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Old 01-16-2020, 09:11 PM   #1
KScott78
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Battery Lights going on and off

So this morning, my battery light came on and then went off, it did this a few times, I made it to work no problem. Came out to leave after work, got a bout 10 minutes away and the light came on again, this time it stayed on and then several other lights came on, then everything died. Had my wife come with a second car and charge the battery to get 50km home, charged it 5 times to get that far. 10 minutes before getting home the battery light went off and everything started work again. Once home I tested the voltage at the battery with the engine running. Getting about 13.4 volts, belt for the alternator looks fine as well. Anyone have any ideas as to what the issue could be? I hate to just throw money at it if the alternator is still good. The battery was replaced about 1.5 years ago. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:13 PM   #2
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So this morning, my battery light came on and then went off, it did this a few times, I made it to work no problem. Came out to leave after work, got a bout 10 minutes away and the light came on again, this time it stayed on and then several other lights came on, then everything died. Had my wife come with a second car and charge the battery to get 50km home, charged it 5 times to get that far. 10 minutes before getting home the battery light went off and everything started work again. Once home I tested the voltage at the battery with the engine running. Getting about 13.4 volts, belt for the alternator looks fine as well. Anyone have any ideas as to what the issue could be? I hate to just throw money at it if the alternator is still good. The battery was replaced about 1.5 years ago. Thanks in advance for your help!
Sounds like it time for an alternator. You can replace the voltage regulator and brushes but honestly alternator assemblies are cheap enough. Do it once and do it right.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:15 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Is it normal for it to start and stop working like this?
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:20 PM   #4
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Yes, the voltage regulator is probably going out. If you want to replace the regulator and brushes there are several threads about it on here. But as I said, I personally would just replace the alternator with a Bosch or Valeo and be done with it.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:22 PM   #5
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Yeah, for the price I'll just replace the whole unit. Just wanted to make sure before throwing money at it. Thanks again!
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:30 PM   #6
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How many miles on the current alternator?
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:33 PM   #7
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Yep, classic alt failure. I drove about 40 miles as mine was flashing on and off going somewhere...then steady on on the way back. Tracked my voltage down to maybe 3 volts with the car still running. Pedal to the floor and engine at redline to make any power what with fuel pump dying at that voltage. I didn't know cars could do that. I also learned on the drive that you can 'kick start' your car rolling backwards if you shift into reverse.
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Last edited by dmax; 01-16-2020 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:37 PM   #8
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Not sure, bought the car 3 years ago.
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:38 PM   #9
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Not sure, bought the car 3 years ago.
One can assume it has never been changed, what are the miles on the car?
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:40 PM   #10
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320k, good chance it's the original
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:44 PM   #11
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I once had a battery light.
I broke down within 10 seconds.
New alternator
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:51 PM   #12
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320k, good chance it's the original
Yeah, it's probably time
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:53 PM   #13
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Alternator is donezo. Eventually the light will stay on and the car will die.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:05 PM   #14
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Looking to order this one;
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B007Y861KO/..._hpsiEb4SYQ0A1
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Old 01-17-2020, 09:22 AM   #15
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FYI: The alternator keeps the electric system resupplied from all of the consumers; DME, heater, radio lights etc. You know that.

What most don't know is many (if not most) of the computers/modules have a voltage monitor built in. When the available voltage drops below ~10.6 Volts, the DME says to itself: You want me do do what, with what voltage buddy?

I'm outta here, Sayonara.
That's when the car dies, not much after the dashboard looks like a Christmas tree.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:11 AM   #16
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More issues. So I've replaced the alternator and the battery error has gone away. However now I'm getting a loud squealing sound when I push the gas pedal over 2k RPM and some smoke, smells a bit like rubber. The sound will go away once the car warms up, but the smoke continues. After a few more minutes the a few lights come on the dash, as if the DSC was disabled. Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I inspected the belt when I changed the alternator and it looks good.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:21 AM   #17
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What lights come on specifically?
Don't like the noise and the burning smell. Could be the usual oil leak, however since you just replaced the alternator is there something maleficent going on with the rollers/tensioners along the belts circuitous path?

A snapped belt leaving one stranded is NO fun.

Go to the cluster and unlock it, get over to test #9. What's the voltage displayed when the car is running?

Do you have a tester? What if any codes are stored? Not just the DME....
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:40 AM   #18
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These are the lights that are on ( not my car, but same lights ). See attachment.


Does test #9 display the voltage? I have multi meter and code reader. I can have a look when I get home today. Also, what is a DME? Thanks
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:24 AM   #19
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On noise/smell front, sure sounds like something is amiss in the belt department. I'd be rechecking install. Can't imagine a pulley suddenly decided to let go at this time. Perhaps remove air box duct and look in there with engine running. Source of smoke should be evident. Burning alone would suggest wire.

As for lights, do E46s need steering sensor reset after battery disconnect?
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:54 PM   #20
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Going to take it back apart and check the belt to make sure it's aligned and seated correctly. Just did the voltage test, #9 on the dash and it's reading around 14 at idle, so that appears to be correct as well. What I'm unsure of is the two lights that came on. It just doesn't seem to add up, unless I'm missing something. Which I'm sure am I... Thanks again for everyone's times!
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