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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 10-31-2009, 05:47 PM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Instant blindness

More fun with X3

- Get in car
- Drive a couple of miles
- Heat on Auto
- All windows fog up instantly
- Instant blindness, visibility = 0

Yes, there is a nice windshield defogger. In the time it takes to defrost windows enough to see out (can't see through the passenger side window to pull over to the right shoulder or through the tailgate window either) the car would crash many times. Just sheer luck to have no traffic in either direction...sheer luck.

Coolant leak? Pano roof leaking? Vapor barrier leaking? Wet carpeting? People doing the steamy? Hot and heavy conversation over a long period of time? Rain? Really cold outside? Co2 spewing cows? Tapped the air recirc button.

The air recirc was on for less than a minute and the entire drive took under five.

Unbelievably dangerous. Why aren't the heat/recirc modes incompatible with each other? For that matter, I've had cars with air recirc and they didn't do this instant fog thing.
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2009, 07:09 PM
Rebound X3 Rebound X3 is offline
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Please get rid of your X3 immediately.

Or stop posting.
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2009, 07:37 PM
Glock13 Glock13 is offline
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Since it sucks so bad, I'm sure you would be willing to let it go for a reasonable price just to get this mess off your hands. How much are you asking?
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2009, 07:53 PM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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If ever there were a lemon this one seems to be it. It is almost as if a bunch of under employed car salesmen from a competing brand got together around the coffee machine and decided, "Hey since we aren't selling cars, why don't we wind up the Bimmer guys with some posts on their board . Not of course to say that these problems are anything but legit. I am sure there really is an X3 out there that is so bad it boggles the mind.. I have had my share of problems with the beast, but all have to do with the horrible ride and the rest of it is pretty good, especially the vent system that clears out the mist almost immediately. This problem car needs to go back to Magna for a tear down and engineering investigation IMHO.

Last edited by UncleJ; 10-31-2009 at 07:55 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2009, 08:20 PM
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madurodave madurodave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPXYZ View Post
More fun with X3

- Get in car
- Drive a couple of miles
- Heat on Auto
- All windows fog up instantly
- Instant blindness, visibility = 0

Yes, there is a nice windshield defogger. In the time it takes to defrost windows enough to see out (can't see through the passenger side window to pull over to the right shoulder or through the tailgate window either) the car would crash many times. Just sheer luck to have no traffic in either direction...sheer luck.

Coolant leak? Pano roof leaking? Vapor barrier leaking? Wet carpeting? People doing the steamy? Hot and heavy conversation over a long period of time? Rain? Really cold outside? Co2 spewing cows? Tapped the air recirc button.

The air recirc was on for less than a minute and the entire drive took under five.

Unbelievably dangerous. Why aren't the heat/recirc modes incompatible with each other? For that matter, I've had cars with air recirc and they didn't do this instant fog thing.
I don't know what your problem is, PPXYZ. Why don't you take the 20% loss and get rid of the X3? It sounds like you (pardon the pun) don't have the foggiest about how to operate a vehicle.

My suggestion - sell the car and take the bus.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2009, 10:22 PM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPXYZ View Post
More fun with X3

- Get in car
- Drive a couple of miles
- Heat on Auto
- All windows fog up instantly
- Instant blindness, visibility = 0

Yes, there is a nice windshield defogger. In the time it takes to defrost windows enough to see out (can't see through the passenger side window to pull over to the right shoulder or through the tailgate window either) the car would crash many times. Just sheer luck to have no traffic in either direction...sheer luck.

Coolant leak? Pano roof leaking? Vapor barrier leaking? Wet carpeting? People doing the steamy? Hot and heavy conversation over a long period of time? Rain? Really cold outside? Co2 spewing cows? Tapped the air recirc button.

The air recirc was on for less than a minute and the entire drive took under five.

Unbelievably dangerous. Why aren't the heat/recirc modes incompatible with each other? For that matter, I've had cars with air recirc and they didn't do this instant fog thing.
These days lots of manufacturers expect everyone to run the A/C compressor all the time, whether they're cooling or heating. Running the A/C with Recirculate and the temp set warm will not cause fogging. Some people (cough, my brother-in-law) think you should always use recirculate in cold weather, because, after all, the air outside is cold. Those people run the A/C compressor all the time. And if they're anything like my brother-in-law they can't be convinced otherwise.

I will give you that bimmers seem to fog up for strange reasons. My E46 fogs sometimes for which I can't find any reason.
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Last edited by tturedraider; 11-02-2009 at 08:59 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2009, 10:59 PM
ducx3 ducx3 is offline
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Was the A/C on? If not, every car will fog up in those conditions. A/C will strip out the moisture from the inside air, thus preventing fogging.
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2009, 11:56 PM
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HT417 HT417 is offline
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Originally Posted by ducx3 View Post
Was the A/C on? If not, every car will fog up in those conditions. A/C will strip out the moisture from the inside air, thus preventing fogging.
+1. The SA's at the shop recommended I keep the A/C always on to keep the moisture pulled out. I do and never had a problem with fogging.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2009, 05:27 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Guys, don't waste your time responding to this guy...
Next post is going to be why this car stops when I press the brakes?
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  #10  
Old 11-01-2009, 07:18 AM
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kjboyd kjboyd is offline
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IIRC... PPX is in the portland area. It's always damp up there!
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  #11  
Old 11-01-2009, 08:59 AM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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I had the fogging/blindness happen a couple of times, caught me by surprise! With the advent of the rainy season here in Northern California I'm concerned about a recurrence.

My quick solution was to pull to the side of the road, ramp up the inside temp gauge to 85F, and turn on the defroster. But that's impractical in most situations.

Leaving aside the rant aspect of the post, can someone give a quick summary of why it happens and how to avoid it? One suggestion I'm seeing is to keep AC on no matter what the outside temp. I'd been hoping to avoid that with more moderate temps, since isn't there a hit to gas mileage with the AC on?

Last edited by spokelizard; 11-01-2009 at 09:05 AM. Reason: change wording
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2009, 09:23 AM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
If ever there were a lemon this one seems to be it. It is almost as if a bunch of under employed car salesmen from a competing brand got together around the coffee machine and decided, "Hey since we aren't selling cars, why don't we wind up the Bimmer guys with some posts on their board . Not of course to say that these problems are anything but legit. I am sure there really is an X3 out there that is so bad it boggles the mind.. I have had my share of problems with the beast, but all have to do with the horrible ride and the rest of it is pretty good, especially the vent system that clears out the mist almost immediately. This problem car needs to go back to Magna for a tear down and engineering investigation IMHO.
They looked for moisture and found the car to be bone dry so I don't know where the moisture is coming from. There has to be excess moisture coming from somewhere (coolant leak, damp carpets, HVAC system plugged up, etc.) I only found one other instance (not a BMW) on the net so far of someone complaining about instant fogging. It doesn't seem to be particularly common.

Of course cars can get fogged up while sitting around in a cold environment or when there are lots of people or wet clothes, etc. inside the car. The fog starts to cloud the windows, you turn on the defogger and the A/C and it clears itself in a few minutes. Sometimes opening the windows a crack can help...it depends on the air flow of the car.

This one, however, is really dangerous because it happens instantly. I am now keeping the A/C compressor (snowflake button) on continuously during the winter and keeping the heat to a minimum. Recirculating button off (no lights) and I will also be continuously checking for damp carpeting.

From what I have read, a sweet smell and a green mist is an actual antifreeze leak. That can fog up windows immediately but I don't have the smell or the gunk on the windows or the green color.

I thought I would pass this on to other people because it is such a dangerous situation. If I can recreate the sequence of events that lead to this, I'll post that as well.
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2009, 09:23 AM
div2 div2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebound x3 View Post
please get rid of your x3 immediately.

Or stop posting.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2009, 09:39 AM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokelizard View Post
I had the fogging/blindness happen a couple of times, caught me by surprise! With the advent of the rainy season here in Northern California I'm concerned about a recurrence.

My quick solution was to pull to the side of the road, ramp up the inside temp gauge to 85F, and turn on the defroster. But that's impractical in most situations.

Leaving aside the rant aspect of the post, can someone give a quick summary of why it happens and how to avoid it? One suggestion I'm seeing is to keep AC on no matter what the outside temp. I'd been hoping to avoid that with more moderate temps, since isn't there a hit to gas mileage with the AC on?
Some people must think the BMW myth is more important than the safety of drivers, passengers and other people on the highway.

From what I understand you have to keep the snowflake button on all the time even with the heat on. The A/C dries the air and it is the moisture that makes the windows fog up.

Never use the recirculating air either in the pollution mode or the always on mode when you have heat. There should be no lights on the button.

If you have passengers with wet clothes, shoes in the car, lots of chatty passengers, wet towels, wet dogs, damp carpets, etc. then you should consider using the defogger or cracking the windows 1/2" or so to keep airflow moving over the windows if the A/C isn't doing enough. In extreme situations you can buy a moisture-sucking product to leave in your car overnight for drier starts in the morning. It is also important to keep the windows clean although my windows are perfectly clean and they fogged up anyway. There are products to coat the inside of the windows but, really, the X3 should have enough in its HVAC system to keep the windows fog free unless there is excess moisture coming from somewhere.

The rotary dial at the top of the dash regulates air flow to the driver and passenger's faces. You can, therefore, have heat blasting out (say, 80 degrees) and can turn that dial to the blue hash marks and have cold air coming out of the midline vents. If you want warm air coming out of them, move them to the red hash marks.

The SA didn't know this about that rotary dial. He didn't understand why the heat was blasting and there was cold air coming out at the same time either. That is a feature that the user manual touches on briefly. From what I understand, it is to keep the driver from dozing off even while the cabin is toasty. The obvious situation is for the driver to feel that cold air coming in and hit the recirculation button. That can lead to instant fogging.

Of course I have had other cars from other manufacturers that had recirculating air modes that never did this and I have had another BMW with recirculating air mode that never did this either. I speculate that the X3's HVAC system is retaining moisture somewhere inside the system since the cabin is apparently bone dry.

It was in the 50s and not raining at the time so I do not know if this will be an even bigger problem when the temps drop and it is really wet outside.

Last edited by PPXYZ; 11-01-2009 at 12:32 PM.
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2009, 09:53 AM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madurodave View Post
I don't know what your problem is, PPXYZ. Why don't you take the 20% loss and get rid of the X3? It sounds like you (pardon the pun) don't have the foggiest about how to operate a vehicle.

My suggestion - sell the car and take the bus.
Right back at you. Some people don't know a good car from a bad one.

My last car was a BMW. No problems like this. Other 3 and 5 series I drove...no problems either. Smooth transmissions, no herky-jerkiness, no sudden or excessively strong down shifting or engine braking on deceleration or while going downhill either.

Firm rides in all of them but no bounciness. All of these problems belong to the X3 which, yes, at times does remind me of the little buses that take you between terminals at the airport.
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2009, 12:15 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPXYZ View Post
I speculate that the X3's HVAC system is retaining moisture somewhere inside the system since the cabin is apparently bone dry.
You might have just driven into an area where the temperature was a bit lower (e.g. a valley),
or where there was a body of water.

The HVAC will have difficulty keeping up with such a sudden change.
The moisture it extracts from the incoming air eventually drains out below, but that won't happen quick enough in some situations.

I suspect your X3 is no different from others in that regard.
From what I have heard first hand, and read on forums, it does happen to other makes and models.
My solution is to quickly crack a window open, but this may nor work for everyone.

Here is an extract from a Lexus forum, where they are talking about the AC automatically cutting out when the temp. approaches 35F. That can also lead to sudden fogging up:

Keep in mind, assuming the system is in "fresh" airflow mode as per instructions, that it is the OUTSIDE incoming air that you're attempting to dehumidify and that is totally impossible below ~35F, which is why the A/C compressor is disabled by most manufacturers when the OAT declines to or below freezing.
(OAT = outside air temperature)

In order for the A/C to dehumidify the COLD 55F to 35F incoming airflow even a tiny smidgin it must CHILL that airflow down to its dewpoint, or very close thereby,
as it travels through the ~3 inches of evaporator core. Note that the LOWER the blower speed the more likely the airflow will be cooled to dewpoint allowing dehumidification to occur.

Now I am not, by any means, saying absolutely do not use the A/C to assist in defogging the interior surface of the windshield. In extremely humid, cool, not cold, conditions it can often be of some aid.

There is one caveat however. When you cycle the A/C off after using it, or it cycles off due to declining OAT, the previously condensed moisture will begin to evaporate into the incoming airstream. That, of itself, will oftentimes result in a sudden fogging over of the interior surface of the windshield, especially if you react to the initial slight fogging instinctively by again activating the defrost/defog/demist mode.

When you do that ALL of the HUMID airflow will be directed to the interior windshield surface and if you weren't blinded by windshield fogging before you sure will be now.

So, if the interior of your windshield begins to fog over, or is fogged over, turn the heat to max. In an automatic system the blower motor should follow, if not you will need to turn the blower to max also.
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  #17  
Old 11-01-2009, 01:41 PM
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x3ronnie x3ronnie is offline
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Guys, don't waste your time responding to this guy...
Next post is going to be why this car stops when I press the brakes?
That is my sense as well. I'm sorry, but I'm just not buying it.
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  #18  
Old 11-01-2009, 04:21 PM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post

There is one caveat however. When you cycle the A/C off after using it, or it cycles off due to declining OAT, the previously condensed moisture will begin to evaporate into the incoming airstream. That, of itself, will oftentimes result in a sudden fogging over of the interior surface of the windshield, especially if you react to the initial slight fogging instinctively by again activating the defrost/defog/demist mode.

When you do that ALL of the HUMID airflow will be directed to the interior windshield surface and if you weren't blinded by windshield fogging before you sure will be now.

So, if the interior of your windshield begins to fog over, or is fogged over, turn the heat to max. In an automatic system the blower motor should follow, if not you will need to turn the blower to max also.
[/I]
I plan on keeping my AC (snowflake button) on whenever the heat is on. The system is set to AUTO and I just adjust the temp settings.

When it gets near freezing then, I should avoid using the defogger front and back because then it might lead to another instant fog up? In this situation, will the AC button simply shut off and then I know it has stopped drying the air or will it still be lit up and simply not working because the OAT is too low?

I do not know if it is related but when I increase the temp setting (again on AUTO) I can hear the fans going full blast but there is no air (hot or cold) coming out of the dash or footwell vents. The dash warms up and the car itself gets warmer but I don't know where the airflow is going.

I showed this to the dealer and there was a thin plume of white smoke coming off the front end of the car. I don't know if the HVAC is supposed to run like this and I simply do not understand it or if there is something actually wrong with it.
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  #19  
Old 11-02-2009, 10:09 AM
JBasham JBasham is offline
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Guys,

I have PPXYZ on my ignore list.

So please stop quoting him in your replies! "Ignore" doesn't filter it out, and sometimes I accidentally read some of it before I go, Oh! . . . it's that guy again.
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  #20  
Old 11-02-2009, 11:14 AM
pdx3 pdx3 is offline
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My car does not have the symptoms and problems that PPXYZ describes. My defrost works perfectly. It must be his or her specific car that has this problem.

-pd.
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  #21  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:07 PM
Rebound X3 Rebound X3 is offline
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Originally Posted by pdx3 View Post
My car does not have the symptoms and problems that PPXYZ describes. My defrost works perfectly. It must be his or her specific car that has this problem.

-pd.
Clearly the problem is between the steering wheel and the seat.
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  #22  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:19 PM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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It isn't the defroster, it is the heater fogging up the windows. Once the windshield started to fog up, the defroster would have been too slow and wouldn't have done much for the side or back windows.

Hopefully, keeping the AC on will solve this problem at least until it is below freezing.

If it happens again, I'm going to open the front windows to get enough visibility to slow down and pull over.
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  #23  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:19 PM
am_ver am_ver is offline
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Maybe OP needs to go to an eye doctor. Optometrist, that is.
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  #24  
Old 11-02-2009, 05:28 PM
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I keep getting this image of the OP looking like Mr Magoo with big, fogged over glasses!
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  #25  
Old 11-02-2009, 06:08 PM
PPXYZ PPXYZ is offline
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From that other forum from nearly two years ago.

"I have never had a vehicle that the windows fog up as easily as BMW's. My Wife had a 2002 330ci and the windows fogged up in it like nothing I had ever seen before.

Seeing as how it is somewhat difficult to effectively clean the front and rear windows (especially the corners) does anyone have an effective anti-fog treatment?"

-----

"I've noticed my car does it much worse than my wifes. I think I'm going to try some of that Rain-X anti-fog stuff.

Has anyone else gotten the really weird instant fog? A couple of weeks ago on my into work at the same spot to days in a row my windows went from completely clear to totally fogged in seriously about 2-3 seconds. I've never seen this happen before. It also happened to one of my co-workers with a new Mustang the same two days."

-------
"humidity. BMW auto climate control pushes air out of all three vents (defrost,dash,footwell). Humid/warm air hits your cold windshield and u get insta-fog. A/C on will fix that."

-------

"Yeah that's what I did. I just thought it was amazing how quickly it fogged up. It was like something from Mr.Wizard."

-----

Of course this NEVER happens except when it DOES. The good thing is that the X3, probably because it is new, does it in even less time than 2-3 seconds. That must be due to the much stronger blowers getting the air to all windows just that much faster. Remarkable.

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