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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 05-25-2013, 05:12 PM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Changing the AC evaporator

The evaporator in my wife's X3 has a leak in it. I'm attempting to get it done over the long weekend. Its a pretty big job, which is why BMW charges around 2,000 for the job. Here is is around 4-5 hours in. Nothing too difficult yet...
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2013, 04:13 AM
PSUEng PSUEng is offline
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Good luck--that looks like a challenging job. I don't get why they didn't design the HVAC box such that the evaporator and heater cores could be more easily removed in service.
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  #3  
Old 05-26-2013, 07:11 AM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Wow- I can see how much you love your wife. Are you doing this by yourself? Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 05-26-2013, 07:09 PM
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Re: Changing the AC evaporator

Thanks guys. Here's another pic at about 5 hours into the job. So far so good. I just hope I can get it back together and not have 15 leftover nuts and bolts... Doing the job myself but I've done other fairly complex DIYs so I thought I'd attempt this one.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:37 PM
morriswu morriswu is online now
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Thumbs up A Great Job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlukas161 View Post
Thanks guys. Here's another pic at about 5 hours into the job. So far so good. I just hope I can get it back together and not have 15 leftover nuts and bolts... Doing the job myself but I've done other fairly complex DIYs so I thought I'd attempt this one.


Can you share your pictures for the step by step work?
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  #6  
Old 05-28-2013, 01:06 PM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morriswu View Post


Can you share your pictures for the step by step work?
Here are the links I used while doing the Evaporator Job. I hope that helps!

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=468090

http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...ator-tips.html

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=754583

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=644722

http://www.autoscope.co/services/ser...-replacemenet/
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2013, 04:45 PM
morriswu morriswu is online now
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Thanks a lot. That is very helpful.
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  #8  
Old 05-29-2013, 04:40 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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I hear this is a PITA! Goodluck and keep going
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2013, 02:19 PM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Thanks so much for posting about this. Just found out from my A/C repair guy that my evaporator has failed. Refrigerant is leaking out after 6 weeks or so. I'm looking at doing the work myself and then take it back to him for a recharge. Keep us posted on your progress and anything you might think is useful to someone going in blindly!
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  #10  
Old 06-03-2013, 12:25 PM
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Just thought I'd follow up and report that I once again have Ice cold air!

I did replace the drier and added universal PAG oil.
Had a friend of mine run a vacuum on it for about 40 minutes and then preform a recharge on the system. All is back to normal and the Wife was very impressed that I saved us from the 2,000 repair bill.

My recommendations are to take your time and take a lot of digital photos along the way. I found myself referring to these quite a bit while putting things back together.

I did the entire job over 2 days and would recommend that to someone attempting this project. 5-6 hours to take everything apart and and then another 5-6 to put things back together again.
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  #11  
Old 06-03-2013, 09:07 PM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Mother of God, that is one epic DIY! Well done!
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2013, 12:01 AM
vwvwvw vwvwvw is online now
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Wow, nice work dude. I replaced the heater core on a mk3 GTI a few years back. This project looks similar in scope. I wound up with a lot of leftover parts though!!
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  #13  
Old 06-20-2013, 02:20 PM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlukas161 View Post
Just thought I'd follow up and report that I once again have Ice cold air!

I did replace the drier and added universal PAG oil.
Had a friend of mine run a vacuum on it for about 40 minutes and then preform a recharge on the system. All is back to normal and the Wife was very impressed that I saved us from the 2,000 repair bill.

My recommendations are to take your time and take a lot of digital photos along the way. I found myself referring to these quite a bit while putting things back together.

I did the entire job over 2 days and would recommend that to someone attempting this project. 5-6 hours to take everything apart and and then another 5-6 to put things back together again.
Did you replace the drier "just because" or was there a specific reason you did it? I'm tackling this job in 2 weeks.
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  #14  
Old 06-21-2013, 08:06 AM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Sweeney View Post
Did you replace the drier "just because" or was there a specific reason you did it? I'm tackling this job in 2 weeks.
Initially I was going to leave the existing drier but was told by a number of people that it's foolish not to replace it. I was told it must be replaced anytime the system has been opened for an extended time. It's a 40 dollar part and takes about an hour to replace but it's relatively easy to access, especially after the pain of getting to the evaporator.

Also, make sure you plan on adding PAG oil to the new drier. I've never been familiar with the AC system on these car so it was a learning experience for me.

Swapping the evaporator was a pain but I took my time and tried not to get overly stressed about it. I'd budget roughly 12 hours start to finish.

A few tips:

1.) disconnect battery ( of course ) to avoid air bags going off

2.) sport steering wheel on my 330i has 2 release clips to remove the airbag. I thought it would be the same on the X3 but it wasn't. The X3 airbag is held on by torx nuts accessed from behind the steering wheel. I must have wasted an hour looking for the non-existent release pins!

3.) the dash comes out as one huge piece. with my auto transmission shifter in the way this was not easy. I ended up hack sawing a small piece of the trim to get it over the shifter knob. This is hidden under a cover plate anyways.

4.) Take a lot of photos! Even if you never need them you can delete them when the job is done.

Good luck! If I had to do the job again I think I could manage it in 6-7 hours.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:10 AM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlukas161 View Post
Initially I was going to leave the existing drier but was told by a number of people that it's foolish not to replace it. I was told it must be replaced anytime the system has been opened for an extended time. It's a 40 dollar part and takes about an hour to replace but it's relatively easy to access, especially after the pain of getting to the evaporator.

Also, make sure you plan on adding PAG oil to the new drier. I've never been familiar with the AC system on these car so it was a learning experience for me.

Swapping the evaporator was a pain but I took my time and tried not to get overly stressed about it. I'd budget roughly 12 hours start to finish.

A few tips:

1.) disconnect battery ( of course ) to avoid air bags going off

2.) sport steering wheel on my 330i has 2 release clips to remove the airbag. I thought it would be the same on the X3 but it wasn't. The X3 airbag is held on by torx nuts accessed from behind the steering wheel. I must have wasted an hour looking for the non-existent release pins!

3.) the dash comes out as one huge piece. with my auto transmission shifter in the way this was not easy. I ended up hack sawing a small piece of the trim to get it over the shifter knob. This is hidden under a cover plate anyways.

4.) Take a lot of photos! Even if you never need them you can delete them when the job is done.

Good luck! If I had to do the job again I think I could manage it in 6-7 hours.
Awesome...thanks so much for your advice. I'll go ahead with the receiver dryer.

What exactly is PAG oil and what does it do? Do I need to add it, or is that something that my mechanic will do when he recharges the system?
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:51 PM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Sweeney View Post
Awesome...thanks so much for your advice. I'll go ahead with the receiver dryer.

What exactly is PAG oil and what does it do? Do I need to add it, or is that something that my mechanic will do when he recharges the system?
Not 100% sure what PAG oil does. Any shop that works on AC systems should have it.
I believe it gets added to the dryer and lubricates and/or protects the AC systems internals from corroding.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:27 PM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Is it worth replacing the heater core while you're in there? Do those have a tendency to fail like the evaporators do?
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:31 PM
SoLOwX3 SoLOwX3 is offline
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This makes me miss my Honda lol Im so not looking forward to crossing this road in the furture. Glad your posting a how to.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:12 PM
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Re: Changing the AC evaporator

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Originally Posted by Ryan Sweeney View Post
Is it worth replacing the heater core while you're in there? Do those have a tendency to fail like the evaporators do?
I don't think the heater cores have a tendency to fail. I didn't replace mine because I was trying to save money. It seemed like a waste of money in my opinion, although I would kick myself if the heater core failed anytime soon!
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:42 AM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Ok, I did it. Took me and a friend 12 hours to do it yesterday....noon to midnight.

Everything is back together, however the 4x4 light stays on now. Any idea why??
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  #21  
Old 07-07-2013, 11:12 AM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Re: Changing the AC evaporator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Sweeney View Post
Ok, I did it. Took me and a friend 12 hours to do it yesterday....noon to midnight.

Everything is back together, however the 4x4 light stays on now. Any idea why??
Congratulations! I had the same issue with the 4x4 light. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the left then all the way to the right. It has something to do with resetting the sensors I believe.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:13 AM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Originally Posted by mlukas161 View Post
Congratulations! I had the same issue with the 4x4 light. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the left then all the way to the right. It has something to do with resetting the sensors I believe.
Thanks! I'll go try that in a few.

Did you also bleed your engine cooling system, or is that necessary?
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  #23  
Old 07-07-2013, 01:08 PM
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Re: Changing the AC evaporator

I didn't bleed my coolant but I did add some to top off the expansion tank. It was definitely low and was throwing the low coolant light.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:19 PM
Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney is offline
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Originally Posted by mlukas161 View Post
I didn't bleed my coolant but I did add some to top off the expansion tank. It was definitely low and was throwing the low coolant light.
Thank you. You have been a huge help. The left/right trick worked and cleared the 4 x 4 light.
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  #25  
Old 07-07-2013, 04:06 PM
Clm8559 Clm8559 is offline
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wow

Wish you luck! Dealer replaced mine twice in four years. It is indeed a huge job.
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