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BMW Technical Article

Changing the Micro Filter on the BMW E36 3 Series
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

     One of the scheduled maintenance functions on the BMW E36 3 series is replacing the micro filter. Changing out the micro filter helps to keep the ventilation system clean and removes allergens and dust from the system. If you notice dust coming through the vents when you activate the climate control, itís a good chance that the micro filter needs replacement.

     Replacing the micro filter is relatively easy procedure, which should only take about an hour to perform. The micro filter is located right in front of the center console, and directly below the center of the windshield.

     In order to gain access to the micro filter, it will be necessary to remove the glove box assembly. In order to do this, first take out all the maps, registration papers etc.., then remove the two small screws around the frame, on the left and right sides. Once these are removed, look inside the vents above. In the upper right and left corners on each side, you will see two screws in there. Remove them. Next, remove the two screws under the dash, holding the fiberboard under panel to the bottom edge of the plastic panel.

     With the screws removed, the next step is to remove the upper vent panel. With all the screws removed the panel should come right out.

     Next, you will want to remove the center glove box piece. This is the piece that normally would hold your registration, maps, etc.. What you will need to do is first remove the glove box light. If you look at the right side near the rear of the light, you will notice a small tab. Use your finger to pull it down, and the light will fall out. Disconnect the electrical plug and put the light in a safe place. Now, if you look up, you will see a 10mm bolt directly above the light. Remove this nut, and you will be able to remove the entire panel.

     With the panel removed, the next step is to remove the passenger side floor air vent. This will give you the clearance need to remove the filter. Simply pull down on the vent where it attaches to the center console, and it will come loose. Carefully work it out of the center console.

     Now you can remove the cover plate for the micro filter. It is a small circular knob that rotates counter-clockwise. Twist it and remove the entire panel. Use your fingers to feel for a small plastic tab where the cover went. This is the old filter. You may have to play with it for a bit to remove the old filter, however with a little force, it will pull out. As you are pulling it out, you will notice that it will appear as though the filter surround is broken, this is normal. In order to install the filter, it must be bent. A provision was made into the filter to allow it to bend enough to get it into and out of the filter housing.

     Itís a good idea to lay down a towel or rag to catch any loose debris that may be in the filter housing. In this case, a bunch of leaves and dirt fell out. Now we are ready to install the new filter.

     To install the new filter, you will first need to snap the housing to allow for the bend that will allow you to install it in such a close space. Just a little pressure  and it will snap.

     Now, place the filter in the filter housing, bending the portion of the filter to fit it in place. It should slide in effortlessly. Now re-install the housing cover and turn the locking knob. Next, re-install the passenger side floor air vent, and snap it back into its connector.

     That done, simply place the glove box back in place and re-attach the 10mm bolt. Re-attach the glove box light electrical connection and re-install the light.

     Now, re-attach the upper vent piece. Make sure that the mechanical connections for the vents are attached and are not misaligned. Re-install the lower cardboard panel under the glove box as well. The last step is to re-install the screws around the perimeter of the glove box and upper vent piece.

     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:
AugustHouse Comments: Just replaced the filter yesterday. Some photos here would help. There are more obstructions than this description indicates. My 95 325i convertible I wasn't sure if the convert would HAVE a cabin filter, but it does had wiring connectors right in the way of pulling the filter. I had to basically fold the filter in thirds as I took it out and put in the new one and feed each section into the hole which I could never see.
Then the trickiest thing turned out to be getting the last panel on above the glove box. The locking solenoid arm fits into a hole in the locking mechanism on the panel, and that was a tricky thing to align, especially since it takes some pressure to snap the panel into place.
This article helped. Thanks!
June 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tips for our readers- Nick at Pelican Parts  

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