Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
M54 6 Cylinder Engine Alternator Replacement
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

M54 6 Cylinder 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 Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 530i 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 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 (+) constant (terminal 30) and 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 headlights or radio dim 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 the 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 a M54 6-cylinder engine. E60 models with the 6-cylinder engine may be equipped with one of several different alternators with different amperage ratings. Be sure that your replacement alternator has the same rating as the faulty unit. You can usually find the amperage rating on the alternator housing. E60 models with 8-cylinder engines are equipped with a water-cooled alternator. The replacement procedure for that unit is not covered in this tech article.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. 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.

Be sure to work with a cool engine and disconnect the battery before beginning.

Working in the trunk, disconnect the battery negative cable and cover the battery terminal so 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.

The alternator on BMW E60 models with a M54 6-cylinder engine is located on the left side of the engine (green arrow).
Figure 1

The alternator on BMW E60 models with a M54 6-cylinder engine is located on the left side of the engine (green arrow).

Locate the accessory drive belt tensioner and remove the dust cap (green arrow) using a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 2

Locate the accessory drive belt tensioner and remove the dust cap (green arrow) using a flathead screwdriver.

Using a ratchet with a long handle and an 8mm Allen bit (green arrow), rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise to release tension and slide the belt off the pulleys (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

Using a ratchet with a long handle and an 8mm Allen bit (green arrow), rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise to release tension and slide the belt off the pulleys (yellow arrow). Remove the engine drive belt. See our tech article on engine drive belt replacing for detailed information.

Working at the top of the alternator, remove the idler pulley dust cap (green arrow) using a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 4

Working at the top of the alternator, remove the idler pulley dust cap (green arrow) using a flathead screwdriver.

Then remove the T45 Torx idler pulley (green arrow) bolt.
Figure 5

Then remove the T45 Torx idler pulley (green arrow) bolt. Remove the bolt and the idler pulley together once the bolt has been loosened.

To remove the alternator and access the electrical connections at the rear of the alternator, remove the air filter housing assembly (yellow arrow).
Figure 6

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).

Then disconnect the mass airflow sensor electrical connector (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

Then disconnect the mass airflow sensor electrical connector (yellow arrow). Now loosen the mass airflow sensor clamp (green arrow).

Next unclip the three air filter lid clips (green arrows).
Figure 8

Next unclip the three air filter lid clips (green arrows).

Once unclipped, lift the air filter-housing lid out of the engine compartment.
Figure 9

Once unclipped, lift the air filter-housing lid out of the engine compartment. 

Once the lid has been removed, lift the air filter housing out of the engine compartment.
Figure 10

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).

Working at the back of the alternator, disconnect the electrical connector (green arrow) by squeezing the release tab and pulling the connector straight off.
Figure 11

Working at the back of the alternator, disconnect the electrical connector (green arrow) by squeezing the release tab and pulling the connector straight off. Then remove the alternator positive (+) cable fastener (usually a 16mm) (red arrow), and remove the cable from the alternator.

Working at the front of the alternator, loosen the 16mm alternator mounting bolts (green arrows).
Figure 12

Working at the front of the alternator, loosen the 16mm alternator mounting bolts (green arrows). Note the longer bolt is at the bottom (inset).

Now the alternator can be removed.
Figure 13

Now the alternator can be removed. If it is stuck, lever the alternator away from the engine. Working at the bottom of the alternator, lever the alternator away from the mounting bracket (green arrow).

Next, remove the alternator from its mounting bracket by rocking it back and forth while pulling up and off the bracket.
Figure 14

Next, remove the alternator from its mounting bracket by rocking it back and forth while pulling up and off the bracket. Once you wiggle it out of the mounting bracket, remove the alternator from the engine compartment.

If reinstalling an old or used alternator, you may have to move the bushing (yellow arrow) out of the mounting ear for proper fit to the alternator bracket.
Figure 15

If reinstalling an old or used alternator, you may have to move the bushing (yellow arrow) out of the mounting ear for proper fit to the alternator bracket. The red arrow shows the bushing moved out of the mounting ear. To do this, place a 23 or 24mm socket (green arrow) between the bushing and the vise jaw. Slowly tighten the vise to drive the bushing flush with the mounting ear. Be very careful and do not use too much force. Damage to the alternator may occur. Install a new alternator in the alternator bracket. Then install the fasteners and tighten. Attach the electrical connections to the back of the new alternator and tighten. Install the drive belt and check that the belt is properly aligned in the alternator pulley. Then reassemble the remaining items in reverse order of the removing steps. Check the operation of the charging system and alignment of the drive belts. Install the idler pulley through the alternator and fasten it to the engine. Reassemble the radiator cooling fan, the air filter housing, and the intake air duct. Connect the battery negative cable.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Kez Comments: Thank you so much Nick. Thanks to your advice and tech article I've removed the alternator. The alternator is a Valeo TG15c018, 2542685c, 90/150a, is it safe to replace it with a 180a alternator? if BMW has one available that is equivalent in fitment, or is it best to stick with the 150a? Thanks.
April 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, use the same alternator rating it was equipped with. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kez Comments: Hi, new to the site & very appreciative to all involved for creating this brilliant tech site. Just wondering if flickering of the idrive with various codes flashing up is caused from a failing alternator? My 03 e60 530i won't start and battery is drained battery was replaced in late 2014 after the flickering and I tried jump starting it & left my foot on the gas for 1-2 minutes @ 2000rpm however it went completely dead again after I took my foot off. Before jump start voltage reading was 11.4 & after it read 8.5 & dropping. Code stating loose battery cables came while car was on however cables were tight. Any advice is gratefully appreciated. Kez
April 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like a faulty alternator to me. Voltage is quite low. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Patti Osterberg Comments: I didn't know that it was common or the alternator to fail slowly. I've had my radio and lights flicker when I'm driving home from work a few times, so maybe this is the problem. I'll try checking the voltage while the engine is idling and the headlights and HVAC are on like you say. Hopefully it's a problem with the battery and not the alternator!
January 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.

Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:24:39 AM