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



  • Has anyone had problems with 1998 Cadillac Deville air conditioner? I was told my compressor went out because of overuse of my air conditioner. Has anyone ever heard of such? I only have 41,360 miles on my car.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the design of cars now is that until you get cold out, it is very difficult to run interior HVAC without the air conditioner running. to say that a compressor fails because it is used, when the component typically has been seen as close to a lifetime part, is very overly simplistic.

    now, failure of a compressor because of insufficient oil or refrigerant, or because it is being pulled on at an angle and the bearing fails early, or because of excess dirt in the system, are all likely causes. most of which have other symptoms, and servicing the system before the drive belt burns up or the fuses blow would have caught that.

    whose fault that is, we don't have enough info.

    but as for failing in use... well... yeah, that's the reason all mechanical equipment fails, sure enough. around here, we don't take that baloney with a smile ;)
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    At 41K it's surprising, but my trusted AC man has told me recently that he's doing major repairs on many low mileage newer GM vehicles. My daughters 95 Grand Am needed major repairs last summer (new compressor + associated parts) at 65K. Judging from the tiny AC compressor on our new Chevy Trailblazer it won't be much better either, but time will tell.
  • I think you are right on. My recollection is that GM has had lots of trouble trying to get the air conditioning thing right, for many years. I recall a time when Chrysler had the most durable and dependable AC units, while GM units would cool quicker, but they failed early. Maybe times don't change that much, as the saying goes!
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    an upscale compressor,should be no problem.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but the rings were plastic. that ought to tell you something about GMs.
  • I am a 93 Villager - 2 years ago the A/C died of age - approx. 160K. The entire system was replaced by a Mercury dealer with new parts because "we don't want to back doing this again do we?..." Well, less than 2 years by about 2 weeks the compressor died.

    When I returned to the dealer, they offer to give me 25% off of $1,600.00 !!!! My opinion is that this shouldn't have happened so soon. Nothing was used or remanufactured to avoid this very problem.

    Someone has told me that the dealer CAN send back for warranty coverage. That plus a break on the labor for goodwill reasons would this repeat performance acceptable.

    Does anyone know if this warranty story is true?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,488
    I don't think there's any two year warranty on parts that are replaced if that's what you mean. Probably only one year.

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  • Here's where I thought Ford had a corporate thing, where all big repairs were guaranteed for the length of your ownership. I must be wrong. Is that a GM thing? Chrysler? Am I totally whacked out on this?
  • I just bought a used 1996 Ford Ranger.Every time I turn on the a/c, the idle goes to about 2x.And every time when the car is not moving the idle keeps on going to 2x and then go back down to normal about 3 times.Does that mean the a/c needs freon soon.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    who the heck knows. it DOES mean that idle control is not working on this car when the voltage signal from the a/c-ON switch hits the engine computer.

    the fact that it's surging back and forth is a sign to me that there are iffy signals and responses from other systems. rather than say it's a good bet the spark is weak and may be blowing out in some cylinders and that the 02 sensor is lazy and maybe the EGR valve is plugged, all of which are plausible... I am going to say this truck needs to be put on the box and have a full computer diagnosis run, and see what it turns up. bad idea to throw parts at the truck randomly until you either get lucky or run your credit cards to the limit.
  • Recently picked up a '97 Ford Escort. It seemed that the a/c was always on - and blowing cool air regardless of a/c switch setting. I verified that I could hear the relay switch (loud & clear) kick in/out inside engine compartment. So I assumed a/c working ok and cool air was just residual after shutting the air off.
    Now after using for a while I'm convinced a/c is always on. Perhaps the compressor clutch never disengages? Is there any way to test this? Can the compressor be visibly verified (with a/c switch off)? If the clutch is stuck (engaged) - any way to manually disengage it?
    Car performance seems about the same with the a/c switch on or off - another reason I'm wondering if a/c stuck on. Thanks for any help.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    there are two parts to the magnetic clutch... a pulley which always spins... and a contact plate in front or behind that only spins when the AC is energized.

    shut off the car and determine which is which (I would bet there is a front clutch plate.) put a contrasting paint or crayon mark on it.

    now start the car and look. you would have to select between any a/c mode (defrost, max, auto or cool) and a non-a/c mode (vent, heat) to determine what's running.

    if the clutch never pulls out, even in vent or OFF, you probably have a bad switch or a wiring fault in the dash controller.

    verify that by shutting off the car, and unplugging the wire connector to the compressor clutch. start 'er up again, and see if the clutch plate is still spinning. if so, it's a stuck, burned, or welded clutch. if not, it's wiring.
  • When the car was about 8 months old my AC drain was plugged. both front and rear carpets were soaked. The dealer blew out the drain and I figured it was just a fluke.
    This March my airbag light would not go out. Dealer said my heater core was rusted out and the seat bag sensor shorted out from the water from the heater core. How can a heater core go in a cre less the 4 years old? It cast me over $1300 for a new heater core and air bag sensor. Anyway in June my AC drain plugged again. Now my air bag light doesn't go out again and my cd player doesn't work. They fixed the air bag senser free of charge this time, but I don't want to spend any more on this if the problem is the result of the ac drain. They tell me tis is quite common and the only thing I can do is continually check my drain. This sounds like a design flaw to me. My car is garage kept and I have never experienced this with any other car I have ever owned. Feedback anyone...
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    saving weight and money, you know. they moved the empty box down the assembly line and somebody whispered "metal" as it went by, that's all that they are any more.

    if it was me, I'd have the a/c drain hole enlarged in the evaporator case.

    the idea is to keep the core dry all the time on the outside, and wet all the time on the inside with fresh good new (under 2 years) coolant to cut the corrosion issues to a minimum. if you are in a slush-heaven with road salt, it isn't a bad idea to run the hose into the vented front cowling once in a while and run the crud out of the vents.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Summer is officially HERE, at least in the midwest, so I thought we could resurrect this topic for the season.

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  • loamsloams Posts: 8
    I'm virtually certain my drain is plugged as now my passenger side front carpet gets soaked whenever the A/C is on especially in humid weather. Question: Where do I find the drain? Is it a hose I can trace under the hood from the firewall or from the A/C unit. I tried from inside the car and didn't see anything under the dashboard. Any advice would be much appreciated
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,886
    Back in the day it was considered neccessary to recharge the a/c every year with a fresh load of Freon. Does anyone know if a R-134a system needs new refrigerant if everything is working fine?

    I just realized that I've never added R-134a to either of my cars, a 5 y/o Audi and a 7 y/o Saab.
    A/c works perfectly on both.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the drain hole for the evaporator case under the hood is on the bottom of the case... size and location vary. a dentist's mirror and penlight are useful in trying to find it.

    very ugly and expensive things happen real fast if you just decide to start drilling some more holes, and happen to punch into the coolant line. so don't go there. use a little chunk of coathanger wire or similar to go up no more than a third or a half inch from that hole and tickle the junk out of the way.

    if that doesn't clear it up, I would have an a/c professional take the removeable case half off and clean it up.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    it was never really OK to recharge each year, that meant you had a system leak that should have been fixed, and wasn't. we are paying the price for it by losing R11 and gaining R134a.

    I think the systems are a little better now, and we aren't taking as much damage hitting the same or worse shell holes on the road.

    the same result will occur if you leak R134a, no cooling. my sister had to convert her car over when a hose flare cracked and the receiver sludged up. they fixed the receiver and converted, but didn't catch the bad flare nut until leaking put the R134 into the air within a week. a charge with red dye found that, and she hasn't had issues in three years.

    no issues year to year is how it's supposed to work. I suspect jiggering the controls around and making the a/c work in defrost so it is going year round has also helped. if the refrigerant is not circulating and carrying oil, seals in the compressor dry out and start leaking within weeks. the manuals have always said run it weekly or monthly, but who did in the 60s and 70s if they didn't have to, right? forcing that has made a few tree-huggers upset, but the a/c systems leak less, and that is a good trade for the environment.
  • hello22hello22 Posts: 8
    I have and Olds and Cadillac that are both 8 years old. The AC is weak in both of them when the temps are over 90 degrees and the car has been parked outside.

    I've never had the AC inspected, and was thinking of having them charged and serviced. Sort of an AC tune-up, if there is such a thing. The compressor cycles on and off, which I don't know if that's OK or not. What is an acceptable price for this service at the dealer, or some other place like Firestone?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Standard fee around here is 1.4 hours labour to recover, evacuate and recharge the system, plus the cost of refrigerant required. If repairs are required due to a leak, the cost goes up accordingly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,488
    We pay about $125-140 for an AC service in California.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    if you have a freon-based system, is there any way to still get it recharged around here, or are you forced to convert the system to R134a?

    I only ask because all my experience suggests strongly that the freon-based systems blow colder, and I have a buddy staring down the barrel of this very question with his old maxima

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,886
    I did not notice any dimunition of effectiveness
    with the new refrigerant.

    The $400 I was charged was only a little more than it would have cost to fix the leak and recharge the freon. It is illegal IIRC to recharge a system if it is leaking w/o fixing the leak (not to mention a waste of hideously expensive Freon).

    I hope that helps.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • bongotoobongotoo Posts: 10
    Its hot as heck and my A/C stopped working. I understand that the repair people can really milk the money right out of you when doing A/C repairs. Maybe one of you have seen this before and can help me narrow the problem. My A/C works some in the morning when the car itself is not hot. Same thing is true at night or when the car is in a garage and does not get too hot. The A/C works maybe 70 percent of the time. The air gets warm and at the same time the compressor starts to cycle off and on. Simultaniously, the electric fan also goes off and on. One guy supposedly tried to add freon but it wouldn't take it - at least thats what I was told. When the car sits and bakes in the sun, the A/C does not work at all. I am just wondering if the problem might be electronic temperture control related as opposed to a mechanical problem. Has anybody had this problem or have any ideas about what it might be?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    CFC-free systems like in your Acura still have a sight glass, the way the old freon-based ones did? If so, that should be your first stop. You should see it bubbling, or else you may need a recharge.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I just read through most of these posts and can see that there is a lot of confusion regarding the legal use of R12 and R134 freon.
    First off, at least in the US, it's not illegal to top off a leaking R12 system except in some defined areas.
    It's legal for anyone with an EPA Section 609 certification to buy and use R12 freon, until the stocks are depleted (which looks like it won't happen for a long time now).
    I encourage you to go to: ""
    and download the study guide to become familiar with the EPA regulations concerning the use of R12 and R134. Then, if you want to you can spend the $15 and take the test to get certified. I did it some time ago. It made my wife happy since she had always claimed I was certifiable.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    you're in for doubling your setup cost, or more. all fluorocarbon refrigerant has to be recaptured, you can't vent even a sniff, and most of the material out there is recycled, since we can't import from china. so it's not like you mail in a check and then blow the gas out of your DeSoto and use the pipe wrenches on the air conditioner.
  • bongotoobongotoo Posts: 10
    My AC will blow cold air if the temperature reads 79 degrees or below. When it is hotter than 80 degrees, the dang thing blows hot air most of the time. Is it possible the problem could be in the thermostat control in the climate control system? The system still cycles hot and cold. But when it is below 79 degrees, it is cold most of the time. Above 80 degrees, it blow hot air most of the time. HELP!!! ?
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