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I don’t suppose there can be an answer to this as there are so many possible reasons why, but......

 

Went out to use the car about half an hour ago and it’s completely dead! I mean absolutely, completely, without any sign of life dead!

 

Admittedly I haven’t been using it very much because, y’know, COVID, lockdown and all that. 
 

I used it last just over a week ago and it was fine, no issues (well, I have a duff PCD sensor, but that’s another story), started on the button, drove well, no other iDrive messages apart from the PCD fault. 
 

Earlier that day I lent the car to my sister to go to work in since hers was in for its MoT test - so it had a good run. 
 

The battery is, give or take a month, only about a year old with a three year guarantee - that’s not to say it can’t fail but seems unlikely. 
 

Went out this morning and the first sign of deadness was it not responding to the key fob. My initial thought was the key had died. Tried each button a few more times but absolutely nothing. 
 

I unlocked the drivers door with the key and held my breath as I opened the door expecting the alarm to go off. Still nothing. 
 

Put the key in the ignition and not a single light on the dash lit up. No interior lights and even the little red LED beacon that flashes when the car is locked wasn’t working (checked this before unlocking the car). 
 

Seems very odd to have absolutely no life in the car at all, don’t think I’ve ever had that happen on any car I’ve owned. It’s literally as if the battery has been removed. 
 

I’ll have to charge the battery but in the event that there’s a common fault that might cause this kind of thing to happen thought I’d post just in case. 
 

TIA

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Have you had the battery cable recall done ?

Need to start checking the basics with a good old muti-meter.

Sorry but from the internet I can't be more help, hope it's a simple fix.

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S’ok mate, I didn’t expect a definitive answer, I was just throwing it out there in case there’s a common fault that causes it. 
 

Yes, battery cable was done on recall summer of 2019 I think. 
 

Checked the battery voltage from the terminals under the bonnet earlier - a little over two volts!

 

E0B4FBA2-5939-415D-B2CE-49B1577E37C5.jpeg

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Car has been on charge since about midday, didn’t look like it was anywhere near finished but it did have enough juice to start the car. 
 

Checked codes in DME and I have a persistent 299B battery sensor fault that won’t clear. I guess that might have something to do with it then!

 

I also have another code which I’ve never seen before, 000129AF, but it gives no description, so don’t know if that’s related but after clearing if didn’t come back immediately so hopefully not. 
 

Will have to look into how much a new battery sensor is I guess :/

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Have you replaced the latch for the rear tailgate glass? With all this wet weather that switch would be my prime suspect for your problem.

 

What happens is that with the car locked if you try to open the glass the car wakes up. It boots up everything drawing loads of power, after 16 mins it goes back to sleep. Now with a faulty switch water gets in and the effect is that the button keeps getting pressed - the battery goes completely flat overnight.

 

The battery sensor fault code could be the messenger of the fault rather the actual fault.

 

The tailgate button doesn't register as a fault because it's the same as someone trying to open the glass.

 

Of course it could also be as simple as the battery just letting go - which they do sometimes.

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No, not replaced the hatch button. Will keep an eye on it though, thanks for the heads up. 

 

£210 for a new IBS, though! Cheese and rice!
 

There looked to be a bit of water ingress in the tray over the battery, probably from the rear light cluster - wouldn’t be surprised if some dripped on the sensor and sent it fubar. Will have to seal the lights too. 
 

The battery is only a year old so hopefully it hasn’t packed up yet. I still have the invoice though so will be getting a new one FOC of it has!

 

 

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After the 1er battery cable recall my mothin law was having alsorts of electrical issues. Turns out Stratstone had not bothered to tighten the positive battery terminal. Worth remembering...

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Ok, this is possibly slightly weird, but possibly not. I don’t know anymore. 
 

Went out to the car this evening to recover the battery charger, which I left in the boot of the BMW, because the motorbike also needs charging. 
 

Once again, totally dead!

 

Managed to crawl into the boot to unlock it via the emergency release. Took the battery out - there’s a good half gallon of water in the battery tray!  Need to investigate and fix that. 

 

I’ve disconnected the IBS and dropped a spare leisure battery in and will see what happens overnight. 
 

I could be wrong, I probably am, but I’m working on the assumption that if the leisure battery doesn’t drain in the next 24 hours then the IBS is at fault. If it does the IBS is fine and some other fault is causing the battery to drain. 
 

Can anyone confirm if this logic is sound or in some way flawed?

 

The dead battery I’ve brought inside to charge overnight. However, my multimeter suggests it wasn’t totally dead this time, it was reading 11.5 volts. OK, not where it should be at but I would have thought enough juice to perhaps unlock the car and a dim interior light maybe?

 

In the interests of anyone else who may have a similar issue anytime in the future I’ll keep the thread updated with any useful information as and when it happens. 

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15 minutes ago, Keliuss said:

Check your wheel well for water too if you haven't already and get your electronics out of there if also not done yet.

 

Keliuss


Thanks, that’s a very good point - will check soon!

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1 hour ago, dirtydirtydiesel said:

If a battery has dropped below 12 volts it's f.u.b.a.r 'd

You need to find the source of your water ingress. 


Cosmic! 
 

Pretty sure the water is coming in through the rear light cluster. 
 

The only other place it could be coming in is the vent in the battery compartment but I don’t think that’s likely. 
 

None of the carpets, trim or side panels are wet but there was some water in the plastic tray that sits over the top of the battery - that’s higher than the vent but directly below the light cluster so that seems the most likely culprit. 

 

I’m really surprised the battery tray doesn’t have a drain channel/hole.  

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11 hours ago, dirtydirtydiesel said:

If a battery has dropped below 12 volts it's f.u.b.a.r 'd

You need to find the source of your water ingress. 

 

I think it's more a case of if it can't hold a charge over 12v. 

 

About six months back my brother-in-law asked me to look at his non-starting car with a 9 month old battery. He'd not been using the car much and the battery read 5v. I suggested try bringing it back, which he did. They charged it overnight and he's still using it.

 

Keliuss

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Charged the battery overnight, took about 12 hours and it's currently reading 13.31 volts on the meter.  I'll keep and eye on it over the next few hours and see if that reading dramatically changes.

 

The leisure battery I placed in the car last night held up, although it was only reading about 12.5 volts when I put it on so I don't think it's the healthiest battery in the world, I also unplugged the IBS to determine if that is at fault or not.  In any case the car unlocks, interior lights come on etc, but I haven't tried starting it.  It was measuring 12.3 volts this morning.

 

I've plugged the IBS back in and will keep and eye on the car over the next few hours to see if the power drops or the car dies again.  If it does that seems to suggest the IBS is duff - again, please let me know if my logic is somehow flawed.

 

Will update in due course.

 

 

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Haych, I have owned my late 2003 E60 530D for three years now and the previous owner was having battery issues and disconnected the ibs.  So thats over five years now without it and although I will need a battery shortly simply due to its age, there have been no other side effects that I am aware of.  Obviously your priority is the water ingress but thanks to your post I now know that there should be a tray above the battery which is missing from mine.  Thought it all seemed a bit bare in the battery/fuses section.

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22 minutes ago, oldjohnny said:

Haych, I have owned my late 2003 E60 530D for three years now and the previous owner was having battery issues and disconnected the ibs.  So thats over five years now without it and although I will need a battery shortly simply due to its age, there have been no other side effects that I am aware of.  Obviously your priority is the water ingress but thanks to your post I now know that there should be a tray above the battery which is missing from mine.  Thought it all seemed a bit bare in the battery/fuses section.

 

Keep in mind that mine is the E61 Touring flavour so the tray that's in my car might not be in the saloon version.

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Yeah we don't have that tray in the E60, it looks like the bottom of the storage compartment going by this:

 

On the E60 theres 4 rubber bungs on the very bottom of the battery tray, you need to remove an undertray to retrieve them. I thought about leaving mine out after finding my battery swimming but the vent was at fault with shrunken/dry rubber, it's been dry since I replaced that. Though going by that vid I'd agree it's coming in higher up.

 

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Well I've been out and doused the car with copious amounts of water all over the rear quarter and can't see any water coming in!  Maybe it's only coming in when moving?  I give up!  I'll reseal the light cluster with some butyl tape, have a look at the vent and beyond that I don't know what else I can do?

 

The battery I put on the car last night still seems to have some power in it but it's down to about 12.2 volts.  Like I say, it's not the healthiest of batteries but it's been on the car with the IBS plugged in for a good couple of hours now.  If the IBS is at fault and was killing a good battery I would have expected it to have finished off that one by now so that test is hardly conclusive.

 

The battery I took off the car and which is now in my dining room after being charged over night seems to have stabilised at about 13.24 volts but there's no load at all on it.

 

Is it possible for a battery to just give up when it's under load but seem ok otherwise?

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I've seen it a lot with motorbike batteries, show good voltage but have lost their oomph - usually the change in temperature or overcharging has done damage.

 

If it was surrounded by water I'd imagine a chilly evening could do some damage. Do you have a sunroof and if so, are the drains anywhere near there? I've also replaced the rear window outer seals on my E60, again unsure of E61 but you could give them a quick look. It's maybe just a tiny ingress point that has allowed it to build up?

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No sunroof on this car.

 

It's possible the temperature/water issue has damaged it, although it's a sealed case so water hasn't gotten inside.  It's still holding a no load voltage of about 13.2 volts.  The leisure battery has dropped to 12 volts but still powers all systems in the car and has no issue starting the engine from cold.

 

It's not what I was expecting, I thought it would be dead by now given the way the other battery went.

 

The only plus side is that ECP have a no quibble exchange policy on batteries from what I understand.  When I've determined what the cause is, if the battery is FUBAR, then I can take it back and get a replacement.

 

It wasn't a very expensive battery and reading reviews online and early death doesn't seem like an uncommon occurrence.  I didn't but it because it was cheap, I bought this one simply because it was the only 88ah battery available and because replacing like for like meant I wouldn't have to code it to the car, which I don't have the ability to do.

 

I did register the battery, though, when I replaced it.

 

As for water getting in, I can't find a leak so it suggests it's a slow ingress that's just built up since it has nowhere to go.

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15 hours ago, Keliuss said:

 

I think it's more a case of if it can't hold a charge over 12v. 

 

About six months back my brother-in-law asked me to look at his non-starting car with a 9 month old battery. He'd not been using the car much and the battery read 5v. I suggested try bringing it back, which he did. They charged it overnight and he's still using it.

 

Keliuss

It might still be working but it's seriously shortened the life of the battery,  when a cranking battery

drops below 11v it starts to sulphate you shouldn't let your battery drop below 12v.

12.8 -13.2v is fully charged. 

If a battery is charged to 13.2 volts & holds it it still doesn't mean it's any good,  you need to load test it.

 

Sorry Haych I meant 11v not 12v & sorry but I can't be of more help with your issue 

Except that your year of car had a troublesome i.b.s & you can mod one from a later car to fit

quite cheaply, there's a post on this subject on here from the last year or so.

I think it was edd_jedi 

Yes it was, Google BMW e60/61 ibs replacement on a  budget (Feb 2018) ^_^

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9 hours ago, dirtydirtydiesel said:

It might still be working but it's seriously shortened the life of the battery,  when a cranking battery

drops below 11v it starts to sulphate you shouldn't let your battery drop below 12v.

12.8 -13.2v is fully charged. 

If a battery is charged to 13.2 volts & holds it it still doesn't mean it's any good,  you need to load test it.

 

Sorry Haych I meant 11v not 12v & sorry but I can't be of more help with your issue 

Except that your year of car had a troublesome i.b.s & you can mod one from a later car to fit

quite cheaply, there's a post on this subject on here from the last year or so.

I think it was edd_jedi 

Yes it was, Google BMW e60/61 ibs replacement on a  budget (Feb 2018) ^_^

 

Thanks, I think I've read this before - doesn't look complicated to be honest.

 

This morning I can still get into the car with the old battery connected to the car.  It's dropped to 9.3 volts now but knew it wasn't that strong anyway so I'm hardly surprised.

 

I'll reconnect the recharged battery later and see what happens.  At the moment I'm not sure whether the IBS is at fault of if the new battery just gave up.  If it's dead by the morning I guess I'll know.

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Sit-rep:

 

I think I've found the source of the water ingress.  It is the rear offside light cluster.  I seems that the outer lens has detached itself from the body and water has been filling the whole cluster which has then been dripping into the battery compartment through the sockets for the bulbs.

 

Somehow I've got to reseal the lens without making it look bodged, which is going to be hard because it's, y'know, transparent!  I don't have the money to throw around on a brand new cluster so hoping not to have to consider it.

 

I also checked the spare wheel well.  There was some water in there but it was minimal and nowhere near enough to reach the electronics and fry anything.  Hopefully, the source of that water ingress is the same.  I've wiped it clean and dry so at least that's a result.

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You can replace the IBS for about £20 with a used one, see my guide here:

 

Also have a read of my thread from a couple of weeks ago, in summary my battery also went completely flat over lockdown, and although it still worked it was only holding a 40-50% charge which was throwing some iDrive and fault code errors.

 

 

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Glad you got to the bottom of it! Epoxy would hold the lens well but getting a transparent one and doing it neatly will be the challenge. I'm not sure a silicone would work well as an adhesive. Also an issue my E46 had though it was quite obvious with all sorts of gunk building up behind the lens.

 

Might be worth getting one of the little dehumidifier bags if moisture is a concern, I got one from tesco that hides away under the seats.

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