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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-11-2019, 09:14 AM
Nerdboss Nerdboss is offline
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Crazy electrical issues! Alternator? I need ideas

2005 530i with 170k miles on it. Seemingly at random, I will get in my car and will have a light on my dash telling me that my steering needs to be initialized. My MPG and other data also gets reset. Then last night as I was driving, I get an warning on my dash about my ARS system malfunctioning, and then my idrive powered off and restarted about 1 second later.

I have no idea what's going on. My battery is two months old and it only happens every few days or so. Where do I even start? No codes that would help me with the root cause, just codes about losing voltage.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2019, 10:12 AM
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banglenot banglenot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerdboss View Post
2005 530i with 170k miles on it. Seemingly at random, I will get in my car and will have a light on my dash telling me that my steering needs to be initialized. My MPG and other data also gets reset. Then last night as I was driving, I get an warning on my dash about my ARS system malfunctioning, and then my idrive powered off and restarted about 1 second later.

I have no idea what's going on. My battery is two months old and it only happens every few days or so. Where do I even start? No codes that would help me with the root cause, just codes about losing voltage.
If the alternator is original, check the regulator for worn out brushes. They'll make/break contact and cause voltage variations. Easiest fix is new alternator. 1 hour to replace DIY. Also check the G30 relay for age related failure.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:37 PM
Nerdboss Nerdboss is offline
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Originally Posted by banglenot View Post
If the alternator is original, check the regulator for worn out brushes. They'll make/break contact and cause voltage variations. Easiest fix is new alternator. 1 hour to replace DIY. Also check the G30 relay for age related failure.
I assume the whole thing needs to come out to check bushes on the voltage regulator? Would it be cheaper to just replace the regulator? I'll check out the G30 relay as well.

Just realized that I've had issues with the car before I even start it, so maybe it's not alternator related?
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:23 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Not clear if you have a charging problem or a parasitic load discharging battery when engine is not running.
Unlock the OBC, go to test 9 and monitor system voltage in dash while you drive.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:29 PM
Nerdboss Nerdboss is offline
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Not clear if you have a charging problem or a parasitic load discharging battery when engine is not running.
Unlock the OBC, go to test 9 and monitor system voltage in dash while you drive.
I've never had issues with starting the car or having parasitic draw. It's like someone unplugs the battery from the car for a few seconds while i'm driving. Actually happens sometimes when the car is off too, the clock gets reset. Not sure what could be wrong. I did get an airbag light twice caused by code 9AFF which is the BST system. The battery cable charge hasn't blown off so I don't think that is the issue, but idk.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:32 PM
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When you said codes, I assume you're checking BMW codes. What codes have you gotten? What did "losing voltage" mean? Try to get facts before throwing parts at it.

Alternator: Used to be you could get a regulator for all of them; but recently some Valeos NLA'd the regulator. Only way to tell is look for it by part number.

Go to realoem.com, enter the last 7 of your VIN and search for the alternator pics. The regulator is listed as a separate unit. Get the PN and search for it.

I don't recall if your 06 is an M54 or N52 -- realoem will tell you. If you can take a couple of days for the job, pull the alternator, remove the regulator and check the brushes. At 170 they should be just about gone. If they're not, the alternator was probably replaced. Make a decision and order the part. BMW is $100 or so; OEM is around 40-50. New alternator is >$400.

While you're in there, if you have an N52, replace the belt tensioner, idler pulleys and belt (unless you know its been done).

Keep us posted.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:04 PM
cmyachtie cmyachtie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerdboss View Post
2005 530i with 170k miles on it. Seemingly at random, I will get in my car and will have a light on my dash telling me that my steering needs to be initialized. My MPG and other data also gets reset. Then last night as I was driving, I get an warning on my dash about my ARS system malfunctioning, and then my idrive powered off and restarted about 1 second later.

I have no idea what's going on. My battery is two months old and it only happens every few days or so. Where do I even start? No codes that would help me with the root cause, just codes about losing voltage.
If these problems started after you replaced the battery I would double check your battery connections first!
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:15 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerdboss View Post
.......... My MPG and other data also gets reset.......
When does this happen, on startup or while driving? If it happens on startup it is a classic sign of an undercharged battery, which could be caused by bad alternator or parasitic load.
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:17 PM
tstiglich tstiglich is offline
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May be worth checking your ground strap. Perhaps it is corroded / frayed.
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