The only place in town that has an alternator in stock made for my '92 318i (and at a fairly decent price, which isn't bad if it's worth it) has a 105 amp like it should be, but the brand is "XL" (or possibly I misunderstood and it's "Excel"), according to the guy on the phone...I'm going to pick it up, and if anyone can tell me for sure these suck I can always take it back. I'm in dire need of getting this issue fixed by Monday, so I may not have much choice...lol Anyway, any info you guys might have would be appreciated. These are supposed to be made specifically for the Bimmers, but I never just up and believe what a salesman says.
Even if it does seem to work, I may just get by on this one and get the proper Valeo or Bosch in a week or two. Thanks!
If you havn't already gotten one, and your getting a replacement because you have an audio sytem that needs more power, I'd see if I could get at least a 120 amp alternator, stock E36's come with 80 amp ones already, 105 isn't much of a step up, only 25 more amps.
Other than that, I can't really help you, sorry.
I know depending on the year of your E36 they put different size alternators in them, and was told by my dealer that while they can't say outright (for obvious dealer issues) that a higher output one will work fine, they tend to be great. I'm not adding a new stereo system or anything, was just going for what came stock on mine (the 105 amp Valeo, which I found odd given they put on lower output ones in the years just before and just after my '92)...I do think it'd be a good investment to get a 120 amp, though it'll likely be a few months before I bother making the change.
I dont think it'd be a good investment to get a larger one if you dont NEED it.
All the alternator does is provide a constant source of power while the car is running, and if the battery needs it, charges the battery. I'm sure you know this already but whatever. The car itself dosn't consume much more than 40 amps during normal operation, even with the lights on (slightly different case if you have lots of HID ballasts) Main draws on power are: lights, ignition sytem(sparks), and audio amps, especially aftermarket high powered amps. The rest is rather minor.
80 amps ought to be enough for regular driving and a stock audio system, that's OEM for 98 models, I'm sure of it.
Hmm, I may reconsider the 120 then...I was planning on getting a better sound system installed in the next few months, an alarm and HIDs, and thought it'd be a good idea to have more power in that case. For now, what I have is more than fine, though. As for knowing that bit already, I really don't know more than just enough to get myself in trouble in regard to some of this...hehe I was only judging the 120 amp by some other posts I'd read on these forums, and thinking that would be wise to get when I do my few mods.
Again, thanks for the replies. They've helped in some ways.
If you plan on doing that anytime you own the car, then go ahead and find the 120 amp one. Alternators DO NOT produce their full rated output untill your engine is turning at least 4,000 RPM.
a 150 amp alternator may only produce about 30-45 amps at engine idle, so you could be drainig the battery after you installed all that extra equipment while sitting at a stoplight. After you start to accelecate, it'd start charging the battery, but you never want to have a drain on the battery while the engine is running.
HID ballasts each drain roughly twice as much power than regular incandescent bulbs.
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