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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I drove from the DC area to KY to visit some friends. A 500+ mile trip each way. I was all excited to see how the beast will perform, and...Oh well here is what happened:

Before I get into the horror story, i should note that on the way there, I was hauling ***. The WV toll roads in the mountains were super experience. The beast begged to be pushed, and some cars tried keeping up with me but to no avail. An 8h 45min trip according to Google maps took me around 7hours...

so in KY i noticed that on several occasions my battery light came on for a moment and then went off. After some time I realized that, it only happens when I stepped on the gas in lower gear and high RPMs. Since it was raining hard (and even snowing at one point), I thought maybe my belt was slipping, but the light always went off afterwards, so I didn't think much of it. Everything was closed anyway, and I had no tools with me, so I just hoped for the best that he car would get me back home.

So here I am, starting my way back to DC, but this time taking another route, through WV with two way streets that were supposed to have amazing view and scenery. So I was excited to drive back this way, hoping for a more exciting route... and boy did I get what I wanted!!!

I hit the road again, and notice that every time i shift into 5th and jump on the gas my battery light comes on…and then goes off again. So I am thinking "I will just cruise in 6th gear and look into it when I get back home"..right? So here I am again in WV, minding my own business when another silver E39 gets on my tail. I was like WTF, since I never went below 85mph so this dude must have been driving pretty hard. So I step on the beast in 6th not to bother the alternator, and this dude continue to be on my rear end. He kept up with me all the way to 130mph or so. So after 15min of driving we saw a two lane of empty straight line. I moved to the right lane, and let him pull up on me. He slowly approached, and the guy waived in a friendly manner. I slowed down to see the rear badge, and it was a pre-facelifted 540i (just as I thought it was). So guess what happened next... :M5launch: he stepped on his 540 and the adrenaline pumping into my veins made me not think straight. So i dropped the beast into 5th (knowing that I won’t pull on him on 6th) and went for his ***. After 130 I pulled on him pretty fast, and at 140 i was about two cars ahead, but to the cost that my alternator died completely. As I dropped into 5th, that light came on, and never went off (all this captured on my friends video cam btw). So I had to take the next exit, which took me to a small town. That’s where the exciting scenery and beautiful country side had to begin. So i pull up on a gas station to gas up, and check on my alternator. The belt was fine, battery cables were fine. I disconnected the battery for 5min hoping that this would reset the ECU..but it didn’t help. So I looked for advance auto parts store nearby, and to my luck, there was one on the shopping plaza across the street. I drove there, and had my alt tested...my fear was confirmed. The alternator did not charge my battery. By this time it was already dark, and temp started to drop. I was 240 miles away from home so I had to take a decision...
I bough 4 new batteries: 2 for a 540i (since they didn’t have any for an m5) and 2 optimas red top. I threw them in the trunk and continued on my way. I turned off all electrical systems. no heat, no AC, no headlights (was driving on cellis and fogs) no navi, no anti-radar...NADA. But with no navi, i didn’t realize I had another 130miles driving in pitch black forests at high altitudes with small two way roads before I hit any other major highway. I was determined to attempt to get home. The first battery for the 540 lasted 63 miles before all my dashboard lights light up as a Christmas tree. I pulled over in the forest, on a pitch-black road, swapped in the second 540 battery and quickly hopped in the car. This battery lasted me another 74 miles, this time I drove only with short beams and no fogs (the fogs didn't provide enough light to drive these roads). So I am getting cold. My cluster shows 33 degrees outside temp. My socks started to freeze at that point and my windows were fogging up. It got so bad that at times I couldn’t see the pavement. At one point I came to a bigger two lane road, where I could take my eyes off the road for a bit to turn on the ac/defroster to get rid of the moisture on front window. So I put the car in neutral trying to use the down slopes as much as I could, and as I was playing with the heater buttons, the next thing I know, a cop pulls me over. He comes to my window and is like "houu you yaall doin tonitee" with a red neck accent. I was like where the **** did he come from??? :dunno: So i was nice and polite, although I was tired and frustrated by that time. I explained him my situation but that didn't sound as a good excuse to him. He said he clocked me with 85mph on a 65mph road...and I wasn't even applying gas jeez! So he gave me ticket, but was kind enough to reduce it to 79 on 65... and all that because I was just going down the heel on neutral... I was so pissed... then I could hardly close my window, since that battery was on its last legs, but it did keep me going for another 15miles or so, before I had to put in one of the optimas, which also lasted for about 64 miles. By the time that optima died, I was on a major highway about 30-40 miles away from home, so then I swapped in the 4th battery and slowly made it back home!

It was a painful and expensive 10+ hours drive, with lost of frustration, darkness, hunger and cold. But it sure did feel good to be back home! I still don't know how much my speeding ticket will be, but at least I pulled on that 540 back in WV :D was it worth it...??? NO..but then again, adrenaline makes people do stupid stuff. Most likely my alternator could have died in the middle of the forests I drove through, making it even worse…so maybe all this happened for the better. who knows? The ironic part is that according to the PO maintenance records, that alternator was replaced in March of 2010...by a shop in MD only 30 miles away. Should they have warranty on that and replace it for free? What about labor charges? Will they honor warranty if the car changed ownership?

Well I am glad I made it home safe, but dealing with the shop and alternator will be part 2 of this adventure...grrrrrrr

EDIT: Oh I forgot to mention that when I thought nothing worse could happen, my check engine light came on while I was using batter #3...
Sorry for the long post btw. I know it is hard to read, but I needed to share my frustration with the beast.
 

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Sorry to hear man. I am surprised you didn't run away from the 540i; doubt he was stock.

If it makes you feel any better, I probably would have done the same thing if I had another "cool" car trying to race me. :M5launch:
 

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Well, for whatever it's worth, this has gotta be one of the most exciting road stories that I've ever read, period! :biggrin:
 

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Cool story, but why were your hungry? Did you not eat thanksgiving in KY? Could you return all the batteries, this would make it all worth it?
 

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Lesson learned: if your beast flashes a warning light, check it out (or have it checked) ASAP, and DON'T engage in any form of sprint/race or whatever....

Other than that, great story! :2:
 

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There are some interesting lesson learned from this, should the need arise to run on battery power only:
- 60-70 miles of range on a good battery.
- Minimum electric load, of course. But what uses less draw, fogs or low beams if driving at night?
- Seems like running in as high a gear as possible is best, since lower RPM is less spark plug firing. But that would not mean staying off the highway. Best "sparks per mile" would be 6 gear at any speed. So speed is not a factor, as far as trying to get home. But low gear driving is a factor.
- Have the OBC unlock procedure handy so you can look at #9 Battery voltage an stress over it as it slowly goes down.




.
 

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I would have thought that the dipped beam lights would take less power than fogs, if you have Xenon lights.

The front fogs use 55W halogen lights, the Xenon's are rated at 35W, but I don't know if this is the overall power of the bulb and ballast or just the bulb.

Also, the Nav, amp and radio module both take a reasonable amount of power just being connected with the ignition on, they are easy to disconnect, so if in this situation you should physically disconnect them all for maximum power saving, I'd guess at about 4A draw for all three, even with the monitor and radio off.

Another extreme measure would be to disconnect one head light and one tail light bulb, that would be another 4-5A or so saved.
 

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Wow 4 batteries would never have thought about that, good call
 

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I had something similar happened to me few years back, the only difference is that I was only about 80 miles away from home. I still cannot fathom how you could drive with fogs only at night. I tried but I could not see ANYTHING...glad to hear you made it back home ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had something similar happened to me few years back, the only difference is that I was only about 80 miles away from home. I still cannot fathom how you could drive with fogs only at night. I tried but I could not see ANYTHING...glad to hear you made it back home ok.
I drove on fogs during the first 30 miles after I put in the first battery. The road was still a two lane, and I was following other cars that would lead the way. I was also staying behind trunks, as I didnt want to be spotted from the police that easy. Once I entered these small rodes in the forest, it was so dark..I would never had made it out of there on fogs only. My low beams were struggling with only battery power. :eek:

Cool story, but why were your hungry? Did you not eat thanksgiving in KY? Could you return all the batteries, this would make it all worth it?
I did eat a lot :tonquesmilie: but after 10 hours of driving two days after thanksgiving, I did get hungry believe it or not.

I would have thought that the dipped beam lights would take less power than fogs, if you have Xenon lights.

The front fogs use 55W halogen lights, the Xenon's are rated at 35W, but I don't know if this is the overall power of the bulb and ballast or just the bulb.

Also, the Nav, amp and radio module both take a reasonable amount of power just being connected with the ignition on, they are easy to disconnect, so if in this situation you should physically disconnect them all for maximum power saving, I'd guess at about 4A draw for all three, even with the monitor and radio off.

Another extreme measure would be to disconnect one head light and one tail light bulb, that would be another 4-5A or so saved.
I was thinking of removing one of the tail and head lights off, but that would have been too dangerous on these roads. It was wet too, and snowed a bit the day before...I didnt want to get hit by another vehicle. However, I did disconnect the flash light in the glove box, as I know it is being charged in there all the time the car is working. :lightbulb: Never though about the navi and the amp, as I powered everything off. I assumed they wont draw any electricity...


As for the 4 batteries. I returned 3 of them. The guy at my local Advance Auto Parts hates my guts now, as each battery is between $170-$200 a peace. But after lots of negotiations, he took them back. I told him I will write a good customer service report on their web site...

I still have my original optima in the trunk, since I am keeping it, and I have the 4 battery hooked up, ready to take me to service shop. I might need to get another battery in case the one in the car now, doesn't have enough juice. I will return it as well, once my alternator is replaced and I hook up my original battery in the car. BTW, i dont want to drain my original battery, as this might damage some of its cells making it not able to keep good charge. So that's why I keep it in the trunk, but haven't really used it yet.

So I spoke to the shop that replaced the alternator back in March. They said that it has a 1 year manufacturer warranty, so the part should be covered, but I will have to pay $210 labor, since the car changed ownership, and they wont replace it for free. I might attempt to ask them for the part, as I can replace it myself, which will save me the $210, but I don't think they would go for that.

I also looked at my speeding ticket last night. Upon actually reading it, the dude misspelled my middle name, and my street address. Could that be enough to get me off the hook if I go to court? :lightbulb: :lightbulb: :lightbulb:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sorry to hear man. I am surprised you didn't run away from the 540i; doubt he was stock.

If it makes you feel any better, I probably would have done the same thing if I had another "cool" car trying to race me. :M5launch:
You know, I had a 540i before and it is not a slow car. I could have easily dropped into 4th gear and walk away, but I did try to baby the beast because of the alternator problem...Well that didnt work out as planned obviously, but I still beat him. The guy probably thinks that his car did OK against my beast, since he kept up to 130mph...but I am sure another M5 will punish him for me in the future. :wroom:
 

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I drove on fogs during the first 30 miles after I put in the first battery. The road was still a two lane, and I was following other cars that would lead the way. I was also staying behind trunks, as I didnt want to be spotted from the police that easy. Once I entered these small rodes in the forest, it was so dark..I would never had made it out of there on fogs only. My low beams were struggling with only battery power. :eek:


I did eat a lot :tonquesmilie: but after 10 hours of driving two days after thanksgiving, I did get hungry believe it or not.



I was thinking of removing one of the tail and head lights off, but that would have been too dangerous on these roads. It was wet too, and snowed a bit the day before...I didnt want to get hit by another vehicle. However, I did disconnect the flash light in the glove box, as I know it is being charged in there all the time the car is working. :lightbulb: Never though about the navi and the amp, as I powered everything off. I assumed they wont draw any electricity...


As for the 4 batteries. I returned 3 of them. The guy at my local Advance Auto Parts hates my guts now, as each battery is between $170-$200 a peace. But after lots of negotiations, he took them back. I told him I will write a good customer service report on their web site...

I still have my original optima in the trunk, since I am keeping it, and I have the 4 battery hooked up, ready to take me to service shop. I might need to get another battery in case the one in the car now, doesn't have enough juice. I will return it as well, once my alternator is replaced and I hook up my original battery in the car. BTW, i dont want to drain my original battery, as this might damage some of its cells making it not able to keep good charge. So that's why I keep it in the trunk, but haven't really used it yet.

So I spoke to the shop that replaced the alternator back in March. They said that it has a 1 year manufacturer warranty, so the part should be covered, but I will have to pay $210 labor, since the car changed ownership, and they wont replace it for free. I might attempt to ask them for the part, as I can replace it myself, which will save me the $210, but I don't think they would go for that.

I also looked at my speeding ticket last night. Upon actually reading it, the dude misspelled my middle name, and my street address. Could that be enough to get me off the hook if I go to court? :lightbulb: :lightbulb: :lightbulb:
I'd look into them trying to stiff you with the labor. That doesn't sound correct to me.
 
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