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Climate Control Problems (Air Conditioning, Heat) - All Cars

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  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    to an older vehicle - maybe even one that never offered it when new (so no OEM parts exist).

    Is it just totally preposterous? Are there units made for this purpose or would you have to find a mechanic who's willing to adapt existing parts, fabricate parts, etc?

    Could you drive the pump off an electric motor instead of the engine?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    C13--there are a number of companies that offer retro-fit kits, but mostly for American engines. It's a good business for hot rods and retro-rods.

    And sure, you can take all the components out of a wrecking yard and install them into a car that never had a/c, (I helped a friend do this on a Nissan Pathfinder) but that has to be ascertained on a case by case basis. On newer cars it's probably a "bolt-in" but on older cars it could be a hassle trying to retrofit from a wrecking yard.

    The "vintage air" people do all the engineering for you and sell you a complete kit.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688
    and was astounded to note that many of the street rods present had a/c fitted. They all were fitted with the same rig which allowed the a/c compressor and alternator to be driven off the same serpentine belt that ran off the fan pulley.

    In each case the whole setup was fully chromed and appeared top be a more or less bolt-on set-up.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Yeah, it's slick and it works and it isn't all that 'spensive.

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  • My 2003 Ford F-150 XL Sport, 5-spd manual trans, when the A/C is on I hear a roar when starting in 1st gear and shifting to 2nd, especially after idling at a light or when the engine is cold. The roar is loud and very noticeable, and subsides when shifting to 3rd. Is this normal? The dealership said this is normal, but the truck is still under warranty and I want to make sure they just aren't trying to escape fixing it. The A/C works fine otherwise; actually it works very well. Thanks everyone.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    an engine compartment fan that is either triggered automatically by turning the A/C on, or comes on more with the A/C running because it makes the engine work harder and therefore more engine cooling is needed.

    Once you are moving, there is more air crossing the radiatior from movement, and the water is circulating faster through the engine.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688
    A woman friend is having trouble with the a/c in her Avalon. It's the last year of the first gen Avalons, a '99 or '00 I think.

    Last year a rumbling noise developed in her a/c system. The dealer diagnosed it as something in the vent system or blower motor. They took three tries at fixing it which involved taking the dash apart.
    They found what appeared to be parts of a chipmunk in the blower motor and cleaned the mess out under warranty and gave it back with the car working fine.

    Flash forward to this year and after being parked at church for an hour the car stats making similar noises and the a/c doesn't blow air.

    1)Could it be they didn't get all the chipmunk junk out last year?

    2) She's out of warranty, does she go back to the dealer?

    3)How does this critter(s) get in there anyhow? I was once told to keep a small bag of mothballs under the hood if you live in the country.

    Any ideas?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Hmmm...odd story....if it was indeed a chipmunk I don't think Toyota warranties chipmunk invasion (check your warranty but I didn't see it).

    This suggests to me that the dealer found other defects as it seems unlikely he would eat this warranty work and unlikely he would submit a chipmunk invasion claim for re-imbursement.

    So I think you don't have the whole story here to begin with.

    We need a new premise to diagnose this problem.

    Let's forget about chipmunks and stick to what is happening with the car.

    So, presently, we have a rumbling noise under the dash and no "air". Does that mean no air at all, or just no "cold air"?

    If no air at all, do you get air flow with the heat on?

    If no air with a/c or heat, you have a fan control problem or a fan problem.

    If no air only on a/c, you have a climate control problem in the a/c mode.

    If you have warm air only with heat or a/c, you have an a/c system problem, maybe a compressor or a leak.

    As for the rumbling, that sounds like the fan is working then. The only other rumble I can think of from a/c is a loose compressor mount.

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    so replace any broken chipmunks ;)

    a common problem in HVAC on cars is bearing wear in the sleeve motors that the fan squirrelcage is clip-fit or press-fit to. the rumble starts up when the motor is worn enough so the shaft moves forward out of the motor when it is powered up, and scrapes the edge of the squirrelcage on the air ducting. these cages are usually dynamically balanced, but physically asymmetrical. in other words, they all look like somebody sat on 'em, but they spin OK from a balance standpoint while showing an obvious physical wobble.

    you might try adjusting the position of the squirrelcage on the shaft a little bit and see if the noise changes. yes, the ambient air temperature at the blower can change the size of the fan just enough to aggravate the scraping of one of the uneven sides of the cage against the duct. GM blowers are especially notorious for this. replacing the motor and carefully positioning the fan on its shaft makes a stunning difference.

    this is still a possibility for your rumble, which sounds similar to the GM fan issue. I've also had it in unit heater/cooler units in commercial HVAC, where one or two squirrelcage fans are turned by an induction motor with sleeve bearings. the motor is almost always all that is needed to settle these down again.

    obviously, a chipmunk in your squirrelcage is the wrong application, and you need professional assistance :-D
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688
    there is cold air blowing, just not enough of it.
    She's convinced something is blocking the airflow.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    You mean "not cold enough" or not enough VOLUME of cold air?

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    or rather, a thermometer. those $10-12 LCD electronic meat thermometers in the supermarket would be really useful for diagnosis here, and more availiable than the bimetal dial thermometers carried by the a/c techs. turn it on, stick it in the center dash outlet, start the car, turn it to MAX A/C, and check it in a couple minutes.

    I would be looking for something on the curve from 42 degrees at 70 degrees outside on a non-sticky day, to maybe 50 or so on a 90 degrees outside day, or with high humidity.

    output temp of 60 or higher, you have an issue unless the steel posts on road signs are starting to sag in the heat.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    Unfortunately, older car AC don't have a filter like home units. The evaporator will eventually get dirty. Usually doesn't happen till the warranty is over unless you are in a really dirty location. This creates a restriction on the HVAC fan [speed] and volume.
    Less than 1 in 100,000 will pay the 4-6 hours to have the evaporator removed and cleaned.
    There are various professional spray cleaners, germacides, fungicides that may be sprayed into the air flow that may help sometimes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Well if the fan is working at proper speeds (in other words, you hear the fan adjust to a higher rpm as you turn the fan switch up to higher speeds), then I'd say you have a vent problem, that is, a vent not opening all the way. Some vents are vacuum operated (servo)...perhaps most are...so that's where I would look.

    As for dead chipmunks, that would stink to holy hell, especially with air blowing over the corpse---so i'm very skeptical about that theory for any number of reasons.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688
    Might not be an actual chipmunk. The used to leave acorns under the hood of my Mustang, and chew on the underhood insulation(?)

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I would suspect mice before chipmunks, myself... mice are probably able to get through the slats for venting into the intake duct.

    neither smells like roses when they are dead a week.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    I wonder if the system is stuck in "bi-level". The owner should check and see if half the air is blowing down at foot level. Bi-level function usually splits the air flow 50-50 or so.

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  • Our air condintioning units died on our 1996 Burb. Based on comments from our mechanic (has replaced 5 units including his own)and 2 other owners that have experienced the same problem, repairs are around $1700 and there are no assurances that it will not happen again, design flaw. Has GM addressed this problem? Any type of redesign? Looking for a newer model will it happen again?
  • I have a musty smell from the heater/AC vents in my 1999 K2500 Suburban. I suspect a clogged drain from the evaporative cooler, but I can't find the drain. Where is it? I have looked at the right side of firewall but can't find it. Help!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Why $1,700. Did the compressor seize up while you were driving?

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    is on the bottom of the evaporator shield case in the engine compartment. location varies from that point. get a dentist's mirror and a pencell flashlight you can shine on the mirror as you hold it, and that will both illuminate the underside and show the hole.

    if you decide to clean it, be advised that you do > NOT < want to use anything like an ice pick, whacking it hard into the case, because you are likely going to be "rewarded" with a spray of evil, desperately freezing coolant full of moderately-smelly oil... which translates into over a thousand dollars. don't poke any further than maybe 3/8 or a half inch inside, and don't put any serious english on it.

    best move if I was going to clean one without taking the removeable half of the case off would be to use an old-time athletic water bottle with a spray spout on it, and clean things out with a spray, drain, repeat process using water.

    the only time I did it, I took the case half off, and there was such a thick mat of fur and slimy goo on the evap that I did a discharge, purge, removed the evap and plugged it, cleaned the stinker in a sink, then purged the evap coil, added an ounce of oil, reassembled, pulled vacuum for four hours, and refilled with a gauge set and a charging station. this was before EPA certification, of course.

    which is approximately what an EPA tech is going to do for a thousand or more dollars if you puncture the aluminum tubing on the evap coil. tread carefully.
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    Why do you suspect that it is plugged. Are you getting water on the carpet? Is anything dripping outside of the truck? If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second, it's not plugged. You have some mildew growing on the evaporator. It doesn't have to be plugged for this to happen. It is however sometimes hard to cure. Somehow you have to spray some "anti-fungal" directly on the evaporator. Bleach will work but it is kind of corrosive in the long run. Some of your home A/C repair places may have some if you can't find any elsewhere. A last resort if you can't find access to the evaporator through the resistor hole or otherwise, you could cut a hole in the case in a strategic but safe area, (meaning don't damage the core). You can seal the hole back up with some A/C tape (rolled black putty). The smell should go away after that.
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    For $1700 they must be replacing more than one major component. The evaporator or the compressor alone shouldn't run that high. Suburban's aren't experiencing anything unusual that I know of. A/C repairs in general have increased dramatically since the introduction or R134. It is more corrosive and takes a smaller leak to escape. It also runs a little higher pressures. The corrosion has been the biggest problem but this has been for all makes. Chrysler and Jeep seem to be having the worst problems. Being a 1996, it's not surprising at all to have major A/C repairs. Most vehicles are experiencing their first major A/C repair within the first 4 years now, some sooner.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and if I remember correctly from its introduction a few years back, R134a is also a stopgap... a second phase of the clean air legislation that got rid of standard freons will hit in a few more years and ban R134a as well.
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    It was a good solution for the Ozone problem as well as having the least number of serious side effects of all the other choices at the time but it DOES have it's problems. It doesn't cost more though. It just damages more components.
  • I am looking into buying a 2001 hyundai accent. Its a 5speed, 24,000 miles, and still has a factory warranty. It doesnt have air conditioning in it, and this is the only thing stopping me from purchasing it. I am wondering if it is worth it to put air conditioning in now or not? I live in upstate New York. I was also wondering how much a project like this would be? Thanks for your suggestions
              Brooks
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    I'll tell you, some of the systems that are installed as aftermarket are less quality that kid's toys, of course there are probably suppliers of some better stuff out there. It also makes it a little difficult to find any replacement parts for later maintenance. If the dealer did it you might be OK but I live in Florida and I have worked for an aftermarket installer and I would NEVER put some of that junk in my car. Your probably looking at something in the $1000 range too. There are some really "Mickey Mouse" set-ups out there. All that said, you may want to just trade for a car that already has air.
  • OK, since I didn't get a response regarding a mechanic, I'm going to post the problem I'm having here. One of you guys HAS to have the answer to this. I have a 2001 Altima GXE. I figured out what's leaking from my car is just plain old water, but it only happens after I've had the heater on (which is why I've just noticed it over the past week or so because it's getting cool in Maryland). Now, I know that it's normal to see a puddle of water under the car after running the A/C due to condensation. But none of my other cars have ever done this from running the heater. It is not anti freeze, it's just water. Is this something that I need to be concerned about?
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    I would suspect that your A/C compressor must be running for that to happen. Many cars wire the compressor to run during defrost mode and possibly other times to dry out the air and eliminate condensation on your glass. Next time it happens, just look under the hood and see if the compressor is engaged.
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