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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 07-19-2015, 02:03 PM
LOG1Kpi LOG1Kpi is online now
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Location: Boston, MA
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 528i Touring
Acceleration loss after Alternator malfunction and swap

Hi guys, on the road now, haven't searched well enough but I can't figure this out.

On a 3hr trip to a wedding the battery light came on, then the AC stopped, followed by the air bag and transmission (gear with exclamation) light. Bought a Botch (sp?) Alternator at Autozone here in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and a nice local random mechanic to change it. Battery is charging now and car is running with AC and electronics working normally.

There was a power loss when the lights first came on, and still now. When I accelerate it lacks the usual torque, and it feels that way all through every gear (Automatic 528iT). I shift down to S3 and S2 down hill in this hilly area just fine, but there is that unexplainable and unprecedented lack of power and torque.

What could this be?
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2003 E39 530i Sprt Pckg Jet Black
1982 Mazda RX7 Flat Black
1999 E39 528i Touring Barritz Blue/Sand Tan interior
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2015, 02:20 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
Get the codes read. Report back.

Measure the battery voltage: 12.5 at rest, 14 at 1000 RPM.
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2015, 02:21 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 5-spd
Can't get my eyes off the girl, ahem .... what was the question again? Oh, yeah... well, did the roving mechanic properly re-install the serpentine belt? It can be tricky for some folks the first time.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...arge/pic01.jpg
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  #4  
Old 07-19-2015, 04:43 PM
LOG1Kpi LOG1Kpi is online now
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 528i Touring
Just got home. Yes, will have to reset the codes and scan it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Can't get my eyes off the girl, ahem .... what was the question again? Oh, yeah... well, did the roving mechanic properly re-install the serpentine belt? It can be tricky for some folks the first time.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...arge/pic01.jpg
I was thinking about that, maybe be it's lose, but would that really affect torque and power?

The girl on the pic (the GF) drove it during heavy traffic, and before I told her about it, she said it didn't have any torque, that it felt like a 4 banger and not an in line 6.
That's when I realized it could be the VANOS.

Will update once I diagnose it better.
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  #5  
Old 07-19-2015, 04:49 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOG1Kpi View Post
Just got home. Yes, will have to reset the codes and scan it again.



I was thinking about that, maybe be it's lose, but would that really affect torque and power?

The girl on the pic (the GF) drove it during heavy traffic, and before I told her about it, she said it didn't have any torque, that it felt like a 4 banger and not an in line 6.
That's when I realized it could be the VANOS.

Will update once I diagnose it better.
A mis-installed serpentine could possibly cause some problem but I think it would loudly inform you.

I'll underline edjack's recommendation that you get the codes (and pending codes). Sounds like your car could be running in failsafe mode. Vanos probably doesn't have much to do with it, but a code will tell you. Auto trans and low battery also can be fussy friends.

Ah ... one more tidbit. The Bosch alternators from Autozone and most other places are rebuilds. Most of the time, judging from the anecdotal data on this forum, they work okay, but duds exist because the rebuilds typically use poor-quality bearings (compared to the originals).

Last edited by pleiades; 07-19-2015 at 04:57 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2015, 05:41 PM
LOG1Kpi LOG1Kpi is online now
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 528i Touring
Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
The Bosch alternators from Autozone and most other places are rebuilds...
Thanks. Yeah, they told me it was a rebuild with warranty. I was hesitant at first but we were stranded 3 hours from our home in Philly, so decided to just get it done. It happened right when we arrived on Saturday and nothing was open except for the chains like Autozone or Pepboys. Thought we would have to wait until Monday but found a local mechanic and on his day off and helped us out. He was really fast--about 1hr and half, charged only $100 and it got us on the road so I'm not complaining, haha.

Alternator seems to be working fine, though, everything is normal except for the loss of torque. Feels like we lost a few pistons, lol.

Will update after scanning and diagnosing.
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2003 E39 530i Sprt Pckg Jet Black
1982 Mazda RX7 Flat Black
1999 E39 528i Touring Barritz Blue/Sand Tan interior
+Beautiful Woman that works on cars with me and gets dirty=Perfect life.
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2015, 03:55 AM
LOG1Kpi LOG1Kpi is online now
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Torque power returned to normal the following day. Checked engine codes and nothing new turned up. I'm blaming it on the automatic transmission and the failsafe mode. I never trusted automatics but ever since I got this one I'm liking having a free right hand all the time, especially during road trips in the touring.
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1982 Mazda RX7 Flat Black
1999 E39 528i Touring Barritz Blue/Sand Tan interior
+Beautiful Woman that works on cars with me and gets dirty=Perfect life.
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  #8  
Old 07-27-2015, 06:22 AM
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crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Make sure to charge your battery. Your battery was dead and you were asking your newly installed alternator to not only run the vehicle, which is what it normally does, but also to charge your battery. A vehicle running on a low battery will act wonky!
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  #9  
Old 07-27-2015, 06:25 AM
LOG1Kpi LOG1Kpi is online now
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Sounds about right, thanks!
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2003 E39 530i Sprt Pckg Jet Black
1982 Mazda RX7 Flat Black
1999 E39 528i Touring Barritz Blue/Sand Tan interior
+Beautiful Woman that works on cars with me and gets dirty=Perfect life.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2016, 08:01 PM
Newbz Newbz is offline
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Location: Toronto
 
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Mein Auto: 2007 323i
Old post. I know, sorry for reviving it. But I have the same issue that happened to me 3 weeks ago. My car ('07 323i - yes I'm Canadian) had a mishap when some cyclist hit my side mirror, breaking it and leaving without a trace (car was parked on my residential street). I thought I heard the alarm went off but didn't bother as I thought I wasn't my car knowing there are 20 other cars in the street.

Next morning, there it was side mirror dangling on the side. Anyhow, that's minor. I tried starting the car, it did, however few minutes later, the red battery light kept coming up. Tried to drive the car to the dealership to get it checked out but the car stalled in the middle of traffic. I had to get it towed on a Friday morning. Way to start the long weekend!

At the dealership, they diagnosed the car saying the alternator is busted and the battery is toast, and that both needs replacement, which would come up to $2000 including labour - I backed out. Lol. No way I'm spending 2k for a 9 year old car and decided to bring it to my mechanic. This guy I can trust as he was referred to by a really good buddy. Dealership boosted the battery and I basically ran my car at a snail's pace about 10km north.

Fast forward - my guy checked the battery saying it can be saved - weird cos the battery doesn't go down to 12.5 at rest. Replaced alternator. Checked codes etc. All is well and running but it seems like the car lost its torque and does not accelerate well when I push the gas. It kinda drives weird and feels cheap because there isn't that motion of pull when I go on sport mode on the highway. Not sure what is wrong as there aren't any lights coming up.

Can anyone help? Any thoughts?
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  #11  
Old 09-08-2016, 08:17 PM
LOG1Kpi LOG1Kpi is online now
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Location: Boston, MA
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 E39 528i Touring
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbz View Post
Fast forward - my guy checked the battery saying it can be saved - weird cos the battery doesn't go down to 12.5 at rest. Replaced alternator. Checked codes etc. All is well and running but it seems like the car lost its torque and does not accelerate well when I push the gas. It kinda drives weird and feels cheap because there isn't that motion of pull when I go on sport mode on the highway. Not sure what is wrong as there aren't any lights coming up.

Can anyone help? Any thoughts?
I don't know anything beyond my own experience but it does seem like your new alternator was not only charging your battery powering the car to drive it, as others chimed in. Mine charged fully eventually and the lag went away.

Batteries also have an expiration date...I would have rather bought a new battery for a bit over $100 (American) and changed it myself.

Seriously though, 2K for a simple job? That guy is shameless!
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