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BMW A/C Problem

Q. Hi Vincent, I own a 1985 325 e BMW, manual trans., with 191,000 miles. The air-conditioning has given me constant trouble over the last 3 years. This year has been the worst. I've had the evaporator and compressor replaced along with numerous hoses. Is there something we are missing that is a very common problem on 1980's BMW's??? My shop will repair it and then 3 days later it's putting out hot air again.

Any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.


A. Monica, if you call me Vince, I'll try to help you out. Deal?

I've installed a few BMW A/C units in my time and they are a pretty basic, reliable, system. You didn't give me too much information to work with, but it sounds like they're trying to fix a leak. If that's the case then there's not much I can offer in the way of advice. If it's a performance problem, then I can do a little better. I would replace the expansion valve and receiver drier first off. That has the most effect on A/C performance.

There is a screen, a filter actually, in the expansion valve that can clog up, restricting refrigerant flow through the system. The R/D will also collect some of the garbage as well as moisture. It won't hold too much, maybe a ½ ounce, so it would be a good idea to replace it. A/C systems can be flushed and considering the age of this one, it might not be a bad idea.

If it is a leak, they can be a real headache to repair. I have an A/C leak in my Mercedes that I have been trying to seal and even with new hoses and seals, still leaks.

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