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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 07-06-2012, 12:23 PM   #1
zhenkaaaM3
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Are e46 A/C's that bad?

Ive driven cars anywhere from a Honda to an e46 to a M-Benz. Honda, by far has the best A/C ever. After 5 minutes, I am freezing to death.

I put r-134a in my a/c system yesterday, and its at the highest amount of refrigerant, right at the line between the red zone and green zone. It blows cool, but not as cold as a Honda would blow. This said, I am not trying to promote people to buy Hondas for the summer and e46s any other season.

Are e46 a/c's just that weak? Something wrong with my A/C? Insights please.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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You just likely ruined your air conditioning system by going the Walmart route. Take it to a qualified technician asap to evacuate and recharge. And no, BMW's air conditioning is high-capacity and world-class. Mine is anyway...
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:29 PM   #3
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BMW air conditioning in general is weak; my E30's air conditioning was pitiful, and my old roommate's E46 has weak A/C, as well. The previous owner of my car went so far as to replace every component of the air conditioning system 3 years ago with the hope of increasing it's output, but to no avail. Once you have experienced American vehicle A/C, you're spoiled.

I find it odd that you have found Honda A/C to be the strongest, as that hasn't been my experience at all, but it's not like there is empirical data on this anywhere.

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Old 07-06-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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Another "Imma fix my a/c with the blue bottle from walmart" thread.... sigh...

Usually you research BEFORE you do something to your car.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:32 PM   #5
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E46..

A/C is fine. My car is 12 years old (received its VIN on July 4, 2000!!!!!!!!!) and the AC has never been serviced. It's 100 degree here in Arlington , VA - and the car's AC keeps me cold!
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:35 PM   #6
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Another "Imma fix my a/c with the blue bottle from walmart" thread.... sigh...

Usually you research BEFORE you do something to your car.
What is wrong with using the r-134a from autozone? If my a/c went from hot to cold after injecting this refrigerant then I am sure its doing its job. My a/c is working fine. No leaks, or anything. I dont think me bringing my car to a bmw dealership would make a difference.

and as for what pr0craztinazn said, thats what I heard as well. I heard BMW a/c's are weak.

Last edited by zhenkaaaM3; 07-06-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pr0craztinazn View Post
BMW air conditioning in general is weak; my E30's air conditioning was pitiful, and my old roommate's E46 has weak A/C, as well. The previous owner of my car went so far as to replace every component of the air conditioning system 3 years ago with the hope of increasing it's output, but to no avail. Once you have experienced American vehicle A/C, you're spoiled.

I find it odd that you have found Honda A/C to be the strongest, as that hasn't been my experience at all, but it's not like there is empirical data on this anywhere.
I live in the West SFV in LA where summer temps regularly are well beyond 110 degrees. I have no problem chauffeuring people around in complete comfort and ice cold A/C. In fact, it's too cold. I have to turn it down.

If your BMW's A/C is not cold enough, it's just poorly maintained.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by E46tknv View Post
What is wrong with using the r-134a from autozone? If my a/c went from hot to cold after injecting this refrigerant then I am sure its doing its job. My a/c is working fine. No leaks, or anything. I dont think me bringing my car to a bmw dealership would make a difference.

and as for what pr0craztinazn said, thats what I heard as well. I heard BMW a/c's are weak.
LOL

First of all, you do know there's two lines that have to be evacuated and charged, right? Your Walmart cans only can fill (not evacuate) one of them. What do you do for the other side? Wishful thinking?

There's also a very fine line between overfilling and underfilling, according to A/C techs.

Walmart solutions produce Walmart results. no wonder you're complaining
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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You can't get out moisture with a Wal-Mart can...save a headache and have it done by a professional. ****, JiffyLube can even do this for you for cheap. A/C systems are pretty darn universal.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:42 PM   #10
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LOL

First of all, you do know there's two lines that have to be evacuated and charged, right? Your Walmart cans only can fill (not evacuate) one of them. What do you do for the other side? Wishful thinking?
Obviously not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E46tknv View Post
What is wrong with using the r-134a from autozone? If my a/c went from hot to cold after injecting this refrigerant then I am sure its doing its job. My a/c is working fine. No leaks, or anything. I dont think me bringing my car to a bmw dealership would make a difference.
and as for what pr0craztinazn said, thats what I heard as well. I heard BMW a/c's are weak.
WRONG. You "heard" that from a bunch of morons. IF anything, the FSR is the biggest issue with e46 and HVAC
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:50 PM   #11
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Can we stop with the bashing?

I am asking for help, not to tell me that I am a damn idiot because I don't know how to recharge my a/c system. That is why I posted in the 1st place, for assistance.

What does a BMW tech do that I an average DIY'er doesnt do? How would stopping at the dealership be beneficial? What do they have that I cant get my hands on.
Would a reputable bmw shop be able to perform the same task?
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:51 PM   #12
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I'm due for an oil change so I'll probably have my mechanic recharge the ac system the proper way by evacuating the system
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by E46tknv View Post
Can we stop with the bashing?

I am asking for help, not to tell me that I am a damn idiot because I don't know how to recharge my a/c system. That is why I posted in the 1st place, for assistance.

What does a BMW tech do that I an average DIY'er doesnt do? How would stopping at the dealership be beneficial?
You are being helped. I told you to take it to a qualified a/c technician (nobody said anything about a dealer but you)

Search on youtube for a video by ericthecarguy explaining servicing an a/c system.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:56 PM   #14
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thanks for the vid, explained alot.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:04 PM   #15
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There is nothing special about our a/c system compared to every other auto maker. I also wonder how many people clean their a/c condenser (the radiator for the a/c in lamens' terms)? I wouldn't throw any a/c additives into the a/c system minus dye to find where a leak is. Since our car's are getting old, the o-rings in the system are starting to develop leaks. The other area of leaks is the valve stems for the low side and high side lines. The proper way is to evap the system and put it under vacuum for at least an hour to see if vacuum is lost. Recharge after if no leaks are discovered or after they are fixed if any. With a set of gauges you can recharged the a/c system at home after someone evap's the system and put it under vacuum. I used the freon cans without additives for my refills, which connect to my gauges. Rarely any a/c system is charged as liquid from the high side line, its always gas through the low side line.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:08 PM   #16
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mine being 11 y/o works pretty nice in 100F heat. not the coldest probably due to dirty condenser but blows decent cold air. black interior does not help tho.
called the Mazda dealer I always go to, said $150 to evacuate and recharge. thats outrageous.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:16 PM   #17
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Just went through the whole video. Very informative. I figure that I can possibly have moisture buildup in my system. Good luck to everyone who has a/c that is not blowing cold like you want it to. I will get on this asap. Its been 90+ everyday in NY, and will be this hot for the remaining months of summer.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:17 PM   #18
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Mine is gets ice cold kinda quickly.....Do you have your center vent on the "Blue" setting? and also try using the recirculating air setting... makes it a lil colder.

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Old 07-06-2012, 01:38 PM   #19
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Yea I had to tell my dad to get his AC done correctly on his 03 Nissan Sentra. He tried using the blue can and it didn't work. Took the car to get the system evacuated, replaced his seals and then had it refilled. Do it right the first time
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:41 PM   #20
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The AC in my '04 330i works great. It has never been serviced as far as I know and it keeps me cool. I find that the auto feature works wonders. Just set the temp you want and forget it.

One thing I hear of a lot of idiots doing when it comes to AC: On a hot day, you get on your car with all the windows up, crank the AC and drive off waiting for it cool down. This is so dumb. Be smart, crack a window and let the sunroof vent when you are parking. This significantly lowers the interior temp. Also, use a sunshade. Lastly, when you get into your scorching hot car, roll down all the windows and drive for a bit before letting the automatic HVAC do it's thing. This way the blower motor isn't going full bore to cool down a hot car.
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