Battery Problems?

Hi All,
I have a 2003 MINI S and I seem to be having problems with my battery. Last summer I took a couple of vacations (one was a week and the other was 10
days) and both times when I got home my battery was dead (even the computer lost its MPG and average speed and in fact the trip odometer was zeroed). I took it to the dealer and I received a nice sheet of paper telling me to use a charger for long periods of not using the car. Over the Thanksgiving weekend (4 days) the battery is nearly discharged. Is this a common problem? Is anyone else having the same problem? It may be me but I would think that a car should easily go a couple of weeks with out crapping out. I also have a Nissan and a Toyota Pickemup and they seem to be able to start after a ten day vacation. The dealer seems real sure of himself that a week is an extended period and it is normal to have to use a battery charger to keep the battery from going completely dead.
Puffer
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I have a 2003 MINI Cooper S with 2900 (yes, that's hundred) miles on it. I often go for weeks at a time without even starting it. I have never had any problems with the electrical system including the battery. Your problem doesn't sound right to me.
Blues

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>> Hi All,

Your dealer needs to find a new service manager. There is obviously a slow drain on your battery from some unknown source. If it was a grounded wire you would have other indications as to something was amiss. Given the age of your Mini I would rule out a short or grounded wire. My first guess would be a weak (or dead cell) in your battery. That will also be your $$cheapest$$ solution. You can have your battery checked at any reputable automotive shop or parts store (Autozone etc.).
JimBob
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I agree with this, and batteries are cheap enough, I'd just replace it outright. If the battery has been through several deep-discharge cycles, it is dramatically weakened and the OEM Mini batteries are none too good even in new condition. Replace the battery first, and work from there. You might have an unusual sitting current draw problem (which is easy to check - typically it is the alarm system), but get a new battery regardless.
- Mark
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Thank you all, I guess I knew that I was going to have to get a new battery but I needed a little shove in that direction.
Puffer
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 12:07:13 -0600, "Puffer Bradley"

Something that I found to be interesting, although it wouldn't apply to the Mini, is that I had a battery problem with my 1988 M3. I would let it sit in the garage for long periods of time, and after the battery was 5 or 6 years old, I had to recharge it. I thought it was just old, so I took it to the local Goodyear Service Center, and had a new one put in. After maybe one year, it needed to be charged after the car sat for a few weeks. Since I didn't drive it much, I never thought about it. Years later, I had trouble getting it to hold a charge, so I bought another battery from the Service Center. That battery lasted less than one year, so I took the car back to the service center and they did the current drain check that I mentioned in the last post, but they couldn't find anything. I was getting worried that something was acting up in the car, and that it might leave me stranded one day. Being a BMW CCA member, I was receiving their Roundel magazine. The Tech Section in there finally solved my problem. It seemed that a lot of other BMW owners had the same problem and one of the engineers who wrote for the Tech Section, knew what was happening. When I bought the car new, it came with a wet cell battery....one of those that you had to add water to, from time to time. They don't sell those anymore, at least not in my area, so when I had it replaced, they replaced it with a maintenance free battery. A maintenance free battery has a higher internal resistance than a wet cell battery does, and because of that, it would "fool" the alternator into thinking that it was fully charged, when in fact, it wasn't. Every time I drove the car, the battery would discharge, and the alternator wouldn't fully charge it, since it was fooled into thinking it was charged. After a period of time, the battery would be discharged to the point of not starting the car. Connecting my battery charger to it would charge it to where it should be, but that didn't help if I was going away for a period of time. Unfortunately, there was no answer for that problem, although I did install a battery disconnect switch to the battery, and turned it off when I parked it in the garage. This did help somewhat, since the small current drain from the radio clock and computer was enough to cause problems. Fortunately, they don't use those batteries anymore.<g>
-- Miniman
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You can always take your battery to a local Auto parts store and have them test the battery. (Its usually Free or a couple of bucks at most). They can tell if you have a dead cell in the battery. A dead cell will cause the battery to do exactly what it is doing. in any case you will need to get a new battery. however if you want to be a little more sound at mind I would have it tested. i would wan to know whats wrong and then fix it then just fix it. If the new battery goes bad. then you have a whole other issue.
Good luck
Dave (TNGYEM)
wrote:

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Hey, we have a 2003 Mini with the same problem. Exactly. Went on vacation for a week this fall and the car wouldn't start when we returned. Happened four more times. At first, the dealer said the battery was defective and replaced it. The next time it happened, after a four day sit, they said the new battery was defective. Now, after a two day weekend, (parked it on Friday night, wouldn't start on Monday morning), they finally agree that something must be drawing on the battery. Took awhile to determine the culprit. I understand that the dealer called Mini engineers for help. At any rate, they have now determined that the transmission control unit was drawing on the battery well beyond its need. Replaced the transmission control unit and that is supposed to take care of it. We'll find out soon, because we're leaving for 5 days in a couple weeks.
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wrote:

Hi Puffer! My 2002 S sits for weeks on end, and I've never had a problem with my battery. If you can get hold of an ammeter, you can do a simple check for yourself. Radio Shack sells cheap mutitesters for less that $20, and that's all you'd really need to do check, just make sure that the one you buy will read at least 10 DC amps.(Some will only read up to 300 milliamps...<300ma>) What you do is to set the ammeter in a range that will read, about 10 DC amps. Then, make sure everything is turned off in your car, and the key is removed from the ignition....just like you'd leave the car when you go on vacation. You must also remove the light bulb from the hatch where your battery is, otherwise it will stay on and read a current draw.....unless you make a note of what the current draw is with the light on, and knowing it is from the light bulb, ignore it. You could close the hatch to make sure the light bulb goes out by seeing what the ammeter indicates when the hatch is closed, but keep in mind, the hatch is electrically operated, and if the wires fall off of the ammeter, you won't be able to open the hatch again. (Well, you can open the hatch, but that's another story.) Now, remove the positive terminal from the battery. The ammeter will have two leads coming from it, one postive (red) and one negative (black). Connect the red lead from the ammeter to the postive terminal of your battery, and connect the black lead from the ammeter to the wire that you removed from the battery. If there is something that is turned on, the ammeter will show some current being draw. To try and troubleshoot what is turned on, you will have to begin removing fuses from the fusebox, which is located down alongside the panel next to the driver's left foot. There is a pair of plastic tweezers in there to help with the removal. The only problem is the interior light will be on, since you need to have the driver's door open to be able to reach the fuse panel. What you can do is, once you have the ammeter connected, close the hatch, and look at the ammeter through the window, before you open the driver's door. Remember, if you do close the hatch, make sure the ammeter is securely fasten to the battery and battery wire. If the wires do come off, you can simply open the hood of the car, and connect your battery charger to the positive block you will find there. This block is supplied just for this reason. This will supply power to the car to allow you to pop open the hatch. Next, make a note of what it's reading, then, open the driver's door and see if the ammeter's reading goes up, which it should if the interior light goes on when the door is opened. If it doesn't go up, that would indicate that the interior light is staying on, however, I would think that you'd see that and would know it didn't go out. Once the door is opened, turn out the interior light. If the ammeter is still showing a reading, then start removing the fuses to see if the reading drops. At some point, you should come to a fuse that will cause it to drop. Once this happens, you will at least know which devices might be the culprit. One thing to remember is that the computer and clock will have a small current draw, so you may see a small reading on the ammeter. That small current draw should not affect the battery for a very long time. Of course, if this sounds like more than you'd like to tackle, you could take it to the shop and ask them to do this for you. Anyway, I hope this helps.
-- Miniman
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Every new car ihave ever own does not put battery gell on the terminal, including my 2002 Mini. Clean the termnal well, fresh metal. Recharge the batter and you should be fine.
Larry

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