:54 PM   #12
MyBlackE46
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Originally Posted by Andy2108 View Post
Winter charging? lolwut

You mean trickle charging, or battery tending, versus a full 10 amp charge?

Im pretty shure that "snowflake" really stands for "car mode"

dude, your car has a 55mAh battery? That must suck... my phone has a 1800 mAh battery....
My chargerīs manual says winter charge.. so hence winter charge...Donīt know the difference between this mode and regular car mode, but it gets rid of my starting problems during freezing temps.

I donīt know about you, but I most certainly see a snowflake

My bad...I meant of course 55Ah
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:58 PM   #13
MyBlackE46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadci View Post
just a quick update, i pulled the radio fuses out (to disable the aftermarket indash) last night and the car started with no problem this morning????? cranked really fast with absolutely no problem. I just don't understand how the indash can draw power when the car is off. i'll keep it this way for couple of more days and see if the problem disappears. if that's the case, i will take out the indash and put the stock back in OR get it installed by a PRO. did anyone had a similar problem?
Maybe some kind of standby mode that drains power? Do you have to turn it off when parking, or is it a remote auto-off function connected to the ignition?
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:09 AM   #14
mamadci
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quick update, so its been almost a week that i pulled the fuses out and i havent had a single problem starting the car,so its DEFINITELY the indash. I dont think i messed up the installation cause all i needed to do was to hook up the harness and color match the wires. the unit is kenwood kvt512if anyone have any idea please help.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:30 AM   #15
kstone5
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I ve had issues with my first battery, which is the original bmw battery the car came with, kept losing its charge, i've had the car since '05 and figured the battery was about 10yrs old. I went ahead & replaced with a AAA battery, in the summer, then same thing happened, twice i needed a jumpstart, then got the battery tested and it failed, so AAA replaced this one. Now the new one is also starting to act up in the cold Minnesota weather. I needed a second jumpstart yesterday. Alternator seems fine, not sure about the starter motor. Well after driving around last nite, it seems fine so will just wait & see what happens next, its 5 degrees today, but more like -4, so iam keeping my fingers crossed.
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