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Steve, BMW Expert
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 23993
Experience:  BMW Expert
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1997 BMW 328is: auto climate control sporadically..blower..defrost

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My 1997 BMW 328is has the auto climate control sporadically coming on and sometimes it takes months before it comes on again. If I leave the blower on high (though nothing is happening) and the button for the defrost on it seems to be the only way i get the best sporadic result. any help?

Hi there,


This is almost certainly a problem with the actual heater control unit (the thing that sits in the dash). It very likely has a bad solder point in. Temperature changes cause the metal inside the unit to expand and contract, and contact points can come loose or break over time. This was very common (and a known problem to BMW) in the mid to late 90s. Based on what you have already tried to fix the problem, this is pretty much the only thing left so I am very confident this is your problem.


I had a 1996 318i with the same problem, I replaced the dash unit with a refurbished one (knowledgeable techs take them apart and beef up the solder points).


I would suggest getting a replacement refurbished unit off ebay. This will be the quickest and most cost effective way to fix your problem. They are easy enough to swap out. Here are some links:


Or, you could send yours in to be fixed up:


I hope this helps. Please press the green accept button if you are satisfied with my answer.





Steve and 4 other BMW Specialists are ready to help you



Thanks for accepting my answer and leaving positive feedback.


I don't think you will be able to fix the dash unit yourself, although if you are a proficient solderer you might be able to attempt it if you can find a step by step guide online. Try searching for E36 climate or E36 hvac and see if you get lucky.


You should, however, be able to swap out the unit if you buy a replacement one, that's easy enough - just a few clips to get the unit out, then one plug at the back.


Good luck and thanks again.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks Steve, I will just try to see if there is something very obvious, otherwise, I will take your advise and get a replacement unit. Thanks for all your help and expert ( and common sense) advise. I will keep you in mind should I have any other questions in mind. Thanks again.
Grea! Thanks for the update. I saw in another post of yours you said you are requesting a refund of your deposit? Is that for this question? I hope you are satisfied with my help? Please let me know...


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
NO! Not at all for this question. Somehow, I thought It didnt go through the first time so i resubmitted it again with another deposit. either way the other mechanic asked me for all the information that I had already posted. I didn't respond, because by then, you had given me your great response and advise. Now I am being charged $46.00 instead of the $23.00 I authorized. Usually I wouldn't care, but Times are too tough to throw away money. That's why I am trying to resolve this issue myself and not just take it in to the dealer.My economic state is not what it used to be. Please know this has no reflection on you negatively on my part. If you hear other wise, let me know and I'll make sure they know what an asset you are to the organization. Thanks and sorry for the confusion.

Oh okay, good to know.


You should be able to have that refunded by justanswer since you never had the second quesion answered. You probably have a positive balance in your account, which you can just request a refund for.


Thanks again and good luck. If you can't sort out how to request a refund on the site, just email them at [email protected] and they will take care of you.