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x5 e53 electrical problem


raff1307
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hi im a newbie on here.i have a 55 plate x5 3.0 diesel with a intermittent problem. when starting sometimes I notice the screen stays on settings,also the radio does not work know does wipers and all interior lights stay on,and sometimes trans com failure lights up on dash.if I turn engine off and lock doors a couple of times it all goes back to normal.the car has done 167000 but had a total engine rebuild auto gearbox rebuid and new torque converter 5000 miles ago by previous owner.it looks and drives like brand new.also airbag light stays on.i have had brand new extra powerfull battery put on,thats when I think airbag light came on.[battery supplied by bennetts] can anyone help.thank you

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Hi Francesco

Welcome to the Forum

From your description I would guess at 2 possible culprits (1) Starter Motor there was a well documented issue with Magnetti starters some time ago. Apparently they start to draw massive current as they begin to fail (2) Battery X5's are well known for their hunger for amps so a battery that isn't in tip top condition can show all sorts of spurious faults.

Good Luck

Dave

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My first thought would be battery.

mine went nuts the other day because the battery was a bit low. 
 

also worth getting the car scanned and clear the faults to see if there is an issue with the airbag and not a seatbelt tensioner or something as these sensors sent my e36 crazy for some unknown reason. 
buy bmw 1.4 .... scanner and software and put it on a laptop, it will solve all sorts of headaches! 
 

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On 5/17/2020 at 5:01 PM, Greydog said:

Hi Francesco

Welcome to the Forum

From your description I would guess at 2 possible culprits (1) Starter Motor there was a well documented issue with Magnetti starters some time ago. Apparently they start to draw massive current as they begin to fail (2) Battery X5's are well known for their hunger for amps so a battery that isn't in tip top condition can show all sorts of spurious faults.

Good Luck

Dave

Thanks for reply,starter motor starts on 1st turn of key.bennetts is where I bought the battery and they recommended this one as it was more powerful.i will get faults cleared and see what happens.they were cleared when I had service done,faults were only 2 faulty glow plugs and historic ones 

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On 5/17/2020 at 11:48 PM, X5smw said:

My first thought would be battery.

mine went nuts the other day because the battery was a bit low. 
 

also worth getting the car scanned and clear the faults to see if there is an issue with the airbag and not a seatbelt tensioner or something as these sensors sent my E36 crazy for some unknown reason. 
buy bmw 1.4 .... scanner and software and put it on a laptop, it will solve all sorts of headaches! 
 

Thanks battery is only about 6 months.i have had faults cleared on last service,but I'll get it done again.thanks for reply

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On 5/17/2020 at 5:01 PM, Greydog said:

Hi Francesco

Welcome to the Forum

From your description I would guess at 2 possible culprits (1) Starter Motor there was a well documented issue with Magnetti starters some time ago. Apparently they start to draw massive current as they begin to fail (2) Battery X5's are well known for their hunger for amps so a battery that isn't in tip top condition can show all sorts of spurious faults.

Good Luck

Dave

Hi Dave thanks for reply,new to forum and I think I posted reply to you further down.starter motor starts car on the button.battery is only about 6 month's old.but saying that I don't think it did these things before I had new battery fitted.it was recommended by motor factors as it was more powerful and it was a couple of hundred pounds.but I'll nip down and get it checked thanks again

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Hi Francesco

The Marelli starter motors would start the cars OK it is just that they would draw massive amounts of amps starving all the other stuff of power and draining batteries causing all sorts of strange issues until the battery is recharged which could take 10 to 15mins 

Regarding the Battery fitting an oversize/rated battery is a myth, often the alternator can't fully charge the battery this can result in the battery failing early. Large capacity/fast recovery batteries are often specified for cars with stop/start facility, these cars also have a beefier charging circuit yours doesn't have that. Your battery should be something like 12v/85 to 90Ah/800 to 900 cca (Cold Cranking Amps) ECP had an offer on over Easter Bosche Battery's were less than £100 delivered even Halfords should be around £120. As an example my X5 E53 4.6is needed a new battery in November last year I brought a Yuasa 12v/110Ah/900CCA battery from a local motor factors £129. FYI a fully charged battery should read 12.8 v engine off, around 14.8v engine running, anything below 12v indicates a discharged or dying battery or suspect charging system.

Dave

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15 hours ago, Greydog said:

Hi Francesco

The Marelli starter motors would start the cars OK it is just that they would draw massive amounts of amps starving all the other stuff of power and draining batteries causing all sorts of strange issues until the battery is recharged which could take 10 to 15mins 

Regarding the Battery fitting an oversize/rated battery is a myth, often the alternator can't fully charge the battery this can result in the battery failing early. Large capacity/fast recovery batteries are often specified for cars with stop/start facility, these cars also have a beefier charging circuit yours doesn't have that. Your battery should be something like 12v/85 to 90Ah/800 to 900 cca (Cold Cranking Amps) ECP had an offer on over Easter Bosche Battery's were less than £100 delivered even Halfords should be around £120. As an example my X5 E53 4.6is needed a new battery in November last year I brought a Yuasa 12v/110Ah/900CCA battery from a local motor factors £129. FYI a fully charged battery should read 12.8 v engine off, around 14.8v engine running, anything below 12v indicates a discharged or dying battery or suspect charging system.

Dave

Hi Dave thanks for reply I will get battery checked and could get them to exchange it as they recommended it as the correct one for the X5 it came with a 5 year warranty through them.i will have to get a auto electrrican to check starter motor.but I will try battery first.thanks again for advice

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I’ve just read your post, I have a bmwx5 and everything you have said I am having the same problems. Exactly what you have described, just wondering did you manage to fix or find out what was causing it? Help!!!! 

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Morning Sarah

Welcome to the Forum

A diagnostic scan would help as a starting point a good independent garage with BMW capable equipment or a BMW specialist (Best Option) 

Or someone with a multi-meter checking the battery and charging system. 

Dave

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Hi, thanks for getting back to me. With the first post it is literally everything my car is doing. I really just wanted to know what outcome they had and if they sorted it by doing the things they said. 

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Morning Sarah

Unfortunately there are a lot of folks who once an issue is fixed forget to let us know what the actual fix was.

My own knowledge base has been built over 60 years of playing with all makes of cars and motorbikes as a hobby and the last 18 years of BMW ownership (my own X5's and family members and friends and neighbours cars) 

The X5 is a tough car but there are a few common issues that I have seen (1) Suspension bushes, once they start to show signs of age/wear bite the bullet and change them all it will improve the ride/handling and save a fortune in fuel/tyre wear. The first signs will be odd tyre wear 

(2) Electrical issues, First place to check is Battery age and condition. BMW's are power hungry beasts so short journeys often start to drain the battery it can take a good 15 to 20 min run to replace the start drain so over a period the battery gets a hard life. I have a C-tec intelligent charger that I plug in once a month to boost and recondition the battery (Note always use the under bonnet charge points)

The BMW designers use a Common earth point system around the car when I had some strange behaviour I traced it to two of these earth points that had high resistance. Took them off cleaned the mounting and smeared it with electrical contact paste all fixed. I have also found this on 1 series and 5 series cars.

I have also seen FCM/LCM (Footwell Control Module or Light Control Module) failures on 3 X5's and 2 5series. Symptoms were radio having a mind of its own (wont turn on or off) no indicator warning click, car not going to sleep causing battery drain. A BMW dealer will want a body part as a deposit and try to convince you that only pre-programmed parts from the factory fitted by them will fix the issue. When my X5 suffered LCM failure BMW quoted £3k + with lots of teeth sucking they also warned that if it wasn't done properly (by themselves) it could write off the car !! As always total rubbish I purchased a second hand unit from a newer model and reprogramed it myself. It actually took longer to swap the units than reprogram the replacement.

Engines are strong with good maintenance and frequent oil changes capable of huge mileages. Gearboxes often abused as BMW in their wisdom declared them sealed for life, like the engines they need fluid and filter changes ZF say every 80k. Drive train front and rear diffs tend to be robust unless mismatched tyres are fitted causing transmission wind up. A rear diff from BMW will be around £1k part only and the 3.9's are like the proverbial Rocking Horse stuff to find. Transfer boxes there are now many kits to rebuild them but not cheap. Thee Moral is fit decent tyres as a set in the correct sizes are much cheaper than replacing diffs etc.

Bit war and peace but I hope it helps the bottom line is they are great cars they don't need more fettling/fixing than any other make. So whether you are a DIY fan (like me) or whether you use a trusted Garage/Mechanic with good maintenance they last.

My X5 4.6is  is now beyond 160k and running well

Dave

 

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Hi, thanks for taking the time and giving me information. You really know your stuff! So I purchased a new battery as I can remember around 8months ago they tested it and it was running low. We changed it and the problem went, it started numerous times and the radio worked all fine. The next day it done it again, it’s like something is draining the battery quickly as why would it start after changing and work then the next day it does it again?! It’s so frustrating 

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Morning Sarah

First is the Battery correct for the car (if you are unsure check www.realoem.com)? If your car is a 3.0d without Auxiliary heating Battery should be 90ah if you have Auxiliary heating I believe it should be 92ah. on your year it doesn't matter if it is AGM or not

The fact that your car is OK when the battery is freshly charged I would start with the Battery/Charging system

So checking the battery and charging system are in good condition, engine off battery voltage checked at the charging points under the bonnet should show 12.8v with engine running voltage should be 14.5/14.8v if not then you could have a Voltage regulator fault or alternator issue. Your X5 has many systems and when you start the car the drain on the battery as they all wake up plus the actual start draws massive current to replace the initial draw can take 15 to 20 minutes of driving to recharge, that is assuming the system is in tip top condition. So if journeys are short the battery never recovers fully. Get the starter motor current checked at start a failing starter will kill a battery (I have seen a starter drawing 600+ amps and the car still started but the battery kept dying)

When your electrical system is in good condition if you turn the car off and leave it after around 15mins the light beside the gear lever will go out. The car is now "asleep" it will still draw a few milliamps to maintain the memory chips clock etc. I can leave my car a couple of weeks and it will start. If the light by the gearstick doesn't go out then a system or systems are still running and keeping the car awake (drawing power) 

In that event things to check are any non original accessories that have been fitted  (Radio, Cameras DVD players) then work through the OEM on board systems.until the drain is isolated.

Also check your journey cycle if they are short journeys then at least once a week it needs either charging or a good run I use a C-tec charger once a month to keep the battery at the top of the game.

Dave

 

 

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I’m going to show my partner your reply and he can try and go through everything you have suggested. Yes very strange and must have something to do with a drainage somewhere. The battery I purchased was Lion Car Battery - 115 Amp Hours (Ah): 80Ah

When we first bought the car the CD player wasn’t working, when taking a look at it there was a wire not plug into it so now I’m thinking was it not plugged in for a reason?! 

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I think you may well have fixed your issue Sarah unplug it again and if your battery remains good thats it. The CD changers were used in several models that used I-bus so are not that expensive to buy second hand (cheaper than repair) between £30 and £50 

Good luck

Dave

 

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I’m going to show my partner your reply and he can try and go through everything you have suggested. Yes very strange and must have something to do with a drainage somewhere. The battery I purchased was Lion Car Battery - 115 Amp Hours (Ah): 80Ah

When we first bought the car the CD player wasn’t working, when taking a look at it there was a wire not plug into it so now I’m thinking was it not plugged in for a reason?! 

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Me again, unfortunately it’s not the cd system causing the drainage of the battery. We did unplug it and it was working for a few days and it’s now doing it again, I think the next thing is the alternator. It’s very annoying! 

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Morning Sarah

An electrical drain can be frustrating to find in any make or model I had an E55 Mercedes that would without apparent reason drain the battery overnight. The Dealer was stumped I was stumped and losing patience with the car. Then I decided to check the Voltage regulator off the car and discovered a Diode (one of 3) in the regulator was faulty. Changed the regulator mystery drain fixed so don't let it beat you.

With the battery fully charged bonnet open all doors closed and key out of the ignition wait until the light by the gearstick goes out, then check the voltage at the charging points under the bonnet. Then if you can get access too a Clamp type ammeter measure the drain, it should be in the Milliamp range around 0.5ma if it is higher start isolating systems (pulling fuses) Favourites are the Nav/Radio/etc, Headlamp switch, FSR, Door mirrors (heater elements) Reverse cam or Dash Cam.

You need a clamp type ammeter because if you disconnect the battery to put a multimeter in line all systems are shut down (a bit of a hard reset situation) so may not show until the engine has been started and they have run awhile 

Dave

 

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Hi Dave, just a quick one as I know you know your stuff 🙂 with the car we are trying to eliminate. So I just had my mechanic round to check the alternator and it’s testing at what it should be between 13-14. Even though it’s testing ok could it still be the alternator causing the problems I’m having? As we think it’s definitely something to do with something draining. Thanks 

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Hi Sarah

A good alternator should maintain battery voltage between 13.9 and 14.8 volts (14.2 is optimum). Even worst-case, with all accessories turned on, there should be at least 13 volts at the battery. With BMW's I was shown by a BMW Tech to always test/measure at the charge/jump posts under the bonnet.

With my Mercedes with the engine off and after about half an hour the battery drain would begin, I measured a current present at the voltage regulator. I brought a new regulator and then while testing the old one on the bench found the failed diode (works like a one way valve)

A Voltage regulator is fairly simple to change and not as expensive as an alternator.

There are quite a few Auto Electricians who say if alternator voltage is below 13.7v change the alternator

Not easy to diagnose by remote control, so hope this helps

Dave

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  • 2 months later...
On 5/13/2022 at 11:28 PM, Sarah.87 said:

Hi Dave, just a quick one as I know you know your stuff 🙂 with the car we are trying to eliminate. So I just had my mechanic round to check the alternator and it’s testing at what it should be between 13-14. Even though it’s testing ok could it still be the alternator causing the problems I’m having? As we think it’s definitely something to do with something draining. Thanks 

 

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hi Sarah, I’ve had a similar issue. Car sluggish to turn over in the morning as if the battery is flat (12 months old). Charging system is fine. Advised by Ex BMW mech, who recently serviced my car, that it’s likely 1 of 2 things.

battery, or

starter motor.

as battery is young I’ve just today swapped out the SM. I let you know how it goes.

cheap fix (hopefully)… $400 here in AU.

cheers

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