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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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 07-10-2010, 01:45 PM
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A/C Evaporator/Expansion Valve DIY (you won't believe the pics)

Guys,

I am posting this here because an X3 is essentially a 330. Same motor, trans and the same A/C system. I have a "customer" with this 2004 X3 and the A/C wasn't working. It would only hold refrigerant for about 12 hours indicating a BIG leak. So I did some digging and finally figured it out, it was the evap unit. I could hear the hissing of the leak through the vents.

So, since I didn't want them to pay the dealer $3500 (and now I see why) I decided to bring it to my house and fix it. After all, I have taken out my dash, how hard could it be? Famous last words. So here it is, about 4 hours into the job. I need parts now that I have indeed confirmed the leaky part. So now the question is, can I ever get it to work right again? I honestly don't know, but we are gonna find out!

Edit: Note the FSU sticking up in there in the peak that shows the dye pooled in the bottom of the tray, for all you that fight with it, that is the EASY way to gain access!

Enjoy the pics, it is a real treat!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....

Last edited by smolck; 07-10-2010 at 01:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2010, 02:06 PM
jared_wiesner jared_wiesner is offline
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Your f*^%$ brave!!
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2010, 02:19 PM
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WOW! Smolck, it is well known that you are a competent person but if that was my X3 I would freak out if I saw you dismantle it to that

Good luck with the project buddy
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2010, 03:30 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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...hissing sound...
I have a hissing sound through my vents when I'm running the A/C, but my A/C works like a charm. No issue. Wierd.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:58 PM
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Wow!
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2010, 04:01 PM
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Just some quick thoughts:

And think...you did all that with a BFH

Now let's take a poll on how many parts are left when your done.

Good job so far...looks like a yard sale.

Did you tell the owner that you are going on two weeks vacation starting tomorrow?

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Old 07-10-2010, 04:13 PM
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Whats interesting is I had to remove the entire dash brace and then just pulled the whole HVAC unit out as an assembly. I mocked it all up so I feel pretty good about it. Let's hope......
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2010, 04:20 PM
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yup. no easy way to go in there, is there?? good luck, and great pics!!

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Old 07-10-2010, 04:27 PM
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Whatever you do, DO NOT show the owner any of those pictures until AFTER the job is finished!


WOW
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2010, 08:22 PM
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HFS! That's brave indeed. That kind of job makes a person wonder if a car is worth hanging on to! Any X3 owners, be warned!
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  #11  
Old 07-10-2010, 08:28 PM
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Nice cover for your illegal chop shop, Smolck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P_T View Post
......Now let's take a poll on how many parts are left when your done.....

I'm willing bet $5 there's at least 6 torx screws left over.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:08 PM
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Smolckie, my boy....you are a TOTAL fu@kin` madman.... :-)

GOOD LUCK, BROTHA !
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  #13  
Old 07-11-2010, 03:37 AM
sulkesbmw sulkesbmw is offline
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good job smlock, i got a question for u, and i think u or some one else can help me, probl with the ac, when i turn my ac on the compressor works fine but no air comes out not at all, i turn it to the max and still nothing, any idea what to look?thank u
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  #14  
Old 07-11-2010, 08:48 AM
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Owner's gonna come back in a few weeks with an annoying rattle in the dash, and one of the buttons on his steering wheel doesn't work right...
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:14 AM
LX-biker LX-biker is offline
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What it is from roadside bomb explosion? Be careful, after assemble back you can find some hybrid 330 ZHP AWD vagon!!!
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  #16  
Old 07-11-2010, 12:59 PM
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You guys are funny! (and making me second guess myself!). Oh well, not much to do now but put it back together as I can't give it back in this condition. By the way, the evaporator failure seems to be something common on the X3 (I say common, maybe not, but lots of threads talking about it and the $3000 bill from the dealer). Also, this particular car is flawless and only has 47k miles.

To the guy with no air blowing, most likely your FSU is bad. Search around for the DIY, it is pretty easy.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
You guys are funny! (and making me second guess myself!). Oh well, not much to do now but put it back together as I can't give it back in this condition. By the way, the evaporator failure seems to be something common on the X3 (I say common, maybe not, but lots of threads talking about it and the $3000 bill from the dealer). Also, this particular car is flawless and only has 47k miles.

To the guy with no air blowing, most likely your FSU is bad. Search around for the DIY, it is pretty easy.
Did you replace the evaporator?
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  #18  
Old 07-11-2010, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catso View Post
Did you replace the evaporator?
I haven't yet, but that is because the place isn't open till tomorrow. I'll start re-assembly tomorrow. The guy is out of town for 10 days so no rush. Here is the pic of the leaky evaporator, you can see the green dye all over it....
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:38 PM
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Okay here is the finished product, it looks like a car again (well, SUV anyways). Drier, evaporator, and expansion valve replaced and all parts accounted for. I just hope when the shop pulls a vacuum and refills it, the compressor will kick on this time.

And if your car ever needs this repair (same process for the X3 as the E46) sell you car, it ain't worth it!
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Quote:
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #20  
Old 07-21-2010, 06:49 PM
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its lotsa work, ain't it?? now figure on trying to get this done with 12 other guys, plus some part timers, rolling tires and oil catch barrels all around in the bays next to you, tool carts and other equipment. now that's fun!!
























NOT!!


but here's hoping to a job well done!! congrats on the gumption to tackle this.

df
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:32 PM
Toona79 Toona79 is offline
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that's why i was so lucky my warranty kicked in and took care of my leaky evaporator. I don't think i have the balls to do that to my car and there's no way i would pay 3k to get it fixed. Good job Smolck I am thoroughly impressed
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:49 PM
jzwu jzwu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Okay here is the finished product, it looks like a car again (well, SUV anyways). Drier, evaporator, and expansion valve replaced and all parts accounted for. I just hope when the shop pulls a vacuum and refills it, the compressor will kick on this time.

And if your car ever needs this repair (same process for the X3 as the E46) sell you car, it ain't worth it!

How much you charge the owner for the work? Hope you are not doing this just for fun and showing us the pics.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
I haven't yet, but that is because the place isn't open till tomorrow. I'll start re-assembly tomorrow. The guy is out of town for 10 days so no rush. Here is the pic of the leaky evaporator, you can see the green dye all over it....
I'd be on the phone to BMW NA to cover part of this repair under goodwill. That's a faulty evaporator right there. Prob a bad batch of them from the factory. Who made it.. Behr?

As a general rule, evaporators just don't fail.

Just curious, but did the replacement part carry the same part number, or has it been superceded with something?
Did a quick Google search and there are loads of X3s with the same problem.
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JUST...LOOK...UNDER...THE...CAR....for Chrissakes....it`s like checking to see if a dog is male or female....
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A bimmer with forced induction should have a proper manual gearbox. Anything less is like french kissing your sister.

Last edited by Scott ZHP; 07-22-2010 at 05:36 AM.
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  #24  
Old 07-22-2010, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott ZHP View Post
I'd be on the phone to BMW NA to cover part of this repair under goodwill. That's a faulty evaporator right there. Prob a bad batch of them from the factory. Who made it.. Behr?

As a general rule, evaporators just don't fail.

Just curious, but did the replacement part carry the same part number, or has it been superceded with something?
Did a quick Google search and there are loads of X3s with the same problem.
Yea, actually I did look into this. BMW has washed their hands of this and wouldnt do squat. The new evap is from OEM Bimmer Parts and it was made by someone other than Behr and the factory unit was Behr.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzwu View Post
How much you charge the owner for the work? Hope you are not doing this just for fun and showing us the pics.
I charged $550. The owner will then have to pay the $33 for the vacuum and refill (I found a deal through a supplier of mine). So instead of $3000 he is getting it for under $1000 (about $300 in parts (evap, expansion valve, and drier and oil change, threw that in for him).
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #25  
Old 07-22-2010, 09:23 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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You should have added a good and hearty steak & seafood dinner as well to the charge, as per KrisL's pricing guidelines (another thread...).

Heck, just thinking of all the work is making me hungry.....
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