Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E30 (1982 - 1993)

E30 (1982 - 1993)
God's Chariot. The E30 was produced primarily from 1982 through 1991. The cabriolet was the one exception which was produced through 1993.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-12-2012, 04:07 PM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Battery drained?

Last week I was driving my 89 325I to work when the headlights and the instrument panel lights started to go dim, then a few blocks down the car dies, i took the battery in to be tested and it was dead, so I had the battery charged and it tested good, I pulled the alternator out and it tested good as well, where should I start looking to find the source of the charging issue?
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 09-12-2012, 04:16 PM
longterry longterry is offline
Registered User
Location: missouri
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2002 540i
I was having similar problems with my 540i and tracked it down to my FSU sensor. My sampling fan for the climate control was not turning off and draining my battery down. I ordered one from BMW and installed it and my charging problems were no longer an issue.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-12-2012, 10:40 PM
BMWFatherFigure's Avatar
BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
Old School
Location: Perth, Western Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,456
Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
With a DMM and ALL systems off (including boot and interior lights, radio and clock) set up and read battery drain current (if there is any). The charging problem could be a bad terminal related to battery charging. A bad terminal can be 'seen' by the alternator as a fully charged battery. Double check and clean all connections. then check charging voltage and current.
__________________
Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-13-2012, 12:33 AM
_Ethrty-Andy_'s Avatar
_Ethrty-Andy_ _Ethrty-Andy_ is offline
E34 Converted E30 Fanatic
Location: Humble New Zealand
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,140
Send a message via MSN to _Ethrty-Andy_
Mein Auto: E34 Touring AC Schnitzer
certainly will be an issue between or inclusive of the battery and alternator. No E30 curcuit would drain a battery faster than your alternator can charge the car. But i would lean towards the alternator being dodgy, as an E30 will run off just the alternator with no battery installed (i have driven E30s i plan to wreck back from picking them up to my house with no battery installed, just a crash start or jump start), which reflexively means that if the battery was stuffed, the car would not have died while driving. Who tested your alternator?
__________________

E30 above Sold

E34 V12 Project Thread Here: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...=502437&page=4
Last updated 2nd January 2014
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-13-2012, 08:26 AM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
The alternator and battery were both tested at autozone
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-13-2012, 05:51 PM
Bandem Bandem is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: United States
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 188
Mein Auto: BMW
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ethrty-Andy_ View Post
certainly will be an issue between or inclusive of the battery and alternator. No E30 curcuit would drain a battery faster than your alternator can charge the car. But i would lean towards the alternator being dodgy, as an E30 will run off just the alternator with no battery installed (i have driven E30s i plan to wreck back from picking them up to my house with no battery installed, just a crash start or jump start), which reflexively means that if the battery was stuffed, the car would not have died while driving. Who tested your alternator?
Maybe you meant you have a generator? An alternator is impossible to start with a rolling-start or push without a battery or some electrical power source if thats what you meant by *crash start*.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-13-2012, 05:57 PM
downhiller's Avatar
downhiller downhiller is offline
livin large
Location: des moines
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 7,250
Mein Auto: 2012 hypermotard 796
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandem View Post
Maybe you meant you have a generator? An alternator is impossible to start with a rolling-start or push without a battery or some electrical power source if thats what you meant by *crash start*.
there is no generator on an e30. its an alternator. and yes you can start/run a car with a dead battery by crash start. we've done it multiple times with different vehicles, but mainly jeeps.

also i was thinking some more, how does the car run without the headlights on? seem to charge ok?
__________________
I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-13-2012, 08:19 PM
Bandem Bandem is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: United States
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 188
Mein Auto: BMW
Quote:
Originally Posted by downhiller View Post
there is no generator on an e30. its an alternator. and yes you can start/run a car with a dead battery by crash start. we've done it multiple times with different vehicles, but mainly jeeps.

also i was thinking some more, how does the car run without the headlights on? seem to charge ok?
Thats physically impossible. Your battery in that case, was not fully dead. There is no way an alternator can start without an electrical power source. It has no permanent magnetic fields and therefore needs electrical current at certain voltage to excite the fields.

If you were able to start it through a push, it means your battery still had some juice left in it. Maybe even a miniscule amount, not enough to start ignition or run accessories, but enough to get the alternator going.

Last edited by Bandem; 09-13-2012 at 08:25 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-13-2012, 08:31 AM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
When it died on the highway an officer gave mine a rolling start and it ran as long as the rpms were kept on the high side down to the gas station but the whole way there my headlights were dead and my guages were barely lit up
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-13-2012, 05:07 PM
BMWFatherFigure's Avatar
BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
Old School
Location: Perth, Western Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,456
Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
Sounds like a main feed or earth to the whole vehicle. CAREFULLY check major connections. Even if they look good!!! Clean and tighten the terminals and check where the wire goes in, and next to, the crimp(s).
__________________
Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i

Last edited by BMWFatherFigure; 09-13-2012 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Add data
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-13-2012, 05:37 PM
downhiller's Avatar
downhiller downhiller is offline
livin large
Location: des moines
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 7,250
Mein Auto: 2012 hypermotard 796
either a bad/loose ground or the alternator is about to crap out
__________________
I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-13-2012, 11:01 PM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Even with the headlights off that next day when i checked the battery they said it was at 85% charge, so i put it in and drove it about a mile down to autozone to check the alternator and was told the battery was reading at 60% so they couldnt test it then
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-13-2012, 11:49 PM
BMWFatherFigure's Avatar
BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
Old School
Location: Perth, Western Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,456
Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
You need a small current to excite the alternator but current and voltage that will increase with rotation speed. Push car ONLY replaces starter motor. Running without a battery can blow diodes but it does keep running - for a time. If your battery went from 85 to 60% it is not being charged by the car. Back to checking leads, terminals and connections.
__________________
Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-14-2012, 12:43 AM
Nick323's Avatar
Nick323 Nick323 is offline
Nick's Toys
Location: Windhoek, Namibia, Africa
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 749
Mein Auto: 323i E30 2-door
Post Test procedure

Don't you have Autoelectricians where you live
All you do is connect a serious Amp meter between Positive & terminal, then pull that terminal from the Battery and see the charging or discharging current.
In Africa, any genuine place that sells you Automotive Batteries will check that, as well as Electrolyte and load test on the battery. Normaly they will not even charge you (pun intended), if you do not stand around wasting their time
THEN you eliminate what is wrong
Battery- OK
Alternator OK
Not charging- lookie look for problem
Draining battery with ingnition off- boot light or similar being on when it should not
__________________
Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive !
1984 323 currently being resurrected from the ashes
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-14-2012, 01:45 AM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Thanks for the responses, once this rain clears up here I'll start checking connections and get back with you all
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-14-2012, 10:46 AM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Well it turned out the alternator was going bad, i ended up taking it to my mechanic for a second opinion and he said it was failing under load, so I replace the alternator and it seems to be running fine now with the exception of the idle which is a little choppy and whenever i rev it up a little and let off the gas the engine nearly dies and then the rpms jump back up to around 500, is it possible i messed up zomething when i reinstalled the air box and air flow meter?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-15-2012, 04:32 AM
BMWFatherFigure's Avatar
BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
Old School
Location: Perth, Western Australia
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,456
Mein Auto: E23;E30;E38;E32;E34 +
goat88 - Check CAREFULLY for leaks/damaged hoses on EVERYTHING you disconnected or 'moved'. Older car hoses crack or split very easily..
__________________
Good - Fast - Cheap: Pick any two.
Current:
E23 735i; E32 735iL (X 2 - 1 Alpine White and 1 Glacier Blue); E34 535i; E38 735iL; R50 Cooper; R55 Cooper Clubman.
Previous:
E21 318i; E30 318i; E32 735iL; E34 535i; E38 730iL; E53 4.4i
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-15-2012, 05:37 PM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Well I checked the vacuum hoses for leaks without any luck and i honestly couldnt hear a leak either, most of the hoses look fairly new, i did retighten the hose attached to the icv after cleaning it out and that seemed to smooth out the idle some but the issue im still stuck on is when i start the car it will fire up like normal but as the rpms slow down to idle it eother seems to struggle with staying running or it dies, it also dies when im driving and i stop at a light when it would normally go down to idle it dies then too
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-16-2012, 01:53 AM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
From what ive gathered from various scources an alternator can self excite, when spun above a certain rpm range
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-16-2012, 10:39 AM
hornhospital's Avatar
hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,680
Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
Links to said sources, please. Only alternators with permanent magnets (in other words,not those used in automobiles) can self-excite. On all others, no matter how fast they are spun, they will not spontaneously start creating electrical energy.
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-16-2012, 06:58 PM
hornhospital's Avatar
hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,680
Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
Click the link that johnf posted and see what that says about the rotor of an alternator. It is NOT a magnet until it is energized by, guess what, the excitation voltage through it. And the test you got at Advance? Guess what the two wires to the alternator did before they started pulling current out of the spinning alternator? Yup...sent excitation voltage into it. Of course you'll get 14ish volts off a running alternator if you pull the wires. You already had it started with excitation voltage before you pulled the wires. An alternator's excitation voltage is self-sustaining once it's producing current.

I'm not trying to be an ass either, but I know alternators and electrical systems. I've been working on them for forty years.

Sent from my MB860 using Bimmer App
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot

Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 Forum Mod/Craigslist addict/Hoarder of all sorts of stuff
BMW-CCA #441426
1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
HAVE I HAD MY MEDS YET?

Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-16-2012, 11:01 PM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Click the link that johnf posted and see what that says about the rotor of an alternator. It is NOT a magnet until it is energized by, guess what, the excitation voltage through it. And the test you got at Advance? Guess what the two wires to the alternator did before they started pulling current out of the spinning alternator? Yup...sent excitation voltage into it. Of course you'll get 14ish volts off a running alternator if you pull the wires. You already had it started with excitation voltage before you pulled the wires. An alternator's excitation voltage is self-sustaining once it's producing current.

I'm not trying to be an ass either, but I know alternators and electrical systems. I've been working on them for forty years.

Sent from my MB860 using Bimmer App
Well if you read the whole article on wikipedia regarding automotive alternators its says plain as day that they can self excite, the other "various sources" i used was to confirm that it was a true fact
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-25-2012, 11:07 AM
Bandem Bandem is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: United States
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 188
Mein Auto: BMW
Quote:
Originally Posted by goat88 View Post
Well if you read the whole article on wikipedia regarding automotive alternators its says plain as day that they can self excite, the other "various sources" i used was to confirm that it was a true fact
Alternators used in automobiles are not self exciting. You CANNOT start a vehicle with an alternator without a excitation. hornhospital is 100% correct. In fact, i'm not sure, but I believe on many BMW's they have a minimum voltage requirement set to start, otherwise it won't even let you try.

I'd like to see a video of a car with an alternator and manual transmission being push started without a battery or some power source.

Last edited by Bandem; 09-25-2012 at 11:09 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-17-2012, 03:47 PM
downhiller's Avatar
downhiller downhiller is offline
livin large
Location: des moines
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 7,250
Mein Auto: 2012 hypermotard 796
Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Click the link that johnf posted and see what that says about the rotor of an alternator. It is NOT a magnet until it is energized by, guess what, the excitation voltage through it. And the test you got at Advance? Guess what the two wires to the alternator did before they started pulling current out of the spinning alternator? Yup...sent excitation voltage into it. Of course you'll get 14ish volts off a running alternator if you pull the wires. You already had it started with excitation voltage before you pulled the wires. An alternator's excitation voltage is self-sustaining once it's producing current.

I'm not trying to be an ass either, but I know alternators and electrical systems. I've been working on them for forty years.

Sent from my MB860 using Bimmer App
but it also mentions alternators that self excite after a certain speed, so if they can self excite, that means there has to be a magnetic field to start with, correct?
__________________
I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 09-16-2012, 11:06 PM
goat88 goat88 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wichita, Kansas
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 182
Mein Auto: 1989 BMW 325I
Anyways I figured out my idle problem it turns out that when I was removing the air box I pushed a radiator hose into a cluster of wires and 1 of them came undone (poorly reattached harness) so a little electrical tape and wire strippers fixed that problem, but once again my battery is draining out the alternator is brand new and its still not keeping a charge to the battery so I'm back to checking wires again :/

Last edited by goat88; 09-16-2012 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Spellcheck error
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E30 (1982 - 1993)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms