First post to this NG. My '99 328i with 42K miles has finally had its first
hick-up. Last week upon a 30 mile trip in moderate heat I had my AC On. AC
in this car was perfect. Upon exiting the freeway and stopping at the first
light, my engine shut off and CEL came on. When I tried to start it again,
it did, but with some nasty noises from the engine bay and then promptly
shut down again. I opened the hood and smelt something burning. Upon
poking around, I found the clutch area of the AC compressor is the area that
the burning smell was originating. When I shut down the AC and started the
car again, it ran fine. A couple days later I turned the AC switch on, and
the engine ran normally, but I wasn't brave enough to let it run longer and
see if it still cools, because someone told me I can wipe out the belt if
the AC Comp clutch seizes.
My friends and a mechanic I spoke to thinks my AC compressor is history.
The dealer quoted (pre inspection) $1700 for a rebuilt AC compressor, belt,
receiver and dryer. Ouch. To diagnose it correctly, they want $110. Ouch.
And I don't see myself doing the job.
Anyone have any ideas on what this could be? Another mechanic told me that
in 7 years of working on bimmers, he hadn't seen a busted AC compressor. I
live in the Detroit/Windsor area. If anyone can recommend any reliable
German car shops, I would appreciate it as well. Thanks.
The diagnostic price sounds about right, but the replacement cost sounds
Look in the yellow pages for "Auto Air Conditioning" and call around for
prices. Almost all A/C systems are made by a couple of manufacturers,
so you don't need to go to a BMW/foreign car repair shop.
Although I haven't personally experienced a jammed A/C compressor,
I have talked to people that have. At least BMW uses a separate
belt for the compressor - if it freezes and takes out your accessory
belt it's AAA time.
You will probably find that independent shops will do this job for less
(often much less). However, A/C work is expensive. About 7 years ago, I
spent about $1100 for a compressor, etc., repair on my 91 Explorer.
If the compressor really is locked solid, it may have sent particles
throughout the system. Any time that you open up the A/C system, the dryer
(removes water from the refrigerant) is history. So, you can see that the
costs really escalate.
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