Faulty Climate Control - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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#1 (permalink) Old 07-20-2004, 07:33 AM
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Hi - New to this board .. I have a 2001 330dSE. I've been having probs with the climate control. It basically decides when its gonna work. it will come on and blow air into the car for a minute or so then go off. this works on both Air Con and Non Air Con modes. adjusting the temp and the fan speed makes no difference to whether it works or not !?!?!??!?!

any advise greatly appreciated ...

Dave
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-20-2004, 10:39 AM
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i would guess its the climate control board, it could have a fault in it, expensive fix, but id get it looked at professional to be sure, in cases like this problem it could be a whole bunch of things, so instead of speculation id get a good firm idea. before fixing

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#3 (permalink) Old 07-20-2004, 11:06 AM
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Thanks .. i've heard that this has been a common problem on 3's and 5's .. Just wondered if any else has had the problem ? i was thinking that maybe it could be a relay ? but on the % scale of understanding these cars i sit at about 90% dumb.
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-20-2004, 11:37 AM
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and 96+ e36's. I am currently experiencing this problem. I bought a used control module off ebay which should work. I am awaiting its arrival. I'll let you guys know if a swap worked for my model Bimmer. I hear the problem is a tiny electrical problem in the module's board itself and is an easy fix at an electrical shop of some sorts. If you were to replace it at the dealer, it would be +$400 for the unit (and thats only for e36)

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#5 (permalink) Old 07-20-2004, 01:37 PM
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Maybe I am wrong but isnt the climate control supposed to work like that.......maybe I did not get your problem but I thinkie that once you set the temp yu want the thing to be at the fans come and off depending on the temp changes in the car......???? anyways does your climate control completely shut off or is just the fans? Lemm know cause maybe I have the same problem I just dont get it............
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#6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2004, 01:51 PM
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does the fan shut off only? or do the lights on the climate control display go out as well?
if it is just the fans, I would start by replacing the fan speed resistor.
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#7 (permalink) Old 07-21-2004, 04:19 AM
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thanks for the posts guys ...

to answer some questions ... the climate control system remains on .. all lights and display stay on. it is simply the fan that decides when it wants to work. i know that once you've set the temp etc it will moderate the temp in the car so the fan will come on and off... but in my case it doesn't work atall .. it may be 15 mins or 1 hour before it decides to blast some cool air ionto the car .. this burst will only be about 20 - 30 secons worth .. then the fan will shut off again ... the display stays on.

i have tried nearly every different combination too .. low temp/high temp with aircon button on/off .. with re-cireculate on/off, fan speed high/mid/low .. auto button on/off etc etc.

i just can't fathom it out ?

i'm deternined to try a couple of things before i take it to my local Bimmer dealer ,, who seem to enjoy lightening my pocket of 100 plus VAT per hour just give a good coat of looking at

cheers DAVE
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#8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2004, 10:20 PM
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I am a automotive climate control engineer (yes, we design & manufacture HVAC modules, not for BMW though).

If I may, I could offer a 'potential' cause of intermittent blower motor.

You say the blower runs for about 20~30 second burst at a time and rests for 15 minutes to an hour? Both with A/C on and off, AUTO mode on and off? Are my assumptions correct?

I am not certain of BMW but most of new vehicles use what is called LPM (linear power module) to control the speed of the blower motors. LPM has power transistor in the circuit as well as pretty big heat sink to dissipate waste energy. If LPM get hot (motor drawing too much current or short in LPM circuit), then it will shut itself down. LPM is solid state technology so it may bring itself back on if the temperature has cooled down. LPM is almost always located right on the blower scroll or near it. If you trace the wires from the motor, you can usually locate it within 200mm. So to summarize, motor runs > LPM gets hot > turns itself off > LPM cools down > turns itself on > motor runs > LPM gets hot > get the pattern?

Now let me ask a few questions.

1. Does the fan always start up when you 1st turn it on (after being off for more than an hour)?

2. Does it happen year round or during certain season(s) only?

3. Does the fan's on-off pattern cycle faster in warmer weather than in cold weather?

4.. When the fan starts up, what is the blower speed setting? How fast is the blower operating (full speed every time or according to blower speed setting)?

5. Have you checked the fuse (I know, this is silly but got to eliminate the obvious first)

6. Set the blower at LOW speed, then measure the time the blower motor stays on and off. See if there is pattern. Then set the blower to MED speed, then measure the same. Then set the blower to MAX speed, then repeat. See if there is a pattern. eg. 30 seconds on 300 seconds off, 28 seconds on 315 seconds off, etc.

I hope this offers some idea on narrowing the guesses. Good luck and let me know how it turns out, eh?
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#9 (permalink) Old 07-24-2004, 05:55 PM
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I don't think the climate control works by turning the fans off and on to get the temp to stay steady. However, it adjusts the temperature of the air its spitting out to keep the overall cabin temperature at the desired rate. If you look up on the pillars of the windshield on the inside, you see a little black thing, one on each side that actually looks like it could be a microphone or tiny speaker. They are actually the thermostats for reading the interior temperature (at least thats what my dad told me, haha). It makes sense because they don't seem to have any other function within the cabin or with the car itself.

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#10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2004, 06:23 PM
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Let me just save some writing and time. Replace the AC blower motor final stage. This has been an extremely common failure in 3s and 5's as somebody mentioned.
in the US cars it is located on the passenger side, the glove box must be removed and it sits behind a stepper motor so the bracket for the stepper motor must be loosened to access it. Ill post a pic of what it looks like later today, there is an updated version if i have pics ill post both the early and the late style. But any erratic blower speed on e46, e39 is almost 99% of the time caused by a faulty final stage.

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#11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2004, 06:48 PM
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as promised here is a link to a picture of the "updated" final stage (sorry no pics of the earlier style) and also a link to bmwtips.com which has some pictures and a write up about stinky A.C which has pics of where the final stage is located. Hope it helps, good luck
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BMWTIPS Writeup


Final Stage

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#12 (permalink) Old 07-24-2004, 10:39 PM
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Before you go replacing things, check your temp sensor to see if it is broken. It sticks out of the bottom of the left front splash guard, which is the plastic piece of the fenderwell in front of the tire.

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#13 (permalink) Old 07-25-2004, 01:37 AM
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Looking at the picture of "Final Stage", that is exactly what I was talking about. I have no idea why it is called 'final stage' but the term widely used in industry is LPM or Linear Power Module that receives signal from control head (blower speed controller) and 'translates' it into voltage. This unit (typically has large heat sink, either plates or pins) is also called VBC or 'Variable Blower (speed) Controller'.

I was not trying to say LPM's function is to heat or cool the temperature of the air. LPM is an electronic device that 'heats-up' and it shuts down if it gets too hot. It dissipates unwanted energy through heat via cooling fins. That's what I meant. Air temperature is controlled by amount of air going through the heater core.

As far as temperature sensor goes, damaged sensor would most likely end up giving you incorrect air temperature. It would not affect how the blower works.

Small speaker like thing underneath the windshield described above is solar sensor. It detects amount of solar/sun load.

The open slits on the climate control head is called aspirator. It sucks in cabin air to determine 'actual' cabin air temperature.

Therefore, depending on the solar/sun input, cabin air temperature, and desired temperature set by the user, climate control unit would either give warmer/colder air or hold current temperature.

Sorry, I talk too much . . .
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#14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2004, 03:52 AM
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GRD is a very wise man, you all should listen to him. With BMW a faulty temp sensor would cause the outside temp to read -40 degrees farrenheit which would be your 1st clue. However again i go back to my original statement that the 1st place to check is the final stage (linear power module as GRD puts it ) They have been failing at a large rate causing erratic blower speed or lack of blower entirely. If you get it out and its not the updated style (same as the pic i posted) then just replace it. If its the later style that still doesnt mean it is foolproof so troubleshoot and replace if necessary.

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#15 (permalink) Old 07-25-2004, 01:46 PM
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damn, thats some great information...

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Alpine CDA-7895 Head Unit
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Pioneer 400w amp for $20 at a yard sale (to replace my fried MRV-1507)
Infinity Kappa 4&quot; 2-way speakers(rear)
Infinity Kappa 5.25&quot; component speakers(front)
Debaffled airbox, K&amp;N filter
Tracked Mud on carpets
Shampooed and cleaned carpets
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