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Old 12-26-2012, 05:55 AM   #1
Ballistic325
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Exclamation SE Qld - need your help!

Guys

as many would know I've made a trip up to Surfers with the family for a holiday. All well so far until I ran into some trouble today...

It looks like my alternator or voltage regulator is on the way out. The battery is only 2 months old and I don't believe the symptoms relate to a faulty battery.

ABS / DSC lights flashing for no reason (stand still on Cavill Ave), headlights dimming and coming back, car almost stalling for no reason, radio and instrument cluster going all haywire..... and me freaking out.

I managed to keep it in neutral and revs up whilst waiting for traffic to move which seemed enough to keep the charge up. Made it back to the hotel at Broadbeach where the unruly beast is sitting in the garage.


I realise that this is the holiday period and I'm in deep need to get this sorted ASAP. Scheduled to drive back on Saturday and obviously holiday plans are on hold to get this fixed.

Can anyone recommend a BMW tech / workshop in the area? Anywhere I can get an alternator repaired or replaced?

Alternatively, if there is a place to get parts and someone's tools and garage I can borrow, I would be very appreciative.

Thanks guys
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Last edited by Ballistic325; 12-26-2012 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:31 AM   #2
DeclanM3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ballistic325 View Post
Guys

as many would know I've made a trip up to Surfers with the family for a holiday. All well so far until I ran into some trouble today...

It looks like my alternator or voltage regulator is on the way out. The battery is only 2 months old and I don't believe the symptoms relate to a faulty battery.

ABS / DSC lights flashing for no reason (stand still on Cavill Ave), headlights dimming and coming back, car almost stalling for no reason, radio and instrument cluster going all haywire..... and me freaking out.

I managed to keep it in neutral and revs up whilst waiting for traffic to move which seemed enough to keep the charge up. Made it back to the hotel at Broadbeach where the unruly beast is sitting in the garage.


I realise that this is the holiday period and I'm in deep need to get this sorted ASAP. Scheduled to drive back on Saturday and obviously holiday plans are on hold to get this fixed.

Can anyone recommend a BMW tech / workshop in the area? Anywhere I can get an alternator repaired or replaced?

Alternatively, if there is a place to get parts and someone's tools and garage I can borrow, I would be very appreciative.

Thanks guys
Recommendations would be to have roadside assistance come and diagnose the issue just in case it is the battery or something as simple as a loose connection.

You'd be hard pressed finding parts and a reputable place to install in 2 days normally. Let alone at this time of year when heaps of wreckers and workshops close.

If it is the alternator then I'd get up first thing and call all the wreckers around SEQ to try and find one that's open and has an alternator.

You're welcome to borrow tools but I'm in Brisbane and don't have an area where you can work on the car. I use my car park but I'm not really allowed to do this so don't feel I can extend the invitation sorry.

Good luck with it!
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:38 AM   #3
Alpine
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I'm also from Brisbane and actually heading down to the Gold Coast tomorrow night. Roadside assistance would be a good start as DeclanM3 has wisely suggested. Sorry I can't offer any more useful help but I hope you manage to get it sorted somehow. Nothing worse than your pride and joy breaking down whilst on holiday!! Good luck.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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Wow Ali sorry to hear man, hope you get it sorted without too much hassle and hope it doesn't ruin your trip. Best of luck.
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
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Eurotune at miami are the guys to see on the gold coast.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:58 PM   #6
Ballistic325
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Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated, especially the offer of tools

I don't have roadside assist but I may get some happening to get through this issue.

I woke up early and checked on the car - connections, cables, wires.... used my scanner to see if there were any issues and none were found. The only errors that were reported are related to low battery voltage (which makes sense) and the battery charge level was constant at 12.5V. So, I am sure that the problem is not the battery but something else.

After checking the car out, I went for a drive to check for issues whilst running and driving and the car was flawless. Has me baffled at the moment and if it is an intermittent problem, it could be harder to diagnose.

All of the BMW service places I have rung this morning are closed except for BMW Southport and I am leaving it as the last option to visit a dealer. I tried Euro Tune and Euro Tec and some others.

Now looking for an auto electrician that is actually open.... any other ideas, keep them coming. I'll post with updates in due course.

Cheers
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:04 PM   #7
Alpine
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Originally Posted by Ballistic325 View Post
After checking the car out, I went for a drive to check for issues whilst running and driving and the car was flawless. Has me baffled at the moment and if it is an intermittent problem, it could be harder to diagnose.
Argh, don't you hate it when that happens! Keen to hear the outcome to your story. Again, good luck!
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:37 PM   #8
DeclanM3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ballistic325 View Post
Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated, especially the offer of tools

I don't have roadside assist but I may get some happening to get through this issue.

I woke up early and checked on the car - connections, cables, wires.... used my scanner to see if there were any issues and none were found. The only errors that were reported are related to low battery voltage (which makes sense) and the battery charge level was constant at 12.5V. So, I am sure that the problem is not the battery but something else.

After checking the car out, I went for a drive to check for issues whilst running and driving and the car was flawless. Has me baffled at the moment and if it is an intermittent problem, it could be harder to diagnose.

All of the BMW service places I have rung this morning are closed except for BMW Southport and I am leaving it as the last option to visit a dealer. I tried Euro Tune and Euro Tec and some others.

Now looking for an auto electrician that is actually open.... any other ideas, keep them coming. I'll post with updates in due course.

Cheers
I'm no expert in this field but if the alternator was shot then wouldn't your battery be drained?

Also, can batteries drop a cell and provide the same voltage but lower amps? Might be a noob question. Like I said, limited knowledge but just trying to help you cover all bases.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:57 PM   #9
Mitch E46
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Get an auto elec to test the terminals on the alternator to see if the alternator is in fact giving out the right volts and amps. I had a bad +ve terminal (I think) in the engine bay which was causing a voltage leak and hence my battery was being drained over a couple of days between jump starts.

I only had dash lights (battery light, ABS, ASC) come on when my battery approached critically low voltage levels.

Good luck Ali.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:45 PM   #10
Ballistic325
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Thank guys for all the feedback and input.

After spending the morning ringing around, I finally found a place that was open and prepared to look at the car. Thanks to Gary and Owen at Coastbay / GC Auto Electrical....

Owen checked out the alternator charge using a multimeter at the battery with the car running, with and without load. The charge dropped rapidly in both cases until the engine was revved - stabilising the voltage and with high revs it actually began charging.

End result - $1k on a new alternator which will hopefully be completed by this afternoon. I'm happy that this happened here rather than the middle of nowhere in Smalltown NSW. On the bright side, I have a new alternator and I am set for at least the next 5 years

Mitch - I had the same symptoms with lights dancing on the dash. We checked the terminals at the front of the car and had the same result.

Dec / MJ80 / Shannon / Alpine and Mitch, thanks very much for the responses and offers, much appreciated.

If any of you are around Surfers over the next couple of days let me know. Would be great to see fanatics (even if briefly) and put faces to names (especially yours Dec!).

Cheers

Ali
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:34 PM   #11
Alpine
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$1,000 for a new alternator??? Is that the going rate for an E46 alternator? I thought they would only be around the $300-$400 mark if anything. Gulp... I hope mine never fails! Didn't realise they would be so expensive. :/

Glad to hear it's being sorted today though. Good work.

I will actually be in Surfers from tonight for a few days...however won't be bringing the 330Ci down. We are using the wife's Honda CR-V for this trip!
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:36 AM   #12
Mitch E46
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Glad you got it fixed Ali.

NRMA auto electricians were charging north of $900 installed for an e46 318i alternator (might only be a reconditioned unit), so $1000 doesn't sound to far off the mark.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:09 AM   #13
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Alpine, I'd say $1K was for the whole testing, supplying and fitting of the alternator, not just the unit itself. I'm sure if you just wanted the unit itself and shopped around, you'd probably find it for a decent price, but then you'd have to fit it yourself.

Ali, great to hear you're all sorted and glad you got it fixed there instead of heading back and something going wrong on the way. Have a safe drive home and catch up with you soon mate.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:14 AM   #14
Ballistic325
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$1k all up - $770 just for the part plus whatever for the fitting, all rounded up to $1k.

Picking it back up tomorrow morning.

Thanks for the well wishes guys.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
Ballistic325
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Picked up the car last week - all is well. Drove back home without any troubles.

No dips in light output or fan speed changes when idling etc so even with the cost of repair I'm happy that everything is alright. Lucky break finding a workshop that was open and had parts during the peak holiday season!
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:38 AM   #16
Pants.On.Fire
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My friend was telling me about her grandma about her 2000 Barina needing a new alternator. She has taken it to Holden Dealer ever since she bought it. $2100.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:15 AM   #17
Ballistic325
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Henry Ford is quoted as saying that for the money he made off parts he could give the cars away for free.
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