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  #1  
Old 11-03-2017, 05:39 AM
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Engine ground cable

Do the X5's have potentially the same ? and same issues? and if so where are th grounds?

Engine ground cable - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

"Engine ground cable (strap, right side low in engine compartment) I didn’t know we even had one of these – just never came across it (from under the car or on any diagrams) and because there’s a ground from the battery to the body – never thought about it. Well it is important!!!
I was having some problems: starter was turning over slower than normal, although this was progressive over a few months and intermittent at times. Battery power was getting used up quickly as well, but with the short drives I do, I wasn’t that concerned. But with the cold weather, things became worse.
So I started to check it out. The battery was in a weakened state by now (couldn't charge it up fully anymore) so replaced it but no real change, starter was still slow, checked the alternator and it showed a slightly low output to battery of 13.6 volts. Not believing I had multiple failures, I took it to the dealer.
They informed me later that it was the engine ground cable #12-42-3-420-477, corroded and broken.
So with a new cable - all is well – fast turnover and alt voltage up to 14.6 (no real load)

I now see on other BMW models, on the forum, people discussing problems with the ground and replacing the cable – I just hadn’t noticed it on our X3 model – I now know - pleased as well – wasn’t sure if a new starter or alt was in my future --- hope this info might help others"
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:25 AM
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All engines have a ground cable. In the old days the ground cable went from the battery to the block. Mega ground. Also either from the battery to the body or the block to the body.

Modern engines all have braided cables running from the block to the body. Normally located at the back of the engine on rear drive layout.

Lack of a good block ground can cause all kinds of problems. With charging problems being the most noticeable normally. I found on most vehicles turning the wheel sharply while driving will spot block grounding problems. Sounds strange but the motor will ground through the motor mounts causing the voltage to change.
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:30 AM
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Appreciate reply, had some other related replies even that the battery cable running from rear to the front under the hood + in the firewall can be corroded and cause issues too....
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:42 AM
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Wonder what alternative path the starter was taking when the primary path was missing. I can just imagine power going through a handful of 18ga wires that happened to be grounded. There would be a terrible voltage drop. Interesting idea of the engine mount test. You should be able to measure Ω from block to frame to detect a fault (or measure voltage from frame to engine block while starting). That second test will determine if there is a bad connection not just if no connection. A corroded connection will have a significant voltage drop with high current


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Old 11-03-2017, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
Wonder what alternative path the starter was taking when the primary path was missing. I can just imagine power going through a handful of 18ga wires that happened to be grounded. There would be a terrible voltage drop. Interesting idea of the engine mount test. You should be able to measure Ω from block to frame to detect a fault (or measure voltage from frame to engine block while starting). That second test will determine if there is a bad connection not just if no connection. A corroded connection will have a significant voltage drop with high current


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Thanks for the reply, I am somewhat of a novice so excuse my ignorance, we saying that a corroded or bad ground or both could be a reason the amp clamp test I had done at ignition time a while back hit over 400a?( starter is rated at 2000 watts so if I do the maths the 400a X whatever the volts drop downs to at ignition time (e.g 9.6v) = way beyond rating of starter)

I did not have the voltage measured at the same time as you suggested but when measured whilst starting across the jump start points under the hood it went down to 9.6v.

More I am reading more I am convinced I have a bad starter with bad bushes struggling to spin and or a bad ground.....and even battery getting weaker and weaker due to the repeated massive current draw on each startup coupled with the little driving i do just can't replenish the loss..

Gonna get to the bottom of this cos getting tad fed up of my lazy starter come summer or winter is the same groan anything between 4-10 times before she fires up....hopefully I can get to an auto electrician capable of diagnosing the issue as you describe and also re-con my starter to see
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Last edited by omodos; 11-03-2017 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:52 PM
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Not sure what amp clamp test you mean an AC clamp ammeter to starter? 400a to a starter seems normal to me.

It does not take much corrosion at all to zap voltage. At 400A it would be 3 v loss (12v becomes 9) with a mere 7.5 m Ω. (0.0075 Ω)! A very good contact from a normal switch like a window switch will be between 5 and 10 mΩ. It does not take much to make a cable or connection worthless


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Old 11-05-2017, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
Not sure what amp clamp test you mean an AC clamp ammeter to starter? 400a to a starter seems normal to me.

It does not take much corrosion at all to zap voltage. At 400A it would be 3 v loss (12v becomes 9) with a mere 7.5 m Ω. (0.0075 Ω)! A very good contact from a normal switch like a window switch will be between 5 and 10 mΩ. It does not take much to make a cable or connection worthless


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Ok got to battery in rea, car was off used the amp clamp around cable below is example, got friend to fire up car and and themeter measured 400a and 392a at some point during the time it took car to fire up, then amps stabilized to a normal level, so basically I am wondering if the 400a draw even for the split second is too high as many say it is for 2000w rated starter and if the high draw could be a result of a bad ground you see?

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Old 11-05-2017, 07:08 AM
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Well 2000 watt should be 166.667A at 12 volts.

But I have no idea what the watt rating of the starter actually is. But if it is 2000 watt max then it should be 166.667 amps.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:09 AM
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Bluebee had this listed.

Quote:
The answer seems to be about 117 amps (max) for a few seconds for the I6 and about 142 amps (max) for the V8.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:15 AM
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Noticed you have a diesel and I also found where others were seeing 400 amp draws cranking the same diesel motor you have with the same battery run down problems trying to start them at times. No solutions posted though.

One thing that could account for the draw would be your glow plugs.
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