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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 03-08-2014, 10:33 AM   #1
thyde
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 211
My Ride: 2000 328i, 1994 YJ
AC Compressor Pully Seized

Hello all, just completed my registration today, although I have looked at these sites before. I have a 2000 328i and also a '94 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. The Jeep helps me learn how to do repairs, while the E46 tends to be less maintenance to keep on the road, but twice the cost per repair

SO: The pulley on the AC compressor is completely seized up. It's not turning at all, and it burned up the AC belt about six months ago. I took the belt out yesterday, admittedly the first time I looked because it's been so freakin' cold. I cannot turn the pulley at all, and the inner clutch spins freely, although it feels very loose. I'm going to pull the pulley today to see why it's seized.

Am I looking at a new compressor here, or has anybody else had a seized pulley without compressor damage?

Very much appreciate any input: thank you in advance!

Last edited by thyde; 03-09-2014 at 11:49 AM. Reason: I think I posted in the wrong place ..
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:25 PM   #2
Optio
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Northwest
Posts: 386
My Ride: 328i
I am also a Jeep guy.....'00 WJ

My compressor seized up last year and do not worry it is not too difficult of a repair. I bought a new Denso compressor on ebay for $230 shipped and had my local Jiffy Lube evac the system. I recommend a new drier and PAG 46 oil.

The made in Japan Denso has a known issue with the reed valve failing, locking up the compressor. I was driving at 75 on a hot Summer day when I lost A/C....then I smelled rubber burning. My belt was cocked, luckily my engine did not catch on fire. So much for Japanese Quality

The new compressor has an updated reed valve, hopefully, I am good to go!

I replaced the above parts, drove back to Jiffy lube and had the tech do a deep evac for 60 minutes and then recharge with PAG 46 oil and R134A. Now, my AC is colder than ever and my vent temp is 45F on 100F day.

Last edited by Optio; 03-20-2014 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:05 AM   #3
thyde
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 211
My Ride: 2000 328i, 1994 YJ
Thanks a lot!

I've been researching this a bit; I'm going ahead with new compressor, drier and o-rings. Going to try to flush the system prior to recharging it. Probably going to be an entire weekend, but afterwards, if I have ice cold AC, totally worth it!
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:15 AM   #4
-lynel-
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 124
My Ride: 2000 BMW 323i
thyde does your e46 have that issue that some do with dimming dash lights and central locking playing up? known as k-bus problems? its a hunch I had about my ac compressor seizing
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:28 AM   #5
thyde
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 211
My Ride: 2000 328i, 1994 YJ
I do have the central locking issue, but I'm pretty sure it's the GM5. It only happens when it's really hot out (the locks don't operate when it is very hot). I believe the AC compressor is a separate issue. No dimming dash lights.

The three things I need to do to get the '00 328i back to 100% are:

1. Repair AC compressor
2. Send GM5 to the guy all over the forum who fixes them; I think his name is Scott
3. Replace VCG

Once those three are repaired, say in a month or so, I'm sure there will appear a brand new list!
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:38 PM   #6
-lynel-
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 124
My Ride: 2000 BMW 323i
I had the k-bus issue which effected dash lights and most button operated devices like indicators on the cluster but not on the outside of the car, no licence plate light and such and such but 1 thing that was also happening was when the dash would drop out with the issue it would disengage my ac, then reengage when I say hot another bump in the road. this continual on and off caused the failure Im told.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:24 AM   #7
thyde
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 211
My Ride: 2000 328i, 1994 YJ
Update:

So I replaced the compressor with a used one (which was NOT recommended, but I had already ordered it). When I took the old compressor out, the pulley itself had seized up. I could see that the pulley was not centered, and some balls from the bearing were doubled up on one another.

For anyone's benefit: I was able to crawl under the car, remove the belly pan, and drop the old compressor through the bottom. I didn't have to jack up the car, just had to crawl around on the ground a bit. Also, I removed the windshield washer fluid reservoir and the headlight on the passenger side to be able to reach the receiver/dryer, which I replaced right before pulling a vacuum on the system.

SO: Before I put the used compressor in, I did remove as many lines as I could and flushed them with AC flush. Since I didn't see any metal particles and since the flush came out clear, I decided not to flush out the condenser or the evaporator. I know this was a risk, but I couldn't see how the flush would come out of the condenser or the evaporator so I was afraid I'd end up with flush solvent stuck in the system. Even though the vacuum would pull this out, I felt that IF there was metal in the system, flushing without recovering the solvent would not flush any particles out anyway, so I didn't do it. I just flushed the lines.

Then, I put about half of an 8 oz bottle of PAG oil into the compressor, since there was already definitely oil inside it. I put it in, turned the clutch until I couldn't get anymore in. It is possible there are MORE than 8 oz of oil in the system now, so that's why I stopped adding after about 4 ounces.

Finally, I reconnected all lines, and the last thing I did was remove the caps on the new receiver and attach lines there. IMMEDIATELY after that, I pulled a vacuum on the system and left it on for more than 30 minutes. No leaks.

Charging:

Using a manifold gauge set, I charged the system with R134a. The compressor didn't come on at first, but did after a little while. I guess the sensors told it it was low on refrigerant.

Charging was tricky. The gauges said it was charged, but I wasn't getting cold air. It wouldn't take a full can (12 oz) and it took a couple days and a bucket of hot water to finally get 24 to 36 oz of refrigerant in there. I don't know the weight that went in, but the gauges are telling me it's got around 35 psi on low, around 150 or more on high side. I don't know the weight because .... let's just say I can't tell by weighing the cans. BUT:

The AC is blowing cold cold COLD!!!!!!!!!!

I realize there is a risk of it failing because I didn't do everything perfectly, but I promise to provide an update if it fails, and I'll probably provide an update if it doesn't fail too, just because I'm so happy that, right this minute, I have ICE COLD AC and saved more than a thousand dollars doing this myself.

Thanks for reading, feel free to tell me how dumb this was, but I'm just posting my experiences and thanking everyone for their help and input.
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