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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:51 AM
joeyp770 joeyp770 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1992 325is
92 AC Problem

Hello to the fine world of Bimmerfest. I am driving a 1992 325is E36 with a production date of 4/92 in Germany. I wanted to post something about my AC because I have spend all of my money and time trying to get it working. When I bought the car it had no working AC, that was explained to me. I decided to try to fix the AC. I have done quite a few projects since getting the car almost a year ago. So far, so good. So AC bring it on!

First thing I did was buy the AC belt. Wouldn't it be nice if that were the only issue? I bought the belt and slapped it on with my Bentley manual in hand. Easy, Peezy. Went to crank the car and the journey gets interesting. The car would not start. The compressor is stuck and so is the pully.

Second step upcoming. I looked in to replacing compressor and the Bentley makes this look like a 30 min job. Called a couple of shops in Atl and they want 1000-1200 to touch the AC compressor. So I looked around on the internet and found a guy in NC that sells used compressors on ebay for Bimmers starting at 80 bucks. Three days later I am holding a compressor out of a 98 M3 and a guarantee that it works. Being the sucker I am I bought a R12- 134a conversion to convert my lines and charge the compressor. Soon I would be stripping bolts in front of my apartment. As foreshadowed, I strpped the 5m hex bolts on top of the compressor. I managed to get the compressor off by removing the line from the compressor to the condenser. Once I got the compressor off I was able to break the bolts inside using a bearhug-hammer method. I put the line back on in the apartment and put the new compressor on the car with ease. I might mention that I did have to drain the cooling system and remove the reservoir with the radiator cap, it gave me plenty of room to work. After installing the belt, I was ready to charge or so I thought.

The freon I used supposedly has oil in the charge. So I didn't think I had to put oil in the compressor. I turned on the car and the AC and the compressor would not kick in. That made sure that it would not take a charge. I tried charging it and got about 150g in the lines. The charge would not take. The can of freon had a little gauge that reads the charge and it was in the red reading system malfunction.

I called the very helpful gentleman from the store on ebay and he told me that I was going to have to pull a vaccum to charge it. He said it would not take freon until I vaccumed the lines. I called the local tire store and he said he would vaccum the lines for 40 bucks. I met him at the shop and he said he would blow up the compressor if it didnt have some oil it. He also said I should replace the receiver/dryer. I went to NAPA and bought the receiver and some oil. And this where my ride's AC system stands. It currently has a good compressor that will not turn on installed and the belt is on as well.

I plan on replacing the receiver/dryer this weekend. I now have a buddy who will vaccum my lines with an air compressor attachment. So after I install the receiver, I plan on adding oil to the compressor, then vaccuming the lines, and finally charging the system.
I do have a couple of questions that I would like to ask, if you would be so kind. First of all, I do not know which line is which. I do not have experience with this but I do consider myself a weekend warrior with auto repair. Can anyone tell me which line is vaccum and which one is not? Which one do I charge? I have one line that the r-12 adapter fits close to the firewall and I have one line that is exactly the same size close to the radiator in the front of the car. Please feel free to comment with anything helpful. Before you say it, I realize I am a noob from noobie hell, please dont make fun. This job has reduced my mechanical confidence by leeps and bounds. Any help in this extreme time of need will be rewarded with virgins and/or treasure in heaven.

Last edited by joeyp770; 06-22-2010 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:11 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Location: Fort McMurray AB
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Mein Auto: '96 328is Cosmos
Hey Joey, I read this, but unfortunately it's beyond my limited knowledge on A/C systems. For ease of reading I recommend double spacing after each pararaph, 'cause it looks jumbled and is hard to read as it is.

Some people who could help will see one huge block of text and just not read it because of that. From what I do know though, the question is well thought out and worded, good luck with it all.

Originally Posted by hnaz View Post
I grew up in a time when the internet was just a baby. Grammar back then versus now... holy cow. You could watch the degradation of society as the internet became more mature.

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Old 06-22-2010, 02:44 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Location: in the sticks you piney
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Mein Auto: rescued bmw's
ok, my eyes hurt from reading that.

here's the rules of thumb for ac retrofitting.

you will need a new dessicant (drier/accumulator), and suggest a new meterig block.

use 10-15% LESS r134a than r12.

get a set of guages (they're cheap and will pay for themselves with their first use).

r134a is ALMOST idiot proof with red for the high side and blue for the low.

the high side line is smaller diameter than the low side.

reseal the entire system since it's already open. seals are cheap.

buy an ac theory book. read it. read it again.

pm me with any questions.

hope that helps.

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