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craigIS
01-02-2010, 05:30 PM
I have a 94 318is that seems to be losing power upon start up.

I've been noticing the last few days that when I start my car the battery light comes on, the car revs oddly, and the lights are all dim. Today though, same thing happens, except the check engine light comes on as well, and blinks on and off. When I rev the engine at a stand still, the battery light slowly fades away at around 2 grand. Once I have been driving for about five mins, the care is fine, till I come to a stop sign or traffic light, the the battery and check engine lights come back on till i start moving again.

Perhaps the battery.a belt, or alternator may be causing this?

Any thoughts on the issue would be appreciated.

craigIS
01-02-2010, 06:05 PM
I just checked my belt, and didn't see any cracks, and the tension seems good.

blk3
01-02-2010, 06:33 PM
go get your alt tested, looks like its starting to crap out

W2WDETAILING
01-02-2010, 07:00 PM
when you start your car turn on heat or ac if the car shutters like its going to die then its your alternator.

aaron320i
01-02-2010, 08:07 PM
Common e36 problem, alternator.
Just to be safe run your car and check the battery with a multimeter should read above 12.6 volts

craigIS
01-02-2010, 08:13 PM
when i turn on the heat, the car does shutter a little, almost like it is going to die. my friend is going to lend me is multimeter tomorrow, so I'll test the battery and the alt at the same time to be sure.

Nick_V
01-02-2010, 10:20 PM
I dunno if the E36 alternator is the same but on my E34 I had these symptoms when the voltage regulator was crapping out. The brushes wear down to where there's only decent contact at higher rpms. Just so you know, you are very close to getting stranded somewhere if this is the case.

On the E34 the voltage regulator just bolts on to the back of the alternator, but I'm not sure how it's set up on the E36 (some alternators have internal VRs). If you can unbolt yours, I'd go somewhere that rebuilds alternators to order a new one instead of the dealer, cause they'll be able to order parts. I got mine for like $15 when the dealer wanted over $100!

aaron320i
01-02-2010, 10:35 PM
I dunno if the E36 alternator is the same but on my E34 I had these symptoms when the voltage regulator was crapping out. The brushes wear down to where there's only decent contact at higher rpms. Just so you know, you are very close to getting stranded somewhere if this is the case.

On the E34 the voltage regulator just bolts on to the back of the alternator, but I'm not sure how it's set up on the E36 (some alternators have internal VRs). If you can unbolt yours, I'd go somewhere that rebuilds alternators to order a new one instead of the dealer, cause they'll be able to order parts. I got mine for like $15 when the dealer wanted over $100!


I cannot recall but rarely in any case does an alternatir go bad, most of the time it's either the voltage regulator or the internal brushes, as mentioned above and so I would suggest to either get a used one from Fil ana eurostyle. Or you can have it rebuilt for about 120.

Eurostyle
01-02-2010, 10:52 PM
It sounds 99% like bad alternator, it is starting to go bad so you need to rev to get it charging...will die soon. With the engine running, your voltage should be 14+ volt, if you just get 12V then this is just battery voltage, and your alternator is gone...

Also make sure to check for good ground! The E36 is very sensative to bad ground, so you can have a good alternator but it still wont charge the battery!*th-up*

5style
01-02-2010, 11:10 PM
Wipers should be sketchy, weak and slow as well with the Alternator gone

aaron320i
01-03-2010, 01:04 AM
It sounds 99% like bad alternator, it is starting to go bad so you need to rev to get it charging...will die soon. With the engine running, your voltage should be 14+ volt, if you just get 12V then this is just battery voltage, and your alternator is gone...

Also make sure to check for good ground! The E36 is very sensative to bad ground, so you can have a good alternator but it still wont charge the battery!*th-up*

Not to correct you Fil, but anything normally above 14.4 is also a bad regulator and could cause over charging and the occasional KA-BOOOM. Voltage range is anything above full charge. 12.6V but less than 14.4V.

craigIS
01-03-2010, 06:32 PM
Well.....today, the car wont start. there is battery power, and the stereo and all that works, the car tries to turn over but doesnt. my friend is going to come over after work with his multimeter tomorrow and see what we can find out.

Eurostyle
01-03-2010, 08:27 PM
Not to correct you Fil, but anything normally above 14.4 is also a bad regulator and could cause over charging and the occasional KA-BOOOM. Voltage range is anything above full charge. 12.6V but less than 14.4V.

On my tester, the "Good" area is from 13.6 to 15V, and as far as i remember, most bimmers stay above 14V when tested. Will try it out tomorrow! *wave*

Eurostyle
01-03-2010, 08:31 PM
Well.....today, the car wont start. there is battery power, and the stereo and all that works, the car tries to turn over but doesnt. my friend is going to come over after work with his multimeter tomorrow and see what we can find out.

Thats the next step! Lucky you were not driving, you would have been stranded! Now your battery is too low to cranck/start...If i was you, i would remove the battery and keep it inside tonight, its not good to keep a discharged battery in this cold! *th-up*

MarkD
01-03-2010, 09:00 PM
Well.....today, the car wont start. there is battery power, and the stereo and all that works, the car tries to turn over but doesnt. my friend is going to come over after work with his multimeter tomorrow and see what we can find out.

As Eurostyle said, take the battery out or charge it with a charger, as it can freeze more easily when discharged and then it can be permanently ruined.

craigIS
01-03-2010, 09:24 PM
Thanks Erostyle, and MarkD, i'll do that i think.

craigIS
01-04-2010, 08:33 PM
Well, I checked my alt, and battery today. The alt is fine, and is putting out about 14.1V. The battery was about 5V. I got a new battery, and even tested that for sh!t$ and giggles, and was 12.03V.

I put the battery in and the car won't start. The lights on the dash and interior lights blink on and off, and there is some kind of clicking sound coming from the interior somewhere. The car does try to turn over.

Here is a vid I took, just to you can see what I see, but you may not be able to here the clicking/ ticking sound.

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/635ZFWNLcjI&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/635ZFWNLcjI&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

4WDFUN
01-04-2010, 08:51 PM
That sounds like a starter ticking bt not being able to spin. Hit it with a wrench or something and try again.

craigIS
01-08-2010, 02:28 PM
So I put the old battery back in, and the car started up perfect. havent had a problem since.