E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > DIY: Do It Yourself

DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 20 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 06-13-2008, 03:39 PM   #1
Girmis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 61
My Ride: 330Ci Sold
BMW E46 Alternator DIY (voltage regulator)

Hello everyone,

I saved so much money working on my BMW and all thanks to e46fantatics! Thank you everyone for posting! I feel that I have to give something back to the community. So here is my first diy guide.

I searched this site, google, could not find how to change voltage regulator and brushes on e46. Decided to do it myself.

Initial problem was that alternator would give only ~10.3V if I had my lights and AC on. That drained my new battery. As my car is 2001 (06/2000 production), I decided that it was either brushes or voltage regulator. Ordered Voltage regulator (it comes with brushes) from pelicanparts, it is $53 (compared to $212+shipping on re manufactured Bosch alternator).

There is a good guide how to replace the alternator


here,


so I won't repeat it. When you have your alternator out, there is a plastic back plate. You have to remove one screw (#3 in picture and two nuts (#1 an #2). #1 is under this rubbery plastic cover, use screw driver to pry it out.

- The nut holding down the positive cable is 17mm
- #3 is a Philips screw
- #1 and 2 are 15mm nuts (deep wall socket is most likely needed)





After you remove the cover, you should find ..... this




I found all sort of stuff - leaves, paper, cigarette butts, you name it. The voltage regulator is connected with 3 screws and slides out after, no clips.
My old brushes were worn, but not to the extent that alternator would not work, one was shorter than the other one. Go figure...





The whole process takes about 10-15 minutes (after you have alternator out). It is cheaper that buying refurbished alternator and it is way cheaper than taking to the dealership. If you alternator does not make any noises (ball bearings) changing just the regulator will save you lots of money. I believe it is easier to do this than remove the pulley while switching alternators... After I changed the regulator, with long beams on, AC on it runs 13.6V to my battery, I believe that is within specs of 13.5 -14.5V. Maybe on the lower side, but hey, its not 10.3V like before.

I hope that helps someone.

Part number from pelikan $53 12-31-7-559-183-M14 link
__________________
2001 330CI

Last edited by Solidjake; 04-10-2013 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Auto-save 1365643347
Girmis is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 06-13-2008, 04:00 PM   #2
Custom3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dirty Jersey
Posts: 5,445
My Ride: HellRot 330CI
very nice...so you keep the voltage meter on the battery not the front of the car right?
Custom3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2008, 04:59 PM   #3
Girmis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 61
My Ride: 330Ci Sold
Yes, at the battery. At least I did it like that. The car is back
__________________
2001 330CI
Girmis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2008, 10:38 PM   #4
Lbert
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 220
My Ride: 325i
[QUOTE=Girmis;8072664]My old brushes were worn, but not to the extent that alternator would not work, one was shorter than the other one. Go figure...


Where are the brushes located? Do you remove another part or can you see them after you remove the regulator? Since brushes are worn, are you able to replace them?
Lbert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2008, 06:07 AM   #5
Girmis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 61
My Ride: 330Ci Sold
not sure about replacing just the brushes, I did not see those for sale anywhere... It is just called the brushes, actually it looks like metal pieces (third picture, just above my finger, to the left of that cut out circle.
__________________
2001 330CI
Girmis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2008, 06:52 AM   #6
dkangman
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,042
My Ride: is Hot.
Nice write up.
__________________
- Daniel -
dkangman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2008, 11:19 AM   #7
Girmis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 61
My Ride: 330Ci Sold
I got this question:
Saw that you pulled your alternator. Is there any way to tell from the top if it's a Bosch or Valeo?

The answer:
Yes, you can, but you will need a mirror and a light. There is a sticker on the black plastic back plate (you can see that in the first picture - it looks like some bar code). It is faint on my alternator, but it is readable. I would suggest removing air filter housing (easy - 2 10mm bolts). You might be able to see even without taking it out, but it will be very very hard to get down to alternator ....
__________________
2001 330CI
Girmis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011, 03:16 PM   #8
aurelius
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Dallas
Posts: 32
My Ride: ZHP Sedan + 2 E30s
determining which alt you have

Quote:
Originally Posted by Girmis View Post
I got this question:
Saw that you pulled your alternator. Is there any way to tell from the top if it's a Bosch or Valeo?

The answer:
Yes, you can, but you will need a mirror and a light. There is a sticker on the black plastic back plate (you can see that in the first picture - it looks like some bar code). It is faint on my alternator, but it is readable. I would suggest removing air filter housing (easy - 2 10mm bolts). You might be able to see even without taking it out, but it will be very very hard to get down to alternator ....
I'm having voltage issues in my 6/03 ZHP. After reading this thread and another (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=792768), I figure the likely culprit is the VR.

In terms of preparation, I wanted to know which alternator I have so that I can buy the correct VR, without removing either one. I used a telescoping mirror and shot the following photo of the sticker on the back of the alternator (VR cover?). The only thing I removed is the air filter box.

Ran a search on the number in the bottom of the pic (0124515105) and it turns out that's the Bosch part number for the 120A alternator.

Note to those who like me who cannot see this label without a mirror: I shot the pic on iPhone, flash off, then used Preview on a Mac (not iPhoto) to make a mirror image of the photo so that I could read the numbers more easily.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	E46_VR.jpg
Views:	419
Size:	54.1 KB
ID:	394060  
aurelius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2011, 01:57 PM   #9
tzboy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3
My Ride: 330i
VR leads are both 9mm long

I have alternator/VR issue with my car as well. 120A Bosch in a 2002 330i with 73K miles.

I got the alternator tested at Autozone and it failed. Return home, and pulled out the VR to see if the contacts are worn out, and it turns out that they are not - both are 9 mm long.

The alternator bearings are good as well, and the pulley axis turns smoothly without a squeak.

From what I've read in these forums, most of the time the problem is with the regulator, and those who have posted have invariably seen that the contacts are worn out.

I am planning to order a new VR today, but before I do that... is there anything else I should check alternator for, aside from the smooth rotation of the pulley axis indicating good bearings?


Thanks in advance for your help!

tzboy
tzboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2011, 02:53 AM   #10
tzboy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3
My Ride: 330i
Alright... I ended up replacing the alternator as well after old Bosch alternator paired with new regulator (removed from new Autozone alternator) resulted in failure on Autozone's and Kragen's tester.

I don't know how much stock to put in Autozone/Oreilly testing (because the persons testing the alternators at these locations also initially showed the new alternator paired with new regulator to have failed in their testers. The Autozone guy was eventually able to show that the new alternator I had purchased from them, actually passing in their tester.)

Now that I have the alternator installed, and the car is back on the road again, I'm noticing a slight wheezing sound that seems to be coming from the alternator. I know it's not the belts or pulleys , as I replaced them with genuine OEM parts just a couple of months ago.

Questions:
1) Has anyone else using the Duralast alternator experienced a slightly different sound (compared to when Bosch/Valeo alternator was installed) from their car when engine is revved?

2) Those who have a Duralast alternator installed... what has been your experience thus far in terms of durability? I know that Autozone gives Lifetime Warranty, but I'd rather not open the car apart to replace yet another alternator.

Thanks in advance!

tzboy
2002 330i
tzboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2011, 10:24 PM   #11
truajb
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 73
My Ride: 2002 325xi
Alternator noise at 1000 rpm

Can a failing voltage regulator cause excessively loud noise only at a certain rpm, let say 1000rpm? I have been hearing this alternator noise/whine at 1000rpm all the time. I replaced the alternator with a refurbished once last year and the noise is still there. Some mechanics said it's normal sound when the alternator recharges. Why do I only hear it at 1000rpm? The pitch is quite high and I find it really annoying. I have looked into the possibility of vacuum leak and concluded that that's not the reason. Any insight would be appreciated.
truajb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 02:06 PM   #12
idprints
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: new york state
Posts: 8
My Ride: 2001 325i
So the new brushes come with the new regulator?
idprints is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #13
Girmis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 61
My Ride: 330Ci Sold
I bought the regulator and it came with brushes I did not see the brushes for sale.
__________________
2001 330CI
Girmis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2008, 03:16 AM   #14
silentak1
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: LA
Posts: 799
My Ride: '03 330ci cabrio
Does the new BOSCH alternator come with the regulator? Or must it be transferred?

Also, must i buy a new pulley and belt?
silentak1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2010, 07:42 AM   #15
Plexreticle
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: texas
Posts: 11
My Ride: 328ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by silentak1 View Post
Does the new BOSCH alternator come with the regulator? Or must it be transferred?

Also, must i buy a new pulley and belt?
I need to know this before I order parts. Any help?
Plexreticle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2008, 02:20 PM   #16
neocor
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 40
My Ride: BMW 3 Series
I am in a similar position right now.
The stealership iv giving an estimate of $800 for replacing the Alternator.
I have decided to Do it Myself after reading all the posts here.

The question now is where do i buy the Alternator from?
I can locate these at ******************.. are these good.

Bosch alternators

Neo
neocor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2008, 03:02 AM   #17
akortscheff
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Norwalk, California
Posts: 5
My Ride: 325ci cabriolet
my problem is similar, the regulator are overcharge. I need to find an used alternator or chip voltage regulator
akortscheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2008, 11:55 AM   #18
visions1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Navarre Beach, FL
Posts: 13
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330ci
I just got done putting a new voltage regulator on the Bosch alternator for my 2002 330ci and it works great! It's putting out 14.3V! I've got 67K on the car and the bearing and the rest of the alternator are in good shape. I did use a wire brush to clean any corrosion on the copper wiring found under the cover. I would highly recommend this repair. Also, a lot of the larger auto parts stores will do a free alternator and battery test.
http://www.autozone.com/in_our_stores/free_testing.htm
Thanks for the post! I saved over $700.00.
visions1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2008, 08:50 PM   #19
RotaryBzzz
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 123
My Ride: E36 M3 : E46 330i
Do you think you could have replaced the voltage regulator without removing the alternator? Is there enough clearance to remove the air-intake assembly (screwed to the alternator) and wiggle the regulator into place?
RotaryBzzz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2008, 10:47 AM   #20
visions1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Navarre Beach, FL
Posts: 13
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330ci
I would recommend pulling the alternator out so you can check the bearings and be sure it is still in good enough condition to use with a new voltage regulator.
visions1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use