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BMW 5-Series Sedans

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  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    I hear you on that one, but since my garage is detached, in the cold michigan winters, I am pretty sure the temperature gets below zero in the garage as well. That being said, I did read something on www.howstuffworks.com. They didn't have anything as specific as how a car defogger works, but they did have the principles of how a dehumidifier works. From that I have derived some theories on how it might work based on my minimal knowledge of cars and HVAC systems in them. I believe that it is possible to place the AC compressor away from the actual condensor coils. That being the case, the explanation stated that a home dehumidifier has a hot and cold coil. As the air is ran across the cold coil the moisture in the are is removed, then it is drawn across the warm coil to heat the aid back up to room temperature. If we can use this same principle in a car then it is possible that once a cars cold coils are cold that the car simply needs to run the in cabin air through these coils and then across the heating coils to bring the air back to in-car temperature if not warmer based on your temperature settings. If the car is not warmed up yet, I would assume that the air would either be cold, just like if you turn the heat on full blast when you first get into a car in the winter. That being said, we can all agree that since these coils will probably be cold and stay cold longer in the winter time without the use of the compressor, it can be possible that the compressor works far less in the winter trying to defog car windows than it does in the summer trying to cool a car down. Does this make sense to you guys? I am just grabbing at air here but I thought I would give it a try.

    Mark
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    In a car's A/C system, the compressor runs off the belt attached to the "front" of the engine in general. The condensor coils are in front of the radiator. The evaporator (cold coils) are in the duct work that brings air into the car from outside, before the heater core. In my car (I think) all of the air comes in fresh unless it is in recirculate mode. So when the compressor is on, the cold coils will remove water from the air coming over the coils. Most people will warm the interior air up to the 60's F for comfort. The windows will be somewhere between the interior temperature and the outside temperature. So they will "fog" up if there is enough humidity inside the car. In general if the air inside the car has come from outside the car and no additional water is added, then no fog should form if the inside of the car is warmer than outside. However, wet people inside the car will add water to the air inside the car, causing the windows to fog.
  • texbmwtexbmw Posts: 25
    This may be heresy on this board, but the performance statistics on the Lincoln LS V8 with sport package seem pretty impressive. Does anyone have comments or reasons why the Lincoln is a bad purchase as compared to a 540i? Thanks!
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I went to the Public Library (the University Library wasn't helpful) and found a Mitchel handbook on A/C repair/service for domesitic and imported cars. The bottom line is that there is an ambiant temperature switch that shuts off the compressor when outside air temperture drops to something like 32F (the range is 30-40 F). So, shipo, unless you can find a BMW manual to the contrary (which is possible), I think that below freezing the compressor is off.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    Pardon my ignorance, but what are the condensor coils for? I understand that the evaporator coils are to remove moisture out of the air and and make it colder, but if that occurs before the heater coils, which makes sense, then that will take moisture out of the car. If someone has wet clothes or brings moisture in the car in their clothing then the air must either be heated or recycled so that you are constantly placing dry are in the car to absorb the moisture.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The compressor compresses the freon (R134A in new cars) into a high pressure fluid that is hot. The condensor cools the hot fluid. Actually the compressor doesn't quite compress the gas into a fluid - it comes out of the compressor as a hot gas and when it cools in the condensor, it is a hot fluid. By the time it gets to the end of the condensor it is cooled down to ambient (more or less) temperature and then is metered into the evaporator as a fluid. But the evaporator is at a lower pressure (since the compressor is sucking on it), so the fluid evaporates which takes heat out of the evaporator and the air surrounding it. So the air flow through the evaporator supplies the heat to evaporate the freon. Or the freon evaporating cools the air coming into the car.

    Now if the air is cooled enough, (below the dew point) the moisture in the air will condense onto the evaporator and drip off (or freeze on). Actually if the evaporator is colder than the dew point of the air, water will condense on it (or freeze). As long as the outside air temperature is above freezing (and the compressor cycles on and off), water freezing onto the evaporator will melt periodically.
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    When I had my acura legend and the windows fogged up, I turned on the "Defroster" button and the following happened;
    -- "Auto" A/C button lit up and came on
    -- Fan was blowing at a high speed.
    -- The air recirculate button light goes out meaning the vents where opened.
    -- Within 1-2 minutes the windows cleared.

    One thought about the rear window fogging over? When you engage the rear window defroster only, and with most cars they have the wires or lines on the window that heat up for defrosting the glass, there can't be a compressor going on just for that. It is just heating the glass although it does take much longer to clear then the front.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    When the windshield defrost button is selected, the A/C compressor on switch in the cabin is turn on. However, the ambient temperature switch can overrule this selection.

    The rear window defogger works by warming the rear window (electric heating) enough to evaporate the water on it. This will only work if the cabin air has been dehumidified enough.

    You dehumidify air by: 1) removing water from it which can be done by letting it flow over cold coils, or: 2) warming the air to a higher temperature. So if the outside air temperature is below freezing, probably you will heat it up to something like 60-70 F. This will change the relative humidity from 100% at 30F to around 30% or less at higher temperatures. Note that the windows will warm up some if the inside of the car is warmer than outside. But blowing warm air over the windshield will warm it up so water doesn't condense on it.

    If the outside temperature is warm - say 60 and raining. Then the relative humidity at 70 is 70%. This is humid. And if the passengers are wet, the humidity will increase to 80% and the windows will fog. So running the A/C will take water out, probably reducing the dew point to 50 or so. That means the relative humidity is around 50% (perhaps less). If people are wet, they will increase it some, but with the fan bringing in dried air, hopefully things will dry out.
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    On my new 2003 540i the service interval display shows all yellow indicators. I'm only at 300 miles and in the owner's manual (p.84) it says for yellow lamps that maintenance is due.

    I know this can't be due for maintenance, any new 540 owners out there show indicators other than in yellow?

    Also, in my area SF bay area, the radio has a lot of static reception on a few stations. I read in the mods board that on '03 5 series the Sirus Satellite radio is a factory option and the vehicle can be pre-wired for it. If true, has anyone tried this and how much better is the reception?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Are you sure you're seeing yellow? To my knowledge, there should be four green diodes, and one yellow and one red. The word "OILSERVICE" will also appear shortly after the yellow lights up. Nevertheless, have the dealer look at it to make sure the computer is functioning properly.

    As for radio reception, FM is actually fairly good in the 5-series, but AM is rather weak. Yes, I believe the entire '03 BMW line is pre-wired for auxiliary input, with the intent of accepting Sirius satellite radio. But I'm not sure whether dealers actually have these units or not yet. Be sure to ask, since I haven't heard about anyone saying they have it.
  • rweiss2rweiss2 Posts: 6
    I really want to make the move to the 525 or 530, but I am worried about rear wheel drive and its safety on rain slicked roads or snow. Soemone who has an older 1994 3 series and a new 330xi says he would never buy rwd again in BMW. Too many "spinouts" in bad weather. Would the newer models be safer in bad weather? Would I be white knuckling it down the road at 55-60 on a wet night? Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I don't drive a 5er. But with a 3er, I have not had any problem with rain at high speed. I have driven the autobahn at 90 mph and the M4 motorway (UK) at 80 mph in the rain. No problems. While driving on oil slick roads, the DSC kicks in when necessary. I think if the BMW did not have the DSC, I probably would get good tires. I have only owned RWD cars and I think that the tires can make the difference. A 5er should have similar qualities. I have come to believe that sport equates to RWD. I cannot think of any FWD race cars, but then again, I am not think too hard.
  • george94george94 Posts: 75
    this past Sunday the whole family got a ride in my new 530, PP, SP, 5 speed from Boston to Connecticut. I was actually looking forward to this Mother's Day as it introduced an opportunity to leave our 2000 Honda Odyssey minivan with our yellow lab behind and take my car instead. What a blast this was. My average speed was 79 m/h during this trip with 28 miles/gallon. Not too bad for car with barely over 1200 miles. I realized this car is truly meant to be driven in Germany at high speeds w/o being afraid of being pulled over. I can't tell you how many times my wife told me I would be in trouble if I got pulled over..
    I am envious of twisty west coast roads and Germans autobahns.
    ..g
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    as much as your friend claims he does. He needs to learn how to drive appropriately in bad weather/road conditions. I've driven all types of cars, both race and street in all types of track/road & weather conditions and I can tell you, it ain't the type of vehicle you're driving that keeps you on the track/road, it's the driver. Vehicle technology/design does not replace/compensate the need to use common sense and good judgment. Rant over.

    If you want a 525i/530i, go out and buy it. When winter comes, invest in a set of good winter tires and you will be fine. I've owned two E36 325i's and currently own a 2003 530i with SP/PP/CWP and think it is one of the finest cars on the road. Buy what your heart wants, drive it intelligently and you'll be fine.

    Hope this helps...JL
  • rweiss2rweiss2 Posts: 6
    I appreciate the feedback, I really do and it makes me feel better. Common sense says the driver controls the car..my intuition is to buy this car. I'm very close!! Need to find a good price. Thanks again
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    srfast is correct, to an extent. There is no substitute for an alert and educated driver.

    However, cars and equipment do vary, and their performance in hazardous conditions will vary as well. But, you're mixing things up here, so let's break it down:

    Accelerating: Assuming a front-engined car, FWD has a slight advantage over RWD in initial traction, since there's more weight on the driving wheels. But, this only applies to the moment of accelerating from a stop. Very quickly, the balance of the car's mass shifts to the back, which favors RWD. The harder you accelerate, the more the rear wheels are important. If the road is slick, it's best to accelerate slowly, which will keep the weight balance close to static and minimize the importance of the driving wheels. At this point, it comes down to tires. If accelerating out of a turn, a RWD car is more likely to spin (oversteer) on slippery surfaces, but proper traction control (like the BMWs have) will effectively prevent this, and good tires will minimize this as well.

    Braking: It's all about the tires, ABS, and dynamic stability control. Drive wheels are insignificant.

    Cruising: It's all about the tires, and dynamic stability control. Drive wheels are practically insignificant. The danger here is hydroplaning, which can be avoided with good tires (summer tires are generally best, somewhat ironically) and moderate speed.

    You may have picked up on the lowest common denominator here: tires. It's hard to overstate their importance, since they're all that sits between you and your passengers, a two-ton machine, and everything else. If you live in a snowy climate, get winter tires and swap them out seasonally. Otherwise, 3-season (aka summer, performance) tires should be fine. Drive safely.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I was watching "Fifth Gear", a car review program on UK TV. They tested the new 530i. The reviewer said something along the line of, "Do you want to say to your friends that your girl friend is ugly but really smart, or that she looks like a super model, but not so smart?" He did like the Active Steering, Adaptive Headlights, HUD, and the driving dynamic. Not to mention the climate control system that actually adjusts humidity to optimum level. In his words, "BMW once again comes out ahead of the competition in the segment". Although it was not mentioned, the 530i seemed to have the same I-6 engine as in the E39.

    He ended the review by saying, "In this case, the ugly wins"
  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    Given the choice of a MY 01 530i (PP, CWP, Xe and AT)with 19000 miles ($32K)registered as a corporate fleet car and a similar car with 21000 miles but owned by original buyer ($34.5K), which of these two would be a better buy?

    Secondly, is the rain sensing feature included in the MY 01 PP?

    Thanks in advance for your tips!
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    The 5er is the most stable car I have ever driven in rain or snow at normaly speeds. When I say normal, I am basing that on the conditions while driving the car. I live in Michigan and we see the whole array of different weather conditions. I was driving in a freezing rain storm at highway speeds with not problem at all. I have also driven in 6-10 inches of snow with no problem at all as long as I kept me speeds reasonable based on the conditions. That being said, I have the 15" all season Dunlop Sport A2 on all fours. I plan on purchasing some summer tires and rims next month once the rainy season is over here. I can only imagine how good the car handles with snow tires.
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    I'm sure I'm seeing yellow indicators on the display but no text is showing. I just have the yellow diodes and at the end the bottom part is gone with only a line on the very top. I'm going to head over to the dealer and see if there is a problem. I've hit the check control button and it displays "Check Control OK"
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    I started using the 6-cd changer in the trunk and when I go over a certain type of bump, the cd skips. Is this common on the changers in the 540 with sport package. Being the ride is a little harsher maybe the vibrations are affecting the cd more. Has anyone encountered this and found ways to minimize the skipping.

    Also, has anyone looked into the DVD NAV unit as a source for TV and DVD playback. I found this site that sells TV modules for 5 series DVD NAV unit.
    http://www.nav-tv.com/main.htm

    I would be interested in knowing if anyone has installed a system like this, and is it legal to drive and watch TV?
  • rweiss2rweiss2 Posts: 6
    What I love about this site is the knowledge and experience that people bring to it. Once again, I am thankful for your input.
     With my current Saab 9-5 I have found that tires make all the difference. I had a terrible time this past winter in NY and I know that it was the quality (or lack of) of my tires after three years of use. I would definitely buy a good set of winter tires for any future car I get...proabaly the 525i
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    My MY 01 530i has the PP and does include the rain sensor/auto wiper feature.
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 272
    Do not take it as an insult but did you show those indicators to someone other than you. Another person may see them as green. In my car these indicators look kind of yellowish but still green. Anyway the color is not really important. You have 5 lights on the left and they will go off one by one. After the last one is gone the yellow light to the right of the original 5 lights will light up. So you may go with left vs. right instead of green-yellow.
  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    Thanks for your response. I will look for it when I go to the dealership tomorrow.
  • cretecrete Posts: 105
    I went to my dealer and they saw the indicator lights and confirmed these are the green indicators and all is OK. Being a photorapher I have a good sense of color interpretation and I must say these lights aren't truly green. Like SergyM has stated they appear as yellowish. To me I would consider green as the turn signal indicators. I guess when a service interval is due I will really see the difference when the real yellow indicator shows up.

    For Snagiel: I read on the Sirius website that their Satellite radio for the 5 series is not available until the 2004 model year comes out.
  • dabimmerdabimmer Posts: 165
    I grew up when cars were RWD only ! Driving these cars in Colorado during huge snowstorms was a test in driving skill and tire performance. We never had dedicated snow tires but made it through fine. I never felt unsafe with the tires or the weather conditions. FWD cars we have had the last 20 years or so are great for getting you going and the traction they provide. Now living in Calif. for many, many years we don't deal with snow but we do get a lot of rain and driving in it requires much attention and skill. I enjoy driving the RWD Bimmer and never feel unsafe, the Pilot Primacy tires provide great traction and have never hydroplaned even in torrential downpours. If I had to drive in deep snow for extended periods of time I would invest in snow tires and use them on 16" tires instead of the 17's on my sport suspension. Just my $.02.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    This morning I was behind a BMW badged as a 535. I saw it only from the rear and judged it to be 8-10 years old. Has there ever been such a creature?
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I don't remember if it was officially imported to US, but 535 has a 3.5L I-6 which was bigger than the v-8 in 530! 535 that are sold outside of US now has 3.5L v-8.
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