323ci 2000 odd electrical issue the car goes into some sort of shutdown - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:19 AM
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323ci 2000 odd electrical issue the car goes into some sort of shutdown

Hi there!

Hope you can give me some guidance and would appreciate it muchly.

323ci 2000 build.

Driving in rain all day, then the stereo starts to turn itself off and then on. The seatbelt light pops up, then the airbag light, then the telltale automatic stability control plus the ABS lights. Thy stay on and the intermittently turn off only to come on again.

The stereo continues to turn on and off now combined with the shutdown of the air con, demisters etc and the headlights dim down also.

What happens next is the car loses accelleration power, takes an eternity to get up to speed from a standing start. Get to the final hill before home, probably a 35 degree and car almost doesn't make the climb. 40 Meters on and the car can hardly get enough power to get into the garage. Turn off the car and try to turn it over again to just the ticking sound and then to virtually zero power. Looks like I was lucky to make it home.

It's like the car went into some sort of minimal running mode.

Power down the window and goes down like a snail.

Currently the car won't start, has low battery power but it's there, no ticking of the starter motor at all but looks to be enough power to do so.

Question is if this is just a bad battery or alternator or anything else....

Thanks heaps in advance or your time helping resolve this before I start ringing a mechanic.
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:52 AM
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Just remembered something that maybe important - just prior to all this happening there was a faint burnt electrical smell that went through the car that lasted for a minute at best.
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#3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:59 AM
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Sounds like your alternator. Check your ground connections and wiring at the battery and alternator. Then take both to a store that can test them. The alternator died in my old busted Ford the first thing I noticed was the radio started shutting off, then the lights, and then it felt like it was running on two cylinders. When it went in my GMC it did the same thing.

If it had cut out completley without any warning I woukdve said your fuel pump, but your symptoms sound like alternator.


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#4 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 10:32 AM
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Thanks LV.

There was nothing sudden about it, took about 30 minutes from all ok to total shutdown. Now that it's all coming back the engine had started to make a whistling noise on accelleration today as well, don't know if it was part of the process.

Thanks again.
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#5 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 11:06 AM
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That'scomnon. The battery doesnt have enough power to power any of the accessories so when the alternator fails they start shutting off. The battery can power the car for brief periods which is why the engine still runs for a bit after. A new alternator ran me $120 for my truck. I went to a small shop that rebuilds them and foud it was the cheapest. The big name auto parts stores wanted $170+


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#6 (permalink) Old 04-21-2012, 05:21 PM
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Had a similar problem in an old Honda, it was like my very own Harrison Ford moment in the first Star Wars movie. Except I pounded the dash and it still wouldn't jump to lightspeed......

Was a bad alternator; battery and wiring were fine, had them thoroughly checked.

New alternator built by retired zen Buddhist monks on the slopes of Mt. Fuji (aka OEM rebuild) solved all, and things have been fine for years afterwards.



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#7 (permalink) Old 04-22-2012, 10:35 AM
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Water, on its own, will NOT kill the alternator !!
There must be some other issue!
Has water ingressed into the ECU's under the hood?


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