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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Oct-27-2013, 04:08:07 PM   #1
Johnny Gaddar
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Default Battery Losing Charge

Hi guys,

I've a strange problem, My battery loses charge. The battery itself is in good condition (Source: Battery Check at auto store) and I've never had to jump start the car. The auto store gadget says that the battery needs to be charged. Had it charged and after a week got it checked and again (battery in good health but needs to be charged).

I drive like 7 or 8 miles a day usually. Have an amp which the previous owner put but no sub woofer. I've checked the amp it turns off automatically with the stereo, so I don't think it's the culprit. But I disconnected it today anyways.

Can the alternator be faulty? Is there a way to check the alternator? But I'm thinking if alternator is faulty it should not charge at all

Thanks for the help

Last edited by Johnny Gaddar; Sun, Oct-27-2013 at 04:13:54 PM.
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Old Sun, Oct-27-2013, 04:14:39 PM   #2
Yoshie
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

7-8 miles is probably not enough to give the alternator a chance to charge. It takes about 15 mins or so.... longer is better.

Never put trust in those autopart battery testers. I've had them test one day and say its good and the next day say its toast.

I think your car just needs to be driven more

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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 03:23:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

Sometimes their battery tests are skaty, but taking it as valid for now, remove your amp and any other radio options - the connections that is. Something faulty on the bus can cause battery drain. DICE controllers are well known to cause this type of problem, but other audio gear can as well.

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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 03:50:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

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Originally Posted by Johnny Gaddar View Post

Can the alternator be faulty? Is there a way to check the alternator? But I'm thinking if alternator is faulty it should not charge at all

Thanks for the help
You can check the alternator if you have a multimeter. With the car running, set your meter to voltage. Touch your leads to the battery terminals and if your alt is running ok, you should get a reading of about 14.0V. Anything as low as 13.5-13.6 is probably still ok and its just your battery taking the charge. If its lower than the 13.5-13.6... bad alternator.

Additionally, if you have a multimeter you can check your car for a parasitic draw... which basically checks to see how much electricity is being consumed/discharged when the car is off.
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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 04:10:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

On dash test is test 19》off》test 9 you can get realtime readings while idle or driving with no additional tools.
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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 08:50:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

I think if your alternator is working fine then driving 7 to 8 mile is enough to charge your battery. Some of the common alternator failure symptoms is a dimming light when you use other electrical device in your car. It is a good idea to check your alternator voltage using a multimeter while your engine is on.

check http://automotivez.net/bad-alternator-symptoms.html it has a video showing how to check alternator using a multimeter.

I have the same problem but I think mine is overcharging causing some bulbs to get burned. I didn't even know that an alternator could overcharge a battery before.
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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 02:22:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

Thanks guys, will check the alternator. Gotta get a multimeter
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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 05:50:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

Good info on this, I do sometimes notice my dash light dim for a few seconds then go back to normal when my AC is on..


Quote:
Originally Posted by e4607 View Post
I think if your alternator is working fine then driving 7 to 8 mile is enough to charge your battery. Some of the common alternator failure symptoms is a dimming light when you use other electrical device in your car. It is a good idea to check your alternator voltage using a multimeter while your engine is on.

check http://automotivez.net/bad-alternator-symptoms.html it has a video showing how to check alternator using a multimeter.

I have the same problem but I think mine is overcharging causing some bulbs to get burned. I didn't even know that an alternator could overcharge a battery before.
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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 06:32:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

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Originally Posted by Johnny Gaddar View Post
Thanks guys, will check the alternator. Gotta get a multimeter
Buy one if you want. I posted this earlier, but no one seemed to look into it. Here is a video that will show you to do it on our cars.

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Old Mon, Oct-28-2013, 06:47:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Battery Losing Charge

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Buy one if you want. I posted this earlier, but no one seemed to look into it. Here is a video that will show you to do it on our cars.

Unlock and TEST your BMW E46 3 Series OBC Hidden Functions DIY - YouTube
Awesome will do this today, thanks for the video.
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Discussing Battery Losing Charge in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)