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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-11-2012, 06:07 AM
Shoalin Shoalin is offline
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Location: Wake Forest, NC
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 330i 2003
Battery light came on, Car overheated

I had two different things happen to the car at the same time - Battery light came on and the car overheated and left my husband stranded on the side of the road.

I'm supposing the water pump and thermostat need to be replaced, how do I go about testing the alternator? The car manual tells me that when the battery light comes on that there is a alternator problem either with the belt or the circuit because the battery is not being charged. I also know that the battery is near expiration by maybe a year.

What do I work on first? How do I test battery and alternator?
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2012, 06:09 AM
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smolck smolck is online now
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Location: Birmingham, AL
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Your serpentine belt broke, it drives the water pump and alternator. I'd be willing to bet the steering was real heavy too because the belt drives the power steering pump too.

You need to find out why the belt broke. Did you lose a pulley (common) and it shredded the belt? Did your water pump shaft fail (very very common) and throw the belt?

Or was the belt just old and snapped? And more importantly, did he pull over INSTANTLY when the car started to get hot? If not, he may have blown the motor, they are all aluminum and DO NOT tolerate overheating at all.
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2012, 06:42 AM
Shoalin Shoalin is offline
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Location: Wake Forest, NC
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 330i 2003
Wow, thanks! Thanks for your quick response.

Yes, my husband did pull over immediately when the car overheated.

I turned on the car about 5 hours after he brought it home and the car responded well and the engine sounded good. I didn't drive it or run it for more then 30 seconds.

So glad the solution is easy. I know how to change the belts, pulleys etc. and I know how to take out the water pump if I have to replace it. The coolant looks like it's leaking so I may have to replace the cooling system, not sure yet.

Thank you so much for your advice, I'm so glad that you're the one that responded to my post. Your advice and input is always solid.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:27 AM
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smolck smolck is online now
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Glad to help. The link in my sig to my youtube channel has videos (albeit shaky) of the cooling system.
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