1998 318i Air Conditioning Problem - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 06:14 PM
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1998 318i Air Conditioning Problem

After my 1998 318i (86K miles, 4 door) sits out under the hot Texas sun (100 degree+), the air conditioning works for a couple of minutes (after I first turn the car on), and then it shuts completely off (no air, period). The heating/cooling LCD instrument panel goes dim (I can still see the temperature and the bars) and when I push any of the buttons, it doesn't do anything.

To fix the problem, I'll pull off the road and park in the shade with my hood up for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, the air conditioning works fine and will remain on for the remainder of the trip (despite driving in 100 degree+ temperatures).

I've replaced a couple of fuses, but obviously that wasn't the issue.

I live in a rural area and the closest BMW dealership is a long ways away. The import shop I take it to can't replicate the problem because they are too impatient to let it sit outside and then drive it around although I tell them the exact symptons. They just topped off the freeon and replaced the filter and that didn't fix the problem either.

Can anyone help?

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#2 (permalink) Old 06-10-2006, 11:04 PM
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A/C blower...

Just sounds like the A/C blower motor resistor or motor itself is overheating and shutting off. Either the blower motor itself is crapping out or the resistor. Does it blow in any selected speed?
Does the A/C compressor (the compressor is along the front of the motor with the serpentine belt going around it's pulley...) continue to run when the blower stops? Pop the hood and check.
You need a good indy shop to look at it and do some testing.
It can get a bit complicated for the novice.
Do you have the Bentley or TIS manual for your car?



A/C Blower Motor Resistor....
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#3 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 05:33 PM
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Thanks for the quick response. I just have the Haynes Repair Manual.

There is absolutely no air blowing out when it shuts off. The next time it craps out, I'll take a look and see if the a/c compressor is still running. Is the "A/C blower motor resistor" the same as the "blower motor"? There is a section in Haynes about a "blower motor", but I don't see anything about a resistor.

Thanks again for your help!
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#4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2006, 02:30 AM
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The problem is with your climate control unit. A fairly common problem with the e36 digital climate control unit is the result of a failing capacitor on the logic board. If you are comfortable with electronics you can try repairing it yourself; If not, I'd recommend buying a reconditioned one off ebay.

This guy below also offers a service to repair them... I can't speak to whether he's legit or not:
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