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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 01-25-2004, 01:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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For the past few days now it seems as thought the car has been struggling to start. Like the turn over speed was getting slower and slower. Tonight it won't start at all. I put my key in, turn the ignition all the lights come on, I hear a click from the engine compartment and nothing else. Oh and when the click happens, all the dashboard lights go out.

Just the battery? I would take the battery off and recharge it, but is there anything I should be aware of? I'm thinking here of the computer, is it OK to disconnect/reconnect the battery?

If anyone could offer some advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

It's a '97 316i with about 90k on the clock and way past it's service

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Old 01-25-2004, 02:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Alternator and or voltage regulators are probably bad, so when your car runs (or was), its running off the battery and the alternator isn't producing any power to compensate for the drain. Therefore, your battery died.
Well since it appears you already caused a power loss to the computer, (or at least a serious voltage drop) nothing else bad should happen due to a total power loss If you have a stock head unit Business Radio you may need to re-enter the code to get it working again.
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Old 01-25-2004, 06:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Its probably a bad alternator like the person above me said. As far as the ECU, since it lost power completely and you unhooked it, Your car will probably run a bit odd for a while, so just let it idle for a lil bit and drive it around and let it relearn its fuel maps and all that good stuff.
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Old 01-25-2004, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Obviously the battery is dead. You can disconnect it with no problems, it won't hurt anything. IF it recharges ok, then chances are the alternator isn't charging sufficiently, or you have a battery draw from something.
I'd be more inclined to blame the battery though. Recharge it and load test it, or have it tested.
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Old 01-26-2004, 12:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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OK, thanks for the replies.

One other thing, that may seem a little weird. Can driving style influence battery life? I only ask this because every car I have ever owned has needed new batterys. The last car I had, a Honda CRX, I had to replace the battery 3 times in 10 years, and I had the car from new.

Maybe it's just me, what could I be doing wrong? ghead

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Old 01-26-2004, 12:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Low engine rpm spins the alternator slower, which produces less amperage, which wont charge the battery as well. Higher engine rpm will spin the alternator faster, allowing it to produce it's rated amperage.
Drive like a granny, alternator can't charge as well, drive like a maniac and your batteries will always be in tip-top shape
Unless your alternator\voltage regulator is bad, in which case the inverse is true.
That or you just have had bad luck with car electrical systems.
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You can expect 3-4 years out of a battery......sometimes less, sometimes more.
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