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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 04-05-2010, 06:23 PM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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How to Locate HVAC Evaporator Drains?

Project "Eliminate Funky A/C Smell in GP's Car" will begin with clearing debris out of the evaporator housing drains before I clean/sanitize the evaporator. If you've cleaned these drains, could you share any advice or photos that would help me (and perhaps others) to locate them?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2010, 12:50 AM
ex-tech ex-tech is offline
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The drain is by the tranny towards the front of it. It's a little hose that runs down off the side. When customers came in with that complaint, we would sell them an evap cleaning. What it consist of was a machine that was like fogger. You would put this chemical in the machine. You plug it in, roll up the windows and left it in the vehicle with the engine running and a/c blowing on recirc. You would put it on the passenger side, because the blower motor was under the glove box. the fog machine would release the chemical into the evap. After the machine has stop, take out the machine then turn the heater on without recirc and take out the micro filters and spray the hell out of the intake from the microfilter into the evap. The kit from BMW came with the fluid to put into the machine and the spray can to spray both sides of the intake. I guess the chemicals killed anything that made the funky smell or just masked the problem. It definitely work and i couldn't smell anything weird. But if you routinely eat, smoke, bring in odors into the vehicle the a/c will always have a weird smell because the blower motor will always take whatever is in your car to the evap.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:13 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Let me include the official A/C cleaning tech note to expand on ex-tech post, which explains the "lite" and "heavy-duty" procedures to deal with the problem. Also recall that some 'festers reported gettting the procedure(s) done for free at the dealer under CPO service or something like that.
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File Type: pdf Mouldy_smell_from_air_conditioner_All_series.pdf (39.5 KB, 1185 views)
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:28 AM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-tech View Post
The drain is by the tranny towards the front of it. It's a little hose that runs down off the side. When customers came in with that complaint, we would sell them an evap cleaning. What it consist of was a machine that was like fogger. You would put this chemical in the machine. You plug it in, roll up the windows and left it in the vehicle with the engine running and a/c blowing on recirc. You would put it on the passenger side, because the blower motor was under the glove box. the fog machine would release the chemical into the evap. After the machine has stop, take out the machine then turn the heater on without recirc and take out the micro filters and spray the hell out of the intake from the microfilter into the evap. The kit from BMW came with the fluid to put into the machine and the spray can to spray both sides of the intake. I guess the chemicals killed anything that made the funky smell or just masked the problem. It definitely work and i couldn't smell anything weird. But if you routinely eat, smoke, bring in odors into the vehicle the a/c will always have a weird smell because the blower motor will always take whatever is in your car to the evap.
Cool! I never knew they did that...
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:28 AM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
Let me include the official A/C cleaning tech note to expand on ex-tech post, which explains the "lite" and "heavy-duty" procedures to deal with the problem. Also recall that some 'festers reported gettting the procedure(s) done for free at the dealer under CPO service or something like that.


Is this in the wiki?
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:49 AM
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mawana mawana is offline
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After you have located it, this is something I came across but never attempted:
http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/AC/smell.htm
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:37 PM
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G. P. Burdell G. P. Burdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-tech View Post
The drain is by the tranny towards the front of it. It's a little hose that runs down off the side. When customers came in with that complaint, we would sell them an evap cleaning...
Thanks! I have seen the brochures at the local dealership touting their A/C system treatment - complete with photos of soccer moms, their innocent children, and high-magnification shots of pollen and bacteria - but I'd like to try DIY first. If/when I find the drain, I'll post a picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
Let me include the official A/C cleaning tech note to expand on ex-tech post, which explains the "lite" and "heavy-duty" procedures to deal with the problem. Also recall that some 'festers reported gettting the procedure(s) done for free at the dealer under CPO service or something like that.
Thanks for posting the SIB. The musty smell has really only become a problem over the past several weeks. I routinely shut off the A/C system and run fresh air through the vents for a few minutes before parking the car, but the funk seems to have arisen despite my best efforts.

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Originally Posted by mawana View Post
After you have located it, this is something I came across but never attempted:
http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/AC/smell.htm
That's one of the first articles I found when I searched last night - very informative. Thank goodness we E46 owners don't have to drill a hole in the evaporator housing like the E39 owners do!

Now all I have to do is find a cleaning product that doesn't leave too much of a chemical odor or a citrus scent...
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