Electrical Issues 1991 318i - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
BMW Forum BMW Forum

Auto Insurance

» Featured Product
Wheel & Tire Center

Go Back   BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com > BMW Model Specific Forums > 3-Series (E21, E30)
Register Home Forum Active Topics Gallery / Showroom Auto Loans Garage Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Auto EscrowInsurance

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.

BimmerWerkz.com is the premier BMW Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-11-2013, 11:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marietta GA
Car: 1991 318i Pretty much all stock.
Posts: 21
Photos:
ebrisse is on a distinguished road
Electrical Issues 1991 318i

Okay, let's make this a long story. Tuesday night, I get in my car leaving the gym. A couple of my warning lights start flickering... 20 to 30 seconds later they all come on fully. I'm still sitting there idling. So, I gave it some gas, revved her up and they all went away.

Two days later half way to work, I'm sitting at a red light. My "anti-lock" brake light comes on. A few seconds later my radio cuts off. Huh... well light turns green I go. Get up to about 35 and my radio cuts back on for a couples seconds then cuts off and now the "Check Engine" light is on. So I got "Anti-Lock" brakes and "Check Engine" lights on. Only a couple miles to work so I make it there. Get there, turn off the car and can't turn it back on. Battery is drained. Of course with a jump I can start right away, but can only run so long until my battery is drained again.

So I took out my alternator (seems like a reasonable problem) and had it tested at an auto parts store. It passed all four parts of the test. Clearly my alternator power is not getting to the car or the battery. So what can it be? Is it a grounding issue? A short somewhere? I problem with wiring or fuses? Any help is appreciated. I'm a Civil Engineer, not an Electrical or Mechanical one! I do just about all the work on this car myself so I know her in and outs pretty well. Thanks
__________________

Second owner of a 1991 318i
Great car that I've loved my entire life.
Unfortunately these days it's all I can do to keep her going...

ebrisse is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-12-2013, 02:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Car:
Posts: 25
Photos:
PicksBimmers is on a distinguished road
You don't say if you had the battery tested. If the battery is bad it will not hold charge. Also you could check the voltage at the battery to see if getting full voltage. If voltage is less than at the alternator then there is a drain someplace. Just some thoughts.
Cheers.
PicksBimmers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2013, 08:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marietta GA
Car: 1991 318i Pretty much all stock.
Posts: 21
Photos:
ebrisse is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by PicksBimmers View Post
You don't say if you had the battery tested. If the battery is bad it will not hold charge. Also you could check the voltage at the battery to see if getting full voltage. If voltage is less than at the alternator then there is a drain someplace. Just some thoughts.
Cheers.
Sorry, I should have also included that information. I did pull the battery and brought it home. I have a pretty descent battery charger and it lets me know if the battery is having issues. It was able to charge it up to 100% so I believe the battery is still good.

I've checked the batteries voltage and that's still good. How should I go about testing the voltage from the alternator and the battery to make sure they match up? Really the question is how to I test what's making it back to the battery? Just disconnect the negative and test that opening with a volt meter? Thanks
__________________

Second owner of a 1991 318i
Great car that I've loved my entire life.
Unfortunately these days it's all I can do to keep her going...

ebrisse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2013, 02:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Car:
Posts: 25
Photos:
PicksBimmers is on a distinguished road
Assuming the battery is installed and car can run, I have done this by 1st getting the voltage at the battery studs with car off. Should be 12 to 12.5 volts. The ground path for the battery is the car chassis. Next I start the car and test the volt between the + stud wire connection on battery and some metal point in the trunk. Voltage measured should be higher than battery, car off, if alternator is working well and have good connection to the battery, around 14v.
PicksBimmers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2013, 12:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marietta GA
Car: 1991 318i Pretty much all stock.
Posts: 21
Photos:
ebrisse is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by PicksBimmers View Post
Assuming the battery is installed and car can run, I have done this by 1st getting the voltage at the battery studs with car off. Should be 12 to 12.5 volts. The ground path for the battery is the car chassis. Next I start the car and test the volt between the + stud wire connection on battery and some metal point in the trunk. Voltage measured should be higher than battery, car off, if alternator is working well and have good connection to the battery, around 14v.
Okay I'll make sure to test that tomorrow. Also, I know with many old cars that you can remove the battery from the equation and that'll tell you right away if your alternator and the electrical system in your car is working properly, if the car keeps running without the battery that is. Are old BMWs like this also or was their advance technology already ahead of this trend? (I know that previously I have found technology in my 1991 car that my mom's 2003 car didn't have! lol)

So if I disconnect that batter while running the car should it stay on?
__________________

Second owner of a 1991 318i
Great car that I've loved my entire life.
Unfortunately these days it's all I can do to keep her going...

ebrisse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2013, 10:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
4DoorWhore
 
Lord Vader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Car: 1998 E36 328i
Posts: 2,210
Photos:
Lord Vader is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrisse View Post
So if I disconnect that batter while running the car should it stay on?
No. The car will die. The car can run without the alternator, but not without the battery.
__________________

ProjectTechnik.com - Alberta based BMW Community
See My car on Project Technik HERE!

And Follow Me on Instagram @E36M52

Founding Member of the Canyonrot Club! Paint Code #343

| OE M3 Bumper | M3 Mirrors | Max Velocity GTR Lip | Euro ZKW Projector Headlights | Jim Conforti CF CAI | UUC Motorwerks Underdrive Pulleys | 18x8 ASA AR1's | Koni Sport Springs & Shocks |
Lord Vader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2013, 12:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marietta GA
Car: 1991 318i Pretty much all stock.
Posts: 21
Photos:
ebrisse is on a distinguished road
Okay, so here's where I'm at. I tested the battery voltage with the car off. It was at 12.36V and with the car running it's at 12.00V. I know that when the car is running it should go up to about 14V. So now I'm not sure how to continue checking everything. I have attached a picture of the test that was done on my alternator. It showed everything passing. Where should I go from here?

__________________

Second owner of a 1991 318i
Great car that I've loved my entire life.
Unfortunately these days it's all I can do to keep her going...

ebrisse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2013, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Car:
Posts: 25
Photos:
PicksBimmers is on a distinguished road
Hi ebrisse, I am a Mech Engineer and dislike chasing electrons. Not my fortaa. I looked at my electrical diagram and all the connections for charging look direct, no fuses or relays. My 94 has battery in trunk, not sure about the 91, battery seems like in engine bay on E30s, but electrical path would be the same. When you started car for test was charging light off or on. If off, then alt seems ok as you show. I would clean all the connections, especially the grounds. One at alt and one bat to car. Elec path on pos side goes from bat to junction box, to starter, to alt (red wires). Elec path for instrument charging path is seperate from bat path (blue wire on alt). Your other problems to me point to ground, connection issue.
Good luck man.
PicksBimmers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 12:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marietta GA
Car: 1991 318i Pretty much all stock.
Posts: 21
Photos:
ebrisse is on a distinguished road
Alright Folks,

I'm pretty sure I fixed it. We'll see when I drive to work tomorrow but so far the voltage seems to be good. It turned out to be the Voltage Regulator. The one sentence in all the literature I've looked through was this, "When you turn the key to the on position with the car off (do not start the car), if the battery light doesn't light, then the voltage regulator is most likely bad." So just replaced that. Cost me about $35 at my local parts guy. Thanks for all the help guys.
__________________

Second owner of a 1991 318i
Great car that I've loved my entire life.
Unfortunately these days it's all I can do to keep her going...

ebrisse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 12:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Car:
Posts: 3
Photos:
Juls2010 is on a distinguished road
the engine management light just came on ! guys what do you think is the problem
Juls2010 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 06:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
4DoorWhore
 
Lord Vader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Car: 1998 E36 328i
Posts: 2,210
Photos:
Lord Vader is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juls2010 View Post
the engine management light just came on ! guys what do you think is the problem
The problem right their is that your light is on...
__________________

ProjectTechnik.com - Alberta based BMW Community
See My car on Project Technik HERE!

And Follow Me on Instagram @E36M52

Founding Member of the Canyonrot Club! Paint Code #343

| OE M3 Bumper | M3 Mirrors | Max Velocity GTR Lip | Euro ZKW Projector Headlights | Jim Conforti CF CAI | UUC Motorwerks Underdrive Pulleys | 18x8 ASA AR1's | Koni Sport Springs & Shocks |
Lord Vader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 11:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Car:
Posts: 3
Photos:
Juls2010 is on a distinguished road
Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Vader View Post
The problem right their is that your light is on...
what kind of answer is that !!! Obviously the Light is NOT the problem. It is INDICATIVE of some issue somewhere in the engine .
Juls2010 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2013, 05:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
4DoorWhore
 
Lord Vader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Car: 1998 E36 328i
Posts: 2,210
Photos:
Lord Vader is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juls2010 View Post
what kind of answer is that !!! Obviously the Light is NOT the problem. It is INDICATIVE of some issue somewhere in the engine .
Obviously, thats why they put the light their. You provided absolutley no other information so how do you expect us to help you? Just coming here and saying your light is on does nothing to help us help you.
__________________

ProjectTechnik.com - Alberta based BMW Community
See My car on Project Technik HERE!

And Follow Me on Instagram @E36M52

Founding Member of the Canyonrot Club! Paint Code #343

| OE M3 Bumper | M3 Mirrors | Max Velocity GTR Lip | Euro ZKW Projector Headlights | Jim Conforti CF CAI | UUC Motorwerks Underdrive Pulleys | 18x8 ASA AR1's | Koni Sport Springs & Shocks |
Lord Vader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 04:38 AM   #14 (permalink)
n00b
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Car:
Posts: 3
Photos:
Juls2010 is on a distinguished road
EML Light

very weid answers am getting from this dude.
So what other details are you expecting ?

Car is a 328CI BMW , that light sudenly came on after i serviced the car,

Beeing knowledgeable about BMWs i expect you reply with some questions
at least rather than making irritating quips. I will be taking the car to the garrage anyway
caio
Juls2010 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com > BMW Model Specific Forums > 3-Series (E21, E30)


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1991 318i V.S 1991 320i P.Lavers 3-Series (E36) 5 01-08-2012 07:57 AM
1991 bmw 525i starting issues dj48z 5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) 1 05-10-2010 02:07 PM
1991 E34 Electrical Problem? MikeGE 5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) 15 09-10-2009 02:18 PM
Electrical Issues Amazetbm 3-Series (E21, E30) 4 01-20-2005 08:52 AM
850Ci 1991 - Electrical Problem? jtk 1,6,7,8 - Series and Mini Cooper 1 10-19-2003 12:11 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.2

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:26 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2
Garage Plus vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.