Fan stops blowing

Over the past week or so, I will be driving down the road and all of a sudden, the fan stops blowing. With or without the air conditioner, there is no air flow. If I keep fooling around with the buttons,
eventually it will come back on and it is blowing cold. Does anyone know what the problem could be.
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"BMWKGR" wrote

It would help if you indicated what year and model BMW this is.
Pete
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I am sorry. It is 2000 323CI
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"BMWKGR" wrote

I agree with Jeff. If what you're seeing is erratic behavior of fan speed or the actual speed does not match the speed that is indicated on the climate control display, then the most likely culprit is a part called "final stage unit" aka blower resistor. This part is known to fail frequently on e39 models. Yours is an e46, but I think it happens on the e46, too.
Cheers, Pete
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Just talked to the mechanic who is fixing my car. He said the whole unit was melted and they suffered to get the old one out. He is afraid that the blower motor may be overloading and that is what caused this. Let's hope he is wrong. Thanks to all for your help.
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Squirt a little Super-Lube on the bearings of the motor. If the motor is binding, it will indeed damage the resistor pack and the motor windings too. If the motor has a shorted turn, it will also damage the resistor pack by pulling too much current. The resistor packs don't need any help failing, though. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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It helps to know which model your car is, but without that, I'll still make the guess that the ballast resistor pack has given up. Normally, this trouble causes the fan to blow at fewer speeds until only High Speed is available, then that one goes away too.

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Thanks to all for the info. looks like I better win the lotto tonite to pay for this repair
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"BMWKGR" wrote

You can buy the part on line. It costs about $70. And you can even replace it yourself, it's not too difficult - just requires good hand dexterity and a flexible back. Here are the instructions for a 5-series, but I imagine it would be similar on the 3-series:
http://www.540i6.com/finalstagereplacement.html (keep in mind the actual part number might be different for your 3-series)
If you take it to a mechanic, they'll probably charge you half hour of labor to replace it.
Good luck, Pete
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Pete wrote:

The stealer will get you $500 easy.
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What Pete said.
I've not replaced this part myself, but I have a friend that rebuilds salvage cars, and repairs BMWs as a side job. I was at his house one day and the topic was a heater motor that had died. I said the ballast resistor was the culprit, and watched him pull one from a heater system that he took out of a wreck, and install it into the customer's car. I'd say the entire operation took upwards of 5 minutes. Having said that, he had already removed the kick plates and panels that were in the way. I do not recall any screws holding the ballast resistor in place, but there could have been. My recollection is that it had a connector (duh!) and some clips.
If you know which end of the screwdriver is the one you hold, you should be able to replace this part yourself.
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