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

gasoonergasooner Posts: 5
Anyone have a problem with their 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo air conditioner? Mine leaks into the passenger compartment and soaks the right front side (carpet/floor board). I have had it back for dealer service and they can't find/fix the problem.

Wet Feet in Georgia.....


  • dshepherd3dshepherd3 Posts: 194
    I don't think this is product specific, but it appears the evaporator drain is either plugged or misrouted. This is basic auto knowledge it seems the dealer would address this first. There is no other reason for this condition, if it only happens after prolonged ac use, not rain induced.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yep I agree with that diagnosis, perhaps an evaporator drain tube that has come off or maybe even the drain tube for the fresh air vents under the windshield. Either one could be clogged, but the a/c drain would be the one to check right after a/c use.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Years ago, I had a Sapporo (Mitsubishi captive import, Chrysler) that leaked A/C water into the passenger side carpet. I searched out the source, and discovered that the pesky water hose that should carry the condensate water to the ground was partially plugged. My solution was to blow it out with an air compressor. Yes. It worked. And it had to be repeated quite some time later, when the hose began suffering the same narrowing again.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's one remedy, but you have to be careful not to use too much pressure. Sometimes you can dislocate the hose and on some cars it's a real pain to fit the hose back in place.

    This is the same issue with fresh air vent hoses and with sunroof drains (and even convertible top drains on some cars, which have hoses running down the rear quarter panels.
  • tchambleetchamblee Posts: 1
    I just purchased a '98 Grand Cherokee and we noticed water in the back floor board. I found out it is a plugged vent line. Problem is at least this year model is access to the line. The service mgr. at the local jeep dealership knew nothing so I went to a well known a/c repair center. They had one in the shop and showed me that they have to remove the dash and pull the heater (or whatever it is) box to clean it out because the drain line is up against the frame and has no access. Cost is $365. I am trying to find a simpler and less expensive method. Anyone know of one? How about some type of chemical to put down somewhere or an enzyme type liquid that would eat up the clog. Please help.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    another hole or two in the bottom of the evaporator housing may do the trick, assuming they are in the low spot, and assuming the drill bit doesn't puncture the line and blow all the charge and oil into the driller's face (surgeon general's warning: it's ugly and I ain't gonna look at you if you do that.)

    sounds like another "elegant" engineer who doesn't want to leave any evidence they were designing things. shoot, if it's gotta drain, make a drain hole that you can see, poke, and point to with pride.

    I guess I'm getting to be an old fart, but I like serviceability.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    You might look for a way to vent the condensate through a hose that you route elsewhere.
  • bcarter3bcarter3 Posts: 145
    I had a similar problem with my '01 Dakota. I'm not sure if it has the same evaporator configuration as the Grand Cherokee. The drain for the evaporator did not have a hose attached to it. It only extended about an inch from the firewall and the airstream was blowing the water back along the drain and into the cab. I attached a piece of hose to it and haven't had any problems since.
  • boslaw1boslaw1 Posts: 3
    I have a 1994 Toyota Camry. The car has a lot of miles on it but it's still in great shape. The only problem I currently have is that, whenever I put the air conditioner on, if it's a hot day outside, my water temperature guage will start to rise. I have to turn the AC completely off to get the car temperature to lower to a normal level. I have had the AC repaired once in the past to fix a leak. Any idea what could cause this problem? I'm fairly certain that my coolant level is full.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the a/c uses something in the range of 10-15 HP to operate, depending on the size of the car and compressor. that is loading down your engine quite a bit, and the cooling system is not up to the task.

    what could it be? bad thermostat, dirt/bugs/guck blocking the radiator fins, bad fan motor or relay or dying fluid clutch, water pump marginal or worse, gutless coolant that is no longer a 50/50 mix due to age, internal blockages of the radiator, collapsed hose due to bad radiator cap... lots of things.

    a temporary aid is to put down the windows (so you don't die when you do the rest of this,) and turn the heater up full to act as an auxiliary radiator.

    but you will need to get after the real issue, which is the cooling system is not doing its job under stress.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    swschrad really covered it, for the most part. I'd start with coolant level and radiator cap, then go on to the rest. Don't be too surprised if you find the thermostat has been failing.
  • rmaullerrmauller Posts: 1
    My 1990 Toyota Celica loss most of its refrigerant and this triggered the auto-off sensor. I have refilled the air conditioner refrigerant but I do not know how to reset this sensor. Any help?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 32,866
    This is a friends car. I got this info from his wife. I'll get to him tomorrow for a better explanation

    Anyway, the problem appeared to be the AC switching from vents to defrost intermittantly. Actual problem seems to be (per dealer) the AC reversing somehow, and sucking air back into the engine?? Doea any of this make sense (I really need to get a better explanation).

    ANyway, dealer was stumped, and actually decided to replace the engine! Chrysler corp. seems to have come up with another possibility that involves replaceing some sort of module.

    I will try to get a better explanation and post it tomorrow, but any initial thoughts will be appreciated.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • yabadayabada Posts: 19
    swschrad sugested to boslaw1 to change the thermostat but I think that bad thermostat would cause overheating with or without A/C on. After starting the engine, the temperature would rise constantly. Why would the thermostat fail only with the A/C on? Maybe I am wrong but anybody can explain this?
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Sometimes when thermostats fail they are closed and no coolant can flow. Other times they are stuck wide open, and never even slow down the coolant. A failed thermostat that is partially closed and therefore partially open could let enough coolant go by to be adequate when the A/C is off, but not so when it is on.
  • yabadayabada Posts: 19
    Thanks. I didn`t think about this third possibility.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    how in heck is the a/c going to run backwards? the compressor sure isn't, and the vapor phase isn't going to run backwards. it would seem to be impossible for the fan to run backwards since there is not a source of -12 volts anywhere to leak across a failed computer module output device and spin the fan backwards.

    I would suspect what's going on is the damper door system is not working according to hoyle.

    as for sucking air into the engine compartment... nah. not unless somebody took the input manifold hose off the air cleaner and took out the fan motor and duct-taped the hose into that big old hole.

    bad communications here from the shop.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    When the coolant system is new there is a 30% reserve designed to allow idle in gear in 100F traffic AC on. All car designs are tested some have even more reserve. Some may have a time limit assuming 15-30 minutes worse case traffic in 100F others like Mercedes can idle in gear for 12 hours due to large rad and 15 quarts of coolant. Most non lux cars have around 10 quarts or less
    Every year approximately 5% disappears due to radiator external corrosion and fin bending blockages from dirt, etc. Poor internal coolantant maintenance can accelerate this loss of reserve.
    Normally the correct thing to do is replace the radiator at around 5-6-7 years [examine the AC condensor for bent fins, dirt blockages, corrosion not shiny anymore as this may need changing out to restore as new performance [help AC cooling also].

    Be careful about non oem cheapo rads as they are only warranteed for 12/12 they use thinner metal fewer fins and inexpensive construction {weigh them] they may not provide oem reserve when brand new and age very rapidly! Made primarily for people who need to fix to sell a car.....there are quality replacements out there but you must examine them closely [always ask if there is a better quality unit available than the offered unit as most shops buy cheap to help the customer who complains about costs.
    A factory unit may be $400 retail and cost dealer $200, a cheapo aftermarket may cost shop $90-115 and a premium unit available for $145-165-175 [shop cost].
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 32,866
    I got a more exact description from the owner. Anything here ring a bell?

    When I have the A/C on at bi-level or just on my face it changes direction to the defrost vents when I accelerate the truck and get to 2k RPM's & around 40 mph. Once I let off the gas and the speed dials drop, the air goes back to the settings they were supposed to be at.

    The Dodge dealer originally thought that the problem was my "A/C Vacuum Resevoir". Can't remember the exact makeup of it, but anyway it still had a problem after they fixed that. So that's when they said: "Replace the engine"

    They then called and said they'd like to try to install a second check valve to help keep the air from changing vents? I have no idea how that would help.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    replace the engine? hey, I have a light out in my bathroom, replacing your engine is just as likely to fix that, too.

    the damper doors that direct air from various sources to various places have spring returns to some master mix, generally fresh air. virtually everything now uses vacuum motors to make these changes, and there is a vacuum switch or switches to distribute the vacuum.

    if you don't generate a good engine vacuum (bad hoses, leaking input manifold or attachment to same, broken vacuum motor or control), you won't hold those doors in position under all conditions. there are check valves that are installed several places on a lot of cars that help to keep the door closed for a short time if you are idling and the vacuum drops below what it takes to swing the motor. there have also been any number of vacuum tanks to maintain that pull on the motors.

    it is not impossible for a vacuum motor diaphragm to get pinholes or cracks and leak all the vacuum out. that should be expected under the hood, however, where conditions change from one extreme to another, and techs spray cleaning chemicals now and again.

    it is much more likely to have a loose or deteriorating hose at a master vacuum nipple under the hood, or perhaps a vacuum switch in the temp controller was iffy or being pushed around by a lever bent in installation. somebody playing footsie at the firewall might have kicked a hose off a vacuum motor or bent the hose fitting so it leaks.

    the shop can put a hand vacuum pump and dial on the rig at the engine side of the firewall and see if they can draw and hold a vacuum on the geegaws going into the passenger compartment. if that fails, fix stuff. if it works, an ultrasonic listener can find little leaks in the works inside, like at the vacuum switch or at a motor with a fading diaphragm.

    rather than replacing parts until the shelf is bare, an hour or half an hour spent in these tasks should be quite useful in diagnosing just what the heck is really wrong.
  • kkuligkkulig Posts: 150
    Swschrad makes some very good points about a potential vacuum leak and what relatively simple things to check before letting the dealer blindly replace expensive components. By all means, have your friend make the dealer do these things first.

    Stickguy... when describing the AC problem, you didn't say whether the air was still blowing cold when it switches to the defrost vents.

    On many vehicles, the AC system has a cut-off switch that will temporarily shut down the AC compressor when a demand is placed on the engine... such as passing a vehicle, climbing a hill, hard acceleration, etc., so your engine will have nearly all HP available to meet the demand for the task. Your second post sounds a little like this may be happening.

    You also weren't clear as to your AC control settings when this occurs... are the controls on any setting that allows defrost operation? You said bi-level, but DC vehicles have 2 bi-level positions... floor/defrost and floor/dash vents.

    It's possible that the controls are designed to direct air through the defrost or floor vents whenever engine load trips the compressor cut-out switch so it keeps the warm, moist air from slapping you in the face. That may sound unbelievable, but it may be "normal" operation. I've owned vehicles that did this and I was told that they were designed to operate for this reason.

    Definitely check for vacuum problems as swschrad says. I just offer this as another possible cause to look into.

    A side note here... many people also don't realize that the AC runs to provide dry air for the defroster, no matter what your heat settings are when in defrost mode. If the outside air temp is above 45-50 degrees, the AC runs in defrost mode.
  • boslaw1boslaw1 Posts: 3

    Thanks for the replies. I'm pretty sure the coolant level is ok - I just had an oil change and they re-filled. Also, I've checked it a few times when I was having the problem and it seemed fine. My next step will be to check to make sure the radiator is not blocked with bugs, leaves, etc.

    If it is something bigger, such as faulty thermostat or any of the other things swschrad suggested, how much will this cost, approximately? How will I know if my mechanic knows what he's talking about when I take the car in (any specific questions to ask that he should know the answers to?). I don't know much about cars so I have to rely on the mechanic's word. Is this a problem I should take to a Toyota specialist, or should any general mechanic know how to identify and fix this?

    Thanks again - you're all extremely helpful.
  • bfassettbfassett Posts: 17
    I have a 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport . The dealer just charged the system and found no leaks. The problem is that after 5 minutes on the road the AC stops and it starts to blow warm musty smelling air. THe cooling fan works as designed to begin with going on and off repeatedly in a matter of a few seconds.When the AC quits the cooling fan runs all the time. THe cooling fan continues to run even when I switch over to let in fresh air. After having the AC off for a while
    it will then kick back in for another 5 minutes burst of cold air ,HELP Just had the coolant flushed and replaced.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Sounds like the a/c clutch is cycling off and on, so the problem could be electrical and has nothing to do with freon charged or coolant.

    I am not sure under what conditions your a/c compressor would be switched on and off automatically by the car's computer or sensors or whatever, but for some reason I think this is what is happening.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    all a/c has an overpressure safety switch that cuts out the compressor in case of high head pressure. I am dating myself here, but in the 70s GM EEVIR valve bodies had a similar protection switch that could act up if you had moisture in the system causing valves to freeze up and excess pressure to build.

    high-head is usually a sign that you can't get rid of the heat the evaporator picked up from the interior car air, and I would first consider this as the issue. in particular, is the radiator assembly clean, with no [non-permissible content removed] between the fins? use an old toothbrush on the outside (road side) of the radiator assembly to brush with the fins and get the cottonwood fuzz and dead bugs off, then back flush the radiator assembly with the garden hose...again, with the fins, not crossways against them, because the nozzle pressure can push fins closed... until you have water bubbling out the front.

    if you still have issues, you need somebody with a full gauge set to clamp onto the system and see what both the high and low pressure sides are doing. if it's not just a charge issue, it is likely that it's repair time. the best hope is that the clutch coil is overheating, popping a breaker, which then puts the a/c back into service. replacing a clutch or a clutch coil doesn't require dismounting the compressor, and won't require work on the pressurized system.

    anything else likely means pressure work. low gas is not likely to cause this issue as I remember.
  • jacnjilljacnjill Posts: 1
    I have a 1992 Honda Accord. I replaced the blower motor that is under the dash for the A/C. When i put it back up under the dash it will not blow cool air through the vents. Each time i pull it out and retest the motor you can feel the air blowing, all the speeds seem to be working fine. What am i doing wrong?
  • bfassettbfassett Posts: 17
  • bfassettbfassett Posts: 17
    Just back from the dealer. They had overcharged the system last week 1.45 lbs not 1.2 lbs. they corrected that. Raditor fan control relay circuit working fine "THis INDICATES the coil clutch/ AC compressor is working intermittenly ." That much I knew!!!! They recommend relacing the whole assembly $450 + 2 hours labor.I sure like a better rational than it "indicates". The check engine light came on for a day but I don't believe they looked to see if any info was stored. Time to get another opinion or another dealer?The cooling fan also runs full time when the AC has kicked off and I switch to vents.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    bet you have a diverter door stuck or inactive that is keeping the air from you. they are mostly run by vacuum from the manifold. that is what you have to diagnose, and a manual really helps.
  • Is your JGC A/C leaking water on your carpets? Your drain line is plugged! Cann't find the drainline? Its inside the boxbeam of the frame! I have found a way to fix it with common shop tools for about $2. E-mail me at [email protected] and I will send directions and digital photos.
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