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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Nov 21st, 2004, 11:01 PM
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Australia growling Air Conditioner

My July 02 build Cooper S has a growling Air con. It is there all the time, but gets much worse on hot days. Its there at idle, but is most noticable at about 3000 RPM. When its at it worst it actually sends a vibration through the whole car, which you can feel in the clutch pedal, steering wheel and gearstick.

I have been sending my car into the dealership since it was 1 week old. they have driven it more than me.

In search of the problem so far they have replaced:

belt tensioner
belt
pulley
alternator bearing
another pulley
compressor
Supercharger!!!!
Clutch Assy
tx valve
regassed (twice)

still does it. Now the car has run out of warranty, and hey presto. the dealer and the BMW Australia tech rep are telling me its normal.

question: if it's normal, why don't any of the cars on the lot there do it?
question: if its normal, why did you replace about $10K worth of parts trying to fix it?
question: if its normal, why don't any other brands of car do it?

I could have bought 3 daewoos and got 15 years of warranty for the proce of this car. I want it fixed. If anyone esle has had this problem and the dealer was actually able to fix it, please tell me what the cause was, so that they can do that to mine!!!!

If they can just fix this one problem, all my other issues such as noisy boot latches, rear seat latches, faulty temp guage, running out of fuel because of fault fuel sender units, rattles everywhere, steering colum bearings clunking, wearing the outside edges off the tyres, a clock that can't keep time (what good is it?) cracked coolant bottles, sqeaking drivers seats, - well i'll accept them all as 'charactoristic of the model'
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Old Nov 22nd, 2004, 12:33 AM
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I also have a July 02 S, and this will be the third summer I've had to endure this bloody howling noise. My car doesn't vibrate because of it, but any day over about 27 degrees, the car howls over 3000rpm, just as you describe it.

I too have been returning my car to the dealer about once a month (probably more) since I bought it over two years ago.

The car has been back MANY times in search of this howling noise, and I've had no luck yet. My passenger seat broke during the week last week (won't recline) and in the hot weather last week the a/c started howling again. Hopefully I can get a fix this summer and let you know. Fortunately I bought the third year of warranty.

There were some posts here about it being related to the recirc components of the a/c system but I played with the recirc button when the a/c was howling on a hot day and it didn't change anything.

I know of another person in QLD with this problem also. We can try and track it here...

Cheers
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Old Nov 23rd, 2004, 11:22 AM
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mine's going back in for the last time tomorrow. BMW are supplying a loan car (not the dealer) and they have agreed to my refusal to come and pick the car up until it is fixed. (or replaced)

which dealer have you been taking yours to?
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Old Nov 23rd, 2004, 11:31 AM
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Same problem on my 11/02 Cooper, plus a BIG drop in performance.

My dealer said the engine sound and vibration during high outside temperatures is caused by the radiator fan working at a faster speed to compensate for the additional load caused by the A/C compressor.

The assumption being that the engine would overheat if the compressor is working harder whilst the radiator fan is working at normal speed?

There's no problem, only solutions.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2004, 11:56 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Mr G
mine's going back in for the last time tomorrow. BMW are supplying a loan car (not the dealer) and they have agreed to my refusal to come and pick the car up until it is fixed. (or replaced)

which dealer have you been taking yours to?

wow - you must have screamed pretty loud to get a result like that!

I've been taking mine to Classic MINI in Parramatta. I find it hard to yell at the service manager as he's a good guy

When you say "replaced", do you mean the whole car?!

Do let us know how you get on!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2004, 11:25 PM
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Parramatta is where mine is today. its the first time I've been there. previously i have been taking it to alto's both at artarmon and pennant hills. Artarmon treat you like a complete burden to their busy day. Bloody customers.(see my post under dealer feedback section) Pennant hills were better, but i've requested we move the car to parramatta because they have a good reputaion for knowing what they're doing and Mark down there knows the cars backwards.

they haven't yet agreed to replace the whole car in as many words but they are fully aware that i'm not coming back until they have a noise free car for me to drive. The BMW rep has told me that if he can't fix the car no-body can, and he will then escalate my issue to the BMW customer service team who will be able to take it from there.

At the moment they have put me in a BMW 318I to drive around in. (with a $500 excess)

So for the next few days, weeks or months we wait and see what they can do........
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 12:57 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Coca-Cooper
My dealer said the engine sound and vibration during high outside temperatures is caused by the radiator fan working at a faster speed to compensate for the additional load caused by the A/C compressor.

The assumption being that the engine would overheat if the compressor is working harder whilst the radiator fan is working at normal speed?

It's not the engine that needs the fan to run faster, it is the aircon.

The engine has an optimum temperature, and it is kept there by the thermostat.

For the aircon radiator, which is in front of the main radiator, the cooler the better. The cooler the aircon radiator is, the lower the pressure needed to condense the refrigerant, and less power is absorbed by the compressor.

The fan will run if the aircon is on, or if the engine gets too hot, ot both. If the aircon pressure gets too high, which usually means hot weather, the fan will run faster.

I would take the car to an aircon specialist. I would have done so while the car was in warantee. The cost of your time in all those trips to the dealer would have made the specialist look cheap.
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Old Nov 24th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Mr G
Parramatta is where mine is today. its the first time I've been there. previously i have been taking it to alto's both at artarmon and pennant hills. Artarmon treat you like a complete burden to their busy day. Bloody customers.(see my post under dealer feedback section) Pennant hills were better, but i've requested we move the car to parramatta because they have a good reputaion for knowing what they're doing and Mark down there knows the cars backwards.

they haven't yet agreed to replace the whole car in as many words but they are fully aware that i'm not coming back until they have a noise free car for me to drive. The BMW rep has told me that if he can't fix the car no-body can, and he will then escalate my issue to the BMW customer service team who will be able to take it from there.

At the moment they have put me in a BMW 318I to drive around in. (with a $500 excess)

So for the next few days, weeks or months we wait and see what they can do........

Thanks for the info - it's been Mark that I've been dealing with for the last two years. In fact I've got a call in with him at the moment as I have a broken passenger seat and another issue I can't remember.

Please let me know how this goes, as I'll be asking for the same fix on my car!

Cheers
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Old Nov 27th, 2004, 10:31 PM
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A quick update on the state of my car. I spoke with the BMW rep on friday about it and it's currently stripped down. They have ordered another compressor and another new TX valve. Apparently there are new part numbers for both, (ie updates) so that's what they're trying first.

The thing that worries me most is that the BMW rep who is doing the work on my car hasn't properly heard the noise that I'm talking about. It was 16 degrees on Wednesday when I took it in. It will do it on cold days, but you have to turn off the radio and turn down the fan just to hear it. It's hard to get anyone enthusiastic about fixing something that they still don't think is a real problem. The odd thing though, is that he has never at any stage said to me, yes, I've heard this noise in full swing, and I agree its not right. Yet he's prepared to keep spending money throwing new parts at it. You wouldn't do that if you didn't believe there's a problem?

Having said that, he has agreed to take the car home and drive it around for a few days after it's "fixed" just so that he can be absolutely sure it doesn't continue to do it. I am absolutely sure that if he drives it on a day like today, he'll know what I'm talking about. Who knows, maybe this will fix it and he'll never hear the noise.......only time will tell.

About that cooling fan theory - I don't think that could cause it. The noise gets louder with engine revs. If the cooling fan was the cause, the tone wouldn't change when you rev the engine.

I do have my own theory, but its a long shot. When you load up the A/C you are loading up the opposite end of the crankshaft to what driving load does. I reckon the cars that do it need new crankshafts. I think it is a harmonic problem coming from either the crank or the harmonic balancer, and only a new engine will fix it. That's why no matter how many new A/C parts you throw at it you can't fix it. Again only time will tell.

MM
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Old Nov 29th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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I agree - it's all quite odd. Did you know Mark Manning is away until December 13? I thought he was handling it?

I've no idea about the crankshaft theory to be honest, but I hope they have the car back together tomorrow, it's going to be a HOT day - perfect to replicate it.

BTW, the guys at Parra (including Mark) have heard my car howl on a hot day with the a/c on. Every summer they try and fix it and every summer I have no luck

I doubt replacing the TX valve will fix it (already done on my car) and they even replaced all the piping in the engine bay on a "revised part number" hunch (took days) and forgot to put half the car back together (typical)

Please keep us updated!

Cheers
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Old Nov 29th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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yeah, Mark went on hols the day after I dropped my car off. I'm led to believe that the work is actually being done by a tech from BMW. He assures me that he is personally fixing my car, not just overseeing the work. I wouldn't have thought that the regional tech guy would actually get his hands dirty on the tools, but apparently they do. I told him that if he can't fix my car, I'll put his mobile number on the forum, under a heading 24 hour tecnical help. So that should be some incentive for him.

When I first went to Trivetts, it was a warm day, (about 28) and I drove in unnanounced and spoke to murray (service Advisor) I told him that my car was making a funny noise and could he take a listen to it for me. He sat in it for about 1 minute and said 'oh yeah that doesn't sound right, we better book that in' Then I told him the full story, and that's when he went and got Mark. Mark didn't even get into the car. He described the noise perfectly and told me that it couldn't be fixed. He related a story about 2 cars that he had done, where he'd replaced evertyhing including all the pipework, and it still didn't fix it. Yours must have been one of them (presumedly)

Interestingly, this problem can be fixed. I went to Alto's Artarmon on Sunday and started up a demo that had been parked in the sun. It was perfect. so it definately isn't normal, and therefore must be fixable. otherwise just give me that one - it doesn't do it.

My brother is the service manager for a major euro-swish dealer (not BMW) I was talking to him today and he said that the particular company they deal for has a policy that if you've changed everything else and the custoer's still not happy, change the number plates. (in other words - put them on a new one) He reckons it takes one letter from the service manager, and a shiny new one arrives. BMW have apparently still got some lessons to learn on customer service.

The parts were due to arrive today, so it would be great if they had it back together tomorrow. We'll find out in due course I guess.

MM
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Old Nov 29th, 2004, 09:50 PM
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mmm a new car - that'd be nice after the crap I've dealt with. It's unlikely after 2 years though

Does your car make the noise at idle though? Mine only does it when you're driving and actually rev the engine (I've never tried revving the engine while parked in neutral on a hot day to try and hear it).

Mark was definately talking about my car and I was about to hit him up again for another summer of stuffing about trying to get it fixed. I honestly think that there are a number of design faults with our 2002 cars. This is one, and another is the crappy clutch (if you drive a newer car you'll notice the clutch is totally different and doesn't creak like a door in a haunted house). If only we could somehow find out what they revised and changed for the newer build cars...

Hopefully some more progress is made with your car today and a resolution is close! If they gave you a new car it'd be setting a very dangerous precedent, let me tell you!

Cheers!
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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yes, mine does it at idle. its quieter obviously, but there nonetheless. You can hear it get louder as you increase the revs. When you're driving it, it is actually at its absolute worst just when you back off to change gear. all the engine noise dies away execpt for the a/c noise. also if you increase the revs to 3K (parked) and back off, just as it comes down through about 1200 it shakes the whole car. it feels just like a car with rattly big ends.

The clutch: mine's fine. they did replace it in august this year, even though i never mentioned any problem with it. not 100% sure whether its an update or not, or why they even changed it, but it felt the same. Apparently its a flywheel balancing problem and there is an update which will fix it, but as i said mine's never really bothered me. maybe if I drive a new one, i'll suddenly realise what i've been missingout on..............

When I first spoke to the BMW rep he was trying to find another car of similar age and miliage to mine to compare it to, and I bucked up. I have been complaining about this noise since the car was 1 week old. so find me one that is 1 week old to compare it to. I don't subscribe to the theory that they can't do anything for us just because we've had the cars for 2 years. They were defective from day 1. The longer it goes (therefore the older the car gets) the more they owe us a remedy. At some point they have to bite the bullet and say enough is enough.

MM
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 12:10 PM
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my car was howling away today again - sounds like your problem is the same as mine, just a lot more exaggerated... I don't get a vibration through the car. I only hear it above 3000rpm, and yes, it's worse when I back off to change gear

How did you end up speaking to a BMW person? I've been at the dealer once a month for over two years, and I think a BMW tech has only seen my car once, and that was just because he happened to be there.

It must be hard for BMW Australia to replace a car though - the "poor" dealers just sell the things, they don't build them or have any control over the QA processes and such, and then people like us yell at them when they break. I guess I can at least relate to their situation.

Anyway, I'm keen to know how this situation ends, so keep updating here

Cheers!
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Old Dec 1st, 2004, 11:06 AM
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I got to speak directly with BMW because I asked to. What started it all was the first time i took the car to pennant hills. I had had enough of the idiots at artarmon, so I switched. I have never yelled at anyone at a dealership about the state of the car either mind you. I have put it up them for poor service on their own part, but never for the actual car quality.

Anyway I went in there with 3 probs. A/C, rattles in the dash, and rattles in the back seat. They ordered a new speedo to fix the rattles in the dash, and a new *** insert name of replacement part here *** for the a/c and told me that they couldn't do anything about the back seat because it was over 1 year old and didn't need any replacemewnt parts.

So I rang BMW in Melbourne and logged a complaint. Next week the dealer rang me back and told me that BMW had authorised them to fit the back seat. So I took it in and they fixed that, fitted the other two parts which had been on order and gave my car back with a noisy A/C and rattly dash. Just as expected.

So I rang them up and simply said I want you to get a tech rep from BMW out here to look at my car. And they did. They're not doing you a favour by making him available, its what he does. Just tell the dealer that you want to speak with him. I will PM you his mobile number tomorrow. Ring him up and tell him your July 02 car has a growling Air con. I think he still had a hair or two that isn't grey. I'm sure he'd love to talk to you!

cheers,

MM
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