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Odd electrical issue on the E28

Interesting thing happened this week with the E28. After solving my idle issue last weekend I also took the time to do another minor task - cleaning the battery terminals.

They weren’t horrible, but these era BMW’s can be fickle to voltage, and numerous random issues can be attributed to a bad ground. I didn’t go through and clean each ground connection to the body, block, etc., just the terminal connections.

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After that I took it on some “longer” trips around town, but even those were only 4 miles or so each way.

Yesterday I took it on two really short drives, basically a mile each way with multiple stop signs in between.

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Backing into the garage after the second one I took it out of gear, set the parking brake, and with it still running tried to roll down the front windows a little since the car still smells a bit. (Haven’t had a chance to use the chemicals recommended earlier this week.).

Window didn’t move. Thought maybe I pushed the window lock button. Nope. No movement.

Ok, not cool, but not a big deal. Tried turning the car off and restarting it. When I turned the key back to on, only the battery light lit up, and I got no functional gauges when it started.

Definitely some electrical issue.

We were getting ready last night to go to a resort for the long weekend, so I didn’t have much time to troubleshoot the issue. I was able to use a multimeter and determine that with the car off it had about 12.4 volts, and with the car running and some throttle given to it I was getting 13.7 volts across the terminals. So I think the alternator is ok, but I’ll have to wait until I get back home on Sunday to get the battery tested.

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But it does seem odd that this happened right after I cleaned the terminals at the battery really well.

Illustration for article titled Odd electrical issue on the E28
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Bonus Lake Michigan sunrise picture from my trip a few weeks ago.

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