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Old 08-12-2012, 01:30 AM   #1
Jeffro325
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Air conditioning stops working in trafic

Hi guys
I need some help. I've been having a weird problem with the air conditioning on my car ever since I bought it. Itís an '04 325i with automatic transmission and only 70,000 miles on it. The A/C blows nice and cold in most driving conditions, but if Iím going real slow for more than a minute due to trafic, or stay at a red light for a while, the air starts to blow warm and humid (as if the AC cuts off). As soon as I pick up a bit of speed it gets cold again.
I completely overhauled the cooling system as soon as I bought the car a month ago (I bought it with a leaking rad). It has all new radiator, expansion tank, coolant level sensor, temp sensor, lower hose, upper hose, water pump, thermostat, and then I filled it with a 50/50 mix of distilled water and BMW coolant. While I had the radiator off I also cleaned out all the dirt that was accumulated in the A/C radiator (which was a lot!). So Iím thinking that the car itself should be getting sufficient cooling. My AC gets cold quickly and stays cold even on the hottest summer days, so long as Iím going above 20kmís/h about. Iím totally puzzledÖ

Did anyone else have success fixing this problem?
Any help or suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:56 AM   #2
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Hmmm? I'd guess that maybe you have an issue with either the level of 134a (have you done anything with it on your own?), maybe your tensioner and/or pulley (where at idle, the compressor isn't getting enough 'pull' from pulley).

IDK if this is possible, but are you sure you put the AC belt back on correctly? Others have messed up the path of the accessory belt, could you or someone else put the AC belt on with tensioner inside not outside of the belt? (Sorry...I've learned that here, anything is possible! )
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:11 AM   #3
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Does your auxilary fan work? Its the electric fan that is attached to the AC condensor. Sometimes, when its hot outside, the AC stops working which is normal.

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Old 08-12-2012, 08:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rizwan1377 View Post
Does your auxilary fan work? Its the electric fan that is attached to the AC condensor. Sometimes, when its hot outside, the AC stops working which is normal.

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Old 08-12-2012, 01:28 PM   #5
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Hmmm? I'd guess that maybe you have an issue with either the level of 134a (have you done anything with it on your own?), maybe your tensioner and/or pulley (where at idle, the compressor isn't getting enough 'pull' from pulley).

IDK if this is possible, but are you sure you put the AC belt back on correctly? Others have messed up the path of the accessory belt, could you or someone else put the AC belt on with tensioner inside not outside of the belt? (Sorry...I've learned that here, anything is possible! )
Hmm, I haven't touched the level of 134a or the acc belt, but definitely worth looking into.
@ rizwan1377; This is also an excellent suggestion! In fact, come to think of it, I dont think I have ever heard this fan come on. If the fan is my problem, what could be the causes of this? Obviously I'll start by checking all my connections for disconnected wires or corrosion. But if all is fine, what "triggers" the fan to come on?
Thanks a lot guys, great suggestions so far
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:09 PM   #6
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It is probably your Aux fan. I had the same problem and found out my fan was only operating on low. You can test it out by disconnecting you temp sensor in the lower radiator hose. The fan should go to high when you disconnect it. If it does not change speed to high, your fan/controller is bad. I had a controller from another car that I rewired in for the defective one. If your car is an automatic, it will be harder to change out the fan. You can only purchase the whole unit fan/ controller. Check online, you can purchase for about $160+-.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:17 PM   #7
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #8
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as someone mentioned, if the elec fan isnt working (although as soon as you turn on the ac it should automatically turn on no matter the temp of the car) then the ac shouldnt work

I would first have the refrigerant level/pressure checked
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:11 AM   #9
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It is probably your Aux fan. I had the same problem and found out my fan was only operating on low. You can test it out by disconnecting you temp sensor in the lower radiator hose. The fan should go to high when you disconnect it. If it does not change speed to high, your fan/controller is bad. I had a controller from another car that I rewired in for the defective one. If your car is an automatic, it will be harder to change out the fan. You can only purchase the whole unit fan/ controller. Check online, you can purchase for about $160+-.
Where did you get the controller to fix your fan with? I'm curious why you just didn't swap in the whole fan with controller? (Maybe broken fan from junk yard?) And did you use a particular diy for this...or make one? Curious about this.

Also, never heard about that 'test' for the fan...nice!

Oh, on Rizwan's weird "it's normal for ac to turn off when it's hot" comment...I think he meant that the AC compressor will cycle on and off, just like your refrigerator at home. That you hear the compressor shutting off, by itself, doesn't mean anything unless it also doesn't ever come back on!
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:41 AM   #10
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unplug the electric fan and turn on your ac check for power at the car side plug. if you have power its the fan, if not its probably the controller.
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:11 AM   #11
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Ha that sucks!
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:48 AM   #12
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unplug the electric fan and turn on your ac check for power at the car side plug. if you have power its the fan, if not its probably the controller.
This is not true. You have 12.volts at the fan connector all the time, even with key off. It is controlled by the ECM . That is why you have to test it by disconnecting the temp sensor. With the sensor disconnected the ECM goes into failsafe mode and turns the fan on full to prevent the car from overheating.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:03 AM   #13
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This is not true. You have 12.volts at the fan connector all the time, even with key off. It is controlled by the ECM . That is why you have to test it by disconnecting the temp sensor. With the sensor disconnected the ECM goes into failsafe mode and turns the fan on full to prevent the car from overheating.
Correct!The fan is controled by the ECM and have all the time power suply even if the engine is not running any more...Just realized this on a hot summer when parked the car,lock the doors but still listening the fan working a couple of minutes and then gone off...probably this happens for gradually cooling on hot days when you suddenly turn the engine off and the whole system hasn't been cooled enough...
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:40 AM   #14
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Where is the temp sensor located?
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:08 AM   #15
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It is the temp sensor that is located in the lower radiator hose on the right side of the car. Just behind the outlet of the radiator.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:48 AM   #16
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I had this exact same issue on my old e36 years ago. It turned out to be a simple blown fuse, which prevented the auxiliary fan from working.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:08 PM   #17
Jeffro325
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It is probably your Aux fan. I had the same problem and found out my fan was only operating on low. You can test it out by disconnecting you temp sensor in the lower radiator hose. The fan should go to high when you disconnect it. If it does not change speed to high, your fan/controller is bad. I had a controller from another car that I rewired in for the defective one. If your car is an automatic, it will be harder to change out the fan. You can only purchase the whole unit fan/ controller. Check online, you can purchase for about $160+-.
Ok so I have determined that the problem is definitely my fan never comes on, and thats why when I stop, my AC gets warmer. However I tested my fan the other day by unplugging the connector and putting 12v current straight to it, and it worked right away. So the only other suspect then, would be the sensor that sends the signal for it to turn on and off. Are you 100% sure it's the temp sensor in the lower rad hose? 'Cause when I overhauled my cooling system last month I changed that part with a brand new one...
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:17 PM   #18
Jeffro325
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I had this exact same issue on my old e36 years ago. It turned out to be a simple blown fuse, which prevented the auxiliary fan from working.
Hmm, yes checking fuses, also an excellent suggestion.
I checked them all when I got the car, but not since I've discovered this problem... Damn it, now I feel silly for not having done this sooner
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:41 PM   #19
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Great that you were able to find out the cause of your problem and fix it easily.

Can you tell us which fuse it was that was blown?
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #20
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Its the electric fan that is attached to the AC condensor
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