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E36/5 Microfliters
E36/5 Microfliters
Published by 1996 328ti
Default E36/5 Microfliters

Additional information at

WARNING: Do NOT buy the ebay filters as they do not have the small ledges that allow the filters to snap in and lock into place!

Additional Note: the "air baffle" (thin, breakable plastic piece seen below) is part number: 64 11 8 369 186 FOIL

Originally contributed by Brian Brown

I replaced the microfilters on my ti this evening. I didn't recall seeing the procedure for the ti described on the net before, so here goes:

The microfilters help clean the air coming into the car's passenger compartment.

The 318ti (E36/5) has a different procedure for changing the microfilters than the other E36 cars. Instead of gaining access through the passenger compartment, the filters on the ti are accessed under the hood.

The good news: The ti's microfilters are probably easier to replace than the other E36's.

The bad news: Because the ti uses two filters, it's more expensive (I paid about $40 for two).

Microfilter BMW part#: 64 11 8 363 274 (two required).

Tools required: #2 Phillips screwdriver. 7mm nutdriver.


Open the hood.

There is a mesh grill near the base of the windshield. Press on the three locking tabs and pull the grill up.

Remove the two Phillips screws that are now exposed. These hold a plastic wire channel assembly that is under the air intake. Pull forward on the wire channel assembly to free it up.

The large cover that these two screws passed through is called the air collector.

On the drivers side of the air collector is a 7mm hex head screw going into the firewall. Remove it.

On the passenger side of the air collector are two more 7mm screws to be removed. These are kind of hidden behind a bellows coming out of the end of the wire channel. I found it easier to get a nutdriver on the upper screw by removing the battery cover.

The air collector now should be removed. This is the one part that's kind of tricky. It's a tight fit and a bit of a puzzle. By pulling the wire channel forward and moving the air collector from side to side while tipping it, the air collector will come out.

Now visible is a thin plastic air baffle. Pull up a couple inches on the ends of the two hood gasket strips so this baffle can be removed.

The service manual says to remove the two microfilters, frames and all. I found it easier to leave the frames in place.

The microfilters will pull out by lifting at their edges.

I was surprised by how much dirt had been trapped in mine. It helped convince me that these serve a useful purpose.

Installation is basically the reverse of removal. Pay attention to the following points:

When installing the new filters into their frames, run your finger along the entire edge of the filter to make sure that it's fully seated.

When replacing the thin plastic air baffle, make sure the top lip wraps around the edge of the sheet metal.

When replacing the air collector, sneak and wiggle it in like when taking it out. The lower and driver's side edge of the air collector fit into a grove. Start at the driver's side and work around. Start all three of the screws before tightening. Make sure that nothing is getting pinched behind.

Make sure that the back edge of the wire channel engages with the tabs on the air collector before replacing the two screws.

When replacing the intake mesh grill, guide the rubber gasket over the front lip of the grill.


This job is fairly simple, but it does require some pretty good manual dexterity.

I think it beats paying the dealer to do it.
Tutorial Tools

By pcmedics911 on 01-04-2006, 08:23 AM

Thank you for posting this.

I did this myself and when I pulled out the original microfilters what a joke. They were as black as the night.

Also, I did look at the haynes manual and it was not listed in there on how to remove these.

Thank you again.
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By buckowens on 04-02-2006, 03:18 PM
Talking Microfilter Pictures

I replaced my micro filters the other day. Whoever designed that system was either making work for the dealers, or crazy! Not the hardest thing I have ever done, but dexterity and a good magnetic pickup are a must. It took me about 45 minutes. The replacement instructions in the 318ti Notebook were exceptionally helpful.

I am attaching a photograph showing my old filters, and the new ones in place. I thought it might help someone to actually see where they are located prior to taking on the task.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSC02294.JPG (66.0 KB, 1625 views)
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By kinguz on 05-12-2006, 12:07 AM

Done mine today. Took about 20 Minutes. The instructions were very handy - would never have known they were there! Well hidden and need very nimble fingers!
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By pmd3 on 05-19-2006, 12:24 AM
Default cabin filters

I changed mine.
No fun. Perhaps an hour but finding them is the biggest problem.
It would be a lot easier the second time around.

I also did a spark plug change. Very easy if you know how. Highly suggest using a piece of vac hose to r&r the plugs. If you don't know what I mean, better ask. Replaced air filter. Went nuts trying to open the air box until I found that last clip in the back.
Put on a Supersprint muffler. Very good move and not difficult. Find a lift first before you try it.
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By 3DGE on 05-19-2006, 01:49 AM

Its real tuff to get the air collector out, i did it whohoo.
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By tastade on 07-21-2006, 04:32 AM

Should only take 20 minutes or so to change these. Some helpful pointers. When you loosen the screws holding the wire harness, let the wire harness drop down a little, this will help keep the screws from falling inside the air plenum. Remove the 7 mm nuts with a nut driver (as already stated) or with a ratchet with a 7mm socket and an extension. Once the bolt is almost out, take the ratchet off, and hold your finger against the bolt as you turn the extension/socket to remove the bolt the rest of the way. This keeps you from dropping the bolt.

When putting back together make sure you line up the metal air collector in the metal groove at the bottom behind the wiring harness so the bolt holes line up nicely up against the firewall. This groove is visible on the drivers side. Then hold the 7mm nuts into the socket with your finger and push them into place, rotate the extension to get them started, then re-attach the ratchet to get them in the rest of the way.

When starting the screws that hold the wire harness, be sure to pull the wiring harness down, insert the screws into the holes in the air collector, and then push the harness slowly up towards the screws, tighten the screws lifting the harness. This will help keep you from dropping the screws inside the air plenum and greatly simplifies the task.

I removed my filters completely as I did not want to pay $40 to replace them. Does anyone know if there is adverse reaction to doing this? Like shortened fan life or anything? I am not concerned about the dirt/pollen.
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By 1996 328ti on 07-21-2006, 04:43 AM

Originally Posted by tastade
I removed my filters completely as I did not want to pay $40 to replace them. Does anyone know if there is adverse reaction to doing this? Like shortened fan life or anything? I am not concerned about the dirt/pollen.
Besides leaves and dirt getting clogged in your fan?
Just look at all the dirt and crap it blocks.
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By aceyx on 07-21-2006, 06:17 AM

Though you may not care, all that built-up dust is a MAJOR hazard.

Ever hear of laundry vents catching fire? Not to mention most of the dust on the highway is carcinogenic.
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By tastade on 07-21-2006, 04:25 PM

Originally Posted by 1996 328ti
Besides leaves and dirt getting clogged in your fan?
Just look at all the dirt and crap it blocks.
I agree, it blocks a lot of crap, however most of that crap is just dust particle size. The largest things I had in there were tree seeds that were the size of peas. All that stuff should easily make it through the vents without clogging anything. My question is if anyone knows for a fact if there will be a problem by leaving the filters out?

The microfilters were originally intended for people with allergies that need to reduce pollen, and also to help remove dust from the air. I could care less how much dust and pollen I inhale, or how often I need to dust my dash board.

Not to mention most of the dust on the highway is carcinogenic.
I am sure the quantities are too small to be of any concern. Almost anything can be considered toxic in the right quantitites. You will die if you drink too much water. The real concern with the filters is for allergies or people with asthma that might be more sensitive to particulates.

Ever hear of laundry vents catching fire?
I don't follow this statement, do you mean them catching fire because the filter is clogged, or because the filter is removed? A dryer is very hot and is a different circumstance. Can't really compare.

When those filters clog up, it will greatly reduce the ACs efficiency, which will in turn increase the load on the blower fan and likely cause reduced life. To fix the problem I have to change my filters more often (or simply remove them). I don't want to replace $40 filters every couple years that don't really serve any purpose other than to reduce allergies or make people feel like they are breathing cleaner air. I don't live in a dusty environment and I don't have allergies.
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By aceyx on 07-21-2006, 05:53 PM

Brake dust is carcinogenic (even current, non-asbestos pads). There's a LOT of that stuff on the highway. Rubber particulate (from tires) is also on the road. That stuff doesn't just vaporize when your tires wear down, it actually goes somewhere.

Dust that passes through doesn't always just pass through. If you've ever had a fan, dust will accumulate on the blades and vents. The air that passes through the filter also passes over the heater core, which is hot.

I honestly could care less if you remove them, I'm just trying to give you an informed opinion.
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By tastade on 07-21-2006, 08:39 PM

There is next to zero probability of anything catching fire from removing the filters in our cars. The dryer situation is entirely different as lint and fabric softeners are highly flammable. Dust is not. Remember the reduced air flow is what causes dryer fires, they clog up with lint causing the motor to overheat.

In our cars, not changing the filter at all and leaving it installed you will cause the fan blower to overheat which could cause premature failure (it isn't likely to cause a fire). By removing the filters entirely (or replacing regularly) you are probably better off.

I realize you are giving an informed opinion, but I also think it is overly paranoid. The amount of carcinogenic dust you breath while driving down the road is pretty negligible, you get more carcinogens from the food you eat.

A study of many other studies indicated there was no increase in risk for mesothelioma and being an auto mechanic (someone who breaths brake dust on a daily basis). Smoking is a much, much bigger problem. I am sick of mis-information about materials that cause them to get banned or heavily restricted, like lead, mecury, asbestos and other "dangerous" materials. With proper handling they are fine. Remember that asbestos has also saved many lives by preventing fires (it is an exceptionally effective fire retardant)


My question is thus, does removing the filters cause the AC fan to wear out faster (or any valves to clog) because of dirt build up? This could cause increased bearing wear, etc. However, most cars will pass the dirt through just fine.
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By Mallard on 03-10-2007, 03:27 PM

i couldn´t beleive after all the effort ( not much really) i went through tho remove the air pannel and such, there were NO FILTERS!

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By pdxmotorhead on 03-10-2007, 09:24 PM

The other benefit of keeping the filters is that it keeps the AC coil from trapping dirt, in most cars the AC coil is the source of sour odors, black mold, name it...and the ones I've dismantled building race cars were always full of guk (Technical term ) so theres one benefit of running them.
And I get mine for 20 bucks at the dealer not 40..... Maybe its a local thing.... But they are available online for the best cost. Mine are still good after about 1.5 years so far...

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By jccaruso on 05-17-2007, 06:26 AM

FYI: PelicanParts.com said that Part No. 64118363274 has been superseded with this Part No. 64319071933. Thanks for the tutorial. I have always wanted to replace these filters!
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