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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:17 AM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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USA Industries watercooled Alternator replacement. Are they any good?

Hi guys I was hoping to get some advice on a replacement alternator for my 1999 540it watercooled. Ive read many post on the issues with the alternators on the 5 series and it didnt take long for my 540i to act up. It all started when i first got the car and it had no battery. I put my optima red top in her and it started right up with no problems but when i started to drive the car began to play a loud thumping sound through the speakers and the trans went into safe mode. So I drove it back home and let it sit for a while and turned it back on and it started again without a problem. The following day I decided to figure out what the problem was, was it my battery, thermals, etc. But came up empty. Checked all fuses and they all seem to be fine, so i decided to drive it again and see what happens. Drove up the block and again trans got thrown into safe mode and the check engine light came on and the battery light flashing. Getting it back to my driveway it died, I would turn it on and quickly it would die so i disconnected my battery and called it a night. Next day plugged in my battery and started. To sum up a long story I pin pointed the problem to be the water cooled alternator. So I pulled it out with the intent to get it tested and rebuilt (forgot that it needed to be tested only in the car). Now im concidering getting the OEM bosch alternator rebuilt or getting a replacement USA industries remanfactored alternator. was hoping to get some advice on my replacement choice. Or should I go with the rebuilt which would come out to about the same price.

thanks
KJ
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 05:43 PM
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abanjableu abanjableu is offline
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need to find out where the failure Iis

I am sure you can find someone who can fix the issue...lol I am looking for a blown alternator to play with before mine goes.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 07:38 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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You won't find new alternators, they are all rebuilt units.
I replaced mine a few years ago and also one on a friends 540.
He got his at Advanced Auto on sale for less than $300 with a lifetime warranty.
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:00 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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yeah, found all remanufactored ones, had found the USA industries one on partsgeek for 267 and i was considering that one. It would cost me 250 to rebuild the OEM one i pulled out of it. So im stuck in this dilemma, getting the it rebuilt will only come with a 3 month guarantee. Even though the shop came in highly recommanded I am still a bit nervous. Ive read post of people getting the bosch one rebuilt and it not lasting no longer then a few months. And since i have in mind staying with the car i want something reliable without breaking the bank. also do you happen to remember what brand or part number was the one your friend got JIMLEV. would really appericate it. all the ones ive seen from then are 399 and up.

thanks for the quick responses btw

Last edited by unknownID540it; 11-25-2012 at 09:09 PM.
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2012, 06:54 AM
nsogiba nsogiba is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6
My OEM Bosch alternator (water cooled) died at around 90K. Total bearing failure.

I was in the same situation as you, didnít want to spend $500 on a parts store one and didnít want to even think about calling the dealer.

Ended up going to rockauto and found one for $223 with core charge. Returned the core and my final total ended up being $168. Canít beat that! Replaced it as well as the battery. No problems since, it ran perfect for the year I drove the car after that. I was also initially worried about the quality of it, and found it to be just as well built as the OEM unit. I do believe that ďBOSCHĒ was stamped somewhere on the remaníd unit. Of course, with it being remaníd, you donít know how many Bosch components were actually retained, but I figured it was worth mentioning. Most likely they receive the OEM junk units, replace whatever guts are necessary, clean them up, and make a profit on them.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:29 AM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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Thanks for the info Ill look into the rockauto ones. Out of curiousity I called the dealer and they wanted 1500 and thats not counting a 120 dollar core charge. yeah I can get a civic for that, but that was to be expected from them. Just wanted to have an idea. Think Im just going to go for the one on partsgeek if i dont find the one that you recommanded nsogiba.
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:32 AM
nsogiba nsogiba is offline
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This is what you need. Great price, this is what I bought.

http://www.rockauto.com/dbphp/x,cata...RGY_15479.html

The part is cross listed for multiple applications but this worked in my 2001 540i and should be fine in your í99 V8.
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:41 AM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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just looked at rockauto and I can see that there is one for 222.79 plus 17.50 shipping basically a 240 total price. but what worries me is that it does not state watercooled nor does it have a pic. Have to give them a call. Is this the one you purchased?

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:56 AM
nsogiba nsogiba is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unknownID540it View Post
just looked at rockauto and I can see that there is one for 222.79 plus 17.50 shipping basically a 240 total price. but what worries me is that it does not state watercooled nor does it have a pic. Have to give them a call. Is this the one you purchased?

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php
Quote:
Originally Posted by unknownID540it View Post
just looked at rockauto and I can see that there is one for 222.79 plus 17.50 shipping basically a 240 total price. but what worries me is that it does not state watercooled nor does it have a pic. Have to give them a call. Is this the one you purchased?

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php
The URL doesnít work because itís a flash based site.

I did this in the catalog:

BMW -> 1999 -> 540i -> Electrical -> Alternator/Generator

First one that comes up is the one. Pure Energy #15479. I also recall having some worries about it not being the watercooled, but the right one came. I would call and double check though. See this thread that I made when I had the alternator fail.

http://www.nyspeed.com/showthread.ph...or-Replacement
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2012, 04:39 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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well guys i havent gotten anywhere with my wagon. was going to order my alternator today but recieved a low blow from my cayenne s that now decided to have its coolant hoses leak . so have to take car of it before i finish the wagon. as soon as i get the alternator ill let you guys know how it turned out. thanks for all the info..

Last edited by unknownID540it; 11-28-2012 at 04:45 PM.
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2012, 04:52 PM
540fury 540fury is offline
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i should get one of these for my e39
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  #12  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:23 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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hey guys finally got my usa alternator and put it on and after refilling my coolant level i am happy to say my wagon is alive. now running with the usa alternator and a red top optima battery. No more trans safe mode or a constant loss of power. If anyones considering this brand of alternator ill say go for it. And after i get a couple of more miles and years out of it ill be happy to give any feed back on this replacement choice.
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  #13  
Old 04-06-2013, 05:38 PM
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bin01123 bin01123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
You won't find new alternators, they are all rebuilt units.
I replaced mine a few years ago and also one on a friends 540.
He got his at Advanced Auto on sale for less than $300 with a lifetime warranty.
Do you which alternator he got which has a lifetime warranty?
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  #14  
Old 04-06-2013, 05:52 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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I never found any with a lifetime warranty, but the USA industries one I got is very good so far.
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  #15  
Old 04-06-2013, 06:14 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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So what was the final cost for the one you got?
Did it have the Bosch rebuilt sticker on it?
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  #16  
Old 04-06-2013, 06:20 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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It was 267.25. They give you 85 bucks back if you send the old core back
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  #17  
Old 04-06-2013, 06:38 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unknownID540it View Post
It was 267.25. They give you 85 bucks back if you send the old core back
Very good price.
No Bosch rebuilt sticker??
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  #18  
Old 04-06-2013, 07:02 PM
kgorczyn kgorczyn is offline
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I put one of these in my 528i - It had a Valeo sticker on it - Lifetime warranty included, after coupon and returning the core it was like $150. I don't think I could rebuild one myself for that cheap, let alone with a life time warranty.
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  #19  
Old 04-06-2013, 07:23 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Very good price.
No Bosch rebuilt sticker??
The factory Bosch rebuilds are typically around $400 to $450 shipped with a $80 to $100 core charge/deposit.

I am doubtful the one described could be a Bosch factory rebuild at that price...
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  #20  
Old 04-06-2013, 07:30 PM
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bin01123 bin01123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unknownID540it View Post
I never found any with a lifetime warranty, but the USA industries one I got is very good so far.
How many miles and how long have you been running the part?

Sent from my HTC VLE_U using Bimmer App
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  #21  
Old 04-06-2013, 07:52 PM
JimLev JimLev is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
The factory Bosch rebuilds are typically around $400 to $450 shipped with a $80 to $100 core charge/deposit.

I am doubtful the one described could be a Bosch factory rebuild at that price...
The water cooled one I put in my friends 540 came from Advanced Auto, it was a Bosch rebuild. After the core refund it was just under $300.
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  #22  
Old 04-06-2013, 08:25 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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Idk I read alot of mixed reviews of rebuilt Bosch watercooled. What reman does is use the outer Bosch shell but replaces the whole inner parts so I guess it's similar to a rebuilt
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  #23  
Old 04-07-2013, 07:14 PM
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I'm not going back with a Bosch since they seem to fail. This is one of the rare times I'll go against getting an OEM part. Still doing more research and I did find an alternator at Advanced Auto that has a lifetime warranty. (ToughOne Alternator) I'd rather save the money and go with the USA Industries but the lifetime warranty is tempting.
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  #24  
Old 04-07-2013, 08:02 PM
unknownID540it unknownID540it is offline
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The Boschs failure rate is what pushed me away from an OEM rebuilt one. The USA industries one has been pretty good and didn't break my wallet. I was tempted by the whole lifetime warranty from autozone but I wasn't tempted on paying about $400 for it. Plus I've had some bad experiences with there alternators so that deterred me as well. I wanted to do the job once and have it last another 100k miles if lucky. And I'm glad that I didn't spend so much now that my trans is acting up again and going into 3rd gear. Read so many reviews and just ordered my service kit for the trans and the two speed sensors (pulse sensors if you call it that). Another 200 bucks. Hoping this will solve the problem, if not I think it's buy buy wagon.
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  #25  
Old 04-07-2013, 08:17 PM
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You said it. I plan on having this car as long as possible as it was passed down to me from my father so I may go with the lifetime warranty from AutoZone. Going to have this car well past 200K and I don't want to have to pay for this part again. Waiting to hear about warranty info on the USA Industries
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