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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Center Vent Replacement

The center vent controls the majority of the airflow into the interior of the vehicle, so you can imagine my frustration when I found the vent would bind when I'd try to redirect the airflow. In fact, the vent hasn't worked smoothly for many years, but I just lived with it. Until now.

I finally got around to ordering a new center vent from Tischer last week so I installed that today. There was some question initially as to how I'd gain access to the cable that connects the temperature control dial (blue / red) to the temperature control arm on the HVAC plenum, but as it turned out it was accessible by pulling off the driver's side lower dashboard panel and related parts. This is a pretty rare fix, apparently, as I found only one DIY on bimmerforums that referenced it, but for that very reason I decided to write up a center vent replacement DIY of my own.

One surprising revelvation came out of this work. The radio in these cars gets virtually red hot when in operation for a short while, so if you're considering cramming a bunch of wires behind the factory unit (as would be the case if you were to install, say, a DICE Ipod interface that connects directly to the back of the radio, you may be asking for problems. The reason I point this out is because I was seriously considering connecting the DICE unit to the radio rather than the CD changer wiring in the trunk for a variety of reasons, but this gave me pause. I may need to put a layer of fiberglass insulation between the radio and any stray wires to eliminate any chance of the insulation melting and causing a short -- or worse -- a fire.

Mileage: 144300, Parts (including shipping): $60, Parts saved: $15, Labor Saved: $110.