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***Newby, Guidance Requested

bobnorth on Tue June 19, 2012 8:03 PM User is offline

Year: 98
Make: Honda
Model: Civic
Engine Size: 1.6
Refrigerant Type: R134
Pressure Low: 105
Country of Origin: United States

Just bought a 98 Civic privately, and the AC worked awesome for 1 day...very cold. Today it's blowing warm/hot air, hot/cold valve verified on cold side completely. I hooked up a funky retail R134 refiller with a gauge and it reads 105 psi on the small connector (low side?) AC compressor kicks in when AC turned on. Any hints? Thank you.

edit*** compressor clutch not engaging

Edited: Tue June 19, 2012 at 8:22 PM by bobnorth

mk378 on Tue June 19, 2012 8:25 PM User is offline

Does the condenser fan start? If it does, check if power is reaching the compressor clutch wire. If the wire has power, unplug compressor and measure resistance through it to ground. If resistance OK (3 to 4 ohms), the clutch gap is too wide. That is a major cause of intermittent operation.

bobnorth on Tue June 19, 2012 11:10 PM User is offline

Thanks for the reply. Since my first post I found fuse 56 - 20A blown and the compressor clutch not engaging. Did some research and the fuse guards the compressor and condenser fan circuits. After replacing the fuse I had my son turn on the AC while I watched the compressor, and the clutch started squawcking and by appearance, physically binding. So it looks like it's probably the compressor clutch pulling too much current, I suppose. Any further interjections? Is the compressor clutch itself replacable rather than the whole compressor? (I recall that when I was looking at the car to purchase it, I heard the same squawck but only for an instant and assumed it was a belt slipping. Man, some people lie like a rug).

mk378 on Wed June 20, 2012 8:53 AM User is offline

Was the fan running then? If the fan doesn't work, pressure will build up and overload the compressor.

Also check that the conpressor can be turned by hand with the engine off. If it is binding inside it needs to be replaced.

bobnorth on Wed June 20, 2012 12:33 PM User is offline

Thank you for your reply and guidance. Lo and behold, after replacing the fuse and turning the system on I discovered that in fact the condenser fan was not turning. And it wasn't turning for a reason I hadn't suspected, but now in retrospect, makes all the sense in the world. This car I just bought has had a minor front end collision, some replacement parts. The condenser fan housing is bent slightly and preventing the condenser fan blade from turning. But the pressure is now in the normal range 25-40, not 100 psi.

So may I guess at what the above replies imply: the condenser fan blade not turning prevented the condenser from cooling which allowed the condenser to heat up, thus causing overpressure to the compressor. The compressor could only handle the overpressure for so long, and caused intermittent siezing, thus causing the clutch to blow the fuse.

My question to you experts...has this scenario likely to have caused lasting damage to the compressor? Once I get the fan replaced or the housing unbent and the fan spinning again, is it likely the system will then behave normally? I don't want to spend a few hundred on a compressor and service at this time. Again thanks for all the help.

mk378 on Wed June 20, 2012 4:08 PM User is offline

Stalling the fan motor makes it draw too much current, blowing the fuse. I think the fuse is supposed to be 15 amps.

The compressor coil is just a clutch, the actual horsepower that turns the compressor comes from the engine. The current through the clutch does not vary based on load.

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