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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-22-2013, 02:00 PM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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A/C engaging and disengaging

Is it normal for the A/C in a 2003 BMW 325i to engage and disengage continuously ?
Any thoughts ?
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2013, 03:10 PM
cvx5832 cvx5832 is offline
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Originally Posted by BMW318i_E36 View Post
Is it normal for the A/C in a 2003 BMW 325i to engage and disengage continuously ?
Any thoughts ?
No. Low refrigerant. Variable rate compressors don't cycle on and off like the old style compressors. In my experience by the time it's doing that, you're ~60% low.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2013, 05:02 PM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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I am kind of figuring that, I really hate dealing with AC systems. My AC was over filled, went to my mechanic, now it's under filled. when I am at a red light, it engages on and off, like 5 times with the rpm needle moving.
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  #4  
Old 06-22-2013, 06:38 PM
cvx5832 cvx5832 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW318i_E36 View Post
I am kind of figuring that, I really hate dealing with AC systems. My AC was over filled, went to my mechanic, now it's under filled. when I am at a red light, it engages on and off, like 5 times with the rpm needle moving.
I'd go to a different A/C guy next time. The newer machines are much better, automating the entire process of recovering, holding vacuum and filling with the precise amount of refrigerant (specific to the car), all without missing a beat or human intervention. Your guy still sounds like he's doing old-fashioned gauges. And while there's nothing wrong with that, you really have to know what you're doing.
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  #5  
Old 06-22-2013, 10:35 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Pressure limit switches
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2013, 08:01 AM
vandyboy vandyboy is offline
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I would definitely take the car to a better garage with more up-to-date equipment. At this point you have two options:

1) Let the new garage fill the system properly with R-134a and see if it remains cold. If so, problem solved.

2) If your a/c repeats this problem after being serviced, have that new garage do a die test for search for leaks. Perhaps you have something as simple as an O-ring leaking. Labor wise, worst case is a bad evaporator or expansion valve; condensers, receiver dryers and compressors are not nearly as time consuming to install.

I truly believe your only problem is not having right level of refrigerant in the system. If not, then shop around for the best prices you can on necessary parts and good luck.

Last edited by vandyboy; 06-23-2013 at 08:05 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2013, 08:36 AM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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My mechanic is very good but AC systems are complicated machines. I was shopping around for an AC shop, some AC specialists want $60 to check the system and another $150 to put freon in, if nothing is wrong. I would hate to think what they would charge if something is wrong. Don't want to get ripped off here. Especially this time of year. I'm going to go see what's up at my mechanic. He is a BMW mechanic, with all the BMW computers and equipment. So far his service has been excellent, but if this AC problem isn't resolved, I guess, I'm going to an AC dedicated shop and hope, I don't have to mortgage out my house. Hehehe !

Last edited by BMW318i_E36; 06-23-2013 at 08:39 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2013, 12:45 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Originally Posted by BMW318i_E36 View Post
My mechanic is very good but AC systems are complicated machines.
Don't disagree with anything you say, but when I'm riding around in a baking car, spending a few hundred to get my A/C up to snuff looks pretty good to me!

I'm old school. A/C is still considered a miracle by me.
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2013, 01:09 PM
cvx5832 cvx5832 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW318i_E36 View Post
My mechanic is very good but AC systems are complicated machines. I was shopping around for an AC shop, some AC specialists want $60 to check the system and another $150 to put freon in, if nothing is wrong. I would hate to think what they would charge if something is wrong. Don't want to get ripped off here. Especially this time of year. I'm going to go see what's up at my mechanic. He is a BMW mechanic, with all the BMW computers and equipment. So far his service has been excellent, but if this AC problem isn't resolved, I guess, I'm going to an AC dedicated shop and hope, I don't have to mortgage out my house. Hehehe !
Actually, they're not, at least not anymore. Any shop with an A/C machine from this decade will recover, pull vacuum and refill all without guessing. Do you have Yelp service or similar in Canada? Look up the local businesses around you and start there.

Also, I've seen that these shops with more modern machines charge less for the service because they don't need a technician hanging over your car watching gauges. They simply wheel the cart to your car, plug it to the high and low ports, enter how long it's supposed to hold vacuum before it starts refilling and enter the amount of refrigerant to be put in (with or without oil as on option). Unless it's determined you need to hold vacuum for a while to boil off moisture, you're literally in and out in 20 minutes.

Be open to other shops. I don't doubt your guy is good, but there could be better guys out there if you look.
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2013, 08:46 PM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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I am going there, lets see.
Actually, my ac is not bad, cool but not cold. The passenger side vents feel warmer, and the fact that it is engaging and disengaging is really bugging me. You guys are a great help, if things don't work out tomorrow, than I guess I have to look for a shop specialized in AC systems that don't rip me off. BTW - I gotta say this, Audi's have the best AC's, my brothers 2000 A4 is nice strong, and it's cooler than the North Pole (lol) . Never needed a recharge, even after 13 years.
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:13 PM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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Went to an AC shop got the old freon vacumed out, and put new freon in, works fine know (knock on wood), all vents blowing cold and the ac isn't engaging and disengaging as it before !
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  #12  
Old 06-25-2013, 06:11 PM
cvx5832 cvx5832 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW318i_E36 View Post
Went to an AC shop got the old freon vacumed out, and put new freon in, works fine know (knock on wood), all vents blowing cold and the ac isn't engaging and disengaging as it before !
Good job! Looks like you found an acceptable AC shop.
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  #13  
Old 06-25-2013, 10:03 PM
geeek204 geeek204 is offline
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Now you guys got me all paranoid! I can hear and see (RPM drop) my compressor kick on every 3-5 mins if I'm sitting at a light or in a parking lot, does that sound normal? Or should I grab a kit next time I'm at autozone?
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