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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 08-07-2011, 01:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: oklahoma
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2004 325i
Charging Problems after tail light ground wire fix

So yesterday I did the tail light ground wire fix on my 2004 325i Automatic. The passenger side was melted pretty good. I attached aq 14 gauge wire with a box connector to the brown wires and the to the tail light bus ground with a female connector.

This did the trick, the rear "bad" tail light indicator went away.

But about 5 minutes after driving the battery light came on. within 20 minutes all the warning lights came on and I got stranded (14) mile from an autozone that sold me a new battery for $155 (wish 'd seen the threads on the acceptable substitue but too late now).

So new battery in and it fires right up. had the saleman do a altenator check and it passed. but before i got out of the parking lot the light was back on. saleman checked again and the batt had drained 63%.

They recharged it and I brought it home to troubleshoot. (batt light mostly on the whole way)

I undid my tail light fix and checked my voltage. 12.56V with car off, 13.88Airport Management with car running and no batt light on, 13.7V with high beams and a/c on with no batt light,

After about 2 - 10 minutes the voltage goes down to 12v and starts draining the battery

My question is - did adding that ground make my voltage regulater malfunction?

Do voltage regulaters do this when theyre going bad?

It has to be more than a coincidense right?

Much thats to any help.
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: oklahoma
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2004 325i
dont everybody answer at once lol
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 781
My Ride: 2003 ZHP 6MT
Make sure you grounded it to the right spade plug on the taillight unit. When I added my grounds, there were two spade connectors and the first time I connected the new ground wire to the wrong one. You can follow the metal traces from the spades to see which connects to the ground pin in the socket and which connects to the rest of the tail lights.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:08 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: oklahoma
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2004 325i
THE FIX - I had an after market warranty - so i took it down to Bavarian Autohaus here in Norman, OK. Great Group of guys there.

Warranty covered a new Bosch 120A alternator. now she's working like a charm.

I just went ahead and cut the ground cable going through the plug itself on the tail lights and just used the 14 gauge wire straight to the tab on the assembly.

So for now, no more SES or brake light indications - those drove me nuts.
dcaldwell is offline   Reply With Quote

alternator, tail light, voltage regulator

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