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AZBMW Forums › Model Specific Discussion › 5-8 Series › E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**
E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**
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MATTY_T
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:33 am
Post subject: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

Hey guys, I’m looking for some advice from some of you on my “charging malfunction” issues going on with my E60. I know not a lot of members on here have E60’s, but it’s kind of a general car question that I think you can help me out on. Sorry, but this is going to be a lengthy post.

I’ve been having some “charging malfunction” notifications lately on my car and they tend to be when the car is cold. I have a 2005 545i with 70,000 miles. During the time when I’m having the charging malfunction, the car tends to idle a little rough. Usually after a while of driving, the message will go away and the car starts to drive smoother.

The other day, my car was acting up (dashboard and i-drive lit up with faults) and I decided to pull into a parking lot. The car then died on me as I pulled in. Tried to start it up but it wouldn’t turn over. I waited like 5 minutes, tried to start it up, and it finally cranked over and started idling fine, like nothing had happened. My thought was that something is going on with the alternator/voltage regulator.

I went out and bought a voltage meter that plugs into the lighter adapter so that I can see what was going on while I’m driving. I plugged it in and while my car was idling (rough) it read around 11.50-12.20 volts. So at this point I believe it is running off of the battery and the alternator is not doing its job of charging the system. I then tried the old trick of disconnecting the battery negative cable while the car is running to see if it keeps running or if it stalls. It stalls. That confirms my thought that the alternator was not charging. I tightened everything back together, start the car back up to see what it reads out – still floating around 12V. I let it idle for about 10 minutes and out of nowhere I feel the car ramp up in power and the voltmeter was reading around 14V. It seems very inconsistent to me.

I went with the cheapest option first, which is an “alternator circuit breaker”. That seems to have helped solve similar issues for other people on E60 forums. Seemed like a good possibility, but within a day, I’m back to the same issue.

I have checked for loose connections, confirmed that the belts were tight enough, and confirmed that the battery is “registered”. (PS-The battery is only 5-6 mo old).

My next plan of action is to change out the alternator and voltage regulator (which from my research is built-in to the alternator). I'm going to change it out myself, as I don't want to pay the dealership an arm and a leg, and I'm fairly handy with the wrench. Here is where I have questions for you guys.

1. Would having a bad voltage regulator give me issues like I’m having? Intermittent issues of having the system run off of the battery rather than the alternator?

2. Does changing out my alternator/voltage regulator sound like a correct path given all of my troubleshooting so far?

3. Do you have any preferred brand when replacing parts like this? I found a Duralast brand alternator for $250 from AutoZone. I also found a $365 Valeo brand alternator online. Valeo is the OEM brand alternator on the 545i so I’m kind of leaning towards that, because I know these cars can be very picky on parts, especially dealing with power. I will post a link to each of the alternators so that you can look at the specs if you want to. I just don’t know if saving $120 and going with a different brand is worth the savings.

Valeo Alternator

Duralast Alternator

Your input would be greatly appreciated on this issue. It is starting to drive me nuts and it’s almost like playing roulette each time I start the car. Not sure if I’m going to get 12V and drain the battery, or get 14V and have the car act normal.

Thank you in advance.
-Matt

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ti_kid
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:36 am
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

i wouldnt doubt that it would be the voltage regulator going out.
pm i might be able to get you a better price on that alternator.. you would have to wait until monday for me to see what i can get an oe one for but im sure 2 more days cant hurt.
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MATTY_T
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:00 am
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

ti_kid wrote:
i wouldnt doubt that it would be the voltage regulator going out.
pm i might be able to get you a better price on that alternator.. you would have to wait until monday for me to see what i can get an oe one for but im sure 2 more days cant hurt.

Thanks man. I will PM you now with my cell phone number! And a few days wont hurt. I was planning on changing it out next Saturday anyways.

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scottinQC
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:41 pm
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

sounds like an alternator or a bad connection to me. If the connections are good, then the alt is the next likely suspect. given the mileage, the brushes are probably about gone, causing the intermittant problem

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Evilsmith
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:51 pm
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

Find out the PN for your regulator, I have a new one in my garage I have been reying to get rid of cheap

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MATTY_T
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:55 pm
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

Evilsmith wrote:
Find out the PN for your regulator, I have a new one in my garage I have been reying to get rid of cheap

That would be awesome. I looked on RealOEM and it is listed as PN# 12317547082. Let me know if thats the same one that you have.

Thanks,
Matt

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ti_kid
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:49 pm
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

i also know someone in mesa who rebuilds alternators if you would want to go that route.
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MATTY_T
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:03 am
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

Well I received the brand new Valeo alternator today.. going to be throwing it on tomorrow night. Hopefully this fixes my issues.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:39 pm
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

my bad i never got back to you
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MATTY_T
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:29 am
Post subject: Re: E60 Charging Malfunction. **PLEASE HELP**

No worries man. I do appreciate the offer tho.

Just an update in case anyone else with an E60 has a similar issue, it took me about 2 hours to replace the alternator (about an hour of that was trying to get the new one back in lol). Not much room to work with on the 545i with that V8 jammed in there, but I figured it out. I started it up and it seems to be running a lot smoother. My voltmeter reads 14V +/- .10V, but to me that seems like a very reasonable range. I drove for 30 miles tonight and had no issues. Hopefully it continues to stay like this! I like the car again. I suspect that it was just the voltage regulator that was bad, but replaced that and the alternator at the same time since I had to do all of the work anyways. I'm going to take the old alternator down to Autozone or Checkers tomorrow to have it tested just for fun.

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