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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 08-22-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Montreal
Posts: 7
My Ride: E46 M3, Civic Si
a/c temperature question


I have a question regarding the temperature of the air coming out of the vents on a/c (2003.5 M3). My wife noticed that the air coming out on the passenger side was not really cold at all. I bought a DIY recharge kit and tried it out this morning.

The temperatures before on full cold, full auto (measured with food thermometer):
far left vent: 54 degrees
far right vent: 68 degrees
ambient temperature: 72

I emptied one of the two cans of refrigerant into the system, the psi now reading 35 (resommended 30-38 on the kit) and this was the result after:
far left vent: 43 degrees
far right vent: 54 degrees

So my question is this: is it normal that there is still variation left to right? I do not want to add too much refrigerant, and I'm guessing that on a hot day, the system will be able to adequately cool the whole car. So should I stop here, or start the second can?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:18 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 5,935
My Ride: 2001 330Ci
The AC system is designed to send cooler air to the driver when the AC system is low on refrigerant, R134a (it's NOT "Freon"!). It sounds as if your AC system has a leak.

I recommend against using a can if R134a from the parts store to "refill" the AC system. Why? It doesn't fix the real problem. Find a good AC shop in your area and have the shop: a) evacuate the R134a
b) flush the system
c) replace the drier
d) do a vacuum test to check for leaks
e) if there isn't a leak, then refill the system with R134a and the proper amount of compressor oil

If there a leak, have the shop refill the system with R134a and an ultraviolet dye. They should be able to find the leak quickly with the dye and an ultraviolet light.

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Old 08-23-2014, 08:19 AM   #3
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Btw, love Montreal!!

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Old 08-24-2014, 12:30 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: TEXAS - Circuit of the Americas doing laps with my M5 and coming in for a pit stop.
Posts: 3,427
My Ride: 03 330iT SportWagon
You should get r134a guages and add more r134a. You can get your vent temperature closer to 35 degrees. I am in Texas and have gotten mine close to 32.
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