Engine Size: 3.5L
Refrigerant Type: 134a
I have a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica. The A/C compressor started acting up recently. When I turn the A/C on, the compressor would come on for a few seconds and then stop for about 15 to 30 seconds. It would cycle like this most of the time, occasionally staying on for 30+ seconds. When it would stay on for over 30 seconds, the air would get cold, then it would start cycling for 2 seconds and shutting off for 30 seconds again. Recently it stopped cycling completely when I put the A/C on. Before the air started blowing real warm, I checked the refridgerant charge and it shows to be in the fully charged range. The air worked great just prior to this happening and would get ice cold. There are no leaks and it never had any. The car has 50K on it. When the compressor stopped working completely, it started making noise from the clutch. I could smell the clutch material burning one day and then it stopped (the smell). I can see some of the clutch material splattered around the clutch area now and it's still making noise like the clutch is touching the pulley, but it's not engaged. No smell at all anymore. Considering that the system is fully charged, what would cause it to operate for 2 seconds and then stay off for 15 to 30 seconds and cycle like that continously? Would this operation cause the clutch material to burn up? Can the clutch be replaced without replacing the whole compressor and how hard of a job is it? Would it be cost effective as compared to replacing the compressor? If I replace the whole compressor, are there any other parts that need to be replaced once the system is opened? Shortly before the A/C started acting up, I noticed my radiator fan operating when it shouldn't have been, like when the engine was cool. I was told that the A/C pressure switch also controls the fan when the A/C need cooling. Could the pressure switch be bad and be the culprit to the erratic clutch operation??? Any help here is much appreciated! Thanks.......Dave
Edited: Tue August 10, 2010 at 1:42 AM by Grbullets
Dave, it sounds like it may have been cycling due to low charge. You cannot check proper charge with a gauge that shows "full charge range"; it must be done by weight. I would guess that continued operation with a low charge has restricted proper lubrication to the compressor, which began to lock up (smoking the belt) and spewing metal shards of contamination into the condenser (high head pressure causing the fans to kick on). When replacing the compressor, you will also need to change the TXV and R/D, and flush the system clean. If you cannot flush it properly you will at least need a new condenser also; if not a total system replacement. If it does indeed have a full charge, then maybe it is just a clutch gap issue. Look for any possible stored A/C codes (?).
You are best off replacing the compressor assy. There most likely is some internal damage to the compressor and you're not sure why the clutch went. I'm sure this forums sponsor can help get you the right one. Another thing to check out is how clean the condenser and radiator are. Is there debris hindering the airflow through them. Even though the face of the condenser appears clean, it's amazing how much stuff can accumulate between the condenser and radiator. Having resticted air flow can cause excessivly high pressure and can stall out the compressor and cause the clutch to burn. Don't try to hose it out with water, use compressed air to blow it out.
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