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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:33 PM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2012 328xiT (E91)
2012 E91 Evaporator Replacement 10k miles

Hi Folks,

It's been a while since I've posted. Everyone has been most helpful over the past year or so that I have been on the forum.

Today my beloved 2012 E91 328 Xdrive MT that I picked up in Munich went into the dealer for an a/c problem. Turns out it is the evaporator. They will have the car until Tuesday and they told me it's a big job. Apparently it costs anywhere from 2k-3k to have this part replaced. Glad it's under warranty.

Here's my beef... They have to take apart virtually the entire dash! As someone who LOVES this car, I'm worried that they're gonna mess something up. Also, it seems very premature for an evaporator to go out after only 6 months of light duty use and 10k miles. I had an evaporator replaced in a Honda once and it was 10 years old with 166k on the odometer.

What should I look for when I get the car back to make sure puzzle pieces are all back in place? Should I ask for an extended warranty on that part?

I think I'm just being a nervous nelly since my baby is in the shop, but I'd like to hear what others have to say.

Thanks!
Spencer842
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:41 PM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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As a side note, I have a 2012 528xi with the N20 engine as a dealer loaner. This car is a boat.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:03 PM
soLrak soLrak is offline
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It happened to my 2009 E90 at 45,000 miles. They took apart the whole car even the rear seats air vents. I don't know if the dash was removed, but all the vents were removed including the one at the top of the dash. The only thing I hate is the rattling noise that I inherit as part of this repair. The a/c is nice and chill though, but I thought that 45,000 miles and 3 years was soon for a part like that to break.

Last edited by soLrak; 12-07-2012 at 04:04 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:58 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencer842 View Post
Today my beloved 2012 E91 328 Xdrive MT that I picked up in Munich went into the dealer for an a/c problem. Turns out it is the evaporator. They will have the car until Tuesday and they told me it's a big job. Apparently it costs anywhere from 2k-3k to have this part replaced. Glad it's under warranty.

Kindly relay exactly what your dealer says is wrong!

It's just a heat exchanger. Function: by evaporating refrigerant, the system cools air entering the cabin - refrigerant absorbs its heat of vaporization from air.

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  #5  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:35 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Kindly relay exactly what your dealer says is wrong!

It's just a heat exchanger. Function: by evaporating refrigerant, the system cools air entering the cabin - refrigerant absorbs its heat of vaporization from air.
The part itself is maybe $200. The rest of the cost is the labor to take everything apart and put it back together. A dye gets added to the refrigerant to ID where the leak(s) are present. Sounds like the OP got unlucky. If the evaporator is going to fail, it generally fails after 50,000 miles. Yet another reason to get an extended warranty policy.

OP - when you get your car back, put on warm clothing, start the car and set the cooling temp as low as it will go. While the air from the vents is getting cold, carefully check each vent for a creaking sound coming from the vent. Repeat with the cabin temp setting at warm (78+ degrees). There should be silence (no sound other than the fan blowing the air through the vent). Creaks mean something (usually the tubing) was not installed correctly. If not resolved, the creaking will get worse with time and you will grow to hate the car.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:59 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Evaporator changes are some of the most difficult jobs faced by indy shops. Many shops sub them out. Evaporator cores are monolithic and any early defect usually can be attributed to a flaw in the manufacturing process (such as a poor weld). They are never repaired, it's always a part swap. I don't have the flat rate on the job for your car but 7 to 10 hours wouldn't surprise me. That means constant and direct work by someone skilled at the job and who has all the tools needed readily at hand. None of the time is pump down/recharge time, that's separate.
Changing the Evap requires removal of the HVAC box. Mechanics joke that when the car is built the first thing on the assembly line is the HVAC box and the car is built around it. Removing the HVAC box means that everything between the driver and the firewall comes out. Steering wheel, console, dashboard, everything. It's not a sight for the fainthearted, but we often photograph the view so our customers will know where their money went. The most common reactionby them is that a job which they thought was expensive suddenly looks cheap. If the job is done correctly there will be no rattles or squeaks and everything will work correctly. If a hack does it then there's no telling what is going to shake or not work.

On the encouraging side is the fact that the dealership is going to give this job to a trusted tech. They know the difficulties involved and are not going to risk having to do it over. The tech will be experienced and will ensure everything works before he starts and when he's done. The tech will only get paid the first time he does the job. If it comes back it's on his dime, it's in his best interests to do it carefully and correctly.

Don't sweat this one. It is as close to brain surgery as the trade gets, a dealership tech is the best guy to be doing the job. I expect you'll be posting that everything went well. A couple tips for you. Before you leave the dealership turn on every single device on your dashboard and run them through their functions. Try your horn, your directionals, your Cruise, the radio, the ac of course, and the heater, check the glovebox light and all the dashboard lights. If there's a button push it, a knob, turn it.
Are there any scratches or gouges in the dashboard? On the way home go over a rough road. Hear any squeaks or rattles? The sooner they know the better. Chances are you'll find no problems at all.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 12-07-2012 at 10:01 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:13 AM
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Speedwagon Speedwagon is offline
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Oh man, good luck!
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2012, 06:23 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Evaporator changes are some of the most difficult jobs faced by indy shops. Many shops sub them out. Evaporator cores are monolithic and any early defect usually can be attributed to a flaw in the manufacturing process (such as a poor weld). They are never repaired, it's always a part swap. I don't have the flat rate on the job for your car but 7 to 10 hours wouldn't surprise me. That means constant and direct work by someone skilled at the job and who has all the tools needed readily at hand. None of the time is pump down/recharge time, that's separate.

Gimme a P
Gimme a I
Gimme a T
Gimme a A

What's that spell? Warranty work!

What's that spell? Outta warranty suicide!

What's that spell? Russian egg German engineering!

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  #9  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:12 AM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Thanks everyone for the responses. I tend to trust this dealer because they have been very honest with me from the start. When the wagon was delivered, they removed the euro plates, which are attached to the car with double sided tape and the tech accidentally took some paint off! My SA called me immediately to have me inspect the damage and involved me in the repair. She knows how much I love this car! I will be sure to test as much as I possibly can when I get the car back.

Cal, as far as what the dealer said .... They just called and told me it was the evaporator and that they hope I like my loaner :-/. (Side note: after 2 days with the N20 engine ... it gets better mileage, but damn it feels like a tractor)
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:30 AM
PartyBoyWA PartyBoyWA is offline
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Reading this post is like watching a horror movie.

Best of luck with the surgery!

And thanks for the notes on the 5'er. Not surprised at your remarks about a 4k lb car with a 2.0t.

Please update us with the outcome!
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:33 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by spencer842 View Post
Cal, as far as what the dealer said .... They just called and told me it was the evaporator and that they hope I like my loaner :-/. (Side note: after 2 days with the N20 engine ... it gets better mileage, but damn it feels like a tractor)
Please inquire as to the mechanism of failure. Prob vibration + poor solder or welded joint, but inquiring minds want to know!

Sure, they'll send it back and not see it again - the usual brush-off. But....somebody saw where dye escaped....mystery tech can usually be located with a pleasant probe or two.

And, hey, been hearing about N20's faux diesel melody since it hit the tarmac. 'Sup wit dat? Diesel a badge o'honor in Europe, or what?

As 335d got no rep for clack, and any modern DI engine needn't sound like that, curiosity runs deep....

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.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 12-08-2012 at 01:38 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:09 PM
CALLAWAY845 CALLAWAY845 is offline
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Hello Spencer...sorry to hear about your issue. For what its worth, I have had the evaporator replaced twice on my x5. After each time, everything worked fine, and the truck was without rattles, squeaks, and such. It sounds like you have a great relationship with your SA...things should work out just fine.
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2012, 09:17 AM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Hey Guys, I expect a call from the dealer by the end of the day. I will be sure to ask questions regarding the early failure of the evaporator. The techs are usually readily available, so asking some follow-up questions shouldn't be a problem. Let's hope my baby is in one piece.

I am glad to hear that the dealer is the place to get this done. It sounds like a royal PITA.

Spencer
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2012, 10:02 AM
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LarkHouston LarkHouston is offline
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Let me raise your angst.

I have had to have mine replaced twice. First time they shattered the front window. Don't ask me how. They didn't tell me why they had to keep my car a couple of extra days until I went to pick it up. The conversation went something like this:
SA: "Oh, BTW, our tech broke your windshield. Don't worry, we replaced it with OEM. And then we put our most experienced tech on your job."
Me: "Really, why did you put an inexperienced tech on the job to begin with."
SA: "They have to learn somehow."


Fast forward a year and it needs to be replaced again. I go to pick it up and get in the car only to find a big gouge in the center console wood. See below. And then a scratch on the face of the dash down by the center console. Currently back at the dealer for those repairs.

Be afraid, be very afraid.
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  #15  
Old 12-10-2012, 12:37 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by LarkHouston View Post
Let me raise your angst.

I have had to have mine replaced twice. First time they shattered the front window. Don't ask me how. They didn't tell me why they had to keep my car a couple of extra days until I went to pick it up. The conversation went something like this:
SA: "Oh, BTW, our tech broke your windshield. Don't worry, we replaced it with OEM. And then we put our most experienced tech on your job."
Me: "Really, why did you put an inexperienced tech on the job to begin with."
SA: "They have to learn somehow."


Fast forward a year and it needs to be replaced again. I go to pick it up and get in the car only to find a big gouge in the center console wood. See below. And then a scratch on the face of the dash down by the center console. Currently back at the dealer for those repairs.

Be afraid, be very afraid.
Damn, they're still training techs on your car! (Hey, that was there when you dropped it off. What are you trying to pull?)
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:55 AM
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LarkHouston LarkHouston is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Damn, they're still training techs on your car! (Hey, that was there when you dropped it off. What are you trying to pull?)
They didn't flinch when I pointed out the gouge. Just said: "No problem, we'll order you a new one on us." It was almost as if they knew it was there and were going to see if they could get away with it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:13 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarkHouston View Post
Let me raise your angst.

I have had to have mine replaced twice. First time they shattered the front window. Don't ask me how. They didn't tell me why they had to keep my car a couple of extra days until I went to pick it up. The conversation went something like this:
SA: "Oh, BTW, our tech broke your windshield. Don't worry, we replaced it with OEM. And then we put our most experienced tech on your job."
Me: "Really, why did you put an inexperienced tech on the job to begin with."
SA: "They have to learn somehow."


Fast forward a year and it needs to be replaced again. I go to pick it up and get in the car only to find a big gouge in the center console wood. See below. And then a scratch on the face of the dash down by the center console. Currently back at the dealer for those repairs.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Which dealer was that, exactly?
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2012, 10:24 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Which dealer was that, exactly?
Definitely a dealer to avoid. If the dealer was in the S.F. Bay area, I can guess which one it was (likely the same one where the SA tried to tell me that convertible tops all leak water; might have even been the same SA if the dealer was in the S.F. Bay area).
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:44 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Originally Posted by spencer842 View Post
Hey Guys, I expect a call from the dealer by the end of the day. I will be sure to ask questions regarding the early failure of the evaporator. The techs are usually readily available, so asking some follow-up questions shouldn't be a problem. Let's hope my baby is in one piece.

I am glad to hear that the dealer is the place to get this done. It sounds like a royal PITA.

Spencer
It is an enormous job that I would trust to no one but the dealer. That being said they know what they're doing and your car will be as good as new. It's likely you just got a bad evaporator. I have almost 102,000 on mine in Florida heat and it's just fine.

The process is the same as this:

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Old 12-12-2012, 05:01 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by usaret View Post
It is an enormous job that I would trust to no one but the dealer. That being said they know what they're doing and your car will be as good as new. It's likely you just got a bad evaporator. I have almost 102,000 on mine in Florida heat and it's just fine.

The process is the same as this:

Good video, but actually the E9x is slightly more involved if you can even imagine that.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:18 AM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Update:

So, my car is still at the dealer. They have replaced the evaporator, changed the oil on my request and rotated the tires. I had a rattle/creaking noise coming from the rear passenger side C pillar of the car. They have taken out the headliner and all of the trim trying to isolate it. I thought it was the sunroof needing a little silicone or something. Apparently, I was wrong. I did get a chance to talk to one of the techs. He said the evaporator was leaking heavily at the side seams and he was leaning towards it being a faulty part.

I should be picking up the car tonight unless they find something else wrong!

Spencer
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:36 AM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Side Note on the 2012 528xi base model with navigation: I have now driven it for almost a week and over 300 miles in town and on highway. Mostly in town with 21.6 MPG avg. (I reset the MPG meter when I got the car) The N20 is definitely a quick engine when it hits 3500 RPM. I am thinking the high altitude gives it a bit longer of a delay to spool up from a stop. Even in DS and Sport it needs a bit to spool up to dart up and change lanes when I am already going 20mph or so in downtown. So, I find myself planning ahead before making a move. :-/ My X5 35i is the same way, but the N20 feels a bit more sluggish. I will say when I drive the X5 at sea level (Dallas is it's new home with my Mom) it makes a huge difference in the amount of time it takes the turbo to spool up. Turbos are great for high altitude highway mountain driving, but in town they leave me wanting (no matter how powerful). I prefer the N52 like engines for slow speed maneuvers that need immediate acceleration with out needing too much horsepower. Here is what leaves me pretty disappointed- The steering. I know it's electric and more efficient, but it is definitely not as accurate or precise as the hydraulic variant in the older model BMW's. It is easier to park though. The combination of the rattly and shaky 4 cylinder really makes the 5 series feel much like a camry/accord with maybe 20% better steering feel. I don't know what this car MSRP's for, but I would be hard pressed to make this a real contender against the E-class Benz.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:57 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Good video, but actually the E9x is slightly more involved if you can even imagine that.
I can but after doing stuff like this for over 40 years it doesn't overwhelm me anymore. The attached picture is my X3.

I installed a hatch light override switch so we could sit in the back with the light off. It's the same procedure to change the right rear shock.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:12 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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I can but after doing stuff like this for over 40 years it doesn't overwhelm me anymore. The attached picture is my X3.

I installed a hatch light override switch so we could sit in the back with the light off. It's the same procedure to change the right rear shock.
Been there, done that.
It's always fun telling a customer that the part is a few dollars. The labor is $400. Enjoy your retirement, I won't ask why you're in the back with the light out.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:44 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Been there, done that.
It's always fun telling a customer that the part is a few dollars. The labor is $400. Enjoy your retirement, I won't ask why you're in the back with the light out.
Thank you. Among our other interests we're star gazers and actually search out the few remaining dark places to enjoy the night sky.

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