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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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  #51  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:19 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Just a quick question please ... if i may ...

If the air coming out of the A/C set to 60F isn't all that cold ... is it the general consensus that the freon level is low?
That is usually the case, at my shop in NH most of our AC 'repairs' are simple recharges. However, it may NOT be the case. It could be a faulty sensor, a faulty temperature blend door/motor, bad electronics, or a weak compressor. Or worst of all, it could be a system so severely overcharged that the high side pressures are bordering on 'shut down' and too much refrigerant is blowing into the evap and not vaporizing fully.
I don't know A/C systems but I would think there is a "level indicator" somewhere because, I would think, lots of things might cause the A/C to not be cold.
Close, but no cigar. There used to be a sight glass in which you could see one of two things; bubbles indicating a low charge, or a clear glass. A clear glass meant the system was either full or empty! The sight glass has virtually disappeared wtih the use of R134a which the OP's car has. Misuse of the glass resulted in a lot of damage to systems.
There is only one correct way to determine if the system is properly charged; remove the refrigerant and weigh it. This is what any licensed professional will do. If your system is operating correctly you may safely assume that your system has a proper charge in it.


Can you edify me on how to tell if your freon level is low?
The most obvious symptom, and most common, is that the air from your vents is not sufficiently cool.
If the level drops to a certain point the compressor is kept "OFF" by a safety sensor to ensure it doesn't burn out. It would burn out not due to lack of refrigerant, but due to lack of oil which travels with the refrig. as a mist.


I hope this helps to understand a little more

Last edited by DSXMachina; 05-16-2010 at 01:23 PM.
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  #52  
Old 05-16-2010, 06:11 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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You need to read post #1. This can be a problem if you don't read the initial post.

Here are the pertinent facts: His compressor was running,but the air coming out was not that cool. He added a can of R134 and now his COMPRESSOR WILL NOT KICK-ON. It would certainly appear that he now has too much freon in the system which only has a high pressure cutout switch according to Bentley. This is why I said he has nothing to lose by letting some freon out. I suggest at least 5# of pressure on the low side for starters. He may need to let out even more, but I think that is a good start. He can even turn system "on" and bleed off freon and compressor may start when he loses enough freon/pressure. All he did was add too much freon and now his compressor won't run.

And good try GTX: You did not say don't turn the can upside down unless it says to...you made a definitive statement when in fact this particular can MUST be turned upside down to get the oil to enter the system. Now you try to change you story..oh, that's right, you're the guy who never errors when you make blanket statements! You find some set of conditions where you might be correct, but you don't say that. You tell a guy who needs real help to NEVER DO XYZ when he read the instructions on the can and it told him to do this. Just like the guy that said to always read the instructions was oh so helpful here as was the guy who told Fudman who has a fitting that will ONLY fit the low side schrader to NOT CHARG THE HIGH SIDE EVER. I thank God for folks like DSXMachina who feels my pain! You do what you want Fudman based on how full your wallet is. If you bleed off some R134 and the compressor comes on, you will cause no harm. I'd let it out until I got to about 45# with the AC on. You have NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.
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  #53  
Old 05-16-2010, 06:37 PM
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If you bleed off some R134 and the compressor comes on, you will cause no harm. I'd let it out until I got to about 45# with the AC on. You have NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.
Bill:
I am showing about 38 psi (low side) at around 65F. Based on what you say, I should continue to bleed off refrigerant by turning the A/C on and then begin the bleed process. Hopefully, the compressor will kick on? As you say, at this point I have nothing to lose. I just want to make sure nothing major is wrong with the system. I intend to have it drained an refilled properly anyway. It's a little late and I leave tomm'w AM so I'll try this when I get back Tue PM. Thanx.
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  #54  
Old 05-17-2010, 07:48 AM
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38 # is "in the ballpark" considering that it was cool outside when you tested. You may just be off by a tad. If you bleed off some and the compressor starts, because of the fairly critical nature of the necessary charge, see how cool the air stream is. If it runs, but does not start the following day, you are close but just a tad too high and due to changes in the outside temperature on a differant day, it may trip the high side limit again in which case you need to bleed of a touch more. If your problem is truly an overcharge condition, then by being patient, you will"stumble" for lack of a better word on the right amount that will work over the whole range from hot days to cold days. The DME takes ambient temp into consideration so it may come on and never fail to start again.

The question is why was it not cold and where did the freon go? Systems that require periodic "top offs" are leaking and you are still needing a die test to find your leak. This will get you by for a while until possibly even the fall. You can buy a die kit and using a black light, find the leak. Whether you can fix is a different matter. I just "get off" cheating the "man" who wants into my wallet. Especially if you are going to take in anyway. You will not hurt anything except those 10 polar bears we talked about earlier! Really, R134 is a much safer gas than R12. Don't sweat it.
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  #55  
Old 05-17-2010, 08:29 AM
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Fudmnan: "Just like the guy" suggests maybe you should take your car to a competent A/C servicer at this point. "EPA Certified" is trying hard to impart his worldly knowledge but clearly his brilliance is too "blinding" for mere mortals.

Seriously, you can go to a shop with the proper A/C diagnostic equipment and get your system checked out for not too much cash, which may be cheaper in the long run than buying more refrigerant and chasing "EPA Certified's" wild geese....
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  #56  
Old 05-17-2010, 08:31 AM
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Does anyone have exact detail spec of the E39 AC system refrigerant?
Items such as:

- Total capacity of R134a +/- ? how much.
- Pressure on low side +/- ? how much, what temp?
- Pressure on high side +/- ? how much, what temp?

Just curious.
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  #57  
Old 05-17-2010, 01:25 PM
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Fudman,

You may want to read this:
http://www.id-usa.com/pdf/inst/GTH-2CS.pdf
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  #58  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:25 PM
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Fudman,

Two (2) unlikely suspects:
- AC belt: are you sure it is still alive (i.e. not broken)?
- Failed FSR has diff symptoms but just a thought.
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  #59  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Does anyone have exact detail spec of the E39 AC system refrigerant?
Items such as:

- Total capacity of R134a +/- ? how much.
- Pressure on low side +/- ? how much, what temp?
- Pressure on high side +/- ? how much, what temp?

Just curious.
Cam:

Bentley says pre-12/1997 models have 1225 +/-25 grams of R134a.
Post 12/1997 models have only 750 +/- 10 grams of R134a
Refrigerant oil is PAG
No specs on pressure or temp.
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  #60  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:46 PM
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Fudman,

You may want to read this:
http://www.id-usa.com/pdf/inst/GTH-2CS.pdf
Interesting... According to that, I am still high (@38 psi). It's only 52F now but it gets warm again on Fri and I will try to drain some more out then and recheck.
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  #61  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Fudman,

Two (2) unlikely suspects:
- AC belt: are you sure it is still alive (i.e. not broken)?
- Failed FSR has diff symptoms but just a thought.
Belt is intact. FSR was replaced with the newer model by the PO but I have had no other fan type issues.
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  #62  
Old 05-19-2010, 09:31 AM
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Hello Fudman. What is PO? (purchase order? parol officer? principal only?)

Cheers
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  #63  
Old 05-19-2010, 09:42 AM
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Hello Fudman. What is PO? (purchase order? parol officer? principal only?)

Cheers
Let's go with "previous owner".
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  #64  
Old 05-19-2010, 09:53 AM
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Let's go with "previous owner".
Hah! Never thought of that one
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  #65  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:01 PM
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Let's go with "previous owner".
Yep, that's what I meant.
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  #66  
Old 05-19-2010, 10:35 PM
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Hah! Never thought of that one
Me neither. I added PO to the E39 ever growing glossary of terms ...
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  #67  
Old 05-20-2010, 08:21 AM
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Me neither. I added PO to the E39 ever growing glossary of terms ...
Does that mean you'll have to delete the other PO for Pissed Off? Or is that small letters 'po'?
Oh wait, p o is for us 335i HPFP owners, it's in our wiki.
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  #68  
Old 05-20-2010, 06:18 PM
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It was about 80F+ today so I turned on the A/C (still no aux fan or compressor) and took a low side pressure reading (42 psi). While the A/C was on, I continued to bleed some more refrigerant, a little at a time. When the pressure dropped into the low 30s psi, the aux fan kicked on. However, the compressor did not. I drained a bit more until I hit the low-mid 20s psi. Still no compressor activation. I give up. Time to take into the pros. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.
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  #69  
Old 05-20-2010, 07:15 PM
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And good try GTX: You did not say don't turn the can upside down unless it says to...you made a definitive statement when in fact this particular can MUST be turned upside down to get the oil to enter the system. Now you try to change you story..oh, that's right, you're the guy who never errors when you make blanket statements! You find some set of conditions where you might be correct, but you don't say that. You tell a guy who needs real help to NEVER DO XYZ when he read the instructions on the can and it told him to do this. Just like the guy that said to always read the instructions was oh so helpful here as was the guy who told Fudman who has a fitting that will ONLY fit the low side schrader to NOT CHARG THE HIGH SIDE EVER. I thank God for folks like DSXMachina who feels my pain! You do what you want Fudman based on how full your wallet is. If you bleed off some R134 and the compressor comes on, you will cause no harm. I'd let it out until I got to about 45# with the AC on. You have NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.
My first statement which is at the beginning of this thread BEFORE I or anybody else knew what particular can was used is in quotes "You kept the can with the valve on the top right side up at all times correct so that only gas, no liquid entered the system? Before you charged, with the system operating one of the pipes will be hot, the other cold. Did you check" What was stated was "I added refrigerant" It has been my experience in the past and it still appears to be the case on a number of R134 ONLY cans that you do not want to add liquid. Do professionals do this? Apparently, (not known to me) but us amateurs with cans of freon are not AC professionals. So... I did some more research on the Interdynamics website and lifted data from 3 different ways to charge. One can was designed to be used upside down and could not be turned right side up. Another showed a gauge set. It did not suggest to charge using the high pressure port. The 3'rd discusses that this particular can can be used upside down as long as the system is no more than 85% charged. I then state that in general, adding liquid by non professionals is a bad idea and then concluded (based upon the research I did) that it is best to follow instructions. Then I asked the op what can he used.

Please explain to me based upon these sequences of discussions where my logic or reasoning is incorrect? I suppose you can argue that my first statement should have included a disclaimer that it may not apply in all cases which is clearly true. However, any statement anybody makes in many cases can be taken as a definitive statement as you say and perhaps even you should make a disclaimer up front that much of what you state is based upon "my experience" and perhaps "education on the subject matter" but may not be 100% fact in all cases. This way we are all covered against possibly giving out incorrect information that may be taken as fact resulting in damage, bodily harm, expense or hurt feelings. By the way, this is your post on 5/15. I quote:
"Think there still is a misunderstanding possibly, so I will stop the sarcasm and be straight here. Those in the industry turn freon cans upside down literally "all the time". You just need to know what you are doing."
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  #70  
Old 05-25-2010, 04:54 AM
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Fudman, Please post your final outcome. Bill
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  #71  
Old 05-25-2010, 05:00 AM
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I hope to have an appointment for this Fri. Will post the outcome then. it hits 90F here totday. Rats!
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  #72  
Old 05-25-2010, 06:47 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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For those who want to venture into AC system repair, I can recommend these things:

1. Haynes Manual sells a book on how to repair AC system. It is a good read. You can buy it for about $6-10 online.
When it comes down to it, it is basically luquid evaporating (absorbing heat in the process) and vapor condensing into liquid (releasing heat). Essentially Physics 101.
Once you understand this concept, it is not that hard to trouble-shoot AC system. The main issue is always equipment/experience.

http://www.amazon.com/Haynes-Automot.../dp/1563920719

2. Once you completely evacuated your AC system, you will need a vacuum pump to remove 99% air/moisture before charging the system from fresh. Harbor Freight sells this Vacuum Pump 2.5 CFM Vacuum Pump for $70:
http://www.harborfreight.com/25-cfm-...ump-98076.html

And Yes, Fudman, please post a F/U.
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  #73  
Old 05-28-2010, 11:36 AM
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A relatively happy conclusion to my saga of the elusive A/C compressor function.

I had given up troubleshooting this system and took it to an indy (recommended by my Honda mechanic). He is a bit eccentric (works out of his own garage) but is very reasonable and has done good quality work for me on my Explorer. I left it this AM and went to work. Having not heard from him, I was a bit worried and called him after lunch. He spent about 10-15 minutes telling me in a convoluted way that he could not really figure out what the problem was. Greatly disappointed, I assumed he could not get the system working and resigned myself to possibly replacing some very expensive components. He then said that the compressor was not kicking on probably because the refrigerant was too low (this after it read too high and I bled some off!)! He said he then added a bit of refrigerant to get it to the right level and then said everything is working just fine! Well, I'll be damned. He checked for leaks but could not detect one and believes I may have a very slow leak and may require a recharge every other year or so. That sure beats a new compressor or condenser. While I usually want to understand what the problem was to preclude repetition, I am just happy to get the darn A/C working for less than $200.

Bottom line: Not exactly sure what the cause of the original problem (no cold air) was, why my adding refrigerant did not work nor why me draining and him adding refirigerant fixed the problem. All I know is that it now works and it did not cost me an arm and a leg. This entire experience is probably not very useful to anyone WRT lessons learned, other than don't mess with something you know nothing about. And it certainly helps to have a reliable indy around when things get out of hand.
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  #74  
Old 05-28-2010, 03:40 PM
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Outstanding Fudman. Very glad that you did not have to pay and arm and a leg.. A question and a possible explanation. First the question: Do you know if the HVAC guy removed all your freon and then refilled your system with the weight of charge necessary or did he take readings and add freon based upon his experience?

Second point is that this is further proof that you can't take what BMW calls a sensor literally. Many systems do not have a low pressure sensor and many do. You generally do not destroy your system from too little freon, but you can get freeze-up and all kinds of problems. Anyway, I digress...The Bentley shows no low pressure sensor. They only show a high pressure sensor which will go "open" and shut the system down. I wondered about that sensor since it has four wires going to it rather than just two. You only need two (one actually and a ground) to have a high pressure shut-off and with four wires going to that sensor in a BMW it is likely a hi & lo sensor all in one-even though the Bentley only refers to a high pressure limit.

I am going to guess that say you had too much freon to start with (after you added a whole can). As you released freon to see if the compressor would kick on you said at one point the aux. fan all of a sudden started. Did you by chance STOP there, shut off the car to clear the error and then re-start and see if the compressor would kick in or did you just continue to release freon? Since your indy states that you were low, you MUST at some point have passed right through the proper charge. I am wondering if you had happened to stop releasing freon while in the correct range of +/- 5 grams if the compressor would have started had you shut the car off and then started the car again and selected the AC on? In any event, it was worth a shot as you proved you had nothing to lose really. Some would say you would have had to be quite lucky to stop at the right value, but I don't think so. The proper charge is like 750 grams +/- 5 grams, but that does not mean that you must be that precise or the compressor will not kick in. That is just an optimum charge.

It is easy to just say "take it in and pay someone", but had you hit it and the compressor kicked in and cooled to the same degree it is working right now, you would have been a genius! I'm just happy you got it as we had a warm week, did we not??
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  #75  
Old 05-28-2010, 05:00 PM
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I talked with him at length when I picked the car up. He suspects that I may have not let the car run long enough with the A/C switched on for the compressor to kick on during my draining. I know the first time I checked I let it go for at least 30 sec before i shut it down. However, he suspects (and I agree) that as I continued to bleed off refrigerant, the time I let the compressor attempt to come on grew shorter and shorter. I must have just passed over the range of proper refrigerant level. He did not drain the system (at least he did not indicate he did) but did tell me that he measured the proper amount refrigerant (1.65 lb) in the system. Not sure how he did that. Anyway, the total damage was only $151. It could have easily have been triple that or more so I guess I lucked out.

Thanx to all for helping out!!!
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