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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 07-05-2012, 12:30 PM
Fontaine Fontaine is offline
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2007 E90 335i A/C Evaporator Replacement?

My car currently has 42,000 miles on it and is used only a few times a week... hence the low mileage. My A/C recently stopped blowing cold air last week and I took it to a reputable indy shop near Atlanta for a diagnoses. He charged the system and performed several pressure tests, while also using dye to find any leaks. A week went by and once again the air was hot coming out of my vents. I took it back to the same shop and this time he said it was for sure leaking from the evaporator and he could not replace this part properly like a dealership could. I've called around to the three big dealers here in North ATL and the cost of replacement of the evaporator is from $2600-$2750. I have two questions for the knowledge base out there...

1. Is this a common problem for the A/C evaporator to go out on a car with such few miles on it.
2. Is the quoted prices within the range it should be?

I'm just looking for any info anyone may have on the topic before I go out and spend ~$2700 on a single part with labor.
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2012, 01:22 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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How did the shop determine that the evap was leaking? By finding uv dye draining with the condensate from the box? By drilling a strategic hole and using a borescope with a UV tip on the camera to 'see' a leak? By using an electronic sniffer to pick up refrigerant at the vents? By a process of elimination; he could't find a leak anywhere else so it must be from the evap (which is hidden)?
It is extremely uncommon to have an evap leak in a 5 year old BMW.
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  #3  
Old 07-05-2012, 01:33 PM
Fontaine Fontaine is offline
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I was told that he did not see any leaks from the dye coming from any hoses or any other visible areas, and when he turned on the A/C he could immediately smell strong refrigerant from the inside central vents.
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2012, 01:50 PM
haskindm haskindm is offline
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DSX, Why couldn't an INDY replace an evaporator? I know some of them are a bear, but there are certainly bigger jobs that INDY's do every day. I just had an INDY replace the evaporator in my MINI, 10-hour job that involved removing the entire dash, but they got it done. Also, does refrigerant have an odor? I was under the impression that it did not, thus the need for electronic sniffers.
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  #5  
Old 07-05-2012, 03:29 PM
Princeton Princeton is offline
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My wife had this done in her 2005 X3. We negotiated with the dealer - who matched the indy price of $2,000. Our advantage was a longer warranty on the repair and a loaner for the time it took to fix. I never knew that a dealer would negotiate.
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  #6  
Old 07-05-2012, 05:18 PM
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Corey Milne Corey Milne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
How did the shop determine that the evap was leaking? By finding uv dye draining with the condensate from the box? It is extremely uncommon to have an evap leak in a 5 year old BMW.
I have found several e90 evaporator leaks in the last year, they are very common.
Everytime I have found them with dye draining from the condensation drain underneath the vehicle, above the transmission. Everyone I have replaced was indefinatly leaking at the evaporator.

It is a very involved job and the first one I did took me 6 hours with all the instructions I could ask for.

If I were you I would take it to a dealer as chances are they won't leave your dash with ennoying squeeks and rattles as they had all the proper instructions and knew how to dis-assemble & re-assemble the dash properly.
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  #7  
Old 07-06-2012, 05:56 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haskindm View Post
DSX, Why couldn't an INDY replace an evaporator? I know some of them are a bear, but there are certainly bigger jobs that INDY's do every day. I just had an INDY replace the evaporator in my MINI, 10-hour job that involved removing the entire dash, but they got it done. Also, does refrigerant have an odor? I was under the impression that it did not, thus the need for electronic sniffers.
Hi haskindm. No doubt an indy could do the install, but many avoid them when they get that big. There's a huge opportunity for things to go wrong or not be plugged back together and when that happens all the profit is gone.
Supposedly R134a has no odor, and it certainly has very little when fresh from the can. But once it's been in an ac system and exposed to oil it gets a light but obvious odor. Sometimes it gets a little rank for unknown reasons, but again it's probably the compressor oil in it that's the source.
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  #8  
Old 07-06-2012, 05:59 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Milne View Post
I have found several e90 evaporator leaks in the last year, they are very common.
Everytime I have found them with dye draining from the condensation drain underneath the vehicle, above the transmission. Everyone I have replaced was indefinatly leaking at the evaporator.

It is a very involved job and the first one I did took me 6 hours with all the instructions I could ask for.

If I were you I would take it to a dealer as chances are they won't leave your dash with ennoying squeeks and rattles as they had all the proper instructions and knew how to dis-assemble & re-assemble the dash properly.
Are you at a dealership or indy? Do a lot of ac? Relatively slow year for us even though the weather is hot and has stayed hot.
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  #9  
Old 07-06-2012, 06:06 AM
SuperTerp SuperTerp is offline
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Thank god cpo covers it
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2012, 06:27 AM
Manybrews Manybrews is offline
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The evaporators in the e90 are primarily made by a company named "Valeo".

They are prone to leakage. I don't know if it's due to aluminum that's too thin, a poor design, or just bad metallurgy.
Valeo produces evaporators for many, many companies... And it is NOT just an issue with e90s.
Right off the top of my head, the last generation galant/endeavor/eclipse from Mitsubishi also used Valeo evaporators, and they also had a high number of leaks.
As far as an independent goes, I can't imagine one even attempting to do this job. Most Independents do not have the capabilities, and even if they did would never touch it due to the sheer number of issues that could arise.

Finally, it's not Generally the refrigerant that has the noticeable odor... It's usually the oil.

Last edited by Manybrews; 07-07-2012 at 06:31 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2012, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manybrews View Post
The evaporators in the e90 are primarily made by a company named "Valeo".

Finally, it's not Generally the refrigerant that has the noticeable odor... It's usually the oil.
Too true. I've heard of deaths - inspecting the refrigerant side of a large chiller, one puts one's head in the machine to look. Colorless & odorless refrigerant displaces air; inspector passes out and asphyxiates. A painless way to go and much cited by safety folk when training non-ammonia refrigeration mechs.
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2012, 07:33 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Milne View Post
I have found several e90 evaporator leaks in the last year, they are very common.

Everytime I have found them with dye draining from the condensation drain underneath the vehicle, above the transmission. Everyone I have replaced was indefinatly leaking at the evaporator.
That's a relative assumption - not hearing rash o'complaints.

As you've done more than a few, what failed in the evaporator? Corrosion should have been eliminated in the design phase; likely a vibration related failure. Interested in specifics.

Valeo's site all but useless. Anyone have a better link???
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2012, 08:53 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manybrews View Post
The evaporators in the e90 are primarily made by a company named "Valeo".

They are prone to leakage. I don't know if it's due to aluminum that's too thin, a poor design, or just bad metallurgy.
Valeo produces evaporators for many, many companies... And it is NOT just an issue with e90s.
Right off the top of my head, the last generation galant/endeavor/eclipse from Mitsubishi also used Valeo evaporators, and they also had a high number of leaks.
As far as an independent goes, I can't imagine one even attempting to do this job. Most Independents do not have the capabilities, and even if they did would never touch it due to the sheer number of issues that could arise.

Finally, it's not Generally the refrigerant that has the noticeable odor... It's usually the oil.
Hi Brews, I thought Behr made the evaps, same as the rad's and condensors?
I'm very familiar with Valeo. They made the first composite radiator (plastic tanks crimped to an aluminum core) sold in the US. It was in a VW Rabbit, about 1984 if I recall correctly, and eventually put 90% of all radiator repair shops out of business. Funny, when they first started hitting the US I thought to myself I would make a fortune fixing the damned things. Un'fortune'ately I was wrong, they held up far better than soldered copper and brass units, and when they do eventually fail they go in the trash.
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2012, 10:35 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Hi Brews, I thought Behr made the evaps, same as the rad's and condensors?
Behr's certainly a player, but not seeing either company's customer list.
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  #15  
Old 07-07-2012, 02:20 PM
Manybrews Manybrews is offline
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some e90s also use denso evaporators... But they apparently arent failing.
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  #16  
Old 07-07-2012, 03:35 PM
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some e90s also use denso evaporators... But they apparently arent failing.
Brews -

Diff evap vendors for diff model years?

If so, which is which?
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2012, 10:36 PM
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Corey Milne Corey Milne is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Are you at a dealership or indy? Do a lot of ac? Relatively slow year for us even though the weather is hot and has stayed hot.
Dealership (see link in sig), I am usually the goto guy at our shop for a/c issues.. Not that I enjoy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
That's a relative assumption - not hearing rash o'complaints.

As you've done more than a few, what failed in the evaporator? Corrosion should have been eliminated in the design phase; likely a vibration related failure. Interested in specifics.

Valeo's site all but useless. Anyone have a better link???
Most e90's that have replaced evaporators on are still under warranty, and to be frank I think most e90 owners aren't on the forums complaining about things that are being repaired under warranty.

You're right, but since I've started with BMW I have seen alot of e90 dashes coming off for evaporator leaks. Although not relevant to this I must note since the f10 has come out I have seen 3 evaporators replaced on them because of leaking (one of which I did).
My dealership is relatively small compared to just about every other BMW dealer I have been to, so considering this I find it easy to believe that other citys with higher populations and many more BMW's will see these problems more often if not as much.

The I found fluorecent dye in the fins of all the e90 evaporators I have replaced, not really my job to look into the cause. Flat rate does not pay for investigations.
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  #18  
Old 07-11-2012, 07:11 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by Corey Milne View Post
[snip]
The I found fluorecent dye in the fins of all the e90 evaporators I have replaced, not really my job to look into the cause. Flat rate does not pay for investigations.
What is the flat rate on an E90 evap job (not including Re-Charge)? Can you beat it?
To the best of your knowledge have the failures been consistent, like dye in the same corner or at a weld? Do you think the failures are due to internal(acidic oil?) or external corrosion (constant wetness?)? Electrolytic corrosion?
I know flat rate doesn't pay for squat other than a perfect job by an experienced tech on perfect parts in a perfect location, but your opinion?
(I have an 88 Mercedes 560 SL in the shop right now for an evap. It's an 18 hour job round trip. I'm passing on this one, if something goes bad I'll lose the profit hunting for parts.)

PS Kudos to your dealership for putting all the employees up on the About Us page. I've never seen a dealership do that. I do the same on my shop's website and I thinkit makes people feel more comfortable when they can put a face with a place.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 07-11-2012 at 07:18 AM.
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  #19  
Old 03-23-2013, 06:31 PM
woowoo11 woowoo11 is offline
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Since this A/C failure is a total premature failure and design flaw (for anyone who knows HVAC), I wanted to share my story here. Short of it is that I was initially given estimate for $4500 and got that reduce to $930. Do some research (every piece of knowledge increases your negotiation power), maintain your demand firmly.

1) Did some online research on this failure. I easily counted 40 failures on 3 series (many failures on X3 reported). Most failed at about 4-5yrs or 40k-70k miles. Typical repair cost at BMW dealer is 2500-3500. At non-BMW shops is about 2500. I called 2 places (one BMW and one non-BMW) nearby to get prices for this fix.

2) Called BMW NA. Described my goal of getting full compensation (my car was 6yrs old and had 69k mi), because "I do not feel just to pay for such an obvious premature failure, and there are many other failures happening". Any component in AC is not something that should fail in 10yrs, unless there was a design/assembly flaw (this you can find online too). Either way, it's a lack of workmanship. I told them that I believe that this is a clear case for impunity, and that I am seeking for full repair cost compensation.

3) The first guy I talked to said, "there is a very little chance BMW would compensate". To which, I expressed my honest intention to go to a small claims court to resolve the issue. Then his attitude totally changed and he transferred me to another person. This person said the same but told me that he would "investigate".

4) 3days later, I got a call from a dealer, who quoted me $4500 initially. The dealer told me that BMW NA would cover some costs (100% parts and 50% labor) and now my repair cost is $1600. I told them that if I simply transfer the same arrangement to another BMW dealer, it'd be $600 for me.

5) On the following day, the BMW dealer called me again and told me that they "recalculated" and now the repair cost to me is $930.

Good luck guys... I think that calmly & firmly stating your case gets you a much greater chance of getting your goal than yelling the other person. You don't want to appear like a tiny dog barking at a big dog.

Below some useful sites. Look at "complains" section

http://www.autosafety.org/vehicle-database?tid=186903
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchVehicles
http://cs.cpsc.gov/ConceptDemo/Searc...ery=evaporator
http://www.truedelta.com/

Last edited by woowoo11; 03-23-2013 at 07:54 PM.
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  #20  
Old 03-23-2013, 07:31 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by woowoo11 View Post

5) On the following day, the BMW dealer called me again and told me that they "recalculated" and now the repair cost to me is $930.

Good luck guys... I think that calmly & firmly stating your case get you much greater chance of getting your goal than yelling the other person. You don't want to appear like a tiny dog barking at a big dog.
I realize this thread has come back from the deep archives but I'm calling you on this. The dealer originally quoted you $4500 but now they'll do it for $930 because of your mad negotiating skilz?
I want to see a posted copy of the invoice they gave you when you picked up your car. Or it didn't happen.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:56 PM
woowoo11 woowoo11 is offline
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I don't find any reason for me to prove myself here. I did not "mad" negotiate, as I described. I told them what I wanted and justified my rationale well. Also as I said I was not going to pay a dime for this repair. So that's how it went in the end. And, btw, if you want to doubt, go ahead...

My goal was to share how others could negotiate to lose lease out of this BMW's nonsense.

Last edited by woowoo11; 03-23-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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  #22  
Old 03-23-2013, 08:03 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by woowoo11 View Post
I don't find any reason for me to prove myself here. I did not "mad" negotiate, as I described. I told them what I wanted and justified my rationale well. Also as I said I was not going to pay a dime for this repair. So that's how it went in the end. And, btw, if you want to doubt, go ahead...

My goal was to share how others could negotiate to lose lease out of this BMW's nonsense.
Nope, I no longer doubt your story.
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  #23  
Old 03-23-2013, 11:02 PM
MINI+BMWtek MINI+BMWtek is offline
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You can negotiate the labor and parts they do these often that will still make money at warranty labor rates. is like 8hrs warranty but most bmw techs can beat the time better than doing a customer complaint about a rattle and
dont get paid for it
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  #24  
Old 03-24-2013, 06:18 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by Fontaine View Post
I was told that he did not see any leaks from the dye coming from any hoses or any other visible areas, and when he turned on the A/C he could immediately smell strong refrigerant from the inside central vents.

Wait....this guy has a nose for refrigerant?

Isolate & pressure test.

.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 03-24-2013 at 06:20 AM.
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  #25  
Old 03-24-2013, 11:09 AM
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LarkHouston LarkHouston is offline
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I will just add a data point here. I bought my 335 in June 2009. I have had the A/C evaporator replaced twice under warranty. I was told by the SA that it is a weak spot. I am more than a little concerned about it leaking again once my warranty runs out in 3 months.
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