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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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Old 12-02-2003, 12:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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can someone tell me where the alternator is in an e30? i'm assuming they are all in the same place as all the other e30s. My car does not start unless i drive it around everyday, i cannot let it sit for about 2 or more days or else it will not start. I have to get it jumped by a battery jumper everytime. I figured there is a problem with my alternator, that it's probably time to get a new one considering my mileage is over 200,000. So can someone tell me where it's located? thx.
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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On my 325is (looking as if you were in front of the car) it should be about 4-6 inches down from the intake manifold on the right-hand side... Not that hard to miss! Check everything as well as your alternator, because it could be a number of problems! ...But it definitely sounds like your alternator...
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Old 12-02-2003, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It sounds like you have a bad battery. An alt. will not cause a starting issue. Once you get the car started check the voltage at the battery should be about 12.7 volts or higher at idle. If you have a battery that is totally gone it will cause the alt. to work very hard and will kill your alt. if you don't fix the problem in a reasonable ammount of time. If you don't have the tools to test your battery most shops can do it for under $20.
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The guys are all correct as the issue can be alot of things.

Usually the issue is the alternator output is less than the car requires.

You can remove and replace the alternator for about $200.

Or you can get a alternator regulator and fix it for less than $50 and in 5 minutes.

I am out of the regulators until Friday.

Alternator Regulator



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 $50.

I can supply a regulator brush assembly, 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 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.



Later,
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thanks for ur guys' imput, but since this car was previously owned by my uncle, he told me that the battery is fairly new; he bought it about a year ago or two. so i figured it is the alternator
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I got a batch of alternator regulators in so send me an e-mail if you need one.

German made and $28 plus $3 for shipping to USA.

PayPal is my favorite way of payment.

My e-mail is my PayPal user ID, kcroncarter@kc.rr.com.

Later,
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by 1985bmw325e@Dec 3 2003, 11:42 AM
thanks for ur guys' imput, but since this car was previously owned by my uncle, he told me that the battery is fairly new; he bought it about a year ago or two. so i figured it is the alternator
That means nothing. Batteries can crap out anytime.

You either have a bad battery or excessive parasitic draw. All cars have some parasitic draw...usually under 50mA is OK. Put an Ammeter in series between the negative battery cable and the negative battery post. Make sure NO electrical accesories are on, key OUT, doors CLOSED, lights OFF. If, after ~15 minutes, the Ammeter reads above 50mA you have some component drawing too much current and draining your battery.

Also, make sure all battery cables are tight at the batt, starter, and alternator.
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Old 12-04-2003, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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i dont have the meter device to do that, do you know any places (general places) that would do this test? how much would it cost?
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Old 12-06-2003, 05:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Trunk light, glove box light, interior light, stuck cig lighter, etc. An added stereo amp might be wired to draw constant power.They often are.
On mine there is a constant draw unless I turn off the dashboard circuit breaker for the electric windows. If I forget to push the button and don't drive it for a few days the battery is drained. Just figured it was a lucas wiring thing. There might be more to that breaker than just child safety.
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Old 12-06-2003, 05:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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same thing happened in my 528e, try unpluging the terminals if ur not using the car for a few days, its ghetto but it usually works, plus no one will steall it!!!
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