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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 2011 X35D has a whine which happens when the engine is revved. I'm about 90% convinced it is coming from the alternator. I believe the bearings are going out. It might be an idler pulley or a belt tensioner but unfortunately I doubt it.

Once I'm convinced it's the alternator, I plan on replacing it myself. There are several brands that range wildly in price. I need the 220A high output version. Does any one have a recommendation for brand and where to buy? Also, for those that have already tackled this DIY, I would appreciate any tips or pitfalls to avoid.

Thanks.
 

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Breakthrough Specialist
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Why not just replace the bearings?

If you must replace it, Advance Auto Parts, using a retailmenot.com coupon code would be what I would do. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To be honest, I had not realized replacing the bearings on an alternator is a DIY repair. Is there a rebuild kit available for it?
 

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To be honest, I had not realized replacing the bearings on an alternator is a DIY repair. Is there a rebuild kit available for it?
Once someone found a bearing and replaced it in an X5...I seem to recall a thread on this.

Not a kit; not a 'here is a youtube of a DIY'

I like bosch remmaned units
 

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Pretty much everything inside an alternator/starter can be replaced, though parts are not available through BMW. There are shops that specialize in that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did a bit more digging. I might need access to a press to get the old bearings out. My obvious motivation for this is the price of the replacement. However, it also has the potential of turning an afternoon job into a multi-day affair if I don't have the right bearing on hand when I get the sucker out.
 

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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 100K miles NOKIAN WR G3 20K miles
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Did a bit more digging. I might need access to a press to get the old bearings out. My obvious motivation for this is the price of the replacement. However, it also has the potential of turning an afternoon job into a multi-day affair if I don't have the right bearing on hand when I get the sucker out.
Well thought out. Modern commodities are not designed to be repaired, and those that may be require specialized skills - a rewind shop.

Bearing sizes are standardized, a micrometer will perfectly identify its replacement.

I have special bicycle hubs for long distance touring by Phil Woods, the FSA line, one of which cost ~$1,000 for a five bearing hub. It comes apart with two common hex wrenches and the bearings push out with thumb pressure. I did wear out the dual-pawl ratchet while touring that only cost a 24 hour delay with 'yesterday mail'.
 

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Our son replaced the bearing in our 1998 Jetta TDI alternator successfully. Just got the part from Advance Auto Parts.

Unfortunately, it was NOT the real problem!!! It turns out it was the harmonic balancer (crankshaft pulley). He also said to check the one way alternator pulley (if it has one) in your case. Good luck!
 

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I understand the desire to save money by DIY however, previous experience with getting reman alternators from Advance Autoparts and similar, says I would never put their alternator in my car again. Especially a BMW. Their parts were POS and had to return and exchange every few months.


How much is a Bosch--reman alternator for E70 and what do junkyards charge for a used part?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not sure what the used market looks like for an alternator. I'm calling around for a part now. Often times there are preferred brands that are the actual supplier for BMW (which is probably Bosch) that you can get at a significant savings - basically OEM part and a non OEM price. I'm sure you know this but my familiarity with the BMW world is limited (I'm trying to learn fast) and was trying to see if there is a preferred brand.
 

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I chased a "whine" from my E53X5 4.4i engine compartment for the better part of 4 months. Replaced tensioner and idler pulleys to no avail. Was about to pull the alternator when I saw a can of "belt dressing" in the very back of my chemical cabinet. I thought, "sure, why not?" and sprayed it on the belts. Whine went away.

I ordered two new belts, installed them, and the whine was gone.

You might want to look at the belts (and pulleys) first before stressing about the alternator.
 

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Advance Auto Parts has an exact fit Car Quest brand reman for $252, but with retailmenot.com discount, you can get it for no more than 80% of that, and they have FREE shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I chased a "whine" from my E53X5 4.4i engine compartment for the better part of 4 months. Replaced tensioner and idler pulleys to no avail. Was about to pull the alternator when I saw a can of "belt dressing" in the very back of my chemical cabinet. I thought, "sure, why not?" and sprayed it on the belts. Whine went away.

I ordered two new belts, installed them, and the whine was gone.

You might want to look at the belts (and pulleys) first before stressing about the alternator.
I have a can in the garage. I don't think that's it but what the hell, I'll give it a shot. I would kick myself if this turns out to be the case and I ordered the alternator.
 

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Here's the cheapest OEM Valeo 220A 35d alternator I found:

http://www.autohausaz.com/pn/VL-12317804266

$480 shipped.

I had an engine-speed dependent whine (whether in drive or in park). Diagnosed as a bad alternator bearing by my independent. I also had the tensioner pulley replaced ($22 part) while they were in there. Got both replaced for $200 labor and I was back to silent again. The removed alternator definitely had some play and was catching at a couple of spots.
 

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I have a can in the garage. I don't think that's it but what the hell, I'll give it a shot. I would kick myself if this turns out to be the case and I ordered the alternator.
Bright side view says you have a spare for when yours finally does die. :thumbup:
 

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Here's the cheapest OEM Valeo 220A 35d alternator I found:

http://www.autohausaz.com/pn/VL-12317804266

$480 shipped.

I had an engine-speed dependent whine (whether in drive or in park). Diagnosed as a bad alternator bearing by my independent. I also had the tensioner pulley replaced ($22 part) while they were in there. Got both replaced for $200 labor and I was back to silent again. The removed alternator definitely had some play and was catching at a couple of spots.
was your whine only after a cold start? I am starting to get a whine after a cold start. The whine only happens with throttle application and doesn't whine on idle. Coincidentally, my battery started draining around the same time.:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Flying Ace - sounds similar to my problem. The whine was almost undetectable at idle but upon acceleration, it was very noticeable. I ended up replacing the alternator. If you're going to do the job, make sure you replace the deflector pulley as well. I did not initially. I swapped out the alternator and the whine went alway almost completely. Almost. I then replaced the deflector pulley (and at this point, I've gotten to be really fast at removing the fan housing) and now all is quiet again. BTW, my battery needed replacing too but it was almost 6 years old and I expected I would be swapping that out soon too.

One more thing - I know folks have said the carquest alternators are substandard but they are rebuilt Valeo.
 

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was your whine only after a cold start? I am starting to get a whine after a cold start. The whine only happens with throttle application and doesn't whine on idle. Coincidentally, my battery started draining around the same time.:confused:
My alternator whine was at idle and more pronounced on acceleration (engine rpm dependent). Whether in park or in drive. The whine was also most prominent on a cold start. On a summer day, the whine would persist for about 10 minutes and would quiet down a little thereafter.

After replacement with a brand new Valeo alternator (and replacement of the idler pulley while they were in there), the sound was fully eliminated.
 

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My alternator whine was at idle and more pronounced on acceleration (engine rpm dependent). Whether in park or in drive. The whine was also most prominent on a cold start. On a summer day, the whine would persist for about 10 minutes and would quiet down a little thereafter.

After replacement with a brand new Valeo alternator (and replacement of the idler pulley while they were in there), the sound was fully eliminated.
It was unlikely your alternator was the culprit, i was too on the same boat, debating between alternator and idler pulley, in the end it was the idler/deflection pulley. The deflector/idler pulley are really close to the alternator often goes misdiagnosed, a automotive stethoscope is the only way to truly pinpoint and diagnose it properly.

for reference.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3SireTZUlA
 
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