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Thread: Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #1)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    birmingham,al
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    1,114
    My Cars
    2001 3.0 Z-3 RD'STER

    Angry Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #1)

    Attachment 466474Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #1)

    I could not find any concrete information on replacing the compressor/Drier for my 2001 Rd'ster, so I decided to attempt the task myself...especially after pricing the job from more than one a/c shop. I replaced the compressor & condenser on my 1999 Jeep Cherokee and it was an easy DIY. Everything was on top of the engine and easily accessible. However, like most BMW projects, this DIY for me was a challenge & learning experience. I have attempted to break this down into separate steps. The photos were taken with a smart phone as I was working on the car and may not be as clear as they could have been. Since most of us have already replaced our cooling systems, I did not take photos of how to remove the fan and belt from the a/c pulley. That was the easy part but the first step in this project.

    Step #1... (Remove fan, shroud & belt) Remove the large nut on front of fan using 32mm wrench & preferably a/c fan pulley holder. Turn CLOCKWISE to loosen nut. The shroud is held by 2 expanding rivits & are easily removed with a screwdriver or needlenose pliars. Pull straight up lifting the fan & shroud out of the engine compartment. Remove the plastic cap on the front of the a/c belt tensioner to insert a size T50 six point male socket into the front of the A/C belt temsioner assembly to release the tension & remove just the a/c belt. The front of the compressor will be visible. (see photo)

    BTW...It's important to note that before I began this project...I took the car to Express Oil Change where they evaculated the a/c system saving the existing freon that was already inside the system. After I completed the removal & replacement of the compressor/drier, I took the car back & they recharged the a/c system with a full charge adding only .80 lbs of the R134-A freon....high pressure 275/low 38psi


    Other steps will follow this thread.

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    Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #2)

    Step #2...(Remove the clear plastic windshield washer resevoir box) You will need a flat-head screwdriver to remove the one black plastic screw. The box slides out of the u-shaped clamp attached to the firewall. If there is fluid in the resevoir, be careful when lifting it from the engine compartment. It will spill fluid on you & the car. There's a plug-in at the bottom of the box that needs to be unpluged before lifting out the box. (See photos)

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    Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #3)

    Step #3...(removing the headlight assembly) Yepper, the passenger headlight needs to be loosened, but not necessarily removed...(your choice) in order to remove the drier. I chose not to unplug the headlight assembly letting it slightly hang away from the drier. This gave me the necessry space needed to remove the drier. Thanks to a forum member, Mr. Blacklane. for that tidbit of information. There are two screws on the top side of each end of the assembly that must be removed with a phillips screwdriver. Be careful not to break the plastic eyelets on the assembly where the screws are inserted to help hold the assembly in place. It's a pricey item to replace. There are also two 8mm screws below the assembly that hold it in place. Note the small screws below the assembly can be easily removed by inserting the 8mm socket with an extenshion through the holes on top of the metal railing that supports the headlight assembly and where the hood latches. (see pics)

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    Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #4)

    Step #4 (Removing Drier) The drier is attached to the firewall frame with two small 8 mm screws and is easily removed. I suggest first removing the two bolts that hold the a/c lines on the top of the drier using a 6 mm hex male socket. Then the a/c lines can be removed. A firm amount of force must be used to pull out the a/c lines from the top of the drier. Note that it is important to replace the o-rings inside the bottom of the a/c lines. There is also a small cap that is attached below the o-rings. Do not remove the cap. If it comes loose be sure to place it back onto the bottom of the a/c line from where it came. There is also a plug-in that must be disconnected from the drier. The photos should reflect all the above procedures.

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    Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #5)

    Step #5 (Removal of A/c lines from Compressor) There are two a/c lines that need to be removed from the compressor using a male 6mm hex socket to help release the lines. Just like on the drier, you will need to apply a flrm amount of force to release the lines from the top of the compressor. There is also a plug-in that must be unplugged. Note: Just pull it straight out to remove the plug. Don't forget to replace the o-rings.

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    Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #6)

    Step #6 (Unbolting Compressor) There are 3 bolts holding the compressor is position. There is one bolt on top of the compressor, one bolt underneath directly behind the backside, and one bolt below the black pulley where the serpentine belt mounts. All three bolts can be removed using a #10 female 6 point socket. After removing all the bolts, the compressor stayed in place. That was a good thing for me. Otherwise it could have fallen on me when I was underneath the car removing the bottom bolts. I used a long handled flat-head screw driver to release the compressor from the mount. It fell onto the tie rod support. I went back underneath the car to remove it. Be careful when removing it from the car. There is still PAG oil inside the compressor and is subject to spill out onto you. Don't ask me how I know.

    There you have it. Maybe this will help someone who has to replace their compressor. It's a little tedious but well-worth the effort...especially when you think about the labor cost. The cost of the parts was $449 shipped. I had to purchase the #10 female 6pt socket for $4. Cost to evaculate & recharge system $75...final cost $528. Since I am not a mechanic, it probably took me longer than someone with experience. But the labor was free!! I figure I saved myself a big chunk of change that I can use to finance my next project on the Z3. If anyone has any questions, feel free to post or send me a pm. Happy motoring in your ultimate driving machine.

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    Sorry, but I cannot and do not know how to post the correct photos under each step as they should be. If you wish to see the entire thread with photos. Do a search as follows: Z3 Roadster (E36/7) Replacing Compressor/Drier (Step #1).
    Last edited by MORRIE; 07-11-2013 at 09:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    2002 BMW Z3 Coupe 3.0
    whats total capacity of 134?

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
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    1998 Z3 Roadster
    There should be a green sticker under the hood with that information on it. I believe 32 oz of R134a. It also takes PAG 100 oil. Normally, you pour out the oil from the old compressor into a container and replace the same amount. If you lose some, the total system capacity is 6 oz, but it is spread throughout the system. Some assume about 50% of the oil is in the compressor, which seems reasonable.
    Last edited by Blacklane; 07-18-2013 at 10:53 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    2002 BMW Z3 Coupe 3.0
    i was asking cause if you had system open to replace major components, there shouldnt be a reason why they didnt vacuum and add full 32 (if thats what it is). .8lbs was odd to me. also, amount of oil is crucial si hopefully they recorded how much was recovered and looked up actual spec (which i highly doubt)

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