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Cabin Microfilter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Cabin Microfilter Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

20 minutes20 mins

Tab:

$20

Talent:

*

Tools:

Lint free rag

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Cabin microfilter

Hot Tip:

Thoroughly clean microfilter housing of debris first

Performance Gain:

Good air flow through HVAC system

Complementary Modification:

Clean your air ducts

The BMW E46 IHKA (integriertes Heizung und Klima automatic), or integrated automatic climate control system, provides the vehicle cabin with heating, air-conditioning and ventilation. The main components and features of this system are as follows:

  • Single heater core uses circulating engine coolant to provide cabin heat and window defrosting function
  • Blower control via final stage (blower motor resistor pack)
  • A/C compressor is electronically controlled
  • Air distribution and fresh air volume dependent on vehicle road speed
  • Air distribution controlled by self-calibrating stepper motors powered via M-bus
  • Automatic maximum for heating and cooling for defrosting functions
  • Rear window defogger and heated outside rear view mirrors integrated into the climate control system
  • Fresh air microfilter
  • Heating and air-conditioning can be personalized via Car Memory / Key Memory function

The fresh air microfilter is used to filter the air coming into the vehicle interior. It also protects the HVAC system components from contamination. A dirty heater core would not provide sufficient heat and a dirty evaporator would not be able to provide sufficient cooling so it's imperative to make sure you always have a fresh microfilter to avoid such issues.

BMW recommends replacing the fresh air cabin microfilter every 10,000 miles or every other oil change. However, depending on the weather and climate the vehicle is exposed to, you may need to change the filter more often. If you start to notice any weird musty smells inside your car, and you're sure your passenger(s) have showered, it may be from a dirty microfilter.

In this article, I will go over the steps involved with changing the cabin microfilter. The process is quite easy and can be done in a matter of a few minutes, saving you time and money by avoiding taking your car to a dealership.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The fresh air cabin microfilter is located in the engine compartment at wiper cowl (green arrow).
Figure 1

The fresh air cabin microfilter is located in the engine compartment at wiper cowl (green arrow). You will need to open the hood to access the microfilters plastic housing. The hood release lever is on the driver's side, by the pedals.

To access filter inside the housing, rotate the filter lid locks 90° (green arrows).
Figure 2

To access filter inside the housing, rotate the filter lid locks 90° (green arrows).

Next lift cabin microfilter lid and pull it out of the cowl in an upward direction (green arrows).
Figure 3

Next lift cabin microfilter lid and pull it out of the cowl in an upward direction (green arrows).

Next, remove the microfilter from cowl, it should slide out easily and no tools are needed to remove the actual filter (green arrow).
Figure 4

Next, remove the microfilter from cowl, it should slide out easily and no tools are needed to remove the actual filter (green arrow).

Using a lint-free rag, clean the cowl area and remove any debris. Install the new fresh air microfilter; reinstall the lid, rotate the locking tabs 90° clockwise to engage and you're done. Congratulations on saving yourself some money - your health and your passengers will thank you for the fresh, cleaner air.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Rusty Comments: Have an issue with the last step - 2 of the 3 lid locks do not latch - just keep popping back up. Replacing the locks didn't help - it looks like the white plastic thingy against which they're supposed to latch is deformed. Is there any way to replace that one?
July 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the locks don't latch into the slots in the cabin filter housing, you may have to replace the filter housing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
VP Comments: In the process of cleaning the cabin filter housing on my 2002 325 xi, i accidentally dropped the plastic valve thing which covers the 2 holes in the housing. What is it called and how can I order it. Thanks
July 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure I know what you are referring to. Best bet: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chris Comments: Is the $230 cost listed above a typo?
January 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, thanks for catching that. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
NAND Comments: Where is the micro filter on the e36 m3?
October 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Inside the car on the passenger side behind the glove box.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:20:50 AM