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      02-15-2020, 03:07 PM   #1
WAKman
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Well it finally happened . . .

At exactly 111,339 miles, my car left me stranded for the first time in our 3 years and 40K miles together. About five minutes into my commute, the car threw an ABS failure warning light. A few seconds later, the check engine light illuminated, followed in short order by a "reduced engine power" warning message. I limped the car into a parking lot just as it died for good.

My hypothesis was alternator failure, and, after doing a bit of research on these interwebs, I felt confident enough to order a rebuilt one, figuring the current one is old enough to need replacing anyway. Cost was $182 plus a $55 core charge, so the risk seemed small.

That evening, I returned with AAA to have it towed home. As I expected, the car started and ran fine, thought the check engine light remained on. This was consistent with my alternator theory--the alternator failed, and the car ran on the battery until the voltage dropped too low and shut everything off. Letting the battery rest for a couple hours gave it enough pop to get things going again. I drove it onto the flatbed truck and we took it home.

The alternator arrived two days later, and I installed it with only the normal amount of arterial bleeding and cursing. Hold breath, push the button and . . . Baby fired right up! Cleared the codes with my Bosch code reader, and she was good as new.

The car is of an age where these things are to be expected, but it remains my favorite car ever (I've owned 58 cars in my 64 years). Typically, I tire of cars long before I've driven them 40,000 miles, but this one still gives me a thrill every time I light that incredible motor off. It has all the tech I'd ever want, and none of the new tech I don't, it's faster than it needs to be, it handles like a dream, and it's beautiful.

All is forgiven, is what I'm trying to say.
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Last edited by WAKman; 02-15-2020 at 09:35 PM..
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      02-15-2020, 03:31 PM   #2
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Glad it was a simple fix! You ordered a rebuilt OEM unit? I couldn't find them for that cheap! Even a valeo unit was $350?!

What code did your Bosch reader pull?
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      02-15-2020, 03:39 PM   #3
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Phew, I'm glad the story had a happy ending. I thought I was opening up another RB thread. Glad it was just a hiccup and nothing catastrophic. Hope you have many more miles of enjoyment!
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      02-15-2020, 03:49 PM   #4
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I wonder how difficult the replacement will be. My car has 174k on original alternator.

Now Iím a little worried. Iíve done everything and more to get my car ready for summer. But alternator was NOT one of the parts Iíve replaced.
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      02-15-2020, 04:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpower603 View Post
I wonder how difficult the replacement will be. My car has 174k on original alternator.

Now I’m a little worried. I’ve done everything and more to get my car ready for summer. But alternator was NOT one of the parts I’ve replaced.
A few DIYer threads on the web. Looks pretty straight forward
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      02-15-2020, 04:45 PM   #6
RedScytheM3
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I love this post and love how this site serves as a reference for us all
This exact thing happened to me back in August. I replaced the alternator and have not had another issue in the 4K miles since the replacement. Mine is just about to hit 113,000 miles. Cheers to the fix and cheers to saving a boat load of money with a DIY, and cheers the blood lost with this stinking repair!
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      02-15-2020, 07:21 PM   #7
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Thanks, all. The alternator was from O'Reilly's special, built who-knows-where, but probably worth the risk. The best price I could find on an OEM part was over $700. No thanks. An alternator is pretty hard to screw up.

I did the rod bearings when I first bought the car in 2017. I'd be really sad if it was a rod bearing problem!
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      02-15-2020, 07:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WAKman View Post
Thanks, all. The alternator was from O'Reilly's special, built who-knows-where, but probably worth the risk. The best price I could find on an OEM part was over $700. No thanks. An alternator is pretty hard to screw up.

I did the rod bearings when I first bought the car in 2017. I'd be really sad if it was a rod bearing problem!
It's probably a valeo? I figure if I get a replacement it can be from FCP so I get the lifetime warranty
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      02-15-2020, 08:53 PM   #9
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Whatever genuine BMW uses. Is what I would stick with.

My BMW ADP professor/ BMW trackside engineer told me he bought an aftermarket alternator for his e39. The cars wiring harness needed to be pieced in, and repaired in many places. Due to incorrect current/ voltage of an aftermarket alternator.

I will never buy anything buy Genuine BMW. Or whichever bmw uses. Valeo?
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      02-16-2020, 01:37 AM   #10
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Think I got to around 150,000 and this happened.
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