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Old 01-11-2015, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 2
bblack07 is on a distinguished road
Question Interior and Exterior Lights Pulsating /Flickering. Help!

Hey Everyone!

I just purchased this used 2011 X5 with about 60k miles back at the end of November, but has unfortunately been nothing but problems so far. Fortunately, I have corrected most of the issues and down to one really frustrating problem involving very subtle, but annoying, pulsating lighting on the car inside and out.

Basically, I really notice it inside with the interior lighting when it's dark outside and ONLY when the engine IS running. I don't want to call it a flicker just because that would make it sound like the lights are going off entirely, but they do quickly pulsate up and down. When I press the accelerator pedal the pulsing does not appear to change in repetition or anything at all. As soon as I turn the engine off everything smooths out and is how I would expect it to be.

Even with all the seat heaters on, headlights, stereo, etc I really don't see much in the way of any flickering as long as the engine is off. As soon as the vehicle is running it pulses the same no matter how much stuff is on/off or how fast the engine is running.

Has anyone had any issues with this before? Since it is electrical I would have to assume it would have to involve at least one of the following:
1. Alternator
2. Battery
3. Distribution block directly on top of battery
4. IBS (Intelligent Battery Sensor)
5. ??? Some voltage regulator/controller that I'm not aware of???

I am not getting any check engine lights or fault codes that I am aware of, and the car seems to be running fine beyond the lights pulsating.

My big concern is that there is a voltage problem in the car and that it could damage other components over time. There have not been any modifications to the vehicle that I can tell at all either that could potentially induce a problem like this. Everything is stock minus a K&N air filter haha.

Any ideas on what to look into or ways to at least narrow down what it might be? The dealership claimed they couldn't see the issue when it was in for a recall and fuel pump replacement, but saw it right away when I got it back so they were zero help on that particular issue.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:39 PM
bawareca's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 976
bawareca is on a distinguished road
Looks like it is related to the charging,probably alternator itself.It will be good if you can find a good 'ol analog multimeter and measure the voltage at various points in the car.All lights in the X5 are controled by the FRM module and it may only be a problem with this module.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Horse country
Posts: 58
ingenieur is on a distinguished road
As recommended - monitor the voltage while the engine is running, lights are on - this is easy and may indicate an issue with the charging system - but some have a separate voltage regulator which is available as a replacement part.
There is a way to unlock a function in the kombi to see this.
Any faults stored - over voltage usually are...
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