2003 530i e39 AC cold while driving and warm while idle. - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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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 06-11-2019, 03:06 PM
Funbun333 Funbun333 is offline
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2003 530i e39 AC cold while driving and warm while idle.

I have a 2003 bmw e39 530i and it blows warm air when I'm stopped but cold when I'm driving on highway. The fans are all working, the ac compressor is running and not making any weird noises there is no bugs in the condenser. I put in a brand new can of anti freeze that has a leak stopper just in case. The PSI read normal so there can't be a leak right? Is there a block in the AC condenser or lines? I really just want my ac. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:23 PM
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check your aux fan for proper operation..the one in front of the radiator. have you a check engine light? if so what is the code?
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:40 PM
Funbun333 Funbun333 is offline
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Originally Posted by mattmar1 View Post
check your aux fan for proper operation..the one in front of the radiator. have you a check engine light? if so what is the code?
The fan is running perfectly, it doesn't appear to have any problems. And I have no codes. A clean engine. I flushed the coolant today and cleaned the bugs and leaves out of the front. The coolant wasn't bad but it did need changed. The problem still consist though.
I did however recharge my ac like 2 weeks ago.
But I I didn't notice any change.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:49 PM
edjack edjack is online now
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The BMW automatic climate control system is charged by weight. Is that how you charged it?
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:13 AM
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Add some R134 and I bet your issue will be solved. With the car idling (which is perfect for your troubleshooting), set the AC to MAX, and begin to add some R134. Check the center vents frequently to feel for them getting cold. You should feel the air getting colder and colder. When it feels cold enough, stop adding it. Additionally, you can stick a digital thermometer in there and watch the degrees go down. 35F is the target. Keep in mind, your AC will never be as cold idling as it will while driving. Finally, the 35F I mentioned will be hard to obtain while on MAX setting as the air is just moving too quickly over the probe. 35F is the target for normal AUTO setting while driving.

SO, in summary, set it to MAX and add R134 until if feels cold to the hand. You definitely to not want to over do it with the R134 as you will be flying blind and overfilling it is an issue.

Others may disagree, I did this last summer with the similar symptoms as yours and it worked nicely. I got paranoid a few months ago and added a touch, but in hindsight, I didn't need to. So my conclusion is that I had no leaks, the car was 15 years old and needed some added. Worth $10 bucks.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:18 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Try revving the engine to ~2,500 RPM (i.e. highway RPM) while the car is parked (transmission in neutral or park, LOL)

If you then get cold air, either the compressor is weak or there is a blockage somewhere inside the A/C system.

If no change in vent temperature, the aux fan isn't running at sufficient speed. The fan may be weak, i.e. it may run but not at full speed. Or the A/C pressure sensor may be faulty and reporting a pressure value lower than actual. The the aux fan speed is supposed to ramp up as A/C pressure rises. If the sensor is reading low, the aux fan won't be commanded to run fast enough to keep the A/C making cold air.

This problem is likely to take an auto A/C professional, with specialized equipment & BMW diagnostic software, to track down the root cause. If you're handy at DIY, get a good diagnosis then replace the faulty part(s) yourself, which could save a good deal of money.

Don't blindly add more R134a. Too much and you risk hydrolocking the compressor which will ruin it. As edjack mentioned refrigerant should be charged by weight. It is a plain fact of physics that pressure does not indicate system fill. The gauge on the DIY kits is an invitation to disaster. Besides, the A/C works while driving, it has enough R134a, more won't help.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:58 PM
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Have you checked the (mechanical) fan clutch?
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:25 PM
Funbun333 Funbun333 is offline
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Originally Posted by rdl View Post
Try revving the engine to ~2,500 RPM (i.e. highway RPM) while the car is parked (transmission in neutral or park, LOL)

If you then get cold air, either the compressor is weak or there is a blockage somewhere inside the A/C system.

If no change in vent temperature, the aux fan isn't running at sufficient speed. The fan may be weak, i.e. it may run but not at full speed. Or the A/C pressure sensor may be faulty and reporting a pressure value lower than actual. The the aux fan speed is supposed to ramp up as A/C pressure rises. If the sensor is reading low, the aux fan won't be commanded to run fast enough to keep the A/C making cold air.

This problem is likely to take an auto A/C professional, with specialized equipment & BMW diagnostic software, to track down the root cause. If you're handy at DIY, get a good diagnosis then replace the faulty part(s) yourself, which could save a good deal of money.

Don't blindly add more R134a. Too much and you risk hydrolocking the compressor which will ruin it. As edjack mentioned refrigerant should be charged by weight. It is a plain fact of physics that pressure does not indicate system fill. The gauge on the DIY kits is an invitation to disaster. Besides, the A/C works while driving, it has enough R134a, more won't help.

I'll try that but wouldn't a faulty ac pressure sensor cause some sort of code on my car? And when I run my ac at full blast the fan runs like a jet engine. And what would be signs of a hydrolocked compressor? The previous owner could have over filled it.
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:29 PM
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hydrolocked compressor = kablooey, or at minimum the belt pops/breaks off. the A/C system is mostly diagnosed symptomatically, doesnt throw codes and a CEL.
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