My car just died - help please. - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 09-12-2004, 11:01 PM
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I just had my 5 speed, 1993, 318is since Thursday. It only has 25000 original miles and has been very well maintained and serviced by a BMW dealer. It looks like new. Among others, previous owner replaced the fuel pump three month ago. He also changed the water pump two years ago. The car is stock, with no modifications.

When I picked up the car, I noticed that cold starts in the morning where somewhat slow. The car started but it seemed to me that the battery was weak. Tonight, I was driving around with the A/C, lights and stereo on and, suddenly, I noticed that the battery light was on. Then, the ABS light also turned on. The gauges stopped working, the lights were dimming and, finally, the car started stalling and losing power badly. The engine stopped and refused to start. I suspect a bad alternator. What do you guys think?

Needless to say, I am really disappointed.

Thanks. ghead
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#2 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 01:13 AM
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Originally posted by Pegasus@Sep 12 2004, 11:41 PM
I just had my 5 speed, 1993, 318is since Thursday. It only has 25000 original miles and has been very well maintained and serviced by a BMW dealer. It looks like new. Among others, previous owner replaced the fuel pump three month ago. He also changed the water pump two years ago. The car is stock, with no modifications.

When I picked up the car, I noticed that cold starts in the morning where somewhat slow. The car started but it seemed to me that the battery was weak. Tonight, I was driving around with the A/C, lights and stereo on and, suddenly, I noticed that the battery light was on. Then, the ABS light also turned on. The gauges stopped working, the lights were dimming and, finally, the car started stalling and losing power badly. The engine stopped and refused to start. I suspect a bad alternator. What do you guys think?

Needless to say, I am really disappointed.

Thanks. ghead
From my experience when I bought my car and it died on me: Call the BMW dealership and take it in to them . The best thing. It will be $$$. But the longer you wait the more you will pay. It could also be something more simple than it seems.

Good Luck

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#3 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 01:30 AM
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Defintely a bad alternator/battery, very easy, just replace, no need for dealer...

but a bad alternator at 25k is rare...

my mercedes 190e alternator lasted 150k before I ever replaced it, and wow, was it dirty when I took that thing out, dunno if it was ever replaced by the previous owner though, bought it with 90k miles

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Real cars have 3 pedals.
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#4 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 09:22 AM
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I checked the battery (stock BMW battery) and found that it was totally empty! No water at all. It seems to be toasted...
I also took the battery from my vintage Mercedes 280S, 1969, which has exactly the same size and characteristics (except for the small hose on the side), and put in on my 318is. The car started up fine. Idle was too low for a couple of minutes but as soon as the car's temperature started to rise, the idle went back to normal. Also, the battery light did not turn on at any time. I suspect that the cause of my problem was just a bad battery.
However, this is the first time something like this happens to me. Usually, when you have a bad battery and your engine is running, the alternator provides all the power that the car requires to properly function. It will be hard to start the car again but if the car is running, it shouldn't die like this.
I am going to buy a new battery and have the alternator output checked.
What do you think?
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#5 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 09:55 AM
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I checked the price of a BMW battery. It's just crazy. Is it really necessary to use a stock battery or can I use an aftermarket one? I mean, a battery is just a battery, nothing really sophisticated. Am I wrong?
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#6 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 10:46 AM
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yeah a bad alternator at that low of miles is very rare, but not impossible at all, all it needs is to uch stress and itll go out on in ya really fast, i had one go our in 10,000 miles before (warrantied) but still sucked

David
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#7 (permalink) Old 09-13-2004, 03:38 PM
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Just to give an update on this. I had the battery replaced and the alternator tested. The alternator is ok, so I guess all is attributable to the shot battery. It's quite scary to see your car dying slowly and losing all power without any reasonable cause. Btw, I found out that BMW batteries are made by Bosch. I bought a 900 amps Bosch battery which is identical to the BMW battery except for the color (the BMW is white and the Bosch is black) for a lot less than what the dealer was charging me for their stock battery. That's why they're called stealers.
Thanks for your input.
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