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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-16-2012, 04:09 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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Is A/C broken

I have 98' 328i. I found out even the cold air coming out of vent at max speed, it doesn't reach back seat so ppl sitting at the back are sweating. Does that mean my A/C is broken and need inspection?
I think car manufacturer must have thought about ppl sitting at the back,right?
I'm living in northen NJ and the cost of inspection is around $90-120 with additional $100-200 for recharging refrigerant.
Any good suggestion about this issue and garage to check it out?

Last edited by yxd0018; 07-16-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2012, 04:17 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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depends on the ambient temps, color of interior (black is worse than tan, for instance...) on how long it takes to cool the cabin.

the first order of business is to check the vent temps coming out of the car. use a thermometer, not your hand.



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Old 07-16-2012, 05:36 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
the first order of business is to check the vent temps coming out of the car. use a thermometer, not your hand.
+1. Also, when is the last time you replaced the cabin microfilter? If it's been a while, there's a very good chance that it's so clogged that it isn't able to allow enough air to pass through to cool the entire cabin of the car.

When everything is working correctly, the way to cool off rear passengers is to use the center vent to blow air straight between the front seats to the back, and then the driver uses the side vent, and the front passenger obvious has his/her own vents.
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  #4  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:14 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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thanks for all help. I don't think I changed microfilter ever. I will try to do it asap and report back the result.
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  #5  
Old 07-17-2012, 10:01 AM
bmw-mania bmw-mania is offline
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Theres probably a missing cat clogging the ducts..
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2012, 10:15 AM
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thanks for all help. I don't think I changed microfilter ever. I will try to do it asap and report back the result.
This could very likely be the cause of your problem if you have never changed the filter. When I bought my car, the filter was so clogged that it could barely defog the front windshield.

My old filter (new filters are white):


A fraction of the debris that I got out of the filter box:
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2012, 10:18 AM
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B1MM3R B1MM3R is offline
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Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
This could very likely be the cause of your problem if you have never changed the filter. When I bought my car, the filter was so clogged that it could barely defog the front windshield.

My old filter (new filters are white):


A fraction of the debris that I got out of the filter box:
Yep...when i changed mine about 2 weeks ago it made a HUGE difference. My car used to run on high to keep car pretty cool, now that have new filter it runs on 2 and still freezes me.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:07 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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while I'm waiting for the cabin filter parts through mail, my A/C is giving up on me today. It blows hot air now. All the fuses are fine. I will still change the filter and not sure if that's the reason of hot air. Feels more like A/C issue now.

Last edited by yxd0018; 07-17-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2012, 10:41 PM
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Hot air with good fuses means that either you likely have a system leak.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:52 PM
Koolkidd89 Koolkidd89 is offline
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I have a '97 740IL with the hot air blowing when attempting to use the AC. Where should I begin looking for a leak. I'm a new bmw owner and I bought I from a personal owner. It has never worked since I bought it, however I was unaware because I purchased the car in the winter time. Spring in CT rolled around and I closed the sunroof and attempted to use the AC only to find myself experiencing an Epic FAIL and my ghetto girlfriend yelling how I shulda never bought the car. Eff what she thinks, I jus wat to get my car back to her former glory.

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Old 07-17-2012, 10:55 PM
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You'll need to take it to an A/C technician to detect your leak.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:30 PM
Koolkidd89 Koolkidd89 is offline
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D*mn! (Solid Snake/David Hayter's voice), I was hoping you wouldn't say that. We ont have many "Honest" technicians in Connecticut. Everyone is feeling the pain of the economy and everyone is out to get over on the next guy....so is there no way for me to determine this on my own or any parts to purchase; or is this a case of, "they have specialized machines that can do things the average at home 'do-it-himself' couldn't do"?

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Old 07-17-2012, 11:43 PM
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They have specialized machines that can do things the average at home 'do-it-himself' can't do. And I'm sure there are plenty of honest mechanics in Connecticut - just gotta find 'em.
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  #14  
Old 07-20-2012, 11:11 AM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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Just come back from garage. They pulled the big vacuum machine and put a bottle of reflective liquid into A/C system and used UV flashlight to check the leak. Sort of the same equipment to look for blood trace by CSI at the crime scene. The result is the A/C radiator is leaking big. So the waived the $50 checkup fee and charge $180 for the parts and $190 for the labor. They will also replace cabin filter for me. Last night I opened up the cover on the passenger side instead of glove compartment just like those in the youtube but have no long socket to remove the screws so that I can pull out dirty filter.
Is the price ok or I was screwed?
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2012, 11:28 AM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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It seems $90/hr is the rate now mechanics charges and that's really expensive, IMO. IS that the avg rate nowadays?
correction: $90/hr is min after I asked around. of course, not the top range.

Last edited by yxd0018; 07-20-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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  #16  
Old 07-20-2012, 11:45 AM
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No, I don't think you got screwed, price wise. It would take anyone a few hours to do that job, and you were only charged for a little over two hours of labor. If it were me, I'd just have ordered and installed the parts myself, and then had the shop simply recharge the system, but not everyone is up to that.
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  #17  
Old 07-20-2012, 12:01 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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Thanks. I asked a few places (a few garage as well as firestone) and they all charge A/C inspection separately (from $60-$90) which is kinda strange when they inspect for free for other issues. Maybe it's because they need to vacuum the system and put some liquid inside? They also charge money to put refrigerant back into the car.
I know mechanic makes money in parts. I didn't want to do it myself is because I don't have the tools. I realize that when I try to change the cabin filter. (I live in apartment so don't have garage to store many tools).
As long as mechanic's hourly rate is much lower than mine, I don't mind outsourcing it, especially I'm pretty busy at this moment. But $90/hr seems expensive when you consider no college degree is needed for the job. Mechanic is really a good business. It must be local and hard to outsource and you have to fix your car.

Last edited by yxd0018; 07-20-2012 at 12:06 PM.
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  #18  
Old 07-20-2012, 09:50 PM
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well, while there is no need for 'formal' education in order to be working on cars, it is not an 'easy' field.

think about it the next time you go to the doctor and he tells you 'rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take 2 of these a day for the next week' and hands you a general run of the mill prescription for pain. *what*, exactly, has he done other than ease your mind and give you something to make you feel a little better??

i simplify the story for sure, but i think you get my idea. people expect the automotive technician to know all about their car, when in fact, if they were a doctor insetead of a technician (which is different that a mechaninc....), they would be a cardiologist, endocrineologist, podiatrist, neuro surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, urologisy, ob/gyn, dermatologist,...get my point??

there are fluid pressure systems (auto trans, power steering, and brake systems), electrical systems (starting, charging, various motors), communications (voice commands, mp3/i pod, entertainment systems), suspension and steering systems, as well as driveability and emissions concerns that the tech has to be familiar with. at least in theory if not practical application and experience.

so while i went through a general vocational center for my training, i recieved many, many hours of specialized education and training in order to be a better technician.

90 @ hr is a little low for a dealership (domestic), but right about where mom-n-pop's are. the dealership(s) where i worked were 92, 96, and 94 @ hr for cash work, while many of the import specialists were @ 99-118. this was about 10 years ago. i would imagine that they are all over 99 by now. so if they charge 90, do good work and stand behind their parts, then i say you found a little goldmine.



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