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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 05-27-2010, 03:21 PM
eof913 eof913 is offline
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Location: Santa Ana, CA
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Mein Auto: '99 328i convertible
Red face Battery Positive Supply Fault Causing Limp Mode??

Hi. I have a problem I can't seem to find an answer for anywhere on this great world wide web of ours. At random times the transmission in my E36 '99 328i convertible will revert to failsafe mode, which basically kills all acceleration. I believe BMW calls it the "limp home mode". (The "gear" icon on the dash comes on noting the switch to this mode.)

I went to the shop and plugged it in and it is giving a "Battery Positive Supply" fault. Apparently the voltage in the alternator is spiking way up, causing the transmission to revert to limp mode. When I turn off the car, it goes away but will come back within 30 mins or so of driving. The folks at the shop are fairly certain it's either an alternator problem or a voltage meter problem, a difference of around $300 to fix.

Has anyone had this issue previously? Or can anyone provide some more insight into what I should/could do, in terms of getting the voltage meter replaced vs replacing the alternator itself? Any insight on what might be causing the spike that could actually be the real problem... ie is the alternator the only thing that could cause the voltage to spike?

Thank you so much for reading and responding. I really, really, really appreciate it.
-eof
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:29 PM
hornhospital's Avatar
hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,335
Mein Auto: 1995 318is / 1993 325is
Yes, that can and will cause the car to go into limp mode. Check/clean BOTH battery clamps/posts. Check and clean if necessary the ground connection of the negative battery cable. A bad ground can cause a multitude of problems, including a voltage-spiking alternator.

Voltage meter? You have no voltage meter. Voltage regulator, perhaps? (but that's internal to the alternator).
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Last edited by hornhospital; 05-27-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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