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How to Replace Your Blower Motor
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

How to Replace Your Blower Motor

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Phillips screwdriver, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Blower motor, cabin air filter.

Hot Tip:

Check the flaps in the HVAC system

Performance Gain:

Hot or cold air again in your passenger compartment

Complementary Modification:

Replace blower resistor

BMW E46 vehicles are equipped with a climate control system (IHKA) with multiple sensors, controls, air temperature units and ducts. The blower motor, which controls airflow into the passenger cabin, is among the most consequential components in the climate control system. The blower motor resistor (or final stage) varies voltage to the blower motor to achieve the desired speed.  If your blower motor fails and replacing the final stage unit has not remedied the problem, the blower motor itself is likely at fault. Over time, a blower motor may become noisy as the motor electrical contacts wear. The blower fan cages also fracture, creating a vibration when the blower is ON. If it fails or becomes noisy, you can use this procedure for showing you how to make the repairs.

The blower motor is located behind the windshield wiper cowl and is serviced from the engine bay. In this technical article, I will go over the steps involved with replacing the blower motor on an E46 325i.

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.

To begin, remove the engine covers so that you gain access to the working area, and also to give you some working room. If you need more information on how to do this, please refer to our Pelican Parts technical article on Removing Your Engine Covers.

Working near the left shock tower, remove the rubber weather strip from the body by pulling it off (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

Working near the left shock tower, remove the rubber weather strip from the body by pulling it off (yellow arrow).

Rotate the panel clips 90° counterclockwise to release (green arrows).
Figure 2

Rotate the panel clips 90° counterclockwise to release (green arrows).

Next, pull the hoses up and out of the trim panel (green arrows).
Figure 3

Next, pull the hoses up and out of the trim panel (green arrows). Be careful not to lose the hose mounts, they have a tendency to fall off the hoses.

Then pull the trim panel (yellow arrow) up to remove it, guiding it past the hoses.
Figure 4

Then pull the trim panel (yellow arrow) up to remove it, guiding it past the hoses.

Remove the two T-30 Torx fasteners (green arrows) from the blower motor bulkhead (purple arrow).
Figure 5

Remove the two T-30 Torx fasteners (green arrows) from the blower motor bulkhead (purple arrow).

Then remove the blower motor bulkhead cover (purple arrow).
Figure 6

Then remove the blower motor bulkhead cover (purple arrow).

Working at the right side of the wiper cowl, pull the air intake flap lever up (green arrow).
Figure 7

Working at the right side of the wiper cowl, pull the air intake flap lever up (green arrow).

Then remove the right air intake flap (green arrow).
Figure 8

Then remove the right air intake flap (green arrow).

Next, remove the three T-20 Torx blower motor cover fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 9

Next, remove the three T-20 Torx blower motor cover fasteners (green arrows).

Using a flathead screwdriver, release the blower motor cover by prying off the retaining clips (green arrows).
Figure 10

Using a flathead screwdriver, release the blower motor cover by prying off the retaining clips (green arrows).

Then remove the cover by pulling it off towards the front and sliding it out towards the right of the vehicle.
Figure 11

Then remove the cover by pulling it off towards the front and sliding it out towards the right of the vehicle.

Now, remove the remaining blower motor housing fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 12

Now, remove the remaining blower motor housing fasteners (green arrows).

Then remove blower motor housing from bulkhead (green arrow).
Figure 13

Then remove blower motor housing from bulkhead (green arrow). Pull housing out toward passenger side of vehicle.

Remove the four T-20 Torx blower motor fasteners.
Figure 14

Remove the four T-20 Torx blower motor fasteners. There are two at the top and two at the bottom of the blower motor (green arrows). I find it much easier to remove the blower motor this way. You can also remove it by releasing the spring clamp. However, it can be tough to re-lock the spring clamp when reinstalling.

Disconnect the blower motor electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 15

Disconnect the blower motor electrical connector (green arrow).

Pull the blower motor out of the housing and remove.
Figure 16

Pull the blower motor out of the housing and remove.

Unclip the spring clamp and remove the blower motor from the bracket.
Figure 17

Unclip the spring clamp and remove the blower motor from the bracket.

When installing the new blower motor, align the lower mounting tab with the housing (green arrows).
Figure 18

When installing the new blower motor, align the lower mounting tab with the housing (green arrows).

Follow the reverse removal instructions for installation. When installing the blower motor into the housing, have the lower fasteners placed in the bracket to ease the installation. Be careful when reinstalling the plastic housing and covers, they can break if you force them into the blower motor housing.

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Comments and Suggestions:
KAJ Comments: Very good write-up. I am a novice and I could not do this project in a single afternoon. The hardest part is removing and replacing the blower housing, which is awkwardly shaped and difficult to move into place. You need to work very carefully so you don't lose any screws the air inlet track. A magnetic grabber tool or a magnetized torx driver is an absolute must. Also, even though it was the correct part number, the Behr motor I purchased did not fit without the blades rubbing the housing. I think the housing was warped due to age. After many hours of trying to reseat the motor, I got frustrated and just sanded off a few millimeters of the inside corner of each fan blade with a Dremmel, which worked just fine.

I broke the two clips shown in Step 2. Does anyone know the part number?
May 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback.
I don't have the part number. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
palnm Comments: Thanks for the instructions - they were very helpful. If I could add a couple of things: 1 removing the trim panel in Figure 4 is not as easy as it sounds. The very stiff vacuum line to the brake booster needs to be helped down behind the panel, and the thin hard line crossing to the air inlet boot needs to be removed. In my case this was impossible without tearing the nipple on the boot which, surprisingly, was less than $30 to replace at my dealer. Removing the upper air boot facilitates removing the trim panel anyways, and my only regret is that I did not replace the lower air boot at the same time. Beware that various parts to be removed later will be raining dust on their way out and cover the open air inlet tract. 2 I purchased the Behr replacement blower which so far has worked well. There is some rumbling on the highest setting which the original BMW part did not have. Noise levels are similar. The Behr fans may not be quite as robust as BMW, but time will tell. Be prepared to adjust the fans inward/outward on the shafts to avoid interference with the shroud! My advice is to run the fan up to full speed after you have tightened the respective pieces of the shroud to make sure that any ensuing warpage has not created interference. 3 Many of the little screws inside the blower housing/shroud will try to fall down inside the heater/AC box on the cabin side of the firewall as you remove them. They may not be recoverable if this happens. A flexible magnetic pickup tool is very helpful in controlling these screws. When reinserting, I attached them to the Torx bit with electrical tape. 4 Considerable flexing/forcing is needed to remove and then replace the two pieces of the fan shroud. Kudos to BMW for making them sturdy enough to withstand this. Many manufacturers do not. 5 Upon reassembly, in addition to making sure there is no interference from the fan before closing everything up, also make sure the right and left doors on the fan housing are functioning correctly. The actuator/pivot mechanism for the right side door as seen in Figure 8 is easy to jam if the shroud is not replaced correctly. 6 In total my experience was that this project took 4-5 good, patient hours, plus time for a trip to the dealer. Yes, all the parts fit as the instructions above indicate, but plan on a considerable amount of messing around to figure out exactly how! Probably not a beginner level project
February 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Carey Comments: 2005 325i blower motor quit..no high fan either...then came on again the next for 15 mins then nothing.50 Amp fuse ok I changed final stage resistor..still nothing. checked voltage at FSR varied with control fan..Any suggestions
August 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If voltage at the resistor varies, the blower motor may be at fault. Unplug the motor then install a incandescent test light across the terminals. Operate the blower speeds, does the test light illuminate? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jim Comments: 3 last questions I hope: 1 if I order parts, are these parts for my 2008 323i the same as ordering for the 328i?...2 does the blower motor resistor mean the same as the final stage unit? ...3 you sell a blower motor assembly with regulator; would that include both the resistor or final stage unit and the blower, or would I need to order something else? Thanks again.
July 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1. I am not the best with part numbers, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.

2. Yes

3. If the kit says blower motor and regulator, it should have everything you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jim Comments: I have a 2008 323i...blower just stopped working. I found the two fuses associated with the blower and both check out visually. I will replace them on spec, but if the blower still does not work, do 2008 E90s share the same problems as the thread above describes?
July 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the issues are similar. See this tech article:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/ELEC-Blower_Motor_and_Final_Stage_Replacing/ELEC-Blower_Motor_and_Final_Stage_Replacing.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
hendy Comments: I had no blower and changed the final resistor. Blower works for 10-15 minutes then stops. If i turn the car of and restart it the blower works again for 10-15 minutes then stops again. Would changing the blower motor fix it. 2001 325 ci
April 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Don't know, you will need to test. When the blower motor fails, see if the signal from the resistor goes away. If so, check the input to the resistor from the module. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jimmy Comments: Much appreciated your suggestion. Another question, how can I remove resistor when it's covered so tight under the blower motor housing. Or do I have to go under between the driver's steering wheel & pedal to pull it out?
Thank you.
April 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is under the dash:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E46/57-ELEC-Blower_Motor_Final_Stage_Replacement/57-ELEC-Blower_Motor_Final_Stage_Replacement.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jimmy Comments: I got 2001 e46 318i. When ignition was turned off, the blower motor was still running. This has drained my battery twice, even a new battery couldnot last the next morning. Unless I removed battery cable, the blower motor continued to run in a few minutes intervals for 30 seconds or so. Today I decided to remove the blower motor & disconnected blower motor electrical connector to stop battery draining once and for all. So can you please let me know if the problem lied with blower motor or blower resistor? Another question is how to remove blower resistor when it is sitting very tight covered by blower motor housing. Thanks
April 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The problem is likely with the resistor. However, to be sure you will have to test the input to the resistor when the problem is present. If the signal to turn the blower on is not present and the blower is on, the resistor is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DW Comments: I changed out the blower motor on my 2004 330ci right hand drive. Not an easy task!. Not like the left hand drive, as the wiper assembly is in the way, and I could not get the motor out. I had to cut off both fans to remove it. When installing the new motor I first removed both fans using home made pullers. I then placed the motor in to it's aperture and refitted fans there, using a small hammer to tap them back on.It took quite a bit of time ,but well worth it.
November 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: hi
i dont know if this is the right forum but i will ask anyway. i have a 2001 320d. she is the bog stanard model with no aircon , the blower is working. my question is , is there a fsr in a heating unit without aircon or is it blower motor need to be changed
November 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is one fore E46 models, as shown in this article. I can't be 100% sure for your vehicle, as we don't have them here in the us. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: Will bad fsr drain the battery?
I have removed the fuse for the blower and the drain stops, I'm assuming the fsr needs to be replaced. I have had battery drain problems for a while, couldn't find any solution. Battery is pretty new, had it tested, no alternator problems either.
October 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, if it is stuck ON, it will use power, even if the blower is not on. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: Hi Nick,

That is new to me and I do not recall seeing a separate device in the parts diagram. Where is the control head located and do you have a part number? This concept makes since now based on what I am experiencing as it gives trouble and I try and think it through.

Thanks for the help
September 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: control head and in panel. The buttons you operate the climate control with. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: I have a 2001 325xi 180K miles and the blower motor has speed variation and complete stoppage during operation. I have already replaced the resister and that did not change anything. The blower motor does not sound bad, no rattling or chirping noises that normally indicate worn bearings. It is either working fine or speed variation or it stops somewhat randomly. I did notice that when it is working if a break hard the RPMs will stop and then it started back to normal again a moment later. The dash indications are stable for the demand in manual mode but the motor RPM does not always match what the dash control is telling it to do. Before I go to the trouble of digging the blower out I wanted to ask what else I should look at first if anything? Could it be worn motor brushes making intermittent contact? Is that a normal failure mode for these things?

Thanks for the help
September 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be a bad control head or motor. I would monitor voltage to the blower. if it fluctuates, suspect the control head, if it does not, suspect the motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hop Comments: Thank You For the quick reply and I appreciate your Help.
August 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem, glad to help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hop Comments: I was going down the road a couple of days ago and the blower just stopped working all of a sudden.No air was coming through the vents in the cabin .The belt was on and not slipping and the a/c clutch was turning.I checked the blower fuse and it was good.Is there a blower relay somewhere or what can tell me? Oh yeah it is a 2004 BMW ci V-6.Can you please help me?I do not have a wiring diagram for this car.Would that help me?Thank you Sir It is my wifes car and I try to keep it up.Thank you again
August 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The problem may be the blower resistor. I would inspect the resistor and see if the signal from the control panel is present. If it is, check the signal to the blower motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bee Comments: 2002 BMW 325i
July 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is no relay. There is the final stage, as shown in this tech article. Power and ground travel through the final stage to the blower motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bee Comments: 2002 BMW 335i
July 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is no relay. There is the final stage, as shown in this tech article. Power and ground travel through the final stage to the blower motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bee Comments: no ground going to the blower motor..is there a relay for the blower motor?
July 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is the year and model of your vehicle? There has to be ground, just depends on where it comes from. - Nick at Pelican Parts - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bee Comments: is there a relay for the blower motor?
July 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is the year and model of your vehicle? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony Comments: That worked for cleaning the evaporator! Unfortunately, during the process, I lost the two panel clips shown in Figure 2. Do you sell these? What's the part number?

Thanks again!
May 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think we can get them. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tony Comments: Thanks for the quick reply, Nick!

The instructions on the cleaner are based on the assumption that the blower fan is located under the glove compartment, so unfortunately I can't follow them directly. From what I've read, the most effective way to get rid of the odor is to apply it directly to the evaporator and let it sit there for a while to do its work.

You say the heater core is in there too. Is that to say that the heater core is in front of the evaporator? Or is the evap directly behind the blower fan? Looking at figure 16, you can see a component directly behind the fan I've circled it in the attached image. Is that the evaporator, the heater core, or something else?

Thanks again for all the help! :
Tony
May 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That SHOULD be the evap, as the heater core is on the interior side. I'd say spraying in there should be OK. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony Comments: I don't have any issues with my blower motor, but I want to clean my evaporator with a foaming cleaner Einszett Klima Cleaner to get rid of the odor. Is the evaporator located directly behind the blower? This seems like it would be an easier way to get access to it than through the dash.

Thanks!
Tony
May 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would follow the instructions that came with the cleaner. Some just instruct you to spray it into the vents. The blower would get you close the the evap, but the heater core is there too. You can try spraying it into the cabin filter duct with the blower ON. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
George Comments: I have a faint chirping sound coming from behind gauges on dash. It is worse when accelerating. Appears tied to AC fan settings so I assume it's the blower motor. I am tempted to order blower and replace it myself. Does that sound right?
May 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have, but yes. A dirty or broken blower could cause a chirping or rubbing sound. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Allen Comments: I have a 2001 e46 and I have replaced the blower motor and cleaned the heater core fins due to previous owner not using the cabin air filter. I replaced the motor because I thought it was causing my low air flow issue. With all three settings on Floor, vent, Defrost there is very very little air flow from the vents. I verified correct installation of the blower fan. Is this normal or is there something else I can check? Thanks for the help.
January 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would confirm blower speed varies and is in fact reaching high speed. If so, the evaporator could also be plugged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
srob Comments: 323 ci 2000 model-got a new blower motor but the motor still wont run when hooked up but will work as its been checked. fuses have been checked. is there a relay or sensor that kicks the blower on. the panel lights up and operates but no blower. what to check and how if you can help. Thanks
January 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would start by turning the blower to high and confirming power or ground is missing. The problem could be a faulty fuse or blower resistor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nalin Comments: Hi my 325ci blower motor works intermittently , I didn't replace anything just unplug and plugged the resistor, it started working and then stopped, after sometimes started work again, can we clean carbon brush on this.
January 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think it can be cleaned. You likely have a faulty resistor or blower motor. To determine which it is, check the power feed to the blower when the problem is present. If power is not there, it could be the resistor.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lachlann Comments: I have question my blower only works periodaclly once or twice a month and its always on high and the control panel lights up and all the buttons work just no air flow I have replaced the blower resistor thinking that was it and no dice.what do you think?
January 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would confirm that the blower motor is not receiving power from the resistor.If it is not, check the signal to the resistor from the HAVC control panel If missing, the control panel may be faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
D Comments: Does this tech article apply for the 323Ci 2000 E46? Are there differences in the steps between the vehicle shown in this article and what I would need to do on my 323CI 2000?
October 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The steps should be the same for your vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: Is there a way to test the blower to see if that is the problem. I took apart my door to fix my window regulator, and now my blower is not working.

I checked the fuses and they are good.
July 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure. when the blower is turned ON. Check for power and ground to the blower motor. If it is present the blower motor is faulty. if it isn't, is could be the blower resistor, control panel, or fuse. You will want a wiring diagram for your vehicle to be sure you are testing the right wires. I would grab a repair manual. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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