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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-18-2013, 10:36 AM
SeanMH-6 SeanMH-6 is online now
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HVAC control panel replacement DIY

This DIY is for replacement of the plastic HVAC control panel interface. I would like to start off by saying that if you are here for a missing button(s) on your panel...



You should first visit http://www.ihkabuttons.com/. However if you already messed up and bought the whole panel like i did, or if your panel is damaged beyond individual button replacement, I hope this DIY will help guide in the right direction. This is my first DIY so any suggestions/corrections are more than appreciated (specifically on the nomenclature on the relevant parts).

TOOLS:
Here is what I had...



Here is what I used...



*NOTE* I used the duct tape to hold up the interface as further explained in step 5, you can use anything that gets the job done. no strips of duct tape should be used during this DIY.

1) Disconnect battery (I do it from the positive lead)



2) Remove the HVAC control unit as an assembly by releasing the two clips on the sides of the assembly with a screwdriver. Slap some electrical tape on the tip to help prevent damage.

NOTE: if your worried about leaving a trace with your screwdriver, people have successfully removed the HVAC assembly by pushing from the back of the DSC panel through the cup holders, then using that void to push from the back of the HVAC panel.









If your using any kind of force, your doing it wrong, because these clips are real easy to operate. the next 2 pictures show the plastic interface removed so the clips (in red) can be seen easier.





Don't let the last two pictures confuse you, you should be here.



3) Now is time to remove the plastic interface that you are replacing, along with the display unit that is retained inside of the plastic interface, from the HVAC control unit. There are 8 clips, 4 on top and 4 on bottom. Removal was easy with just my hands, but a small flat tip might help if yours is a bit tighter (refer to blue dots in image below. above for the 4 top clips, the 4 on bottom are the same type, just not able to get a picture).



Here is what you should have after step 3.



and this is the unit itself which is left alone in the car for the remainder of the replacement.



4) Take the interface with the display unit fastened inside to a work bench, or to a kitchen table in my case.
*TIP*(make sure the area is clean because if you slip up on separating the display unit from the interface, your going to have electrical contacts flying everywhere and if you lose one, hope you have a good junkyard nearby)
Now carefully remove the metal display unit from the plastic interface by releasing the 10 metal prongs (5 on each side, LABELED IN GREEN).



Till you get to this...



Then this... carefully in order to retain the metal contacts in position ( yes i know you have to swap all the contacts over to the new panel, this way, hopefully you can see how they all sit)



5) Place the new plastic interface on your two objects that space the interface buttons off of the work area. Ensure the objects are not pressing any of the buttons, depressing the buttons with the electrical contacts in place will displace the contacts. (see pictures on step 4, the picture below depicts the placement of the interface on your objects upside down for easier reference)



6)Move all those electrical contacts that look like this...



over to the new interface. All the contacts face the same way WITH THE EXCEPTION of the fan speed rocker. The one on the right is correctly facing the opposite direction (middle contact in picture below)



*NOTE* ensure the pins look like the one on the bottom and not the top...



If not, THEN FIX IT! Otherwise you will get this (see picture below, the contact on bottom is incorrect) the first time you press in the button once assembled, and the button won't have any "spring" to it.



7) Seat the display unit into the replaced interface evenly as possible, seating one retaining clip at a time. I worked from the outside pins toward the inside ones. Its kind of tricky because if you knock over any of those contacts while seating the display unit, you have to remove it and try again. Be patient. The first time i did this it took me several tries to get the hang of it. Don't get frustrated and break anything, these parts are fragile and particularly expensive. Ensure all metal pins on the display unit are well seated inside the receivers on your new interface. Once the pins are all seated, give all the buttons a test.



None should collapse and all should have a nice spring to it.



Your set! Re-installation is the same as removal. Ensure the assembled HVAC panel (display unit and plastic control interface) is well seated on the HVAC control unit, push the entire assembly back into the dash, plug in your battery and your good to go!

Last edited by SeanMH-6; 03-08-2014 at 04:57 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2014, 01:43 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Thanks for this DIY write-up. I'm apparently one of the few that doesn't (didn't) know how that panel comes off. Searched and your thread was one of the few to come up, but I think it should be a Sticky.

EDIT

I just went out to my car and looked a bit, decided to open one of the cup holders and press a finger behind the thin ASC button strip, removing that. Then from that opening I was able to press the AC panel out from behind with my fingertips. No prying needed, at least on my car.... And in my case, turns out my sampling fan (the thing I wanted to check) is clean as a whistle....

Last edited by pleiades; 03-07-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 03-07-2014, 01:46 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Great write-up! I got one question though: can you replace the wheat bread with pumpernickel?
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  #4  
Old 03-07-2014, 06:47 PM
SeanMH-6 SeanMH-6 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiades View Post
I just went out to my car and looked a bit, decided to open one of the cup holders and press a finger behind the thin ASC button strip, removing that. Then from that opening I was able to press the AC panel out from behind with my fingertips. No prying needed, at least on my car.... And in my case, turns out my sampling fan (the thing I wanted to check) is clean as a whistle....

I didn't leave any trace when I was prying, it seams to have a pretty solid feel to it. Although I'm never against taking a couple extra seconds to not risk damaging things, if I can change that from my phone I will.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
Great write-up! I got one question though: can you replace the wheat bread with pumpernickel?

Thanks! Immediately after I posted I felt it was a little overkill but it's out here now.
the autozone clerk (the source for all my information in this tutorial) said my car would spontaneously combust with the use of pumpernickel on any maintenance task on this particular model. He recommends extreme caution.



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  #5  
Old 03-07-2014, 07:52 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanMH-6 View Post
I didn't leave any trace when I was prying, it seams to have a pretty solid feel to it. Although I'm never against taking a couple extra seconds to not risk damaging things, if I can change that from my phone I will.

Yikes, I was only mentioning what I did with my car, didn't at all mean to imply any changes were needed to your DIY. As far as I know, some of these cars don't have a way to get the panel out other than with your approach. In any case, all your pics are gone. They were what helped me to understand I didn't have to worry about any fasteners behind the trim.

I think I need a timeout....
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2014, 04:04 AM
SeanMH-6 SeanMH-6 is online now
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Mein Auto: 2002 525i sport, premium
I just added your information, at least I think I did. Looks like bimmerapp just destroyed my post in edit mode. I'll work on getting the pictures back up.


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pictures are back up, if you see any issues let me know. I just woke up and i made some changes.

Last edited by SeanMH-6; 03-08-2014 at 04:58 AM. Reason: update
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