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Thread: 540it alternator replacement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Sacramento, CA
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    540it-318ti-318ic-Z3

    Post 540it alternator replacement

    My 540i (and 535i) Brothers,

    Today was a good day to solve my failed M62TU alternator issue. This DIY would apply to 1999 to 2003 540i's with the coolant cooled alternators. RealOem indicates this also applies to certain 535i's as well.

    About a week ago, I got the little red battery light on my 540it's dash coming home in the evening. Self test 09 showed I was getting 11.4v and dropping with the engine on and lights on. Time for a new alternator... This 90A-150A alternator is used in multiple BMW V-8s as well as in Land Rovers.

    I thought about rebuilding this alternator, but from a time standpoint, it wasn't going to be practical this time around. So, I chose a reman Bosch alternator from Bosch. $389 from my local parts guy. I saw cheaper ones on eBay, but a few searches found more negative comments than I was comfortable with. This was an easy swap out. 1.5 hours total plus the time to drop off the core ($155) and pick up the replacement alternator. The Bosch reman came with a two year warranty with roadside assistance if it fails.

    $22 bucks more for BMW coolant and a gallon of distilled water.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tools:

    1/4" 10mm socket and 3" extension and wrench
    3/8"13mm, 17mm, 17mm deep sockets and 3" extension and wrench
    3/8" M50 six point Torx bit
    2mm allen bit for the Zionsville SPAL fan removal
    8mm combo end wrench
    Flat blade screwdriver
    Pan to collect coolant

    If you have the stock fan and clutch, you may need a 32mm thin wrench to remove the engine fan and clutch.

    You'll also need a couple liters of replacement coolant and optionally dialetric grease for the alternator o-ring.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I disconnected the battery before starting. 10mm nuts on the battery connectors. The Bosch instructions recommended the battery be charged to 12.75v, so I charged the battery while I was performing the alternator swap. It was down to 11.6v. (Pictured after about 30 minutes of charge.)



    First, drain about four liters of coolant out, then remove the upper radiator hose and upper alternator cooling hose. I used a flat screwdriver to lift the metal retaining clips on the plastic hose ends. When removing the plastic hose ends, pull them straight off. Do not move them from side to side as it may break the plastic connector.



    I next removed my SPAL fan on my Zionsville radiator for clearance. You may need to remove your fan and shroud on your car. You'd need a thin 32mm wrench and a fan clutch holding tool. (or your favorite long screwdriver as a wedge)


    Loosen the two 13mm bolts on the belt tensioner. This will loosen the main drive belt. Remove the belt after remembering or better draw how the belt is positioned between the pulleys and tensioners. (I had a Bentley manual for reference.)

    After the belt is off, remove the 13mm bolts and the M50 Torx bolt to remove the tensioner to out of the way to permit the alternator to clear it's cooling housing.


    You'll need a M50 Torx bit to remove the tensioner bolt. This one was on very tight. I used a little PB blaster on both sides of the tensioner to help remove the bolt. I used a 8mm box wrench on the Torx bit in addition to the 3/8" ratchet to stabalize the pressure and twist on the shallow bolt head.



    Next remove the two electrical connections on the alternator. Remove the 17mm composite plastic/metal nut on the 12v output connector. For the second one, remove the 10mm bolt to remove the harness clip, then press the clip ears together to pull the slide on connector off.



    Remove the five remaining 10mm bolts that hold the alternator in place. If you have not drained coolant previously, about three liters will drain out of the car if it is level.


    I also disconnected this electrical connector to get another inch of clearance to clear the alternator.


    Shimmy the alternator out and lift up and out. It barely cleared the Zionsville fan shroud.


    So, this alternator lasted 96k miles.



    Here's the cooling chamber for the alternator. The inbound cooling is in the rear, center, outbound flow is at the bottom, side.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Installation is the reversal of removal with the following exceptions:

    I applied Dialetric grease on the o-ring on the new alternator. I also cleaned the mating surface that the o-ring would seal to.



    Once you put the serpentine belt back on, tension the tensioner using a 17mm deep socket to apply tension, the lock it in position by tightening the 1st 13mm bolt. Once locked in place, tighten the 2nd 13mm bolt. (over the 17mm tensioning nut)

    Sorry, recycled this pic as I forgot to take one.


    Once all, but the radiator hose is all back together, I attached the radiator end of the upper hose and the small hose going to the alternator housing. I refilled with a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water through the thermostat housing outlet connector at the top of the block.


    Once filled, I reattached the top radiator hose and double checked the hose retention clips. I checked the battery charge. The battery by this time, was charged to 13.4v. I reconnected the battery cables and started it back up.

    Varrooommmm!

    then scrreeeccchhhh...

    A small bit of coolant residue was left on the pulleys. It lasted about 30 seconds, then went away...

    The battery light went out and I got the result I wanted from Self Test 09.


    I set the heater to max heat, fan to low preparing to bleed the cooling system. As it turns out, it only needed another 1/2 liter to top off. I'll check again tomorrow.

    All in all, this was an easy DIY, the hardest part was removing the M50 Torx bolt. Hopefully, this alternator will last another 96k miles...

    Hope this helps you... Cheers,
    Last edited by BlackBMWs; 01-16-2012 at 01:55 PM.

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Qld Australia
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    E30 323i - E28 M535i
    Wow, thanks mate. That's a very concise DIY write up with good quality pics.

    For the shade tree mechanics like me this kind of info is invaluable. Filed for future reference.

    I also like how you get in and do your work without putting on a pair of doctors rubber gloves.

    Again, thanks.

    Should be a sticky IMO.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Ottawa
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    Maliboo
    Awesome write up. I didn't bother tackling my replacement. Mechanic mentioned it was a PITA, I no longer see that mechanic...
    540i-sold, 325is-sold, Econo boat 2011 Civic-sold
    Car ADD
    Current death trap: 08 V6 Malibu

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Omaha, NE
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    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    BlackBMWs,

    The 2 bearings in the water-cooled alternator are the same as I6 engine alternator. This is a beautiful DIY for V8 water-cooled alternator from E38!!!
    http://www.meeknet.co.uk/E38/Alternator/Index.htm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    West Michigan
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    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)

    Thumbs up

    Rich,

    Got your PM. Great job on the alternator DIY! I'll tow it to the DIY section and add it to the Quick Link list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pistonbroke View Post
    Should be a sticky IMO.
    We don't sticky individual DIYs. They are added to the E39 DIY subforum. Only important subforum announcements and extremely popular threads garner the Parking Area at the top of the main E39 forum.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    540it-318ti-318ic-Z3
    Guys, thanks for the comments, hope it helps folks out...

    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    BlackBMWs,

    The 2 bearings in the water-cooled alternator are the same as I6 engine alternator. This is a beautiful DIY for V8 water-cooled alternator from E38!!!
    http://www.meeknet.co.uk/E38/Alternator/Index.htm
    CNN, both the E38 and your write up are great references. If I had more spare time, I would have tried the rebuild. I suspect one of the other BMWs will need a replacement and I might have a go then...

    Cheers and thanks!
    Last edited by BlackBMWs; 05-28-2010 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Seattle, Washington
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    1999 BMW 540iT
    Thank you very much for this detailed DIY. The Torx bolt on the belt tensioner was seized tight; were it not for your help I would have likely given up.

    Ryan (1999 540iT)

  8. #8
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    FRANKFORT, ILLINOIS
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    MY02 530iA Sprt, '95 911
    Nice write-up, might be needing this pretty soon with 133,000 miles...
    Ken

  9. #9
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    Knoxville, TN
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    1995 318i
    Currently in the middle of this project for a relative, and I found that it's easier to remove the 3 allen screws holding the fan blade to the clutch assembly than removing the entire assembly (although, I didn't have the aforementioned fan clutch removal tool, and feared using a screwdriver against the plastic fan...). Just my .02

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by 318Eric View Post
    Currently in the middle of this project for a relative, and I found that it's easier to remove the 3 allen screws holding the fan blade to the clutch assembly than removing the entire assembly (although, I didn't have the aforementioned fan clutch removal tool, and feared using a screwdriver against the plastic fan...). Just my .02

    HOLY CRAP /\ this x 1000
    Its a 5 mm allen key for anyone wondering what size. They're located on the front of the car side of the fan clutch. Lefty loosey and they're off! No need for a giant special wrench!

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Mpls, MN, USA
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    '01 540i/6, '98 528i/5
    Quote Originally Posted by guttershark View Post
    HOLY CRAP /\ this x 1000
    Its a 5 mm allen key for anyone wondering what size. They're located on the front of the car side of the fan clutch. Lefty loosey and they're off! No need for a giant special wrench!
    Yup, did this today and 3 allens off the fan are the way to go. Only took me 3 1/2 hours and recovered most of the coolant, but had to add almost a 1/2 gallon extra. There's way more in that alt case than what seams.
    6 spd swap, M5 diff, M5 steering box, B&G springs, G.A.S. Monoballs, M5 rear chasis braces, Eibach rear swaybar, EBC red brk pads, EBC slotted rear rotors,
    StopTech frt rotors, StopTech brk hoses, aFe CAI, muffler delete w/ Magnaflow tips, , 18x8/9 style 69, BMW lip spoiler, Hella G4 projectors, & 1.4 bar coolant cap.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Hawthorn Woods, IL.
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    a few missing instructions

    Just finished this exercise for a good friend. Since I had never worked on a 540 before, this tutorial was essential, but I would have breezed through it if I had known:
    1. there are two fasteners at the very top of the radiator shroud. No one tells you how they should be removed. Since we couldn't figure out the correct way, I ended up snapping off the end, then drilling out the middle to pry it out. You need to pull the post directly out toward the engine such that the prongs of the fastener are no longer pushed out. It's the same type of principle I've seen used in wallboard plastic fasteners that use a nail to push apart the two prongs to hold it in. Anyway, I had never seen these on any BMW before, so we destroyed them to get them removed. Maybe BMW mechanics do the same thing since they can just grab two more and pop them in. They should be available for a couple bucks. We spent more time then we had to on this. Hopefully this saves you some if and when you run into them.
    2. The expansion tank needs to be removed to get the fan shroud out. This is essential to the process. You need to disconnect the hose below to the expansion tank, along with pulling out a temperature probe and disconnecting the harness to the probe. The tank slides into two slots for it on the fan shroud. The hose clamp fastener will have the hex nut / screwdriver release in a difficult spot, but after playing with a few angles it is reachable and removable. There is another hose to the bleeder screw valve that is threaded through the fan shroud. You don't need to disconnect this. Once you remove the lower hose, probe, and electrical connection, you can work the tank and shroud out to rest on the left side of the engine with the bleed hose still attached.
    3. There are cap covers on each of the tensioner pulleys that can be snapped out with a small screwdriver to reveal the torx bolt, and yes, you need to remove the lowest tensioner next to the alternator, or you won't be able to get to the last lower bolt to remove the alternator, aside from the fact that you can't remove the alternator with this tensioner pulley in place.

    Aside from these items, the rest of the instructions were spot on and very helpful. Thank you.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazmo528 View Post
    Just finished this exercise for a good friend. Since I had never worked on a 540 before, this tutorial was essential, but I would have breezed through it if I had known:
    1. there are two fasteners at the very top of the radiator shroud. No one tells you how they should be removed. Since we couldn't figure out the correct way, I ended up snapping off the end, then drilling out the middle to pry it out. You need to pull the post directly out toward the engine such that the prongs of the fastener are no longer pushed out. It's the same type of principle I've seen used in wallboard plastic fasteners that use a nail to push apart the two prongs to hold it in. Anyway, I had never seen these on any BMW before, so we destroyed them to get them removed. Maybe BMW mechanics do the same thing since they can just grab two more and pop them in. They should be available for a couple bucks. We spent more time then we had to on this. Hopefully this saves you some if and when you run into them.
    2. The expansion tank needs to be removed to get the fan shroud out. This is essential to the process. You need to disconnect the hose below to the expansion tank, along with pulling out a temperature probe and disconnecting the harness to the probe. The tank slides into two slots for it on the fan shroud. The hose clamp fastener will have the hex nut / screwdriver release in a difficult spot, but after playing with a few angles it is reachable and removable. There is another hose to the bleeder screw valve that is threaded through the fan shroud. You don't need to disconnect this. Once you remove the lower hose, probe, and electrical connection, you can work the tank and shroud out to rest on the left side of the engine with the bleed hose still attached.
    3. There are cap covers on each of the tensioner pulleys that can be snapped out with a small screwdriver to reveal the torx bolt, and yes, you need to remove the lowest tensioner next to the alternator, or you won't be able to get to the last lower bolt to remove the alternator, aside from the fact that you can't remove the alternator with this tensioner pulley in place.

    Aside from these items, the rest of the instructions were spot on and very helpful. Thank you.
    Ah, yes, When I get a chance, I'll update it for an OEM radiator. I have a Zionsville Radiator and shroud and did'nt have the same clearance issue then I did mine.

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    1995 840ci

    Quick update

    Saturday the wife's 540 alternator went out in Jackson, CA...so, I had it towed back to my home in Elk Grove. Gave Rich (BlackBMWs) a PM and we later talked on the phone (Thank you Rich and thank you Bimmerforums...love this community) to arrange a time to meet. Rich had some BMW antifreeze sitting in his garage and the fan/belt tools that I needed to make the replacement job easier. Autozone had a belt and alternator in stock, so my work began on a Sunday afternoon. Longest time spent was trying to get the two fasteners out from the fan shroud! The DIY procedure on here was clear, and concise. Although, it helped having Rich showing me some tips on his touring 540 in person.

    A casual two hours later the old alternator was out, plus another Autozone trip made for a broken bolt and plastic fasteners, new alternator in, new belt on, coolant in and bled. My own first tip....
    • If you do not have a deep socket 17mm to adjust the tensionor, you can use the combo of the 3/8 socket, the M50 torx bit, and the 8mm wrench on the lower tensionor pulley to tension the belt also - little more difficult and a second hand helps too but VERY doable
    However...I had different kind of troubles!! The trickle charge on my battery showed 12.46 at the terminals. When the car was started, the battery indicator light was on!!! A hose was not secured and sprayed my belts with antifreeze (that sound is louder than a two year in a rage!). My car died because it was only running from the battery that turns out was not charged enough.

    So....I learned that the alternator does not kick on immediately after the car is started AND a poorly charged battery will have you believe your DIY fix has failed!! (I complicated things by having coolant everywhere). Even with taking a break for dinner, my trickle charge did not get a big enough charge to start the car so I jumped it with my 840ci after thoroughly checking that all my hoses and electrical connections were secure this time around. The 540 started right up. Using test 9 (this is a GREAT tool for all!! - see the attachment), I verified that the alternator kicked on and then I endured the belt screech for a quick run around the block in the 540. Next was my nerdish victory dance, with a Makers Mark. My own second and third tips....
    • Have a fully charged battery so the car will be happy!
    • Do test nine before you start your car to see what your car battery is reading/seeing - when my car was not turning over it was showing 11.46 at the terminals but closer to 10.5 with this test. Start the car and do test nine again to see the car jump from the battery to the alternator. For me this was 11.46 at the start with an alternator spike to 11.8 and a continued rise to 13v while driving around the block.

    Monday morning I bought Rich a gallon of Antifreeze and brought his tools back with a heartfelt thanks!!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  15. #15
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    Larry, it was great to meet you and I'm glad this DIY helped you out. It seems the fan shroud securing pins are giving folks fits. In a pinch, cut them off and use a nylon tie trap for a temp (Sometimes permanent...) securing method until you get a replacement plunge pin fastener.

    The other thing to mention is to disconnect the battery from the car when recharging the system. It can be done when connected, but if you happen to be using a quick charger and you accidently switch it from quick charge to START, it may fry your cars electronics unexpectedly and expensively.

    How do I know this?

    Beautiful 840ci BTW. I need to know where you had your paint job done.

    Cheers!

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Boston MA
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    99 540i Touring
    I got the christmas tree on my dash of the abs, srs and seatbelt light as well as the trans. failsafe but no limp mode. also have some accessories that are flaking in and out. threw a meter on my battery and it was flat at 12.6 running or off. Did test 09 and it stays at 13.7 driving and dumps to 12.0 and rolls up and down between 12 even and about 13.5 at idle, planning on doing the alternator in the next week or so worth replacing the battery as well? its not the original but who knows.

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    00 540i, 11' X5 50i
    I had my alternator replaced last year. The original lasted 11 years! Since that time, beginning about 5 months ago I would get the red battery light on my dash but it would only illuminate for a sec then go off. Oh btw, the alternator was replaced with a remaned Bosch unit from O'reilly's.
    Anyways fastforward today and all hell breaks loose. Christmas tree effect on my dash and limp mode. I made it home and parked and read voltage at battery. It read 11.6V. Went to autozone with old battery, bought new battery, installed and went to O'reilly's for a check and sure enough......the alternator is bad again. My indie mechanic had told me the remaned units are no good but I can't afford a new one right now and since I still have the receipt, I should get another remaned unit for free...hopefully as per the limited lifetime warranty.
    Black BMW, have you had any issues with your remaned alternator?

    Current:
    2012 Audi A4 S-Line
    2011 BMW X5 50i
    2000 BMW 540i

    Past:
    2010 Mercedes ML350
    2002 Lexus IS300
    1998 Audi A6 Quattro
    1988 Honda Prelude

  18. #18
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    Hey Al! I trust you are doing very well!

    I haven't had any issues with the reman Bosch Alternator I installed when I wrote this DIY. In fact, I have remans in most of the cars and have not had an early failure issue with any of them.

    Good luck with yours. I dont recall if yours is the water cooled version, or the earlier air cooled one. I've replaced both type and they are straight forward replacements. PM me if I can help you out. Cheers! Rich

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  19. #19
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    00 540i, 11' X5 50i
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackBMWs View Post
    Hey Al! I trust you are doing very well!

    I haven't had any issues with the reman Bosch Alternator I installed when I wrote this DIY. In fact, I have remans in most of the cars and have not had an early failure issue with any of them.

    Good luck with yours. I dont recall if yours is the water cooled version, or the earlier air cooled one. I've replaced both type and they are straight forward replacements. PM me if I can help you out. Cheers! Rich
    Hey Rich! All is well other than a faulty remaned Bosch water-cooled alternator. LOL

    My mechanic just confirmed this morning that it is indeed faulty and he has my O'Reilly's receipts from last year that I gave him and he said they will honor the warranty so I'm only out the labor cost. Labor charge is $300 which is the same he charged me last year. Does that seem too steep or about right?

    Current:
    2012 Audi A4 S-Line
    2011 BMW X5 50i
    2000 BMW 540i

    Past:
    2010 Mercedes ML350
    2002 Lexus IS300
    1998 Audi A6 Quattro
    1988 Honda Prelude

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al's540i View Post
    Hey Rich! All is well other than a faulty remaned Bosch water-cooled alternator. LOL

    My mechanic just confirmed this morning that it is indeed faulty and he has my O'Reilly's receipts from last year that I gave him and he said they will honor the warranty so I'm only out the labor cost. Labor charge is $300 which is the same he charged me last year. Does that seem too steep or about right?
    Hmmm... took me 2 hours taking my time and taking pictures, which included the cooling partial drain and refill. So is he charge $150 an hr? I don't know what the shop rate estimate for that job is in hrs.

    Maybe Gumb can chime in.

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    129
    My Cars
    2013 535i M Sport
    My car has 95K on it now. Is the alternator something that goes bad on all these cars like the cooling system? Or is this hit or miss?

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,575
    My Cars
    01 540M-Sport, 430 Scud
    Quote Originally Posted by bin01123 View Post
    My car has 95K on it now. Is the alternator something that goes bad on all these cars like the cooling system? Or is this hit or miss?
    It's going to let go, but who knows exactly when. I can tell you my first failed at around 80k. I had it replaced at the dealer with a reman, unit that came with a lifetime warranty (two year labor). It failed about 6 years and 110k miles later (190k), just about a month ago. So I would estimate that you are nearing the area of probable failure...could be tomorrow, could be in another 25k miles....hard to say.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Al's540i View Post
    I had my alternator replaced last year. The original lasted 11 years! Since that time, beginning about 5 months ago I would get the red battery light on my dash but it would only illuminate for a sec then go off. Oh btw, the alternator was replaced with a remaned Bosch unit from O'reilly's.
    Anyways fastforward today and all hell breaks loose. Christmas tree effect on my dash and limp mode. I made it home and parked and read voltage at battery. It read 11.6V. Went to autozone with old battery, bought new battery, installed and went to O'reilly's for a check and sure enough......the alternator is bad again. My indie mechanic had told me the remaned units are no good but I can't afford a new one right now and since I still have the receipt, I should get another remaned unit for free...hopefully as per the limited lifetime warranty.
    Black BMW, have you had any issues with your remaned alternator?
    Your mechanic is mistaken, new Bosch alternators are not available. You can only get remanufactured, even from the BMW dealer.
    Last edited by f355spider; 06-12-2013 at 03:32 AM.
    2001 540 M-Sport (cdn), ST X (KW) coilovers, H&R 15mm spacers, M5 rear stabilizer bar, M5 rear chassis reinforcements (traction rods), Strong Strut front upper strut bar, Dinan Stage 1 software, factory M-Audio subs, USA Spec Ipod/Iphone intergration, factory bluetooth phone integration, Stop Tech SS brake lines, Akebono Euro Ceramic brake pads

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Stamford, CT, USA
    Posts
    5
    My Cars
    1999 BMW 540iT
    BlackBMWs, Thank you very much for this detailed DIY. I just performed it on my 99 540iT, 178k miles on the original alternator. The most difficult part for me was getting the fan off. I put in a rebuilt Bosch unit, and am in the process of zipping it back up. Came to my desk to check on how to tension the belt, and decided to drop a note thanking you. Hopefully it all works once the coolant is replaced!

    How do you keep your engine so clean? Mine is pretty gunked up. I'm toying with the idea of doing the valve cover gaskets while I have the front opened up, but that looks like a formidable project.

    Thanks again.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,401
    My Cars
    540it-318ti-318ic-Z3
    You're very welcome! As far as gunk, I was lucky in that the motor did not have any oil leaks so when I was installing the Zionsville, I really cleaned the motor, down to using old toothbrushes to get any gunk out and have kept it leak free, Did the same to the rear end in preparation of replacing the sub frame bushings. I don't like wrenching a dirty motor, so all my Bimmers get a good degreasing and powerwash before I work on anything significant.

    1999 540it - Schwartz II/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Conti DWS 235/45 tires, Billy HD/Sports, Stoptech S/S BL, F1 Pinacle 35% tint, Zionsville Cooling kit
    1998 318ti Cali Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 23
    1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, staggered style 68 ,

    1995 318ti Active - Alpineweib III/Schwartz, squared style 32
    1994 325i - Bostongrau/Tan, Billy Sports, H&R springs
    1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff, Bilstien HD, Z4 3.0 SS, Magnaflow, S/S Stress bar, x-brace, M20 FW, Elipsoid/HID, K&N

    BMWCCA# 160411

    1995 318ti Sport Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz - Sold
    1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold

    1984 533i "Max" - Schwarz/Schwarz, - Sold
    1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Stamford, CT, USA
    Posts
    5
    My Cars
    1999 BMW 540iT
    Your being in CA probably helps a lot! No grime accumulating from the snow!

    How do you stop leaks? Have you changed your timing and valve cover seals?

    Thanks, Samir.
    2008 BMW 535xiT, 51k, JB4, experimenting with coding with NCSExpert/INPA, soon to be wife's once I have it setup. Needs a brake and suspension upgrade.
    1999 BMW 540iT, 178k, was wife's, now its mine again - my winter beater and karting stuff carrier. Pretty stock, sports package.
    1982 BMW 745i, 86k, Orange with green interior, BBS front/rear spoilers, Alpina suspension, and a few other Alpina parts. For sale, restoration project.
    2006 Lotus Exige - 19k, my daily driver 9 months of the year, occasional driver's school car (on hiatus, as karting with my son has taken over free time).
    1991 Lotus Elan, 60k, waiting for me to swap the engine.
    2008 VW GLI, 2.0T - wife's car, pending my daughter turning 16.

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