Engine Size: 1.6L
Refrigerant Type: 134a
Ambient Temp: 98
Pressure Low: 35
Pressure High: 290
Country of Origin: Japan
Installed a new compressor, drier, condenser and expansion valve in my Civic a couple of months ago. Charge was weighed using a digital scale, so I know that it is pretty close. Here is my problem...For the first month or so, here in AZ the system was working great, cooling well even at idle, but it wasn't that hot (below 100). The problem is when it get really hot, like 110+, the system does not cool at all and the pressures get really high. I talked to the guys at AMA and they said it could be an airflow issue, I felt a little suspect, since it is a brand new condenser and the fan is pulling quite a bit of air through it. When I spray the condenser, it does cool down the output and the pressures drop to a reasonable level. Tonight (110F) I noticed that the system was not cooling, and when I was parking the car, I heard an occasional squeak/hiss from the compressor, I think it is the high pressure relief. I went to spray the condensor with a squirt bottle and when I sprayed it at the inlet hose, the water sizzled so it was REALLY HOT.
I have been trying to figure out what it could be and the one thing that comes to mind is that when I replaced the condenser, I recall looking down the inlet side (parallel flow) and being able to see all the way to the bottom of the original condenser. On the replacement unit, The tubes seem like they stick into the input side tube pretty far, about half way. Could this construction difference be causing a restriction in the condenser? I am going to try to borrow an infrared thermometer and check the temperature of the condensor at the top and bottom to see what the difference is. Sorry for the long post, but wanted to see if anybody else has had a similar problem.
What happened to your system that you changed everything? was the evaporator/hoses properly flushed? how many ounces of oil did you put back into the system? i had the same problem with a Nissan Sentra, vehicle blew fine if it was under 103, but as soon as it went above that, compressor would cycle on/off due to the high pressure. The car was in a wreck so i figured there was a flow restriction at the condenser. I replaced the condenser, expansion valve and the now car blows as good as new now.
The compressor went out, sending shavings through the system. Everything was flushed (I followed the forum recommendation and used mineral spirits), 5 ounces of oil vacuumed system down w/Mastercool vacuum pump which held overnight. I agree that it is most likely a restriction problem. I will try and take temps across the condenser tonight when I get home.
There is a very good chance that the system is contaminated with debris from the new compressor. The use of mineral spirits as a flush solvent is a big "NO-NO"...it often leaves serious amounts of residue. This chemical breaks down the new lubricant and the system begins to 'self destruct'. Since the compressor installed on this vehicle is very susceptible to lubricant issues, it is suspected that the new compressor has begin to fail and the resultant debris has restricted the new condenser. This would explain the pressure release and also the excessive temperature of the condenser inlet. Also the loss of cooling efficiency can be traced to this condition also.
This is a multi pass, parallel flow condenser. The inlet side of this condenser is normally the first 10-13 tubes. The outlet or liquid side of the condenser normally incorporates the last 4-6 tubes. This arrangement make the condenser almost impossible to properly flush and clean without the use of specialized equipment. The flow is diverted thru the condenser by several diverters installed in the condenser header plates.
Suggest to recover the refrigerant and inspect the compressor for debris fields. If debris is evident in the lubricant or if the lubricant is dark gray or black in color, then the system has been contaminated by the residual flush chemical. It may be necessary to replace the entire system after this failure. At a min, the compressor, RD, and condenser. Remove the evap from the vehicle and flush very thoroughly with a flush chemical other than mineral spirits. Once the system is thoroughly clean, install the new compressor (add 2 oz of lube to suction side of compressor), the remainder may be added directly into the evaporator prior to installation. Evac and recharge to OE specs. Suggest to use the correct recharge equipment to insure correct recharge.
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