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95 Honda Civic problems

nephalist on Fri March 28, 2008 10:57 AM User is offline

Year: 95
Make: Honda
Model: Civic
Engine Size: willlook
Refrigerant Type: R134
Ambient Temp: ?
Pressure Low: ?
Pressure High: ?

Hello all,
First time poster. Looking for advice on my wife's Honda Civic that has never had good AC. We bought it used and the AC cooling was poor. Had it charged and it didn't do much. A few years ago it quit on us. We went to a few shops and finally a Honda dealer who did a few 'things' (don't remember) but in the end they recommended a new compressor for $1200. So a few months ago I found a local shop that put in a new (rebuilt?) compressor for $600. The AC worked, but not very well, for about a week.

Then the engine had catastrophic damage. We put in a used engine and kept the compressor. The mechanic charged the system, and it is working after a month, but not very well. I have had a 95 civic as well (mine is a hatchback while hers is a 4door) that had excellent AC.

My question is what is the next best component to suspect if there is a good compressor, a fresh charge of refrigerant, yet the cooling power is not good? I'm going to take it to an AC specialist before summer hits, but I'd like to know a little about the problem before he pulls any shenanigans on me.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

TRB on Fri March 28, 2008 11:34 AM User is offlineView users profile

Too many variables with an a/c system to say look at this. First thing I would suggest is check all the visible connections and hoses for oily spots. Next would be to put a set of gauges on it and see what the pressure readings are. While checking this I would inspect that the cooling fans are working and that there is not debris blocking air flow across the condenser. Once I knew what the readings were I would moved on to the next phase of diagnosing the system.

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mk378 on Fri March 28, 2008 11:49 AM User is offline

Check your water valve on the firewall, this is a very common situation with Hondas. If the cable is out of adjustment, the valve won't close completely and the heater is still active even with the lever on full cold, canceling out the A/C.

Ask your mechanic if he pumped out the air before recharging. If not the air/refrigerant mixture should be recovered (recycle it, do not reuse), the system should be evacuated with a good vacuum pump and charged again. Air in the system really hurts performance. Even if the compressor was not disconnected during engine replacement (it does not have to be), it may still have air from a long time ago.

Very important about bent fins, bugs, etc. blocking the air thru the condenser.

nephalist on Fri March 28, 2008 12:10 PM User is offline

MK378, thanks for the water valve tip. The heater cancelling out the AC sounds like it could be a potential culprit. As for air in the lines; three charges from two different mechanics and always poor results? I don't see how both mechanics could have failed to remove the air, but who knows. Isn't it standard procedure to evacuate the system before recharging?

Also, the compressor was completely removed from the old damaged engine and attached to the replacement engine. So the charge was completely new.

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