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  #1  
Old 08-30-2016, 02:26 PM
mikie_mfp mikie_mfp is offline
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AC blows cold on left but warm on right side

I have a 2009 X5 30i. The AC is blowing cold air on left side but passenger side is warm air. the right side temperature lowers after cabin cools a bit. I checked the thermostats, both show 60. The back ac vents also have cold and warm similar to dash.

Any ideas what the cause may be?
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:01 PM
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There is a problem with the right-passenger side hot water supply/valve and/or its control. Why are your thermostats set at 60F?

Find a way to get your AC back to its default settings. If you want MAX cooling then use MAX, but normally you should be in AUTO.

Mechanically, BMW AC is quite conventional. Its control is very complicated with up to thirteen electrically actuated control flaps. The actual temperature control is by left and right engine hot water radiators with a dual L/R computer controlled throttle valve.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:42 PM
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Also check (ie do a search) if you have a low freon issue- classic symtom of low freon is cool on driver side warm on passenger (US) side. Search. Common.

Bring it to (not a BMW dealer) AC shop- they will do a pump down test, look for leaks, refill freon plus UV dye, check for leaks. Next time it happens that UV dye will leave residual and you will knw what was leaking.

This symptom is usually a minor leak (a major leak will quickly lead to no AC at all)
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:59 PM
mikie_mfp mikie_mfp is offline
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Thanks guys for your advice

doug....i have ac on 60 and max because i live in florida and its hot hot hot
most times of year. I need quick cooling.

Not sure how to get ac back to default settings other than resetting controls manually but i will search.

Ard...if that doesnt work i will take to bmw repair place to checkout.
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:07 PM
Masoe Masoe is offline
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Originally Posted by ard View Post
Also check (ie do a search) if you have a low freon issue- classic symtom of low freon is cool on driver side warm on passenger (US) side. Search. Common.

Bring it to (not a BMW dealer) AC shop- they will do a pump down test, look for leaks, refill freon plus UV dye, check for leaks. Next time it happens that UV dye will leave residual and you will knw what was leaking.

This symptom is usually a minor leak (a major leak will quickly lead to no AC at all)
+1.

I too had the same issue (as a lot of others have)...for some reason the pax side was much warmer than driver side and the wife was always complaining...lol.

I had an Indy evacuate and charge the system I now have cold AC on both sides and it's been well over a year now.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:03 PM
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The thermostat setting has little to do with how quickly the AC cools, it determines the set point. The AC is always fully loaded except for limiting power demand at engine idle, WOT, and to prevent evaporator icing . Temperature control is by left and right hot engine coolant radiators, after the one AC evaporator, each with its outlet thermometer (that you can see just inside the left and right center grilles).

MAX shuts all the flappers except those that blow in your face, sets blower speed to maximum, and thermostat to 60F.

The conventional wisdom is that low freon charge cools one side of the evaporator preferentially, but that makes little physical - physics - sense, as the evaporator is a folded mixed flow Hx, precisely for power balance.

The average differential temperature across the width of the Hx is equal. The point nearest the Tx valve might be the coldest, but the Hx outlet is adjacent so that the coldest freon temperature plus the hottest freon temperature divided by two is the same as the other side of the Hx where temperatures are equal and divided by two. YMMV
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post

The conventional wisdom is that low freon charge cools one side of the evaporator preferentially, but that makes little physical - physics - sense, as the evaporator is a folded mixed flow Hx, precisely for power balance.

The average differential temperature across the width of the Hx is equal. The point nearest the Tx valve might be the coldest, but the Hx outlet is adjacent so that the coldest freon temperature plus the hottest freon temperature divided by two is the same as the other side of the Hx where temperatures are equal and divided by two. YMMV
You have any pictures? I was prtty sure the hx is not symmetric.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Masoe View Post
+1.

I too had the same issue (as a lot of others have)...for some reason the pax side was much warmer than driver side and the wife was always complaining...lol.

I had an Indy evacuate and charge the system I now have cold AC on both sides and it's been well over a year now.
thanx - looks like im gonna try.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:11 AM
mikie_mfp mikie_mfp is offline
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The thermostat setting has little to do with how quickly the AC cools, it determines the set point. The AC is always fully loaded except for limiting power demand at engine idle, WOT, and to prevent evaporator icing . Temperature control is by left and right hot engine coolant radiators, after the one AC evaporator, each with its outlet thermometer (that you can see just inside the left and right center grilles).

MAX shuts all the flappers except those that blow in your face, sets blower speed to maximum, and thermostat to 60F.

The conventional wisdom is that low freon charge cools one side of the evaporator preferentially, but that makes little physical - physics - sense, as the evaporator is a folded mixed flow Hx, precisely for power balance.

The average differential temperature across the width of the Hx is equal. The point nearest the Tx valve might be the coldest, but the Hx outlet is adjacent so that the coldest freon temperature plus the hottest freon temperature divided by two is the same as the other side of the Hx where temperatures are equal and divided by two. YMMV
Thanks guys for your advice

doug....i have ac on 60 and max because i live in florida and its hot hot hot
most times of year. I need quick cooling.

thx doug......I used wrong word in my first reply. Its not "quick" , but "constant" cooling and the highest circulation of air in cabin, with high fan. When cool enough, i do raise thermo and lower fan.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:15 AM
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You have any pictures? I was prtty sure the hx is not symmetric.
Page 26 and page 40

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1...05OeWpEekFXbkE

RealOEM
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=64_1579

The inlet and outlet are adjacent on the same side with the Hx folded on the opposite side. The power is proportional to the differential temperature which is the average of the front and rear tube at that spot.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Page 26 and page 40

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1...05OeWpEekFXbkE

RealOEM
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=64_1579

The inlet and outlet are adjacent on the same side with the Hx folded on the opposite side. The power is proportional to the differential temperature which is the average of the front and rear tube at that spot.
We disagree in this scenario-

As designed, and operating properly, I would agree with your assessment.

However, the 'path' for fluid/gas between inlet and outlet is clearly longer on one side as compared to the other side.

If you cooling capacity (related to flow rate) entering the inlet always exceeds the amount of cooling being pulled off the entire HX then you would see no variation. However I believe that as the freon in the system drops, you may be seeing odd distribution in the headers as the fluid/gas travels across the top, and hence by the time it gets to the 'end' of the header (before it transits the face of the Hx) you see less flow (or more accurately less cooling since this end my have low flow, gas, etc) IIRC, you have a mixture of atomized freon fluid changing to gas in the evap as well, which means low freon can alter this behaviour dramatically.

Of course, when the system is fully charged and properly operating, you point out how it works- and it works fine. But my feeling is that under partial charge, we will see this odd behavior.

I *DO* agree that the actuator system- its complexity and potential failures- can complicate diagnosis. One would hate to recommend "recharge AC" for every time a blower seems to glitch. The AC symptom is one fairly unique symptom out of a slew of other actuator possibilities.

Perhaps the differential diagnostic is:

1. If only issue is warn on pass side, but airflows are all normal and system appears to operate normally, likely freon.
2. Anything else, use BMW specific computer, look for error codes in AC system related to actuators/flaps.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:27 PM
Absentmathis Absentmathis is offline
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Warm passenger side is classic low pressure
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:19 AM
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^^^ ... says the Witch Doctor. Technology sufficiently is not different from magic. The technician asks/tells why.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:53 AM
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^^^ ... says the Witch Doctor. Technology sufficiently is not different from magic. The technician asks/tells why.
The technician should still confirm but the witch doctor is correct here. BMW HVAC systems, by design, will preferentially cool the driver's side when the total system cooling capacity is compromised by low refrigerant. This has been true since at least the E46/E39 era, even in single-zone systems.

First thing to do is check the refrigerant level and recharge if necessary, after correcting any detected leaks. No further diagnosis required unless the symptom manifests when the system is properly charged.
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:54 AM
Absentmathis Absentmathis is offline
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^^^ ... says the Witch Doctor. Technology sufficiently is not different from magic. The technician asks/tells why.
That doesn't make much sense, Doug. Odds are low pressure is the reason for the warmth. You can speculate as to the cause of the low pressure and the ways in which it affects the system all you like.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:20 AM
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That doesn't make much sense, Doug. Odds are low pressure is the reason for the warmth. You can speculate as to the cause of the low pressure and the ways in which it affects the system all you like.
While there is liquid Freon it is a two phase system with pressure at saturation pressure for that Freon temperature.

The compressor takes in warm vapor (at saturation pressure) and compresses it and heats it to hot liquid sent to the cooler, where it is cooled to warm liquid, sent to the Tx valve where it undergoes phase change to cold vapor that is warmed in the evaporator.

I am not speculating about anything, I understand - grok - the physical principles.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:47 AM
mikie_mfp mikie_mfp is offline
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I thank you all for your input, but i didnt want to start a war

So far I have set the AC to automatic on 60 degs so that the fan blows stronger. Now the right side is blowing colder air but not as cold as the left.

it'll cost me $89 dollars to find out freon level and diagnostic. From your answers, i'll know what to ask and listen for. I will advise.

BTW .... when i called (for price) the tech said it will either be low (ish) freon or one of the (tx) switch
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Old 09-01-2016, 03:56 PM
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The compressor takes in warm vapor (at saturation pressure) and compresses it and heats it to hot liquid sent to the cooler, where it is cooled to warm liquid, sent to the Tx valve where it undergoes phase change to cold vapor that is warmed in the evaporator.
Right. Anyone rendering an opinion within this thread on this issue should understand the general principles of an AC system

And while others have pointed out the commonality of this symptom across multiple BMWs, I have hypothesized that this symptom may in fact be due to the SPECIFIC interaction between low freon (and phase change happening 'sooner' in the evap/low pressure path) combined with the path length difference/endplate distribution in the evap itself.

Not due to flappers and actuators as you posited earlier.

I have read many times of this "BMW behavious" but never WHY. I have heard it is "by design- to keep the driver cool" (but not in the UK I guess)...

Im just tossing out a theory to explain this- if my theory is correct, good to know. If not, good to know. It may indeed be that when the evap temp sensor drops below a certain point the system changes the actuators. Also good to know.

Speaking with my local AC tech today about this, we perused several old evaps on his pile. He mentioned that dodge trucks like the BMW do the same thing... and like BMW they have inlet and outlet on one side of the evap.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:02 PM
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I have read many times of this "BMW behavious" but never WHY. I have heard it is "by design- to keep the driver cool" (but not in the UK I guess)...
Don't be too sure...it's entirely possible they have RHD- and LHD-specific versions of the evaporator (and/or whatever other components are involved) to ensure that the fail-safe mode favors the driver's side of the car. I have no idea--perhaps some of our British or Australian brethren can shed some light--but it doesv sense.
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Old 09-01-2016, 11:43 PM
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Don't be too sure...it's entirely possible they have RHD- and LHD-specific versions of the evaporator (and/or whatever other components are involved) to ensure that the fail-safe mode favors the driver's side of the car. I have no idea--perhaps some of our British or Australian brethren can shed some light--but it doesv sense.
I was joking. IMO there is no 'failsafe mode'.. The evap on the UK RHD is identical to the USA

Blowing warm air on the driver is just as safe as on the passenger.
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Alignment here: The Definitive Alignment Thread

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OEM is Original Equipment Manufacturer... EITHER the company that made the OE part or.... A part this is identical to the OE part, but is sold by the OEM under their own label


OEM is not what BMW sells


http://www.bimmerzone.com/category/T...ricks_OEM.html

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Old 09-02-2016, 05:36 AM
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I was joking. IMO there is no 'failsafe mode'. The evap on the UK RHD is identical to the USA.
I didn't know what else to call it.
Interesting that the parts are the same...I wonder whether it is indeed a not-entirely-passive feature. Or, perhaps in the UK BMW claim the design goal is to keep the passenger cool, so they do not distract the driver with incessant complaints about the cabin temperature.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:40 AM
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I took x5 for AC service check. It was 1/2 pound short of factory spec. Shreider valves may have slow leak (determined from residual dye). No other leaks seen.

Freon was added. Works like new.
Wife is happy, I am happ***9745;***65039;

Last edited by mikie_mfp; 09-02-2016 at 05:41 AM. Reason: Misspelled shreider
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:00 PM
Masoe Masoe is offline
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Originally Posted by mikie_mfp View Post
I took x5 for AC service check. It was 1/2 pound short of factory spec. Shreider valves may have slow leak (determined from residual dye). No other leaks seen.

Freon was added. Works like new.
Wife is happy, I am happ***9745;***65039;
Thanks for closing the loop on this. I was wondering if it was going to be a costly fix or just the Freon/refrigerant.
I know this starts a lot of debate as to the issue/cause, but this forum allows a LOT of owners to advise what the issue/fix was on their vehicles and for the most part majority rules (meaning most of us have the same problems and the same fix actions..barring various outliers). With this issue as answered by ARD, myself and others, this seems to be common and the least expensive fix. Now, as for the slow leak...I haven't had that problem and I hope it doesn't cause you much of an issue. Thanks again for closing the loop on this.
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for closing the loop on this. I was wondering if it was going to be a costly fix or just the Freon/refrigerant.
I know this starts a lot of debate as to the issue/cause, but this forum allows a LOT of owners to advise what the issue/fix was on their vehicles and for the most part majority rules (meaning most of us have the same problems and the same fix actions..barring various outliers). With this issue as answered by ARD, myself and others, this seems to be common and the least expensive fix. Now, as for the slow leak...I haven't had that problem and I hope it doesn't cause you much of an issue. Thanks again for closing the loop on this.
Gents...........
The schreider valves were replaced, and system charged to factory spec made. Relieved it was not more serious. Thank you all for the X5 "education"...it gave me a starting point and background on the potential depth of the problem.

My next problem is the auto tracking headlight failure message. to be posted to a different thread...

thx again!
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:08 PM
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Schrader valve.

I am pretty certain that I recall Schrader valves in 10Ksi service, I am certain that they are in 3Ksi service.
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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