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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!

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Old 05-21-2012, 03:46 PM   #101
Chris3Duke
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If you build the little tool I mentioned in another thread (24 mm socket, 10x50mm bolt, and a couple of washers), taking off the alternator is an absolute snap. Takes like 2 minutes, and the same thing for putting it back on.

All these people using crowbars, pick axes, and mallets to remove and replace alternators... I've got to believe this is way easier than trying to replace the VR while it's still on the car...
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:18 AM   #102
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BMW 12317515319 / Bosch W0133-1665703

Quote:
Originally Posted by acon View Post
My main issue is that my alt has the vr with the oval connector instead of the rectangular connector as listed so after buying the rectangular one on Pelican I had to return it...
Same here. Seems some E46 models built in 2003 have a 120-amp alternator more commonly associated with the Z4, making it rather difficult to find the relevant VR. If your alternator has the oval electrical connector/plug noted above on the rear of the alt., then you need the VR with BMW part number 12317515319. That number is not easy to come by and it doesn't cross-reference to the E46. Make a note of it if you have the relevant alternator.


EDIT July 2014: the oval VR is available as both a Genuine BMW part and I saw it for much less on amazon using the Bosch part number W0133-1665703.



Last edited by aurelius; 07-29-2014 at 11:24 AM. Reason: updated info
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:37 AM   #103
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I am just about to attempt this on a 2002 325Ci, does anyone know if this car has the bosch or the valeo? Also I was looking at the regulator on partsgeek and it shows 2 different regulators that appear to be the same thing, does anyone know the difference between the top 2

http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/200...regulator.html

I get about 11V while the car is running, and about 9V when the car is off, but the battery is dead. No noise from the alternator, so I'm pretty sure it is just the regulator.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:50 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris3Duke View Post
If you build the little tool I mentioned in another thread (24 mm socket, 10x50mm bolt, and a couple of washers), taking off the alternator is an absolute snap. Takes like 2 minutes, and the same thing for putting it back on.

All these people using crowbars, pick axes, and mallets to remove and replace alternators... I've got to believe this is way easier than trying to replace the VR while it's still on the car...
Chris: Please forward the thread you speak to regarding the "little tool".
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:57 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yemff View Post
I am just about to attempt this on a 2002 325Ci, does anyone know if this car has the bosch or the valeo? Also I was looking at the regulator on partsgeek and it shows 2 different regulators that appear to be the same thing, does anyone know the difference between the top 2

http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/200...regulator.html

I get about 11V while the car is running, and about 9V when the car is off, but the battery is dead. No noise from the alternator, so I'm pretty sure it is just the regulator.
When I replaced my voltage regulator in my '02 325ci, in order to find out whether I had the Bosch or Valeo VR, I had to remove the air intake box, as well as unbolt the PS reservoir and put that to the side (it can probably be done without having to worry about the PS reservoir but it made it a little easier and it's two simple bolts so why not). Then, I got my iPhone 4 (thank goodness for the LED flash, I never thought that thing would ever come in handy...) and tried angling it where the VR was (I'd say that this requires some dexterity, and even then, expect a whole lot of trial & error) and by luck, after taking countless photos with my iPhone 4's camera, I was able to find out my VR was a Bosch 120A. You can probably do the same with a small mirror (key word: SMALL) but regardless of which way you choose to find out which VR you have, that's the way I decided to go about with it.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:35 PM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filipinoise View Post
When I replaced my voltage regulator in my '02 325ci, in order to find out whether I had the Bosch or Valeo VR, I had to remove the air intake box, as well as unbolt the PS reservoir and put that to the side (it can probably be done without having to worry about the PS reservoir but it made it a little easier and it's two simple bolts so why not). Then, I got my iPhone 4 (thank goodness for the LED flash, I never thought that thing would ever come in handy...) and tried angling it where the VR was (I'd say that this requires some dexterity, and even then, expect a whole lot of trial & error) and by luck, after taking countless photos with my iPhone 4's camera, I was able to find out my VR was a Bosch 120A. You can probably do the same with a small mirror (key word: SMALL) but regardless of which way you choose to find out which VR you have, that's the way I decided to go about with it.

Hope this helps!

that does help thanks. So was that all you had to remove to replace the regulator? or did you have to remove the fan or anything like that. It seems to be a pretty tight fit in there.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:12 PM   #107
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Ok I just took the regulator out, it was pretty easy. The hardest part was trying to find what size socket to use. Once you get the air box and the power steering reservoir out of the way there is plenty of room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tractioncircle View Post
I just replaced my the voltage regulator Bosch 120A on my 02 325i.
Some information on testing the alternator diode pack (Rectifier) that might be useful to someone diagnosing the alternator.

1.> Once you remove the cover from the alternator, you will see six soldered terminals around the back of the alternator. These are obviously the stator windings ends.
2.> To test if your diodes are ok, you need to put your DMM (multimeter) in the diode test mode ( -|>|- ) symbol.
3.> Touch one DMM lead to the soldered winding end and the other to the long bolt (The alternator output, B1+) terminal. This will either give you '1' or some number (I got 436) that is the voltage drop across the diode in mV. Reverse the leads, the readings should be reverse of what you got earlier. i.e. if you got a '1' before, you will get some number now and vice a versa.
4.> Repeat this test with all the six exposed soldered ends. In each case the the reading should reverse. if you get same reading in both directions, You have a failed diode and your alternator will be putting out AC voltage.
5.> Now repeat this test with the smaller bolt coming out of the alternator.
6.> Again repeat this test between the alternator body (ground) and the winding ends. You should get the same results. Same reading in both directions from step 4,5,6 indicating a failed diode inside.

DO NOT DO THIS WITH THE CAR RUNNING. DISCONNECT THE BATTERY +ve while doing this.

This will tell you if you can get away with just changing the regulator or not.


Thanks Again!
Can anyone clarify this? Especially what the stator winding ends are, I dont see 6 of anything on the back of the alternator, here are the best pictures I could find if someone can point out these winding ends to me

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=635777

Last edited by yemff; 07-10-2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:31 PM   #108
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Maybe some of you want to save even more! I have been reading a lot, and the price is just too much for a penny pincher like me. My car sometimes will charge for just a second if I rev the engine. So I do think that it could just be the brushes in the Alternator. I see that you may be looking for the brushes! So I'll not only include the link to buy them from, but also a PERFECT video tutorial by this guy who sells them. Please buy those one's as I believe they are being sold by the video man himself. Very professional, and it's because of him that I'm writing this post.


THE VIDEO ^
http://www.ebay.ie/itm/150797624638?...T&_trksid=p398
THE BRUSHES ^
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:38 PM   #109
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Thanks E46 Fanatics! and adding my E46 Alternator Repair Comments

Thanks for the posts about alternator repair. It was a huge help to me! I thought I would return the favor and post my experience.

I have a 2003 330CIC. I had just replaced the battery and the dash light indicating "no charge" came on. After checking the E46 Fanatic posts, I figured either the alternator or volatage regulator was crapped out. Checking the battery with the car running indicated ~11.5 VDC....nothing at all was coming from the alternator!

I followed the other posts guidance and had the alternator out in no time. I do think it is easier to pull the fan assembly, both belts, air cleaner box, and leave the power steering reservoir in place. The only real headache was the bottom bolt with the "sliding nut" that was very frozen in place. You can see this nut in the pix (a captured rusty look nut). A pry bar was needed to free it. Be sure before re-assembly to tap this nut out a little with a piece of brass or something so as to gain some clearance when putting the alternator back in place.

Anyway, after getting the alternator out, the bearings sounded fine when hand spinning and the collector rings looked OK (not great but OK)...see pix. The alternator also passed the "smell test". If the windings get hot, the varnish burns off and has a distinct "electrical" smell.

A quick check of the diodes indicated they were fine. Although not comprehensive, you can check them with the diode setting on your DVM. Remember there are two sets of diodes (forming the full wave rectifier), see my crude drawing also in the pix. Three diodes are between the common ring to ground and the other three are between the common ring and the battery. The common ring is the "bent piece of heavy wire" connecting all the diode pins. All (when forward biased) are facing the battery. Again, with your DVM set on "diode check", check across the common ring and the diode, when forward biased they should be reading ~.4 VDC and when reversed biased they should read "open" or "OL". Change the bias by changing the position of your test leads. Red to black, forward biased and vice versa. Again, see pix.

If the bearings look good and the diodes check out, it is likely the VR. I ordered mine from Autohausaz.com for $42 and some change (Bosch OEM). Even after shipping, I was under $50!

After getting everything back together, I had 13.4 VDC on the battery when running. Life was good and the beemer was back on the road.

Again, thanks to all that posted and I hope mine will help someone a little!
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:45 AM   #110
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H all, wife has a 2002 valventronic e46 96000km on it, got red battery symbol on/off in the space of 3 days, one afternoon car wouldn't start at all.

Got a jump start & drove fine, NO red symbol, next a.m started fine again NO batt.symbol, but being blinded by everyone its the battery its the battery and not reading posts here we got a new battery....

After new battery red symbol came on, revved up engine and it went away and we drove on monitoring it, few hours later it would come on every 200-300 meters.

So we decided to take to mechanic same day on the way there NO red batt light came on...!

Mechanic could see via his OBD diag too that at the time we had red batt symbol even with new battery about a 10v charge was coming off alternator.


He has replaced the regulator and the spinning part he called the clutch that had some play it it up and downwards and a wheel that was making squeaking noises (sorry poor nomenclature, not idea what technical names are)....and will see how it goes

But what are the other parts that can go wrong?, can the the actual core of the alternator cause this erratic issue, and I swear about a year ago when we Batt.symbol was again on and off and then had the EML light come on , and eventually car went into limo mode 2 times, we got crankshaft and camshaft sensors, ignition coils, sparks and engine flush and oil change, ccv tube replaced we had no issue at all for a year....
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:36 AM   #111
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Sounds like the voltage regulator getting ready to go. My car had similar intermittent battery light until I accelerated hard one day and it stayed on. Luckily I was close to home. If mechanic replaced the regulator you should be ok. You probably won't see a battery light again.

Only other thing to check would be to make sure the ground and battery cables are tight. Mechanic likely did this though.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:10 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixracer View Post
Sounds like the voltage regulator getting ready to go. My car had similar intermittent battery light until I accelerated hard one day and it stayed on. Luckily I was close to home. If mechanic replaced the regulator you should be ok. You probably won't see a battery light again.

Only other thing to check would be to make sure the ground and battery cables are tight. Mechanic likely did this though.
six racer thanks we had the regulator replaced and all so far after a day, but he gave me the old regulator and the box of the new one, and the part numbers don't tally! basically the old one stamped F 00M 145 285 that cross refs with part number 12317523059 on the realoem site looks like it is for use with 120/140a alternators but correct me if i am wrong please anyone as I am not sure I am reading the realoem table correct

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...48&hg=12&fg=22

BUT the one he replaced it with is for use on a 150a alternator
Voltage regulator 150A 1 04/2002 part number 12317540656
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:29 AM   #113
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If he got the regulator into your alt, you're fine, I'm sure. I'm not an electrical engineer, but I suspect this part is pretty generic.

Use your cluster test (see youtube vid by SolidJake) and see what voltage you're getting with car off and on...should be around 12.2-5V when off and around 14v when on.

HTH
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:55 AM   #114
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:15 AM   #115
omodos
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6racer and dmax all seems fine so far and part fitted fine, will also do the cluster test and see, but the realoem site really threw me......with regards to parts perhaps being super ceded with another part number, anyway have added chart again just to make sure what I had before and what i have now wont burn my car to an ash, also dmax can i use a good old fashioned digital multimeter across the battery terminals to check the volts rather than fiddle around to find the obc settings for it....?
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:22 PM   #116
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Updated the first post with the nut sizes.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:43 AM   #117
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update to post #102 above

Tried to edit my post above (#102) but apparently it's too old to edit.

If you have the oval-shaped electrical connector on your voltage regulator, the BMW p/n for the VR is 12317515319 and the Bosch p/n for the VR is W0133-1665703.

The alternator in question, although installed in some E46 models, is in BMW parts documentation as the alternator for E85 and E60 models with the M54 motor.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:12 AM   #118
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In most cases it is not the VR that is actually bad, but that the brushes wear down and no longer make a pressured connection to the alternator. Unfortunately the brushes come integral to the VR. If you have a Honda, you can replace just the brushes for $10 and be on your way.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:15 PM   #119
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In my case, the original VR did not appear to have worn brushes. Or at least they were not unevenly worn as some have experienced. Unfortunately, my interior lights still flicker at idle and the radio cuts out at very low RPM, as when engaging 1st gear at parking speeds. But the alternator has to come out to replace the OFHG (oil filter housing gasket) so I guess I'll do something more with it at that point. Suggestions welcome.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:14 PM   #120
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First time poster on this blog - have used bimmerfest before. Wanted to thank various other posters for helping me solve my charging system problem on my 2002 325 ci and share some lessons learned. History - battery went dead suddenly - was almost 6 years old and aftermarket so thought first step was just to replace the battery. After replacing battery the fun started. After cranking up, the battery indicator came on along with headlight out indicator and the transmission reset to factory default light and the car would only run in "limp mode" . searching the web found someone who had similar problem due to their voltage regulator putting out to much voltage. Found a great Youtube video how to display the voltage output on the dashboard and sure enough I was getting 15 to 17 volts - way high (). Using this post I was able to replace the voltage rgulator using a $39 peilican replacement (Boscch 120 amp)- the dealer wanted $260. It was pretty easy to replace the VR without removing the alternator - the only issue I had was that I was not able to pry the plastic cap/thread protector off the positive lead terminal as another poster suggested. I finally just put a socket (17mm?)on the plactic cap and the nut came off with it. I did make frequent use of a basic telescoping mirror - but it really wasn't to hard. Had to take most of the air box connecting hose off and move the power steering resevoir around several times. After putting it back together I did end up having to replace the high beam ligths which the excess voltage had taken out -figured this out pretty quickly thanks to another post on this forum. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=459428. anyway appreciate all the posters and pictures._nr_
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