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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 11-05-2008, 08:25 PM   #1
blackbeard
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bad alternator symptoms?

has anyone had their alternator go out? my car is acting very strange popping transmission lights dsc,brake lights and such. replaced the battery and when the battery was fresh all the lights went off and everything was fine. around 5-10 minutes of driving the symptoms come back and i noticed running in park all the lights start to dim out and die then the battery needs to be put on a manual charger?
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:25 PM   #2
CirrusSR22
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Yep, sounds like an alternator. It's not charging the battery so the battery starts to run low and all those systems/computers start shutting down. The fresh battery makes everything run properly until the new one starts to die then it all happens again. Did you also see the battery light before al lthis happened? When the alternator died on my E36 the battery light came on, but very dim. I think it was partially dying at that point.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:41 PM   #3
blackbeard
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yes my battery light came on, it also feels like its in safe mode once the battery runs down, my headlights/dash/radio all shutoof and my tranny light comes on and only drives in 3rd gear
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:05 AM   #4
CirrusSR22
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Oh yeah, my transmission light came on. ABS, and some other stuff.
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:45 AM   #5
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yep, just charged my battery plopped it into my car and it fired right up, all the warning indicators were off and the car ran smooth, set a voltmeter on the terminals and just as i suspected 11.4 volts!. i had 12.4 with the key off so im definately not recieveing a charge
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:42 AM   #6
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time to replace alternator
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:21 PM   #7
ixtoxi
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Check to make sure the belt is tight before you spend the money on a new alternator.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:36 PM   #8
havnfun328
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It can also be a bad connection. Check ground connectivity.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:53 PM   #9
Barneyhyphen
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Remove, clean and refit the engine/chassis ground strap. Do not rush out and buy a new/rebuilt alternator. We had the same problems and it turned out the alternator commutator was full of crud. Tood the alternator to an ALTERNATOR SHOP. They took apart and cleaned out the commutator. $ 31.50 total including tax. Worth a try.

Make sure you have a fully charged battery before you start going round in circles. the alternator is NOT designed to charge the battery from a discharged state, it's designed to maintain a charged battery.

If you need a new battery, get one from Autozone. They may not show a fit in their systen but there ARE at least two Autozone batteries that are direct replacement fits.

BH
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:58 PM   #10
vinnybones
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i paid over 800$ for my new alternator...180amp one
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:04 PM   #11
blackbeard
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again thanks, i have the car jacked up right now, where would be the best spot to poke a voltmeter to see if its producing any kind of charge while running?
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:34 AM   #12
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Having same symptoms with my car. I've just removed my battery with the intent to check it out. However I don't have much confidence that this will clairify the issue. Appreciate the input above since it appears that my alternator is the problem. Thanks for the suggestions above and I'll provide updates to ensure others can learn.
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:35 AM   #13
BMWPLT
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Having same symptoms with my car. I've just removed my battery with the intent to check it out. However I don't have much confidence that this will clairify the issue. Appreciate the input above since it appears that my alternator is the problem. Thanks for the suggestions above and I'll provide updates to ensure others can learn.
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:58 PM   #14
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Reviving an old thread. When I first tried to start the car this morning, it would crank but not start. That wasn't the first time it did this, but it rarely did it, so I just ignored it. Then I finally got it started. No lights were on and the car ran fine. I was out of town, so driving back to town was probably an hour or so of straight driving. I parked it at a friend's house for an hour while we went out in his car. Came back, started the car, and the battery and DSC light came on, the ABS light kept flashing on and off, the radio and HVAC kept turning on and off, and the car was idling rough. I turned it off, started back up and everything was fine.

Am I looking at a bad battery? Alternator? Something else?
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:18 AM   #15
hariskt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue328coupe View Post
Reviving an old thread. When I first tried to start the car this morning, it would crank but not start. That wasn't the first time it did this, but it rarely did it, so I just ignored it. Then I finally got it started. No lights were on and the car ran fine. I was out of town, so driving back to town was probably an hour or so of straight driving. I parked it at a friend's house for an hour while we went out in his car. Came back, started the car, and the battery and DSC light came on, the ABS light kept flashing on and off, the radio and HVAC kept turning on and off, and the car was idling rough. I turned it off, started back up and everything was fine.

Am I looking at a bad battery? Alternator? Something else?
hi i am also having the same problems. always in the morning (cold start) most of my dash bord lights are flashing and low RPM. but after warming the engine it runs fine...what could be the problem...
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