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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 06-02-2006, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Air Conditioning?

There is a little glass viewing area on a pipe behind where the passenger-side headlight is that is supposed to indicate if I need to refill the freon or not.

Anyone know what I'm talking about, and if so, what am I looking for?
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Old 06-02-2006, 10:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No it is a sight glass to tell if there is excess water, oil, or a lack of oil. These have been done away with because of advancments in receiver/drier tech and (in my opinion) because of miss diagnosis.
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Old 06-03-2006, 09:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks...I guess I'd better just take it to Jiffy Lube and get the cold stuff filled then, huh?
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Old 06-03-2006, 09:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The A/C system is a sealed system and it doesn't "use" refrigerant. If it's low or empty you have a leak, and dye detection is one of the best ways of locating leaks.
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Old 06-04-2006, 09:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ah...yeah, I read the other thread advice on detection with a blacklight. Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2006, 05:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Injection Location?

Where does one inject the dyed gas to check from where the leak is coming from?
I don't actually have the kit, I'm just trying to gauge how difficult it would be to check for the leak's location and if the system's components are corroded.
I think it's an R134.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What year is the car? If it's prior to '93 it was R-12 at one point... if not still. Find the hard lines for the A/C and there should be a fitting on the larger on at least... it will look like a shrader valve fitting if it is R-12. If it's R134 it will have a larger aluminum fitting that wont be threaded on the outside but rather will have a lip on it and should have a blue cap on it. In order to put in the dye one must have a transfer hose and and can tap. You can get these at any auto parts store or even your local wal-mart... that is if it's R134. If it's r-12 forget it! You'll have to convert the system to run R134 first. Let me know what fittings you have and I'll walk you through it.
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Old 06-23-2006, 07:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You can get r12 dye online or @ pep boys still.

I had mine recharged last summer with r12.
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Old 06-23-2006, 06:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Why? You can't even buy it anymore. You can buy dye for R-12 but it is in non refridgerant form. Therefore you would have have an injector system or an oil filler sys. to go on your manifold. All of which is going to be very difficult for a non-AC trained person to find and do themselves. The only R-12 left out there is either stockpiled and very pricey or recycled and still very pricey. If your going to spend the money on getting your R12 filled you could probably spend less money and get it properly converted and filled. Which would make future service much easier and more affordable. There's the old argument that R-12 is colder, but not if the conversion is done properly. I myself still have a car that has an R-12 sys. that works perfectly, but I'm also a licensed refridgerant handler and ASE certified
HVAC tech... meaning that I have access to some things that most don't and happen to have bought up the remaining R-12 from the parts chain I used to work for through college when they phazed it out. I purchased it for 8 dollars a can and have sold half of it since for $50 a can. The only advantage I see in keeping the R-12 is that it is less prone to leaking. I'm not trying to knock ya, just wondering what made you stick with the old stuff when the new works well and is WAY CHEAPER.
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The UV dye is injected into the low side port, look for the port on larger of the 2 hoses near the strut tower on the passenger side (if you have an e30).

Freeze 12 is an R-12 alternative that works in R-12 systems, it still isn't good for the ozone but not nearly as bad. To do it yourself (not advisable) you'll still have to know someone that has a R-12 guage set and a top or side porting can opener. Adding a can of freeze 12 to your A/C system with a dye injection to find the leak is would be best for now, if your system wasn't swtiched to 134A. Most of the dye injections sets do both R-12 and 134A the dye (at least in my set) is compatible with both. Ask local garage for a UV dye injection and if they have freeze 12.

P.S. If you wipe off the inspection glass and it is dirty (brown color) from the other side you may need alot of work to get it cool again.

Last edited by Starmavin; 06-23-2006 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yikes!

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Originally Posted by Starmavin
P.S. If you wipe off the inspection glass and it is dirty (brown color) from the other side you may need alot of work to get it cool again.
Oh-oh! The inspection glass is quite rusty brown colored...does that mean I have to replace everything, even the piping?
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Well... sort of! I wouldn't go so far as to replace the piping, but you will need to replace all components. Evap core, condenser, accumulator/reciever dryer, txv, compressor. Sorry about the luck man! As for the lines, just backflush them while you have them out with some good A/C flush and a pressure bottle. Not going to be a cheap or easy endeavor though.
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice Dirte30 Kitty! I figured as much, I'll buy a part a month and maybe I'll have A/C by December!
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