Good evening everyone,
This is my first post on any BMW forum, mainly because forums have always posed a navigational nightmare for me!
I'm no mechanic first off but have a little knowledge, I'm an I.T engineer so troubleshooting I can do and I do small work where I feel confident enough to. Anything I don't know that I need to know I quickly learn but this is stumping me.
I've got an e36 323 with a 328 lump in. I bought it this summer after abusing a few 318is over the past couple of years!
The other day I went through a pretty big puddle, everything seemed fine then the next day I started my car fine, drove to the shops and on the way my abs light and ASC+T light came on. When I got back into the car it wouldn't start, I wasn't in a position to bump start it but after a few tries it started again.
The next day I was driving back at night and my lights started to dim, started to lose power on the motorway but it seemed if i held the engine speed at a specific speed the lights would brighten and power would come back. It was frightening! anyway she got me back home. This was Christmas eve, Christmas morning I set about replacing the beers I'd nicked before Christmas and the car started first time. Again after getting to the shops and on the way having the abs and traction light come on at what seemed to be whenever I had my brakes on even a slight kiss of the pedal turned the light on.
I then needed a festive bump start to start my car again and it got me home Christmas morning but gave up and sat over Christmas. I ran the engine and found the alternator wasn't charging the battery, I took it for diagnoses at A1BM & Merx specialist They plugged it into their computer of which I've been advised is "the proper job" and the machine wouldn't stay on running off my car's power. They told me it appeared to be an alternator fault and using a multimeter tested what they could with my battery.
I bought a new battery and part ex'd my old alternator and set about the swap. Not being a complete numpty I was capable of doing this confidently. I swapped the alternator and still no battery charge! I swapped the battery and still no charging thinking mine wasn't holding charge!
Something to note is I had a small smell of electrical burning at one stage when I first tried turning the car on. I suspect something, somewhere is fried! couldn't determine where it was coming from though.
Now I've checked the bulb in the speedo works, I've even swapped the speedo over for a spare, I've heard the bulb is part of the circuit. not 100% though. I've also re earthed the engine to check it's not an earth fault, checked the earth cable from the battery.
When the car is running the battery voltage just steadily drops from around the 12.68 mark to 12.67 back up to 12.68 then back down, then it will drop to 12.66 then back up to 12.67 until it gradually drops down until the engine shuts down.
I'm now left thinking it's a control unit issue, dme, ecu. if it got wet it could have frazzled?
Has anyone got any recommendations? I'm pretty stuck for anything financial until Friday and all I've got are my tools, a multi meter and a charger!
I replaced the belt and it seems to be "toight" enough. Sunk all my expendable dosh into this and it's still not charging!
Thanks for reading my essay!