I've tried looking online, but I can't find a description and the images are too zoomed-in to tell exactly where the AC drain hose is. Another problem is that the hose might vary between generations.

Underneath the car, where is the BMW e46 AC drain hose located?

EDIT: The exact make is 2005 330ci. The images are from searching 'e46 AC drain location' or other similar variants including '2005', '05', 'bmw', etc.

  • 2
    Looking through a LOT of BMW pictures made me realize we will need what the year of your car is as well as the exact model. I saw on Bimmerfest, the 525 had different locations for the drains than did a 530 for the same year. Your's may be the exact same way. Also, provide links to images of what you've seen and I can probably tell you what you're looking at, even if it is close up. Just edit your original post with the information. Jun 18, 2015 at 22:16
  • The exact make is 2005 330ci. The images are from searching 'e46 AC drain location' or other similar variants including '2005', '05', 'bmw', etc.
    – s g
    Jun 29, 2015 at 2:50

2 Answers 2


Because there are significantly more 6 cylinder engines in the E46 generation 3-series, I will make the assumption yours is a six cylinder variant. From experience, there isn't a huge number of differences between core components on things like AC between the 4-cylinder engines and 6-cylinder ones, but it's more likely things like the radiator and engine componentry change with the increase in cylinders.

Usually the condensation hose (AC Drain hose) is situated as in the picture below. E46 Condensation Hose Location

Note the little hose part no.9 in the image is your drain hose. I found an image from Bimmerfest of one up close and personal.

Bimmerfest AC Drain Hose E46

I hope this all helps you track it down easier!

  • This is useful, but what are those surrounding parts?
    – s g
    Jun 29, 2015 at 2:49
  • This picture is from an e39. It does not show the exact location of the drain for the e46. Jun 29, 2015 at 11:01
  • I apologize @Paulster2 and @s g the photo just looked very similar to the setup on an E46, I was going off what the blokes on Bimmerfest said. I'll be back at work tomorrow so I'll pull one of these units out of storage and get up under another E46 to take some pics. Will keep you posted.
    – Krystian
    Jul 3, 2015 at 4:18
  • That would be awesome! Looking forward to having (what appears) to be the only pics of the drain for the e46 on the internet on Mechanics.SE :D Jul 3, 2015 at 14:20

Since no pictures exist on the internet (that can be found) on where exactly the drain comes out at, hopefully this picture will help describe how you can help yourself figure this out:

enter image description here

I found this video of a guy removing the AC box from an e46 330i. In the above circled area is the drain location on the AC box itself. This would correlate to the center of the car, directly over the front half of the transmission. You will have to get under the car (make sure it is safely placed on jack stands) and look from the back of the car forward at the end of the transmission, between the transmission tunnel (floor of the car) and the top of the transmission. If you can squeeze yourself in there right, you should be able to see all the way forward enough to see where the drain comes down through the floor and to where it goes. It should be about the only thing which is in this position (remember: center forward portion of the transmission). Through looking at all of the other BMW photos, I can tell you that BMW has placed the drain on the left side, the right side, on both sides, and has just let it drain on top of the transmission. Your guess is as good as mine. What I can tell you is, it will be a soft rubber hose. Depending on the angles which it will bet to actually get to the AC box, it may not be easy to clear any blockage.

  • And if you watch the video all the way through you will realize three things: 1) You will never want to have to replace the heater or evap cores on your car; 2) If you have to pay someone to do it, you better ensure you have a lot of money ... I'm sure the book hour charge on this is huge; 3) the guy in the video needs a raise. Jun 29, 2015 at 12:06

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