Air Conditioner blows. Hot air that is....

TuroLance

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I'm a DIYer, I'd like to solve this issue without costly/careless shop rerpair. I've been reading many posts about this issue as my AC just stopped working. The prior owner charged the system at 30k miles. Currently it has 126k miles. The estimate from a local AC shop was $1000 in parts, $2000 in labor. Replacing Compressor, Evaporator & condenser.
Here is the plan.
First: I am going to buy a gauge/refill hose & refill can of 1234yf. Fill the system and just see how long the refrigerant holds. Any links to refill procedures? Can I re-check the pressure over time like a tire pressure? How do I know if I need to inject oil?
Second: I'll replace the easiest part, the compressor. Then refill refrigerant and see how quickly it escapes. Since the problems are with the Honda parts, what compressor should I buy? Can I replace the compressor without replacing the condenser?
Third: The filter/dryer is attached to the condenser? If I want to replace the filter/dryer, I have to replace the condenser?
Last: I really have no desire to pull apart the entire dash to access the evaporator, I guess I will if I have to, but I think that should be the last resort.
Any info from people who have actually done this would be appreciated, Thank you.
Can global warming theorists please not hijack my thread, Thank you.





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SDAlexander8

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It ain’t theoretical. Just a vastly inconsistent understanding of the time scale.

Anyway, you filling your A/C with 1234yf as a bandaid fix, knowing it will leak out isn’t on you. It’s on the company that manufactured the A/C components that they didn’t stress test enough before sending out to be put into millions of vehicles.

Honda should be suing their asses and offering free replacement for life on any of the A/C components that go bad. Nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on a problematic A/C system in a brand new car.
 
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NotSerious

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Honda has a "hidden warranty" for 10 years on the condensor. Check to see if the condensor has been replaced before. If not, find a good dealer that will do that for you. They won't replace the other parts, but it may save you some money.

Get some leak dye put in the system and get one of those kits with a light and glasses.
How to Find a Coolant Leak in Your Car with UV Dye
 
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TuroLance

TuroLance

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I emailed Honda to find out that there are no recalls on my vehicle based on vin number.
I spoke with a service professional at my local Honda West. They don't just replace condensers with no questions asked... He said that if I come do a diagnostic for $275 and they find that the condenser is the cause of the problem, they will replace for free. Now I know that all my components leak slowly, They won't replace the condenser for 'free' unless I also replace the evaporator and compressor.
Let's be realistic, that 'free' condenser is bait for much more expensive component replacement. It is also the cheapest of the components. It also contains the filter/dryer, so it should be replaced anytime you change any component or get moisture in the system.
 
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TuroLance

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I added a can of refrigerant.
The gauge would read 25psi on the low side, while idling.
The gauge would read 30psi on the low side, while idling, after driving 3 miles.
The gauge would read 70psi on the low side, engine off, 1 hour after driving.
I got the same results twice, two different days.
When I turn the temp to Lo, it gets cold, thermometer in vent reads 40 degrees. When I turn the temp up 2 degrees, the air temp goes up 20 degrees to 60. Each degree up on the thermostat, results in 5 degrees up on air temp from vent. A setting of 65 blows 82 from the vent.
Is that calibration issue an indication of something? Low refrigerant? Air or Moisture in system?
 

TriangleHeat

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First: I am going to buy a gauge/refill hose & refill can of 1234yf. Fill the system and just see how long the refrigerant holds. Any links to refill procedures? Can I re-check the pressure over time like a tire pressure?
Someone posted a service manual here a while back, that would have it. Anything that is pressurized whether it be oil, air, refrigerant can be measured over time yes. How you measure it matters more. For A/C systems for example there are two places to measure, at the low and high side of the system. Knowing both measurements is important because each side can have a wrong reading. You also have to measure it properly, taking ambient temperature into account for example.

How do I know if I need to inject oil?
This is a tricky question. You can't underoil or overoil the system, both cause issues. Normally when a part is replaced and you know a leak hasn't occurred (for example the compressor stopped working), you have to "oil balance" by measuring the oil that remained in the old part. For example draining 3 ounces from the old compressor means you drain all of the oil that comes with the new compressor and add in 3 ounces of new oil. If a leak exists though you either eyeball the severity of the leak based on the amount of oil around it or opt for a system flush. The system flush is the recommend way of dealing with an unknown quantity of oil. To do that you'd take it to a shop that has the equipment to do so after you finish up your repairs and the system is closed again.

Second: I'll replace the easiest part, the compressor. Then refill refrigerant and see how quickly it escapes. Since the problems are with the Honda parts, what compressor should I buy? Can I replace the compressor without replacing the condenser?
I wouldn't replace the compressor unless I knew there was a problem with it. It might be the easiest but it's the most expensive. From what I've heard about the issues, the issue is with the condenser, not the compressor so I wouldn't bother. Not only that, every part you replace in the system contains oil, which means you have to oil balance for every part. The less parts you pull from the system the better.

Also if the system is pressurized with your new can of 1234yf, you'll have to evacuate it before attempting to open the system up.

Third: The filter/dryer is attached to the condenser? If I want to replace the filter/dryer, I have to replace the condenser?
On most other cars I've seen, the receiver/drier is a separate canister that may or may not be attached to the condenser. On this car though the receiver/drier housing is attached to the condenser but has a threaded plug to be opened so you can replace the dessicant pouch inside.

Note that the receiver/drier should always be replaced last. The longer it's exposed to atmospheric air the more moisture it absorbs. Ideally you should finish all of your repairs such that the system is now closed. Then at the very end, you open up the plug for the housing, open the receiver/drier desiccant from its packaging at that time, put it in and seal it very quickly so that the system is now closed again. Your goal is to limit the amount of time it spends outside. Then immediately draw vacuum on the closed system to suck out the moisture filled air that was introduced when the system was opened, to prep it for adding refrigerant.

Last: I really have no desire to pull apart the entire dash to access the evaporator, I guess I will if I have to, but I think that should be the last resort.
Like the compressor I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. The only two cases I'd touch the evaporator and compressor:
1. They're defective or compromised.
2. The system has metal in it because of a failed compressor.
 

DRUSA

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Lot to digest here:

1.)Be sure to purchase R1234yf and not R134A, we get customers often who don't know the difference and cross-contaminate the whole system. If you want the DIY route, yes, you can use the autozone cans for a top off. Is it great? No. Does it work? Kinda. The civic takes 425g of refrigerant, under that and over that can cause issues. It best to use a machine that does a proper recovery, vacuum pull to remove air/moisture, and accurate charge. How did you plan on recovering the old refrigerant, do the ol' illegal vent to atmosphere job or?

Yes, technically you could just hook the can back up to the low side service port to check pressures periodically. The easier test is just a temp gauge in the center air vent. At full cold, recirc, full air speed it should be in the low 50F's, high 40's is great. But depending on outside conditions the outlet from the A/C vents should be about 20F colder than the air going in behind the glove box in a good working system. High humidity, low airflow to the condenser, high outside temps etc all effect the output.

You inject oil based on oil that was removed, called "balancing" the system. Machines will have a drain bottle that measures oil collected, then you add that amount back in. Most replacement parts come pre-balanced and loaded with oil. Usually Honda does have a chart that shows how many mL per part being replaced.

2.) Honda recently sent out a memo regarding the compressors. I have personally seen them fail, but they are now saying that oil leaking from the front seals behind the clutch is normal. I call BS, but that's from higher than my pay so doing what I'm told on that. I would hold of on that compressor replacement until last. Yes, you can replace compressor without replacing condensers etc. We do it all the time. The only time you do sets of parts is with compressor failure. They blow up and send metal/debris through the whole system, only replacing the compressor will just cause it to blow up again later as it will suck up this old debris. You usually replace compressor and at least condenser as well, the correct way is replacing just about everything and flushing the lines.

3.)The drier is attached to the condenser, you can replace just the filter if need be but I replace whole units.

4.)The evaporator job I think would be too much for a DIY guy. I've done the job a bunch, I've gotten it down to under 2hrs start to finish. In your garage this would take a whole weekend, you are pulling the entire dash, you need an assistant, it's really easy to cut the front seats or do damage to the dash if you aren't careful. I'm biased, but I would only trust a dealer with this repair, it's not like doing front brakes or a tire patch, you need a good tech and someone who has done it before helps a ton.

Replace the condenser first, if it blows hot again replace the compressor, if it blows hot again the evaporator.
 

DRUSA

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FYI, R1234yf is flammable. Don't be choochin' on a cigarette venting to atmosphere lol:flame:
 
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TuroLance

TuroLance

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Thank you for the help and advice.
I added a second can of refrigerant. Here is my logic: The AC shop stole the refrigerant in the system and returned the system empty. The system holds 425g or approx. 2-8oz cans. I'm sure I lost some while refilling. If not, the system leaks and it will not be overfilled, at least not for long.
I did some testing today with success. Fine tuning on the thermostat was working. Lo setting is 40 degrees. No noises. No strange smells. Operations appear normal. Now we see how long it lasts...
You guys are right, if it goes out again, and the compressor operations still seem normal, I'll replace the condenser first & do a proper system evac and refill.
Cheers
 

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