Air Conditioner 97 Honda Accord

cjheckJune 10, 2005

A/C is blowing out warm air. Took my car to a back yard mechanics for refrigerant. He couldn't fix it stating refrigerant level was fine. He trace it back and believes it is a faulty switch. Didn't want to play around with this and recommended taking it back to the dealer. Does this seem correct and what would be a fair price to fix. Would like to avoid taking it back to the dealer. Thanks

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Better to employ the service of a good AC shop, with this horrid weather, be prepared to wait a few days..The Honda dealers in my area (York county,PA) are extremely expensive, and I do not trust them...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 5:06PM
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Just had this same situation with my 97 Accord.
System needed recharging. No leaks found.
I'm in CA, took to the dealership, cost for recharging and freon $141.95
Labor ate up $112.00 of that.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 5:00PM
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If the system needed recharging, it's leaking.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 5:12PM
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Well now that's not good news.

(Reading directly off invoice)
Evacuated & recharged.
Added dye to system, no leaks found at this time.

Been working great for last couple months.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 5:41PM
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It may have a very slow leak that didn't leak out enough of the dye that they could see it in the time they had to work with it.

It may need to be recharged again in a year or two. Then again, it may take longer than that before it needs to be recharged.

But, the good news is that since they added dye to the system, if does need a recharge again, they'll likely be able to pinpoint the leak at that time.

I would definitely consider having them check the AC system out next spring, to see if it's low.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 5:50PM
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Thanks Brian

Actually, they did mention the part about being able to detect a leak if any at a later time, now that the dye is there.
Summer has started, and it's often 100 degrees, so AC is mighty important!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 5:55PM
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One thing to keep in mind, all car a/c systems leak some. Unlike home systems that have a hermetically-sealed refrigeration system, car systems have o-rings in the compressor to keep the refrigerant in. (They have to be built this way because on a car the compressor is driven by a belt rather than a motor that's built into the same housing as the compressor.)

So, on a '97, if this is the first time it's been low, your refrigerant loss may well be within spec, and the dealer could be correct that you have no other leaks than the "normal" small losses from the compressor o-ring. You may be good for another several years.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 9:11PM
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Cjheck, sorry, I forgot your original question.

If the a/c isn't coming on at all (compressor does not start when you turn the a/c on), then you could have a bad switch or you could be low on refrigerant. (The system won't start if the refrigerant is too low.)

You don't need to go to the dealer, but you do need a shop that regularly works on a/c systems. Check your local yellow pages. The price to fix is hard to estimate without knowing what's wrong. If it's just low on refrigerant, it'll need to be leak tested, and any leaks will need to be fixed, and then it'll have to be recharged. Ask the shop to diagnose the problem and provide you with a written estimate before making repairs. Assuming the compressor itself isn't bad and there aren't any other major problems, this shouldn't be extremely expensive; hopefully it won't be out of the $100 to $150 range.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 9:19PM
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Evidently, R134 has a tendency to slowly "weep", and this indeed is hard to detect and may not be economically feasible to repair..
But at least no harmful chlorine gases are emitted..

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:01PM
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To the best of my knowledge, my '96 Ford Contour which uses R134a had never had the AC recharged until January of last year when it was then about 8 years old. The AC recharge, as you might have guessed from the month, was due to a repair which required that the condensor/radiator be removed; not due to any problems with the AC itself (which I wouldn't have noticed in January anyway).

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 10:21PM
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Similarly, I have a '96 Ford pickup and the a/c on that has never been serviced in any way; still works great. The spec would say that you can lose "up to" a certain amount, but of course many systems would lose less than that.

One other thing is, a lot of the newer systems have an extremely low charge volume. The '96 Fords may still have a 2 1/2 or 3 lb. charge. On the '97 Honda they already may have cut that back to around 1 - 1 1/2 lb. Now a lot of the cars, such as the new Chevy Malibu, have really low refrigerant charge volumes, so I would expect that a considerable number of these systems will need some refrigerant added after several years.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 8:36AM
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