Thread: Alternator woes
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Old 09-09-2022, 01:09 AM
Kam850 Kam850 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Chicago
Posts: 27
Kam850 is on a distinguished road
Story time.... the store I am referring to in this is O'Reilly's.

I bought a neglected low mileage E53 X5 last year, and pretty much near the end of the year when it was finally almost ready to go, I heard a squeaking noise.

I declared that the steering pump starting to go as that's where the noise seemed to be coming from. So I did that.

I turned the key and the noise is still there. I felt like an idiot because right at that moment I realized it was the alternator bearing making the noise. Original alternator.

So I went and got a replacement. REMAN unit, correct spec, it was close to $380. Installed the new one. Went for a drive, noticed that under high RPM the light faintly flickered. So I took the alternator out, went back to the store, they tested it and said its all good. I kind of just said "huh...." and went back home and installed it again. I figured maybe I should do the battery as the battery was old and the clamping on one of the claps needed to be replaced. So I bought a new battery and a new clamp nut. Light was flickering more under heavy acceleration, so I recorded it. Went back to the store and showed them the video. They said maybe its my tensioner starting to I spent $110 on a new tensioner. Tensioner came in and I installed that in the X5... no change. I cleaned the pulleys to make sure they didn't slip the belt. I got pissed at this point because I went again my better judgment. Should have argued its the alternator (belts were brand new). I was pretty mad at this point and went to a different O'Reilly's as they were the only ones that had these reman correct units for the X5.

Funny daily vehicle at the time was a 2004 Subaru Forester XT....the regulator in my alternator took a dump in the Subaru on the way home from the store. I thought someone was playing with me and trying to piss me off.

I was already mad at O'Reilly's. I never had a issue before. I decided to get a new Duralast Alternator from AutoZone for the Subaru and I had no issues.

I got a 2nd alternator (got to exchange my new bad one for a another one). I went back home in a hurry (as it was 9:30 pm at this point), started to install the new one, something made me go... "you should spin the pulley before you install the alternator, you didn't spin it at the store". So I spin it...and I hear a noise coming out of the alternator sort of like something plucking on a wire. I was fuming at this point.

Drove back to the store at, made it there at like 10:55pm, which was 5 minutes before close lol. Told the same guy, "listen", and spun the pulley. He checked the back, no more in stock. The last one they gave me was the crap one. So they special ordered one for the next morning.

Next morning I get my 3RD NEW alternator. I had them test it. The test was good. I spun it at the store and there was no noise. Went back home, finished the install and everything was good! FINALLY!!! I can drive the car with no issues!!! Drove around for a week and one of my brake lines started to leak... so that was a whole another episode of fixing the "oddly rusted in one spot brake hardline" and then bleeding the system. I had to learn how to do brake lines.....

Sorry for the long story... I have a very love/hate relationship with my X5 because of all this. It put me through so much BS indirectly. It makes no financial sense to sell it because its bulletproofed (trust worthy car), its practical and its low mileage. I just hit 75k miles yesterday in it. Might as well get my moneys worth of use out of it. I have a 1991 BMW 850 as my fun car. So between the two cars I dont have anything that is fast or fuel efficient lol

Anyway, lesson learned. I'm not getting alternators from O'Reilly's again. The only reason why I initially went with them is because BMW wanted about $200-$300 more and Iv gotten alternators from O'Reilly's before and had no issues.
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