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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 11-18-2005, 06:29 AM   #16
Dudesky

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I agree with c1apton's assessment. Additionally, get a new battery with higher reserve power (deep cycle), and take long highway drives more often, if you're doing mostly city driving. It sounds like a combination of your alternator having to do extra work since either your battery is always near discharged or can no longer take a full charge, or your alternator is up against too much resistance when trying to push current through your existing wires. I don't think the electronics you have warrant a 2nd battery. And incidentally, you don't just wire a up another battery in parallel- you need an isolator between them.
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Old 11-18-2005, 07:14 AM   #17
komodo
 
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Hum, all very good information... some things I haven't thought of. Btw, I posted this same thread on another forum (*cough* bf.c *cough*) and got a bunch of bs answers, not a single one helpful. You guys are awesome.

Update from last night (still haven't slept yet, and it's 8am right now):

My battery voltage is usually between 12 and 14 volts. We multimetered it, and it's 9.24volts. When I tried to crank it, it dropped down to around 6 while it was trying to start, then back up to around 9 when I stopped. That doesn't seem like it's enough power to start the car.... is it? Could that mean my battery is dieing and the alternator is fine?

Knowing that, does that affect your suggestions at all?
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Old 11-18-2005, 07:41 AM   #18
tomctx

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if the battery was 9.24 volts with no load, you have a couple of dead cells. And 6 volts will not start to start the engine. Sounds like the battery lost a cell or two and the alternator ran itself to death trying to keep it charged and run all the electronics.
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:20 AM   #19
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Is there any chance the battery died and my alternator is fine?
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:35 AM   #20
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Your ignition alone needs close to 11 volts to run properly. Before buying a new battery swap one out with a buddy. Then meter it while running. It should be between 12.9v -15.8vs - if lower than that - alts toast. Also check all the grounds on your toys
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:55 AM   #21
E36Bimmer

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Did the battery charge indicator light illuminate before the car died? If so the alt is done.. You will need a new battery no doubt. I would get the battery and try and start it (turn all your gizmos off obviously) and see if the indicator light is illuminated. If not then you may be good..just test with the multimeter periodically to see how it holds charge.. Also this will keep happening unless you get more power. Take it to a sound shop and get their advice on what you shuold do. You have way too much stuff for just the one car battery..
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Old 11-18-2005, 09:01 AM   #22
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That's what I'm thinking... I'm afraid this is going to keep happening unless I take steps to prevent it.

Again, what are my options for increasing the power and stablizing the output for all my stuff?
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Old 11-18-2005, 01:24 PM   #23
E36Bimmer

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I have no clue on how to operate on multiple batteries.. maybe someone else can elaborate, but I would go to a pro for advice at least..
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Old 11-18-2005, 02:21 PM   #24
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well you can get a better battery, i think optima or whatever, they say, have the best batteries with the longest lasting life

and just e36bimmer said, did the indicator light come on? im surprised it didnt, it SHOULD have come on because your battery only had 9 volts, which again tells me something is wrong with the wiring, unless for some odd reason it dropped 3 or 4 volts after it died..
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Old 11-18-2005, 04:41 PM   #25
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As others have suggested, I think it's time to have a "pro" check it out. There are "multiple battery solutions" and "more powerful battery solutions" as well as others. A good audiophile shop should be of great help.
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Old 11-18-2005, 05:03 PM   #26
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Here's a typical dual battery setup:


A. Dual Battery Management System. (Isolator)
B. Alternator Field wire
C. Ground wire
D. Auxiliary Charge wire
E. Main Supply wire
F. Existing alternator charge wire.
G. Vehicle's alternator.
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Old 11-18-2005, 05:04 PM   #27
xxxbimmer

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again........jebus

u have to take some electronic crap out of your car

orrrrrrrrrrrrr

get a really good capacitor.........5 farads might do the trick


your putting too much stress on the alt u are going to go through alot of them
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Old 11-18-2005, 07:17 PM   #28
///95M3

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get an aftermarket solar panel hood/trunk and roof. or like a fellow bf.c memeber said... switch to coal. c'mon do we really need/want all that stuff, you will be much better respected with a manny swap.
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:00 PM   #29
xxxbimmer

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get an aftermarket solar panel hood/trunk and roof. or like a fellow bf.c memeber said... switch to coal. c'mon do we really need/want all that stuff, you will be much better respected with a manny swap.
i would go with the trunk the hood costs too much
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Old 11-18-2005, 09:09 PM   #30
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This might be a stupid question, but it might also be the answer to your problem:

When you upgraded your alternator, did you upgrade the wires that ran after it?
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