Question about 1996 BMW 318

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94 bmw 318iC Heater not working

Just today the heater stopped working on my car. The blower is working, just not getting hot air. This is my first BMW, don't know where to begin troubleshooting.

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  • alaskaironma Nov 19, 2008

    The temp gauge is operating per usual - hitting mid-level once the engine is warm, and it's taking just about the standard time to get warm. Glad it's not obviously the thermostat - I took a look and it wasn't obvious to me where it was.



    Checked the coolant level , it was a little low but not bad. Wasn't able to check the mixture since my gauge is 750 miles away in my garage, but plan to buy one tomorrow to confirm the right mixture.



  • MannyJesus Dec 09, 2008

    I have a 1996 BMW 318ti , my heater blows air and the a/c works fine only the air isnt hot when i turn my heater on... Question is (sorry im a pansy) would having low coolant (although not indicated on the digital dashboard) cause my engine to overheat and the heater not to operate correctly?

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  • BMW Master
  • 1,779 Answers

1st thing to check is the coolant level. Low coolant level results in no, or little heat (not enough coolant to circulate thru the heater core). What does your engine temp gauge indicate? (or is it just a warning light?) If the car is running at what appears to be lower than normal temp., u may have a thermostat that's stuck open. This would cause the engine to not reach operating temp, and u would not have heat. Check the above 2 items 1st, then let me know what u found. If that doesn't fix it, we will continue, let's do the easy and not too expensive stuff 1st!

Posted on Nov 17, 2008

  • Curt Downs Nov 19, 2008

    alaskaironma, glad to hear engine temp is normal, coolant level only slightly down, next to check would be the heat temperature valve, this is what opens and closes the flow of coolant to the heater core. It could be the switch on the dash that u use to turn the heat on. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what type system the 318iC uses. Some vehicles are vacuum controlled, some are a direct cable connection that opens and closes the valve. I've only had to replace one once, it was on a Jeep Cherokee, the valve was located in the engine compartment, near the firewall, in the heater hose line before connecting to the heater core . It was a simple fix, but I have no idea what is involved with your car. I'll do some research on it to see what I can find out.

  • Curt Downs Nov 19, 2008

    Ok, this is a learning experience, there are 3 types of heater control valves (I called it a heat temp valve in error in last message). The 'old' type is the cable, which was activated on the dash, by a cable to open and close the valve. I remember those darn things getting more and more difficult to slide over to the heat setting as the cables started to corrode and bind. Vacuum operated are the most common, so it could be no vacuum at switch on dash, or more likely the valve is stuck closed. And # 3 is thermostatically controlled valve, which features" a liquid filled capillary tube located in the discharge air stream off the heater core that senses air temp and modulates the flow of water to maintain a constant temp regardless of engine speed or temp". If your car has this type, again, the valve may be stuck in the closed position, or the thermostatically controlled heater valve is not sensing that u want heat. My source goes on to say 'check your manual to see what type your car has.' Let me know how it goes up to this point, don't know if I can come up w/ anything else, but I'll try! To make things a little more interesting, although most valves are attached to the heater hose line, some are attached to the engine block. Yikes! Curt

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