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      09-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #1
eogintz
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Battery Problem?

Hi all,

Several months ago I bought a CPO 2008 128i with 44,000 miles.

Everything has been running well but recently I have had some "strange" occurrences.

In the past two weeks when starting the car in the morning everything started fine but the memory of my clock was gone. No error codes or anything. Each time I reset the clock and clock retains it's memory for two more weeks.

I am retired and use this car daily but not for very long trips. Just around the neighborhood kind of stuff. On weekends I tend to use it a bit more. It now has somewhat over 45,000 miles.

I just called my dealer who said that clock malfunction is the first sign that battery may be only at 70% charge level and that I am not driving car enough to keep battery fully charged. He said that BMW intentionally builds car like this to give owner kind of a warning that there is something wrong with battery.

He quoted me $335 for new battery but did not recommend changing it. He said that same thing will happen with new battery if I don't use car more.He also mentioned using a battery tender which seems ridiculous to plug in and disconnect every day.

Is anyone familiar with this situation or have any recommendations? I never had this problem with any other car and can't see taking regular lengthy drives just to keep battery charged. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Ed
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      09-27-2011, 04:26 PM   #2
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On the top of your question, does any one know how long will the battery last, 4 or 5 years? What is the sympton when it failed, clock memory gone? Thanks for the feedback in advance.
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      09-27-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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My 2009 128i often goes several days sitting idle. For several weeks, it has not gone more than about 10 miles each way. Battery still works fine. I would charge it up and if it does it again, you probably need a new battery. I would expect it to last longer, however. You can get a battery wherever you want but the bimmer wants you to tell it you replaced the battery and what type you replaced it with. I charges differently depending on the age of the battery and the type. I think you can program it yourself with a BT tool.

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      09-27-2011, 10:26 PM   #4
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In my experience you do need to have the car running for 5-10 minutes to put back the charge that you used starting, plus whatever may have been lost naturally since the last time you drove. If you were starting and stopping the engine every few minutes for the course of a day delivering pizzas, or only drove a mile or two each way, I could see it running out eventually, it wouldn't be enough to fill the charge back up.

Batteries get wonky almost at any time after they are a year or two old. They could last 10 years, they could last 3. I've seen the entire range. The clock thing is a possible sign, if it's drawing so low during a start that the clock loses enough power it's going to act as if the power was disconnected completely. But that's not a sign of a bad battery if it's truly caused by it simply not having enough time to be recharged.

There are "battery testers" at auto parts stores that will cycle and measure them, could be worth a try.

Or change up your driving habits for a week or two, other than gas it's free.
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      09-28-2011, 04:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice everyone. Today I will be going to a recommended indy to test battery and see if it is really low. I have heard that he does not charge for this and is really knowledgeable about BMW's and honest. I can't see spending for gas and tolls on a regular basis just to keep battery sufficiently charged. Again, I have been retired for almost 4 years and during that time owned a different BMW, Audi, and Infiniti. My driving pattern has not changed and yet I never encountered this problem with the other cars. Thanks again.

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      09-28-2011, 05:22 AM   #6
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Hi Guys,

One other thing that I forgot to mention.

My 08 128i also has the USB Ipod adapter option with Nav and IDrive.

I leave my Ipod plugged in to car at all times.

I asked dealer if this would have any impact on draining battery and he said that it should NOT.

Will see what indy says today but might try unplugging Ipod when car not in use to see if it makes any difference.

Ed
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      09-28-2011, 06:13 AM   #7
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Once a month, take the car for a nice 2 hour drive somewhere. That will keep the carbon off the valves and the battery charged. Think of it as preventative maintenance. Your ipod doesn't draw enough power to disrupt a car battery.
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      09-28-2011, 12:48 PM   #8
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Hi Guys,

Had car checked out by indy this morning and he did a full diagnostic and battery test.

He said no fault or error codes found and that center light in battery was slightly green but not bright green. He said that battery is OK but not fully charged. Also said that ipod would have no effect. Recommended that I either drive it more or that he put it on charger and for regular maintenance use a battery tender once a week. After further discussion he felt that a good two hour drive would charge it more fully so that's what I did. I took a long drive and we will see how things work out.
First time that I went to this place which was highly rated on bimmerforums and a great experience. Without an appt. he took car right away and spent over a half hour doing computerized diagnostics. He then gave me results and options and would not charge me. BMW quoted me $135 for computerized diagnostic test. His shop while not fancy was certainly busy. Nice to see a good straight guy happy with what he does and busy. He told me that he owns an M5 and could perform any work that a dealer could do.
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      09-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
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I have an 09 135 Vert. Same problem as it is not driven much as it is not driven in the winter, and wife basically dives it several days a week. Lose the clock setting, etc. Since I started with the Battery Tender, no problems. Never experienced this with any other car, even the 06 X5 4.4 we had for 3 years. I bought the BT from my service Dept. Know I could have gotten one cheaper, but at least they could not say the problem (Whatever new crops up) was caused by the tender. Good luck
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      09-30-2011, 04:20 AM   #10
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ShodanUSMC,

Hi,

Could you give me some details about battery tender you got from BMW? My mechanic recommended the BMW tender as well but I read a lot of good stuff about DelRan.

Does yours plug into cigarette lighter or directly to battery or charging posts?
Is yours auto shut off when battery topped off?
Do you mind telling me which model you have and the cost from dealer?
How often do you need to do this to keep battery fully charged?

Thanks in advance. I don't mind spending more but just want to make sure that I get one that works well and causes no damage to car electronics.

Ed
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      09-30-2011, 08:06 AM   #11
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Whatever you get make sure that it does shut off when the battery is fully charged. You don't want to babysit it.

Unless you're outside in the dead of winter the charger I have (from Sears) is done in a couple of hours, even at the trickle. Overnight is more than enough for a full charge.
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      09-30-2011, 09:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eogintz View Post
ShodanUSMC,

Hi,

Could you give me some details about battery tender you got from BMW? My mechanic recommended the BMW tender as well but I read a lot of good stuff about DelRan.

Does yours plug into cigarette lighter or directly to battery or charging posts?
Is yours auto shut off when battery topped off?
Do you mind telling me which model you have and the cost from dealer?
How often do you need to do this to keep battery fully charged?

Thanks in advance. I don't mind spending more but just want to make sure that I get one that works well and causes no damage to car electronics.

Ed
I have the BMW Advanced Battry Charging System. P/N 021-0128, Model BMW 82110406881. Mine has the clips at you can put on and take off in 1 second, and it clips to the red cap in the enfine compartment and to a ground. It floats, so one it is at full charge, the unit is on, but not over charing. I leave it hooked up all winter and when I know that the car will not be driven for 4-5 days. I believe I paid around $70 and it is made by Deltran.. That is why I know I could have found one cheaper, but at least they could not say it is the chargers fault if I got it from them. If you drive the car often, you should not have a problem. You may be due for a new battery regardless.
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      09-30-2011, 09:49 AM   #13
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There is a portion of Mike Miller's Old School Maintenance Guide where he recommends battery tenders but indicates there could be problems with a DelRan on a recent BMW gel cell battery. You can get the latest guide by contacting Mike at:
techtalk@roundel.org. Mike recommends the BMW charger for recent BMWs but also comments the cigarette lighter version may not work. I know my cigarette lighter socket shuts down a couple minutes after turning the car off. So you probably need the version with clamps for the terminals (under the hood or at the battery).
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      10-01-2011, 03:01 AM   #14
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Thanks again folks.

The mechanic who checked it out said to put alligator clips directly to battery or to charging posts and NOT to cigarette lighter. He had a reason for this but I don't remember what it was.

As far as price difference between BMW and Deltran there really is none. I checked on line and they are both about $70 shipped. The BMW Advanced Charger would be coming from authorized BMW dealers. I found that the Deltran is the same price shipped so I guess I will go with the BMW branded charger which my mechanic said was very good and as stated before BMW can't complain that I used the wrong charger should there be future problems. Thanks again to everyone for their input.

Ed
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      10-01-2011, 03:30 PM   #15
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[quote=eogintz;10501229]
I just called my dealer who said that clock malfunction is the first sign that battery may be only at 70% charge level and that I am not driving car enough to keep battery fully charged. He said that BMW intentionally builds car like this to give owner kind of a warning that there is something wrong with battery.

Is the clock malfunction the first sign of a weak battery or could this very from car to car?
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      10-02-2011, 09:52 PM   #16
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This is all you need: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...19000P?prdNo=1 I get your logic for wanting the BMW branded one but... up to you.

The advice against the cigarette lighter is that if you are trying to put too much charge into the battery you may overheat the wires as they may not be sized to carry it. If you're using a trickle charger though it won't be a problem.
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      10-03-2011, 04:37 AM   #17
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Thanks Tracer Bullet.

Will check this out.

Ed
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      10-03-2011, 01:22 PM   #18
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FWIW it's the same as the one I own, I've had it for years. I generally park my car over the winter and only drive it every couple of weeks, sticking to my truck for the most part (MN = salt, snow, ice, etc.). This little guy has always kept the car so it starts up right away. I love that I don't have to babysit it.

I tend to hook it up to the battery directly, out of convenience. The car battery is close to an outlet, and I leave the hood down but not completely closed. When I want to drive off I just pop it back open (don't even have to reach into the car to do it) and undo the connections (and turn off the charger too in case the terminals short). Shut the hood and away I go. Having the hood not completely closed is also a good reminder to disconnect the charger before driving off (yep, did that once before I changed my method).
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      10-13-2011, 04:18 AM   #19
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Hi Folks,

Just an update on my battery clock/memory issues.

It has been two weeks since I lost the memory on my clock and as suggested, I have trying to use the car more.

I thought that I was OK but yesterday morning it happened again. Car cranked and ran fine but no clock settings saved.

I called a dealer who I have been using for service and they told me that battery would NOT be covered under warranty even though my car is still under 4 year factory warranty. They quoted me $135 for diagnostics and $355 if battery was needed.

Without an appointment I took it to another dealer in the area who told me that there would be NO charge and if new battery was needed this would also be free since BMW allows for one free battery replacement during warranty. I gave them the car and waited while they ran diagnostics.

After about 20 minutes they told me that computer shows new battery needed. The reasons stored in computer were; lack of driver use, parking lights left on overnight (which I never did), and radio left on overnight (which I never did.) I do leave my Ipod plugged in at all times since I have the Ipod/USB adapter option.

They replaced battery (branded BMW manufactured by Exide) and gave me the following suggestions;
1) use car more
2) unplug Ipod after use for the day
3) keep car remote and bluetooth phone at least 50 feet from car when parked in garage overnight.
4)I have comfort access and they recommended locking car at night which I never do. They said that this shuts down additional power draws.
5) new battery is warranteed for two years but recommended to purchase BMW advanced charger and use this once a week or even more when weather gets very cold. Parts guy said that I need charger with alligator clips instead of cigarette lighter adapter since in my 08 128i lighter will shut down after car shut off. Oh, they also said that BMW will replace battery for free more often if needed if you buy charger and keep receipt. My SA said that this will provide BMW with further proof that you have followed their instructions should you have future problems.

I bought the charger from them for $68.95 plus tax which was the cheapest that I had seen them for on the Internet for and paid nothing else.

I am not very technical and don't understand some of their recommendations or findings however I will try what they said and hopefully things will be OK.

Ed
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      10-13-2011, 04:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eogintz View Post

...They replaced battery (branded BMW manufactured by Exide) and gave me the following suggestions;
1) use car more
2) unplug Ipod after use for the day
3) keep car remote and bluetooth phone at least 50 feet from car when parked in garage overnight.
4)I have comfort access and they recommended locking car at night which I never do. They said that this shuts down additional power draws.
5) new battery is warranteed for two years but recommended to purchase BMW advanced charger and use this once a week or even more when weather gets very cold. Parts guy said that I need charger with alligator clips instead of cigarette lighter adapter since in my 08 128i lighter will shut down after car shut off. Oh, they also said that BMW will replace battery for free more often if needed if you buy charger and keep receipt. My SA said that this will provide BMW with further proof that you have followed their instructions should you have future problems.

Ed

When you do (#3, & #4) this allows the car to "go to sleep". This will shut off most of the engergy drains on the car's battery. #2 is always a good idea... beacause that also drains the car's battery overnight.
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      10-13-2011, 08:25 AM   #21
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Honestly it looks to me as well that their advice is solid as far as what to do and why.

I'm smacking my forehead on #5, I hadn't thought about a relay or anything the battery and cig lighter. All my cars have always had "live" cig lighters at all times but if the 1 series cuts the connection then, yep, not a good way to charge the battery through.

And though I was suggesting the cheaper charger, if the BMW model guarantees future work if needed then it was money well spent. in the end I think you have done well.

Also FWIW sounds like you've found a good shop, definitely go back to them if / when needed.
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      10-13-2011, 01:31 PM   #22
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Thanks everyone for your input. It is truly appreciated.

Ed
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