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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 06-26-2011, 12:45 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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E39 - Alternator dead- Need help with ordering correct parts

Hi,
Few days ago my car (2002-530i; 70k miles; replaced battery 10 months ago) died in the parking lot. Got a jump from AAA and drove it back home. In those 5 miles, all kinds of lights started flashing on the dash board (red battery indicator; traction/anti locks brakes etc). Safely made it back home.

Went online, read many of the posts on the forum. Special thanks to Bluebee, CN90 and other contributors, it has been very helpful. I removed car battery and got it tested and fully charged it at autozone. Battery tested ok.

Yesteday, I did the test-9 before starting the car, voltage is around 11.5v, when I started the car, battery voltage went to 13v for a 1 minute and then it went down to 11.3v. I drove it on the city streets for 4 miles, dash board is normal. I monitored the battery voltage with test-9. It started dropped from 11.3 to 10.4 V in that short trip.

Based on what I read and the data I have at hand, I am assuming it is the Alternator that has gone bad.

Two questions.
a) Can you please confirm my diagnosis ie, it is the alternator that is dead.
b) Identifying parts needed for Alternator and belt drive overhaul: I read post of Bluebee and CN90. Do i have to remove the fan to identify the parts? I am hoping there is a easy way to read what type of Alternator, tensionors, rollers my car currently has? I tried using the flash light,but did not see any labels directly..

I have never done this before. I live in San Jose, would like to seek help from other members that have done it or better yet, join them to do drive belt over haul. Much appreciate all the help!

Thank you,
Go Blue
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:20 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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some battery chargers have build in alternator voltage check ( my Schumacher has it )
any auto shop can check your alternator as well
you can rebuild it yourself , buy rebuild unit or buy new Bosch ( I bought new Bosch from ebay )
GL

Last edited by champaign777; 06-26-2011 at 01:29 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:31 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Battery is drained again. Test-9 shows 9.8V now, not enough to start the car.

I need to remove the battery and get it fully charged so that I can drive it to a auto store to get the alternator tested. I will do it later today and will keep you posted.

Thank you!
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2011, 01:34 PM
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530iman 530iman is offline
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Same thing happened to me. I had to remove the alternator to find out the correct voltage before purchasing the new one. You can only find out if you have mechanical or hydraulic tension pulleys by looking. Since you plan on replacing it all I would remove the alternator and tension pulleys prior to purchasing parts. There is no way to tell what you have without looking at the parts. You can go to realoem.com and enter part of your vin and it may tell you what you have. But I didn't trust that info. If you have another vehicle it would be best to remove the parts, verify what you have and then make the purchase.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:36 PM
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530iman 530iman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goblue11 View Post
Battery is drained again. Test-9 shows 9.8V now, not enough to start the car.

I need to remove the battery and get it fully charged so that I can drive it to a auto store to get the alternator tested. I will do it later today and will keep you posted.

Thank you!
Charge the battery and replace the alternator it can hurt your battery. A battery is used to crank the car the alternator tops of the battery and keeps it charged.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:07 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Thanks for sharing the info. I am assuming the Alternator label (which has the make and rating info) is at the bottom of it. I can see it part of it alternator from the top, but not the label:-

Two quick questions for you. a) Did you remove the fan/radiator first before removing the alternator? How much time did it take to get the alternator out?
b) Did you rebuild the alternator or bought a re-manufactured one? Please share the vendor/price info if you have it handy.

Thanks again for all the help!
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:27 PM
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Question.1. No I only removed the top radiator hose and the air intake assembly to access the alternator bolts. Q.2. It took me about 1 hour to remove and replace the alternator and its really a straight forward process. If you have wrenched on a couple of cars before it will be easy for you. I buy all my parts from Auto Imparts its located in austell Ga. They have great prices and carry OEM parts for our cars. I had a Bosch 140 amp in my 2001 530 and replaced it with the same for 354.00 before core charge and 115.00 for the core so my final price was 199.00. Also the label is on the back of the alternator facing the block. You may be able to see it with a mirror and flashlight.
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:34 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Thank you for the info. It is helpful. $199 net for Bosch is a good price. I will try the mirror first to get to the label. Will keep you posted.
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:45 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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I would check out the site sponsors on here. Ive had very good service from EAC. To be honest, the complaints about any of the sponsers are few and far between.
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  #10  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:50 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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If new, thats a great price. Probably a refurb. Your PN is 12 31 7 501 599
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  #11  
Old 06-26-2011, 05:24 PM
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Cool

Here is a link and I have purchased items from vendors that support the forum with good service. I needed my alternator immediately after removal so I went with a reputable source that's local. I was told it was a new alternator and I'm sure it was 120 amp not 140. http://www.eaceuroparts.com/parts/pa...10/2001/E39530. I replaced my wheel bearings, expansions tank, pulleys, water pump and thermostat and rear pads on order. The things I need immediately I purchase local so its good to have a local source as well. I'm not knocking any vendors I just feel that a online only option isn't for me isn't enough. Hope this helps ya.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:26 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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This place is super cheap. You can also find great coupon codes to save more. http://www.autoparts123.com/ShopByVe...=True&rewrite=
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:26 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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In my other posts, we discussed how to rebuild the alternator.
Once you have the alternator out, it is very easy to rebuild the alternator.
This way you know you put in quality parts!
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:29 PM
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540indiana 540indiana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
In my other posts, we discussed how to rebuild the alternator.
Once you have the alternator out, it is very easy to rebuild the alternator.
This way you know you put in quality parts!
+1. I dread the day mine fails. Its water cooled
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:00 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
In my other posts, we discussed how to rebuild the alternator.
Once you have the alternator out, it is very easy to rebuild the alternator.
This way you know you put in quality parts!
Hi cn90,
I just got a good read at the alternator using a mirror/flash light. It is Bosch 120 A alternator ((0 124 5 15 050)). It also has mechanical tensioners for main belt and A/C belt.

I read your DYI to rebuild the alternator for $30
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=454325

It is a great write up. Now I am more inclined to do the rebuild. Does it need any special tools to rebuild the alternator? I have never done it my-self, but would like to try. Does that write-up parts are good for Bosch 120 A alternator ((0 124 5 15 050)?

I went to smith&co site they have the bearings mentioned in your writeup in stock, for about the same price.

Please advise. Much appreciate all the help!
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  #16  
Old 06-26-2011, 10:08 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Go to that link and ask the company listed (Smith Electric on Colorado) what parts for your car.

Search forum for a DIY by "aioros", he rebuilt his Valeo alternator. All you need is a "puller" to pull the bearing.
Otherwise nothing special if you have wrenched before.
The Valeo is slightly different from the Bosch but it is the same principle!
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  #17  
Old 06-26-2011, 10:41 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540indiana View Post
This place is super cheap. You can also find great coupon codes to save more. http://www.autoparts123.com/ShopByVe...=True&rewrite=
Hi 540indiana,
Have you purchased parts from here before? Are they good quality? Can not believe the price.... They are quoting $136.22 for the Bosch unit (Manufacturer: EGR ???). http://www.autoparts123.com/item.wws...GR&weight=1.00

Any one else bought stuff from autoparts123?? Pls share your experiences
Thank you!
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  #18  
Old 06-26-2011, 10:45 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Go to that link and ask the company listed (Smith Electric on Colorado) what parts for your car.

Search forum for a DIY by "aioros", he rebuilt his Valeo alternator. All you need is a "puller" to pull the bearing.
Otherwise nothing special if you have wrenched before.
The Valeo is slightly different from the Bosch but it is the same principle!
I saw they DIY posting by aioros. I will call Smith&Co tomorrow to get more details on this specific alternatives. Will keep you posted. Thank you for all the help!!
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  #19  
Old 06-27-2011, 10:34 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goblue11 View Post
I just got a good read at the alternator using a mirror/flash light. It is Bosch 120 A alternator ((0 124 5 15 050)). It also has mechanical tensioners for main belt and A/C belt
Nothing wrong with rebuilding the alternator - but do you have another vehicle while you're waiting for parts?
- Aioros 1999 Valeo Alternator rebuild DIY (1) and quest for materials (1)
- DIY for replacing the brushes in an (Audi) Valeo alternator (1)
- 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)
- 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)

For example, when my Bosch 120A air-cooled alternator went south, I received a $200 rebuilt one from Oembimmerparts the next day:
- One users' example of total electrical failure (AAA towed away) alternator repair (1) (2)

Like you, I had the mechanical tensioners, so I replaced both at the same time:
- DIY FOR ALTERNATOR, TENSIONERS, IDLER ROLLER, & BELTS: (July 2010)

For the record, this thread shows how to test the alternator vs the battery:
- DIY how to test a BMW E39 battery & alternator

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  #20  
Old 06-27-2011, 02:01 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Nothing wrong with rebuilding the alternator - but do you have another vehicle while you're waiting for parts?
Hi Bluebee,
Thanks for the detailed note. I read majority of the postings your refereed right after the I had issues with my car. I would have been totally lost if it has not been for the forum and the detailed notes all of you added.

Your alternator inverted picture was very helpful (helped to identify the label and read inverted numbers/characters) yesterday.

I do not have another car, but can walk/bike for now. After reading more about rebuilding the alternator and part sourcing, I am not sure I can do it now... will keep you posted. Spoke to Dave @ Smith & Co he quoted $330 to rebuild mine and will take 5 day turn-around including shipping.


Do you recommend changing from mechanical to hydraulic tensioners? Is it worth the pain/cost... if you have to do it all over again would switch to hydraulic ones? Pls advise.
Thank you,
Go Blue
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  #21  
Old 06-27-2011, 09:38 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goblue11 View Post
Your alternator inverted picture was very helpful
You noticed! It is hard to read backward, so that's why I inverted it. In the 'real world', the letters are reversed in the mirror and hard to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goblue11 View Post
he quoted $330 to rebuild mine and will take 5 day turn-around including shipping
I wonder if it's better to just buy a rebuilt one from OemBimmerparts for around $200 and have it in one day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goblue11 View Post
Do you recommend changing from mechanical to hydraulic tensioners?
Nope. We went down that road already. It's not worth the hassle.

Here are the details from the bestlinks thread:
- How to tell if you have mechanical or hydraulic belt tensioners (1) & how to switch from mechanical to hydraulic (1) & what is the difference between the two types (1) (2)

End result:
- Hydraulic (probably) last longer & the pulleys are more easily replaced.
- But mechanical last pretty long & are easily replaced as a whole.
- Switching involves a kit and extra parts and just isn't worth the effort.
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  #22  
Old 06-27-2011, 10:30 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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I am going with OemBimmerparts for the rebuilt, primarily for the time constraints. CN90 is right, but I can not do the DYI for parts sourcing timelines.

Will stick with the mechanical tensioners as well. Thanks again for all the help!
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  #23  
Old 07-01-2011, 09:56 PM
goblue11 goblue11 is offline
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I ordered parts at AutohausAZ and they finally arrived today. Alternator I currently have in my car is a Bosch 120Amps (124515050). I requested the same part, but got different one from AutohausAZ ...

1 AL0703X Bosch (OE Reman) Alternator; 120 AMPs for $200 + $111 core charge.


The packaging is Bosch, but inside the alternator has Valeo stamp on the back. There is no Amp rating on it either. Please see the pictures.

Two questions, a) Does this fit the Bosch 120 AMP (124515050)? b) Shall I return it and request for Bosch unit only? Please share your thoughts.

Originally planning on doing DYI on the long weekend, bummed with the parts... not sure I can move forward with it.

Please share your thoughts...
Thanks for all the help!!
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2011, 10:33 PM
aioros aioros is offline
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I believe that Bosch remanufactures/rebuilds both Valeo and Bosch brands and sells them as Bosch Alternators. I replaced the one in my wife's car from autohausaz too. i don't remember if the Valeo brand was on the back but Bosch gives you warranty anyways. Any of those will work.
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  #25  
Old 07-01-2011, 11:02 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
I believe that Bosch remanufactures/rebuilds both Valeo and Bosch brands and sells them as Bosch Alternators.
IIRC, when I asked for the Bosch remanufactured alternator from Oembimmerparts, it was stamped Bosch, but remanufactured by some other company (not Bosch).

Seems to me you have a Valeo alternator; not a Bosch.

Will it work? Dunno. But I'd feel better if it were me and if it were stamped Bosch. Nonetheless, if the parts fit ... well, they fit. Right?
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