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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E30 3 Series Air Conditioning Recharging and Repair
Jared Fenton
Wayne R. Dempsey

Difficulty Level: 3
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

     In this technical article I will be focusing on the steps involved in diagnosing, repairing and recharging your air conditioning system on the 1984-92 BMW E30 3 Series. Keep in mind that this technical article is written with my own BMW 325is in mind, however the procedures and information herein can be applied to nearly every modern car with air conditioning out there on the road today.

     First off, lets begin by first explaining in layman’s terms how air conditioning works.  Here is a list of the main system components and what they do.

Compressor

     The main function of the compressor is to compress and pressurize the refrigerant in the system, and also to keep the refrigerant moving through the system when the A/C is turned on. The compressor is belt driven off the engine. The compressor takes in cold, low-pressure gaseous refrigerant and compresses it. As it compresses, it builds up heat. This now-pressurized hot gas is sent to the condenser.

Condenser

     The condenser then receives the hot gaseous refrigerant from the compressor. Usually, condensers are placed in the front of a car, where it receives oncoming airflow from the radiator fan. The condenser then turns the hot gas into a liquid.  This liquid (still under high pressure) is then sent to the receiver drier.

Receiver Drier

     The receiver drier next receives the hot pressurized liquid refrigerant from the condenser. It is essentially nothing more than a desiccant tank. It removes moisture from inside the hot liquid refrigerant. Moisture in the lines is a potential problem, as refrigerant can eventually react with moisture and corrode the insides of the system. The process is completed when the hot liquid refrigerant then exits the receiver drier and passes through the expansion valve.

Expansion Valve

     The expansion valve receives the hot liquid refrigerant. It allows the pressure of the liquid refrigerant to drop. The drop in pressure causes the liquid refrigerant to cool down. The result is cold liquid refrigerant, which is then sent to the evaporator. 

Evaporator

     The evaporator receives the cold liquid from the expansion valve.  The evaporator is usually located inside the car under the dashboard.  When you turn on the A/C fan, it channels air over the evaporator, cooling the air; this air is then blown through the vents of the car. As the cold liquid passes through, it evaporates from a liquid back into a gas, and is then routed back to the compressor to start the entire process again. 

     Additionally, there are two more components to the system that control the operation when you turn the compressor on and off.

A/C Clutch

     The A/C Clutch is used to engage or disengage the compressor when you press the A/C button on the dashboard. When the A/C is turned off, the belt that drives the compressor spins freely on the A/C Clutch, which is mounted on the front of the compressor. Now when you push the A/C button, it sends current to the clutch, which locks it and allows the compressor to begin turning.

High Pressure/Low Pressure Switch

     These two switches are a built-in safety feature. When the system pressure is too low it interrupts the voltage going to the clutch on the compressor, which then disengages the drive belt from the compressor, and turns off the A/C. It works the same way when it senses there is too much pressure in the system.

     So now that I have explained a little about how the system works, we can now begin to go over the steps involved with recharging your A/C system. The first thing to know is that there are two types of refrigerant used in most modern A/C systems, R-12 and R-134a.

     Up until about 1991, all major automobile manufacturers used R-12 as a refrigerant in A/C systems. It was discovered that R-12 contains CFC, or chlorofluorocarbons, which destroy the ozone layer. Hence it was necessary that they come up with a replacement. This came in the form of R-134a. Nowadays every car uses R-134a. There has been much debate over the years as to how well R-134a works as an automobile refrigerant. When R-134a was first used in cars, it was not uncommon to notice that the new refrigerant simply did not cool as well as the older R-12. It was also pretty common for the A/C system to emit unpleasant odors after running for long periods of time. These days engineers have sorted out nearly all of the problems first encountered. 

     These two types of refrigerants cannot be used together. For instance, you cannot put R-134a directly into a system that originally used R-12. Thus we run into one of the major problems with recharging A/C systems. R-12 is no longer available to the general public. I have heard of certain vendors that do still make R-12, however it is unlikely that one could purchase it. These days, A technician has to have a special license to purchase and charge R-12 systems. What this means is that you can still have your old R-12 system charged, however the increasing costs of stockpiled R-12 is making this less and less of an option. If you choose to have you’re A/C recharged at a shop that still services R-12 systems, expect to pay $50 a pound or more. As most cars use two pounds or more of refrigerant, you can quickly see why R-134a becomes a more attractive option.  I also have heard of products on the market that are a direct replacement for R-12, such as Freeze 12 or Duracool, however I have no direct experience with using them. I have heard from various sources that Freeze 12 seems to work very well as a direct replacement. 

     You may be asking now what is involved in converting to 134a. Well, there are many “kits” on the market you can buy at your local auto parts store that say all you have to do is replace the fittings on the fill ports, and recharge using R-134a. I wish it were this easy. The simple fact is that a lot of preparation work needs to be done in order for the A/C to work correctly with the new refrigerant. To correctly convert to 134a, you need to replace all the seals in the A/C system. The original seals in the system were designed to work with R-12. The chemical composition of the R-134a will eventually degrade the seals, causing the refrigerant to leak out. You will also need to purchase a receiver drier specifically for R-134a. The last step is to also convert to a  R-134a compatible compressor. I have heard that it is possible to use an R-12 compressor to do this, however it will require a total flush out of the compressor, as well as replacing all internal seals with R-134a compatible seals. When you get into this realm, it is easier to simply replace the compressor. I have also heard that depending on the climate, you may also need to replace the condenser to a unit with a larger surface area. If you were to take this to the shop to have it done, the cost and labor involved in doing this can easily exceed $1000 or more.

     So lets begin going over your system. The first step is to verify that the compressor kicks on when you hit the switch. Start the engine, then turn the A/C fan on to maximum and press the A/C button on. Now open the hood and look down at the compressor on the passenger side down near the radiator. Look at the front of the compressor.. Is the clutch engaged? What you are looking for is the plate on the very front of the A/C compressor. When the clutch is engaged the plate spins at the same rate as the belt. When it is disengaged, the plate remains stationary. Have a friend toggle the button in the dash on and off to check for operation. If the clutch does not engage when you press the button, you will need to determine why. Unplug the electrical connector going to the compressor and check for 12volts. If no voltage is present out of the connector, the next step is to check the low-pressure switch on the top of the receiver drier.

     The receiver drier is located on the passenger side of the car in front of the wheel well and directly behind the headlights. You will see two switches on the valve for the receiver drier as well as the sight glass. What you need to do is unplug the low-pressure switch electrical connection, and check the leads for voltage with the A/C button turned on. If you read 12 volts from the leads, then the low pressure switch has tripped and interrupted the circuit proving voltage to the compressor. If you jumper the low-pressure leads together, the A/C compressor clutch should engage. (CAUTION: when attempting this, be sure to only run the compressor for a few seconds to prevent possible damage to the unit.) 

     Now look at the top of the sight glass on the receiver drier. A steady stream of bubbles usually indicates that the system charge is low and needs to be topped up. Streaks on the inside of the glass usually indicate that there is no refrigerant left in the system. Once you have finished checking the sight glass, shut off the engine.

     The next step is to determine if the system will hold a charge. On all R-12 systems it is normal for the system to leak refrigerant through the lines. This is to bleed off any excess pressure that builds up in the lines. If the system has not been used in quite some time, it is possible for all the refrigerant to bleed out of the lines. This is the reason that R-12 is no longer used; it leaks out of the lines, and the resulting CFC’s can damage the ozone layer. The newer R-134a lines are called barrier lines, and do not leak.

     To determine if the system will hold a charge, you first need to have the system evacuated. This is where a vacuum pump is hooked up to the system and using vacuum pressure, all the air and refrigerant left in the system is drawn out. Typically when a system is evacuated, it is left on the vacuum pump for a period of about 30-45 minutes. This will insure that you have pulled all moisture and air out of the system. Most people do not have access to a vacuum pump, however any decent garage will be able to do this for you at a minor fee. Evacuating the system will also determine if there are any leaks in the lines. If your system does not hold pressure, you will need to trace down the leak, and fix it accordingly. In cases where you remove A/C lines, it is important that you always replace the receiver drier. When you open up the system to outside air, you are essentially saturating the receiver drier with moisture and can render it useless. Evacuating the system will also tell you the condition of other system components as well, such as the expansion valve and condenser. If either of these parts are fault, you must replace them and have the system evacuated once again.

     Once the system has been tested for leaks and has been evacuated, it’s a good idea to fill the system with about 4 ounces of oil charge. You can get this any local Pep Boys, Kragen, etc. Be sure to check the label on the can if it is for R-12 or R-134a systems. Luckily, you can still purchase R-12 oil charge over the counter.

     To add the oil charge, you will need to locate the low-pressure return line. This is the line that returns the cold gas back to the compressor. In the case of the 325is, it is the line that runs directly in front of the passenger side wheel well. Locate the schrader valve on the top of the line. Remove the black protective cap on the top, and you will see the valve underneath.

     You will need to have a fill hose such as the one shown here. These too are available in any Pep Boys. This special hose allows you to transfer the contents of the can into the line. With the car’s engine off, Connect the hose to the low –pressure valve on the car. You will want to do this first with the engine OFF. Next, on the other side of the hose, turn the screw on top counter clockwise until it stops. Load the can of oil charge into the clamp on the hose and lock it in place.  When the can is secure in the clamp, turn the screw on top clockwise all the way until it stops. This will pierce the top of the can and allow the oil charge to flow in. Turn the car back on, turn on the A/C and put the fan to maximum.

     It’s a good idea to put the can in a pot of warm water while you charge the system. As you open the can, the pressure drops, causing the can to get cold, and it slows down how fast the charge can get into the car. Put the can in the warm water and rotate the screw on top counter clockwise all the way. This will open the valve and allow the oil charge to flow in. I must also stress at this time that the can of charge must be upright at all times during charging. Failure to do so could result in not all of the oil or refrigerant entering the system.

     Keep the valve open on the fill hose until the cans of oil charge are empty and then turn off the engine. We are now ready to add the refrigerant to the system. I was fortunate to have a previous supply of R-12 lying around from back when it was still commercially available.

     The BMW e30 specifies 2 ½ lbs. of charge to completely fill the system. I grabbed three one-pound cans and repeated the process I used for the oil charge. I’m specifying using can type refrigerant here as it is the method most commonly available to the do it yourselfer. There is another process for charging the system using a tank, however this type of charging requires use of special gauges and hoses, so it’s best left to the professionals. Cans of R-134a are available at your local auto parts store for about $13 a pound. The procedure for adding these cans is the same, although they use a different kind of fill hose and ports. Cans are available in different ounce measurements, so calculate how much you need and then buy accordingly.

     As you charge the system, look down at the sight glass on the receiver drier.  Keep an eye out for when the bubbles in the system stop flowing and you see a steady stream of liquid. When you see this, close the valve on the fill hose as the system is now fully charged. Now that the system is fully charged, you should be able to feel you’re A/C blowing cold once again.

     Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all.  If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs.  If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.  Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Comments and Suggestions:
yadhav Comments: Dear sir in my e90 a/c cooling suddenly stops after 1 hour & above 50kms continious driving at the same time a/c blower also not working, i can find out some mist formation in a/c vent , after i turn off the engine or turn ont the heater my a/c works again
December 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the compressor cycling off? I would start by checking a/c system pressure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mary Comments: Hello,
I recently bought an X5 2005. The a/c only blows cold air when I've been driving for about ten minutes or the more I accelerate, the colder it gets. But if I come to a complete stop, it goes back to warm air. Let me know what you think the problem is. Thank you so much
September 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check operation of the auxiliary fan. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
e30rh325i Comments: I have an 89 325i. When I turn the AC on, the aux fan does not turn on and the compressor doesnt turn on as well. The system is fully charged and both pressure switches as well as the dryer are new. When I apply voltage to the compressor, it kicks on and gets slightly cold. There is no power getting to the compressor or the aux fan. The AC button lights up as well when I turn it on.
September 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the A/C relay. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dmr Comments: Dear sir; the ac in my 2007 e70 4.8 works fine for the first 10-15 minutes and then blows warm air. After a while it starts cooling again. When it does not blow cold air there is a slight noise coming from probably the compressor. Any advise. Thanks
August 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could have a faulty compressor. I would check system pressure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Che'mar Comments: I have an2006 325i my a/c works fine but when I turn it on my fan blows really loud what can that be?
August 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Likely debris inside the blower motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Don Jyan Comments: I have 91 850i. Usually in the AM the ac will blow cold air, once temp reaches 90+ in Tx, then ac blows hot air and the temp gauge goes up close to the red mark. Please advise.
August 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: SOunds like the engine is overheating. Is the cooling fan turning on when the a/c is turned on? if not, you will have to find out why, this is likely you problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Cindy Comments: Hi. I have a 2004 330i and the AC is blowing hot air. Took to dealership and they said nothing wrong w AC itself, so they'd have to troubleshoot what's wrong with it. They checked freon charge and nothing wrong there. Said could be some kind of valve I think they said water valve but not sure. Does this make sense? Thank you!
July 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the heater control valve. Could also be an electrical issue. I would let them continue the diagnosis. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
milano Comments: Hi,
Can you tell me how to remove the condenser from my 1984 325e? Thanks
July 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is mounted in front of the radiator. You will have to evacuate the a/c. Then remove the bumper ti access the condensor. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Barg Comments: I am looking for some verification that Freon will leave a white powdery substance when there is a small pin hole leak. Can anyone verify this?
July 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Refrigerant will leave an oily residue, from the oil in the lines. Not powder. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hamani Comments: Hi .. I have an E30 1991 325is in good condison
The A/C is not cooling much when im stopping and going ..sometimes its ok but in summer its not much i feel !
The radiator and ac fan works fine and i put gas !
In my country its hot like 40/30c so can u say to me whats the problem and how can i solve it and whats the all part i need ?
July 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would start by checking system pressure. You may be low on refrigerant. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tomas Comments: BMW E90 2006 The problem I'm having is after I recharge my a/c, the engine fan kick on full blast every time I turn on my A/C. Turing off the A/C return the fan to normal speed. It didn't do this before the recharge. Can you tell me what might of happen during the recharge.

my low side reads 45psi and high side 295psi when A/C is on full blast with car on idle.
July 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your A/C pressure is too high or the cooling fan is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Steve Comments: Greetings from Australia.

I have a 2002 E46 318i. Something wrong with my AC. A whirring noise and smells like something burning. My mechanic thinks it is probably the condenser. What do you think?

Thanks
June 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds more like a bad compressor to me. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ace Comments: The A/C compressor on my 1987 325is was replaced in 2009 by the previous owner and fitted with an after market compressor. The hoses were cut and clamped to fit the new compressors fittings. That compressor is now NG and I want to go back to a rebuilt compressor that is more standard for the car and convert to 134a, but the original compressor mount was changed to accommodate the new compressor. Do you sell the proper mount for a standard compressor for this car like the four seasons brand?
June 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right bracket.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Hayden Comments: I have a 99 bmw 323i and just replaced the compressor. Do I need to add oil to the compressor or does it already have the oil?
June 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will likely have to add oi. The compressor should have a card in the box that notifies you of the amount and if it is needed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mikee Comments: I have a 1999 BMW 323i which the ac was working perfectly fine. My instrument panel for the ac/heater blipped and went black, which shut down my ac. Now nothing turns on, defroster, ac, heater, fan speed, temperature control; nothing lights up. I checked the fuses and they are all fine. When I checked the fuses the first time, it turned the ac back on but when I started to drive, it kept cutting on and off the panel and the ac did. Now it doesn't turn on at all and I checked all the fuses again with no luck this time. Sounds like an electrical issue, maybe wiring so could use some advice.
June 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the control panel may have failed. I would check for fault codes and see if you can run a system test using a BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
cam Comments: Can I use R134a in my 1992 318iS?
June 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you will have to evacuate and recover what is in the system. Then convert and recharge the system for R134. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
nando1311 Comments: hello. does anyone know where is the relay located for ac compressor in a 2005 BMW 325i
June 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe it is in the underhood electrical junction / fuse box.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the location.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jookeone Comments: Sorry, it's a pre facelift E30 325i. I believe there is a high pressure switch after the receiver drier. If replaced will I lose the aircon charge or is it isolated in some way?
May 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pressure switches usually have a schrader valve under them. I don't remember if E30s are that way. I would suggest evacuating the A/C to be safe.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jookeone Comments: Hi, thanks for the info! My aircon is running on an R-12 equivalent and is working very efficiently. The only worry I have is the condenser fan not coming on, and therefore when stuck in traffic etc. I'll switch the a/c off to avoid system over-pressure. The fan itself works fine when hooked up to 12v. Would this be the high pressure switch at fault?

Cheers
May 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have. A high pressure switch could cause your issue, if your vehicle uses one that way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: BMW 335i xdrive, air conditioner didn't work when I turned it on, thought it would be a warranty repair. Dealer called and said a bolt from the road went through the space in the grill and damaged the compressor and wants $2000 to fix it. Does this make any sense?
May 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure, if the compressor was physically damaged by impact. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
kiran Comments: Hi Sir My X5- 2007 with AC not working but hot air is fine got diagnosed by BMW to have stater motor replacement and fresh air flap Is that something i can try on my own as the cost is about $3000US
May 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure, most any repair can be performed. Depends on your skill level and tool set. I would grab a repair manual, look the procedure over before making the decision.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bill Comments: How do I do a system flush on an 1984 318i? I am changing the compressor, dryer and expansion valve
May 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to evacuate the system using an A/C machine before and after the new part installation. If there is debris from a failed compressor, you can try an A/C flush tool. However replacing parts is always the best way to get debris out of the system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jay Comments: I need the part number for the high side recharge valve. I have a mobile A/C mechanic that came to recharge the system and found the valve needed replacing. We called around to every place and no one has the part or knows of the part. The only valve they know of is the expansion valve but this is not the part we need. I find recharge valves online but cant seem to find info to match a 1998 BMW 318i. I dont want to order the wrong one. I have also noticed they are sold in kits. Any info please?
May 1, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
cs Comments: I have a BMW E30 1990. When I drive and turn on the aircon, after awhile, there is a rattling sound. When I turn off the aircon, the rattling sound stops. Please advise how I can solve the problem.
April 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would inspect the engine to see where the rattling sounds is from. It could be from the compressor. If it is, replacing the compressor would remedy the noise. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Scott M Comments: Quick question. I have a 1993 325i, I believe the bearing or clutch has went out on my compressor. I just bought the car it is making a grinding noise constantly weather the a/c is on or off and does not blow cold air. Is it a difficult task to replace the bearing and clutch or just easier to replace the compressor?
April 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you don't have a clutch puller, replacing the clutch will be tough. But replacing the entire compressor you will need to evacuate and recharge the refrigerant. So each way has a barrier for DIY. However, I would suggest replacing the compressor, in the case it might be damaged. Always replace the dryer when replacing any A/C component. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Vejs Comments: Hi, I have bmw 320d E46 2002, 110kw and i have a problem with air condition. When i turn it on it start to make sounds especially when i drive the car and when i change the speed.
March 31, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the compressor noisy? Could be a bad clutch or bearing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
TrentW Comments: My 1989 E30 325is is still R12 and I have a tech friend with a good supply so would like to keep it R12. I had it charged two years ago and worked great until last year, when we discovered the compressor seal had leaked dye all over the front. I'm looking to replace the Denso compressor and also rec drier this season, but need to know what compressor I should buy for use with R12?
March 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
erc018 Comments: I mean start and starts, sorry for the mistake
March 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
erc018 Comments: I have a 2003 325i, the AC blows warm air when the car is not moving, as soon as I star diving the car the AC stars to blow cool air, do you have any tips in what is this happening. Thanks
March 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The cooling fan may not be working. When you move, air over the condenser allows the A/C to cool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
B Nakib Comments: I Have an E30 1990 convertible, I'm living in Dubai where the temperature reach 50 degrees celsius during summer season. My A/C is working during traffic jam, the car used to heat up and stop giving cold air.what is the reason and how to solve it?

please advise me,if i can solve this problems by maybe by upgrading some component.

Thank you in advance
February 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check that the cooling fan is operating properly. If it is not, the A/C will not cool when the vehicle is stopped or moving slowly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
silwjp Comments: hello, i had a question how much do you think it would be to get the a/c replaced or fixed. And my convertible top fixed or replaced on my 1999 bmw m3 ? any suggestions on prices would be helpful
February 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure, the price will vary on your location and market. I would cal around to a few shops for estimates. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
andres Comments: Hello! I have a 92 325i convertible, the car was parked for almost 2 years, when I tried to turn on the air condition the whole system was working well but without charge, I took the car to a mechanic to charge it, and he said that I have to replace the whole system due to it has a rust powder in the system. What can I do?

pd: Sorry for my english
February 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can replace everything to be safe. Or start with the compressor, dryer and condensor. While the parts are out, flush the system. The only issue with reusing parts, the rust inside the system could damage the new parts also. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JOB Comments: votre site est fameux
November 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Andy75 Comments: Hi my 06 x5 air con doesn't always work when I first start the car and drive.. But if we make the car jump whdn dropping down gears to take off, it starts working and doesn't play up until next time we start the car... Wax thinking loose elec connection somewhere except that once it starts working it goes good, thinking if loose connection it would also stop working when bumped...
Seems more to it like low gas sensor from what I've read on here so far ?
November 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should scan the car with a factory scan tool to check for faults. I would also evac and recharge the ac system to make sure you have the correct amount of freon in the system.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bimmer87 Comments: I have an 87 325I coupe. When I turn the engine on, the AC will be blowing air for a couple second and shut off again. What can be the cause of that. The temp gauge stops working also at the same time.
October 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The two are not on the same circuit, you might want to check for wiring problems in the dash. you might have a couple of wire shorted together.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jshack Comments: I have a 1994 318i the fuel pump went out on it and it sat for about 3 month til I could get it fixed. the battery was disconnected during this time. now its fixed. but the condenser on my air conditioner won't kick in. We have put r134 in it. and still won't kick in. what should we check next?
September 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to make sure there is not too much R134 in it also. I would check the fuse for the a/c compressor and see if the relay is working, after that I would check to make sure the power and ground are at the compressor, if they are and the compressor is not turning on then the compressor is faulty.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Joe Comments: My 1998 328is AC compressor makes a rattle sound when it engages. Will changing the clutch eliminate the rattle sound or do I have to replace the whole compressor? Please help.
August 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Take a close look at the compressor if it is leaking or worn you are going to want to replace the whole thing, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
llynne Comments: I forgot to add that even defrost doesn't cause any air to come out of any vent. I've tried opening all vents, turning air off/on, recycling air off/on and defrost off/on. Thank you again.
July 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the final stage resistor if the blower motor is not working. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
llynne Comments: I have a bmw 2003. My air conditioning just stopped working, as well as all of the vents. I have never had this happen. I only have about 85,000 miles. It seems so odd that even my vents appear closed tho opened. Any ideas?
July 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the final stage resistor if the blower motor is not working.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Boshdosh Comments: I have a 2002 330 and the A/C blows cold on the passenger side but blows warm out of the drivers side. The temperature of the engine also starts to climb when the air con. Is switched on .
July 2013
July 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The A/C temp issue is likely due to a low charge. Check the refrigerant pressure. If the engine is overheating, the cooling fan may not be working properly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mj Comments: i v'e bmw 735i 1992 my compressor stop working when i was drive and change from e mode to s mode why ?
July 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Maybe the compressor has failed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Johann Comments: I own a 1992 BMW 318ic and my A/C used to work fine until a month ago. At first is stopped blowing cold air, then soon after I changed my belts the A/C only works on the fourth setting. The first, second and third settings don't do anything. Any tips on what I should look into? I would be doing this myself.
July 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The A/C cold air issue may be due to a refrigerant leak. I would start there.

The blower speed issue sounds like a faulty blower resistor. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Looney1572 Comments: Hi my A/C is only blowing out hot air, I took my car to the BMW dealer and they advice me that I have to replace the nebulizer, do you how much it cost to replace mentioned part, the agent from BMW told me it was $2600.00 including the part and labor?
July 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Never heard of a nebulizer (you might want to get 2). Is there refrigerant in the system or did it leak out. $2600 sounds like a bad compressor or leaking evaporator core. Have an independent repair shop just evacuate and recharge the system and see how long the AC works - Nick at Pelican Parts  
seejayd Comments: BMW Air Conditioning A/C Switch the amber light works, but the blue light flickers, what does this mean?
also...only hot air blows.
July 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have a poor electrical connection to the compressor or a bad switch - Nick at Pelican Parts  
HLAKS Comments: my air conditioner for a BMW 325i 2002 keeps running even when my car is off what could be the problem,in short it cant be switched off
July 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm guessing you mean compressor is staying on. Modern compressors are a variable displacement design and they reduce displacement with the AC off, so there is no need for a clutch and the compressor appears to stay engaged all the time - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rick C Comments: I would love this with pictures, where can I get step by step picture instructions?
June 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Andy Comments: I have a 1998 bmw 318i and the air comes on and off on its volition and I have no control what so ever. Sometimes, I am hot and it does not come on and sometimes, I am cold and it switches on. It feels like a wire or switch is causing the problem. What can I do in this case. My friend told me that it is electrical wires but how can I find out if it is really electrical since the cost to diagnose electrical problem can be astronomical.
June 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be a faulty blower motor final stage. When the problem is present you will want to check the signal to the blower motor and to the blower motor final stage (from the control panel). - Nick at Pelican Parts  
RICHIRNRICHS Comments: Hi, have a 2005 bmw x3. When I press the low pressure or the high pressure switch, I can see that the gas escaping very fast, so I know there are freeons in the system. When I turn on the AC switch, I hear a hollow sound. Do you have a diagram where the the compressor is located, so I can engage the compressor.
May 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would advise against releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere. It can harm you and the enviroment. Keep in mind, something escaping doesn't mean the system has the correct charge amount. This is why you need to use the correct A/C test equipment. The comressor is mounted to the side of the engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Skroback Comments: Hi, i have a 325i 1990 and i have problems with the A/C, it has been charged with r12 2 days ago and it doesen't cool very well when the car is parked, but when i drive at 60 mph it cool as it should, now my question is if the high pressure bulb that is in the dryer should turn on the radiator fan when the car is parked.
What is the function of the high pressure bulb?
February 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: When system pressure reaches a specified pressure, the pressure switch causes the compressor to cycle, depending on if system pressure is too high or low. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
hal Comments: on 1987 3251 conv the auxillary fan for the air condioner runs all the time
when even when first starting whith a cold engine. shoudn't this fan run only
when the engine is very hot based on a temperture sensing device. maybe
i need to install a new switch? and where is it located?
January 8, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Unplug the coolant temp switch at the radiator, that is the one that turns on the high speed fan. if the fan stops the switch is stuck on. If it doesn't, check if the relay is stuck on.


(high speed relay (K6))- Nick at Pelican Parts
upset Comments: I have a 2009 BMW 328i the air conditining front evaporator is leaking. Is this a common problem? How much does it cost to repair?
September 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: T evaporator is located inside the car and is very labor intensive to change, the part in the front of the car is the condenser, they are not as labor intensive to change, they usually get damaged by rocks coming through the grill.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Beanie Comments: I have a 2006 325i that I tried to recharge the system using a can of R-134a that I bought from a local autoparts store. After finding the low pressure connection, I remove the cap, and discovered a leak at the connection port so I quickly connected the R-134a system to the low pressure port to prevent any further leakage. While charging the system, I held the can upside down because I had read somewhere it should be done that way. The maxium pressure that I obtained was 45psi after emptying the entire can. I drove the car at least 20 miles and let it sit over night. The next morning I checked the low side port and heard a hissing sound around the port the I did not hear before. I started the car, drove it, and noticed the air is not as cool as before. What have I done? What should I do now?
September 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The valve in the fill port is leaking, the valve can be replaced. I would replace the valve and evac and recharge the system.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Cactus Don Comments: My wife's 328 2000 has an air conditioning problem. When the car has set in the sun Tempe Az. 109 it starts to cool but when stopping in trafic the air blows warm. I put gauges on it and in the garage, about 95 degrees the low pressure was 55-60 and the high pressure would climb to 450 and the compressor shut off and as the pressures equalized the low side would go to about 100 and the high side to about 350 and it would work again. I lost a little freon unhooking every thing and it seems better but she says it takes too long to cool off. What should I be looking at. On a 110 degree day what should the air temp be coming out of the vents? Thanks
July 25, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can have an over-charged A/C system or a blockage. To locate a blockage, feel the A/C lines, when you find the spot that goes from hot to cold, you have located the blockage. The only place it should go from hot to cold is at the expansion valve. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JustDoWiFi Comments: I took my 1990 325ic to a shop today and asked them to look at it. They told me it was an $850 job. I needed a new receiver-driver and expansion valve. They charged me 150 dollars to tell me that.

I would like to think that the people that converted my system replaced the reciever-drier. I have not checked my invoice, but only had it converted seven days ago!

I'm wondering if I can do the job myself. Can I buy those two things and replace them if I had an hour on Sunday afternoon? I am also wondering if the fan is working in front of the car. I think I read that it needs to come on, but I'm wondering if it is working. If not, I will start there.
July 25, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can replace the receiver drier yourself as well as the expansion valve. The problem with a leaking A/C system is the receiver drier absorbs moisture and can fail if system is open for a short period of time.

If the system was just converted, the shop that did the repair will likely diagnose what is wrong with it. Especially if it left working. I imagine they want to keep customers happy. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JustDoWiFi Comments: I have a 1990ic that I just bought in San Francisco. Beautiful car with 143k miles on her. Looks like she's six years old! Anyway, this isn't my first e30...

I had her converted from the old AC to the new one, and headed off to driver her back to the midwest. The mechanic told me the AC works fine, but when leaving CA, I didn't need it. After leaving Reno I turned it on, and it worked fine. When pulling into a gas station 300 miles later, I turned off the AC as I was pulling in.

When I left, I got on the highway and turned it on, but only blew warm air. Bummer. If it was a leak, it would not be so sudden, would it?

I recall my last e30 had AC issues. I recall it used to blow a fuse, but of course I didn't remember which fuse to check when driving across the country. Needless to say it was a hot drive.

Anyone have any ideas where to start?

Thanks,
Tim
July 21, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the A/C light on the control comes ON, the fuse should be OK, but it doesn't hurt to check it, Fuse 20, 30 amp in the power distribution box. You can check for battery positive at the compressor clutch connector also. It should have power when the system it turned ON. There is a pressure switch that could also inhibit compressor engagement, but if you have battery positive at compressor clutch this is not the case. If battery positive is present at compressor and it is not engaged, you likely lost your A/C charge. If the leak is large enough, you can lose refrigerant quite fast. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Oods Comments: Hi, I have a 2007 BMW e60, when I am stationary and the automatic gear is in drive, and the a/c is turned off I get a side to side judder/kick form the engine, but soon as I turn the ac on the judder/ kick goes away or if I disengage the gear to neutral , again the kick/ judder goes away, if the ac is on to start with and I become stationary there is no kick or judder.. What could be the problem ?? Thanks !
July 19, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have a failing crankcase vent valve. When the A/C is turned ON, the idle is also raised a small amount, which could be enough to smooth the engine running. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
zjward Comments: I have a 98 m3. When I turn the A/C on, it lights up but isnt blowing air for A/C or heat. I can hear the unit start when turned on, but no air.
June 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the blower resistor and the blower motor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ABEY Comments: 1995 530I WHEN I PRESS THE GAS PEDAL MY AC SHUTS OFF BLOWS HOT AIR
June 17, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If this is happening during a hard acceleration, it is normal. Otherwise you could have a compressor that is kicking off. I would check the refrigerant charge. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
92 318iL Comments: AC System full, compressor turns on, fan blows warm. Neither side of compressor changes temperature. IDEAS?
May 24, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The expansion valve could be stuck open, or your compressor might be worn out.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
buffy525 Comments: I have a 2001 525i BMW and the problem I'm experiencing is I will engage the a/c and nothing blows out. You cannot hear the fan nor is air being forced out. When I shut a/c off the fan still won't blow either. Never the same situation but the a/c and fan will turn on its own accord. Sometimes with in seconds or 30 minutes. I'm perplexed, please help
May 21, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check final stage resistor, they are know to cause all kinds of problems with the blower motor.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Murilo Comments: Hi
The car is a BMW 325i, 1993. Problem: when I turn on the AC, I can hear the sound of the blower but no air comes nor the compressor starts. After about 25 minutes all start working normally as long as I need. If I turn off the AC and try to start again, the same problem occurs.
March 10, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What you hear may be the auxiliary fan. I suggest checking the blower motor and the blower motor resistor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BRANDON Comments: WOW how cool is this site your like a ac good i love this page i have a real big issue and im in the process of talking it my self problem is i dont know where to start my ac on my 2000 323i is the weirdest system ever it goes on for lets say a day a week if im lucky but 9 times out of ten it dosent work id say 90% of the time it doesnt work then all of a sudden BAM it works blows cold as hell i dont get it???? PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME YOUR ALL I HAVE AT THE MOMENT!
January 19, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What part of the system is not working , the fan, the compressor?
If it the blower that doesn't work check the final stage resistor.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eric Comments: My 2005 BMW X3 ac will run pefectly for 2 weeks then throw the compressor flat drive belt.
January 17, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the tensioner and the pulleys for misalignment or damage. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
frewheel Comments: have problem with a bmw 1997 318i,battery light came on off,and burning smell and some smoke,has anyone any ideas?
December 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your alternator could be shorted. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
FBZ 1 Comments: My BMW 320 i 2005 model's AC compressor seems to have malfunctioned. i have ordered a new one as replacement,while am waiting, is it possible to remove the old one an continue driving the car? please advise
December 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would wait until your new parts arrive, you don't want to drive around with the ac system open, it will damage the drier.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
reeta Comments: Hi wayne. I have a 07 323i. Every time I start or drive my car after few seconds my AC/ HEAT would start a hissing sound. It starts slow n as I move the dial it gets higher, If I put it on full blast it will stop. What could be the problem....
December 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be the expansion valve making noise. Depends on how loud the noise is, it could be considered normal. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Cam Comments: I have a 2008, 328i sedan. The A/C fan makes a chirping sound at all speeds, most of the time but not all the time. It is not related to the compressor. Any ideas what could be making this noise? Other then that it works fine.
October 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be a problem with the blower motor, or the final stage resistor. Remove the motor and check the bearings and make sure blower housing is clean.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BMW 323IS Comments: Hello, I have a 1998 BMW 323IS, My air conditioner is begining not to throw cold air and when its on A/C cold air comes out but when the car is moving and when the car is not moving hot air comes out? can someone help me what to do?
September 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the system is low on Freon, have the system checked and recharged with the correct amount of Freon. Check for leaks.
and fix them.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Oilspill2010 Comments: Hi, e30 1989. I got problems w/ AC. The compressor runs on hot-wire but will not come on otherwise. 30 Amp fuse blows all the time. High and low pressure looks good.I know there is a pressure sw on the dryer and a temp sensor at evap. Can you please help me stay cool? This AC worked great before fuse started to blow. Thanks
August 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the fuse is blowing there is going to be a short in the wire that powers the clutch, check the harness and find where the wire is damaged.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
cougarron Comments: I have a 318i and it stopped blowing cold air 1 day and then the next it works, then it only works in the cool morning air. should I try a recharger12 oil charge and Ive seen over the counter ones with a built in sealant should I maybe try 1 of those instead to charge and seal at the same time
August 24, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would avoid the sealant. I would suggest having the system leak tested. You will save a bunch of money having it repaired, then charged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
no Comments: Trying to charge my a/c and it will not take the freon
it is a 2005 bmw 325 i
August 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It might be full. I would have the system evacuated and recharged by a professional. Especially if you are having trouble. You don;t want to damage components over-charging it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ali Comments: 2007 model bmw 320d.When you start the car white powder substance comes out of the air vents.Reading through some sites i have found that the ac compressor may be faulty,any suggestions please.
August 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: White powder. That does not sound like the compressor. If it white gas, it could be refrigerant leaking. As far as powder, I am stumped.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
needingairbad Comments: I have a 2000 323i. I have the weirdest problem with my a/c. My car doesn't run when the a/c is on. Any ideas as to why?
August 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the compressor seized? Could be too much of a load for the engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steaming hot in my BMW Comments: I have a BMW X-3 2004. I have had so many problems w/my air conditioner. My air will work for about 6 hours then it starts blowing hot air. 2 expert mechanics thought they fixed. I hve had it w/that car. Any suggestions?
August 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There could be a problem with the evap temp sensor, or the expansion valve. Check the ac control unit for faults with a factory scan tool, that might give you a place to start.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
youngblood Comments: Does anyone know how and if possible to reset the cooling fla stepper motors? 1999 BMW 740il?
August 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is not a learning process for the stepper motors, if you are having a problem you have to replace it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sam Comments: When I turn the AC on, nothing happens. I checked the fuse and they are okay. i have no air or any sound that it is even on. What could be the issue.
August 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the blower coming on, is the compressor kicking on. What year and model do you have.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Steve Comments: I have an 84 318i, where is the low pressure fill valve? Is it the one right next to the sight glass?
July 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I cannot recall. I haven't serviced one of them in years. The low side fill valve will be on the suction hose. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
james Comments: i have a 1988 325is been sitting in my garge about 5 years the car use to start fine now all it dose is turn over but dose not start what should i do
June 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
big wells Comments: when i to put the oil and the refrigerate in my my 1990 3251 convertible is not taking the r134a i have a new compressor and when i had the system repaired the air would work until i turned the car off and then the a/c would not get cold anymore ,now it just wont charge period
June 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would have the system evacuated. It may be overcharged, not allowing more refrigerant to go in. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
al Comments: what are the ac low and high pressure for a 91 e30 325i. i have 50 psi on both high and low when the car is not running. i had the system professionally converted to r134a and put in a new compressor. the label under the hood is too worn to read
June 4, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: When the car is not running the pressure should be equal on the high and low sides. With the compressor running you should have around 40 - 50 psi on the low side and 200 -225 on the high side.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tony Comments: I have a 1990 BMW 325i with a sketchy air conditioning. When I turn it on while it is less than around 70 degrees fahrenheit outside, it works great. But if it is hot outside 80 degrees or higher and I turn it on, it just blows hotter air than it is outside. Any ideas or suggestions would greatly be appreciated!
May 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have an ac system that is low on freon, or you could have a problem with a week compressor or a slipping clutch, install a set of ac gauges and check the system pressures while the system is on. You should have around 40 to 50 psi on the low side and around 200 psi on the high side at idle.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rett Comments: I purchased a 1987 325ic last fall, and now that summer is approaching, I want to fix the AC. I pulled a "Pelican Brief" description that talks about replacing the compressor in order to make it compatible with the R134. Is $800 to $1,400 my only options. That's a lot of money to put into an old car.
May 12, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The compressor doesn't have to be replaced to retrofit the system to r134, but it will function better, and longer if you do.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chuy 3016 Comments: I have a 2006 BMW and the ac clutch not engaging at all. Just had a new clutch replaced.
May 4, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the fuse and the relay for the compressor clutch, make sure the system is full of Freon.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BMW 325e Comments: Hi: Could you tell me exactly what parts i need to convert my 1987 325e system assuming no leaks and compressor working fine from R12 to R134a? Other than the dryer and oring kit listed, what other parts do I need? Thanks in advance.
April 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The drier, o-rings, and charge fittings, you should also flush the ac system before you add the oil and pull it into a vacuum before you charge it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
brian Comments: Hi, I recently filled my AC with R12 refrigerant. I located a few leaks in rusty lines when it was filled. The AC worked great but only when the car was in motion. I have since acquired all the parts to replace the leaky lines as well as new drier and refrigerant.. my question is in what order should the drier be replaced? after replacing the lines and vacuuming? and why would the AC only blow cold at higher speeds? -just because the refrigerant was low?
thank you very much wayne
April 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The drier should be replaced when you open the system, and if the system is low, it will have a tough time making cool air at idle, the compressor spins faster while the car is moving.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
crystal Comments: AC fan in my 2001 330 CI seems to be stuck on high. Each time I start the car the AC fan blow high, even when it inidcates low. When I attempt to increase the fan the speed does not change.

At times when I am driving the AC fan speed will slow down then speed back up to high again, but most of the time it just stays on high.

Help me diagnose.
April 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the final stage resistor, they are know to have some problems.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Big Mittens Comments: I have a 1994 bmw 318i convertibe and the problem i have had for the last 3 years is that i cannot defrost my windshield although i turn the fan speed to 4. I hear the blower working but little to no air is coming through the windshield vents. But if i turn on the circulation button I can hear the flaps open. and i get some air. but nothing if i want fresh air. i replaced the fsu but still nothing works. Please help!
April 12, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you might have an issue with the flaps in the A/C system routing the air to the windscreen. These can get old and break after a while and cause all sorts of problems. Unfortunately, the solution is to tear apart the dash and inspect the vents and their motors to see which ones are broken and which ones are working. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Kak Comments: Hi!
I have 03 330i and it seems to me there is some problem.When I turn on the A/C The upper vents blows cold air but the feet vents blows hot. Any suggestions?
Thank you!
April 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would hazard a guess that your lower vent flappers are stuck on heat. This may be caused by a control unit failure, or a failure of the motor in the vents. The solution is to dive into the ventilation system, and see if you can check to see if there is a mechanical failure (like a broken flap lever) or you can also apply 12V to the motor actuator to see if it is working properly. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
dez Comments: Hi, where can i find condenser fan relay on my 1992 e30? Does anybody know?
February 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: In the engine compartment, the low speed auxiliary radiator cooling fan relay is located in the bottom left hand corner of the relay panel. The high speed one is located diagonally opposite that one. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
DEZ Comments: Dear Mastter: I have a 1992 325i. Everything is working with the A/C, but the condenser fan motor. And I know the motor is good. Ive jumper it dirkly to the battery and it runs. Do I have a relay problum and if so were can I locate this relay or prsser swich? Please help. IT'S HOT IN MIAMI..
February 25, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have this information handy right now, but I would check the fuse and relay chart that is listed in the Bentley manual. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
JK Comments: Hi,
I have a 1988 325ix. When I bought it used, the blue snowflake switch never came on the yellow one worked fine. I then bought another switch. The snowflake light came on and then went out. I have taken the car into two shops and they both agree that the system is holding a charge and they can hotwire the compressor. I tried swapping relays to see if the relay is the problem and the good relay does not help... I notice on the socket that holds the relay has some blackening... any ideas? I am wondering if replacing it with a new fusebox would solve my issue.
November 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If they can hotwire the compressor, then the problem is either with the relay or the control unit itself. Blackening on the socket is not a good sign - something is amiss there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Mangarewa Comments: Hi
I have a 96 328i. The heater fan is intermittent, so no air con. any ideas?
November 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be the controller, or it could be the fan, or it could be the resistor. The controller on that car is known for problems, there is an article on the Internet somewhere about replacing a faulty capacitor on the board that causes a failure similar to this. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Abby Comments: My BMW 325i is 5years old. I have had a problem with the air conditioner since I purchased the car. At each service I have reported the air conditioner is not working properly and each time I have been told they can't find anything wrong with it.
We received a phone call from the BMW sales person that sold us the car originally to find out how our car was going to see if we wanted to buy another car probably.
My husband told them that he was happy with his BMW but we were not happy with my car because of the air conditioner and the sales person told us to book our car in to have it looked at. BMW put a die in the air conditioner and explained if there was a gas leak they would find it with the die. I took the car back a couple of weeks later. BMW rang me yesterday to say there is no leak in the gas but since I have complained about the air conditioner again and insist there is something wrong they have delved further into the air conditioner and there is a problem with the compressor. I was told that the compressor has to be replaced and the cost is $3,500 as it is no longer under warranty. My reaction was that this is unfair as the problem has been there for a long time before the warranty ran out which is documented on their system each time the car was brought in for service. The service rep said that he understands this and he spoke with his boss the service manager and he is willing to only charge us for half the labor and he spoke with the BMW Company and they will pay for half the parts but I will still have to pay $1800. I am sorry for taking so long but I thought you needed to understand the story to answer my question which is.

If I took my car to BMW for its service and complained that the air conditioner was not working properly numerous times should they have found the problem with the compressor. According to the service rep they delved further this time.
I was also told by BMW if I took it to someone else I would lose the warranty on my car when it was still under warranty.
November 9, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's a bum rap, I would push back further on BMW. The problem was there when you took the car in but they weren't able to fix it, and you have it documented. It should be covered under warranty as an ongoing issue. In the states here, you could force them to buy the car back from you under so called "lemon laws". - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ed Comments: I have a 98 528i. When I turn on the A/C, it blows warm at idle but blows cold while driving. There is a slight rattling noise when the A/C is running that I think may be a bearing on the compressor that is on its way out. Do I need to replace the compressor, or is there some kind of kit available? Are there any other parts that should be replaced at the same time?
August 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've got the same car, my A/C is quirky at times too. It could be the vent system, it could be the compressor, and/or it could be the computer (I think mine is the computer). You need to have an expert take a look at it, as it's nearly impossible to diagnose over email. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
BMW Comments: hello
My BMW 87 E30 325is the previous owner changed the compresor and adaptet to R134A, i am turning on the AC i feel taht the engine is braking a little bit on idle but there is no cold air, and the high and low presure pipes are the same temerature.
August 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: R134a is not as good at cooling as R12, and an improperly converted system will not perform very well. That said, you should check the fluid level first thing using the procedure in the article. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
slapstik Comments: wayne,
great article. i tried to charge the ac on my 85 e30-e but the pressure went right of the gauge. i figure a restriction someplace. does this thing use an oriface tube, and if so where is it? if not what should i look for next?
thanks
gary
August 6, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmm, sounds like a massive A/C system leak if the pressure just went to zero. I would pressurize the system and see if you can find the leak. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Kevin Comments: I have a 96 318is and when i turn on the AC it does not blow out the vents i can hear the blower working but no air comes out. when i turn to defrost it blows out thee floor vents but no where else. i have replaced the in cabin air filter but i still have the same problem what could it be?
July 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's probably a fault in the control unit or in the flapper valves that control the air flow. Not an easy task to fix... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Brian Comments: Hi, I noticed there was once pictures on this article that are no longer there. Is there any way I can see the pictures? I'll even take them in an e-mail. I plan on replacing the condenser, two lines, and the receiver drier on my e30 this weekend. Any help is appreciated
July 21, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are a few articles on the site on this topic, you're probably thinking of one of the other ones - I'd look there. I don't think this particular article ever had any photos to begin with. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Wally Wonka Comments: Hi, what kind of tool I need to disconnect the ac lines from the condenser to the expansion valve? I have a BMW 323i 2000. Thank you.
June 29, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not 100% sure what you're trying to do - evacuate the system, or actually remove the lines from the condensor?- Wayne at Pelican Parts  
87_325e Comments: my E30 heats works great but the a/c just feels like its blowing in outside air but little bit cooler and when i push the a/c switch on the dash the button doesn't stay down and it felts cooler when i push and hold the button. should i replace the switch or try recharging the system
June 29, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yup, this sounds like it's as simple as replacing that switch. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Dragana Comments: Hey,
So happy to have found this site.
One question I have is this:
Is it normal for a compression clutch to turn on and off while the belt is still spinning? So I have a car in idle then turn on the a/c, the belt spins and the clutch engages. Then the clutch disengages while what I think is compressor makes a little hissing noise and when that noise stops the clutch engages again. The a/c is blowing cold air non stop.
Thaaaaank youuuuu :
June 25, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, what you are describing sounds like normal operation of the compressor clutch clicking on and off. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Anna Comments: Forgot to say that my car is BMW 320d SE 2001. Thanx :
June 6, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Anna Comments: My problem is the same as Stuka's. However, with car stationary when I switch on A/C I can hear, what I think is, compressor starting then hissing noise more like escaping air then it all stops. And it goes on again in some 10 sec. Then A/C blows warm air for ass long ass the car does not move and as soon as I move off and build up speed A/C works ok. Any suggestions?
June 6, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the fluid levels for the A/C system. What you're describing can happen if the refrigerant in the system gets low. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: My wife's '91 325ic has no 12 volts on either connection at the pressure switch. Everything else looks normal, except of course the compressor clutch won't engage. In the absence of a good wiring diagram, I'm not sure where to look next. By the way, your article is excellent!
May 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need to check continuity, not voltage, on the switch itself using the voltmeter or testing lamp. That will tell you if the system switch is okay. I assume that you have also checked the pressure in the system, and it shows that it's full. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
dee bee Comments: I have a 2006 325i and the A/C blows cold on the passenger side but blows warm out of the drivers side. Any reasons why it would do this? The heating system works perfect
April 8, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: One of the blend door might not be working correctly, you could also have a problem with a temp sensor, check the ac control module for faults, this will give you a place to start.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ron Comments: I've got a 87 e30 vert. My passenger rear tail light doesn't come on when I turn the lights on. I've replaced the blubs in the tray.They work. I've also replaced the fuse and it then works for a few minutes then blows the fuse. Brake lights work even with the fuse blown but the right front running light doesn't not does the rear tail light or rear right side light work. Any ideas?
April 2, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like there is a short. If you unplug the rear lights, does the fuse blow? You are going to have to unplug each light on the circuit until you find the wire with the short. Then you can run new wires to repair the short, once you find it that is. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
beemnmatt Comments: Hey Wayne, My compressor makes a crazy noise. Even when the a/c is off it makes a noise like metal on metal. Not real loud, but for us anal BMW enthusiasts we don't like it. If I shoot WD40 on it, it quiets down for 10 minutes or so. I was going to replace it, but I saw an a/c clutch for sale. Is trying to fix the compressor a viable option?
January 20, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: sounds like the compressor clutch is worn, you can replace the clutch, it does require special tool to do it, sometimes a whole new compressor is a better value.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gooly Comments: Hi - this is a weird request. I have an E30 '87 build 325i and the compressor "blew up" about 10 years ago. Despite living in Australia summer temps 100deg F I can cope with no a/c. The problem is the auxillary fan wont start without the a/c switch on. I tested the circuit yesterday and found all good except the a/c switch. Pulled it apart and the spring contact is sticking. I could try to fix this but is there an easier way to get the auxillary fan to kick in at temps? I am concerned about my engine cooking - as it has started to do in stop/start traffic. Thanks for any advice - Gooly.
November 30, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can wire it directly to a 12V supply via a relay, and then have that relay attached to a thermoswitch that you can install into the thermostat cover. That's how I've seen it done on some cars. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
manu Comments: i dont want the ac condensor and a heat condensor i want to take it off, i took off the drier, the compressor, and the pipes.

how do i take off the ac condensor?
September 29, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Depending upon the car, it should just unbolt once you disconnect the lines. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
stuka Comments: The AC in my E30 which was converted to 134 causes the car to buck and lurch with it engaged. It's like the AC somehow causes twice or more the engine brake when you take your foot off the gas.

As soon as you turn the AC off, the engine brake goes back to normal and the car no longer bucks and lurches in 1st and 2nd gear.

What could be causing the AC to produce excessive engine braking?

My car is a manual 325is with a 09/87 built date, FWIW.
September 21, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't recall exactly, but on most cars, there is a switch that increases the idle of the car so that when the A/C load is on, it doesn't affect the idle as much. It sounds like perhaps this switch and/or mechanism wasn't reconnected (although I can't remember if this was part of an '87). Still, this might help point you in the right direction? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Alex Comments: When I turn on the a/c in my '87 325e, it blows hot, what could be wrong? I just had it charged about two months ago. Thanks
August 20, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a ton of things. You'll have to start troubleshooting the system. I think I should probably write an article on this someday soon... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Linda Comments: To WAYNE
I topped up the refrigerant as suggested and got the pressure up in the AC line. Now the switch works fine and the AC stays nice and frosty! THANK YOU for the advice
August 2, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No sweat! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Linda Comments: I bought a used radio cassette player from a 1990 325e to replace mine in my '84. The faceplate was different but all connections fitted exactly.The 90 had an anti theft security code which I set correctly. The cassette player worked in the 90 but does not work in my '84. Everything else is good. Any ideas?
August 2, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I thought about this one for a bit, and I honestly can't come up with a reason why the player wouldn't work properly. Sorry, no clue that I can think of... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
dave Comments: I bu passed the low pressure switch and the compress's clutch nows spins. I view the sight and could see liquid flowing by the sight. I did not see any bubbles. Is the freon low or do you think the switch needs replaced?
July 28, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure, you have to measure the pressure in the system to find out. I'd take it to an A/C expert and have them refill / check the system, or take a look at the A/C article I have in the tech articles section (the other one).- Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Linda Comments: If my low pressure valve has a light blue cap and will accept R134 aerosol connector tube, can I assume the system has been converted to R134. The car is 1984 e 30
July 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes and no. Sometimes people just put adapters on there and fill the system with some type of propane or other fluid mix that may or may not work 100%. Still, it's probably worth a try. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Linda Comments: When I switch on the AC toggle switch I get the compressor clutch to engage, but then it disengages, even with the the toggle switch still on. Could it be a faulty toggle switch or is it to do with the low pressure switch? If I toggle the switch, sometimes the clutch will stay in and I do get cooling.
July 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: How is the pressure in the system? The cars have a pressure switch that won't let you turn on the system if the senses that it might be empty. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
BMW 325i Comments: dear sir thanks a lot for your information, so i went to some mechanic to check the Gas pressure he said the gas is low and he fill it by other gas in the same time the gas which in the system is the original R12 after one week all the gas gone and no cooling comes from the sysetm so please advice me.Thanks for help
May 14, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have a leak in your system that needs to be found and repaired. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
choquera Comments: hello:
thanks for your info. i don't know a lot about cars, but my mechanic replaced the R-12 with the R-134 and he says I need to recharge it every year.
He installed it on April 2007 by next april it was empty, even thou i hardly use the air, where I live it's only when there are heat waves in the summer,So i filled it up and then a couple of monts late it was empty again.
My main question is that he says that with this sustem i need to refill it every year, is that right?
April 20, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Nope, that's not right. You have a leak in your system, and the R-134 is leaking out slowly each year (which is not good for the environment either). Because R-134 is cheap (and perhaps because he wants to refill you each year), there might not be a huge incentive to track down the leak. You need to fill the system with a special dye / fluid, and then use a leak tester to check all of the connections. This is difficult if you don't have the correct equipment. If you are serious about fixing this problem once and for all, then I might suggest that you seek out a refridgeration specialist. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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