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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Oct-08-2019, 07:20:45 PM   #11
Race M3
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

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Originally Posted by rhythim View Post
^Unless you open the system to outside air, you should be fine to evacuate and recharge. If the system is opened, however, it's standard practice on automotive a/c systems to replace the receiver drier due to the chance of over-saturating the dessicant inside it with moisture from the air.

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nah, you pull a vacuum on it for 45 min or so and itll boil off/evaporate any moisture in system. they never replace them at dealer fyi. at least we never did. if you have it apart for time to do a repair you're fine. if it was sitting for weeks then yeah i can see replacement of it.
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Old Tue, Oct-08-2019, 08:04:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

^Just my $.02 adjusted for inflation, I can't speak to the shop practices where you (or anyone else) worked. While we're not strictly talking about component replacement here, there's not a manufacturer out there that will warranty a compressor without proof of replacement of the drier, and in some cases the expansion valve, too. Bottom line is that the dessicant can only absorb a certain amount of moisture, once it's saturated, it's done. Evacuating a system removes the moisture in the system, but won't pull it out of the dessicant.

I never saw the need for replacing a TXV unless a compressor crapped out, but I've never broken a system open without putting a new drier in, particularly as cheap and easy as it is to replace them. It's just good practice. I'll be the first to say that certification just means you know how to read a book and take a test, and these are the easiest ones, but it's clearly laid out that way for both the ASE and MACS tests, both of which I've had for over 20 years.

I may take it a step further than some, but if I'm doing the job, I replace it. YMMV.


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Old Tue, Oct-08-2019, 09:08:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

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Originally Posted by rhythim View Post
^Just my $.02 adjusted for inflation, I can't speak to the shop practices where you (or anyone else) worked. While we're not strictly talking about component replacement here, there's not a manufacturer out there that will warranty a compressor without proof of replacement of the drier, and in some cases the expansion valve, too. Bottom line is that the dessicant can only absorb a certain amount of moisture, once it's saturated, it's done. Evacuating a system removes the moisture in the system, but won't pull it out of the dessicant.

I never saw the need for replacing a TXV unless a compressor crapped out, but I've never broken a system open without putting a new drier in, particularly as cheap and easy as it is to replace them. It's just good practice. I'll be the first to say that certification just means you know how to read a book and take a test, and these are the easiest ones, but it's clearly laid out that way for both the ASE and MACS tests, both of which I've had for over 20 years.

I may take it a step further than some, but if I'm doing the job, I replace it. YMMV.


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Most factory replacement compressors do not require this. mostly auto part stores/aftermarket.

Depends on manufacturer. Again not a bad idea to replace the dryer for reasons mentioned. but if you open system for all of 4 hours to do a repair pulling a vacuum is sufficient. if its a cheap dryer and easy to get to why not replace it im with you on that. same reason i replaced the expansion valve when doing my evaporator, might as well... but again not necessary. if a compressor grenades itself and you have black death in the system then yeah by all means replace the txv, drier, and any lines with a filter on them and flush condenser/lines, evap. but light repair i dont see it necessary unless its been opened a few times in the past but i see your point.

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Old Wed, Oct-09-2019, 06:51:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

I called around and it seems to be about $200 to evacuate and refill with r134. One of the shops suggested that they could top it off rather than evacuate it, so thats what ill try first.

I havent had the system open, so Ill skip replacing components for now. Ill add some r134 with dye and hopefully that will show me if I have any large leaks anywhere.

I realize this car measures r134 by weight instead of pressure, but is there any way to ensure that I dont overfill the system when I add r134?
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Old Wed, Oct-09-2019, 07:18:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

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I called around and it seems to be about $200 to evacuate and refill with r134. One of the shops suggested that they could top it off rather than evacuate it, so thats what ill try first.

I havent had the system open, so Ill skip replacing components for now. Ill add some r134 with dye and hopefully that will show me if I have any large leaks anywhere.

I realize this car measures r134 by weight instead of pressure, but is there any way to ensure that I dont overfill the system when I add r134?
just buy one of those cheap cans with a gauge on it, run the a/c at max and fill through low side until it gets to the green area of gauge and youll be good to go.

if you want to do it right buy a vacuum pump and gauges from harbor freight as well as a scale and completely empty system, and weigh can to get right amount into sytem the crude way without using a machine. but its best to leave that to the pros. plenty of videos on youtube if you want to attempt it. why risk damaging the a/c system.
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Old Thu, Oct-10-2019, 08:49:39 AM   #16
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

I dont want to evacuate it into the atmosphere and after finding the following, I think I can safely add some r134 without evacuating whatever remains.

The 50skid has a good video and shows high and low side pressure at the end of the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=6xmwyy2_k_w

This post also shows high and low pressure and the his ambient temp. https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=657697

Ill rent a gauge kit and hook it up at night when its closer to 80deg here. If I find that the pressure is lower than 30 and 150, Ill add a little r134 until it hits that mark and stop. I think I should be pretty safe doing that.

Ill post results after I mess with it
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Old Thu, Oct-10-2019, 09:36:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

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Originally Posted by Race M3 View Post
just buy one of those cheap cans with a gauge on it, run the a/c at max and fill through low side until it gets to the green area of gauge and youll be good to go.
This was pretty much what I did + a sealer and the can has a built-in gauge and many years later it still freezes my butt off when I have it on.
Just make sure you take into consideration ambient temperature when recharging.
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Old Sat, Oct-12-2019, 03:16:16 AM   #18
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

Rented a tool from oreilly's and used my infrared thermometer. All of the vents were great ~50deg. The ambient temp as 77deg and its florida, so humidity is always high. The pic shows the reading I got ~28 low and ~190 high.

Its tough to find a decent r134 temp chart. The one the 50skid uses has ranges of 30-36low and 190-260high for 80deg ambient and high humidity. That puts me a lower than the range, however my ambient temp was 3deg lower than 80.

The write up I linked above shows rene325ci ambient at 80 and his pressures after filling were 35 and 225.

Should I add a bit to see if I can get rid of the constant hissing or are my pressure within range and hissing is just what this car does?

After double checking the video, looks like 1 can took him from 23 to 30 on the low side. Think I could probably do with adding approx half a can??
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Old Wed, Oct-16-2019, 02:03:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: AC refresh advice

I think im going to add this concentrated dye which is only about 1.7oz

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b...e/330v/5744152

Then I think ill slowly add pure r134 and see if i can get the low and high pressures closer to the middle of the suggested range.

Any thoughts?
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Discussing AC refresh advice in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)