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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 12-20-2015, 10:46 PM   #21
vali02
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Low Voltage could affect the fuel pump maybe spark plugs. There is a hidden on board computer menu and you can monitor the voltage with it. Here are some instructions on how to access:
http://www.bmw-driver.net/forum/showthread.php?t=31204

Check your voltage with the car running with the blower on and lights on (to get some load on the car) see what voltage range you get. You can also drive around with it and see if it drops. You should be around 13.8 with that type of load.
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:57 PM   #22
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Would this cause the noise in the video?
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:30 AM   #23
vali02
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The noises sound like your car is possessed with the souls of tortured mermaids. Hehe but seriously...yeah it could be an alternator or something wrong with the pulley/belt system. If you check your voltage you'll be able to determine if the alternator is putting out enough volts. It could also be some bad corroded electrical connection somewhere causing low voltage to the battery. Check your voltage like I said before and report back.
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:48 AM   #24
Mango
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You can't buy a 14+ year old German car (or any car for that matter) and expect it to be problem-free. I will tell you right now with my vast experience with these cars inside and out you will have HEAPS AND HEAPS AND HEAPS of problems if you just drive it off the used car lot without completely rebuilding the car. Good news is I've created a list of parts. All you have to do is buy some tools and read my thread.

View the maintenance link in my signature. It contains a complete parts list. Do it. View all the other links. Do them as well. You'll have to spend about $3,000 in order to get the car into decent roadworthy running shape. It'll be reliable and handle well.

Also see here:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=960780

Follow the links in my sig and you'll never experience another problem in your entire lifetime.

Last edited by Mango; 12-21-2015 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:25 PM   #25
tbarb13
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So go to start the car today and something weird happened. It started strong but still had that noise. Then it rumbled a couple of times as if it was idling rough, but then it idled perfectly fine. I drove about a mile to autozone scared it was going to break down again, but it didn't. No problem either. I tried to get my battery and alternator checked but they said their machine was broken and I'd have to go to another store a few miles away. I thought it was too risky so I decided to drive around my street a couple times so if I break down it would be close to home. I also noticed the check engine light was still on from last night and the p0171 code came back on. I went home and cleared the codes. And drive it some more. Well nothing happened it still ran fine. No codes, at all after driving a few miles. I even took it over that bridge that killed it yesterday. It made it over and back twice with no problems at all.

So I go to the other autozone to get the check and they say the battery is a bit under charged but is fine along with the alternator. Then the noise goes away. It kind of faded away the entire time I was driving but was completely gone after 10 minutes of driving. Checked the codes again and there was still nothing. So after a little more driving, I decide to take it on the freeway to really test it. I'm pushing it to 70 and 80mph and its running GREAT. No problem at all.

I get home and turn the car off and in the midst of typing this my battery dies again. Only thing that should be drawing power is my phone charging, the radio, and my seat warmer turned all the way up. I drove around for about 15 miles/20 minutes so I thought it would have been charged. I'm not sure what all this means but I suspect the pulley, tensioner, or serpentine belt (belt is pretty bad from the looks of it) because of the noise. I read somewhere that one of these things going wrong could cause the alternator to not output strong enough voltage to charge the battery. Is this correct? Would this cause this noise and battery problem?
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:31 PM   #26
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Man that is one dirty engine bay. I would recommend a rag and some simple green to clean things up a bit. I would say that noise in that video is one of the belts or pulley. I would recommend just changing every single belt and pulley and if the noise doesn't go away, you have at least greatly increased the reliability of your car. I would also change all the vacuum lines as they are probably pretty dry rotted. Having a decent amount of unmetered air entire the engine can cause the problems you are experiencing. Was the engine that dirty when you bought the car? That can be a huge sign that the car wasn't properly maintained by the previous owner but lucky for this e46, the new owner seems ready and willing to get it up to date.
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:38 PM   #27
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There are various things that could be wrong with your car, and there could also be multiple things wrong. It could be a bad bearing on your alternator causing the belt to slip on it and not actually spin it properly, or it could be a bad electrical connection between battery and alternator. Today when you drove it you had your lights off I'm assuming. This would reduce the load on the electrical system and the problem might not be as apparent. I would start by checking the voltage on the OBC since its SUPER simple:

Second you should take the belt off and make sure all the pulleys especially the alternator spin freely and don't have play in them.
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:48 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vali02 View Post
There are various things that could be wrong with your car, and there could also be multiple things wrong. It could be a bad bearing on your alternator causing the belt to slip on it and not actually spin it properly, or it could be a bad electrical connection between battery and alternator. Today when you drove it you had your lights off I'm assuming. This would reduce the load on the electrical system and the problem might not be as apparent. I would start by checking the voltage on the OBC since its SUPER simple:

Second you should take the belt off and make sure all the pulleys especially the alternator spin freely and don't have play in them.
I didnt have the lights on earlier, but I just did and it ran the same, althiugh I could hear the engine change in idle whrn I turned them on. Just did the test. Mine was in the same range too, 12.1 off and 13.5-9 running. Was it ever confirmed that it should be at 14.7?
Also my fan isn't turning on now. I'm pretty sure it was on earlier. Now I can only change the settings in the display. The fan itself won't turn on.
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:54 PM   #29
vali02
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Your voltage is a little low but I don't think its low enough to cause the problems you are having. It might be a bad connection between battery and alternator. The car uses the battery as an energy storage for when the load changes quickly. Also you seem like you're having battery charging issues. You should check the main grounding points for corosion and clean them. You should also inspect the red battery cable that goes from battery to the engine compartment to make sure its good.
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:54 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by yamman93 View Post
Man that is one dirty engine bay. I would recommend a rag and some simple green to clean things up a bit. I would say that noise in that video is one of the belts or pulley. I would recommend just changing every single belt and pulley and if the noise doesn't go away, you have at least greatly increased the reliability of your car. I would also change all the vacuum lines as they are probably pretty dry rotted. Having a decent amount of unmetered air entire the engine can cause the problems you are experiencing. Was the engine that dirty when you bought the car? That can be a huge sign that the car wasn't properly maintained by the previous owner but lucky for this e46, the new owner seems ready and willing to get it up to date.
Yeah the engine was that dirty when I bought it. Although you should see it now! I plan on changing all the belts and pulleys but I can't figure out how many there are. Autozone sells 1 tensioner, 1 pulley, and one belt but I'm finding drive belt kits on eBay with 2 tensioners, 2 tensioners, and one pulley. The eBay ones say the extra pulley is for cars with mechanical type tensioners. How can I tell which one I have?
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Old 12-21-2015, 05:00 PM   #31
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Both the ground on the battery and the positive found in the engine bay look clean to me. I can't find the negative one though.
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Old 12-21-2015, 05:05 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by tbarb13 View Post
Yeah the engine was that dirty when I bought it. Although you should see it now! I plan on changing all the belts and pulleys but I can't figure out how many there are. Autozone sells 1 tensioner, 1 pulley, and one belt but I'm finding drive belt kits on eBay with 2 tensioners, 2 tensioners, and one pulley. The eBay ones say the extra pulley is for cars with mechanical type tensioners. How can I tell which one I have?

I would personally stray away from eBay kits and head over to fcp euro and purchase their pulley and belt kit. That way you know you are getting quality parts with a lifetime warranty. If you buy your pulleys and tensioners from eBay you can't be sure that you are getting a quality part. I'm sure someone on the forum will correct me if I am wrong and please correct me, but I believe you car would have the mechanical tensioners
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Old 12-21-2015, 05:22 PM   #33
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I didnt have the lights on earlier, but I just did and it ran the same, althiugh I could hear the engine change in idle whrn I turned them on. Just did the test. Mine was in the same range too, 12.1 off and 13.5-9 running. Was it ever confirmed that it should be at 14.7?

Also my fan isn't turning on now. I'm pretty sure it was on earlier. Now I can only change the settings in the display. The fan itself won't turn on.

And with your fan not turning on that could be the final stage resistor and that also cause a parasitic draw on the battery but it won't be a big enough draw to drain the battery in 15 minutes
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:53 PM   #34
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I changed my spark plugs last week and at the first start my baby was going into convulsions haha, I made sure I sat the coils on the spark plugs correctly, I'm not sure if they all have to be centered on a certain way but I tried to align them equally and after a couple wiggles and starts it idled correctly, than it was all good till I started driving to work minutes later and my expansion tank busted haha, oh man it was terrible but I fixed it the next day. Did u figure anything out yet?

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Old 12-21-2015, 07:00 PM   #35
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Some eBay sellers will offer a few years of warranty on parts. I've bought from there before. Even rebuilt an entire 07 Aveo engine from there. I only buy parts from eBay when they offer a warranty and I don't need the part immediately. At that point I usually run over to an auto parts store. I still don't know the parts I need. Can someone give me a list of all the belts and pulleys I need? I can't tell if I have a mechanical operated one or not?
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Old 12-21-2015, 07:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by e46zhp84 View Post
I changed my spark plugs last week and at the first start my baby was going into convulsions haha, I made sure I sat the coils on the spark plugs correctly, I'm not sure if they all have to be centered on a certain way but I tried to align them equally and after a couple wiggles and starts it idled correctly, than it was all good till I started driving to work minutes later and my expansion tank busted haha, oh man it was terrible but I fixed it the next day. Did u figure anything out yet?

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I did reseat the could when u was checking the cylinders for oil leaks and it worked after that. It is driving right so far. Although I'm still having the noise problem on the first 10 minutes of a child start. I'm going to replace my drive system and see what happens.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:16 PM   #37
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Forgot to tell you guys I fixed the battery drain and squealing problem. I changed both serpentine belts and when I went to check all the pulleys I found that the idler pulley was locked up. Wouldn't budge at all. Changed that out and no noise. I think the problem was the idler wasn't turning and causing the alternator not to move fast enough to fully charge the battery. Runs great now though. No noises, no codes, no problems. Thanks for all your help.
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Old 12-27-2015, 10:06 PM   #38
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Alternator is easy to test for - what voltage is battery at before you
Start the car and what voltage does it read at idle - should be 12-12.6 Off ang 13.5-14 or so At idle - Then turn load on (high beams) and see what it drops to - should still be over 13.5
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