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  #1  
Old 10-26-2009, 08:24 PM
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Low Voltage Faults Due to Short In-City Trips?

So I had my 2007 X5 3.0 in to the dealer earlier this week as I had a few random electrical gremlins I wanted to see if they could determine a root cause for:

1. Every time I start the car after leaving it for a bit, the screen brightness is always back to the middle, even though I set it to the highest setting each time I get in the car. I read several posts from other members with the same issue, but no one seems to have gotten a good solution for this one yet.

2. Intermittently, when I put the car in reverse, the backup camera display will overlay what is currently on the nav screen--usually the iPod/AUX screen. So when I'm trying to look at the display, I see both at the same time which renders the feature useless when it happens.

The dealer checked the car and of course "couldn't reproduce" any of the issues--even though I specifically told them how to reproduce the screen brightness issue. My guess is they didn't leave the car off long enough to see the brightness reset to the middle.

Anyway, when they looked at the car, they said there were a bunch of low voltage faults recorded. They also said that after doing an "energy analysis", the car reported that I make a lot of short trips--which I do. Granted, short trips for me are 4 - 5 mile one way trips to and from work, around the city, etc. They said this is a common occurrence and they recommend that I get a batter charger and hook it up once a week.

Now I'm sorry, but this just seems wrong to me. I live in Seattle, and nowhere here (unless you live in the burbs) requires a long trip. So the idea that what I (and most people in the city) consider normal driving is "short" for this car which requires battery charging?!? They said my issues with the nav screen, brightness setting, etc. are probably due to the low voltage faults since the car is probably shutting down certain non necessary systems when this happens causing these problems.

I had a 2008 528xi before my X5, and with the same driving patterns never had this issue. They checked the battery and said it was fine, so I'm at a loss as to why I now have to start charging the battery of my car--this seems crazy to me.

Has anyone else heard of this or experienced this?
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2009, 08:41 PM
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bull shit explanation from the dealer...take a harder stance.
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  #3  
Old 10-26-2009, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlueX5 View Post
....Has anyone else heard of this or experienced this?
Do a little searching on any X5 forum and you will discover that the E70 X5 has an unresolved electrical issue that is exacerbated by short trips.

Consider yourself lucky. Many owners have reported electrical system failures that left their E70 X5 unable to start. Worse yet, several have reported that their E70 X5 would not start even when hooked up via jumper cables. And many of these owners have reported the same 'too many short trips' excuse you were given by your dealer.

IMO BMW needs to come clean on this fundamental E70 flaw, quit trying to blame the owners, and fix it. But of course, the fix probably won't be cheap. It will probably require a higher output alternator, higher capacity battery and significant bug fixes in the overly complex electronics to keep various components from draining the battery by not going to sleep.

Funf Dreisig

Last edited by FunfDreisig; 10-26-2009 at 10:43 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2009, 11:30 PM
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Is it worth calling BMW NA to register a complaint/talk to someone just so this continues to get visibility as a problem? I'm happy to give them a jingle to let them know this is bogus.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueX5 View Post
Is it worth calling BMW NA to register a complaint/talk to someone just so this continues to get visibility as a problem? I'm happy to give them a jingle to let them know this is bogus.
Yes indeed. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Often with BMW it takes a lot of squeaking to get any action.
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2011, 04:43 AM
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I have found with my E53 is that after the car has been sitting overnight or even shorter intervals is that the alternator will not start charging the battery until the voltage gets down to around 10.
This could explain why there are quite a few problems with short trips etc, I have been caught just by fuelling up soon after I leave home, because the battery is already down a bit just by driving a short distance with a/c, lights radio etc on you can return to your car and it wont start.
Im going to replace the voltage regulator but Im not convinced this is going to solve everything - until then I will drive with the voltage display on the OBC just to be sure there is enough charge for a re-start when I stop - these cars are to heavy to push.....

cheers
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2011, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc1957 View Post
I have found with my E53 is that after the car has been sitting overnight or even shorter intervals is that the alternator will not start charging the battery until the voltage gets down to around 10.
This could explain why there are quite a few problems with short trips etc, I have been caught just by fuelling up soon after I leave home, because the battery is already down a bit just by driving a short distance with a/c, lights radio etc on you can return to your car and it wont start.
Im going to replace the voltage regulator but Im not convinced this is going to solve everything - until then I will drive with the voltage display on the OBC just to be sure there is enough charge for a re-start when I stop - these cars are to heavy to push.....

cheers
Your E53 doesn't have the same overcomplicated energy management system that the E70 chassis has.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2011, 02:26 PM
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I live in Bellevue (Seattle suburb) still donít get much long trips for this puppy to get charged. I donít have screen issues you mentioned but I get low voltage warning once in a while.


One day battery completely died. First guy who came could not start it. Second guy was able to start but could not keep it running. The car had to be towed to the dealer.


The dealer analyzed and said something wrong with battery cable. It was overcharging the battery. (I donít believe that). I was barely under warranty and made some noise. Dealer replaced cable and battery under warranty. He suggested getting a battery charger. I got a cTEK from amazon. I charge once a month, no issues so far.


The fact is there are a lot of electronics and background stuff that goes on in this car. Even after I leave my car it keeps making sounds and keeps doing stuff Ė I guess getting ready for you when you come. You do need power for all this luxury.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by checkm8 View Post
. You do need power for all this luxury.

Please.

BMW has cleverly engineered a system that fails to meet the obvious needs of the customer.

Yes, they may declare that you don't drive it 'properly' and hence the battery doesn't get charged...HOWEVER this is their fault. To sell a car that cannot be used like 99.5 of the other cars on the market is laughable.

I believe they would lose a class action accusing them of breach of an implied warranty of fitness.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:42 PM
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checkm8, which cTEK did you get? the 3300? thoughts so far?
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