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-   -   2003 E65 730d - sudden heat increase at driver's side only with AUTO on (

schoensel 11-02-2012 03:42 PM

2003 E65 730d - sudden heat increase at driver's side only with AUTO on
Hi all,

I've been experiencing this very weird climate control problem for which my beamerdealer could not give an answer, since he has never experienced this before. It all started when driving long distances at high speed on the Autobahn last summer. Although I had my climate control on AUTO and the A/C was on (control light burning) and the passenger's climate control was not on auto but at a steady blowing speed and temp of 22degs, I suddenly experienced very hot air at my feet and under the front window. From the front vents oriented towards the driver came a 'bit colder' air, but still not A/C-cooled. When I pushed the AUTO-button, AUTO did not turn off. When I turned the blowing speed-button, blowing speed adjusted (although still hot air) but AUTO-light remained on, which should normally turn off. The passenger's side did not experience any change in temperature regulation! So, the above weird story only holds for the driver's side...maybe, because the passenger's side never had the AUTO-button on (my wife prefers to stay in control herself ;P Stopping the car and turning off the engine or even leaving and locking the car did not resolve the problem after restarting the car. We had to turn off the engine, throw 2 buckets of water on the bonnet and then restart. Throwing buckets on the window did not help...the water really had to hit the bonnet. The outside temperature remained correct throughout the whole procedure (40degs Celsius...HOT!).
This sudden warming up of air at the driver's side also occurs now, when it's colder. So, the A/C is turned off, but the AUTO at the driver's side is on, and then, all of a sudden, the driver's side is heated up.

The most annoying issue at the moment is that I did not find any systematic in WHEN all this occurs. Sometimes it occurs during an easy-going highway drive, sometimes during high speed highway drive, sometimes 10 minutes after a highway while driving at a city speed. It occurs during a hot summer and during current fall temperatures.

Does anybody have any idea? I fear it would be an extremely expensive problem to diagnose, since it sounds something software-like.

Thank you very much for any relevant info!


hd750Li 11-02-2012 07:08 PM

It sounded like the AC panel is having an issue. I had this happened to me before. Back and forth with the dealership several times, they couldn't reproduce the problem. Finally, one of the master technicians was able to figure it out. Every time, he pressed his finger on the AC panel around the knob, the whole system went crazy. A new AC panel costs around $850. This job takes about 2-3 hours. It was fixed on mine under manufacturer warranty -- free.

schoensel 11-02-2012 07:15 PM

AC Panel
Thanks a lot for the response! What do you mean by "every time he pressed his finger on the AC panel around the knob"? You mean, he pressed the hardware surrounding the button with AC written on it? Or, you mean some other AC panel? Maybe I could try to replicate this?

hd750Li 11-02-2012 07:46 PM

Yes, that what I meant. He pressed his finger on the dark silver painted around the buttons and the knob.

Check out this eBay link:

It has pictures of the AC panel that I'm talking about.

schoensel 11-03-2012 07:36 AM

hd750Li: Thanks! I'll check it out
Today, I noticed when pressing on the grey areas of the AC-panel the temperature and blowing speed turned red in the display above the AC-panel. Pressure did not induce the sudden heat. However, the car had been driven for only 15 minutes. On Thursday, I have to make a longer run and then I'll try it again.
BUT, I found a panel on the German eBay for only 50$, in case the panel is the culprit ;)

Nicoromag 01-24-2013 10:16 AM

I have the same issue, incorrect temperature blows on the drivers' side, but last nigh the whole panels' light were off with the car on and blowing 127f (max heat) and it wouldn't let me turn it off or change the temperature (possessed car? Movie "Christine" came to mind...) Did you install the AC panel from ebay yet? If so, did it fix your problem?

schoensel 01-24-2013 02:57 PM

HI Nicoromag,

I didn't install the new panel yet cos I didn't have that problem anymore. However, I'm convinced its panel related since now the automode at the drivers side often switches off automatically. This is a bit annoying but not sufficiently to immediately address. So, in short, I'd replace the panel, if I were you. If you look for one, on the German EBay you can find them cheap second-hand.


Nicoromag 01-25-2013 05:17 PM

Thank you for the info, I gave it a couple of test runs and didn't blinked and after restarting the car after lowering temperature to 60f and fan to lowest driver's temperature accuracy improved greatly. Before going into a witch hunt swapping used parts (because I refuse to spend $850 in a new panel or regulator for the matter) I will wait and see how it behaves in the next couple of weeks. But i have a panel in ebay lined up just in case of frustration/panic attack.

Nicoromag 02-04-2013 03:01 PM

Ok, decided to go DIY used parts witch hunt. Replaced the regulator (ebay-new) and climate panel (ebay-low mileage), and no more "lights show" or blower shutting down by itself.

But temperature still uneven! Added freon and voila! A/C as good as new!!! (So far...!) YEY! Take that stealer! I mean dealer...

schoensel 02-05-2013 03:29 PM

Hehehe, way to go!! I'm looking on how to remove and install this new control unit without breaking any of the fittings. You don't happen to have pics taken when you changed those units? I found pics for the E66 but I don't know whether its the same for the E65.


schoensel 02-05-2013 03:30 PM

By control units I mean climate panel, of course. Sorry, I'm no native English-speaker.

hd750Li 02-05-2013 06:44 PM

Use this google translate link:

Pictures are included.

Nicoromag 02-05-2013 10:56 PM

Thank you, it was a very tedious, but highly rewarding process, that link that our friend HD posted shows every step with nice pics, one tip though: if you accidentally drop any of the 4 tiny screws that hold the center vents or the 2 screws that hold the wood trimming down into the dashboard, you will never see them again :) every tab and screw socket is constructed with high quality and precision (which is expected on a $90k car when out of showroom), this will come in play when reattaching everything back in place. But overall, and if you're a finishing perfectionist like me, the whole thing should take you about an hour. Good luck!

schoensel 02-06-2013 01:56 AM

Thanks a lot, guys!!
Both hd750Li and Nicoromag: thank you very much for the info!!! When temperature rises, I'll get a crack at replacing that climate panel together with a friend of mine, who is way handier than me... ;)
By the way, in the Netherlands, an E65 730d costed minimally 100k EUROS in 2003!! Yup, our government takes a huge percentage of the sale price as a tax for 'luxury cars'...while they themselves drive big Mercs or Audis paid by the people...

I'll keep you posted on any proceedings. Cheers!

schoensel 02-06-2013 01:57 AM

Both hd750Li and Nicoromag: thank you very much for the info!!! When temperature rises, I'll get a crack at replacing that climate panel together with a friend of mine, who is way handier than me... ;)
By the way, in the Netherlands, an E65 730d costed minimally 100k EUROS in 2003!! Yup, our government takes a huge percentage of the sale price as a tax for 'luxury cars'...while they themselves drive big Mercs or Audis paid by the people...

I'll keep you posted on any proceedings. Cheers!

Nicoromag 02-06-2013 07:15 AM


Well, also european quality standards required for these cars are much higher than here in the US... Hence the oil leaks and 1001 elec. issues. In other words, you guys are paying for peace of mind in advance. (Not that all this will guarantee your climate control panel from going cukoo!).
Talking about those issues, I'm gathering mental strenght to tackle a small oil leak dripping down the center of the engine. Hoping is the O-ring oil conecctor behind the alternator (forum opinion) or else gasket replacement nightmare for Nico!

schoensel 02-06-2013 07:59 AM

hmm, I don't know about differences in quality. Two months after I bought the car (I bought it second-hand, since I refuse to pay so much money for a car) the a butterfly valve got loose in the inlet manifold resulting in major engine damage!! Cost: 3500 Euros!!! When I asked BMW for lenience, they refused and said that such damage could be considered 'normal wear and tear' in a 9-year-old car with 200th kms!! I was flabbergasted: first of all, no object should be able to get loose and fly in the engine, and definitely in such an expensive car, second, I found many reports of this problem on the internet, so it's a consistent problem, third, they redesigned this manifold from 2005 on suggesting they knew about the problem. So, I don't have such a high opinion of BMW-quality. (In contrast to Volvo, as I had done 544th kms with a 1998 V70 TDI, and I never had such a major cost as with our Siebener...)
Do you really believe build quality differs so much between a european and american version of BMW? I almost can't imagine BMW would use different build material in Europe than in USA, or am I wrong?

Anyway, I hope yu'll solve your problem quickly, because it must be an annoying one...

Nicoromag 02-06-2013 01:01 PM

Just came back from the mechanic, he was almost positive that it is an O-ring from the oil filter housing that's dried and cracked. He said that he had to fix dozens of 7 series with the same issue. All said and done $300 (mostly labor, since the O-ring itself only costs about u$s 6.50. That is with the filter housing NOT being cracked though...

I asked him about the one Oring from behind the alternator and he said it was all the same assembly on the drivers' side of the engine.
And you're probably right, it's unlikely that BMW would use different quality for different exporting destinations. But I tell you, I test rode a Volvo sedan (dont remember the model.. S40?) with 90k miles and it felt like a bag of screws in a blender and it smelled like grandma's living room :P There's an example of fidelity over mileage!

I recall back in Argentina cars with 200k Kms. and going smooth like butter! (overpriced too! ha)

schoensel 02-06-2013 04:15 PM

Well, that's an ok price for such a repair. I was wondering: how much does 1 hour of mechanic work cost at the BMW-dealer where you live? Here it is 110

Nicoromag 02-06-2013 07:06 PM

My back-alley guy is $100/hr, bmw dealer... not sure but it should be around there too... I have heard way too many horror stories regarding reapairs at the dealer, specifically unnecesary repairs etc. and there's when they rack up hours/parts and your bill keeps growing.
Bottom line: avoid dealer whenever possible, and I can say the forum peeps concur unanimously!
In the other hand, you have better and way more dedicated professional service all around Europe. 110 euros is a bit steep for my taste, I'm sure there's plenty of knowlegdeable mechanics in your area too.

schoensel 02-07-2013 12:35 AM

Yes, this time I concur: dealer service is really good in the Netherlands. Both at Volvo (went for 10 years) as for BMW I only have positive experiences. At BMW they easily allowed a friend mechanic of mine to check out whether some part really needed to be replaced or not. "No problem at all: just let him come over and well give him a cup of coffee", BMW said. And my friend agreed with their advice. I do have bas experiences with non-dealers though trying to sell me another car or suggesting to replace parts which were not worn out yet. Now, I'm only talking for the Netherlands. I don't know about the rest of Europe. In Belgium I had some bad experiences with a Volvo-dealer. The dealer price is high but on the long run it's cheaper, I believe. And for small things, I go to my friend-mechanic, indeed.

Nicoromag 02-07-2013 06:09 AM

I'm a purist myself too, the idea of taking the car to a non certifiesd bmw mech bothered me, but in the aftermath, it's all worth it.

schoensel 02-07-2013 06:11 AM

Yeah, purist...that's the word ;)

lotusbled 02-10-2013 07:31 AM

Oil leak
Hi Nicoromag, was your oil leak right behind the alternator , dripping off the steering rack? I looked way up behind and can't see the problem! Also I have anti freeze showing up at between the engine and trans. Frost plug up there some where? Thanks.

Nicoromag 02-11-2013 08:19 AM

I can see a paddle of oil of about 5 inches after a day regarding to location it's hard to tell where it's coming from since I can't take the belly pan by myself (no proper tools/lack of dedication...)
But my guess is that is coming from the drivers' side. The mechanic said that the only way to find out is to elevate the car take the belly pan out, pressure clean it (degreaser) and then follow the fresh oil after a while.
I think that's the best bet since there's little risk of diagnosing the wrong cause of the leak.
I'm a DIY supporter to the point of taking apart the cylinder head to replace broken gaskets (my dodge stratus + lots of time on my hands), but oil leaks are a different animal, too many parts involved that need disassembling to access the "possible" problem.
I will take it to the mechanic, making sure beforehand that I don't intend going into a never-ending goose chase, just so they won't come back at you with a sad story about other issues that they couldn't see.

Open engine, degreased = You better find the right leak!

Regarding the antifreeze leak, e65 and e66 are known for this common issue, mine had a leaking pipe somewhere. (mechanic called me and I gave the ok) he charged me $60 to replace. Maybe this is your case? But get on that right away; oil you can keep adding, coolant: you don't run low of!!

Bottom line is to ask yourself: it is all worth it? And I answered myself: Yes! you wont find a smoother car with 150k miles on!

Best of lucks!

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