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PT Cruiser Air Conditioning Questions/Problems



  • beckert1beckert1 Posts: 1
    edited December 2012
    Ok I was really sceptical about this but when the air con on our 2006 PT Cruiser (bought in 2008 ex demo with only 27,000 currently on the clock) went. Just as summer kicked in and 2 weeks before Xmas, we didn't want to take it in for fixing not knowing how many hundreds it would cost.
    So decided to give this paperclip test a go yesterday... 5 minutes later, air con back on. Well worth giving this a go. Thanks so much for posting it!
    My husband is now calling himself Macgyver
  • Thanks for sharing. The test costs nothing and it can save hundreds - not to mention the frustration and hassle.
  • Have been meaning to get back on here for weeks, since I first posted here my earlier concerns about the truth of a cutoff valve underneath the low pressure cut off switch. In my search for an answer, I learned that this is not only the low pressure cutoff switch but the CYCLING SWITCH as well. Once I had tried the paperclip test and had my air conditioner up and running in seconds, I knew this switch was the problem. As a backyard mechanic with 38 years experience, I was very concerned about whether there actually was a cutoff valve beneath this switch or not on the 2007 year model. I bought a new low pressure/cycling switch at the local auto parts store for around $17 and him-hawed around for several more days, all the while using the paperclip to keep my air conditioner running (something that I and other knowledgeable people would not recommend doing as a semi-permanent or permanent fix, but this vehicle is usually used sporadically, and I knew that my Freon level was fine as there had been no problems immediately prior to this switch going bad). One day, rather frustrated, I happened into a recently opened repair shop in our small town, popped out of my car and asked the very young mechanic headed my way if he had time to answer a question for me. I popped the hood and showed him the new switch and asked if in fact there was a cutoff valve underneath. To which he replied yes, and offered to put the new valve in for me for $5. Can you believe it? The dealership had quoted me a price of $225 to do the same thing only they insisted the system would have to evacuated of Freon and recovered, the switch replaced, and the Freon put back in the system, AT WHICH TIME, they would also top off my Freon level. I gladly paid the $75 diagnostic fee that day, but had no access to the amount of money, real or plastic, that they were wanting to charge me. At any rate I now can attest under oath that there IS a Schrader valve underneath the low pressure cut off switch located on the silver canister mounted to the firewall on the 2007 PT Cruiser, and for a grand total cost of $17 and less than five minutes work, ANYONE can make this repair! See the picture I posted on my Facebook wall: [email protected] for the proof!
  • Here is the url for the picture of the Schrader valve underneath the low pressure cutoff/cycling switch on the 2007 PT Cruiser. No one should be afraid of attempting this repair given this proof that such a valve exists: 42.100000790024714&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf
  • shobudsteelmanshobudsteelman Posts: 7
    edited December 2012
    Oh, last post for a while, I promise concerning this issue! FYI replacing this switch requires a 17mm wrench or SAE equivalent. (See posts 209, 210, 216 and 218 for a record of my journey.)
  • FIRST OFF, WHAT AN LPS ? I have done many car repairs myself but not encountered the "LPS"
    Where is it located? Is it hard to access?
    Thx Dave
  • The LPS is the Low Pressure Switch that cycles the A/C compressor on and off during normal operation. In the case of the PT Cruiser and other Chrysler vehicles, it also enables the low-speed radiator fan (replacing the fan is a frequent mistake). It is located atop the accumulator (firewall, passenger side). It is easily accessible and replaceable. Carefully unclip the connector and test compressor engagement with a paperclip. You can get the Sentech LPS at AutoZone (etc.) for under $20. No hose, vacuum, or freon required. The LPS is screwed onto a valve fitting to prevent loss of freon gas (just unscrew and re-attach quickly).
  • Dave

    The LPS stands for Low Pressure Switch, which, on the PT Cruiser is one and the same with the air conditioner cycling switch (a nice tidbit of information to know since some mechanics as well as auto part store clerks refer to by the first and others by the second, leading you to believe there are TWO different switches). It is mounted atop a silver-colored metal canister which is attached to the firewall on the passenger side of the vehicle.
  • I have a 2007 PT Cruiser and 2 or 3 years ago the A/C stopped blowing cold air unless I was driving. It would blow hot air and make the engine sputter when stopped at a light or stop sign, or when idling. Within the past few months it started gurgling when parked. Then, yesterday, it started blowing smelly smoke out of the vents, so I turned it off and haven't turned it back on. Now, it is dumping hot liquid into the drivers side of the car burning my feet when I am driving. It leaks more liquid as the car gets hotter, and when I make a right turn. It smells awful, and is filling my floorboard with liquid. The engine is not overheating, and I checked the fluids in everything I could find under the hood, but I am not exactly car savvy. I know it has something to do with the A/C, but where do I start?

    Thank you,
    I took a picture of where it's dripping/pouring from, but there is nothing there that looks like it has a leak.
  • bronzedartbronzedart Posts: 1
    We own a '04 pt, the air is blowing warm. The compressor isn't working, I tried the paperclip to jump the cycle switch and it came on but still warm. Replaced the switch but it still doesn't come on unless I jump the connection, and still warm. I noticed the ac control fan switch inside the car doesn't light up blue when you turn it to the cool settings also, it does on the white side. Any help out there? Also I don't have a lower side port in my line to recharge it as pictured online and in the book, help?
  • The switch and paperclip won't help if you are out of Freon or the low-speed fan does not actually run. These are just two of a dozen other potential problems. In any case, there is a lower side port all systems have them.
  • cevans3901cevans3901 Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a 2007 Pt Cruiser. Replaced the fan last year, and had no more problems for several months. Once when I turned it on it blew hot air only and compressor wouldn't come on. First time in the spring, it worked fine and was ice cold, but when I turned it on again, and after many attempts, compressor won't come on. Freon is full. Any suggestions?
  • First step - always. Perform the paper clip test described in a few dozen posts on this site.
  • ptcruzrptcruzr Posts: 4
    Here is what I have checked so far:
    low pressure fuse - ok
    Freon level - ok
    new low pressure relay installed
    Compresser belt - ok

    High pressure fan works when radiator is hot. But the air conditioner still does not work. We added coolant and have looked all over and see no reason why the fan is not working when air conditioner is on. There seems to be little if any cool air coming from the vents, however, the weather has been cool. When the a/c is turned on, the car seems to surge when idling but as yet has not stalled. When the a/c is turned off, no problem. We are wondering what to check next prior to simply assuming that it is the fan. Is there a way to check the compressor? What about hoses or switches or anything we may have missed. Thanks for any help.
  • jkfljkfl Posts: 4
    I don't know much about this stuff at all... but I can tell you I have a 2003 and have had to replace the coolant fan TWICE. I also ended up having the compressor, evaporator & dryer replaced but the air still didn't blow cold ($1000+). THEN they "tried" to tell me I needed a new condenser as well, but another mechanic figured out the inside/outside "door" (i.e. you can switch back & forth) was stuck only bringing outside air in. It took a few minutes to fix that and I was good to go (saved me $400)! Now I'm dealing with the motor mounts needing to be replaced AGAIN. The car shakes like hell but there's no way I can afford this repair. I would NEVER have purchased this car had I known the cost of upkeep. Good luck!
  • The hi-speed radiator fan does not affect A/C; the lo-speed fan does. The LPS must function to cycle the lo-speed fan.
  • ptcruzrptcruzr Posts: 4
    Ok. we checked the low pressure switch with an ohm meter and it showed continuity. Do we still need to use the paper clip test? What is the purpose of the low pressure switch? What should we check next to find out why it does not work?
  • ptcruzrptcruzr Posts: 4
    What is the inside/outside door? that you refer to?
  • The paperclip test does one of two things: it verifies the LPS as a culprit, or, it indicates another source of the problem. By using the paperclip to short out the LPS connector cable contacts, the low-speed radiator fan should activate. This must happen for the A/C to function. If the paperclip is properly shorting out the contacts in the LPS connector cable and the low-speed radiator is still not running then there is a good chance that the fan, relay, or fan cable is defective (assuming a good fuse). If those things are known good, then there is a problem in the compressor clutch engagement (assuming that the original issues was non-engagement).
  • ptcruzrptcruzr Posts: 4
    If we turn on the air conditioner and the LPS is working, then should the low speed fan be running?
    If we short out the LPS connector cable contacts(with the paper clip), does that assume that the LPS is not working even though it appeared to be working with the ohmmeter which showed continuity? Is there another switch, fuse, or cable that might be defective?
    We have checked the following and determined that they are working:
    COmpressor belt, fuse for low speed relay, freon level, low speed relay, high speed radiator fan (or at least the fan came on when the radiator was hot), low pressure switch (by ohmeter test).

    Is there an easy way to find out if the clutch is engaged or not without putting the car up on lifts?
  • rbailrbail Posts: 1
    Melissa...does it smell sweet? If so, it's more than likely antifreeze. Can you find out what color? My 07 has red colored coolant. Also, most AC systems won't be pouring fluid. My 13 years of being a Ford Technician tells me you have a heater core thats bad. Hope this may help you out some. Randy Bailey
  • johngee3johngee3 Posts: 2
    Allow me to perceive you as somewhat of an authority. My P/T overheated twice, with the 1st time being low coolant and the 2nd time they replaced the fan. NOW it runs in idle for as long as 45 minutes with the needle in the normal position and (so far) I've been able to drive 12 miles without the needle moving UNTIL I switch on the AC and it goes up again until I turn off the AC. Help!
  • johngee3johngee3 Posts: 2
    Why would the 2003 P/T Cruiser heat up when the AC goes on?
  • Which of the two fans was replaced? The low-speed fan is a MUST for A/C - no low-speed fan = no A/C. The high-speed fan will run independently of the A/C and the low-speed fan. Secondly, if the LPS is "stuck" in the closed position (ON) the compressor will over compress and over-heat the condenser; causing the radiator to over-heat.
  • See the next message.
  • :confuse: i have a 06 pt cruiser the ac works up 50 mph when you run at 70 the ac compreser stops and it gets hot slow down to 50 mph and it cools can some one HELP :sick:
  • 2006 limited cruiser. the accumulator, when the air conditioner is first (one time only) turned on makes a pop and shakes violently. system is cooling but there is a short cycle of the compressor so I'm sure it is a little low on freon. any suggestions?
  • bpupicbpupic Posts: 1
    My PT 2.4 (2003) has the following problem: in the past 20 days it leaked freon gas twice, which has been just filled in. Moreover, the A/C turns on even when the regular outside air cooling is on. Temperature of the car is always optimal and its control system indicates no error. What could be the problem???
  • wrosamondwrosamond Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 PT Cruiser and the a/c unit has gone out 3 times. It seems to loose charge in "hot" weather and blows warm air. I have replaced a/c unit 3 times within last month. Seems like it over pressures and pops overpressure valve. It worked real good at first, but after the outside temp. got hot it blew warm air. A puff of vapor was seen when I stopped.
  • Have you checked both the low-speed and high-speed fan operation? A fault in either can cause similar symptoms. What do you mean when you say you have replaced A/C unit three times in the past month?
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