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Just picked up two BMW OEM cabin filters for my 1999 528i from the dealership. I'm amazed how cheap (quality not price) the factory filters (now made by 3M) have gotten. I last replaced these filters approx 3 years ago (the car only has 60K miles), and the older ones had a nice plastic frame, and what appears to be a better filter element. The newer 3M models, have a paper/cardboard frame and the filtering element looks inferior. Are there better aftermaket cabin filters than these new BMW replacements?
 

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Kind of a stupid question,but when do these need to be replaced? I looked at mine the other day and they were a little grey looking,shook out a little dust and reinstallled. Thanks
 

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The ones that are carbon activated are not that cheap. I replace them between 12 - 15 months or so. BMW recommends every year. I also pull them out evry so often and shake the dust out of them. This way I can unspect for clogged drain tubes.

The regular non-activated filters are cheap (and useless).
 

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Kind of a stupid question,but when do these need to be replaced? I looked at mine the other day and they were a little grey looking,shook out a little dust and reinstallled. Thanks
What you see is big stuff (leaves etc.) that you can always shake off.
But what you don't see is microscopic particles that get into the pores of the filter element.
A basic tip is to hold the air filter up in the air against the sun, there should be plenty of light going through, if not, replace the filter.
When getting the new filter, do the same thing so you know what a new filter looks like under sunlight.

Short of budget? Then use Cadillac filter:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=400819
 

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Kind of a stupid question,but when do these need to be replaced? I looked at mine the other day and they were a little grey looking,shook out a little dust and reinstallled. Thanks
I believe the BMW recommendation is once per year or 30k miles. They need to be changed when they either clog up, or the charcoal has become fully saturated with odor/impurities in the air. The charcoal becoming saturated happens much sooner than the filter will clog from dirt and dust.

I change mine ever 15k miles, which works out to around every 9 or 10 months.
 

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Look for "Mann".
+1, the Mann are nice quality...in fact I have used several different brands to include the oem, and the only ones I thought did not perform very well at odor reduction was the Bosch brand. The "generic" ones typically sold on line for $20 to $22 each under the names "ICM or ACM" "Helsa or Rein" or "meistershatz" or whatever...they all seem to work equally as well as the oem ones.

Hey, the Mann are on sale right now at www.autohausaz.com for $23.74 and free shipping with a $50 order!
 

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Thx for the info,looks like Mann will be the one to go with since its German and all.
 

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I just put in Mann Cabin filters ($23.74 for both sides at autohaus) this weekend and they seem to be of great quality and exact fit. Can anybody confirm the direction of the airflow when placing the filter? The illustration included on the Mann filters show the arrows pointing downwards; the original ones I had (I only have 26k miles) show the airflow arrow pointing upwards (I had to confirm on both sides and both arrows point upwards, and the orig filters can't be placed any other way). Thanks for clarifying.
 

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I just put in Mann Cabin filters ($23.74 for both sides at autohaus) this weekend and they seem to be of great quality and exact fit. Can anybody confirm the direction of the airflow when placing the filter? The illustration included on the Mann filters show the arrows pointing downwards; the original ones I had (I only have 26k miles) show the airflow arrow pointing upwards (I had to confirm on both sides and both arrows point upwards, and the orig filters can't be placed any other way). Thanks for clarifying.
I would like to know as well. I had to look at the other side just to make sure. My arrows were pointing up too.
 

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Just put a couple furnace filters and a few charcoal briquettes in there.
LOL.

I just put 2 new filters in about a month ago that I got from Autohauz too. Great price and quality! Goodluck man.
 

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I actually put in Bosch. I like that they make more of a seal in the filter housing than the OEM ones. I used the Mann engine air filter though, with the pre-filter. No complaints thus far. Smell nice and charcoaly fresh!
 

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Ususally they have a tab ... No confusion here.
I removed my carbon cabin air filter to clean the drain hose for stinky A/C and accidentally put it tab-side down and it didn't allow the cover to snap back on ... so I agree, no confusion when the tab is there.
 

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The arrows point to the Air Filter itself and did not in any way indicate the direction of Air Flow.
Actually, there are are 2 arrows on the side of the filter that correspond exactly where the arrows on the illustration point to. I don't know if that means, "look for the arrows here" or "the arrows should point downwards."

Ususally they have a tab, that should be placed up. That tab allows removal of the cabin filter. Not sure about the Mann brand, but all the other ones, including OEM have the above mentioned tab. No confusion here.
Unfortunately, the Mann filters do not have tabs at all. I did take note of the tabs on the original filters I have, and that is why they can't be placed any other way.

I don't mean to belabor this issue, as it is relatively minor in the greater scheme of e39 issues. I just wanted to check with you guys if I placed it correctly; the Bentley manual does not have any information on this; at least, I did not find any info.

540 M-sport, fellow Seattleite, since you have experienced using different brands of filters, how did you put your Mann filters in?

Again, thanks for your time and inputs. I have learned a lot from this board (I even used cn90's DIY on the windshield washer reservoir when I fixed mine), and I appreciate the helpful comments and answers.
 

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Actually, there are are 2 arrows on the side of the filter that correspond exactly where the arrows on the illustration point to. I don't know if that means, "look for the arrows here" or "the arrows should point downwards."

Unfortunately, the Mann filters do not have tabs at all. I did take note of the tabs on the original filters I have, and that is why they can't be placed any other way.

I don't mean to belabor this issue, as it is relatively minor in the greater scheme of e39 issues. I just wanted to check with you guys if I placed it correctly; the Bentley manual does not have any information on this; at least, I did not find any info.

540 M-sport, fellow Seattleite, since you have experienced using different brands of filters, how did you put your Mann filters in?

Again, thanks for your time and inputs. I have learned a lot from this board (I even used cn90's DIY on the windshield washer reservoir when I fixed mine), and I appreciate the helpful comments and answers.
I currently have Rein brand installed, the Mann was a couple years ago...BUT I always install the filters with the arrows on the filter pointing up, which is the correct direction of air flow on the E39. ;)

BTW, I will be ordering the Mann shortly, that is a smokin' deal, and I want to get them before the find out they have them priced wrong or something...because I believe I paid $35 or more from another online vendor last time.
 
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