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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 11-10-2012, 03:17 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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Location: Massachusetts
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 525i
2001 525i No Defrost Air

A friend's 2001 E39 with a "dial" for controlling vent, defrost, foot ari flow has lost any air coming through the defrost vents. Dash and heat vents work fine. When the dial is rotated to defrost, the dash and heat vents close but the defrost vents do not open, or at least do not blow air. Can anyone offer an idea on where to start looking? Obviously a fuse would be a thing of beauty. That and other ideas are welcome.
Many thanks.
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2002 525i 164k
1988 911 Cabrio
1986 911 Coupe (track car)
Greater Boston, MA
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  #2  
Old 11-10-2012, 03:21 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Sounds like a cable has broken or slipped off. I assume the car has a manual HVAC.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2012, 07:50 AM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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Thanks Ed. Probably right. If manual HVAC means the control in a three position dial and heat control is manual (versus LED), yes, manual. I do believe the defrost redirect is electronic as the dial switch does not have the "feel" of manually operating cables. So, now I need to figure out how to open the dash and center console to debug this.
Any ideas anyone on this?
Thanks. Chris
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2002 525i 164k
1988 911 Cabrio
1986 911 Coupe (track car)
Greater Boston, MA
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2012, 08:33 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Chris:

Your bud has the IHKR panel. We had the IHKA, which used motors to control air distribution. For the IHKR, per the Bentley, it says "Bowden cables attach it to the air distribution flaps in the IHKR housing". Hence, he may have a cable failure or it has disconnected somehow. The instructions for removing the IHKR panel are:

"1. Remove switch panel below IHKR panel
2. Push out IHKR control panel by reaching through switch panel opening
3. Disconnect electrical harness connectors
4. Disconnect Bowden cables from back of panel

CAUTION - Note color coding of Bowden cables. When reinstalling, reattach cables to correct control levers."

However, info on the IHKR housing is not available. Hence, if the problem is not behind the panel, then I can't provide any info on the housing. If you want to talk about this, give me a shout. I'm home most of today. If your bud wants to swing by, we can take a look together.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:01 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Ditto what has been mentioned above. If you have the manual IHKR control unit...then bowden cables are used to actuate the HVAC flaps instead of the electronic stepper motors used on e39s with the IHKA control panel.

If the defrost dial doesn't seem to "feel" manual...then the implication that the bowden cable has become disconnected is even greater:

manually adjusting IHKR control panel


item #10 is the bowden cable...1 each for the defroster, dash, and floor vent flaps
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 11-11-2012 at 09:08 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2012, 02:50 PM
Neversaynever Neversaynever is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 525i
Fud and Quick,
You guys are simply tremendous. As Fud knows, my 525 went away and was replaced by a Tacoma truck. There is not a day when I do not miss that E39. Not one. The truck is fine and serves the purpose, but no comparison.
It looks like finding and checking the bowden cable is not beyond my capabilities. I will check out the car and get back to you.
Many thanks.
Chris
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2002 525i 164k
1988 911 Cabrio
1986 911 Coupe (track car)
Greater Boston, MA
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  #7  
Old 08-11-2013, 03:57 PM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Location: USA, Georgia
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 2001 525i (E-39)
How to properly remove?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Chris:

Your bud has the IHKR panel. We had the IHKA, which used motors to control air distribution. For the IHKR, per the Bentley, it says "Bowden cables attach it to the air distribution flaps in the IHKR housing". Hence, he may have a cable failure or it has disconnected somehow. The instructions for removing the IHKR panel are:

"1. Remove switch panel below IHKR panel
2. Push out IHKR control panel by reaching through switch panel opening
3. Disconnect electrical harness connectors
4. Disconnect Bowden cables from back of panel

CAUTION - Note color coding of Bowden cables. When reinstalling, reattach cables to correct control levers."

However, info on the IHKR housing is not available. Hence, if the problem is not behind the panel, then I can't provide any info on the housing. If you want to talk about this, give me a shout. I'm home most of today. If your bud wants to swing by, we can take a look together.
I need to look behind my switch panel (the 3 knobs temp/vents/blower) to check the bowden cable to the vent control. I would appreciate some instructions or video to do this. I feel like every time I do something like this I break it...
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2013, 07:55 PM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i (E-39)
Defrost Not Blowing Air

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiredawg100 View Post
I need to look behind my switch panel (the 3 knobs temp/vents/blower) to check the bowden cable to the vent control. I would appreciate some instructions or video to do this. I feel like every time I do something like this I break it...
Since I had no responses regarding the removal to the vent control panel, I venture out and figured it out. To re-iterate the problem, I was basically having the problem as described at the beginning of this thread. I have the manual vent/climate control knobs. My heating and AC is working fine it simply would not come out of the defrost when switched to the defrost position. Pics below...
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  #9  
Old 10-21-2013, 12:55 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
great follow up & resolution. I'm sure some one in the future looking for this info will appreciate it.
__________________
Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #10  
Old 05-26-2014, 06:08 PM
zybanuser zybanuser is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 525
Thanks guys for this thread. Have the same problems for over 4 years now and finally found the culprit and solution to it.

wire, that's some serious demolition lol. Any other way to get to that cable with less hassle?

Many thanks!!!!
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  #11  
Old 05-26-2014, 09:31 PM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Location: USA, Georgia
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i (E-39)
Quote:
Originally Posted by zybanuser View Post
Thanks guys for this thread. Have the same problems for over 4 years now and finally found the culprit and solution to it.

wire, that's some serious demolition lol. Any other way to get to that cable with less hassle?

Many thanks!!!!
Sorry, I don't think so. I started with just the middle console area. But soon realized, the way all the molding is overlaying, I needed to work back to the glove box just to get the middle console off. One simply needs the space to visually see and physically work the cable.
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2014, 01:29 PM
Pete315 Pete315 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i
Quick question,on my 2001 525i with the manual heater control, does the knob that controls vent/floor/defrost rotate completely around in circles? I can rotate mine either clockwise or counterclockwise but it gets stuck when it's almost straight up at defrost.in other words, if dial is St the 9:00 position, I can't turn it clockwise to the 3:00 position. The switch does not allow it to lock in the defrost setting. Feels like something is getting hung up.
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  #13  
Old 10-08-2014, 03:44 PM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i (E-39)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete315 View Post
Quick question,on my 2001 525i with the manual heater control, does the knob that controls vent/floor/defrost rotate completely around in circles? I can rotate mine either clockwise or counterclockwise but it gets stuck when it's almost straight up at defrost.in other words, if dial is St the 9:00 position, I can't turn it clockwise to the 3:00 position. The switch does not allow it to lock in the defrost setting. Feels like something is getting hung up.
Hey Pete315, it should rotate freely 360 degrees. as you are rotating it you should feel a little resistance as the vents move into it proper position. If you decide to tackle this annoying problem. There are some rotation type gears on the left side (passenger side) of the console under the dash area. It think you view/access this area by removing the glove box and the side console panel. If nothing is apparent there you will have to remove a bit more see my pics above to properly access the area behind the center console. Keep in mind it some pieces fit together by overlapping vs a puzzle where pieces fit together.
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  #14  
Old 10-08-2014, 06:51 PM
Pete315 Pete315 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i
Thanks for the quick reply. All the doors work properly. It's just that something is causing the knob to hang up when it gets near defrost. Great pics you posted.
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2014, 09:43 AM
Pete315 Pete315 is offline
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All fixed. Took 1 minute. I pulled out the heater control assembly and saw that the blue line defrost cable slipped off the piņon the controller. Put back on and now works fine. Thanks for your help.
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2014, 02:24 PM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i (E-39)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete315 View Post
All fixed. Took 1 minute. I pulled out the heater control assembly and saw that the blue line defrost cable slipped off the piņon the controller. Put back on and now works fine. Thanks for your help.
Glad to hear you fixed it. Just curious, you said "1 minute"..."pulled out the heater control assembly"...can you clarify, what exactly you did using my pics above. Just wondering, if I did not need to remove all that dash-stuff...just-in-case I need to do this again.
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  #17  
Old 10-09-2014, 03:45 PM
Pete315 Pete315 is offline
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The heater control assembly slides right out. I used a plastic picked a pulled it out about 6 inches which was more than enough to see that cable fell off the controller.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2014, 04:14 PM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 525i (E-39)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete315 View Post
The heater control assembly slides right out. I used a plastic picked a pulled it out about 6 inches which was more than enough to see that cable fell off the controller.
Whaaaat...really??? I tried to remove it that way, I but could not find any tabs or access points or it would not move and I was afraid of breaking it. And to clarify the "heater control assembly" would be the label "1" in the above diagram pic...anywho, great info to know...
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  #19  
Old 10-10-2014, 07:26 AM
Pete315 Pete315 is offline
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Yes. It comes right out.
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  #20  
Old 10-12-2014, 11:59 AM
zybanuser zybanuser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiredawg100 View Post
Whaaaat...really??? I tried to remove it that way, I but could not find any tabs or access points or it would not move and I was afraid of breaking it. And to clarify the "heater control assembly" would be the label "1" in the above diagram pic...anywho, great info to know...

Wire, Pete was right. The IHKA slides right out.

I took the radio panel out first, then pushed the IHKA out from behind. Took 2 minutes thou, and not one

Now i have defrost!! Woohoo!

Thanks!!!
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  #21  
Old 10-14-2014, 08:21 AM
wiredawg100 wiredawg100 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zybanuser View Post
Wire, Pete was right. The IHKA slides right out.

I took the radio panel out first, then pushed the IHKA out from behind. Took 2 minutes thou, and not one

Now i have defrost!! Woohoo!

Thanks!!!
I swear I tried this method and mine did not seem to want to budge...LOL Anywho, great to know and thk for the pics..
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