Affiliate link disclosure – The BMW Repair Guide uses affiliate links in their site. For more information on affiliate links, please click here.
The following article gives detailed instructions on replacing the blower motor in a BMW E46 3 series car. Even though we have used a 2003 325ci to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any 1998-2006 BMW E46 vehicle with minor modifications.
See all vehicles this article applies to
E46 3 Series 325ti
E46 3 Series 318td
E46 3 Series 320td
E46 3 Series 318ti
E46 3 Series 330xi
E46 3 Series 330i
E46 3 Series 330xd
E46 3 Series 330d
E46 3 Series 316ti
E46 3 Series 328i
E46 3 Series 325xi
E46 3 Series 325i
E46 3 Series 320i
E46 3 Series 323i
E46 3 Series 320d
E46 3 Series 318i
E46 3 Series 318d
E46 3 Series 316i
E46 3 Series M3 CSL
E46 3 Series M3
E46 3 Series 330Ci
E46 3 Series 330Cd
E46 3 Series 325Ci
E46 3 Series 323Ci
E46 3 Series 320Ci
E46 3 Series 320Cd
E46 3 Series 318Ci
E46 3 Series 328Ci
E46 3 Series 316Ci
E46 3 Series 323i 2.4
E46 3 Series 316i 1.9
E46 3 Series 316i 1.6
If the air has stopped blowing in your E46 3 series, then you probably need either a new blower resistor or an entire BMW E46 blower motor assembly. The good news is the blower motor is fairly easy to replace.
One of the most annoying things that can happen as a BMW owner is turning on the air conditioning and nothing comes out of the vents. For some reason, this really tends to upset us...more than any other repair. It's probably because we always associated a/c repairs as being expensive, hard to access parts, usually burrowed deep below the dashboard. But that fortunately is not the case in the BMW E46; BMW was clever enough to put the BMW E46 blower motor in an easy to access compartment under the hood.
Many blower motors stop working correctly because the resistor has failed. The blower resistor varies the voltage to the blower motor when you change fan speeds inside the cabin of the car. It is known to have a high rate of failure and can be replaced on its own if need be. This article deals specifically with replacing the BMW E46 blower motor only; for details on your blower motor resistor, please read our article BMW E46 blower motor resistor replacement.
Before you buy any parts, first check the blower motor fuse (located in the main fuse panel-rear of glove box-fuse #50) to make sure it hasn't failed. If the fuse is blown, replace it and see if that cures the problem. If the fuse is fine, then you will need to replace the BMW E46 blower motor. We suggest always replacing the blower motor and the resistor together; if only one has failed, the other isn't far from failing as well. Once again, for details on your blower motor resistor, please read our article BMW E46 blower motor resistor replacement.
View the detailed parts diagram for this repair.
Includes detailed part diagrams, part numbers and links to purchase all of the required components needed to complete this repair.
Before starting this repair, you must have the following required parts.
All BMW E46 models
If your car's heating and cooling system is malfunctioning, a new blower motor might be needed to get that problem corrected. The blower motor is an electric motor that moves air inside the car for heating and cooling. If it breaks, your car's systems might not work and the dealership might attempt to get every penny out of your pockets. PURCHASE NOW
All BMW E46 models
A great alternative to higher-priced brands, this blower resistor by URO produces a high-quality blower resistor for a fraction of the price of Genuine BMW. We highly recommend this if you're operating under a strict budget, or simply do not wish to pay the exorbitant price of Genuine BMW resistors.
All BMW E46 models
Made to reduce the amount of dust, dirt, and allergens making it's way into the cabin, this carbon filter will keep everything out of your interior. By filtering out dust and dirt, those contaminants don't make it into your HVAC system, making everything work easier and cleaner.
Section 1 - BMW E46 Blower Motor Removal
- Twist the three spring latches counterclockwise to unlock and release the cabin filter cover.
- Using a T30 torx bit, remove the three screws securing the cabin filter housing to the fire wall. Remove the filter housing from the vehicle.
- Using a T30 torx bit, loosen the two bolts securing the metal bulkhead cover (the bolts are attached to the cover and should not be able to be completely removed). Remove the bulkhead cover from the car exposing the blower motor unit.
- Remove the BMW E46 blower motor cover by first removing the T20 screw at the top of the cover. Use a flat blade screwdriver to remove the two bottom cover clips. Grasp the cover and remove from car (it is usually easiest to pull it out bottom first....either way expect to do some twisting to get the cover out of there).
- Removing the BMW E46 blower motor from the vehicle requires removing the right side of the blower motor housing. It is held in place with two T20 torx screws. First, remove the two mounting screws on the side of the cover.
- Grasp the right side of the blower motor housing and pull forward (towards front of car). There is a small tab on bottom of housing that must disengage by pulling the housing forward. Once the housing is loose, gently finesse out of vehicle. You DO NOT want to break any of these parts ...they are extremely expensive to replace. Take your time...take a break if needed.
- You are now clear to remove the blower motor from the vehicle. Remove the four T20 torx screws attaching the blower motor to the firewall.
- Disconnect the electrical connector at top of blower. Just squeeze the outer tabs and pull out.
- Remove blower motor from car.
Section 2 - Installing the New BMW E46 Blower Motor
- Start by following steps 7-9 in reverse to install the new blower motor in your vehicle. Be very careful when reinstalling the new blower motor; the plastic cages are fragile and can fracture if to much pressure is applied to them.
- After reinstalling the BMW E46 blower motor, you will need to install the right blower motor housing that was removed in Section 1- step 6. The right housing has a tab on the bottom of it that must slide into a slot (see images below). The tab must be inserted correctly before reinstalling the two T20 torx bolts in step 5.
BMW E46 Blower Motor Replacement Finished