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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 01-03-2013, 02:52 PM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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Thermostat Replaced in 2001 E46 330i

Ok, no problem, probably paid too much to have a leaky thermostat replace + coolant >$575. When I got home I found the coolant low, no problem, topped it off. But, the AC system running hot even at set temperature of anything below 59F (minimum the set temperature can go). At other temperature setting the system blows hot air. It was not like this before having the thermostat replaced. Took it back to the dealer, SA said thermostat is not the cause of the problem, asked me to bring the car back next Tuesday. Today is Thursday.

The question, can the thermostat cause the heating/AC system give off hot air even though the temp setting is 70-72 deg when the cabin temperature I know is about that temp, or the SA is right that the thermostat is not causing heating in the AC system?
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-03-2013 at 02:53 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2013, 03:16 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post

The question, can the thermostat cause the heating/AC system give off hot air even though the temp setting is 70-72 deg when the cabin temperature I know is about that temp, or the SA is right that the thermostat is not causing heating in the AC system?
Probably not. Unlikely that thermostat is bad out of the box. And usually they fail open which means your engine will not get hot enough.

Let's play logical detective here. You just had your car worked on and came home and now something is not working.
Most likely something they did is not Kosher when putting things back together. First I'd want to make sure you have a belt turning your A/C condenser. Do you know how to look down into the engine to spy the condenser?

Add in that I'd want to go over all likely suspects in the form of connectors that the tech did not replace properly or not at all. But it would help if you had a working acquaintance with what normal looks like?


The Politics: So nice of the dealer to accomodate you with a quick follow up appointment since it was probably their fault that you are driving around now with no A/C!!
And for the uninitiated: know that if you had the time, inclination, and ability to DIY, you could have a cooling system update with replaced pump, belts, hoses, ET, thermostat, radiator, and temperature sensor, along with new coolant for what you paid for this friendly visit. Just sayin'.



PS, yes you were raked on the price, but that will happen usually at the dealer.

Last edited by GoForthFast; 01-03-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2013, 03:20 PM
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First problem was paying $575 for t-stat and coolant flush, but it sounds like you know that.

Most common answer will be that tstat replacement introduced air in the lines and wasn't properly bled, although I've typically heard this related to no hot air, not no cold air. Still, first thing I'd try is bleeding the system to see if that helps.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Probably not. Unlikely that thermostat is bad out of the box. And usually they fail open which means your engine will not get hot enough.

Let's play logical detective here. You just had your car worked on and came home and not something is not working.
Most likely something they did is not Kosher when putting things back together. First I'd want to make sure you have a belt turning your A/C condenser. Do you know how to look down into the engine to spy the condenser?
I discounted AC low on freon as the SA suggested because I went home and verified freon level was not low, and the fact that the AC system does blow cold air when the setting was at 59F (minimum setting the AC will go). I know the system blows hot air even at temp setting when it not suppose to. The hot air is not the normal warm air that is associated with low on freon. It is hot air!!!!!!!!!!!
Edit: I hooked up a can of freon to the low side, engine running at idle, set the AC to 59, blower full blast. Yes, air coming out of the vent is super cold.

Yea, if they did not put everything back right they will certainly not admit it. They will talk around the issue.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-03-2013 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:32 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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I still want to know for sure that the A/C belt is on and turning!

And as another said, make sure the syetem s bled repeating over time until you get no more air.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2013, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
I still want to know for sure that the A/C belt is on and turning!

And as another said, make sure the syetem s bled repeating over time until you get no more air.
Just as sure that I know the sun will come up tomorrow, I went and verified that the belt to the compressor is working. It is turning the compressor.
I didn't touch the AC freon line, ie, did nothing except to verify the freon is full. There is no air in the system. It blows artic air when AC is set to 59 deg.

How about those bank of resistors I hear people complaining long time ago?
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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction", Sam Walton.

Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-03-2013 at 03:46 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
Just as sure that I know the sun will come up tomorrow, I went and verified that the belt to the compressor is working. It is turning the compressor.
I didn't touch the AC freon line, ie, did nothing except to verify the freon is full. There is no air in the system. It blows artic air when AC is set to 59 deg.

How about those bank of resistors I hear people complaining long time ago?
I'm talking about bleeding the coolant lines, not the freon lines. I wouldn't even know how to bleed the A/C system or if that's possible for a DIYer.

But bleeding the coolant is free, easy, and not time consuming. Since there have been HVAC-related symptoms attributed to the coolant not being properly bled, that's why I suggested maybe trying that and seeing if it helps.

As for the final stage resistor, I hear the symptom associated with a failed FSR is the blower blows high and low intermittently, not necessarily temperature differences.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottji View Post
I'm talking about bleeding the coolant lines, not the freon lines. I wouldn't even know how to bleed the A/C system or if that's possible for a DIYer.

But bleeding the coolant is free, easy, and not time consuming. Since there have been HVAC-related symptoms attributed to the coolant not being properly bled, that's why I suggested maybe trying that and seeing if it helps.

As for the final stage resistor, I hear the symptom associated with a failed FSR is the blower blows high and low intermittently, not necessarily temperature differences.
OK, so I suggest to the SA to bleed the coolant lines? Something is fishy since immediately when I took possession of the car, the AC was blowing hot air. The temp setting was at its highest point, I think but couldn't remember, around 90+ deg, so I thought there was not a problem.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:30 PM
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They set it to the hottest (I think 91 degrees) to bleed the coolant. They might just not have bled them right, or sometimes a bubble gets trapped and it takes a few tries. Give it another try or two to see if it helps. http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=689618
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottji View Post
They set it to the hottest (I think 91 degrees) to bleed the coolant. They might just not have bled them right, or sometimes a bubble gets trapped and it takes a few tries. Give it another try or two to see if it helps. http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=689618
I don't want to sound stupid with the SA. So, does the coolant lines get involved with the HAC? One post and the SA said no.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post


The Politics: So nice of the dealer to accomodate you with a quick follow up appointment since it was probably their fault that you are driving around now with no A/C!!
And for the uninitiated: know that if you had the time, inclination, and ability to DIY, you could have a cooling system update with replaced pump, belts, hoses, ET, thermostat, radiator, and temperature sensor, along with new coolant for what you paid for this friendly visit. Just sayin'.



PS, yes you were raked on the price, but that will happen usually at the dealer.
Let's not get into the cost. You may want to DIY, but others don't want to for various reasons. That's why they have dealers that provide services. Cost is not an issue here, but trying to determine what the problem is. If you can provide technical advice please do, but don't tell me I got raked.
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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction", Sam Walton.

Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-03-2013 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:48 PM
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My understanding, and someone will please correct me if I am wrong -- The coolant gets hot in the motor and flows over the heater core (I think?) which warms the air for the heater. This is why sometimes people complain that their heater isn't working after doing work on the cooling system -- either the coolant's too low, or there's air trapped in the line blocking access to the heater core (again, I could be mistaken on the mechanics of it, but I'm fairly certain on the symptoms).

Now, you're complaining that the air blows hot ok, but the A/C won't blow cold. To be honest, I'm not sure how the two could be related, but since others have complained of weird HVAC stuff happening when the coolant isn't bled properly, and since bleeding the cooling is free and takes like 10 mins, I just threw it out there as something easy you could do just to cross that off your list.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
I don't want to sound stupid with the SA. So, does the coolant lines get involved with the HAC? One post and the SA said no.
They do if your heater control valve is stuck open. Also make sure they did not shear off the temp sensor under the drivers side of the front bumper. This usually happens when the least talented of the bunch parks your car and hits the concrete parking lot bumper. Symptom would be you outside temperature indicator showing 140 degrees, or anything other than the actual temperature. I would go speak to the general manager of the dealership and tell him that you were ripped off. If that does not work, go into the showroom when a lot of customers are around and start to loudly proclaim that you were ripped off by the service department. You can also tell them that you will go on dealerrater.com and give them a poor review. One of those will usually make them more pliable. (sorry I just saw that cost wasn't an issue, so disregard my comments on price)

Last edited by SJBimmer; 01-03-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:04 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
Let's not get into the cost. You may want to DIY, but others don't want to for various reasons. That's why they have dealers that provide services. Cost is not an issue here, but trying to determine what the problem is. If you can provide technical advice please do, but don't tell me I got raked.
I write for more than just OP. Many people read these posts other than you and I post that info was for others who haven't run across it before.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:06 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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They do if your heater control valve is stuck open. Also make sure they did not shear off the temp sensor under the drivers side of the front bumper. This usually happens when the least talented of the bunch parks your car and hits the concrete parking lot bumper. Symptom would be you outside temperature indicator showing 140 degrees, or anything other than the actual temperature. I would go speak to the general manager of the dealership and tell him that you were ripped off. If that does not work, go into the showroom when a lot of customers are around and start to loudly proclaim that you were ripped off by the service department. You can also tell them that you will go on dealerrater.com and give them a poor review. One of those will usually make them more pliable. (sorry I just saw that cost wasn't an issue, so disregard my comments on price)
Nice fantasy rarely employed and less often successful.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:10 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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My understanding, and someone will please correct me if I am wrong -- The coolant gets hot in the motor and flows over the heater core (I think?) which warms the air for the heater. This is why sometimes people complain that their heater isn't working after doing work on the cooling system -- either the coolant's too low, or there's air trapped in the line blocking access to the heater core (again, I could be mistaken on the mechanics of it, but I'm fairly certain on the symptoms). +1 on this. Exactly the way it happens.

Now, you're complaining that the air blows hot ok, but the A/C won't blow cold. To be honest, I'm not sure how the two could be related, but since others have complained of weird HVAC stuff happening when the coolant isn't bled properly, and since bleeding the cooling is free and takes like 10 mins, I just threw it out there as something easy you could do just to cross that off your list.
And bleeding system is independent of the A/C dilemma. His lack of cold air could not happen due to bleeding. But best to have it done to compound the problems he's dealing with.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:13 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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I'm talking about bleeding the coolant lines, not the freon lines. I wouldn't even know how to bleed the A/C system or if that's possible for a DIYer. Exactly! No such thing as bleeding freon lines.


As for the final stage resistor, I hear the symptom associated with a failed FSR is the blower blows high and low intermittently, not necessarily temperature differences.
Yes again, FSR affects the erratic fan speed with no ability to control it from the HVAC controls.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:31 PM
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Nice fantasy rarely employed and less often successful.
As with other things in life, much depends on the skill of the person doing it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:38 PM
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crap, this is turning into who knows what not the problem

I'll hand the dealer another blank check. Maybe the SA will go easy on me.

I'll let you guys know what the problem was, next Tuesday or Wednesday.
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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction", Sam Walton.

Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-03-2013 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:11 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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As with other things in life, much depends on the skill of the person doing it.
Completely concur.
If you are successful, I elevate you to the master class!

My girlfriend once did this in the middle of an electronics store.
I think it's much more dramatic when executed by a woman.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:36 PM
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Completely concur.
If you are successful, I elevate you to the master class!

My girlfriend once did this in the middle of an electronics store.
I think it's much more dramatic when executed by a woman.
There is one thing thing that I have learned in my older years, and that is that Women are better at most things that don't involve physical strength. Hate to admit it though!
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:10 PM
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Is the dial in between the front vents on the dash spun from three red dots to three blue dots when testing the AC?

I know this sounds stupid and ridiculous, but people have asked similar questions before only to forget to spin that dial. I almost had a fit when it finally got cold here forgetting to spin that guy.

Just a thought. If not then sorry I couldn't be of more help!
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:02 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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There is one thing thing that I have learned in my older years, and that is that Women are better at most things that don't involve physical strength. Hate to admit it though!
Yeah, and I might be frightened that they's beat the crap out of me.
She doesn't have to worry about that as much.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:05 PM
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OK, follow up to the thermostat issue. I did not take the car back to the dealer because I wanted to verify that the heater should be on by monitoring the cabin temperature first. I did not want to be an idiot for accusing the tech who did the work if there was nothing wrong with the repair. The weather had been cold the last few days. The cabin temperature was in the 60s. At the temperature, the heater should come on and it did come on when the HVAC temperature was set at 70F. Today, the weather was perfect, in the 70's, and the HVAC did its thing. The AC was running when the HVAC was set below that set temperature. So, I do not see any problem with the repair, replacing the thermostat housing and the thermostat and the coolant. Good thing I didn't take the car back to the dealer and accuse them of sloppy work.

The other issue was whether the job at the dealer was too expensive, $575. It was not because a highly rated independent shop quoted $600 for replacing the same parts, after the fact. Again, I do not DIY anymore. Too old for that ****. Some people make more money per hour than the time spent DIY, so it is more economical to have someone do it for me.

Yes, I change my oil/filter since the car was new. I do that out of convenience rather than trying to save a few dollars. That's all. Thanks for all the support.
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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction", Sam Walton.

Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-10-2013 at 04:10 PM.
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