e36 Cabin Filter Replacement

(aka Microfilter)

Six years of breathing!

Eight phillips screws hold the face of the glove box in place.

One 10mm bolt above the courtesy light carries the weight of the glove box.

Snap down the soundproofing panel and unplug the courtesy light.

The air duct is held in place by two plastic rivets.  This is the top one.  (note the tell-tale scratch marks - this one has been removed before)

And this is the lower plastic rivet holding in the air duct.

A close up of the lower plastic rivet partially removed (they just pull out).

Now remove the two bolts that hold the electrical junction box up, and bend it down out of the way.

If you could get your head in the glove box hole where I stuck the camera, this is what the cover of the cabin filter would look like when in place.  A quarter turn on that round knob in the center of this pic will release the cover.

Cover open.   Filter loose in its cavity.  It has to be pressed to the left (toward the rear of the car) to seat it on its gasket before the cover will go back on.

Old filter vs new filter.

(Camera is turned sideways)  You may want to remove the crud from the bottom of the filter cavity, or the new filter may not fit.

Wife's tooth brush worked well to clean cavity.

If you have milew odor from your heater, you may want to spray some disinfectant through it while the filter is out.  Put the filter cover on, fan on high, both hot and cold positions.  This Wurth stuff is a little pricey.  I have previously used Lysol with good results.

The filter is made to bend so that you can get it around the corner and into its cavity.  This is an inexpensive aftermarket filter.  Real BMW filters have a layer of charcoal fiber to make outdoor odors less noticable (e.g. the dead skunk you just drove past).

 If you thought all this stuff was a pain in the tucus to get out, wait until you put it all back in!  

One of the few things I like about the e46 BMW that is better than the e36 BMW is the location of the cabin filter.