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-   -   AC only cold on drivers side, AC compressor noisy. (https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/x5-e70-forum/108637-ac-only-cold-drivers-side-ac-compressor-noisy.html)

Jaydee99 08-10-2018 07:12 PM

AC only cold on drivers side, AC compressor noisy.
 
I wanted to share this problem and its solution in case anyone else ran into it. It drove me crazy and I could find nothing that was quite the same online for a solution.

Short version:
Try getting your AC system recharged FIRST, my problems were all fixed by doing this.

Long version:
I got my 2010 X5M in February 2017 and have loved every minute of owning it. I have had a few problems with it but nothing too serious.
Onto the AC problem. I live in Grande Prairie, Northern Alberta in Canada so I have only seen limited hot weather, I mostly drive with windows open to listen to the sounds of a tune-full V8 through a Eisenmann Race Exhaust system and thus haven't needed the AC all that much. I noticed last summer that AC wasn't all that cold and that the compressor made a droning/rattling noise whenever it was on that was very audible and annoying in the cab around town. So I mostly drove with it off. The AC system was sufficient for my first summer in 2017, I did some 9 hour trips south to see my Dad and the noise in the cab wasn't very noticeable at highway speeds and the AC was "OK". This summer the AC was worse and was distinctly only working on the drivers side. My wife was NOT impressed with my "fancy BMW ;)" (Low WAF). I am a mechanic by trade and do almost all my own work, so SWMBO was wondering when this might get fixed? I spent some time with the centre vents out of the dash and watched the mode doors opening and closing apparently correctly. I used a temp gun to see what temps I was getting out of the AC evaporator and the heater core. I wondered if the control valve for the heater core was allowing hot coolant through when it was supposed to be shut off. The heater core stayed at ambient temp and the evaporator was about 12 deg cooler on the DS than the PS vent. The only reason I even thought to try recharging the system with R134a was that it was mentioned on a couple of BMW forums almost as an aside.
Onto the solution. The place I work has an AC recovery/charging unit and they don’t charge us to use it as long as we only work on our own stuff. My X5 takes 1.54 Lbs of R134a according to the tag on the hood, so I started by recovering the AC system in my car. I got about .4 Lbs out of the system, WAY to low. My first ray of hope that this might actually work. So then vacuum the system for 10 min and then left it for another 15 min to see if I lost any vacuum, all good. Then recharge to the correct amount. Miracle, both sides front and rear had ice cold AC. It was fixed!!! Then the unexpected bonus the noise when the AC compressor ran was GONE, so awesome!! I think the R134a was slowly lost over the years past the shaft seal on the compressor, something I have seen many times up here in the great white north.
I hopes this helps someone else out there that runs into the same situation

ard 08-11-2018 12:15 AM

Bingo. Your solution is my go to advice. Vacuum, hold- leak free?- recharge, add dye.

Nice having a machine.


Oh, the 'one half cold, one half warm' is a signature failure mode of these cars.....

BoostedX5M 08-11-2018 04:41 PM

On my 2011 and on a friend’s 2010 X5M we both had the exact same symptoms as you. $tealer told us both it was the condenser(?). Roughly 5 weeks in the shop an $6k later our trucks were “fixed”. We both only had about 50k miles at the time. I’m sure we both just needed a recharge... Luckily our warranty companies covered the repairs.


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