Sunday, 25 April 2021

Causes of flat batteries on BMWs explained - Great guide!!

If you own an older BMW, no doubt you will have experienced your battery suddenly starting to go dead for no apparent reason. All modern BMWs have a ‘shut-down’ procedure after the ignition is turned off, things can be heard whirring and humming even after you’ve locked the car and this is the most common cause of your battery going dead over night with no warning, but there are others too...

Below is a great guide from Vlad at MCA Blog explaining the reasons BMW batteries go flat over night and where to check. It also details that bane of the BMW battery's life, the 'IBS' or Intelligent Battery Sensor fitted from the '90s on.

  • Plugged in external devices
  • Plugged in OBD-II scanner
  • BMW Intelligent Battery Sensor
  • The infamous ”hedgehog” (from the climate control panel)
  • One of the electronics on your car drains too much power or does not go into sleep mode
  • Faulty alternator
  • Old battery

Monday, 12 April 2021

E46 318i Touring: Back on the road with new battery!

Despite paying road-tax and insurance on the E46 Touring it's been laid up for 6 months and with an improvement in the weather it's high time I put it back on the road. All it really needed was some air in the tyres and the brakes beating up. The battery was totally dead, however. The previous owner had put an AGM [automated glass-mat] battery design for vehicles with Start/Stop technology on it, which was great but clearly the 19 year old alternator and charging setup on the E46 was not up to the job of charging it properly. Ah well, it has lasted for over twelve months... 

I've always sworn by Bosch batteries, but the £100+ price tag these days, yes even with a Euro Car Parts discount code, is a bit too expensive for this car. ECP, as well as the parts dept. at work can offer a budget Lion battery for a little over £50, but I have been warned by everyone willing to give their fifty pence that these don't last five minutes and I should avoid like the plague. Ultra-budget batteries can be found on eBay for as little as £27, but who knows anything about their quality.

At this point I have to hand it to the parts dept. at work here, who loaded me up a Yuasa 3110 series battery [760Ah] for just £60 all in! Yuasa get a good write up, in fact I am told they beat Bosch in tests and are currently one of the best on the market. ECP could offer me a Yuasa for £67, but it was a tiny little square battery and this just goes to show how useful working or knowing someone in the motor-trade can be...

Thursday, 1 April 2021

F10 530d: Water in Battery well / Bootwell / Trunkwell - where is it leaking?

I lifted the boot/trunk floor to jump-start a friends car and noticed that my battery well / spare-wheel well is full of dirty water.... oh dear. I’ve got a leak... but where? Boot seal? Bottom of the rear windscreen? There was a second aerial / antenna fitted in the roof that I removed, so figured it might be leaking through there and running down the C-pillar into the boot, but no water marks in the headlining or signs of ingress... Think I will have a proper look this weekend and try get to the bottom of it!

Friday, 19 March 2021

BMW MOST Bus - Troubleshooting Guide [Vlad on MCA]

 Great guide to the BMW MOST Bus (Media Oriented Systems Transport), used in all BMWs with fibre-optic connectivity. It covers what it is and what it does, as well as troubleshooting a lot of associated problems with these complex systems. It is from Vlad at and can be found here:

Sunday, 14 March 2021

F10 530d: N57 EGR / Cooler related fault-code scan results

 Been getting the 'Drivetrain' malfunction message on my F10 530d iDrive and figured it likely to be EGR (exhaust-gas-recirculator) related, so plugged in a Snap-On Modis scanner and these are the codes I got, which are what I suspected to be honest. The EGR and EGR-cooler are known to pack in on the N57 series of engine, the latter of which can leak coolant into the inlet causing a bit of smoke on startup. 

28E200 - Exhaust Gas Temperature sensor before Cat, open circuit

255C00 - EGR Controller, Position Control, Valve open too far

190900 - EGR Mass Air Flow, measured plausibility calculated too high

240400 - EGR Control, control deviation air mass too low

272F09 - EGR, mechanically faulty close to open position

272E00 - EGR, mechanically faulty close to closed position

So, I have the classic two codes of the EGR failing close to open and closed position, which denotes a stuck EGR valve, which is quite common on all diesel engines, along with the EGR mass-air codes where values are higher and lower than they should be, which clearly ties in to the valve sticking in the open and closed position. Faults for the EGR control-module show that it is struggling to position the EGR correctly and this all points to one stuck EGR valve.

I also notice that I am getting a bit of smoke on startup sometimes which I have never noticed before. This also points to a faulty EGR-valve, or rather the cooler itself. The EGR-cooler is fed with coolant to reduce the operating temperature of the EGR-valve itself and these are known to have problems with leaking after time. They crack inside after prolonged use and start to leak coolant into the EGR and thereafter the air-intake, which causes a bit of white smoke on startup, which I have been experiencing the last few weeks and so it looks like this is the culprit and I will be replacing the EGR / cooler unit at some point I would imagine... watch this space.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Season’s Greetings 2020 from BeemerLab!

It’s been a bit of a grim year this one, but still lockdown has given us some time off to fix, tune and fine fettle our BMWs (health permitting of course! And no, not me I had to work right through lockdown + big ups to all key workers who did so too), so I just wanted to thank the half-million readers who have taken advice from our blog over the last 12 months! 

It’s been a record-breaking year and not just for Covid statistics either, but for blog visits as well and it means a lot that my little info-base is still gathering readers. Thank you to everyone who left positive and encouraging comments and I wish you all a healthy, prosperous and hopefully Covid free 2021! 

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Late '90s BMW Crossover Concepts...

 A couple of interesting concepts here from the 1990s that you might not expect from BMW, but showing once again that they were well abreast of current trends and design cues that would become prevalent towards the end of that decade. 

The first, below, is this strange high-roofline runabout / city-car that seems to be a mix of Fiat's controversial Multipla and the bubble Nissan Micra that both came along soon after. This concept also pre-dates the BMW MINI (and the 1-Series) that arrived at the turn of the millennium and was perhaps the fore-concept of BMW's small car range after becoming aware of buyers desires for high-end hatch-backs following Audi's A3. Either way, it shows BMW were having a go at that small-car big-interior vibe that has now become the basic staple of small car design.

The next, below, is a compact, convertible, sports-car, SUV. Yes, BMW are covering a lot of bases with their concepts around this time and maybe, with this beast, trying to wrap too many trendy cars into one package. The high-clearance quasi-off-road look makes sense with the success of the then recently released X5, but in my opinion giving a taste of what would come along many years later, with a plethora of smaller, sportier SUVs like the X1, X3 and of course the X4 and X6 grand lifted coupes. Interestingly, this concept has integrated 'wrap-around' wheel-arches like the odd Chrysler PT Prowler retro sports-car from the late 90s, though without the open-wheel stance. Was this to pass certain road-laws but still give the high-clearance look of a 4x4? Perhaps these were removable if you were throwing knobbly-tyres on and going off-road?? I guess we will never know.