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honda civic intermittent a/c

excivic on Tue September 23, 2014 6:50 PM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 2002
Make: civic
Model: ex

2002 Honda Civic EX

A/C produces cold air for about 6 minutes from a
cold start, or from about 1.5 hrs "rest". Then the
air blows gradually warmer (and steamier).

On a hot day no cold air is produced, only warm, &
sometimes this is true on a cold day too, but it usually
does something for a few minutes before quitting.

The compressor clutch can be seen spinning during this
cool period, & then quit. The warm air starts at the same time.

Had this problem for about 2 years.

I've had wildly different diagnoses by different mechanics.

There are no test error pulses.
I've done the FSM voltage tests for the clutch circuit,
nothing appeared wrong. Replaced the clutch relay
anyway because it was a freebie, no change. I'm
not going to just change the ECM (that's one of the
recs in the manual - it seems ridiculous). I'd
like a better indication or test for need, that's one
expensive problem.

It seems like a temperature related problem.

Any advice or recommendations?

mk378 on Tue September 23, 2014 8:22 PM User is offline

The condenser fans should start whenever it is calling for the compressor to run. That generally proves the ECM and other controls arei OK. If power is reaching the compressor but it doesn't engage, it could be the thermal protector, but most likely you just need to reduce the clutch gap. The coil generates less magnetism as it gets hot, and if the gap is too wide the clutch will not engage.

excivic on Wed September 24, 2014 7:17 PM User is offlineView users profile

I'd like to test the thermal protector by bypassing it,
but I can't figure out how to disconnect the
connector to bypass it. Any idea what the trick is?
I think it's an S-973 connector.

Edited: Wed September 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM by excivic

excivic on Wed September 24, 2014 8:24 PM User is offlineView users profile

We were able to figure this out & pry the connector apart.
Jumpering across it made no difference, & resistance read
quite low at both cold & hot engine temp.

It's time to mess with shims or maybe just get
a clutch R&R kit, I think.

bohica2xo on Wed September 24, 2014 11:44 PM User is offline

Just pull the clutch plate & adjust the shim pack.

Closer is better. A business card is a fine gap gauge. Even if the card is snug, all is good as long as it does not touch.

A bearing replacement is a much bigger job, and on a 12 year old compressor it can be a poor investment.


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~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

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