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Chevrolet Cavalier Climate Control/AC Issues

03cavalier03cavalier Member Posts: 1
edited March 2019 in Chevrolet
Hi all,
Currently own a 2003 Cavalier 2.2L ecotec. Having problems with the A/C compressor not kicking on or kicking on intermittently. Yes there are some criteria you have to meet for clutch to engage
1. engine temp<250 farenheit
2. engine <5000 rpms.
3. call from dash (have to turn dial on control panel)
4. battery voltage between 9 and 18 volts.
5. High and low pressure between ?
I meet all the criteria for the compressor to engage (although I can't check high and low pressure) and the clutch will not engage. I will drive the car and then the clutch may engage and A/C will work and other times it won't. Problem is extremely intermittent with no real rhyme or reason. Dealer says it works properly but I know they are full of it. Any advice may help.
Thank you.


  • embishop3embishop3 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Cavalier LS, and started having problems with the AC last August. Eventually, it stopped completely. One mechanic said that '98 Cavaliers were used as fleet vehicles, and that he has had a couple come in with AC problems as well. Has anyone else had problems?
  • rorytaterorytate Member Posts: 21
    Hey, I have something weird.
    The standard fan control on a '98 cavalier. It has 4 settings.
    the LAST 2 (medium high/high) work. The 1st one (low) works ok,
    but the medium low doesn't work. Anyone help me out with that?
    Is there something I can check on that?
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    Blower resistor, $28 at the dealer, I think it available aftermarket. Not too easy to change but I can give you some tips if you want to DIY. :)
  • rorytaterorytate Member Posts: 21
    yeah that'd be good..i've kinda been reading it's under the glove compartment.
    is that right?
  • joe3891joe3891 Member Posts: 759
    Its behind the heater blower motor, remove that first, then two 7mm screws. The screw against the firewall is hard,I used a tip I saw on another forum, as close to the screw cut the firewall insulation 1 inch across, then 1 1/2 inches down both sides, the fold down, it will give you room to work. You will see when you get there. :)
  • sfrenchsfrench Member Posts: 1
    Hi! My girlfriend owns a 2004 Cavalier and is having some problems with the front defroster and the floor air flow. I did a quick check last night and the fan works at all speeds fine, but the air flow won't switch from the panel to the floor or the defroster. When I would turn the knob to defroster the A/C light would come on, and when I switched it back to panel, the light shut off. Can someone tell me what is wrong and what I can do to fix it? Thanks
  • miss_mickeymiss_mickey Member Posts: 2
    haha I am having the exact same problem as of this morning. It takes for ever for the car to get warm and the air conditioner light appears when it shouldnt. I'm curious to know whats the cause of it is too.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    When you go to the defrost position, the A/C should come on to help get rid of the moisture in the car. As far as the vents not changing, you might have to pull the dash apart and see if you have anything loose in the HVAC controls.
  • goddudegoddude Member Posts: 1
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    Chris...I do not have any of the problems you mention. What I was suggesting was to take the dash apart and see if any of the controls have come loose for the vent position switch. Until you can find the problem, in any of the vent positions, you will still get heat out. You just won't be able to defrost your windows. Bad in a cold climate. As stated, check for loose connections in the HVAC controls.
  • lee30lee30 Member Posts: 2
    Chris, I also have a 2004Cav. You have described my exact problem to a tee. If you find out what it is, please post it. I have checked vaccum lines,fuses,etc. I have found out nothing yet, but it is getting cold in the north. I do have recirculation and vent but nothing else. My A/C works but only out of the mid-vents and my heat will cook you out of the car. I just wish it was stuck on defrost too! When I put it on defrost, I do see the green light come on but that is it.I'm stumped.
  • lee30lee30 Member Posts: 2
    Chris, I believe the problem you have is a broken or kinked cable. If the green light comes on when you turn the knob to defrost, than more then likely it is the cable. Remove the access panel on the left side near the accelerator and the small panel that covers the brake switch also. You can see directly behind the switch that you are concerned with. I had to manually move the vent door because my cable was kinked and frayed.LEAVE the unit in defrost position for the winter or until you can get it repaired or replace the cable yourself.P.S. You need a flashlight. Good Luck! :-)
  • mtandstmtandst Member Posts: 5
    Bought my Cavalier new and have kept up with it as I should with regular checks, etc. Have had several problems thru the years...most have been fixed...(except the persistent electrical issue with the ABS lights remaining on all the time...and something draining my 4 batteries way too fast)

    I just noticed a week ago that the air conditioning system wasn't cooling. Took it in to a air conditioning specialist. They said they put some dye into the system...and they at first thought it might be a problem (with the schrader ? valve or the suction valve core ?) but when I checked with them a bit later...they said that they thought they detected a small leak at the casing of the compressor..maybe around 1/2 inch. They said that the cost to replace the compressor would be around $1,000 job and that would also include replacement of the accumulator. I just went ahead and paid for the dye and the service and the added R-134A. He said it may hold for 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 mos. So...I am wondering exactly what I should do about this.

    I don't really understand why he can't just fix/repair the leak in the compressor vs. buying a new one. When I asked that question...he just said that he preferred to do it that way...to better guarantee or assure that my problem will be fixed. After all...he would hate to have me come back in to him...and have the compressor replaced after all and then have to pay all those labor costs all over again. Also, something about some seal/suction at both ends of the compressor...and some lubricating would be all new, etc.

    If you ask me...it sounded like a lot of razzle/dazzle...and being a woman...I tried to stand my ground and ask questions etc. but...I really wonder...if I am being hosed.

    Any thoughts on this ordeal...or if you have experienced any problems like this...I would like to hear from you.

    Thanks in advance for reading :cry:
  • halscahalsca Member Posts: 15
    If the case is cracked any repairs probably would be temporary. Most mechanics prefer to replace stuff like A/C compressors rather than repairing them. You'd still have to pay all the labor charges anyway, it's better to go with a remanufactured unit in the long run.

    All I can say is shop around to see if you can get a better price.
  • mtandstmtandst Member Posts: 5

    Thanks for your reply. :)

    You are probably right...when you say that getting a remanufactured unit put in my car...would be better in the long run than having my old compressor fixed. I noticed that you used the words remanufactured...So...they are not NEW compressors that the repair shops put in? :confuse:


    I suppose...they will then take my old compressor...and turn it in somewhere and get some money for that...and then that place will work it over...and resell it again. :)
  • halscahalsca Member Posts: 15
    Yes they turn it in to cover the 'core' charge. Places that rebuild auto parts charge more if you don't have a core or turn in a unit so trashed they can't use it.

    I worked for years as a mechanic this is standard practice. Most mechanics don't have the stuff or don't want take the time to rebuild precision parts like A/C compressors, alternators or starters UNLESS they come from really rare autos. There are lots of places that specialize in rebuilding auto parts and MOST stand behind their work.
  • mervsmervs Member Posts: 1
    Hi all. I am a new member here. I logged in to share my problem with you guyz and get some feedback. I have a 1999 Cavalier-automatic-2.2 ltr engine. Recently i started feeling a kind of choking in my engine when i switch on the AC. When the compressor is on, the engine becomes very heavy and there is a huge noise when i press the gas, if i switch off the AC, the engine is as smooth as it was earlier. What could be the reason? The dealer says there is no much diff...but i feel it while driving. Any suggestions guys? May be the compressor is weak? Thanks
  • porsche_914porsche_914 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Z24 convert., purchased used in 2002 with 10K mile, now has 67K miles. Have always noticed brightening/dimming of lights with concurrent speed changes in blower motor fan speed since we have owned the car, but it did not seem to affect anything other than to be slightly annoying. Yesterday my daughter was driving the car and noticed that the speedometer went to 0 [she was doing about 35 at the time], all the warning lights started flashing on the dashboard and the engine cut off. I had it towed home. It now starts and runs fine, the alternator puts ~14V across the battery. I am unable to recreate the 'surge/sag' observation with the car sitting in the driveway so I can't see if the alternator is cutting out. Battery is ~1 year old. Anybody have any ideas regarding where I should look next? Does anyone think ECM is involved? ---Thanks!
  • cav03cav03 Member Posts: 1
    I'm having the same problem as mentioned above with the vent cable. Last winter the cable froze and when I tried to turn the knob the cable kinked and slipped off the control arm. I have managed to get the vent into the defrost position but would like to change out the cable. Does anyone know the best way to access this cable without pulling the entire dashboard out? Thank you.
  • ramanexodusramanexodus Member Posts: 2
    Hello again. A/C isn't quite up to snuff. Filled AC with refrigerant correctly after illing it a month earlier and was only able to fill it midway into the blue and will not go further up even after using a whole can. A day later the AC is still at the same spot on the guage but isn't really cold but makes it bearable. My father's Chevy Blazer (same year) had the same problem but eventually fixed itself. I'm going to use the refrigerant with stop leak to fill it again but I'm a little cautious. Advice or Green light would be a great help. Thanks for the help about the mildew.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    DON'T use stop leak, to get it going after that will cost you thousands. Only put in straight 134a or with dye so you can find the leak. The mostly likely place for a Cavalier to leak is the shaft seal on the V-5 compressor.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    Unfortunately, for ease, you will need to remove the dash.
  • dcollardcollar Member Posts: 1
    Chris I had the same problem. The cable that is connected to the back side of the control knob is kinked. Take the cover that is located to the right of the gas pedal off and the cover that is just above the break pedal off. You will have to lay on your back to reach the cable. The cable is located behind the knob. It helps to turn the knob back and forth to locate it. Pull the cable up and off of the back of the control knob and straighten it with a pair of pliers and snap back on to the control knob. You may have to follow the cable up to where it connects to the vent control and manualy move the vent control up and down a couple of times to get the cable moving freely. Good luck. It took me about 15 min to complete the repair.
  • t_grier54t_grier54 Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 cavalier is overheating when i have the heat on. IT blows out cold air unless it is on defrost then it still blows out warm air. But it still runs hot. WHat is going on?
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Member Posts: 255
    Sounds like your low on coolant. :)
  • connmj1connmj1 Member Posts: 1
    My g/f's 03 Cavalier is having a weird ac issue. Air will blow from the passenger vent, floor, and defroster but not from the two middle and driver's side vents. The switch seems to be working fine, because I can hear a little air coming out of the vents. Is there a hose that connects just those 3 vents? :confuse:
  • guerrgiguerrgi Member Posts: 1
    My Rear Window Defogger is no longer working. Replaced the fuse (even though passed continuity test), the switch LED comes on and there is voltage supplied testing the pins at the back of the connector when the button is pushed. There are a purple and black wire coming out of the connector that backprobe fine about an inch or so but the purple one does not test continuous from one end to the positive window terminal. My Haynes manual doesn't show the wiring for the rear defogger so I'm wondering if there is a fusible link somewhere or a relay or something I should be looking at, or even where the heck this purple wire is routed to in the car. Any help?
  • dwg426dwg426 Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem, and I guess the same Haynes manuala s post 29. Wondering if anyone knows something about it.
  • njohnson1975njohnson1975 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 cavalier. the air conditioner is just blowing hot air. the thing is the compressor isn't kicking in. I think it is just a fuse. I've checked the fuses in the dash no problem there. Is there another fuse for the air conditioner that I can check before I go broke paying a mechanic. also I had a circuit board replaced (i think) but before it was replaced the air worked perfectly (it would freeze you out of the car. wanted to add that just in case.
    any help would be great. Thanks in advance.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Could be low on 134a, circuit board is not much to go on.
  • k_erink_erin Member Posts: 5
    It could very well be a compressor problem. I have a 91 Chevy Cavalier RS 2.2 ltr, automatic. It did the same thing from the time I got it in 2001. It just recently stopped working altogether and we took it in to the mechanic today and he called this afternoon and said the compressor was leaking all over the place, so it could very well be a problem with a weak/sluggish compressor.
  • k_erink_erin Member Posts: 5
    I have a 91 Chevy Cavalier RS (2.2 ltr, 4-cyl, automatic). We had to take it in today to have the a/c repaired. We live in Northeast Texas. Does anyone have any idea of what fair labor costs should be?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    no easy answer. The AC system has a lot of components and repairs could range from $150 to $1,500. If your compressor seized while driving, you can count on big bucks. If the AC just went warm one day, you might get lucky and only have a leak.
  • k_erink_erin Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for your reply. We actually got the car back today and it came to a grand total of $791.82, parts and labor. They replaced the compressor, dryer, orifice filter, vaccuum, and replaced freon oil, and recharged with 2 cans of freon. We also had them replace the spark plugs while they were working on it because the head had busted not long ago and the mechanic failed to replace all of the spark plugs. All in all, it wasn't too bad.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Sounds like a very fair price for all that work. If the compressor seizes, that send debris throughout the system and that requires replacing even more than you had done. But I think you got a good deal if it was done competently.
  • gpuck16gpuck16 Member Posts: 1
    My 2003 Cavalier is acting up. Air will blow from the passenger vent, floor, and defroster but not from the two middle and driver's side vents. This seems to be intermittent because the vents worked a week ago and now they have stopped. Any suggestions? The AC blows cool air from all the other vents. :confuse:
  • rain7rain7 Member Posts: 1
    my a/c just started blowing hot then she get cold then hot my mechanic put a module in it now my air speed is working better but she started hot and cold then just hot. my mechanic went under the hood and jiggled some wires and i heard the click and then cold air came out for about two days i went under the hood moved that white clip with wires attached to it and she went click got cold air for two days now playing with that white clip with wires don't work anymore, it already cost 173.00 for that module and labor nothing for taken it back of course, sooooooo am i looking at a compressor or can those wires be replaced
    it's "97" 2.4LS twin cam
  • tweety10tweety10 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 97 Cavalier. The A/C goes in and out. I don't know what to do. I know that it its not the blower motor or the switch bc those both have recently been changed. Um, I think it maybe an electrically problem but i don't know where to start. Please Help, I need some air...
  • kb9mnmkb9mnm Member Posts: 2
    I have a 92 Cavalier RS 2.2 with about 92,000. Air comes out of the vents only, no heater seeting, deforst setting or "mix" setting. Also, the compressor isnt kicking on when the A/C button is depressed or it's on defrost. Any hints? :confuse:
  • clemdoguclemdogu Member Posts: 2
    A loud clicking sound started on the passenger side of my 2005 Cavalier. I traced it to the blower motor in the car. I was told that there is probably a leaf or stick in there (which I believe to be true). Does anyone know how to take that out? It is not obvious to me.

    Thank you,
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Look under the passenger side foot well and you will the motor housing pointing straight down, easy job to remove.
  • clemdoguclemdogu Member Posts: 2
  • cavalier5cavalier5 Member Posts: 3
    This problem has been with me for about a month now consistantly.What is the problem when the a/c compressor runs all the time(doesn't cycle on/off) and air blows from vents and at your feet ...with no ability to control the air flow ???Air is cold.It's HOT in Florida,help.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    The V-5 compressor does not cycle, it is variable. Need more information. You have a fan speed switch, you have temp control, then air direction and A/C button. What isn't working?
  • cavalier5cavalier5 Member Posts: 3
    Ok I did think the AC would have a period where it clicked and there was less tug on the engine...that sort of cycling was what I was talking about.As far as air flow...I am referring to just that...when I turn the air direction dial nothing changes. It blows from upper vents and some air blows from below the dash around my feet from some uncertain source.I appreciate your comments.
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Not sure what you have there, when there is a vacuum leak air only comes out the defrost vents. It sounds like the air flow knob is not selecting any mode.
  • cavalier5cavalier5 Member Posts: 3
    Yes that seems to be the case actually and it's not intermitant...so maybe a new air flow knob/switch?
  • redcat2redcat2 Member Posts: 2
    Once a year w/the defrost on I get water that comes in on the pass. side.
    I have taken it to 2 places: checked for a clogged line, NONE :( Still happening anyone, Please help :shades:
  • rhino2878rhino2878 Member Posts: 1
    My AC in my car is very week does not seem to be very cold at all to the point were I think it might not be working at all. I have never had it recharged before could it just need to be charged with freon again??? Or do you think it would have a leak? This winter I also noticed that my vents only work if I turn the variable fan switch to Maximun speed do you think this has anything to do with it? Thanks
  • jsheppjshepp Member Posts: 2
    I am having the exact same problem with my '03 cavalier. Have you found a fix yet?
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