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Old 07-28-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
Ceeker
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problem with dash lights

so I had a problem with the car holding a charge. On that really hot day the car started in the morning and wouldn't start as the car and the day heated up. I needed to jump start it but took little effort. it did this like clockwork the whole week. Morning she starts when cool and later no start.

I rebuilt the starter; I rebuilt the alt; and changed the bat. now I get this. The 3 lights at the bottom come up when at idle; as I rev the motor upward to 2 grand it fades out and stays out as long as I don't let it return to idle.

sorry bout the large pic.

any ideas or help would be appreciated.
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:12 AM   #2
E30M42cab
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Last time I changed my alternator, those lights came on for a bit upon first startup. Once I got the car's revs up, they went away and stayed away. When you rebuilt your alternator, you changed your voltage reguator? Maybe it's the wrong one? Maybe it's faulty? I don't know, that's just a stab in the dark, but those lights like to come on when the car stalls (or almosts stalls, but keeps running) so I'd think it's related to the alternator more than anything... like the belt not being tight enough, but I'd expect you to know how to change a belt by now.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:17 AM   #3
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Last time I changed my alternator, those lights came on for a bit upon first startup. Once I got the car's revs up, they went away and stayed away. When you rebuilt your alternator, you changed your voltage reguator? Maybe it's the wrong one? Maybe it's faulty? I don't know, that's just a stab in the dark, but those lights like to come on when the car stalls (or almosts stalls, but keeps running) so I'd think it's related to the alternator more than anything... like the belt not being tight enough, but I'd expect you to know how to change a belt by now.
thanks Scott, it was rebuilt a couple years ago but never used. I suspected it might be the voltage regulator being faulty. so I might change it to see what happens. thanks again; oh and the matching visors is a cool things on the coupe. I don't know if I'd do away with the vert one because I like the plastic folder for the roof instructions. :-)
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:28 AM   #4
E30M42cab
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Yeah, my vert never came with the instructions for whatever reason. Maybe it did, but was removed after it got all faded and yellow. Anyways, check that regulator and let me know.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:53 AM   #5
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Before you just go randomly changing things, why not check the voltage during charge and during load (headlights / rear defogger) and post the results?
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:04 AM   #6
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Before you just go randomly changing things, why not check the voltage during charge and during load (headlights / rear defogger) and post the results?
I honestly thought about that; but I had a new alt kicking around and 15min later it was in. the starter took a bit longer. lol. both needed changing; they were on there way out after inspecting them. thanks for the input.
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #7
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Ya makes sense. So, shoot down to Princess Auto or XS Cargo and find a multimeter. Its something that once you have you'll wonder how you go buy without. Get a digital one, but don't spend more than $10. Princess Auto have them on sale all the time for $6.

Then you can really get into the trouble shooting aspect of this before you have to buy any more parts.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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Ya makes sense. So, shoot down to Princess Auto or XS Cargo and find a multimeter. Its something that once you have you'll wonder how you go buy without. Get a digital one, but don't spend more than $10. Princess Auto have them on sale all the time for $6.

Then you can really get into the trouble shooting aspect of this before you have to buy any more parts.
the alt was free and the starter cost me 70.00. so it wasn't toooo bad.. :-)
my buddy can bench test my two alts to see if one might need rebuilding. He suspects it's the voltage reg. since there is good connection/power as the batt light goes out. but might not be charging at low rpms. I got one of those meters...talk about lazy on my part...LOL.
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
Ceeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
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put a multimeter on and check to see what your alternator is putting out
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Old 07-29-2011, 02:33 PM   #10
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put a multimeter on and check to see what your alternator is putting out
red lead goes on the + ? black goes on the body of the alt or the ground -?
I guess I set the meter to volts?
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:03 PM   #11
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DMM 101:

Go to V on the dial. 200 should do it as you want to see two digits and a decimal place.

Put the red lead on what you want to test (obviously) and the black lead to the body.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:01 PM   #12
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DMM 101:

Go to V on the dial. 200 should do it as you want to see two digits and a decimal place.

Put the red lead on what you want to test (obviously) and the black lead to the body.
will do! thank you belly belly much!! :-)
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
Ceeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 11:46 PM   #13
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If you DON'T get a reading, try a different spot on the body for ground before giving up on it. If you're looking at stuff under the hood at the fuse box, use one of the bolts on the shock tower. The shock tower itself won't give you the ground you need.

Last edited by karmatose; 07-29-2011 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 07-30-2011, 12:08 AM   #14
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There are a couple of things I am going to also look over. 1) wear on the belt. 2) the v- pulley on the rebuilt is slightly larger outside diameter and deeper groove. So I wonder if the belt is sitting snug in the channel? Also might tighten it some more to see if that changes anything. I did tighten it but! maybe the belt is tired.. I did drive the car tonight for about 30min on the highway to see if I am draining the battery and it apparently isn't. So I think it is charging.

thanks again for your help.
Tomorrow is another day!
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I think I've had 14 bmw's in 4 years.
2 IX's -sold and parts
2 325i 4 dr - sold
4 318is all white - sold and parts
1 87 325is red - parts
1 89 325i vert grey - parts
1 90 325is white - keepin
1 87 325i vert -red - keepin
latest addition 1 88-325is red - parts
latest addition 1 89-325i vert - white -fixin/sold
latest addition 1 92-318i vert - blue - parts
latest addition 1 87 325is blk - parts.

latest addition as of 2013-Gold 87-325is auto! it's a keeper!
Ceeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 01:57 AM   #15
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first thing first is the alternator charging???? cause i no some cars when first started all lights are on till u rev to like 1000 rpms, than lights stay out. So check to see if it's charging put it on the battery terminals when the car is running
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