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Civic Problems

ice2003 on Thu August 05, 2010 3:01 PM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 94
Make: Honda
Model: Civic
Engine Size: 1.5L
Refrigerant Type: R134a
Country of Origin: United States

I recently replaced everything but the lines in my wife's Civic's ac system. I replaced the compressor, evaporator, expansion valve, condenser, and drier. I then took it to the shop and had them pull a vacuum, leak test, add oil, and recharge. I get the car back, and the air is not cold at all. Now warm air, but cool. It will NOT keep you cool in this 90 degree weather. They said there was high pressure on the low side and that it was probably due to a bad compressor. I didn't believe it was the compressor, so I got some gauges and checked everything myself. At 90 degrees ambient temp, idle, low side was 60, which is high, and high side was 210. At 1500 RPM ( roughly, car doesn't have a tach ), low was 40, and high was 260. They said they added 19 oz of refrigerant, whereas the manual says it holds 21-23 oz. It also says that it has a total oil capacity of 5 oz. The shop said they added 2-4 oz oil, they didn't really know because the machine does it. Well, after that remark, I'm done with them, and will fix this on my own. I'm just unsure of the direction to take. Any have any helpful hints?

Chick on Thu August 05, 2010 10:03 PM User is offlineView users profile

Does you car have an under hood sticker for the refrigerant amounts, most do.. 94 and 95 show 19 ounces of refrigerant, 96 is 21 to 23 ounces, but I always go by the underhood sticker.. As far as oil, you do need the proper amount, and if they don't know how much they put in, you can go by their "guess" and add a couple more, or flush the system and do it over... Make sure your fan's are operating properly also, clean air path thru the condenser, and remember some cars cool better than others.. If you want to do your own repairs you will need proper tools, such as Ac starter kit How does it cool at night, on the highway, or when the humidity is lower??

Email: Chick


Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose

ice2003 on Thu August 05, 2010 11:39 PM User is offlineView users profile

Thanks for the reply! I will check the underhood sticker tomorrow if it is still there. I wanted to add 1 oz more of pag 46, but I learned that you cannot add oil to a charged system without an oil injector. The condenser fan comes on when the ac is on. The car doesn't seem to cool better at night, but it does on the highway, which led me to believe that is was slightly low on refrigerant. I tried adding some more at 1500 rpms, using my gauge set, but it wouldn't take any more. The pressures never moved. I tried using warm water on the can, as well. If I can't get it working, I will have the shop evacuate it, then I will flush, add correct amount of oil, vacuum, and add correct amount of refrigerant. I just don't understand why it is not cooling, when everything is brand new, and the pressures are not that bad. Also, if it helps any, the low side line from the compressor is ice cold and sweats, while the high side line is warm, but not hot. I believe this is normal. ?

Edited: Thu August 05, 2010 at 11:40 PM by ice2003

ice2003 on Sun August 08, 2010 10:18 PM User is offlineView users profile

Ok, so no sticker under the hood indicating proper amount of refrigerant. My wife told me that while the ac is on, and she has it blowing on her feet, when she goes around a turn, some water from the vents comes out. I don't know if this is indicative of a problem, but figured I'd let you experts know. I do have some slight high pressures on the high side ( correct? ), and the ac does get cooler on the highway, so I will test the condenser by misting it it with water and then see if the pressures come down and if it gets cooler. The fan does come on, but if the mist brings down temps and pressure, then what would be the next step? Thanks again.

Dougflas on Sun August 08, 2010 11:38 PM User is offline

if water mist brings down the pressures and makes it cold, then start at airflow across condenser or oil plugging up condenser.

Edited: Sun August 08, 2010 at 11:39 PM by Dougflas

ice2003 on Mon August 09, 2010 10:23 AM User is offlineView users profile

Thanks for the reply. I don't see how either one of those could be a problem. If anything, the oil in the system is too low. The condenser is brand new, and there are no obstructions in the front of the car that would reduce ram air. The condenser may just be insufficient, even thought it is new. I don't know how well this car ever cooled. My wife has had it for 4 years, and it never had a working ac. I will still try the mist tonight after work. I am beginning to think the shop did not pull a vacuum for long enough, or they introduced air when they were charging. This was done at Ken Towery's. I figured they would know what they were do, but after talking to them, it doesn't appear that way.

98audiA4 on Mon August 09, 2010 11:18 AM User is offline

i had a 93 civic i converted myself and the air got plenty cold so yours should definitely have the capability. keep at it, the reward is well worth it.

ice2003 on Mon August 09, 2010 1:51 PM User is offlineView users profile

Well, that's encouraging lol......what all did you do?

98audiA4 on Mon August 09, 2010 2:31 PM User is offline

nothing much. the original problem was a lack of cooling but i didnt know why right away. after some digging i found the evaporator (air) inlet to be completely blocked with leaves. afterwhich the airflow was better but cooling was so-so. not knowing the condition of the system i vac'd it and completely flushed it and filled it with r-134a and it worked great. i know this isnt very helpful since it was so straightforward. the only problem i did have was the evaporator thermostat shutting the system down at 50f vent temps. normally thats fine once the car is cooled down so to get past this issue i used a switch wired in parallel to the evap thermostat to override it until the car was cooled down. after such a time i turned off the switch and let the car manage it itself. it had no problem giving my 20f temps with the switch on. i sold it to a guy i work with who still drives it and it continues to cool just fine.

ice2003 on Thu August 12, 2010 10:17 PM User is offlineView users profile

Ok, so sprayed the condenser with water today. Car was on and ac was on full blast. At idle, and no water, low side was 50 and high side was 200. With water, high came down to 165. It was not a fast drop, but slowly. At roughly 1500 RPM ( again, car doesn't have tach ), low was 30, and high was around 250. With water, it came down to about 200-210. Air did not feel any cooler with water on the condenser. However, I tried the air with the blower on low, and the air did feel cooler. The condenser fan is pulling air in the right direction. I tested it with a piece of paper. The fan seems to be turning pretty fast, as well. Temp outside was about 90. Any ideas? Thanks!

fasto on Thu August 12, 2010 11:21 PM User is offline

I'd disconnect, pinch off, or otherwise block the flow of coolant to the heater and check the temperature of the air again. Or, check it ASAP after starting a cold engine.

ice2003 on Fri August 13, 2010 1:32 PM User is offlineView users profile

Do you mean block the flow to the heater core? If so, how would I go about doing that?

fasto on Fri August 13, 2010 4:09 PM User is offline

Originally posted by: ice2003
Do you mean block the flow to the heater core? If so, how would I go about doing that?

Yes that's exactly what I mean. Your testing indicates to me that the air conditioner is getting the evaporator cold. Thus, I believe heat is coming from somewhere else. Civics have a hot water valve of some sort that can be a problem as it's supposed to throttle the flow of coolant to the heater core based on the temperature lever. Even a little leakage when it's supposed to be OFF will give you high vent temps. You could find this valve and make sure the cable from the temp control is moving it all the way closed. I bet it's either out of adjustment or leaking a bit.

Not knowing the car I can't say how to block the heater core coolant flow. I have seen a vice-grip like tool that has smooth jaws made for blocking coolant and fuel rubber hoses, though I can't recall exactly where I saw this; Sears maybe?

You could also try running the AC immediately on starting with the engine cold, before it's had a chance to heat the coolant, and see what the vent temps are. If the vent temps start low and climb as the engine warms that would also suggest reheating by the heater core.

ACProf on Fri August 13, 2010 9:51 PM User is offline

You can try this from the drivers seat too.

On a warmed up car, make sure the vent controls are all set for the A/C with a high vent fan setting. Then turn off the compressor ( push the AC button off) and go for a ride. If the air coming out the AC vents is hotter than ambient, the heater coil is charged.

Note: THe mechanical (cable and vacuum operated) heater water valve gets crusty and inoperative and fails to shut off the hot water to the heater coil. Clamp the pressure side heater water hose with a vice grip (or make a water hose sandwich with two pieces of wood) to shut off the flow.

Try the vent air experiment again........

ice2003 on Sat August 14, 2010 8:00 PM User is offlineView users profile

Thanks to both of you. I will try these ideas tomorrow hopefully. Another question. My wife tells me that freezing cold water keep falling on her feet when she goes around a turn and th ac has been on. It doesn't matter if the blower setting is on feet, or the upper vents. I made sure I put the evap drain hose back where it was supposed to go when I installed it. What could be causing this, and is it related to the problem of no cooling? Thanks again.

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