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Must have been a premonition about the altenator

Posted by Bob in Everett 
That 140 amp water cooled alternator on the E-38 has failed. I must have had a premonition about it as I had been concerned about it since we got the car three years ago. Last summer I changed the battery well in advance of it being failed to prevent overload of the alternator...seems to have been in vain. The alternator failed last week and yesterday I learned how much stuff has to be removed to get it changed. Also learned the cost of the new one. The parts store had a rebuilt one from Taiwan...I like Taiwan (never been there, but their philosophy is much better than the mainland). It is guaranteed for as long as I own it now. And as long as O'Reilly's is in business. Not sure which will last longer.

The change over is not difficult but just has a lot of steps. One must start by jacking up the car to get the cover off the bottom so the coolant can be drained. No drain plug, just have to pull a hose off the expansion tank and catch as much coolant as possible. I got most of it. Then remove the air filter box and MAF to get them out of the way of removing the fan shroud. The fan has to come off. Then the serpentine belt of course. The belt tensioner also has to be removed. That takes a T-45 torx. And last but not least is the upper radiator hose must be removed. Once all that stuff is out of the way, I was able to get it out. It is pretty heavy too. New one went in easily and then put everything back together again.
Gave me a chance to change the air filter while the air box was out. Not sure it needed it but now it has a new one.

Was glad to have a nice sunny day to do the work. it has been rainy and cold for so long.

Bob in Everett
Remember when it was 2 bolts and 10 minutes?

alan
rkj
While we're twisting the knife, what did that watercooled unit set you back Bob?
List price is 715 at O'Reilly the discount price was 422 with a 65 core charge and 45 in tax.

Grand total of 531.79 till I get the core back to them.:eek1: Even the parts counter guy was amazed at the price.

I think the dealer list is about $1000 if I remember correctly.

Bob in Everett
rkj
Quote
Bob in Everett
List price is 715 at O'Reilly the discount price was 422 with a 65 core charge and 45 in tax.

Grand total of 531.79 till I get the core back to them.:eek1: Even the parts counter guy was amazed at the price.

I think the dealer list is about $1000 if I remember correctly.

Ouch, scary.
And, the air cooled versions last just as long, cost less, weigh less as well as much easier to change.

Not sure what the benefit of water cooled is. It might have been filled with some kind of dielectric fluid to conduct heat to the jacket. There are no fins on the jacket, it is smooth and the water is brought in on a tangent to swirl it a bit before it returns to the radiator. I need to put my temp sensor (infrared) on the return hose and see if there is a temp difference from the engine. The way the water comes in is odd and it is not clear that it is cooler than what is circulating in the engine. The engine runs pretty hot normally. It is controlled by the thermostat to about 200F.

Bob in Everett
Or the output of the alt. itself requires a liquid jacket around the unit?

A buddy of mine has a shop. The other day, a guy with a 7 series BMW comes in with a dead battery. He replaces the battery and then takes it to the dealer for an ECU relearn procedure (standard deal when replacing a battery now). Crazy, or what?

I really really hate how complicated cars are now.

alan
The overdose of electric and electronic stuff on board requires oversized batteriy and alternator, for example the "start and stop" function complicates so much the starting sistem that I doubt it offsets the fuel saving it offers (turn off while waiting on the traffic light).

I have seen at Bosch car service a battery replacement, it went like this:
-An external battery is conected to the car.
-Old battery is disconected and removed
-new battery goes in and external battery is disconected

That way the 12V never cease to be fed to the car, and it never notices the battery swap.
Don't know if the newer BMW are done like that, in my old car I pull the battery cable whenever I am parking it for a loger while...
The only thing in need ot be "relearned" is the clock, and I can do it easily.

JP
The E30's had a bit of memory loss when disconnecting the battery, which should be relearned after a bit of driving.
February 06, 2012 09:37PM
On the newer BMWs the electrical system monitors the battery voltage and adjusts the charging voltage to account for the age and condition of the battery. When a new battery is installed, the car must be reprogrammed to tell it the battery is new. An aftermarket battery takes a couple more steps than a "BMW dealer" battery but is not difficult. The dealers will sometimes state that they cannot reprogram the car to a non-BMW battery which is false. That is how I got my new battery. The person bought it for his car and put it in himself but the electrical system would not clear the code. The dealer insisted he buy a new BMW battery so the new Enterprise brand battery was surplus. I got a good price on it from him and it went into the car with not trouble since mine is older than the voltage monitoring technology.
My new alternator is also working nicely. It has a lifetime guarantee so I will not have to pay for another one as long as I own the car. At the rate I am going, maybe I will have it for another 10 years.

Bob in Everett
February 08, 2012 03:32AM
"BMW battery" yeah, right! As if BMW ever built batteries!
:hitwithrock:
Just another way to rip off BMW customers.
February 08, 2012 11:25PM
Of course they do not build them but have a special mark up for the branding on them...

Bob in Everett
February 09, 2012 06:06AM
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Bob in Everett
Of course they do not build them but have a special mark up for the branding on them...

Very expensive stickers, I guess...
February 09, 2012 09:56AM
With the technological maturation of the auto manufacturing industry, is there any advantage to buying a BMW today compared to many of the other brands offered up?

alan
February 09, 2012 09:26PM
Quote
alanrw
With the technological maturation of the auto manufacturing industry, is there any advantage to buying a BMW today compared to many of the other brands offered up?

alan

Most new cars are so much more technologically advanced and complex than those from 20 years ago that it can be difficult to tell a lot of difference between the new ones. BMW has set the bar in some aspects of driving and others have copied it as best they could. Driving something else is sort of like settling for a generic brand of cola instead of having a COKE.

One problem with all the technology in new BMWs is the maintainability. The value of a used one is just painfully less than what they cost. I think that if it was easier to diagnose problems, most people would not mind the repairs but each car is like an annuity for the repair shop. If repairs were more competitively priced, the cost of ownership would come down to only stratospheric levels. The do-it-yourself mechanic cannot diagnose a problem without one of those computer devices. The functionality could be on a laptop using a connector to the car if the manufacturer would make the software available in the aftermarket. Some remarkable developments would come out of it if the imagination of youthful drivers were unleashed. Shop rates are so high at dealers now, about all they get is warranty work. It appears that they have priced themselves beyond the point of diminishing returns.

Since the BMW company profits are fairly healthy, it is difficult to argue with success. Those used BMWs are pretty cheap though expensive to maintain.

Bob in Everett
rkj
February 10, 2012 09:02PM
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Bob in Everett
Quote
alanrw
With the technological maturation of the auto manufacturing industry, is there any advantage to buying a BMW today compared to many of the other brands offered up?

alan

Most new cars are so much more technologically advanced and complex than those from 20 years ago that it can be difficult to tell a lot of difference between the new ones. BMW has set the bar in some aspects of driving and others have copied it as best they could. Driving something else is sort of like settling for a generic brand of cola instead of having a COKE.

One problem with all the technology in new BMWs is the maintainability. The value of a used one is just painfully less than what they cost. I think that if it was easier to diagnose problems, most people would not mind the repairs but each car is like an annuity for the repair shop. If repairs were more competitively priced, the cost of ownership would come down to only stratospheric levels. The do-it-yourself mechanic cannot diagnose a problem without one of those computer devices. The functionality could be on a laptop using a connector to the car if the manufacturer would make the software available in the aftermarket. Some remarkable developments would come out of it if the imagination of youthful drivers were unleashed. Shop rates are so high at dealers now, about all they get is warranty work. It appears that they have priced themselves beyond the point of diminishing returns.

Since the BMW company profits are fairly healthy, it is difficult to argue with success. Those used BMWs are pretty cheap though expensive to maintain.

This has been on my mind lately; looking at newer Bmws to replace one of our hurricane victims has given me nightmares about all the liability's of the newer systems these cars carry.
February 11, 2012 12:09AM
I am also of like concern. The most maintainable ponies in my stable is the 67 Camaro. I have enjoyed the E-30 and hope to be driving mine as long as I am able. Just had a new top put on it this week so no more leaks.

Bob in Everett
rkj
February 11, 2012 01:58PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
I am also of like concern. The most maintainable ponies in my stable is the 67 Camaro. I have enjoyed the E-30 and hope to be driving mine as long as I am able. Just had a new top put on it this week so no more leaks.

Are you still able to get tires for the E30 Bob, all I can find are Honda 14" tires; way too small for our cars.
February 11, 2012 04:13PM
I had to move up one size on the 14 inch wheels. I am running 195-65 instead of 195-60. The slight difference in diameter makes the speedometer indicate just about exact on speed. Have to be careful not to take too much liberty with the limits.

Bob in Everett
rkj
February 12, 2012 08:52AM
Quote
Bob in Everett
I had to move up one size on the 14 inch wheels. I am running 195-65 instead of 195-60. The slight difference in diameter makes the speedometer indicate just about exact on speed. Have to be careful not to take too much liberty with the limits.

Interesting, where did you find these and what are they??

195x65 is the original size for a normal 14" E30, right?
rkj
February 12, 2012 08:56AM
Quote
Bob in Everett
I am also of like concern. The most maintainable ponies in my stable is the 67 Camaro. I have enjoyed the E-30 and hope to be driving mine as long as I am able. Just had a new top put on it this week so no more leaks.

I know, I miss my old Iron (1939 Buick coupe and 47 ford coupe) but the Bmw is so much more fun and gets better mpg. In these high price fuel days that's a big plus for me. I do a lot of driving smileys with beer
February 12, 2012 12:09PM
195-60X14 is the stock size. I found my 195-65X14 Michelin all season tires at Costco about two years ago. Since I have a set of snow tires on plane steel 15 inch wheels that are on the car for 5 months of the year, my Summer tires have lasted quite a while. The larger tire is about 3% larger circumference than the stock size. It brings the speedo to a more accurate approximation of vehicle speed. Only have one ticket for speeding with them but not the fault of the tires if one does not see the signs.

Bob in Everett
rkj
February 12, 2012 06:13PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
195-60X14 is the stock size. I found my 195-65X14 Michelin all season tires at Costco about two years ago. Since I have a set of snow tires on plane steel 15 inch wheels that are on the car for 5 months of the year, my Summer tires have lasted quite a while. The larger tire is about 3% larger circumference than the stock size. It brings the speedo to a more accurate approximation of vehicle speed. Only have one ticket for speeding with them but not the fault of the tires if one does not see the signs.

What year, make and model do you have? I'm pretty sure my stock size is 195x65x14, I went to 205x60x14 when I bought a few years ago but those are long gone.... I used to be able to find Michelins but no more sad smiley

I've hoarded two sets of wheels/tires but when Janet's car gets sold her tires will be marked and stay here, four beaters will go on...
February 12, 2012 07:01PM
You are correct. I was looking at the wrong place for the size. I have two E-30s and one has the 195-60 X14 and the other has 195-65X14 . The sticker in the door says 195-65X14. Maybe that one is the difficult one to find. Perhaps could be why the other car that has newer tires has 195-60s. I have not had it very long and that is the tire it came with. The speedo on it is about 5 mph off at 40 mph. Could be why. My first car had 195-60 it when I got it, I think, and when I bought tires for it, seemed that they were not available.

Tire Rack has three choices in the correct size and one is a michlein. For a high performance tire the choices must be more limited.

Bob in Everett
February 19, 2012 08:31PM
After getting my hands dirty with my E30, my attitude to bells and whistles features (eg electric seats, rain sensing wipers, climate control, integrated GPS) has slowly changed. Whereas before I would think "wow, that's sooo cool, wish I had that", now my thought is "that's really complicated, would be a real hassle when it breaks, probably better off not being lazy and turning the wipers on manually"...
Same goes for engines, I'm sure the VW twincharged engine is amazing for the first few years, but in the long run there's a lot of complex stuff that will one day pack up. Yes, the E30 has turned me into a luddite!

As for 14" tyres, the reason I went to 15s recently was just for the better tyre choice.
rkj
February 19, 2012 11:13PM
Quote
nomis3613
After getting my hands dirty with my E30, my attitude to bells and whistles features (eg electric seats, rain sensing wipers, climate control, integrated GPS) has slowly changed. Whereas before I would think "wow, that's sooo cool, wish I had that", now my thought is "that's really complicated, would be a real hassle when it breaks, probably better off not being lazy and turning the wipers on manually"...
Same goes for engines, I'm sure the VW twincharged engine is amazing for the first few years, but in the long run there's a lot of complex stuff that will one day pack up. Yes, the E30 has turned me into a luddite!

As for 14" tyres, the reason I went to 15s recently was just for the better tyre choice.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately too about the newer cars (mainly E46's) with all their gizmos. It sure would be nice to have the newer car with great brakes and more stuff but it kind of scares the crap out of me, all that stuff; sure, it's cool but so much more to concern yourself with down the road. I've always had simple cars, now I think I've really become a true Luddite too.

Cheers, Rick
February 21, 2012 12:06AM
Quote
rkj
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately too about the newer cars (mainly E46's) with all their gizmos. It sure would be nice to have the newer car with great brakes and more stuff but it kind of scares the crap out of me, all that stuff; sure, it's cool but so much more to concern yourself with down the road. I've always had simple cars, now I think I've really become a true Luddite too.

Cheers, Rick
Yeah, I'd rather just add the technology I actually want to my E30 (brakes and mp3 player are done, remote central locking one day...) than get something shiny and new with a heap of complexity that will one day need repairing.
February 21, 2012 07:38PM
Yeah, but who wants to go to the dealership and pay $200 to have the ECU recognize your new brake pads that you just installed yourself? Or even worse, not reset because you didn't buy the BMW pads with the embedded computer chip.

alan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2012 07:38PM by alanrw.
February 22, 2012 05:53AM
Perhaps the industry will evolve in other direction.
Cars are not selling anymore like they used to. The industry will do something about it, perhaps they will offer simpler and economical cars to pick up again. OPr the market will reward those wo move that way and forget the rest, but make no mistake, there will be no more 2002 or e30 ever. That was a unique era of our history.
In the Future, there will be electronic management all over the car, but the dealers can't lock people out forever.
For example, electric cars have no filters, fluids, belts, etc to deal with, just suspension steering brakes and electronics.
The weekend mechanic will need a computer to work on the car, but otherwise cars will be cars.
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