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Thread: Fresh Air Grille / Centre Air Vent Replacement.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Toronto
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    My Cars
    530

    Fresh Air Grille / Centre Air Vent Replacement.

    MODS: Feel Free to add it in the DIY forum/section.

    This diy is fairly easy and should not take more than 30 mins. I know many of e39ers have the centre vent that gets damaged and would like to replace it the cost of it is anywhere from 30 for used and 60 for a new one. I ordered mine from Tischer for 65 bucks or so.

    Tools Needed:

    - 10mm Socket or wrench
    - Phillips Screwdriver
    - Flathead Screwdriver
    - Interior Panel Removal Tool (OPTIONAL)
    - Patience

    - Fresh Air Grille Part # Dependant on interior colour mine was black also note that my grille came with the bowden cable attached and this diy assumes the bowden comes attached with the grille.

    SCHWARZ - 64228364021 - FRESH AIR GRILLE CENTER
    MARINEBLAU - 64228364022 - FRESH AIR GRILLE CENTER
    DUNKELBEIGE - 64228364023 - FRESH AIR GRILLE CENTER
    ENGLISCH GRUEN - 64228364024 - FRESH AIR GRILLE CENTER

    Overview:

    To install the grill you have to remove the glove box completely and a panel next to it... also you have to release the bowden cable and and remove the grill itself from the body. I started with the glove box and wandered as this was my first time doing this.

    1.
    You have to remove the lower cover which is underneath the glove box... to remove it all you have to do is pull the panel towards you.


    2.
    You can see the white part circled is where the panel snuggly secures onto.


    3.
    There are four clips on the panel itself that fit inside the white parts in step 2.


    4.
    On the left side of the glove compartment you can see the hinge is secured by a tab.


    5.
    Closeup of the hinge on the left side. To remove this you can pry it gently with a flathead screwdriver or Interior Panel removal tool.


    6.
    On the right side of the Glove there is a gas strut which makes the Glove box door come down gradually, to remove it use the same method as in step 5.


    7.
    Leave the Glove box closed and you can see underneath there are two 10mm socket/wrench nuts w/washer. Remove them. (Left side shown)


    8.
    This is what it looks like after the nut has been removed.


    9.
    After you have remove both nuts open the glove box door and slide the box towards you slowly. While the box is released hold the glovebox (May need to rest on something so it does not fall) and squeeze the tab on the flashlight charger terminal.


    10.
    After the terminal is removed the glove box is free and can be placed safely in the backseat or some other place where it wont get dirty. Below is the picture of the Flash Light charger terminal, note the male part can only go in one way.


    11.
    Looking at the glove box where the nuts were removed you can see the plastic has a shape with a circular depression which bites onto the rail when its installed.


    12.
    The circular rail where the part in step 11 bites onto..


    13.
    Glove box upside down looking at the two circular plastic pieces that bite onto the rail.


    14.
    After the glove box is completely removed you can see on the right hand side a plastic piece this is what needs to be removed for the bowden cable to be visible. In my car they were two phillips screws remove then and the part will easily slide out.


    15.
    Now you can see the bowden cable attached to a mechanical part which controls hot vs cold air to be ciruculated inside the cabin.


    16.
    The white tab needs to be pulled towards you for the latch to be released (this requires a bit of force but it should be done by hand), please remember how this is installed as this took me a long while to figure out on how this is installed.


    17.
    After the latch has been released you can easily pull the ciruclar piece off.


    18.
    The mechanical piece where the bowden cable attaches to (white) and the plastic part where the latch locks onto (black). You can see the black piece chipped as i did not inspect how the latch was installed and the marks show my various failed attempts to lock the latch.


    19.
    Now we can remove the Fresh Air Grille/Centre Air Vent from the car, I did not take any pictures while i was removing it as mine was a bit warped. You can see the four tabs that hold the piece in place, below you can see the bottom of the grill with the tabs circled.


    20.
    Top of the grill with the tabs circled.


    21.
    To remove the Grill when its installed basicaly slide four credit cards in place of each tab so the grille can be easily be pulled out, it takes a bit of force as the back of vent is inserted in the vents (see below the vents after the grille has been removed). You can pull the vent out as the cable has been released already.


    22.
    On the new vent make sure you have set the dial to cool air (three blue dots) as you will have most slack of cable in this position.


    23. - Final Assembly
    - Slide the new vent in but do not press it in all the way yet.
    - Fish the bowden cable down and install it, if you inspected before removing the latch and cable this should be fairly easy.
    - Test to see the fresh air grille works and the bowden operates and there are no problems (here you can see the mechanism in action while you rotate the selector).
    - After the cable is installed push the vent in, you will need to push it firmly and slowly and making sure it is aligned to the vents. You will hear clicks when it is secure.
    - Put the plastic piece back. Install the flashlight plug into the glove box and install the glove box.
    - Install the spring loaded cylinder and the hinge... those caps slide right on you should be able to figure those out.
    - Here you may need to tweak the position (left to right) of the glove box to ensure smooth operation. It took me a few mins to allign this so i had a smooth close and open.
    - All done have a beer or coke or whatever floats your boat and hope you don't break the grille again anytime soon.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Memphis
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    726
    My Cars
    05/2003 530i Sport
    Nice work thanks for making time for the write up. I need to do this my self, mine is cracked.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    bay area
    Posts
    1,692
    My Cars
    E46 M3 | E39 540
    Mine is cracked too but I'm thinking I should just slide a little JB weld in there and hold it in place, then sand off whatever spills on the front.
    E46 M3 | Steel Gray/Imola Red | 19" BBS RS-GT
    E39 540i | Jet Black/Black | 17" Style 42


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    West Michigan
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    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    Nice job.
    Off to the DIY section it goes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Toronto
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    My Cars
    530
    thanX

    I got another one i will post it in the e39 and mods can move it...


    Quote Originally Posted by taylorwilsdon View Post
    Mine is cracked too but I'm thinking I should just slide a little JB weld in there and hold it in place, then sand off whatever spills on the front.
    I tired to fix it did not work well and i just bought a new one... one thing is to be noted if yours is cracked it does not give a tight seal and over time the bowden cable becomes loose i think because after the unit my climate control works much better... i.e warm/cold selector works much much better.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    12
    My Cars
    01' M5, 02' CBR 600
    Thanks for the write up - worked like a charm. 25 min to complete.
    <br>
    <a href="http://bmw.mwjl.com"><img src="http://aug17.mwjl.com/sig.jpg"></a>

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ewing, NJ
    Posts
    4
    My Cars
    03 M5, 04 VW R32

    Thumbs up

    Just used your DIY on my '03 M5 porksoda. Worked like a charm!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Irvine, CA
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    2001 BMW M5

    Great write up

    Just did this on 01 M5 worked like a charm. This was the best write I have seen. I got a used vent on ebay for $40 shipped but the wire was cut off. Had to use my existing wire so be patient when removing and installing the wire.


    Thanks again you rock!


    Drew

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Toronto
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    530
    thanks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dallas
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    00 323it, 01 540, 06 x5
    Great DIY....but why not just pop the vent and take the cable off from there? It's only one clip,,,pops up,,,then twist over ,,,takes 5 min or less lots of room ie,extra cable
    I never look for trouble. If it looks for me, I'm usually around

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nofearspear View Post
    Great DIY....but why not just pop the vent and take the cable off from there? It's only one clip,,,pops up,,,then twist over ,,,takes 5 min or less lots of room ie,extra cable
    i don't think you will have enough slack in the bowden cable to do it like that...
    Also new vents when bought comes with the bowden cable and after a while it looses some tension so its a good idea to replace both.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
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    My Cars
    00 323it, 01 540, 06 x5
    Your way is for sure the best way if you've never messed with it before,,,looking at pic #20 take your forefinger put under the red part on the cable "after metal clip is pulled off" and snap up...thats the riskie part, i allways feel its going to bust "never has" but if it did it would suck! So like i said great diy!
    I never look for trouble. If it looks for me, I'm usually around

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Qld Australia
    Posts
    1,050
    My Cars
    E30 323i - E28 M535i
    Just curious to know if the centre vent outlet area could possibly be a source of a rattle (of sorts).
    I have a very annoying rattle that seems to accentuate on rough finshed bitumen roads. My problem is identifying the actual location. Somedays I think it's coming from the centre vent outlets, other days I think it's coming from within the f/l door card. A sort of metal on plastic type of rattle. None the less it is annoying as hell.
    This write up helps me remove the front centre grill outlet although I'm not convinced that's where the rattle is. Thanks in any event.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    New hampshire
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    99 bmw 528i
    You sir are a gentlemen and a scholar, thank you!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    France
    Posts
    2
    My Cars
    5401 Touring

    Thumbs up Just got er done

    Hi all,
    Everyone is great about adding problem solvers and I for one really appreciate it!
    I have a 98 540i Touring and have just changed that front center vent with help from this site, took about 30 min and I paid 16 dollars for the part.
    I have the Nav package so needed to remove that unit first which is easy enough, once you have access underneath you can see (with a mirror) the two bottom clips which need to be pressed up.
    Once you have that done by pushing the vent unit up from the inside it should slid out.
    The cable attachment is a bit of a bummer but you will work that out soon enough just don't break the plastic clips that hold the end of the cable.
    Thanks again and happy BMWing

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
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    My Cars
    e39's, e30's, e46's, e53
    This forum needs a "thank" button.

    Thanks porksoda, you cut this job down to 15 minutes for me.

    Just a note, I didn't have to remove the glove box, I just had to drop it by removing the clips on the sides, along with the lower panel. The only thing I had to unscrew was the side cover that reveals the bowden cable. The vent takes a bit of force, but if you use the credit card trick to push the tabs, it's not too bad.

    Other cars that don't matter, and then..
    '01 530i Sport/Premium/Cold Weather(My 1st love)
    '02 540i Sport/Premium/Cold Weather (German bitch)
    '06 330i Sport/Comfort (Sweetness!)
    '08 535i/6 Sport/Premium/Comfort/Nav ()
    '99 528i Sport Touring (Repaired the Previous owners garbage and let her go)
    '02 525iT Premium/Nav/Cold Weather/Alpine/Supercherry
    '90 325i e30 sedan schwarz (1st e30 project!)
    '90 325is e30 zinnoberrot
    '06 X5 4.4
    '04 325i Sport
    '04 330ci
    '89 325IX 31k Original Miles!
    '03 M5 Coming Soon?


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    2004 BMW X5 3.0
    This looks awesome, thanks alot. Do you guys happen to know if this same process works on an E53? I'm hoping it might since the dashes are pretty similar. In any case, I was hoping to get a confirm/deny before I go ahead and start ripping my dash apart.

    Thanks again

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    56
    My Cars
    2000 BMW 525i Touring
    I noticed a crack in my central vent and so I bought a replacement online and was going to fit it this afternoon. The instructions for taking the glove compartment off worked a treat. Only problem is my car is RHD and I think the heat adjustment cable is on the opposite side because I can't see it as it is in the OP's pictures.
    Any RHD owners here know how to get to it?

    EDIT:

    Figured it out. You need to remove the driver's side footwell trim panel. Then you should be able to see the heat adjustment cable. From there it was a piece of cake except for removing the old vent which was a complete (female dog) to pull out.

    Footwell panel removed



    Heat adjustment cable
    Last edited by beemerinjapan; 02-09-2012 at 03:11 AM.

    BMW 525i Touring, AC Schnitzer alloys, leather trim, cruise control, aux input, BSW Sub, brushed titanium trim

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Portland Oregon
    Posts
    602
    My Cars
    2013 X3 28i M Sport
    Thank you for this write up! I did this in 20 minutes thanks to your write up! I'm amazed at how my E39 keeps recycling itself.

    '01 740i M Sport Anthracite/Black
    '13 BMW F800GT Valencia Orange

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