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Old 09-19-2010, 02:40 PM   #1
CRSmoak
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Alternator or Voltage Regulator?

Hey guys,

So for the past two days the red battery light keeps coming on and off, mostly on though.

I checked the battery terminals and they seem good... nice, clean and tight.
The alternator pulley seems to be rotating smoothly as well.

I used the dashboard to get the voltage readings and I'm getting...
12.5v with the car off and 14.1v with the car on though it did take 2-3 minutes to get to 14.1v. When I rev the engine it drops to about 13v... when I rev the red battery light comes on as well.

So I'm guessing I need either a new voltage regulator or a new alternator but I'm not sure which one, can anyone help me out?
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:28 PM   #2
Fijian
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alternator
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:54 PM   #3
CRSmoak
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Alright well based on post #46 here http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...=583423&page=3

I'm gonna go ahead and try just replacing the voltage regulator first.
The problem is I can't find a replacement

Here's whats written on my voltage regulator...
Bosch
1 197 311 577
BR15-9 14V
0 272 220 213

Here's whats written on my alternator/duct shield...
Bosch 120
0 123 515 022
NC -> 14V 70-120A

And here's the closest I could find...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Bosch...s#ht_565wt_831
Besides here, http://www.woodys-auto-supply.com/mo...BOS-1197311557
And for $230, no thanks

The ebay one looks exactly the same but my problem is that it says 12v in the ebay description where as on mine it says BR15-9 14v, the last bit of which I'm guessing means 14v as in not 12v. Basically I just need someone to tell me what to buy and where
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:00 PM   #4
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I'm gonna go ahead a keep updating this thread for others who may run across it.

Anyway, I went ahead and ordered the voltage regulator from ebay, was $50...
Bosch #0123315013/-022, #0123515002/-004/-007/-010/-023/-025/ & -030

Here's a photo of the old VR...


And here're two with the new and old one side by side...



Needless to say I'm guessing it's probably just the voltage regulator and not the entire alternator that was causing the, "problem."

My alternator belt tensioner bolt actually broke on me though, so I'm gonna wait for the new one to arrive before starting it up again. Will post results then.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:20 PM   #5
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nice job OP. 99% of the time, if the bearings are OK, the VR is to blame for our alternator failures. I have fixed about 10 air-cooled BMW alternators by just replacing the VR, but I always bought them at the dealership. most people come to me after getting smacked with a quote from the dealership for about $1000 to replace the alternator with a BMW reman'd unit. Hopefully the aftermarket Bosch VR's are good. I'll be curious to see how your repair goes.
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Cheat Sheet:

GT1/ISIS/MoDiC = Factory authorized diagnostic system used by BMW dealerships across the world.

NCS Expert = BMW Factory R&D programming tool available on the internet (not intended for the public and not available to the dealership network)

OEM = Genuine BMW part only available from a franchised BMW dealership.

DME = Engine Management Computer

Last edited by iansanderson; 09-25-2010 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by iansanderson View Post
nice job OP. 99% of the time, if the bearings are OK, the VR is to blame for our alternator failures. I have fixed about 10 air-cooled BMW alternators by just replacing the VR, but I always bought them at the dealership. most people come to me after getting smacked with a quote from the dealership for about $1000 to replace the alternator with a BMW reman'd unit. Hopefully the aftermarket Bosch VR's are good. I'll be curious to see how your repair go es.
Hey thanks man, anyway here are the results...

Replacement belt tensioner bolt came today, ordered from the only place I could find online... http://www.ecstuning.com/Audi-TT_MKI...29427/ES14586/
Alternatively, get it from the dealership.

Bolt details: m8x105 hex bolt
Part number: 07119904532

Car off, the battery read 12.5v like before. Turned car on and unlike before the voltage does not slowly go up to 14.1 but down to 10.1v. Waited five minutes and nothing changed, battery light is on constantly now as well. This was worse than before I had installed the new voltage regulator but I decided to take it around the neighborhood once anyway. First round it goes up to 12.5v, on the second it stayed there. Parked car in garage, checked everything under the hood. Tried again an hour later and it went right up to 14.4v upon starting the engine. Drove it, it holds at around 14.4v consistently now, even under acceleration. So final results are...

No more battery warning lights, under acceleration or otherwise. Voltage holds at around 14.4 on and 12.5 off. So yeah, everything seems to be good.
I'll update if anything changes for the worse.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:26 PM   #7
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glad to see it worked.. never had that happen after putting in a VR. was your battery dead from driving around before you fixed the prob? maybe the new brushes had to set in to the stator
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Cheat Sheet:

GT1/ISIS/MoDiC = Factory authorized diagnostic system used by BMW dealerships across the world.

NCS Expert = BMW Factory R&D programming tool available on the internet (not intended for the public and not available to the dealership network)

OEM = Genuine BMW part only available from a franchised BMW dealership.

DME = Engine Management Computer
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:16 PM   #8
CRSmoak
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glad to see it worked.. never had that happen after putting in a VR. was your battery dead from driving around before you fixed the prob? maybe the new brushes had to set in to the stator
Don't think so. Battery voltage was still reading exactly 12.5v, kept it on a tender as well. Like you, I'm guessing it had something to do with the brushes settling, either way though, it's working good now (14.4v-14.6v).
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:27 PM   #9
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Nice! My car does the same thing...gonna be taking alternator off tomorrow...did you have to remove the fan?
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:58 AM   #10
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Nice! My car does the same thing...gonna be taking alternator off tomorrow...did you have to remove the fan?
Thanks and nope. For me there was enough room that I just left the fan in. Hardest part was simply pulling the alternator out, rubber mallet and some PB Blaster near the mounting points got it done though... but be sure to remove the belt first, and note how the belt goes on as well.

Aligning the alternator during reinstallation was a pain too, again I had to use the rubber mallet to just slowly bang and wedge it into place. Took about 15 mins to finally get it aligned enough to where the mounting bolts would actually go in. Really it's pretty straight forward though, fairly easy DIY in my opinion.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:06 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CRSmoak View Post
Thanks and nope. For me there was enough room that I just left the fan in. Hardest part was simply pulling the alternator out, rubber mallet and some PB Blaster near the mounting points got it done though... but be sure to remove the belt first, and note how the belt goes on as well.

Aligning the alternator during reinstallation was a pain too, again I had to use the rubber mallet to just slowly bang and wedge it into place. Took about 15 mins to finally get it aligned enough to where the mounting bolts would actually go in. Really it's pretty straight forward though, fairly easy DIY in my opinion.
Thanks for the info!!!! Do you have Manual or Auto? and I heard that you can go to any Alternator place and they can get you a new voltage regulator
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TheRusski View Post
Thanks for the info!!!! Do you have Manual or Auto? and I heard that you can go to any Alternator place and they can get you a new voltage regulator
I've got a manual, I don't think there's any difference in removal or installation either way though, but I guess I could be wrong. If you DIY, make sure you buy the right VR for your alternator. I would just take it out and look at the part number, it should be written on the VR somewhere.

I suppose an "alternator place" could have one. Though depending on the model, I'm guessing they might have to order it first as well. For example, I know sometimes in the past when I've asked for parts at the dealership, they would have to order it first. Maybe VRs are considered common parts though, I dunno.



Just some more pics to help others out in the future...
Note that you must first remove the caps to get to the bolts underneath so just pry them off with a knife or something.


1. Bentley manual states to remove the tension on the belt by loosening the this bolt but it's wrong! This is also the bolt I broke.
2. Is what you really use to remove the tension on the belt. You'll need a 8mm Hex socket, I'll post more pictures below...
3. Top alternator mounting bolt. Note that the pulley will come off with the belt.
4. Lower alternator mounting bolt, you can't see it in the picture but it should be there.



Here's the broken bolt and 8mm hex socket you'll need for the tensioner.



Here's what I'm guessing the mechanical belt tensioner looks like. The arrow shows the bolt that will remove the tension. I think it's clockwise to loosen and counter clockwise to tighten.

If anyone wants to correct or add something, feel free to do so.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:41 PM   #13
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Nice job OP. I have a manual and have replaced the regulator twice now. The key the second time was using a battery tender to make sure it had a full charge for the new regulator. The first time I didn't and it wore down the brushes really fast since the alternator was trying to get the battery to a good charge.

Yea for rubber mallets! I used the same technique to get those bolt holes to line up as well as to get the alternator out! The lower mounting point is stubborn...
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:23 PM   #14
Rcjhaus
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Voltage Regulator

Guys, I just had this same issue. I have a 2001 325i with 86k miles. Car wouldnt start, jumped it to get over to replace battery. The next day, with the new battery, the battery light came on and I called the dealer, they told me to bring it by. As I pulled into the dealer the car died. I left it with them for a diagnosis. They called me later in the day to give me an estimate of $925 to replace the alternator. I about crapped. Needless to say I used my AAA to tow it home.

After reading threads on here about possible causes I decided to give the voltage regulator a try, I ordered it online for $47 plus $19 in shipping. I wasnt sure if it would work or if I would have to pull the alternator to get it at it. The part arrived today from www.partsgeek.com

Bosch Voltage Regulator

Your Price: $47.94
Quantity:
Part Number: W0133-1821754
Notes: Bosch : 120 Amp

It took me about an hour to put it on and I didnt have to take the alternator off, I only removed the air filter box. There are two 15mm nuts and a phillips head screw holding the back cover on. The voltage regulator has three phillips head screws holding it on.

Put everything back together and presto, it works perfectly. I put a tester on the battery and had almost 14v right away.

Super easy diy project. Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fijian View Post
alternator
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRSmoak View Post
Air cooled alternators that aren't electronically controlled are pretty simple devices.

If it's making noise, it's probably the bearings. Rebuild/replace.

If it's not making any voltage it's probably the brushes. Replace w/ voltage regulator or solder new brushes onto the old VR.

If the voltage is off the charts, the voltage regulator has likely suffered an internal failure. Replace VR.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:58 AM   #16
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This is the voltage regulator you ordered from EBay?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Bosch...s#ht_565wt_831
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:00 AM   #17
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let your car run, disconnect ground from battery = ANSWER
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:18 PM   #18
TheRusski
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Originally Posted by howie View Post
let your car run, disconnect ground from battery = ANSWER
It still runs on the Alternator but the interior light kinda acting weird...Ive replaced the battery and still have the symptoms...so my next step is the regulator
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