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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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  #1  
Old 12-31-2012, 04:09 AM
Compastion Compastion is offline
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Location: UK
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 20
Mein Auto: 2001 530i E39
Warbling whistling sound from air blowers in cold weather

Hi

E39 530i 2001 180k miles

For the last few winters I have had a strange warbling whistling noise from my air blowers on cold days (below about 5 degrees C/40 degrees F). Have asked my mechanic to look into it but he's baffled - though to his credit he has advised against expense of stripping out dashboard/fascia to investigate. Key facts:
  1. Sounds a bit like someone (or a bird!) doing a sort of oscillating whistling - a fast tweeting sound
  2. Gets louder/quieter according to the speed of the air blowers, and stops completely when blowers are turned off
  3. It doesn't stop when the cabin or the engine have warmed up (in other words it seems to be related to external air temperature only)
  4. Happens whether air con is selected or not
  5. Gets quieter when I turn the steering wheel to extremes - so is the root of the problem somewhere near the front wheels/steering mechanism?
  6. First noticed it after I replaced the FSU (using original BMW part), but this may be coincidence. Mechanic said that replacement FSUs sometimes don't seat in very well so he reinforced the seal with some black gooey beading. But if it is the FSU, what about 3 and 5 above?
  7. Blowers/air con performing perfectly well in all other ways

This is something that has really been annoying me for some time so any help would be gratefully received!

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2013, 06:57 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Posts: 12,315
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Maybe your blower motor is on the way out.
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2013, 07:08 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Maybe a plastic part is not seated properly, or has deformed in time, and in cold weather it's somehow contracted, creating an unwanted "vortex' where 2 pieces should mate, and now they're leaking?

Try to open the hood and double check both boots that go from the cabin filter into the firewall. I know one boot on my car lost one of the claws (embrittlement), and on another occasion, the other one wasn't mounted properly fogging up the passenger window every time I was in a car wash. Nobody could figure out the problem. Made also a weird sound.


Part #7 in this pic:

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Last edited by doru; 01-02-2013 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:55 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
For the last few winters I have had a strange warbling whistling noise from my air blowers on cold days

Likely not the blower motor; if it was, the bearing would have seized by now.
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2013, 08:44 AM
Compastion Compastion is offline
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Location: UK
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 20
Mein Auto: 2001 530i E39
Warbling whistling sound from air blowers in cold weather - SOLVED

Sorry to bring this thread back from the dead but in case anyone ever has the same problem - I seem to have fixed it by a combination of fitting a new pollen filter cover which was a tighter fit than the old one, and clearing out some dead leaves from around the general area.

I guess the noise must have been the air whistling over loose plastic and/or dry leaves. The fact that it only happened when I turned the steering wheel must be to do with the angle the air comes in - though I've no idea why it only happened on cold days.

Anyway, thanks for your help folks.
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