Car battery seems to goi flat....316i H reg - BMW Forum -

3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-16-2003, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Hello all,

A first time on the site so hope you can help?!

I have the above about 130k on the clock, runs very well in all areas. However in the past few months if the car is left without being run for a couple of days (sometimes longer) the car just wont start, the dashboard lights come on fine but the car/starter wont turn. I then had a relay fitted to allow more power to get to the starter, being told this was a common fault on some older BM's. This worked fine until recently when the same problems occurred. I was told at the time the battery was not gonna last, I took it back under the 2 year warrenty (only a year old, no surprise the garage have told me its fine!)

The alternator seems fine as the dash lights don't ever come on when driving. I have read about possible drains i.e. radio, clocks, courtesy lights etc or even a starter motor wire grounding

The digital clock has not displayed properly for a longer time than the problem started, it displays number jargon and is irratic. I am thinking of pulling various fuses out as a test but hoped someone could help...?

Thanks in advance

I've now disconnected the boot light, internal courtesy lights, glove box light, pulled the radio out. Not sure how to disconnect the alarm though!
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-16-2003, 02:14 PM
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KC Ron Carter is an unknown quantity at this point
You need to have the alternator tested to see if it is working.

Depending on the charging light on an e30 is a trap.

If the bulb is out, the car will not charge.

I will include this for information, you are not in the USA so it will only be for information.

No need to spend over $200 just to correct this maintenance issue.

Alternator Regulators from Germany new in the box.

They can wear into a grooved pattern and the impact of driving can make them vibrate out of the normal groove.

Since the regulator has to increase output to jump the gap it does.

You can clean up the slider rings with abrasive paper.

You can get the brushes as a separate part requiring soldering skills or you can get a Regulator brush assembly for $70 retail at most auto parts store, or buy here.

I sell only German made, the others are always suspect.

Some instruction for changing:

It is a very touchy installation and about 5% of the installation end in the ground link bent and the alternator not functional.

You can remove correct and reinstall the regulator.

The output must be 14.25 or higher on a Volt Ohm Meter not the dash gauge. Some hints on the regulator change. Replacing Alternator Regulator

For those who work on their cars and have not had alternator problems, here is a simple action that should save you down-time and significant costs.

Most alternators on German cars fail due to brushes wearing down (as they are supposed to) between 150k and 200K miles. Brush replacement is very easy -- it should not take over 20 min. and the brushes are attached to a new regulator.

To replace regulator assembly -- back of alternator held in place with two straight slot headed screws. This has a round transistor mounted on the outside on Bosch alternators -- the other type, Valeo, is similar but uses different brushes. Pop the regulator out, after removing the screws.

Fitting the regulator back is simple, but you must install it starting at an angle, to assure that the brushes compress when the regulator is flush with the alternator and the screws are tightened. You are now ready for 200K miles of alternator life.

If you can change spark plugs you can change the voltage regulator.

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