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NG6 Engine Alternator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

NG6 Engine Alternator Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, 17mm open-end wrench, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)

Parts Required:

Alternator, drive belt, idler pulley

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will charge properly

Complementary Modification:

Change serpentine belt, idler pulley

A 12-volt battery powers the electrical system in your vehicle. The initial job of the battery is to power the starter motor, thus cranking the engine fast enough to start. The battery also supplies voltage to the ignition system, the fuel system, lights, HVAC system, windows, door locks and multitudes of sensors throughout the car. In order to maintain the battery in a state of charge, a belt-driven electrical generator, generally referred to as an alternator, is bolted to the engine block. The belt driving the alternator is powered by the engine pulley (vibration damper). As soon as the engine starts, electrical power is generated by the alternator and supplied to the battery to recharge it.

Generation of electricity creates a significant amount of heat in the inner windings of the alternator. This heat needs to be vented and dispersed in order to prevent damage to the alternator. Air-cooling of the alternator is used in nearly all car models and most BMW models.

A faulty or failing alternator can cause many problems, from a simple discharging of the battery to an engine drivability problem. There are a few signs and tests you can perform to determine if the alternator is the root cause of your problem. If you get lucky, your battery light (charging system indicator) will illuminate to warn you of a possible failure. When the battery light (charging system indicator) is ON, this means a voltage difference has been detected between battery positive (B+, terminal 30) and the ignition ON circuit (terminal 15), indicating a fault in the charging system.

It is common for an alternator to fail slowly. When this happens your symptoms will be present when the electrical system has the highest load, i.e. at night. Driving at night, you may notice the instrument panel lights dim, or the radio or headlights flicker. This is a good indication that the alternator cannot handle the excess load. Another sign of a charging system problem is when the headlights dim or the radio volume goes down when lowering your window. When the alternator can no longer charge the battery, you may park your vehicle and not be able to start it. Of course, this could be a faulty battery too.

Always check the voltage of your charging system under load. Voltage should be within 13.2: 14.5 volts d/c. To load, have the engine running at idle, turn on the headlights and HVAC blower motor. Never disconnect a battery cable while the engine is running to test the alternator. You may cause damage to the alternator or other electrical components from the surge in amperage. Before performing any tests of your alternator, charge and test your battery. If the battery is faulty, your alternator tests will not be accurate.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the alternator on the BMW E60 models with an NG6 6-cylinder engine (from 2006). Be sure to work with a cool engine and disconnect the battery before beginning. E60 models can come with a few alternator amperage ratings. Be sure your replacement alternator has the same rating as the faulty unit. You can usually find the amperage rating on the alternator housing.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Working in the trunk, disconnect the battery negative cable and cover the battery terminal so that the cable does not accidentally come in contact with the disconnected cable. See our tech article on battery replacing for notes on disconnecting and reconnecting the battery.

Remove the engine-cooling fan. See our tech article on radiator cooling fan replacing.

Remove the drive belt. See our tech article on drive belt replacing.

Models without turbocharger: 
Models without turbocharger: To remove the alternator and access the electrical connections at the rear of the alternator, remove the air filter housing assembly (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

Models without turbocharger: To remove the alternator and access the electrical connections at the rear of the alternator, remove the air filter housing assembly (yellow arrow). Remove the two T30 Torx fasteners (red arrow).

Models without turbocharger: Then disconnect the airflow meter electrical connector (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

Models without turbocharger: Then disconnect the airflow meter electrical connector (yellow arrow). Now loosen the airflow meter clamp (green arrow).

Models without turbocharger: Next unclip the three air filter lid clips (green arrows).
Figure 3

Models without turbocharger: Next unclip the three air filter lid clips (green arrows).

Models without turbocharger: Once unclipped, lift the air filter housing lid out of the engine compartment.
Figure 4

Models without turbocharger: Once unclipped, lift the air filter housing lid out of the engine compartment. 

Models without turbocharger: Once the lid has been removed, lift the air filter housing out of the engine compartment.
Figure 5

Models without turbocharger: Once the lid has been removed, lift the air filter housing out of the engine compartment. Lift the rear of the housing first, detaching it from the fresh air duct (red arrow).

Models with turbocharger:
Models with turbocharger: First remove the intake air duct (blue arrow).
Figure 6

Models with turbocharger: First remove the intake air duct (blue arrow). Working at the radiator support, remove the plastic rivet (red arrow). Then pull the duct out of the intake air housing and out of the radiator support in the direction of the green arrow.

Models with turbocharger: Next, you will have to unlock and disconnect the front boost recirculation hose.
Figure 7

Models with turbocharger: Next, you will have to unlock and disconnect the front boost recirculation hose. There is a gray lock (blue arrows). Rotate this lock counterclockwise about 45 degrees to unlock it. This style hose lock can be hard to get off due to time and debris entering the collar. If so, you can rotate it using channel locks, but be careful not to damage the hose or lock. They are made out of plastic. Then, using a flathead screwdriver loosen the air duct hose clamp (red arrow). Then pull the duct off the intake air housing.

Models with turbocharger: Next, you will have to unlock and disconnect the rear boost recirculation hose.
Figure 8

Models with turbocharger: Next, you will have to unlock and disconnect the rear boost recirculation hose. There is a gray lock (green arrow). Rotate this lock counterclockwise about 45 degrees to unlock it. This style hose lock can be hard to get off due to time and debris entering collar. If so, you can rotate it using channel locks, but be careful not to damage the hose or lock. They are made out of plastic. Then, using a flathead screwdriver loosen the air duct hose clamp (red arrow). Then pull the duct off the intake air housing.

Models with turbocharger: Working at the rear of the air filter housing, using a flathead screwdriver, loosen the air duct hose clamp (green arrow).
Figure 9

Models with turbocharger: Working at the rear of the air filter housing, using a flathead screwdriver, loosen the air duct hose clamp (green arrow). Next, you will have to detach the electrical cables from the intake air pipe (yellow arrow).

Models with turbocharger: Pull the electrical cable up off the mount.
Figure 10

Models with turbocharger: Pull the electrical cable up off the mount. You may have to wiggle the rubber grommet side to side to get it to come off the mount. Remove all three electrical cables.

Models with turbo-charger: Once the electrical cables are removed, you will have to pull the air filter up and out of the rubber mounting grommets.
Figure 11

Models with turbo-charger: Once the electrical cables are removed, you will have to pull the air filter up and out of the rubber mounting grommets. There are two in the back and one located in the center. What I like to do is pull the front side up first. Then wiggle the air filter housing until it comes out of the rear mounts. There are no fasteners holding it, just the grommets. Over time they may become stiff and will not release easily. If that is the case use caution and pull it up swiftly to release it.

Models with turbocharger: Working at the boost air pipe, remove the T27 Torx fastener (green arrow).
Figure 12

Models with turbocharger: Working at the boost air pipe, remove the T27 Torx fastener (green arrow).

Models with turbocharger: Working at the throttle body, using a flathead screwdriver, remove the intake air pipe locking clip (green arrow).
Figure 13

Models with turbocharger: Working at the throttle body, using a flathead screwdriver, remove the intake air pipe locking clip (green arrow).

Models with turbocharger: Disconnect the boost pipe from the connection at the radiator support.
Figure 14

Models with turbocharger: Disconnect the boost pipe from the connection at the radiator support. Then gently wiggle the pipe off the throttle body. Once the pipe is clear of the throttle body, remove it from the vehicle.

All NG6 engines: 
All NG6 engines: Working at the front of the alternator, remove the idler pulley cap using a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 15

All NG6 engines: Working at the front of the alternator, remove the idler pulley cap using a flathead screwdriver. Then remove the 16mm mounting bolt and remove the idler pulley from the alternator (green arrow).

All NG6 engines: Working at the rear of the alternator, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (green arrow).
Figure 16

All NG6 engines: Working at the rear of the alternator, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off (green arrow). Then remove the positive battery cable 13mm mounting nut (yellow arrow).

All NG6 engines: Remove the four E12 alternator fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 17

All NG6 engines: Remove the four E12 alternator fasteners (green arrows).

All NG6 engines: Next, remove the alternator from the mounting bracket by lifting it up and off the bracket.
Figure 18

All NG6 engines: Next, remove the alternator from the mounting bracket by lifting it up and off the bracket. To install the new alternator, reverse the removal steps. Check the operation of the charging system and alignment of the drive belts.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:42:26 AM