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Hello all,

I've seen alternator instructions for E34 and E39 M5s but have not seen any for the E60.

Does anyone have a set of instructions for alternator removal replacement that they can provide me with?

Thanks
 

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I might need these later, thanks for the post
 

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I think it would be a great idea if the moderaters of the board could gather all these DIY post in when thread and keeo them at the top of the forum. Would make searching for help topics a lot easier.
 

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So, I've done it, and thought I'd update the board.

Firstly, and foremost, you do not need to remove the radiator. Do, however, protect it, because you'll crimp the fins in the area of the alternator if you don't. For example, I had a sheet of aluminum plate that I put over it while working.

Secondly, it is not an easy alternator swap because the alternator is on the bottom of the engine and pretty tightly packed in there. It took me 4 hours, because, once unbolted, I had trouble getting the alternator free of its mount, and then back onto its mount. The difficulty stemmed from the alternator being a pretty tight fit on its mount and there not being enough room nor a good place to pry on the alternator to lever it out or to work it around to line up the bolt holes. If everything had gone smoothly (i.e., if I'd been able to more easily get the alternator out and back in) it would have been a 2 hour job.

So, to swap the alternator I:
1) pulled the battery negative terminal,
2) pulled the fan shroud,
3) pulled the a/c and alternator drive belts
4) from beneath, I released the mounting brackets to the power steering and cooling lines shown in step 1 of the "Removing and installing or replacing alternator (S85).pdf" above, and additionally removed what looked like a fuel or oil filter mounted immediately below the alternator (black cylinder with braided stainless line coming into it), and
5) unbolted the alternator and worked it, between the hoses and such, out the bottom of the engine compartment.

Installation was the reverse of removal.
 

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Was having all the symptoms (HUD, Radio, idrive, AC, would all turn off and on repeatedly. Tons of errors in the instrument cluster and on idrive. Active steering would turn off and steering would become heavy. Sometimes during the on/off cycles SMG would not shift gears, etc, etc.)

First I replaced battery as mine was 6+ years old. No change.
Second I unplugged IBS sensor to see if it was causing issues by sending incorrect signals. No change.
Third I installed a brand new alternator (voltage regulator on alternator goes bad). This seems to have done the trick. Continuing to monitor.

Handy notes in additon to what g_force_alt posted above:
- To pull the fan/shroud assembly, you must remove the black splash gaurd that sits over the fan. Once ready to pull the fan, there is a plastic flange/flap on the right hand side, you will have to squeeze your hand in there to pop it off (pivot it toward enginie).
- If you do not remove the radiator (i did not) you will not have enough room to get the altenator out. You must do the extra step of removing the back canister and its mounting brackets that sits below the altenator. There are two screws that are hard to get at and very tedious to remove at the top of the bracket.

Good luck to other DIY'ers!
 

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So after reading this thread I decided. I got a refurb alternator from autozone for $200 (lifetime warranty) and installed it myself. Total pain in the ***. The aluminum accumulator bracket below the alternator (black cylinder below the alternator with a braided steel line coming out of it) is impossible to get off. I had to bend the bracket down, take out the accumulator and still the 2 bolts holding the bracket on were impossible to get to. You will need a 10mm box wrench to get to them off. The bracket has to come out to get the alternator out (with the radiator in). Got the new alternator in TIP: hang the new alternator from the top bolt and tap the alternator with a hammer to get the alternator to "swing down" to the lower longer bolt. If i did it again i would file down the inside of the lower alternator bracket by 1-2mm; its just too tight of fit and there is no room to "swing" down the alternator to the lower bracket\hole where the longer of the 2 bolts that hold the alternator on. Charged the battery @ 10amps 12v for 3 hours and started her up. Got a emissions increased error but that went away after filling up the car with a fresh tank of gas. If its a charging malfunction error my workflow for diagnosis is as follows: get voltage reading while the car is running it should be close to 14v>if not you need a new alternator or possibly a voltage regulator. If you are going to give this a shot PM and i will give you my phone number and i can help you through it!
 

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re-learned an old lesson

Earlier in another post stream I mentioned that I had replaced my battery with an AutoZone 900cca replacement etc. That replacement was part of an electrical odyssey I had last month. The electrical part was due to a part failure, the odyssey part was due to my failure to follow my training and experience, so I've decided to post here as a potential lesson for others.

In the beginning I was getting into the car after a few days and having to reset the time/date. I checked the battery voltage and it was about 12.0 volts. I charged it for 24 hours on my battery tender and gave it a try. Ran fine, but needed time/date reset the next day. I assumed that it was the battery since many others on the board mentioned that a new battery cured these symptoms on their car, so since I have 85k on the clock I decided they were right and pursued trying to "heal" my battery with a few days on a new Battery Minder. After a few days on that the voltage was up to 12.2...not great but better. My wife and I went out for a drive and during the drive the electronics went nuts! All kinds of errors and failures. Hmmm. Back to the drawing, no, BMWM5 Board. Obviously the curing of the battery hadn't worked so I ordered a new 900cca battery from autozone, installed it and registered it. Just for S & Gs I put the old battery on the battery minder for a few weeks.

Then, even with the new battery, I was needing to do the reset thing, but now I was getting charging errors on my screens. Again, back to the boards...voltage regulator...OK, so I got one for $60....Put it in...real PIA but I ran the engine before total re-assembly and found the same charging errors...NOW I finally decide to take a voltage measurement while the engine was running...11.7V. To me this didn't indicate a failed voltage regulator but insufficient voltage coming out of the alternator before regulation. Shame I hadn't done that simple test at the beginning. I also checked the codes that the car threw and the code matched Generator failure....

Ordered a new Valeo alternator from Smithco Electric(same source for the regulator) $395. Installed as per the various instructions, along with a new pair of belts. Also, a hint regarding the accumulator bracket...the top half is held in place by a pair of bent tabs. I bent them from 90 degrees to about 80 degrees (or 110, depending on your perspective)...this made it easier to assemble after the mounting bolts have been tightened. Helped a lot.

Now all errors are gone and the car runs great. Measure twice...replace once...


BTW, after a two weeks on and one week off the Battery Minder, the old battery shows 12.7 in my 40 degree shed...maybe the Minder works. Will put it back on a another few weeks to see how close to 13v after a day of rest, i can get. Especially since it will fit my 745...
 

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I recently performed an alternator swap and thought I would share my experience as well:

Background
I noticed my iDrive flickered off and on one day, as well as my speedometer going to zero and then back to speed while driving around 35mph. 3 days and 150 miles later, while driving to work, my ABS light came on and then went off after a few seconds. 5 minutes later, it happened again. 5 minutes later...again. Then it just stayed on. Finally, a SMG yellow COG came up (transmission fault). I just so happened to be driving right by BMW of Manhattan in NYC on my way to work, and figured I would just pull it in rather than risk getting stuck somewhere.

While the car was being diagnosed, I did my own searches on M5Board and came to the conclusion my alternator and/or voltage regulator was bad
- I got a call from my service advisor several hours later, who told me I needed a new alternator. He said the alternator was overcharging the battery at 18v. They quoted me "around $2,100" including 8 hours of labor. I declined the repair and ordered a new alternator, voltage regulator, AC belt, main belt, and coolant. (At 45k, my belts were probably due for replacing anyway, and the repair involves removing them. The repair process also involves draining coolant from the radiator, at least on paper). I also flatbed the car back to my home - I didn't like the thought of frying electronics or boiling the battery on my way driving home.

In retrospect, it's possible I only needed a new voltage regulator based on my research here. It appears undercharging might be more of a bad alternator symptom, and overcharging a voltage regulator symptom - but I was more comfortable just replacing both.

Note that I recently (~4k miles and 4 months prior to this issue) replaced my car's original battery. I did not do a reprogramming of the new battery as part of this swap. It is unclear to me whether the lack of reprogramming led to this failure, or whether my then-dying battery caused a premature failure of my alternator and/or voltage regulator. (I did a DIY write-up of the battery swap and will update the OP with this information.)

My Observations from the Alternator Swap (not full instructions, just additions to the instructions and what others have posted):

- I have a 2008 M5 SMG, 10/2007 build with 45k miles

- I performed the swap on raceramps. No lift is needed.

- After getting started, I elected NOT to remove the radiator. I can confirm, as others have, that this is not necessary. I can also confirm the need to remove the black canister with the braided metal wire attached just below the alternator. Failure to remove this canister (and it's metal mounting bracket) will mean you simply can't work the alternator out of the engine bay.

- As others mentioned, not removing the radiator exposes it to damage. You'll be using a wrench to remove your belts, a pulley, the alternator, and possibly a hammer or similar to get the alternator to break loose ;) Any one of these can damage your radiator. I used a simple piece of cardboard box to cover the exposed fins, and it worked perfectly. I zip-tied it to the plastic clip at the bottom of the radiator where the electric fan previously sat in.

- To echo another forum member - at the start of the process, you will be removing both a metal cover and a plastic cover from the top of the radiator/radiator fan. The metal cover has the hood latches attached to it...I unscrewed these.

- I used a 2-foot screwdriver to work the tabs at both sides of the fan when removing it. It's a tight fit and requires moving tubes/wires out of the way, but it does come right out the top without disconnecting anything other than what is in the instruction PDFs.

- I only had 1 connector (what I assume is the power plug) on my fan. The instructions mention a AUC sensor...I saw the bracket this would have been mounted to, but did not see my AUC sensor. The instructions mention to "modify the AUC sensor"...perhaps mine had already been modified?

- In removing the belts, after the A/C belt I had to unscrew an entire pulley to get at the alternator drive belt. Unless I missed it, the instructions didn't mention this pulley. It looks like it is offset, but can only screw in one way so don't worry about reinstalling it. All 3 pulleys had plastic caps over the nut holding them in place, that I popped off with a flathead screwdriver.

- After unfastening the tubes/lines as mentioned in the instructions (to make space for yourself), and if you elect not to remove the radiator, you have to remove the black cylindrical canister and its mounting bracket (what I've seen referred to as the accumulator). Remove the plug on the accumulator (use needle nose pliers for the metal clip and then pull the plug). Unscrew the two easy screws on the bracket (they screw in upside down, vertically). Wiggle the canister out of the bracket. It has a rubber sleeve around it which may or may not come along when you pull out the canister (either way is fine, remove the sleeve, too). The metal braided hose connecting the canister doesn't have a ton of slack, but you can indeed remove the canister without otherwise playing with the metal braided hose. With the canister out, you should be able to remove the top of the mounting bracket (lift it up and out). The bracket is still being held on by two short screws (10mm) at the very top that are hidden behind a metal line with 3 rubber pieces which protect the metal line from the alternator and accumulator bracket that it is otherwise sandwiched in between. These rubber pieces snap off (just pull on them, or push them along the metal line and then off). Once removed, you can get at the screws. As another posted mentioned, a small box wrench is all I could use to get at them. You may want to remove the lower mounting bolt on the alternator first - if you are lucky, your alternator might swing out a bit and give you a little bit of room. If you are unlucky (like me), you will need to remove the bracket first to get a wrench under the alternator to pry it off :)

- To REINSTALL the accumulator bracket - get the new alternator installed with just the top bolt. See if the alternator swings easily onto its bottom mounting point. If so, don't tighten it yet (as you can do this after reattaching the two top 10mm screws on the accumulator bracket). If the alternator doesn't swing easily onto its bottom mounting point, you might want to consider working the alternator first to get it properly seated and bolted (as this will be more difficult once the accumulator bracket is installed). I recommend fully assembling the accumulator bracket, not forgetting to put the 3 rubber pieces back on the metal line which hides the top 10mm bolts. Keep only the two long vertical screws loose. Take the rubber sleeve off the accumulator, and put it in the bracket. Finally, just shove the accumulator into the sleeve (and, hence, into the bracket). This sleeve trick would have saved me 30 minutes of pain. Don't forget to reattach the plug and its metal clip.
 

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Good Morning All ~ I did the alternator swap yesterday with little fuss. All the write-ups and tips are spot on. The only thing I would contribute is in regard to the replacement alternator. To make life a bit easier going on there is the "pressed" in threaded nut on the back bottom mount prior to trying to put the alternator. Use a vice and socket of some sort press that nut out a few mills towards the back of the alternator. This will allow the alternator to slide in the brackets like butter. Once lined up and tightened the nut will be pulled back in place.

My charge voltage dropped from 15.75 back down to 14.2. In the past I had never seen her hit 15 plus volts.

Cheers,
Julian
 

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I just swapped mine too. I echo the previous comment regarding the pressed in nut in the remanned alternator. I measured the spacing of the old vs. new, and the new was over 1mm tighter so it never would have fit. I used a vice and socket to press it back. When you install and tighten the alternator, it'll pull back tight to the engine mount anyway.
Regarding the bracket holding the accumulator, it's not hard to get to the upper two bolts if you loosen the alternator and move it up over the suspension. I got mine to stay put (see photo) while I used a socket to remove those bolts. (my car was on a four post lift, so the suspension was compressed.) Then sliding the alternator out is no biggie. Just remember to put the accumulator bracket in BEFORE reinstalling the new alternator.
Also, you only need to release the alternator belt. I left A/C one alone.

Good luck. On a DIYer scale of difficulty, I'd give it a 4. Not a job for the first timer, but not hard for anyone who has already earned scars on their knuckles.
 

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I recently performed an alternator swap and thought I would share my experience as well:

Background
I noticed my iDrive flickered off and on one day, as well as my speedometer going to zero and then back to speed while driving around 35mph. 3 days and 150 miles later, while driving to work, my ABS light came on and then went off after a few seconds. 5 minutes later, it happened again. 5 minutes later...again. Then it just stayed on. Finally, a SMG yellow COG came up (transmission fault). I just so happened to be driving right by BMW of Manhattan in NYC on my way to work, and figured I would just pull it in rather than risk getting stuck somewhere.

While the car was being diagnosed, I did my own searches on M5Board and came to the conclusion my alternator and/or voltage regulator was bad
- I got a call from my service advisor several hours later, who told me I needed a new alternator. He said the alternator was overcharging the battery at 18v. They quoted me "around $2,100" including 8 hours of labor. I declined the repair and ordered a new alternator, voltage regulator, AC belt, main belt, and coolant. (At 45k, my belts were probably due for replacing anyway, and the repair involves removing them. The repair process also involves draining coolant from the radiator, at least on paper). I also flatbed the car back to my home - I didn't like the thought of frying electronics or boiling the battery on my way driving home.

In retrospect, it's possible I only needed a new voltage regulator based on my research here. It appears undercharging might be more of a bad alternator symptom, and overcharging a voltage regulator symptom - but I was more comfortable just replacing both.

Note that I recently (~4k miles and 4 months prior to this issue) replaced my car's original battery. I did not do a reprogramming of the new battery as part of this swap. It is unclear to me whether the lack of reprogramming led to this failure, or whether my then-dying battery caused a premature failure of my alternator and/or voltage regulator. (I did a DIY write-up of the battery swap and will update the OP with this information.)

My Observations from the Alternator Swap (not full instructions, just additions to the instructions and what others have posted):

- I have a 2008 M5 SMG, 10/2007 build with 45k miles

- I performed the swap on raceramps. No lift is needed.

- After getting started, I elected NOT to remove the radiator. I can confirm, as others have, that this is not necessary. I can also confirm the need to remove the black canister with the braided metal wire attached just below the alternator. Failure to remove this canister (and it's metal mounting bracket) will mean you simply can't work the alternator out of the engine bay.

- As others mentioned, not removing the radiator exposes it to damage. You'll be using a wrench to remove your belts, a pulley, the alternator, and possibly a hammer or similar to get the alternator to break loose ;) Any one of these can damage your radiator. I used a simple piece of cardboard box to cover the exposed fins, and it worked perfectly. I zip-tied it to the plastic clip at the bottom of the radiator where the electric fan previously sat in.

- To echo another forum member - at the start of the process, you will be removing both a metal cover and a plastic cover from the top of the radiator/radiator fan. The metal cover has the hood latches attached to it...I unscrewed these.

- I used a 2-foot screwdriver to work the tabs at both sides of the fan when removing it. It's a tight fit and requires moving tubes/wires out of the way, but it does come right out the top without disconnecting anything other than what is in the instruction PDFs.

- I only had 1 connector (what I assume is the power plug) on my fan. The instructions mention a AUC sensor...I saw the bracket this would have been mounted to, but did not see my AUC sensor. The instructions mention to "modify the AUC sensor"...perhaps mine had already been modified?

- In removing the belts, after the A/C belt I had to unscrew an entire pulley to get at the alternator drive belt. Unless I missed it, the instructions didn't mention this pulley. It looks like it is offset, but can only screw in one way so don't worry about reinstalling it. All 3 pulleys had plastic caps over the nut holding them in place, that I popped off with a flathead screwdriver.

- After unfastening the tubes/lines as mentioned in the instructions (to make space for yourself), and if you elect not to remove the radiator, you have to remove the black cylindrical canister and its mounting bracket (what I've seen referred to as the accumulator). Remove the plug on the accumulator (use needle nose pliers for the metal clip and then pull the plug). Unscrew the two easy screws on the bracket (they screw in upside down, vertically). Wiggle the canister out of the bracket. It has a rubber sleeve around it which may or may not come along when you pull out the canister (either way is fine, remove the sleeve, too). The metal braided hose connecting the canister doesn't have a ton of slack, but you can indeed remove the canister without otherwise playing with the metal braided hose. With the canister out, you should be able to remove the top of the mounting bracket (lift it up and out). The bracket is still being held on by two short screws (10mm) at the very top that are hidden behind a metal line with 3 rubber pieces which protect the metal line from the alternator and accumulator bracket that it is otherwise sandwiched in between. These rubber pieces snap off (just pull on them, or push them along the metal line and then off). Once removed, you can get at the screws. As another posted mentioned, a small box wrench is all I could use to get at them. You may want to remove the lower mounting bolt on the alternator first - if you are lucky, your alternator might swing out a bit and give you a little bit of room. If you are unlucky (like me), you will need to remove the bracket first to get a wrench under the alternator to pry it off :)

- To REINSTALL the accumulator bracket - get the new alternator installed with just the top bolt. See if the alternator swings easily onto its bottom mounting point. If so, don't tighten it yet (as you can do this after reattaching the two top 10mm screws on the accumulator bracket). If the alternator doesn't swing easily onto its bottom mounting point, you might want to consider working the alternator first to get it properly seated and bolted (as this will be more difficult once the accumulator bracket is installed). I recommend fully assembling the accumulator bracket, not forgetting to put the 3 rubber pieces back on the metal line which hides the top 10mm bolts. Keep only the two long vertical screws loose. Take the rubber sleeve off the accumulator, and put it in the bracket. Finally, just shove the accumulator into the sleeve (and, hence, into the bracket). This sleeve trick would have saved me 30 minutes of pain. Don't forget to reattach the plug and its metal clip.
I did my swap last night after the voltage spikes. I could've done just the regulator, but it wasn't worth the time to do one but not both. I wanted to add my experience to the pile, I think there are some corrections to be made, but maybe because I'm more experienced in working in tight spaces and making my job as easy as possible. Some misconceptions:

- Replacing the regulator, alone, is definitely cheaper, but not easier. I found that I really couldn't get to much behind the alternator, especially the wire clip. If you can afford to, save yourself the headache of doing this job twice and replace the whole shabam.

-Removing the radiator AND the fan shroud is completely unnecessary. I had plenty of room to work without touching any of the cooling system components. The entire job is from below, you don't even have to pop the hood for any part of this project. Leaving the fan shroud in place will protect the radiator fins, but cardboard is still a good idea, just don't forget to remove it, later on.

-Removing both belts are completely unnecessary. Just loosen the belt the alternator uses. See below.

-The black cylinder (accumulator?) and bracket is the most time-consuming part of the job. Seriously, F*ck that thing.

-The picture below, most helpful part of this install:




Here's some extra input:
-What you'll need: 1/4" drive: 8mm & 10mm socket and extention, 3/8" drive: 10-17mm sockets and extensions. 10mm box wrench or ratcheting wrench. Small flat-head screwdriver for prying. Extra large flat-head screwdriver for prying.

-Obviously, remove the splash shield with 8mm and 13mm sockets
-Remove 2 brackets holding the sway bar and power steering lines (I think 13 or 14mm and 10mm for the lines).
-Remove the 10mm bolt holding the wire loom and push the wire loom out of the way.
-Use small screw driver to remove wire clip from black accumulator canister.
-Use small screw driver to remove cap from belt tensioner pulley.
-Rest is here:


 

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My alternator side tension pulley disintegrated. I replaced it and now I can not get the alternator belt back on. With the tensioner fully depressed it is still not even close. Anyone had trouble with this?
 

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jsaxophone: excellent DIY - Thanks.

got the alternator out last evening and it was exactly as you explained in your images... I was very concerned about the two "satan" screws since I couldn't see them for the longest time but once you are far along they are actually not that difficult.
 

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Hey FYI- I'm pretty mechanically inclined but I had never worked on the M5 much. I needed to change the VR and after reading the forums I was kind of worried... I ended up deciding to change out the alternator. It was easy. In that DIY alternator thread there is some good advice and some advice that you don't need to follow if you want to do it yourself. $300 for the alternator and your done in 2-3 hours.

The good advice:

Don't pull the radiator
Pull the fan/fan shroud
place a piece of cardboard where the fan was to protect radiator.
Don't remove the AC belt, don't even remove the main serpentine belt, just remove tension on the tensioner and pull it off the alternator- tuck it away from the alt so you can work and keep it from falling off the other pulleys.
Get a flexible (spring wound) extension and make sure you have shorter and longer extensions so you can reach the 10mm bolts on the accumulator bracket. Bolts are easy to get to if you have the right tools.
DO NOT GRIND down the bracket. Its tight clearance fit for alignment reasons. All alternator brackets are like this- so the belt doesn't run in misalignment.
 

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14.5 Volts at Idle

Hi Guys, I got an Overvoltage on ISTA, wanted to see if anyone could shed any light on my E60 M5
 
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