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  #1  
Old 02-01-2003, 10:29 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Manual climate control retrofit...(the saga continues)

I have a 325 with the auto climate control, but have always preferred the looks, greater control and ergonomics of the manual unit (w/ the 3 dials). A few posters on e46fanatics had posted that they had successfully retrofitted auto units in cars that had come w/ the manual unit. I purchased a used manual unit from one of these posters, and crossed my fingers that it would work (knowing that I was probably the first, and the last person to attempt this retrofit).

The first challenge was getting my old climate control out. There are 2 ways: remove the radio, and push the unit out from behind, or use a BMW special tool to pull it out. I could not get the unit to budge, so I purchased the special tool. Even then, I could not get the auto unit out! Finally, after lots of finessing and the right amount of pressure, I was able to get the damn thing out (tonight)!. After I got it out and compared the clips that held it in with the manual unit's, I realized why it was so much harder to remove than had been reported by people who have removed the manual unit. The triangular shaped clips on the auto unit are steeper, stiffer, and the apex is more of a point rather than a curve. So, if anyone else attempts this, be warned that its a b*tch to get the auto unit out.

As the other posters had stated, the 2 units share the same types of connectors-- so its definitely "plug and play". I plugged the manual unit in, set the dial to the same position that auto unit had been set to when I removed it, and turned the key to the accessory condition.

The good news:
-The fan speed works
-The buttons work (rear defrost, AC, and recirc)
-the lighting works
-air did come out of the vents
-it looks better (to me).
-it weighs about .2 ounces less than the auto unit (see, this really is a performance mod . )

The bad news:
-the vent selector knob didn't work

I had sort of been expecting that, so I tried some additional things. I turned the fan speed to 0, and turned the vent selector through each of its detents over the course of approx 2 minutes. Each time I moved it a click, I could hear the whir of a stepper motor-- which sounded promising. Unfortunately, when I turned the unit back on, and tried to select a different vent position, nothing happened (air continued to come out the front vent). I disconnected the unit, and plugged in the auto unit again. Foruntaly, it worked fine, and tried adjusting the vents. Worked perfectly. I decided to shut the auto unit completely off and plug in the manual unit again. THis time, I could hear the fan whirring, but air wasn't coming out of any vent position (I guess because the off position of the auto unit shuts all the vents).

I can't think of anything else to try, so for now i'm going back to my auto unit. Any ideas?

Actually have the manual control so close to being installed and working, definitely made me see the pros and cons of both units.'
-I would miss the auto front defost program
-You can't select all 3 vent positions with the manual unit (although I rarely do this)
-Its more solidly constructed than the manual unit. Th manual unit makes lots of plastic creaking noises. Also, the fan speed control squeaks when going from position to position.

Despite the downsides, I still want to get the manual unit working (if possible). I briefly considered the possibility of just leaving the vent position permanently set to the top vent and installing it-- but realized how stupid that would be. Overally, I prefer it to the auto unit and am hoping that a liberal application of lubricant will quell some of its squeaks. Also hoping that somewhat out there has some sort of tip to get the vent knob working right.

And yes, I acknowledge that this a silly, frivolous mod. But, its something I want to do nonetheless.
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Last edited by bmw325; 02-01-2003 at 10:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2003, 11:09 PM
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RChoudry RChoudry is offline
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Mein Auto: 86 325es; 87 325iC; 06 M3
well, I think if you can get it going, it's great that you prefer it over the auto version.

at least you tried.

I remember my 01 car's system had a few gremlins, but the 02 is remarkably more consistent.

good luck.
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2003, 12:52 AM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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I think I've mentioned this before, but the manual -> auto official retrofit is a bit more involved than the control unit, so there may be a need to 'undo' some of this when performing the reverse.
  #4  
Old 02-02-2003, 08:11 AM
03BMW330 03BMW330 is offline
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As far as I remember you can have your dealer set climate control to your specific settings when you open your car via remote. Which suggest that is somehow connected to I - BUS if this is correct than that could be your problem? Manual unit canít be set by remote or any other means but manually.
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2003, 09:11 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kaz
I think I've mentioned this before, but the manual -> auto official retrofit is a bit more involved than the control unit, so there may be a need to 'undo' some of this when performing the reverse.
Do you know any specifics? I do find it interesting that they share the exact same connectors--if there were bigger differences, I'd kind of expect them to use different connectors (but I know that's not necessarily true). I also find it promising that atleast 2 others have done the reverse by just swapping the control units-- and that my swap is about 75% functional. I did browse through the TIS, and didn't find any special procedures. But, I did notice that the base climate control unit (the is the unit without an A/C button sold on some euro models) is a totally different beast. It appears to work, atleast in part, with old-fashioned bowden cables and minimal electronics. The removal procedure for it is totally different than for the Auto unit and manual AC unit. I could defintely imagine that retrofitting the auto unit onto a car w/ this unit would be very involved-- could this be the scenario that you may have heard or read about?
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2003, 11:12 AM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by robg
But, I did notice that the base climate control unit (the is the unit without an A/C button sold on some euro models) is a totally different beast. It appears to work, atleast in part, with old-fashioned bowden cables and minimal electronics. The removal procedure for it is totally different than for the Auto unit and manual AC unit. I could defintely imagine that retrofitting the auto unit onto a car w/ this unit would be very involved-- could this be the scenario that you may have heard or read about?
Huh, I didn't realize there is an even simpler system. But the info I have is a IHKR->IHKA conversion.

After closer inspection, all it appears to do is add the temp sensor and harness, add 2 actuators (a frech/recirc one and a distribution ons) and a replacement harness to tie those two actuators with all the rest of the actuators and the control panel. It also requires a trip to the MoDIC.

The two things that make sense to me in terms of what's causing your problem is that distribution actuator, and the coding.

But since you said other people have done it, I have 1 question. I know some people's IHKAs always remember the last-used setting (eg. mine) and others reset back to some default setting. Which way did yours operate? If its the latter, that might be the problem since the IHKR probably doesn't have a provision for the knobs to come back to a default setting every time.
  #7  
Old 02-02-2003, 12:48 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kaz
Huh, I didn't realize there is an even simpler system. But the info I have is a IHKR->IHKA conversion.

After closer inspection, all it appears to do is add the temp sensor and harness, add 2 actuators (a frech/recirc one and a distribution ons) and a replacement harness to tie those two actuators with all the rest of the actuators and the control panel. It also requires a trip to the MoDIC.

The two things that make sense to me in terms of what's causing your problem is that distribution actuator, and the coding.

But since you said other people have done it, I have 1 question. I know some people's IHKAs always remember the last-used setting (eg. mine) and others reset back to some default setting. Which way did yours operate? If its the latter, that might be the problem since the IHKR probably doesn't have a provision for the knobs to come back to a default setting every time.

Kaz

I found the retrofit kit that you're talking about on the ETK. It does appear to involve 3 new actuators and a new blower motor housing. My IHKA remembers the last vent setting used. ITs this setting that my manual unit uses regardless of which way I turned the vent selector. I also made sure that the vent knob was set to the same position as the the setting on my IHKA prior to removal. But, the IHKR unit appears unable to change the vent position beyond that. If I try turning off the IHKA prior to the swap, it closes all air-distribution flaps, and when I put the manual unit it can't open the flaps (I can turn the fan on high, but no air is able to escape). I think this is the "default" setting that you mentioned. The one intriguing thing is that if I turn the fan speed to 0, and then turn the vent selector knob one click at a time, I can hear a little stepper motor whirring-- unfortuntately it seems to have no effect on actual air distribution. My guess is that the answer lies in those 3 additional actuators that the auto system has and only it knows how to control. I do wonder what motor is whirring when I move the vent knob. I think you're right-- a trip to the MoDIC/DIS is probably required to get this working right.
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2004, 03:29 PM
synkro synkro is offline
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hi robg & others,
Ive been workking on this too, however my car came with the manual rotary controls, so i looked about on forums and read that the automatic climate control (digital one) had the exact same connectors. anyway to cut a long story short...i bought a digital unit from ebay then found out that my car had the bowden cables so it doesnt work with the 3 rectangular multipin connectors on the new unit i bought!

Could some please help me, is there a kit that will remove the need for the bowden cables?

Thanks!


Aido, 318ci
Ireland
  #9  
Old 12-21-2004, 07:22 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synkro
hi robg & others,
Ive been workking on this too, however my car came with the manual rotary controls, so i looked about on forums and read that the automatic climate control (digital one) had the exact same connectors. anyway to cut a long story short...i bought a digital unit from ebay then found out that my car had the bowden cables so it doesnt work with the 3 rectangular multipin connectors on the new unit i bought!

Could some please help me, is there a kit that will remove the need for the bowden cables?

Thanks!


Aido, 318ci
Ireland
Sorry- i'm sure its possible, but I don't think there's a kit to do it. SO, I assume your car has no A/C, correct? I still find it interesting that BMW makes a completely different system for the non-AC version.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:19 PM
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EdCT EdCT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
Sorry- i'm sure its possible, but I don't think there's a kit to do it. SO, I assume your car has no A/C, correct? I still find it interesting that BMW makes a completely different system for the non-AC version.
Hey Rob,

A complete shot in the dark here, but I'm guessing this is a software issue? The plug 'n play probably makes it easier (and less expensive) to build the car on the assembly line, but I'd imagine some further "programming" might be in order somewhere down the line.

I, too, often wished I had the simpler manual CC, heck, I'd like the whole car to be a bit simpler, but I give you credit, retrofitting a "down" market system takes some moxy.

Good luck!
  #11  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:28 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdCT
Hey Rob,

A complete shot in the dark here, but I'm guessing this is a software issue? The plug 'n play probably makes it easier (and less expensive) to build the car on the assembly line, but I'd imagine some further "programming" might be in order somewhere down the line.

I, too, often wished I had the simpler manual CC, heck, I'd like the whole car to be a bit simpler, but I give you credit, retrofitting a "down" market system takes some moxy.

Good luck!
This thread is about 2 years old; i've since given up on this. Yes, its probably just a matter of re-programming. I"ve since made peace w/ the auto control; but I still find it ergonomically offensive (who ever thought buttons were a good idea for changing fan and temp?) Atleast that's one thing BMW improved w/ recent models.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:39 PM
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EdCT EdCT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
This thread is about 2 years old; i've since given up on this. Yes, its probably just a matter of re-programming. I"ve since made peace w/ the auto control; but I still find it ergonomically offensive (who ever thought buttons were a good idea for changing fan and temp?) Atleast that's one thing BMW improved w/ recent models.
Yikes, that's what I get for not checking the date

I always tell this same boring story, but here it is again: Years ago, pro audio manufacturers figured out they could add a lot of useless features to their gear by hiding said features in a blindingly stupid array of micro-processor driven sub-menus.

They thought this cool as it left the unit with a "clean" and "uncluttered" look.

Trouble is, musicians HATED it, often not using the intended features simply because they couldn't find them.

Gradually, buttons and knobs have made a comeback and every one is happy once again.

Sometimes there's just no need to reinvent the wheel.

Ed
  #13  
Old 12-22-2004, 02:08 AM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
This thread is about 2 years old; i've since given up on this. Yes, its probably just a matter of re-programming. I"ve since made peace w/ the auto control; but I still find it ergonomically offensive (who ever thought buttons were a good idea for changing fan and temp?) Atleast that's one thing BMW improved w/ recent models.
Rob, I have also beat this horse to death and found out exactly why the two control units are not interchangeable (not if you want completely replicated function set, anyway). I wanted to go from the manual system to the automatic system, as I found the manual system too slow to respond to fast defrost requests, and was willing to tolerate its less intuitive UI. Would you (or anyone else) like me to post it here, or shall I send you a PM so you can be bored to death in private?
  #14  
Old 12-22-2004, 05:39 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_thomas
Rob, I have also beat this horse to death and found out exactly why the two control units are not interchangeable (not if you want completely replicated function set, anyway). I wanted to go from the manual system to the automatic system, as I found the manual system too slow to respond to fast defrost requests, and was willing to tolerate its less intuitive UI. Would you (or anyone else) like me to post it here, or shall I send you a PM so you can be bored to death in private?
Please post it here; the title of this thread should be enough to warn others about the potential of being bored to death.
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  #15  
Old 12-30-2004, 02:24 PM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
Please post it here; the title of this thread should be enough to warn others about the potential of being bored to death.
Sorry Rob, I only just woke up to find you'd posted a reply

If you think about the auto climate system for a second, you will note that at any one time, all three distribution ducts (defrost, face, feet) can be active (the face-level output can also be blended with unheated air to prevent people getting drowsy).

Because of the design of the panel, the manual system only allows two outputs at any one time, except when you select any combination of face and feet output, in which case a small output is maintained through the defrost vents to prevent fogging.

Each system uses stepper motors - Bowden cables are only used in the very base, heater-only models (and also the M3 CSL, unless you spec ACC). But the method of controlling the stepper motors is different - and the cams they drive are also different. When you install the complete "upgrade" kit, a separate loom, an extra stepper motor and new cams are included. The kit requires the removal of the dashboard, which is why the job takes so long (6 hours, according to BMW). Existing stepper motors are retained, but plugged into the new loom - which presumably means that the existing "manual" loom with which the car was built lies unused.

If you go from the stock manual to the new auto panel, the air continues to blow from the vents which were last set by the manual system. The same applies in reverse. Some functions are the same - rear demist, compressor on/off, recirc, fan up/down and temp. Air distribution control and auto/recirc (since the manual cars don't have the "bad air" sensor) don't work if you go from the manual to the auto system without the proper upgrade kit, and vice versa; going from the stock auto system to the manual control panel you lose the ability to select distribution, automatic recirc, and the AUTO mode.
 

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