So, I have had hard starting for a few days, so I went to my local Autozone and the battery checked out okay. Checking the alternator, he said the output was fine, but his little checker said an internal diode was bad inside the alternator.

So I am guessing the voltage regulator is bad, and that it is inside the alternator. Do i just order a new alternator and replace the whole thing at once, or can the VR just be swapped out?

From my searches, it seems like the '97 is a simpler swapout than later years, does anyone have a web writeup on the procedure? One post said to expect about 1.5 to 2 hours for the job.

Thanks in advance!
Michael1997 540i Automatic