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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 04-11-2011, 02:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KC
Posts: 19
My Ride: 325i E46
Alternator ---DIY??

Alright the other day my 02 325i,car's battery light turned on and soon after ALL my other lights on the dash turned on and my car died... even with a jump start the car would die shortly after every 10 mins or so...

so i replaced the battery and was happy it worked fine BUT, the battery light is STILL on... so i came to a conclusion its my alternator - Autozone checked it was 11.6 and only 30 amp..

i searched everywhere and CANNOT find a good DIY, but what are the chances it IS the Alternator and maybe its jsut the leads or wiring??
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:54 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 2
My Ride: 2001 325i
More than likely it is the alternator, I had this happen to me as well 3 months ago, googled a repair and it was fairly straightforward. You will need a 32mm open end wrench or buy the one on EBAY that has the fan clutch tool holder, makes the job easier. It will be a PITA, but keep going at it, you will get it, I bought AutoZone alternator and it is still running, you should not what model your alternator is Valeo or other brand. You will be removing the fan, fan shroud, air filter box and hose, loosening the belt on alternator, and from bottom the engine cover protector, a hose connecting to your alternator, and most important, undue your battery cables first off. Once you get access, you will have a few bolts, the hardest part is removing the old pulley, that was a two man job for me, I had limited tools at the time, but a Vise Grip and socket and the help of a friend got me through it. Re-Install is backwards and make sure all connections on rear of alternator go on, and careful re-installing fan and shroud, this was a slow process, but be easy and you will get it done, good luck and ciao.

P.S. This is my first post, but I spent numerous times searching this database, there are others who probably posted better solutions, look to them first, also if you need more help, try google or even youtube, I know they suck at first, but they got me through it on the fly. If you don't have the fan clutch tool holder, you will be smacking the fan clutch nut with a 32mm wrench with a sledgehammer, remember, it is reverse threaded on, don't be gentle, gotta swing for the fences with brute force, it will release, other than that Good Luck, Total Time - approx. 5 hrs. for a Novice with limited tools.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:03 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 2,123
My Ride: makes my pants tight
^ not a horrible first post!

A few notes:

It could just be your Voltage Regulator that exist in your alternator. For example: My alternator was $509, my VR would have been $150. It is much more common for the VR to fail way before the actual alternator goes.

Regarding the DIY, it really isn't bad. You don't need any special "Fan clutch holder" tool like DMCCJR ^ mentioned UNLESS you have an automatic.

Here is one for a M3, same basic concept: http://m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=262643

Another but without pictures sadly: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=317872

Some info about how to get to the VR if interested: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=583423

Keep in mind, they say you must ONLY connect a new alternator to a FULLY charged battery....not 100% sure on the reasoning to be honest, but I would heed the warning.
2004 325CI - 2003 3.0 Z4 - 1994 325i - 1967 1602 - 2008 328XI - 2009 135i - 2007 Jeep Wrangler - 2014 *Loading*
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:03 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 2
My Ride: 2001 325i
Jake is correct, unless your E46 is an automatic you don't need the tool holder, I happen to drive an auto so I threw out the best fix, and those other threads are more detailed and will help you out, take pics if necessary so you know how to put things back together if you are unsure, this helps when you are in a jam, but I do stress, do the research and read, read, read, it is better to know than to second guess yourself if you don't have access to this site when fixing your ride, ciao and good luck. And thanks Jake for not being to harsh, guys like you have added a positive experience when it comes to tackling DIY projects and emergency fixes, I can't thank all those enough who are dedicated to post great solutions and experiences for those with limited time, budgets, and technical experience.

Dave C.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:23 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Farmington, MI
Posts: 84
My Ride: 2001 330ci 5MT

I could relate to this topic very much, the same thing happened to me about 30 mins ago I quickly researched the following.


hope this helps
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