red light means “stop” – and pay $65 in shipping?

friday kinda sucked…

…the ufc was home with a migraine, so i had to do my usual friday stuff (laundry, bits on here, dishes, etc) in stealth mode. that was no big deal. but when i took off i got about halfway to austin and my red battery light came on. this, from everything i know about bmw, means your alternator is dead.

not good.

i turned around and shut off everything electrical – a/c (it was in the nineties so that sucked) and the radio and headed back to town. i got to vato zone and had them run a test and it turned out my battery was bad, and it was under warranty, so i got a new battery for free. i installed it, put everything back in the trunk (my trunk always seems to be full when i have battery issues since that’s where the damn thing is) and started the car, only to see my red battery light was STILL on. i got the guy from inside and we hooked it back up to the tester and both the battery AND the alternator worked fine. figuring maybe it just needed to be driven so the computer could “feel” it was charging, i took off back towards austin…but when the light was STILL on a few miles outside of town i about-faced and went back home. friday i drove in to work in the ufc’s car, worked late so i could go in late on saturday, and then headed home.

saturday morning i got up determined to figure shit out. i had put off working on a radiator hose replacement, but since i had to take off most of the front of the engine compartment anyway i decided to do that, too. and also clean and oil the air filter. in taking things apart i found out my water pump pulley was cracked so that was another part to be ordered.

the charging thing could get interesting. from everything i read online with these symptoms it’s the voltage regulator. modern alternators have this built it, but with my car being fifteen years old it was the last of the euro cars where this could be a separate part. bmw’s ship with one of two parts, which if you buy off one of your neighborhood parts places (vato zone, napa, etc) can be anywhere from $150 to $225, which is the same (if not more) than doing your entire alternator. but if i order the part online it was $40 OR 90, which is enough of a savings to warrant the wait in my opinion. the problem was i didn’t know which part i’d need till i pulled everything apart, which took a while. once it WAS apart i discovered my part was the $40 version.

that was the good news.

the bad news was said part was five times as much if purchased locally so i had to drop $65 shipping on a seventy dollar order (?!?!) so it would ship tuesday (happy labor day weekend everybody!) and i could get my car back on the road at some point wednesday.

so that’s what’s butt-raping my brainus this lovely labor day – how’s by you?

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