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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 09-22-2010, 09:36 AM
arwsg arwsg is offline
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Location: Fort Worth
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: X3
Very Weird AC Situation

5 days ago I start my 2006 X3 3.0 after I had parked it for about 3 hours.

Within 3-4 seconds of starting, the AC issues a weird pop sound and next thing I now I have vapor or smoke coming from the vents.

Next day, nothing untoward - drive the car almost 100 miles back and forth across DFW and had AC etc - IE no problems.

After the weekend I drive the car to work in the morning and NO AC.

I take it to a local BMW dealer. They say its the evaporator - $3k plus to replace (its in the dashboard - so very difficult to get to).

I go instead to another mechanic (Rate per hour differential of over 35%) - considering the large number of labor hours needed (15+).

This guy does a vacuum check and it holds. Recharges the freon (adding dye). Pressure holds and off I go. Lots less cost - which I am ecstatic about..

So what happened?

Is their a relief valve that made the pop sound? If so - why did the relief valve need to go off in the first place? Why did it take several days to leak the balance of the Freon? Why doe sit now hold the Freon? Will it lose it again anyway?

Any thoughts are welcome...
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2010, 10:26 AM
X3-terrestrial's Avatar
X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Location: N.Miss - Memphis,TN Area
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,632
Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
That's really odd. I guess you will have to wait and see what happens...It doesen't surprise the dealer's response though, always trying to inflate the repairs...
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2010, 01:45 PM
rotty rotty is offline
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Location: Bristol, UK
 
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Mein Auto: X3 3.0i Sport
There is a 'blow off' valve (pressure relief valve) on the compressor in the engine compartment - wonder if it was that you heard, though it's strange you had vapour from the vents. Was there any smell? R401A has a unique (but difficult to describe) smell. I wonder if the vented R401A got sucked into the air intake and then into the cabin

Excess moisture in the system due to a saturated dryer can cause an over-pressure, with the compressor blow-off valve venting gas.

Be interesting to see if the system keeps running OK.... I had a similar issue with the dealer wanting to strip the dash to chase a failed evaporator when all mine needed was a full reclaim/vac/recharge and mine had been fine for well over a year now.
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  #4  
Old 09-23-2010, 02:05 PM
SWMc SWMc is offline
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Location: USA
 
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Posts: 321
Mein Auto: LCI X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by arwsg View Post
5 days ago I start my 2006 X3 3.0 after I had parked it for about 3 hours.

Within 3-4 seconds of starting, the AC issues a weird pop sound and next thing I now I have vapor or smoke coming from the vents.

Next day, nothing untoward - drive the car almost 100 miles back and forth across DFW and had AC etc - IE no problems.

After the weekend I drive the car to work in the morning and NO AC.

I take it to a local BMW dealer. They say its the evaporator - $3k plus to replace (its in the dashboard - so very difficult to get to).

I go instead to another mechanic (Rate per hour differential of over 35%) - considering the large number of labor hours needed (15+).

This guy does a vacuum check and it holds. Recharges the freon (adding dye). Pressure holds and off I go. Lots less cost - which I am ecstatic about..

So what happened?

Is their a relief valve that made the pop sound? If so - why did the relief valve need to go off in the first place? Why did it take several days to leak the balance of the Freon? Why doe sit now hold the Freon? Will it lose it again anyway?

Any thoughts are welcome...
I don't know but you can help take the load and (high pressure) off your AC by running in recirc with the center dash wheel on three blue dots.

All AC systems have to work very hard to cool down outside air. The harder it has to work the hotter the freon gets and the higher the head pressure. Having it pull cool air from the cabin is best.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2010, 03:19 PM
X3-terrestrial's Avatar
X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Location: N.Miss - Memphis,TN Area
 
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Posts: 2,632
Mein Auto: '05 X3, '95 M3, '89 MkI
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotty View Post
R401A has a unique (but difficult to describe) smell.
Is it called that over there? Here is known as R34a
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2010, 05:07 PM
arwsg arwsg is offline
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Location: Fort Worth
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotty View Post
There is a 'blow off' valve (pressure relief valve) on the compressor in the engine compartment - wonder if it was that you heard, though it's strange you had vapour from the vents. Was there any smell? R401A has a unique (but difficult to describe) smell. I wonder if the vented R401A got sucked into the air intake and then into the cabin

Excess moisture in the system due to a saturated dryer can cause an over-pressure, with the compressor blow-off valve venting gas.

Be interesting to see if the system keeps running OK.... I had a similar issue with the dealer wanting to strip the dash to chase a failed evaporator when all mine needed was a full reclaim/vac/recharge and mine had been fine for well over a year now.
The smell was a mild - not particularly toxic odor. One other mechanic said that he thought it smelled of the "freon", but who knows.

The blow off theory is interesting, but if I'm not mistaken, this is not connected to the passenger compartment (where you would get recirc air) or is it close to the actual vent ducts.

Anyway, this is still a mystery - unless there is some form of check valve or relief valve close to the evaporator itself.

I wonder if it might be related to the heater - which I think ?? is also close to the evaporator unit.

Any other thoughts are welcome..
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2010, 05:08 PM
arwsg arwsg is offline
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Location: Fort Worth
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWMc View Post
I don't know but you can help take the load and (high pressure) off your AC by running in recirc with the center dash wheel on three blue dots.

All AC systems have to work very hard to cool down outside air. The harder it has to work the hotter the freon gets and the higher the head pressure. Having it pull cool air from the cabin is best.
Agreed. In this instance I am always in recirc mode (Texas is damn hot still - but we have a cool fornt coming - praise the gods )
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2010, 05:10 PM
arwsg arwsg is offline
Registered User
Location: Fort Worth
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotty View Post
There is a 'blow off' valve (pressure relief valve) on the compressor in the engine compartment - wonder if it was that you heard, though it's strange you had vapour from the vents. Was there any smell? R401A has a unique (but difficult to describe) smell. I wonder if the vented R401A got sucked into the air intake and then into the cabin

Excess moisture in the system due to a saturated dryer can cause an over-pressure, with the compressor blow-off valve venting gas.

Be interesting to see if the system keeps running OK.... I had a similar issue with the dealer wanting to strip the dash to chase a failed evaporator when all mine needed was a full reclaim/vac/recharge and mine had been fine for well over a year now.
Would this lead to a loss of Freon?

What would cause a saturated dryer - excess AC use and high humidity? Is there something I can do to reduce its recurrence?
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