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  #1  
Old 09-08-2022, 11:56 PM
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Alternator woes

Replaced the alternator for the second time on my e53. Original equipment lasted 12 years; this one only 5. WTH? And of course, warranty is for only 3 years. Seems like parts quality is getting worse and worse. Anyone else feel my pain??

And what's with the onboard computer not alerting us to a faulty alternator? No check engine light, no battery light, no nothin'. My wife nearly got stranded before I figured it out.
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2022, 01:09 AM
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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 go...so 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 enough...my 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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  #3  
Old 09-09-2022, 01:22 PM
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Reman alternators are a 40/60 chance at getting a good one.

I personally only go new
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Old 09-09-2022, 02:52 PM
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Generally, what fails first on these alternators is the voltage regulator brushes. You can buy a new VR (or even just the brushes) for a fraction the cost of a new alternator and probably buy yourself a lot of miles. Andrew Wynn has a thread showing how to replace the slip ring if you want to really do it right, but it's probably more work than most people want to tackle. I just put new brushes in my Valeo when it failed. I don't expect to own the vehicle by the time it fails again (maybe in 50-75K miles?)

AM.
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Old 09-09-2022, 03:50 PM
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Once I've seen a remanufactured alternator (looked shiny and bright on the outside) which we just out of interest took apart before installing. The slipring was more worn than on the one we were going to replace.
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Old 09-09-2022, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotWheelsRedline View Post
Replaced the alternator for the second time on my e53. Original equipment lasted 12 years; this one only 5. WTH? And of course, warranty is for only 3 years. Seems like parts quality is getting worse and worse. Anyone else feel my pain??

And what's with the onboard computer not alerting us to a faulty alternator? No check engine light, no battery light, no nothin'. My wife nearly got stranded before I figured it out.
its highly unlikely you purchased a NEW alternator from BMW. You must of gotten a reman 3rd party part. You shouldn't compare the longevity of the original new part from BMW vs a 3rd party part.

If you purchased a REMAN/Exchange part from BMW, these parts have a lifetime warranty.
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Old 09-11-2022, 12:24 PM
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as mentioned more than a few times, Reman means different things to different sellers/vendors.

Cheapest price gets the contract = more defects per units sold
OE vendor remans (Dealer service network) usually has the lowest rates of defect returns. Note: it not zero.

In the automotive repair world, most shops choose new VS reman when available under the rule of "Why take the chance?"

DIY: Its your car, wallet, and time. You get to choose the path.
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2005 X5 4.8IS
The Blue ones are always FASTER....

Current Garage:
2005 X5 4.8is
2002 M5 TiSilver
2003 525iT
1998 528i
Former Garage Stable Highlights
2004 325XiT Sport
1973 De Tomaso Pantera, L Model
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp Alpine White
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp GoManGo Green
1971 Dart Sport, “Dart Light” package
1969 Road Runner 383
1968 Ply Barracuda 340S FB Sea-foam Green
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Old 09-11-2022, 07:21 PM
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For my 04 4.4i, I bought this in 2019:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/290786378197

Brand new, outstanding seller rating. Has the adjustable bolt that the original N62 alternator didn't have. That made it much easier to install.

I purchased it rather than OE, since the original one failed after ~40k miles. I tried replacing the voltage regulator first with a Valeo from FCP Euro.

It has been solid so far, granted only a few thousand miles since 2019. Just hit 43k.
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Old 09-12-2022, 01:29 PM
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We have an old school shop in my area that does the reman work themselves and has done at least 3 on my aging fleet. These guys are hard to find anymore. Everything they've done for me has been great.
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Old 09-12-2022, 01:35 PM
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+1 on that ! We still have a guy here who is an old school expert with alternators and starters and does excellent work which most likely results in a better product than any manufacturer rebuilt or even new cheap unit.
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