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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-19-2013, 05:15 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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Location: Jacksonville, FL
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 E60 525i
My AC "Blows!!!" warm air :(

2004 525I/E60 with 150K miles. Runs great but the old girl is showing her age. Never had issues with my AC until last week. It blows warm air. I've been reading and reading the threads but I can't seem to find my problem. So here goes my first post...

1) Warm air comes from both passenger and driver side.
2) Max AC button set.
3) IDrive climate control checked to make sure that all settings are on cold (blue)
4) Checked the Freon. Here's the first sign of problems. The gauge shows "Red" as in too much Freon. but I have not added any. I suspect that something is clogged or not working.
5) I understand there are various high and low pressure valves but I can't seem to find on the internet where they are located.
6) I should check if the compressor kicks on but I'm not sure how to do this in this car.
7) I understand that there is a fan that should be turning on too and that there may be a problem with some relay. Which relay and where?
8) I understand there is a FSU resistor that needs to be replaced. Does it? Where and how.
9) I did replace my cabin micro filters on both sides and cleaned out their compartments. No dice.

Can anyone point me to some common sense troubleshooting steps, diagrams, ideas. I'm a weekend mechanic and don't mind getting dirty but without good reference material or ideas I'm a nervous to start taking things apart.

I have just replaced my valve cover gasket, my plugs and my oil and filter. At the same time I cleaned out the cabin filter compartments thinking too that they be preventing air into the AC system.

What did I miss....

Thank you all!
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2013, 05:23 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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Disregard

Sorry guys, disregard this reply to my own post.

Last edited by zkost; 05-19-2013 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Newbie. Posted a new issue as a reply to another issue
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2013, 06:19 PM
H F H F is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zkost View Post
2004 525I/E60 with 150K miles. Runs great but the old girl is showing her age. Never had issues with my AC until last week. It blows warm air. I've been reading and reading the threads but I can't seem to find my problem. So here goes my first post...

1) Warm air comes from both passenger and driver side.
2) Max AC button set.
3) IDrive climate control checked to make sure that all settings are on cold (blue)
4) Checked the Freon. Here's the first sign of problems. The gauge shows "Red" as in too much Freon. but I have not added any. I suspect that something is clogged or not working.
5) I understand there are various high and low pressure valves but I can't seem to find on the internet where they are located.
6) I should check if the compressor kicks on but I'm not sure how to do this in this car.
7) I understand that there is a fan that should be turning on too and that there may be a problem with some relay. Which relay and where?
8) I understand there is a FSU resistor that needs to be replaced. Does it? Where and how.
9) I did replace my cabin micro filters on both sides and cleaned out their compartments. No dice.

Can anyone point me to some common sense troubleshooting steps, diagrams, ideas. I'm a weekend mechanic and don't mind getting dirty but without good reference material or ideas I'm a nervous to start taking things apart.

I have just replaced my valve cover gasket, my plugs and my oil and filter. At the same time I cleaned out the cabin filter compartments thinking too that they be preventing air into the AC system.

What did I miss....

Thank you all!
I just went thru that ac blowen warm air...Alls i did was charge the system with freeon and it blows cold now. Maybe that too will do the trick for u
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2013, 06:31 AM
ebill535 ebill535 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H F View Post
I just went thru that ac blowen warm air...Alls i did was charge the system with freeon and it blows cold now. Maybe that too will do the trick for u
+1 changed the freon as well and it blows cold again
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2013, 09:29 AM
v8power v8power is offline
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Do a recharge. Looks like these freon has expiration date. BMW compressor are always on. Unlike Jap/American clicks on and off creating idle surges.
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2013, 07:31 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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Well, it appears that I have blockage. Most likely in the Expansion valve. Does anyone know how to get at the evaporator core? Please don't suggest that I take it to a dealer. If you can help please provide specific references as to how to get at the core under the dash. I've searched the net today and can't find any diagrams or instructions and before I go at it and break stuff I am hoping that I might find some tips, tricks step-by-step or a prayer or two on fixing this. My neighbor has replaced several entire AC systems but not on the 525i. So we're going to do it together but I'm hoping for some reference materials. Thank you in advance.
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  #7  
Old 05-20-2013, 07:47 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Location: Greensboro, NC
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zkost View Post
2004 525I/E60 with 150K miles. Runs great but the old girl is showing her age. Never had issues with my AC until last week. It blows warm air. I've been reading and reading the threads but I can't seem to find my problem. So here goes my first post...

1) Warm air comes from both passenger and driver side.
2) Max AC button set.
3) IDrive climate control checked to make sure that all settings are on cold (blue)
4) Checked the Freon. Here's the first sign of problems. The gauge shows "Red" as in too much Freon. but I have not added any. I suspect that something is clogged or not working.
5) I understand there are various high and low pressure valves but I can't seem to find on the internet where they are located.
6) I should check if the compressor kicks on but I'm not sure how to do this in this car.
7) I understand that there is a fan that should be turning on too and that there may be a problem with some relay. Which relay and where?
8) I understand there is a FSU resistor that needs to be replaced. Does it? Where and how.
9) I did replace my cabin micro filters on both sides and cleaned out their compartments. No dice.

Can anyone point me to some common sense troubleshooting steps, diagrams, ideas. I'm a weekend mechanic and don't mind getting dirty but without good reference material or ideas I'm a nervous to start taking things apart.

I have just replaced my valve cover gasket, my plugs and my oil and filter. At the same time I cleaned out the cabin filter compartments thinking too that they be preventing air into the AC system.

What did I miss....

Thank you all!
We need pressure numbers, high pressure and low pressure sides of the system. Without that, you're / we're guessing. What does "red" mean? If you're just measuring the low pressure side with one of those little hoses you can buy at walmart, when the system is off and pressure equalizes, it will be up in the "red". Once it comes on and pressurizes the other side of the system, the pressure will go down on the side you're measuring (if all is working properly obviously)

Also, do you have access to INPA to check out any codes? Could be as simple as a sensor gone bad somewhere. Is the climate control system doing anything out of the ordinary? Blinking lights for example?


Quote:
Originally Posted by H F View Post
I just went thru that ac blowen warm air...Alls i did was charge the system with freeon and it blows cold now. Maybe that too will do the trick for u
He just said his readings were in the red. That's not exactly the first sign of not having enough freon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by v8power View Post
Do a recharge. Looks like these freon has expiration date. BMW compressor are always on. Unlike Jap/American clicks on and off creating idle surges.
Freon does not have an expiration date. I've had cars 20 years old where the original AC system still works fine. These compressors are always "on" in the sense that they don't have a clutch, but they can be throttled down to 1-2% of their capacity. They use a swash plate style compressor. If you find my AC thread, it shows all of BMW's diagrams/theory on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zkost View Post
Well, it appears that I have blockage. Most likely in the Expansion valve. Does anyone know how to get at the evaporator core? Please don't suggest that I take it to a dealer. If you can help please provide specific references as to how to get at the core under the dash. I've searched the net today and can't find any diagrams or instructions and before I go at it and break stuff I am hoping that I might find some tips, tricks step-by-step or a prayer or two on fixing this. My neighbor has replaced several entire AC systems but not on the 525i. So we're going to do it together but I'm hoping for some reference materials. Thank you in advance.
I'll look it up in ISTA/D tomorrow at work on how to change it, but I'm not convinced that's your problem. How did you arrive at your conclusion that it's a blockage?

Last edited by schpenxel; 05-20-2013 at 08:06 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-20-2013, 08:04 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Just took a quick look at it in ISTA, and it looks pretty straightforward actually.

Basically just pull all of the plastic crap under the cabin air filters off, then (after evacuating system obviously) pull the coolant lines off that connect to the evaporator. Then you can get to the expansion valve (if that's what's wrong obviously..)

I would also be worried, that if that is what's wrong, where whatever stopped it up came from. I haven't seen one clogged before that didn't have something else going on, usually compressor on the way out


edit:
(fyi, I was looking at the system for a 545i, but I'm assuming yours is very similar, and possibly easier if you have a little more room in the engine bay to work with)

Last edited by schpenxel; 05-20-2013 at 08:05 PM. Reason: edit
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2013, 08:05 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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You are correct; it is a best guess right now. Here's what I did so far... connected a Freon can with a gauge to the low pressure side with the AC on full. The needle jumped into the red. I didn't bother trying to add Freon. Before I did anything else I started to research the net and had very little results. Watched a lot of youtube videos on doing this kind of stuff before having a discussion with my neighbor who use to do it for a living but even then we both were drinking a beer talking about it and have not yet done any real mechanic work. Unfortunately there is nothing on youtube specific to the E60 and this problem.

My plan for the next few days is to put on real gauges and take real measurements and report them back here. I would like to turn my experience into something that can help others on here. So I plan to keep the forum posted with steps, results, photos...

To answer your question... I arrived at the evaporator core and expansion valve just from research. I understand that these wear and get stuck in the open. I'd rather spend 50 bucks on a new valve then 900 on a new compressor knowing perfectly well that I will probably end up at the compressor sooner or later (hopefully not). In either case, it's a learning experience that I intend to do myself.

Based on what the gauges tell me I hope I end up at it simply needing Freon like the other fellow said... I welcome all input and help on this. This past weekend I replaced the plugs and valve cover gasket... This is going to become my labor of love... or hate but experience in both cases. Thank you all in advance...
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  #10  
Old 05-20-2013, 08:33 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zkost View Post
You are correct; it is a best guess right now. Here's what I did so far... connected a Freon can with a gauge to the low pressure side with the AC on full. The needle jumped into the red. I didn't bother trying to add Freon. Before I did anything else I started to research the net and had very little results. Watched a lot of youtube videos on doing this kind of stuff before having a discussion with my neighbor who use to do it for a living but even then we both were drinking a beer talking about it and have not yet done any real mechanic work. Unfortunately there is nothing on youtube specific to the E60 and this problem.

My plan for the next few days is to put on real gauges and take real measurements and report them back here. I would like to turn my experience into something that can help others on here. So I plan to keep the forum posted with steps, results, photos...

To answer your question... I arrived at the evaporator core and expansion valve just from research. I understand that these wear and get stuck in the open. I'd rather spend 50 bucks on a new valve then 900 on a new compressor knowing perfectly well that I will probably end up at the compressor sooner or later (hopefully not). In either case, it's a learning experience that I intend to do myself.

Based on what the gauges tell me I hope I end up at it simply needing Freon like the other fellow said... I welcome all input and help on this. This past weekend I replaced the plugs and valve cover gasket... This is going to become my labor of love... or hate but experience in both cases. Thank you all in advance...
First thing I would do is to turn the system on and off a few times with the gauge you have hooked up, just to see if there are any changes on the gauge. If not, then of course the compressor isn't doing anything, for whatever reason. Do you have any idea what PSI the "red" is on that gauge? If it's in the 85'ish PSI range, that's not too crazy for an equalized system that is "off" so to speak.

Getting that set of manifold gauge should tell the story..

I replaced the compressor on mine a month or two ago with a used one and so far so good. I think I paid $250 for it shipped. I wasn't about to pay the $800 or whatever it is BMW wants for theirs. I figure my first one made it over 190K miles, so a used one should last longer than the car probably will at this point.

Let me know readings when you get the gauges on and I'll give you my thoughts anyways (although you will probably figure it out once you see the readings )

Here was the thread on changing mine:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...877&highlight=

Lastly, do you have access to INPA?

Last edited by schpenxel; 05-20-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2013, 04:14 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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So I finally got a pair of real gauges and tested the system. First the low pressure gauge (blue) spun all the way to the right (that is clockwise to the end). The High pressure gauge (red) was steady on 47 (I'm reading the most outer gauge reading of the read gauge when I say 47. I do not get any gauge fluctuations on the system when I turn the AC on or off. The blue is steady on the most significant reading and the red is on the 47. This suggests to me (guessing) that it's the compressor? It is spinning just fine but... suggestions?
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2013, 04:18 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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What is the max reading on the low pressure side gauge?

Are there any pressure changes from the car being off vs. on? If not, compressor is def. not compressing for whatever reason. Could be a ton of different reasons though, not necessarily compressor.

Last edited by schpenxel; 05-24-2013 at 04:20 PM.
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2013, 07:41 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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Gauge Readings

Attached is an actual image of the gauges I'm using I drew a red line on both to show the readings I get
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  #14  
Old 05-25-2013, 06:31 AM
l1tech l1tech is offline
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With the car off the gauges should read the same as system pressure equalizes. Are you sure that the gauges are hooked up correctly becasue your gauge readings should be reversed. Your not opening the valves on the gauges are you?
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:49 AM
zkost zkost is offline
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The way you asked makes me want to hope I screwed up, but I double checked and they are correct. The blue line is the low pressure line (smaller connector near the firewall) the red line is the larger connector by the radiator. Please tell me my car is different and the low pressure line is by the radiator...
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:33 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1tech View Post
With the car off the gauges should read the same as system pressure equalizes. Are you sure that the gauges are hooked up correctly becasue your gauge readings should be reversed. Your not opening the valves on the gauges are you?
The numbers look the same on both sides to me.. at least close enough that they could be the same reading on both sides, which would just mean the compressor isn't coming on so the system is staying equalized between high/low sides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zkost View Post
The way you asked makes me want to hope I screwed up, but I double checked and they are correct. The blue line is the low pressure line (smaller connector near the firewall) the red line is the larger connector by the radiator. Please tell me my car is different and the low pressure line is by the radiator...
I think the readings are the same on both gauges, or at least very close. This would mean the compressor isn't coming on.

What is the air temp where you are?

Last edited by schpenxel; 05-25-2013 at 09:35 AM.
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  #17  
Old 05-25-2013, 09:40 AM
zkost zkost is offline
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it only blows warm air on both the driver and passenger side. What I'm not sure of is if it is a blockage, the compressor is not coming on like you suggested or if something is stuck open. I'm worried a bit about the low pressure gauge is showing max reading.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:40 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Also, do you have access to INPA? The may prove quite useful
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:41 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zkost View Post
it only blows warm air on both the driver and passenger side. What I'm not sure of is if it is a blockage, the compressor is not coming on like you suggested or if something is stuck open. I'm worried a bit about the low pressure gauge is showing max reading.
It's normal for a system where the compressor isn't coming on.

Normally the high side will go up a good bit and low side will go down to get more in the range the gauge was made to read (obviously).

At least in INPA you could see if the car is telling the compressor to come on or not

Last edited by schpenxel; 05-25-2013 at 09:42 AM.
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  #20  
Old 05-25-2013, 09:49 AM
zkost zkost is offline
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I'm awaiting my INPA (cable and software) to arrive any day; maybe even today. Bought it on e-bay last week.
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  #21  
Old 05-25-2013, 09:51 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Cool. Just googling around it looks like INPA can tell you a lot, i.e. pressures and temps at different parts of the system. I'm not sure if it there are error codes for why the system isn't on (if the car is not turning it on on purpose), but it would surprise me if there weren't on these things
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:14 AM
l1tech l1tech is offline
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So if the pressure readings that you have shown in the picture are with the engine running and the ac turned on you have something going on with the compressor.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:13 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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So I am tempted just to replace every part of my AC system. The car got 150K miles on it and it can't hurt other than my wallet. Although, I'm hoping to first pin-point the problem so as to help others on here for no other reason then to say thank you to you guys for helping me with your experience - that's what's it's all about anyway. I will wait for the cables and software and hook things up to see what the car is telling me is wrong. Then I will start from there.... If anyone else has any opinion from looking at my gauges, I'm all ears.... Cheers!
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:46 PM
zkost zkost is offline
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Found at http://www.aircondition.com/tech/questions/82/

Quote:
It's common for a defective expansion valve to stick closed, however, the expansion valve can also stick open. This is indicated by higher than normal low side pressure, and slightly higher than normal high side pressure. To some, this might appear as a weak compressor or slightly overcharged system.
So while surfing I came across the above notes. It sways me back to the expansion valve if my readings are true. The low pressure side pings to max while the high pressure side is where I show it.

Being that it costs less then a compressor and it won't hurt to replace, I think that is my next to do....

Anyone out there wants to share a different view?
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:43 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Your readings aren't slightly off. They're indicative of the compressor doing exactly nothing at all

(although you're right that it can't hurt to replace the expansion valve..)
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