Repairing the AC on the BMW X5 35d in the middle of winter

Posted By on February 10, 2016

NewAC4BMWX5160208My timing is probably not the best considering the temperature is in the teens this week, but since the BMW X5 35d is in the shop, I’m addressing as many “squawks” as possible. One of the known issues was that the air conditioning wasn’t working (paid less for the vehicle) … so after checking the basics at home, it was time for professional diagnosis while plugged into the BMW computer and paying the diagnostic charge ($112-ouch!)  I noticed it was overcharged when I bought the car and figured someone tried adding refrigerant as a quick fix. It measured way over when I check it at home, but going further requires the refrigerant recycling equipment.  I thought perhaps the compressor high pressure switch was tripped (overly optimistic). Of course hat was not the case … but at least the AC system holds pressure! After a look at the drive belt, it was apparent to the service tech that the AC compressor bearing had seized or were at least dragging.

The fix:  BMW “dealer parts,” even if I could get the 20% discount on parts are not cheap, so I passed on the dealer replacing the compressor and went about looking for aftermarket parts since this is a higher mileage vehicle. What I did find was a second-hand (but working) 2011 BMW original AC compressor from import car friend that I could bartered with … and to top it off … I think I have coerced the dealer to put it on since it is a BMW part (they won’t do aftermarket parts). This is a plus since I failed miserably when putting a new AC system in the old Mercedes – and am still chasing leaks.

Speaking of repairs, the number one reason I took the vehicle to the dealer is that the emission particulate filter is kicking a code on regeneration. NewACforBMWX5labelThey say they have “fixed” that problem by doing a “manual burn,” but it still worries me (these are expensive gizmos yet suppose to go 300K).

The broken sunroof part arrived on Monday, but upon installation they broke the new part – I guess it is not an easy or simple install? The most expensive surprise was that the rear differential was leaking at all three seals … something about miles and age which could be true since Taylor’s BMW had those seals replaced when we bought his car. It doesn’t speak highly for BMW engineering — no problems with Japanese cars, I’m just sayin’.  In any case, the differential seals should last longer. Normally I’d probably top off the fluid and keep driving until I notice drips, but since it is a new car for us, I’ll pay the big bucks to have it repaired.

I’m also trying to finagle an update to the navigation maps while the car is in the shop, but if not, I have a lead on the codes and USB stick for $45, not that anybody really needs built in maps anymore (iPhone is probably easier).

Finally there’s the resetting of all the maintenance codes that haven’t been cleared for a while  … hopefully all we be reset and cleared.  I’ll have the dealer do the $89 brake bleed service to get the required codes reset and plan on picking up my own pads in another 5000 miles or so. Let’s hope I’m done with dealer service for a while.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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