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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 03-03-2004, 09:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Some help needed here people- here is my situation.

Recently my 87 3.25i Sports developed a problem with the auto gear box. My instrument light came on and restricted the car to 3rd gear only. Then the problem went away(I'm an Engineer so I know they never truly go away!!)

All was well for a couple of weeks until I decided to give it a bit stick. By the time I got home I'd lost my fuel gauge indicator, my rev counter and 3rd and 4th gears....after I turned it off it has yet to start again. A year ago the ECU blew up(and I mean bang!) and I've got a suspicion it's done it again. Inspection of the PCB will show me but my question is this....can anyone tell me where the Voltage regulator is ? Is it within the alternator? Do I just replace the alternator?

I'm wary of replacing the ECU again without solving the problem of irregular voltages and currents being channeled to it! What can I do ?
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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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 $70.

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.

I can send you a German made regulator built for this Bosch alternator for $28 plus $3 for shipping.




Fits all the following BMW models, E12 76-81, E21 77-83, E23 76-89, E24 76-89, E28 82-88, E30 84-88, E32 88-94, E34 89-93


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