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      06-24-2019, 09:48 AM   #1
mugsix
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Annoying Issue with A/C Not Cooling Consistently

I've had an intermittent problem with my A/C for the past few months. I picked the car up in March so it's likely the problem was present prior to the temps rising here in the NE.

Generally the A/C works perfectly, often starting to blow cold air before I even leave my driveway. However, on occasion it simply blows hot air (likely just ambient air temp). Sometimes this persists for several drives. Other times, 5, 10, even 15 minutes into the drive it starts blowing cold air with no intervention on my part.

I've tried searching on here for someone with my specific issue and I haven't seen anything. I'd love for this to be user error, but I think I've tried everything! I've read about setting the vent temperature in the menu and that's not my issue. I have taken it to the dealer twice, and both times the A/C started working as I left to drop it off for the service appointment. Once, I started driving to the dealer when the problem was present only to have it start working as I exited the highway near the dealer.

The dealer claims that there's nothing they can do unless the "see the problem". They checked for errors reported by the system and can't find any evidence of an issue. My fear is even if I take the car to them when it's exhibiting the problem, it will begin working before they can troubleshoot it.

I consider myself to be a patient person with regard to a lot of the glitches with the car and have hesitated to post about this until I exhausted other options. At this point I'm getting REALLY impatient. I've resorted to leaving VMs for my service advisor every time it doesn't work in a passive aggressive attempt to get him to pay attention. When it's working it's perfect, but it's like a roll of the dice every time I get in the car. Considering the $$$ spent on this thing, I just find this whole think unacceptable, but I think I might not be making enough of a stink with the dealer.

Thoughts?
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      06-24-2019, 10:33 AM   #2
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Get a little thermometer and stick it into the vent. When things are working, do a little video of what the temperature setting is and what the temp of the air blowing out is. Do the same thing when the air turns warm. Make sure your video captures all of the AC settings at the time.
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      06-24-2019, 10:34 AM   #3
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I guess a quick question for you is what are you settings set to for your zones?

I ask because if set in auto it will attempt to hit that target temp with either cold or warm air or both. Also just for a base line setup your driver side and hit sync, this will adjust all zones to that of your driver side. Lower your target temp so that it will always have to be AC and try that and report back...

If you are referring to this situation: Start car before leaving driveway it feels cool but as I pull out of garage it seems to warm up then cool back down after driving away. I have this happen time to time before summer really hit but noticed it was due to temp in the garage compared to outside as I exited. Took the car a min or so to adjust to temp change ambient.
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      06-24-2019, 10:54 AM   #4
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Is your AC set to full Auto? If not, it may be set to a constant fan speed and so it will blow out ambient air even before the system has had a chance to cool down.

Based on your signature line, if you are truly new to BMW there are differences in how climate control works in general that a good read-through of that part of the manual should help with.

The most obvious culprit in a lot of these cases is the stratified air control which is now behind the AC menu and covered in several threads here.

1) Check you're on Full Auto (auto button is lit up and the Fresh Air setting in the AC menu is set to Automatic)
2) Check stratified air output (in AC Menu, Driver/Passenger setting controls what temp the air blowing to your head/upper body is)
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      06-24-2019, 02:49 PM   #5
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One of my fears in posting this here was that I might get lumped into the "menu settings" issue that I've seen with some of the other threads. To be clear, I have set the "vent temp" as follows:

Settings
Via iDrive:
1. "CAR"
2. "Settings"
3. "Climate control"
4. "Heating/ventilation"
5. "Driver" or "Front passenger"
6. "Temperature adjustment"
7. Set the desired temperature:
▷ Toward blue: colder.
▷ Toward red: warmer.

I've tried every combination of Max AC, Auto, Turned AC on/off, etc... that I can find in the menu and manual. I've also have 2 or 3 people at the dealer verify that I'm doing it correctly and they all agree that I'm trying everything. The other major point is that it only has the issue once or twice a week, otherwise it works awesome! When it starts working again, it does so with absolutely without warning and with no intervention by me.

It seems as though sometimes the compressor fails to turn on, until suddenly it does. I'm wondering if there could be a bad relay.

Sorry, I should have made this more clear when I first posted this.
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      06-24-2019, 02:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsix View Post
One of my fears in posting this here was that I might get lumped into the "menu settings" issue that I've seen with some of the other threads. To be clear, I have set the "vent temp" as follows:

Settings
Via iDrive:
1. "CAR"
2. "Settings"
3. "Climate control"
4. "Heating/ventilation"
5. "Driver" or "Front passenger"
6. "Temperature adjustment"
7. Set the desired temperature:
▷ Toward blue: colder.
▷ Toward red: warmer.

I've tried every combination of Max AC, Auto, Turned AC on/off, etc... that I can find in the menu and manual. I've also have 2 or 3 people at the dealer verify that I'm doing it correctly and they all agree that I'm trying everything. The other major point is that it only has the issue once or twice a week, otherwise it works awesome! When it starts working again, it does so with absolutely without warning and with no intervention by me.

It seems as though sometimes the compressor fails to turn on, until suddenly it does. I'm wondering if there could be a bad relay.

Sorry, I should have made this more clear when I first posted this.
If this issue happens fairly regularly, you may invite your service advisor or shop foreman on a ride in your vehicle to show them the issue. If not, the video idea by TurtleBoy is likely the best way to show proof of the issue.

Infrequent issues are the maddening ones... they never manifest themselves at the dealer it seems.
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      06-24-2019, 03:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpitts View Post
If this issue happens fairly regularly, you may invite your service advisor or shop foreman on a ride in your vehicle to show them the issue. If not, the video idea by TurtleBoy is likely the best way to show proof of the issue.

Infrequent issues are the maddening ones... they never manifest themselves at the dealer it seems.
I agree, and have actually taken a video (without the thermometer), the dealer seems to believe me so I don't think that's the issue. It's just that they claim they can't do any troubleshooting without the problem being present. I don't think that will ever happen as it comes and goes (usually) withing 15 min.

Also:

At one point they kept my car for 3 days, put 300 miles on it (charged me for the gas) and never saw a problem.
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Last edited by mugsix; 06-24-2019 at 03:16 PM.. Reason: Added stuff
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      06-24-2019, 04:06 PM   #8
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ECO Pro also turns the A/C compressor on and off to save some fuel. That is expected. What driving mode does this happen in?

Also, even on regular driving modes it may blow ambient temperature if the target temperature is reached. It makes sense that the compressor is turned off to save fuel when not needed. However, if outside temps are 100F and it turns off while you're sweating, that is definitely an issue.
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      06-24-2019, 04:09 PM   #9
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Sounds like you have the basics covered.

Random thought, if they're not finding an issue directly in the cooling system is it possible the issue has to do with the active kidney grill not being able to always open properly?

On cold starts the grill remains closed to help the engine warm up faster after which, it opens up. If it's not opening up properly all the time, it will take longer and be tougher for the AC to cool off since a closed grill has got to have a general negative effect on heat exchange.
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      06-24-2019, 04:11 PM   #10
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When it's not performing, maybe you can pull over without turning off the engine and see if your grill is open or closed
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      06-24-2019, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsix View Post
...they claim they can't do any troubleshooting without the problem being present.
At some point, their position isn't tenable. You have an issue with an expensive vehicle, and not all issues are persistent. Keep the pressure up on your service advisor, and ask him to loop in the shop foreman.
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      06-25-2019, 08:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHitchhiker View Post
ECO Pro also turns the A/C compressor on and off to save some fuel. That is expected. What driving mode does this happen in?

Also, even on regular driving modes it may blow ambient temperature if the target temperature is reached. It makes sense that the compressor is turned off to save fuel when not needed. However, if outside temps are 100F and it turns off while you're sweating, that is definitely an issue.
What does ECP Pro do? It sounds boring...
/s
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      06-25-2019, 08:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amphiprion View Post
When it's not performing, maybe you can pull over without turning off the engine and see if your grill is open or closed
I hadn't thought of this, I'll definitely check next time!
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      06-25-2019, 09:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsix View Post
What does ECP Pro do? It sounds boring...
/s
ECO Pro cycles the A/C compressor less often. This yields less fuel consumption, with similar comfort levels. When it is 100F outside I go to ECO Pro individual, where I told it to not mess with A/C.

It also adjusts many other things to be more fuel efficient (heating, lights, enables coasting, etc).

It is definitely boring but I use it during my commute. I am not constantly on the race track If I have passengers it is usually on Comfort so everyone is comfortable.
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      07-23-2019, 03:32 PM   #15
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UPDATE! Possibly Fixed!

So after a very frustrating 3 hour round trip drive to a client meeting (in 95 degree heat) with no working A/C, I lost it and called my service adviser to insist that they figure something out. They took the car, gave me an x3, and started trying to reproduce the problem.

After about 2 weeks, they decided to replace the compressor. While they were never able to reproduce my observation where the A/C occasionally didn't work at all when starting the car, they did notice that the cold air temp at the vents was fluctuating by as much as 20 degrees while still operating. This was apparently enough to warrant a replacement of the compressor. I picked it up last week and just did a weekend trip to Boston spending about 11 enjoyable hours on the road with no issues... yet.

Fingers crossed! Hopefully this is the end of the road for this issue and I can go back to ABSOLUTELY LOVING this car!
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      07-23-2019, 05:41 PM   #16
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Glad to hear everything got resolved. I will say that on my car which I just took delivery on I did NOT adjust per the instructions above and my AC blows ice cold through the middle vents no problem. It is around 80 here today.
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      06-30-2020, 01:42 PM   #17
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Hi Mugsix. Did replacing the compressor do the trick? I just purchased a 2020 X5 M50i and am having the exact same issue. I live in Florida and the issue seems to be triggered by the vehicle being outside in high heat for a couple hours. Upon restart, the A/C does not come on, even when pressing MAX A/C. I'm working with my dealership to triage, but as you mentioned, these intermittent things are super tough. I just came across your post and hoping you will be willing to provide an update. Many thanks!!

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      06-30-2020, 03:25 PM   #18
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Mugsix, glad that you might have your issue resolved (albeit with a new compressor, lots of miles and lots of time away from your new car).

Radelow - I want to come back to something you said (and don’t mean to hijack this thread, although related): You said “ice cold thru the middle vents.” Is it correct that there can be a big discrepancy in the temperature coming out of the middle versus side vents? That is what I am experiencing in my 2020 X5 M50i.

Just want to make sure that isn’t indicative of an issue...

Thanks,

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      06-30-2020, 06:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Mugsix, glad that you might have your issue resolved (albeit with a new compressor, lots of miles and lots of time away from your new car).

Radelow - I want to come back to something you said (and donít mean to hijack this thread, although related): You said ďice cold thru the middle vents.Ē Is it correct that there can be a big discrepancy in the temperature coming out of the middle versus side vents? That is what I am experiencing in my 2020 X5 M50i.

Just want to make sure that isnít indicative of an issue...

Thanks,

Adam
That is normal. Itís like your front vents are working off two separate temp settings with the vent temp adjustment inside the menu. If your vent temp is all the way on cold, it will be freezing over the side vents working off the ďautoĒ setting.
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      06-30-2020, 07:20 PM   #20
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Thanks, Mystro. Appreciate the response.

Adam
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      07-02-2020, 01:57 PM   #21
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I have the same issue and my service advisor told me he has 12 cars in line for that problem, compressor and condensor needs to be replaced
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      07-02-2020, 02:52 PM   #22
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Almost wonder if I should mention this with my dealer. With my luck the compressor will go a mile after my warranty expires.
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