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      01-08-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
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Polar Vortex and whistling central air duct

Hi, I just bought a new BMW (2014 335i xDrive). I am still getting used to the car, of course. With the cold weather that hit the East Coast of the US, I noticed that my left side mid-level air ducts make a most annoying high pitched whistling noise when my fan is on the two highest positions and the temperature is set to 65-68 F (18-20 C). (It is somewhat there at level 4.)

This is minimized only somewhat when I close the central vent as well as when I have all three settings on (windshield vent, feet [lower] vent, and middle vent). It almost seems worst when it is on both feet and middle and when the car is traveling >30 mph. The middle red-blue horizontal dial being set to the middle also affects the noise level, but the permutations are too many to list out.

Has any one else experienced this? Is it common? Is it only a cold weather issue or year round and at other temperature?

Any idea what it is and how easy it is to repair? (I saw old posts from 2011, so I thought BMW may have found a fix. The thought of having my brand new <500 mile car ripped apart is a bit unsettling.)

I travel a lot to Canada, so it being a cold weather issue is an issue and not just the recent polar vortex.

Thank you in advance!

Last edited by New to BMW; 01-09-2014 at 06:46 PM. Reason: correction to signs/symptoms
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      01-08-2014, 02:10 PM   #2
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This thread has been re-located to the proper forum. Good luck at getting your problem resolved, OP. And welcome to the board!
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      01-08-2014, 03:05 PM   #3
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Generally you should let the dealer sort out noises like these even if it goes away just to get it documented.

I mentioned mine was making noises (not high pitched like yours) and sure enough it was throwing codes and the blower motor had to be replaced.
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      01-08-2014, 06:56 PM   #4
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Thank you, great to know that maybe the onboard computer can detect it, as with yours.

Thankfully, there is a minor Aux jack problem and I have an appt tomorrow at 7AM. Part of me thinks, if there is no computer error messages, that maybe it is just an airflow turbulence problem (although, it is hard to justify completely as the right side does not have any noise whatsoever) and best to just leave it alone in order that the integrity of the original build not be disturbed with a repair.

Perhaps before the warranty expires...

Last edited by New to BMW; 01-09-2014 at 06:32 PM. Reason: correction of fact
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      01-08-2014, 07:11 PM   #5
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Yeah I wouldn't want the dash ripped up. It might even go away on its own.
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      01-09-2014, 06:43 PM   #6
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Thank you for your replies. Frustrating day taking the car to the service dept for a diagnosis.

It turns out that this seems to be a design flaw. The repair people center could not hear the noise (it is very high pitched akin to the upper range of the noise nails on a chalk board). I took the service manager for a test drive to show him the noise, but he did not hear it. (I still hear very high pitched noises above 18,000Hz even at my much-past-teenage-years age.)

Also, it was still present at 27 degrees F and from the left side set at 65-69 F.

The reason I say it is a design flaw is that the only way I could think to diagnose if it was a problem with my vehicle alone was to see if a brand new 2014 335i xDrive also had the same whistling noise on the left. Sadly, the brand new one does have the same noise.

So now what does one do if it is a design flaw? Write BMW and see if they can use a microphone that can scientifically detect the higher pitch noise and make a fix?

(I had thought this was some sort of valve problem on my left side HVAC system; however, the service manager suggested that it is because the intake chamber is on the right and the radius of the ventilation ducts are wider on that side; thus, less turbulence might be expected, as opposed to the left where the duct become smaller to keep air pressures up...)
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