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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-05-2010, 08:39 AM
mr.rhtuner mr.rhtuner is offline
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Question E46 wouldn't start yesterday, put in battery worked and now nothing

Hey everybody, I'm in a ****ty situation with our only car going down. Yesterday my gf tried to turn on the car and it wouldn't start. I got home, tried it and the dash lit up, and with the key cranked the car kept making a clicking/ticking noise.

I had my friend come by, we boosted the car and it ran. I shut it down, tried to turn it on again and nothing.

After reading the forums, some people suggest to have the wipers on full to see how fast they go, which can be an indication on battery strength. I did so and the wipers were extremely slow.

Off we went to wal-mart for a new battery. Installed the battery and drove the car around for about 30 min last night. Went for food, finished and car turned on throughout the night perfectly.

We got home, turned it off and went to bed. This morning we go to turn it on and it seems as if the car wants to crank but it doesn't have enough power. Wipers seem slow again but we have a new battery in

Nothing was left on in the car last night as I checked when we parked it to make sure the battery won't be drained.


Any ideas? I don't know why but I'm thinking it's the alternator since it has a new battery but with the new battery this morning the car won't get enough juice to fully start.

or could it be the starter? even though I heard it trying to turn over?


Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2010, 08:58 AM
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I would say the alternator also. Because the new battery fixed all the issues until it had enough time to run down.
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:00 AM
C-Bear C-Bear is offline
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Almost assuredly your alternator. Run a search here -- it's a fairly easy do-it-yourself.
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:28 AM
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First things first....make sure all cable connections are clean & tight....especially the ground strap.
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:42 AM
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I vote for alternator too. Slow wipers when the car is running is a clear signal that it is failing. Also the windows should move up and down slower and the headlights will not be as bright.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:58 AM
05hexhead 05hexhead is offline
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Take the car and battery to Walmart and have them check the battery. They should be able to charge it up and load test it, and check your alternator output at the same time.

It probably is your alternator, but it could possibly be a bad battery.
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2010, 11:59 AM
jcjdavis1 jcjdavis1 is offline
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Hi. You may have something still running after you switch off. A common problem is the final stage resistor (hedgehog). Might be worth charging the battery then take the heater fan fuse out and leave it overnight and see if you have a flat battery in the morning. Jim
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2010, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jcjdavis1 View Post
Hi. You may have something still running after you switch off. A common problem is the final stage resistor (hedgehog). Might be worth charging the battery then take the heater fan fuse out and leave it overnight and see if you have a flat battery in the morning. Jim
Aftermarket/improperly-installed alarm & stereo systems are frequent offenders as well....
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2010, 05:18 PM
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its your alternator, same thing happened to me in my 2003 325i
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2010, 06:53 PM
mr.rhtuner mr.rhtuner is offline
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Hey guys, thank you for all the help. I appreciate the feedback.
So to update you guys, I ordered a alternator which was supposed to be a Bosch. Well, the store screwed up and I ended up getting the Valeo alternator. Now I pulled out my failed alternator and it's a Bosch 120 amp alternator. The one I got, I believe is a 90 amp model.

I've searched the Internet and the only thing I found about using a 90amp alternator instead of the 120amp is that the higher-output amp will charge the battery faster. We have a 2000 323ci, no power seats, nothing crazy and it's just a stock car.
Would we be safe using the 90amp alternator? or should we order the Bosch 120amp? If the alternator is there to charge the battery, I don't see how 30amp less will be noticeable or negative.

Any ideas?

Thank you all.
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  #11  
Old 11-06-2010, 08:13 PM
C-Bear C-Bear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.rhtuner View Post
Hey guys, thank you for all the help. I appreciate the feedback.
So to update you guys, I ordered a alternator which was supposed to be a Bosch. Well, the store screwed up and I ended up getting the Valeo alternator. Now I pulled out my failed alternator and it's a Bosch 120 amp alternator. The one I got, I believe is a 90 amp model.

I've searched the Internet and the only thing I found about using a 90amp alternator instead of the 120amp is that the higher-output amp will charge the battery faster. We have a 2000 323ci, no power seats, nothing crazy and it's just a stock car.
Would we be safe using the 90amp alternator? or should we order the Bosch 120amp? If the alternator is there to charge the battery, I don't see how 30amp less will be noticeable or negative.

Any ideas?

Thank you all.
I don't know if the 90amp would work; I do know I'd only use what was in there to begin with -- the 120amp.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2010, 05:37 AM
Hammer432 Hammer432 is offline
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The amperage rating is to ensure that the alternator can run all of the electrical devices you may possibly use at one time and still have enough to charge the battery. I would get the 120 amp one.
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  #13  
Old 11-08-2010, 09:32 AM
mr.rhtuner mr.rhtuner is offline
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Surprise surprise everybody

The problem was NOT the alternator /facepalm


Putting in a new alternator this morning of course didn't fix it. The problem was the fuel pump.

$$$ later with a new fuel pump, alternator and battery...the car drives great but the dam wallet hurts.

ANYBODY READING THIS IN THE FUTURE, IF YOUR CAR TRIES TO START AND YOU REPLACED THE BATTERY, HAVE YOUR CAR INSPECTED BY A MECHANIC TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PROBLEM IS FIGURED OUT, SINCE WE NOW KNOW IT CAN BE EITHER THE ALTERNATOR(PRETTY COMMON) OR THE FUEL PUMP.


Regardless, I'm glad the car is working and thank you everybody for the input regardless.
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  #14  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:31 PM
05hexhead 05hexhead is offline
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Your no crank problems should not have been caused by your fuel pump. Your alternator probably was defective as well.
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  #15  
Old 11-08-2010, 03:32 PM
mr.rhtuner mr.rhtuner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05hexhead View Post
Your no crank problems should not have been caused by your fuel pump. Your alternator probably was defective as well.
Oh well, it runs now and a lot better.

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  #16  
Old 11-08-2010, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05hexhead View Post
Your no crank problems should not have been caused by your fuel pump. .
False. Seen it many times.
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  #17  
Old 11-09-2010, 03:06 AM
gesoffen gesoffen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.rhtuner View Post
ANYBODY READING THIS IN THE FUTURE, IF YOUR CAR TRIES TO START AND YOU REPLACED THE BATTERY, HAVE YOUR CAR INSPECTED BY A MECHANIC TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PROBLEM IS FIGURED OUT, SINCE WE NOW KNOW IT CAN BE EITHER THE ALTERNATOR(PRETTY COMMON) OR THE FUEL PUMP.
While many people were voting alternator as the likely culprit, they obviously couldn't directly trouble shoot the problem - only give you hints on what to troubleshoot. A simple volt meter could have saved you the trouble of unnecessarily replacing the alternator - if DC output from the alternator was between 13.8 and 14.2 volts, your alternator is very likely good. A load test on the charging system would have been another troubleshooting tool.

Your bold statement should read "Internet tips do not take the place of proper troubleshooting." Regardless, good on you for getting under the hood and turning wrenches. Yeah, it looks like you had to throw in the towel but I hope that doesn't discourage you from other DIY maintenance and repair tasks.

BTW - when the fuel pump was replaced, I hope the fuel filter was replaced as well. Since there is no factory maintenance interval for the fuel filter, the pump usually dies an untimely death due to the filter getting partially or fully clogged and the pump having to work overtime to pressurize the fuel system. I'd put the fuel filter on the Inspection II cycle (i.e. every 4yr or ~60k miles).
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Last edited by gesoffen; 11-09-2010 at 09:39 AM.
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  #18  
Old 11-09-2010, 05:25 AM
C-Bear C-Bear is offline
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
False. Seen it many times.
Yeah, but what's weird is the replacement battery bringing the car back to life for a day, which is exactly what happens when a dead alternator is misdiagnosed as a dead battery.

I don't see how a fresh battery brings a dead fuel pump back to life at all, much less for a day's worth of driving.
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2010, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by C-Bear View Post
Yeah, but what's weird is the replacement battery bringing the car back to life for a day, which is exactly what happens when a dead alternator is misdiagnosed as a dead battery.

I don't see how a fresh battery brings a dead fuel pump back to life at all, much less for a day's worth of driving.
Same reason my car sputtered once and then came back to life for a few days before final death set in on my fuel pump. Weird, but it happens.
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  #20  
Old 11-13-2010, 06:40 PM
claydough claydough is offline
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yeah alternator is not charging.
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