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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 01-31-2011, 07:38 PM
aioros aioros is online now
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Location: Wildomar, CA
 
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Mein Auto: '99 528i auto , '01 330xi
Diy: Valeo alternator rebuild


This diy is for the Valeo alternator in a '99 528i auto w/140,000 miles on it.

Alternator info:
Valeo 120amp 14V #2541963A, BMW part #12311432987/981

Parts needed:
One Valeo Voltage regulator OEM, BMW part #12311713839, from smithcoelectric.com for $86.83 incl. shipping their part #8008-4474, you may find it in ebay now.

One Ball bearing 17mmX52mmX17mm B17-99DG8 NSK brand, from smithcoelectric.com for $34.85 incl. shipping, their part #5-5224 it's a bosch oem.

One Ball bearing 15mmX35mmX11mm 6202-2NSE Nachi brand, from vxb.com for $9.89 incl. shipping.

All the parts took about 3 days to reach me. I suggest if you plan to do this rebuild, order the parts on a Sunday so most likely they will ship on Monday and you'll get them by Wednesday or Thursday the latest. that is if you have the time to wait, otherwise you'll pay at least $200 for a remanufactured one

Tools needed for the dis-assembly and assembly of the alternator:
sockets: 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 22mm
dead blow hammer or any other hammer and a vise.
Something to pull the small ball bearing out of the shaft.

The whole procedure took me about 5hrs from removing the alternator to put it back in.

I hope this helps anyone out there:
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2011, 09:19 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 528i, M52TU w/stick
Thanks for this, I've been thinking of how I'm eventually going to tackle my Bosch and this gives me more hope.
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2011, 06:20 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
I'm eventually going to tackle my Bosch
This is great information as the advantage is not only cost, but I know that you know you have quality components (based on the search in your related thread).

It's also good to know the cost & time summary:
- Voltage regulator $86.83
- Bearing 17mmX52mmX17mm $34.85
- Bearing 15mmX35mmX11mm $9.89
- Brushes (not replaced)
Total = $132, shipping = 3 days elapsed time (1/2 day for the DIY itself).

I'll add this nice (and rare) BMW Valeo rebuild to the VERY best of E39 Links so others can find it easily.
- Aioros 1999 Valeo Alternator rebuild DIY (1) and quest for materials (1)
- DIY for replacing the brushes in an (Audi) Valeo alternator (1)

For those with Bosch alternators, see also cn90's Bosch alternator rebuild:
- Cn90 rebuild of 1998 Bosch Alternator for $30 (1) (2)
- Bosch 120 amp rebuild DIY for a VW (1)
- Cn90 explanation of why you want to rebuild your own alternator (1)
- Cn90 explanation of where to get hard-to-get alternator rebuild parts (1)

And, here are some related DIYs:
- How to determine exactly what alternator you have (1)
- How to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator (1)
- How to tell from the part number if the alternator is rebuilt "by" Bosch (1)
- Bosch alternator bearing replacement from a 1997 MB S600 (1) & Range Rover (1)
- How to prevent leaves in your alternator air-intake duct (1) (2)

Last edited by bluebee; 02-01-2011 at 11:32 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2011, 07:15 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Wow,

Nice job aioros!

As I have been telling people again and again, rebuilding an alternator is not that bad, actually very easy if you people take their time to do it.
The way you do it, you know you have a quality rebuild that should last at least another 140-150K miles

The alternators you get from local autoparts store these days are no longer as good as back in the 1990s. Alternator Rebuilders usually check voltage regulator, if good, they keep it, but guess what: these voltage regulators, even though they are solid-state device, have a finite life cycle (such as ? 10 million cycles etc.), this is why many people have their rebuild alternators fail in one month!

Anyway, great job with the DIY!

Perhaps I should tell EACTuning to sell a "alternator rebuild package" for both Valeo and Bosch alternator. The rebuild package should include new voltage regulator + the 2 quality bearings.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2011, 07:16 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
One Ball bearing 17mmX52mmX17mm B17-99DG8 NSK brand, from smithcoelectric.com for $34.85 incl. shipping, their part #5-5224 it's a bosch oem.
Do you know the country of origin of this particular bearing?
Is it made in the USA, Japan or China. What does it say on the box?
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2011, 09:22 AM
aioros aioros is online now
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The bearing does not come in a box, it came in a plastic bag. The invoice shows it's a Bosch OEM but I don't know the country of origen. Maybe we should ask David from Smithcoelectric.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:28 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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For those who need more info on the FRONT bearing (17x52x17 mm), BMW PN is 12311747246.

Search Google using keyword "trademotion BMW", there are a whole bunch of BMW dealers sell parts on line.
Enter 12311747246, and you will see some dealers list this bearing for $42-50 range.
Hopefully they sell the OEM Koyo bearing.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:44 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Hi aioros,

I noticed after stepping through the 22 pictures that your original brushes were fine; but you wouldn't have known that before you opened up the alternator.

Neither will anyone else - so it behooves us to mention how you decided to handle the brushes (in addition to the slip ring, and the rectifier).

The $5 brushes on Valeo alternators are known to fail before 180K miles (reference here). I realize you originally intended to replace the brushes (reference here) and, I found out (from re-reading cn90's Bosch rebuild DIY) that the brushes can be bought separately (about $5) or they can come with the voltage regulator.

A related clarification I would ask of you is regarding the "rectifier" versus the "regulator"; cn90 says (in the Bosch rebuild DIY) that the "rectifier" rarely goes bad.
Likewise, the slip rings generally simply need cleaning up with emery paper; how did you handle them?

For our tribal knowledge, would you clarify how you handled these decisions?
- Brushes?
- Regulator versus rectifier?
- Slip rings?

PS: I downloaded the 22 pictures, shrunk them to 640x480, resized to 100Kbytes, and will re-post them later in this thread so that others who are only casually interested can just "see" them (lower resolution than the originals) without having to click on all 22 of them one by one. Since 22 pictures will take up space, I'll wait for a while before posting them so that they're not "in the way" up near the top of the thread.

Last edited by bluebee; 02-01-2011 at 11:53 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:51 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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1. Rectifier is the "one-way" street to make sure the current flow in only 1 direction. Yes it can fail but very very rarely.
So the typical rebuild does NOT include the rectifier.

2. The brushes last some 150-200K miles.

3. The Voltage Regulator is a solid-state device but like any other SS device, it has a lifespan of x million cycles, after that it fails.
BEST is to use new Voltage Regulator as aioros said, it has both the VR + brushes.
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2011, 02:52 PM
aioros aioros is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1. Rectifier is the "one-way" street to make sure the current flow in only 1 direction. Yes it can fail but very very rarely.
So the typical rebuild does NOT include the rectifier.

2. The brushes last some 150-200K miles.

3. The Voltage Regulator is a solid-state device but like any other SS device, it has a lifespan of x million cycles, after that it fails.
BEST is to use new Voltage Regulator as aioros said, it has both the VR + brushes.
What he said
I didn't think on working on anything else besides the items that I changed
The brushes looked very good but no body can see them until you take the VR off.
The bearings were in ok condition.
I did not touch the slip rings.
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2011, 04:28 PM
sjbdeebo2 sjbdeebo2 is offline
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Very cool stuff. I don't know why my default forum is bimmerforums rather than bimmerfest!

I tried to take apart my CN90 but ended up breaking the rear plastic cooling duct. I also snapped part of the bolt removing the nut in the rear of the alternator. I bought a rebuilt one off ebay for $100. I'm sure that will need to be rebuilt as I have no faith in the sellers products.
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  #12  
Old 02-02-2011, 10:22 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
...The bearings were in ok condition...
aioros,

Your alternator bearings at 140K: was there any play at all?
Just curious.
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  #13  
Old 02-02-2011, 10:40 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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As for the rectifier, I realize it's just a package of four really big diodes (big as in current capacity).

I know rectifier diodes can "blow up", for example, when your car battery is dead, you get a jump, and the moment they unhook the jumper cables your field current "sees" your dead battery; this causes a HUGE surge of current to flow as the alternator output ramps up ... which ... I'm told ... can easily blow your rectifier diodes.

That's why, when I get a jump, I immediately turn on my headlights, as soon as the the jumper cable guy yells "jumpers!" when he removes them. The "hope" is that the extra amps to the lights "absorbs" the additional current that is surged out from the alternator which 'sees' a dead battery to charge.

I don't know if that's an old wives tale or not - but that's what I do to prevent the rectifier diodes from blowing up. I guess what cn90 is saying is that the four diodes (in a wheatstone bridge-like arrangement) will either blow up instantly or they'll be just fine (as they are semiconductors which have, in theory, no inherent wearout mechanism, much like LEDs).


Anyway, to aioros ... do you have a picture of the rectifier?

Note: I see a "big" black/gray diode soldered into the voltage regulator in pictures 07 & 08 below but I can't identify the rectifier as a separate unit in any of the (shrunken to 640x480 pixels) 22 pictures below.
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2011, 10:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
I did not touch the slip rings.
If/whenever I rebuild my alternator, I'd love to learn from your experience.

I'm presume the photo below is showing what is termed the "slip rings". I presume the graphite brushes touch each of these slip rings. Is that correct?

If so, there really shouldn't be much wear to them (unless the brushes wore out, which yours obviously didn't). However, I see what appears to be "scratches" on those two slip rings. Do you see what I think I see?

Did you consider "cleaning" up the slip rings?

Or is this a perfectly good condition for slip rings to be in?
(I have no experience with these things so that's why I ask what might end up being a dumb question with the pic in front of me.)

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  #15  
Old 02-07-2011, 04:49 PM
aioros aioros is online now
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to CN90: the ball bearings were in pretty good condition and I didn't notice any play at all. I think they used very high quality ball bearings on these alternators.

to Bluebee: I'm in the same page as you, since I didn't know what else i was looking for during the rebuilt, I didn't want to mess with anything else. But you are right about I could've have clean those rings and maybe the whole stator and windings.
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2011, 11:54 AM
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oekundar oekundar is offline
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Is it me or are the rectifiers a challenge to locate? This may actually force me to buy a reman rather than go through the hassle of locating the necessary parts.
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2011, 12:59 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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They don't put a new rectifier in a reman alternator. I know this for fact.
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  #18  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:12 PM
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oekundar oekundar is offline
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Interesting...I was going to replace the rectifier with the bushings and all just to ensure I didn't have to revisit the unit again in the near future.
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2011, 09:14 AM
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oekundar oekundar is offline
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I have ordered the rectifier with new brushes as well as the contact lobes...looks like I'm doing a full rebuild on this bad boy.
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  #20  
Old 05-10-2011, 06:20 AM
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oekundar oekundar is offline
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I finished rebuilding my alternator yesterday. It was my first time rebuilding an alternator myself and I couldn't be happier not to mention that the replacement parts (bearings, regulator, and Slip ring) all cost less than $80 shipped. I highly recommend the rebuilding of your own unit, as you'll know that the regulator was replaced (most rebuilders don't replace the regulator, they only replace the bushings). Not to mention the satisfaction in saving $$ and actually completing the rebuild.

I strongly recommend buying the parts from WagnerAlt (www.wagneralt.com). You would still have to give them a call, but if you have a second car, pull the alternator read the parts off to the gentleman and order your parts. Customer service was great, even when I didn't have a part number, I was worked with to identify the RIGHT regulator.

Everything went back in as it should and now the car purrs again! Thanks to you all for the help in this thread!
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  #21  
Old 05-10-2011, 08:15 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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oekundar,

Glad you got it done.

Alternator rebuild used to be good in the 1990s but the world has changed.
People are now going for a quick buck, so quality works take a back seat.
The dollar sign is tattooed to these people's forehead.

This is why by doing this Alternator Rebuild yourself:
- You save money
- You know you do quality work.
- Personal satisfaction.

And after all, the anatomy/principles of operations of an alternator is not more than grade 11-12 high school physics seriously.
It is very easy to understand if you have done high school work LOL.
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  #22  
Old 07-09-2011, 03:57 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Pulley removal/installation methods

Does everyone use an impact wrench for these two steps? How do you torque the pulley nut back on to proper spec?
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  #23  
Old 07-09-2011, 05:47 PM
aioros aioros is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
Does everyone use an impact wrench for these two steps? How do you torque the pulley nut back on to proper spec?
I didn't use an impact, I don't own one actually. You can use a torque wrench.
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  #24  
Old 07-09-2011, 06:09 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
I didn't use an impact, I don't own one actually. You can use a torque wrench.
To remove the pulley nut, did you counterhold with a belt-wrench or something similar?
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  #25  
Old 07-10-2011, 10:14 AM
aioros aioros is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
To remove the pulley nut, did you counterhold with a belt-wrench or something similar?
I remember struggling to remove the pulley nut. I either did it by holding it with my hand (using a glove) or using a pipe wrench, but it was a BIG PITA!
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