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      03-22-2020, 02:12 PM   #1
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Drives: 328xi (2008)
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Chicago IL

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Starting Issues: Battery, Alternator or Electrical?

328XI 2008, purchased new, so almost 11yrs old. I know this is long, but I hoped someone has time to read and maybe help me out. Got a new battery 2wks ago, but still having problems. AAA guy suggests alternator or wiring/electrical, but can't say for sure.

Car wouldn't start today and had this repetitive clicking noise near the glove box and the hazard light was dimly blinking in unison with the clicks. Not other lights on. In my stupidity, I figured it may crank if I actually put the key fob in, key fob got stuck. If I held down the start button the clicking would change to a buzzing noise.

AAA technician jumped it with no problem, but his machine connecting to is phone, or however they do it now, so he could not get a voltage reading. Also, the screen on the machine with the lever that that goes from yellow to green (the name escapes me) would not budge. After several tries and call to a supervisor, he said that it must an electrical issue with my car. He then checked the alternator and the lever did move all the way to red, he still could not get a voltage reading. He said this suggests it could be the Alternator, but he couldn't say for sure because the issues. Before he left, I was able to turn the car off, get the key fob out and start it again. I have it running right now to charge the battery. I've never had a problem with it cranking or staring until about 3 weeks ago.

I came outside and the car wouldn't crank, dash lights were flickering, figured it was the battery, had it jumped. Drove it for another 2 weeks before it happened it again, jumped it and had the battery checked at O'Reilly. They said said it was definitely NOT the battery, but may be the alternator. He could not, however, test the alternator because his diagnostic tool battery died at that moment. Went to Auto Zone. They said the alternator was fine, but the battery needed to be replace. This made more sense, because I haven't had a new battery since 2015. I got a new battery installed. This was last Monday.

A few days prior to the first time the car didn't crank, my trunk stopped opening. The latch, nor key fob, would open it. Didn't making a clicking noise to suggest it was even trying. But, after getting the battery, it immediately began working again. Then a fews days later, the trunk stopped opening again. Still won't open.

The car didn't shut off again until today, but last week my check engine light came on. Took it to my mechanic to check it out and get an oil change, he performed a diagnostic and gave me sheet of paper with a laundry lists of things wrong with the car (For example, my water pump is starting to fail). The Battery, Alternator and Starter were not on this list. He also did not make mention any problem with these components. He said the majority of the issues were due to age and normal wear an tear. He advised that I not put anymore money into the car and start looking for a new one. In the meantime, he said it's okay to drive, unless the car starts over-heating because of the water-pump. He also said the trunk is due to a wiring issue.

So, I guess I've narrowed it down to an alternator problem, wiring/electrical problem or both. But I"m confused as to why the alternator didn't show on the diagnostic. Am I going down the right road on this? Have anyone had any problems like this or possible problems that I may not be considering? Any suggestions would help.

I have to go check on my parents right now, so we'll see if it cranks when I leave their house.
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      03-22-2020, 02:55 PM   #2
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Drives: 2011 E90 M3 LeMans Blue
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: NYC

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This section is for M3 models, not 328. If it's the same, the code on an E9x M3 for a failing alternator is 278D. I would ask your mechanic for the actual codes or borrow an OBDII reader from AutoZone and check yourself. I changed it out myself on my car, but I don't know if it's the same as your 328 or how comfortable you are doing the work. At the very least, order the OEM equivalent alternator by Valeo from a reputable internet parts store and pay well less than the Sam thing with a BMW sticker.
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      03-22-2020, 03:38 PM   #3

Drives: e90 m3
Join Date: May 2016
Location: 3rdCoast

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You might get a better response outside the M3 forum. Try this man. Good luck!
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