While BMW models are renowned for their superior performance and drivability, some are especially prone to engine leaks caused by failing alternator seals. This has been a well-recorded issue among BMW drivers, and repairing these seals can cause frustration for owners looking for a quick fix solution. This is mainly due to the time-consuming process of repairing alternator bracket gasket seals, which can frequently take over 5 hours for even the most skilled mechanics.
The extensive time required for fixing the bracket gasket seals far outweigh the minimal material costs of roughly $5 to $10. This article discusses the purpose of these seals in a BMW, some of the more common warning signs for failing alternator bracket seals, and what actions you can take to solve problems related to them.
Understanding BMW Alternator Seals
A vehicle alternator in your BMW fundamentally serves as an electrical generator. Each time you drive this European automobile, the alternator “alternates” electrical currents to charge the vehicle’s battery. An alternator bracket is just a mounting gadget that securely fits the alternator. The bracket gasket is an elastic rubber seal adjoining the alternator, bracket, and the motor.
Engine leaks can occur if this gasket fails to seal properly. Even the smallest of leaks should be addressed, since seeping oil can cause gasket erosion or other parts of the engine to malfunction. Problems with leaking oil that can grow larger over time can eventually lead to engine failure or at least increase the chances of fires occurring.
As with other components of BMW engines, they can fail as more miles are put on the car. Prolonged usage and normal wear and tear can lead to the following ordinary issues with gaskets and seals:
- Drying out
- Losing elasticity
- Becoming brittle enough to let the oil seep through
Common Signs of Alternator Seal Problems
Luckily, there are common warning symptoms for you to be on the lookout for which will help you determine if you have a problematic alternator bracket seal. Visually observing an oil leak is usually the first indication of a broken alternator seal. Even if you do not see any leakage under your vehicle, you may notice an unusual drop in oil pressure, or you could be alerted to the problem by your dashboard’s check-engine or oil-pressure lights.
To be certain that the leak is indeed coming from a faulty seal, you should take the BMW to a professional German car service center for inspection. To effectively solve leaking seal problems, several large components of the engine need to be removed. This requires automotive expertise from mechanics who have the skills and tools to repair these gaskets. Large motor part removal, such as the engine mount, makes reaching the bracket a complex and lengthy ordeal that requires a larger skill set than most people anticipate.
Solutions for Fixing Bad Alternator Bracket Seals
When you replace an alternator bracket gasket seal, it is highly recommended that you use extra sealant for added protection against future leaking. Although the replacement bracket gasket seals are relatively inexpensive, repairing them involves lowering the crossmember (front) as well as taking out the alternator itself, the underbody shields, drive belt, and suspension components.
If you are a skilled mechanic with access to the tools necessary for removing these items, you should follow these steps:
- Remove the alternator
- Remove the power steering pump
- Loosen all motor mounts
- Jack up the engine several inches
- Disconnect the front drive shaft and front axles
- Pull the differential so that it is out of your way
- Remove the bolts around the alternator
- Remove the alternator bracket
Award-Winning German Auto Service & Repair
With 60+ years of combined service experience with Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini, and Porsche makes and models, the technicians at Revolution Automotive Services consistently provide customers in Massachusetts with 5-star service. These ASE Certified Master Technicians understand how to properly diagnose and repair issues specific to German-made vehicles.
As a recipient of the “Company of the Year” Award by WORLDPAC, Revolution Automotive Services is the premier alternative to dealership service for customers in Norwood, Westwood, Walpole, Sharon, Canton, Medfield, Needham, Dover, and Boston, MA. Our team of professional automotive experts are ready to help service your German automobile, so please call our shop to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.