BMW – Replacing An Alternator DIY- 2001 325i – E46 M54
While replacing an alternator may sound intimidating, this is a repair that you can perform on your own and save a bundle in labor charges. You will likely be quoted anywhere from $150 to a few hundred dollars in labor for an alternator replacement. In your own garage (or driveway), you can replace your alternator in as little as an hour (in most cases) using standard automotive metric tools.
Come along as we replace the alternator in our 2001 325xi. The procedure will be similar on most 6-cylinder and 4-cylinder models. (Alternator replacement on V8 and V12 BMWs is more involved.) As always, the full procedure for your particular BMW or MINI will be detailed in the applicable Bentley or Haynes repair manual. We have all the manuals in-stock, as well as the special fan clutch wrench and the fan pulley holder tool, shown in this procedure.
1 – Disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery (in the trunk on most models, some under rear seat or under the hood). On early models (most pre-1999) we recommend getting the Memory Saver (part #295A) and a 9-volt battery to prevent the loss of computer and radio codes.
2 – Remove air filter box:
3 – Remove cold-air snorkel:
4 – Remove cooling fan and shroud (Note: this is only required if the belt and/or idler pulleys are to be replaced, which we highly recommend while you’re in there.):
5 – Remove accessory drive belt
6 – Remove the alternator electrical connectors:
7 – Remove power steering fluid reservoir:
8 – Remove Alternator:
Take a look at the new alternator to help you locate where the bolts should be. Lift alternator out. You may have to gently use a pry bar to initially work the alternator off the mounting brackets.
9 – If necessary, install the pulley from the old alternator, then install the new alternator.
10 – If installing new belts and tensioner pulleys, do so at this time.
11 – Install the remainder of the parts in the reverse order. When installation is complete, re-connect the battery cable.
Find BMW Alternators on www.bavauto.com