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Heater Valve Testing and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Heater Valve Testing and Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, screwdrivers, multi-meter

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Heater valve, heater hoses, engine coolant

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Heat will work again

Complementary Modification:

Change thermostat and flush cooling system

BMW E53 X5 models utilize a heater control valve that controls the flow of hot coolant to the heater core. If your vehicle has no heat and the cooling system is properly bled, the valve may be faulty (stuck closed). You may also have a situation where the vehicle has heat all the time. This may be a valve that is stuck open. In this tech article, I will show you how to replace and test your heater control valve.

Drain the cooling system. See our tech article on cooling system draining and filling.

This photo shows the location of the heater control valve (green arrow).
Figure 1

This photo shows the location of the heater control valve (green arrow). It is located at the left side of the firewall, above the heater hoses.

To replace the heater control valve, start by removing the heater hoses (green arrows) from the plastic mount (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

To replace the heater control valve, start by removing the heater hoses (green arrows) from the plastic mount (yellow arrow). Then disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling it off the valve.

Then, pull the heater valve out of the mount.
Figure 3

Then, pull the heater valve out of the mount. Pull the front out first, upward.

Continue to lift the valve out of the bracket at an angle toward the engine (red arrow), while pulling it out of the rear mount.
Figure 4

Continue to lift the valve out of the bracket at an angle toward the engine (red arrow), while pulling it out of the rear mount. Be careful not to lose the rubber mounting grommets (yellow arrows).

Loosen all three heater hose clamps (green arrows).
Figure 5

Loosen all three heater hose clamps (green arrows). Then, remove the front heater hose. If your vehicle has standard climate control, there will be only two hoses.

With the front hose removed (green arrow) you now have a little more room to grab the rear hoses.
Figure 6

With the front hose removed (green arrow) you now have a little more room to grab the rear hoses. Remove both rear hoses, noting installation position.

Remove the heater valve from the vehicle and install the hoses on the new one.
Figure 7

Remove the heater valve from the vehicle and install the hoses on the new one. Then install the heater valve into the mount and connect the electrical connector. When installing, feed the valve into the bracket in the direction of the green arrow. Be sure that the lower mounting tab (red arrow) is properly engaged. Then install the valve into the rubber grommets (yellow arrows). Fill and bleed the cooling system. Once complete, double check all the hose connections and check the engine for coolant leaks.

Testing the heater control valve:
Testing the heater control valve: The heater control valve is normally open (allowing coolant to flow to the heater core) and closed when the temp setting is on COLD.
Figure 8

Testing the heater control valve: The heater control valve is normally open (allowing coolant to flow to the heater core) and closed when the temp setting is on COLD. There is a small plunger (green arrow) that seals the valve when the solenoid receives the correct electrical signal. This plunger can become restricted, reducing coolant flow. The electrical portion can also fail, creating a situation where you have heat all the time.

Testing the heater control valve: The inlet for the heater control valve (green arrow)is in the front (red arrow).
Figure 9

Testing the heater control valve: The inlet for the heater control valve (green arrow)is in the front (red arrow). Hot coolant flows from the engine crankcase to the valve. It then flows through the valve out the back to the heater core (yellow arrow). A quick check would be to confirm hot coolant is entering the valve at the front hose (red arrow) and into the heater core through the rear hose (yellow arrow).

Testing the heater control valve: The following steps will show you how to test the electrical signal to the valve.
Figure 10

Testing the heater control valve: The following steps will show you how to test the electrical signal to the valve. If you do not have coolant flow through the valve, and the voltage is correct, replace the valve. Working at the heater control valve, squeeze both release tabs and pull the connector straight off to remove it. On my vehicle the brown wire (yellow arrow) is a constant ground and the tan / orange and tan / brown wires are the battery volt controls from the HVAC control head. To test the signal to the valve, I will connect a digital volt meter across the terminals and test the voltage. Start by turning the HVAC temperature control to full hot (green arrows). Then turn the ignition to the RUN position. Then connect your DVOM across the terminals. Your DVOM should about read Zero volts (blue arrow). Next, rotate the HVAC temperature control to full cold, with the ignition in the RUN position. Your DVOM across the terminals should read BATTERY+ volts. These steps show a properly working circuit. If you are missing a voltage signal, check that the ground to the valve is good. Then check the battery volts signal back to the HVAC control head. When you're done, reassemble the items and confirm that the wiring is routed as it was before.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Delicron Comments: Thanks Nick. The code that won't clear is 008D - Output Engine Fan. Thermostat jammed will clear easily, and usually only appears on warmer days. The engine will reach temperature, but my perception of how quickly it warms up might be influenced by my heater taking forever to warm.
March 14, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if the heater is taking too long, I would think the engine is also not warming quickly.

The fault for the fan may be a bad wire for the control from the DME to the fan. I would monitor run a new wire to test the circuit. See if the new wire restores function. If you have the option, activate the fan using your scan tool, monitor the signal to the fan when on and off, see if there is a change. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Delicron Comments: Complicated set of issues, hope you can help.
Have 2003 E53 X5 with M62TU. Had several water pump issues, now thankfully resolved, but some cooling and climate control issues remain:
-Pusher fan does not activate in any condition replaced with new one, still does not activate. There is a non-removable code associated with this.
-Thermostat Jammed Engine Code occasionally appears, new thermostat with water pump recently has not changed it. Engine takes longer to warm up than I would expect.
-Heater blows colder on driver side, and blows pretty hot on passenger side...except in weather below -10c, then vehicle has trouble maintaining heat in the cabin. Blows cold at idle, blows warmer at speed.
-Recently cleaned out the IHKA in hopes it was that...did not change much.

From the looks of it, the heater control valve might be partially responsible, does that sound right?

Good write ups btw, I have ordered lots of parts from Pelican because of them.
March 13, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You mentioned there is a code that won't clear, what is it?

With the thermostat code and the fan issue, you may have a short or problem with the wiring harness. Unless the engine is not reaching a temp high enough to activate the fan, then look to the thermostat jamming issue. Still possible shorted harness. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tony Comments: I have a 2008 bmw x5 4.8i sometimes ok heat from pass side front and no heat drivers side sometime Luke warm heterogeneous drivers idea and after a while loose all heat..brought to bmw dealer replaced actuator.still problem.then they flushed system same problem
.prior 6 months ago waterproof thermostat expansion tank all replaced. Now dealer want to replace thermostat radiator heatercore..w.t.f..the experts want to lay me a way like a hack Mechanic and play the parts guessing game..in there own words they want to start with thermostat if still problem do radiator then heater core if still not good..what would your suggestion be?
January 15, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'd get a second opinion if you don't trust what they found.

It is easy to check heater core flow. Remove the hoses, run fluid through core, does it flow? - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Luisdd Comments: I have a 2005 X5 and with cold weather when idle temperature shoots up to the red, then I turn the engine off and when I turn it back on it goes to normel. When I drive the engine temperature stays on the blue cold and it blows cold air. I used to live in Florida now I moved to Kentucky and Im freezing. Any help will be appreciated.
January 9, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you need a new thermostat. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Elvin Comments: Hi! My car is a 2008 X5 E70, 3.0si w/4 zone A/C. My A/C seems to be working OK, but sometimes I get warm air blowing on the passengers side. When I start my car it could start cooling on both sides, or cooling on the driver's side and warming on the passenger's side. If I turn the car off then it could start cooling on both sides and will continue cooling until I turn it off. You can get different results when starting the car hot or cold, but the problem seems to occurs more frequently when starting cold. It appears to me that when the car starts, one side of the heater valve stays open heating when it's suppose to close cooling. Could you please let me know if this could be the Heater Control Valve? Thanks and keep the good work.
October 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you suspect the heater valve, check if it is sending hot coolant to the heater core when the problem is present.

i would suspect refrigerant charge or blend door issue as well. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Luis Comments: I have heat in my x5 2002 , but when I put it to windshield it isnt blowing out towards the windshield, can you help me to figure out why?
October 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most likely the heater housing actuator is faulty. Locate the defroster actuator and see if the flap lever move when you select defrost. The location will be in a repair manual.

it should be accessible (going by memory) on the left side, remove the small duct near the footwell, then the actuator is the one you will see first. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ken Comments: my bmw x5 3.0d 2003 has heater on one side but not the other do you have the valve for this thanks
July 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jas Comments: I own a 2002 BMW X5 e53 4.4i, my issue is that coolant leak from the top rear hose. I just replaced the heater valve with genuine part Bosch. The AC works just fine and heat after replacement, then two weeks later started leaking again the heater blower fan inside is blowing hard with hot air than slows down but is coming out warm, however the AC works perfect so far.
What could cause this issues?
May 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume the hose is faulty. If the valve has already been replaced. best bet is to pressure test the cooling system and confirm the location of the leak.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
CoreyX5 Comments: I have X5 e53. Heat comes out in back seat, does not come out from front dash. Blowers work. Ground to valve good, positive charge to valve when t. turned down. Can hear solenoid activate when I plug it in. All hoses hot. Any ideas?
March 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All hoses hot, the blend door in the front may be faulty. Check the vehicle for fault codes, then run a system test on the IHKA housing parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
CoreyX5 Comments: Otarika999 had problem too, was from air trapped/low coolant. try filling coolant up when cold, hot, and car running. that fixed it for me
March 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
otarika999 Comments: i have the following problem on my BMW 318 tds 1998. when the coolan is hot the heater inside the car doesn't blow out hot air. it works wll ,only when i give the engine rews. today i checked out the water pump and heater radiator. both of them work fine. any ideas ?
February 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be air trapped in the system, or a fault heater control valve. Check if hot coolant is getting through the valve to the heater core. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 3/22/2017 02:24:31 AM