tangocash
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:51 am
Location: Los Angeles CA.

All the Malfunctions...

Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:51 pm

So many error messages over the past 2 years of owning my 2014 REX, but I will admit most of them haven't caused real problems. I've read on here again and again how "glitchy" these cards can be, but I just came back from the dealer about 5 days ago for my annual oil change and brake service and the car now seems to be getting worse.

This morning, I went out to the garage to load the i3 trunk with some items and my remote didn't work. Remote battery has been changed in the past year and there were no signs of diminished signal prior to this. My wife's remote also had trouble opening the car from only 10 feet away. After we both took turns pressing the buttons several times, one of our remotes eventually got the car to unlock.

I sit at the wheel and immediately notice a variety of warning messages...
-brake system malfunction (just serviced)
-battery drain while stopped (currently charged at 80%)
-powertrain malfunction


Plugging in the car did nothing (no rim light around the charging door) as if nothing is plugged in, even though the standard wall charger is showing power.

After turning the car on and off several times and not fixing the issue, I started to wonder if the car was looking for my wife's remote after she went back in the house. Could my remote be giving the car "bad" signals? I get her keys and the car starts up, but now shows power steering issue. I've had this problem before so I turn the car off and on one more time and that seems to clear the steering issue.

My wife now has the car on the road with the usual periodic check engine light that comes and goes as it pleases...

Has anyone else had such a major malfunction when they go to start up their car?

The day after I brought the car back from the shop, I got many of these same warning messages and the car delayed starting, but they didn't last long and didn't prevent me from driving like this time. This car is garage kept so extreme heat isn't an issue. It's very hard to determine what is really a major repair issue and what is the computer just complaining about poor communication with the rest of the car.
Last edited by tangocash on Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2014 BMW i3 REX

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5032
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:00 pm

Have you changed your 12vdc battery? When that starts to go, all sorts of things start to happen.

All of the computers run off of the 12vdc system. That would explain the discharge issue.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

tangocash
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:51 am
Location: Los Angeles CA.

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:59 pm

jadnashuanh wrote: Have you changed your 12vdc battery? When that starts to go, all sorts of things start to happen.

All of the computers run off of the 12vdc system. That would explain the discharge issue.
That's a good point! I just recently saw some discussion about changing that battery and wasn't sure how good of shape mine is. I certainly haven't changed it in the 2 years I've owned it.

Is there a way for the car to tell me how good the battery is or do I need an outside piece of equipment to test it? I have an OBD adapter and I'm using Torque Lite and Bimmer-Code apps for reading/editing the computer.
2014 BMW i3 REX

alohart
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:43 pm

This is almost certainly due to low 12 V system voltage, either because the 12 V battery is excessively discharged (parked recently for a few weeks without driving?) or failing. If the voltage drops too low, the car won't be able to enter drive readiness mode (i.e., it won't start). Hopefully, that doesn't happen while your wife is on the road. If the battery was merely discharged, driving on a road trip should charge it enough to prevent a repeat.

However, if the 12 V battery is failing, the car might have to be towed to a dealer for a 12 V battery replacement. Dealers typically charge an obscene amount for a 12 V battery replacement. If you have the capability, replace it yourself. BMW dealers typically charge >$200 for the 12 V battery. An identical AUX18L battery can be purchased from a local East Penn Manufacturing retailer. Ask for a local dealer using the contact Info on their Website. Even including shipping to Honolulu, I bought a new 12 V battery for $150.

The condition of an i3's battery could be determined with a load test just like the battery in any car. However, the cost of a load test is probably not worth paying, especially if the battery is original and likely nearing the end of its life. Measuring the battery's voltage isn't easy because the high-voltage system turns on and can begin charging the 12 V battery whenever a door, frunk, or hatch is unlocked or opened. I've left the frunk open over night so that I can measure the resting voltage of the 12 V battery the following morning. However, a normal voltage doesn't necessarily mean that the battery is good.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

tangocash
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:51 am
Location: Los Angeles CA.

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:52 pm

alohart wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:43 pm
This is almost certainly due to low 12 V system voltage, either because the 12 V battery is excessively discharged (parked recently for a few weeks without driving?) or failing. If the voltage drops too low, the car won't be able to enter drive readiness mode (i.e., it won't start). Hopefully, that doesn't happen while your wife is on the road. If the battery was merely discharged, driving on a road trip should charge it enough to prevent a repeat.

However, if the 12 V battery is failing, the car might have to be towed to a dealer for a 12 V battery replacement. Dealers typically charge an obscene amount for a 12 V battery replacement. If you have the capability, replace it yourself. BMW dealers typically charge >$200 for the 12 V battery. An identical AUX18L battery can be purchased from a local East Penn Manufacturing retailer. Ask for a local dealer using the contact Info on their Website. Even including shipping to Honolulu, I bought a new 12 V battery for $150.

The condition of an i3's battery could be determined with a load test just like the battery in any car. However, the cost of a load test is probably not worth paying, especially if the battery is original and likely nearing the end of its life. Measuring the battery's voltage isn't easy because the high-voltage system turns on and can begin charging the 12 V battery whenever a door, frunk, or hatch is unlocked or opened. I've left the frunk open over night so that I can measure the resting voltage of the 12 V battery the following morning. However, a normal voltage doesn't necessarily mean that the battery is good.
I found a video on how the car itself can test the battery's voltage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw5i1Ki-RpY&t=38s Testing through the car on two separate days (following a few miles of driving) came back with a max voltage of 14.4 and 14.3 kwh. From what I'm reading online, both numbers indicate a "healthy" battery so I'm not sure how bad this battery really is. I may try to test the car late at night, after many hours of non-use, to see if the battery reading drops significantly. If anyone can clarify the testing process, I'd appreciate it.

I'm talking with a local East Penn retailer to special order the battery next week and then I plan to use Bimmerlink to register the new battery after I install it myself. All the videos and talk I see make it seem like it isn't all that difficult, but I'll report the results on here once it's done.
2014 BMW i3 REX

alohart
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:55 pm

tangocash wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:52 pm
I found a video on how the car itself can test the battery's voltage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw5i1Ki-RpY&t=38s Testing through the car on two separate days (following a few miles of driving) came back with a max voltage of 14.4 and 14.3 kwh. From what I'm reading online, both numbers indicate a "healthy" battery so I'm not sure how bad this battery really is. I may try to test the car late at night, after many hours of non-use, to see if the battery reading drops significantly. If anyone can clarify the testing process, I'd appreciate it.
The YouTube video you referenced shows how to display the estimated usable capacity, Batt. Kapa. max, of the Li-ion battery pack not the 12 V battery. The nominal new usable capacity of your battery pack is 18.8 kWh, so if the Batt. Kapa. max estimate is correct, your battery pack has ~77% of its original capacity. If the actual usable capacity as measured by a BMW dealer drops below 70% before the battery pack warranty expires, BMW would replace it under warranty.

The resting voltage of a fully-charged 12 V AGM battery at 77º F is ~12.7 V. However, the voltage of a 12 V battery doesn't necessarily reflect its health. A stress test would, but the cost would probably not be worth spending.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

tangocash
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:51 am
Location: Los Angeles CA.

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:49 am

alohart wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:55 pm
tangocash wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:52 pm
I found a video on how the car itself can test the battery's voltage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw5i1Ki-RpY&t=38s Testing through the car on two separate days (following a few miles of driving) came back with a max voltage of 14.4 and 14.3 kwh. From what I'm reading online, both numbers indicate a "healthy" battery so I'm not sure how bad this battery really is. I may try to test the car late at night, after many hours of non-use, to see if the battery reading drops significantly. If anyone can clarify the testing process, I'd appreciate it.
The YouTube video you referenced shows how to display the estimated usable capacity, Batt. Kapa. max, of the Li-ion battery pack not the 12 V battery. The nominal new usable capacity of your battery pack is 18.8 kWh, so if the Batt. Kapa. max estimate is correct, your battery pack has ~77% of its original capacity. If the actual usable capacity as measured by a BMW dealer drops below 70% before the battery pack warranty expires, BMW would replace it under warranty.

The resting voltage of a fully-charged 12 V AGM battery at 77º F is ~12.7 V. However, the voltage of a 12 V battery doesn't necessarily reflect its health. A stress test would, but the cost would probably not be worth spending.
Thanks for clearing that up! The car won't start again this morning even though it's showing 100% charged and it's been plugged in all night. I found a spot on the OBD Torque app showing a real-time voltage between 8V and 9V. A recent search about 12V batteries showed that 10V was borderline low, does that sound right? That would certainly explain why it won't start.

Unfortunately, my local retailer tells me the replacement battery needs to be special ordered and won't come for another 5 days!

The car just came back from the show to be serviced and no one warned me about this battery, nor could they tell me anything about the warning messages I've been receiving for the last 6 months. My overall experience with the BMW dealer was disappointing but that seems to be the norm based on what I read on here.
2014 BMW i3 REX

alohart
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:47 am

tangocash wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:49 am
The car won't start again this morning even though it's showing 100% charged and it's been plugged in all night. I found a spot on the OBD Torque app showing a real-time voltage between 8V and 9V. A recent search about 12V batteries showed that 10V was borderline low, does that sound right?
A resting voltage below 12.0 V would indicate that the charge level of the battery is very low. The voltage under load could drop below 12.0 V without the battery being bad. If a 12 V battery charger could charge the battery and the charge holds, the battery might be OK. However, with the problems that you're experiencing, and with the battery likely being over 5 years old, a new battery is probably needed.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

tangocash
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:51 am
Location: Los Angeles CA.

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:27 pm

By called East Penn Battery's corporate office, I tracked down the AUX18L battery from a local Los Angeles retailer chain called Undercar Plus. For anyone in the LA area, each of the locations sell this battery, even if some locations need to order it for you for bout $150.

Once I had the battery, I was able to very easily swap it into the car myself using this tutorial video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKRj8gLcsfI

With the battery installed, I purchased the full version of Bimmercode ($22) and registered the new battery without issue.

It's now been about 2 weeks and the car is running at peak performance with no errors so far. DIY was certainly worth saving the few hundred bucks the dealer would have charged! I appreciate everyone's insight on this!
2014 BMW i3 REX

alohart
Posts: 2121
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: All the Malfunctions...

Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:40 pm

tangocash wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:27 pm
With the battery installed, I purchased the full version of Bimmercode ($22) and registered the new battery without issue.
I know that BimmerLink supports 12 V battery registration. However, I have not seen this capability in BimmerCode. Please describe how to register a battery using BimmerCode.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

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