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AC blows warm air

This is a discussion on AC blows warm air within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; My AC was working fine up until a few weeks ago (I don't drive my firebird much). I took the ...

  1. #1
    Member apache's Avatar
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    AC blows warm air

    My AC was working fine up until a few weeks ago (I don't drive my firebird much). I took the car to Midas for an inspection and they found this:

    - compressor "clutch" seems to have a problem, seeing some shaved filings (whatever that means)
    - the radiator fan, or whatever fan works with the AC isn't working at the full capacity it should be
    - there is some kind of a leak in the lines, but they were unable to fully detect where

    So what I would like to know is, what can I expect to have this stuff fixed? Is a new compressor expensive? What about the fan problem? Midas told me they wouldn't be able to determine the issue unless an electrical diagnostic was done, as it could be a wiring or relay issue, blah blah.

    If I take my car to GM can I expect they will be able to do a better job diagnosing all the issues, and fixing them?

  2. #2
    Single Malt rbob93's Avatar
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    Take it to a real AC shop
    If you have a leak, it may be so low on freon that the pressure switch won't let the compressor turn on.
    What & where they are seeing filings is beyond me.
    Fan that comes on during AC operation will not turn on unless AC is working or your car is really hot.
    GM will charge you bucks deluxe.
    Take it to a real AC shop

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Those Midas boneheads. We charge $150 to recharge the system and add tracer dye. Thats all you probably need. Most likely it'll last at least the rest of the summer without leaking out. If it does leak out quicker the tracer dye will show up and show the leak source.

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    Member apache's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Yeah I'm going to look for a shop which specializes in AC. Nowadays a lot of places like Midas and the dealerships will not so easily recharge the system without giving you a hassle. I've usually run into the situation where they tell me it is illegal to charge the system if there is a leak (polluting the environment, etc), and am told they need to find the leak and FIX the problem.

    But, yes, I just want to recharge my AC without having to hear all this nonsense about faulty compressors and fans and all that. At least if I take it to Midas, you'd think they could isolate the specific problems but they couldn't even do that. Luckily I told them that since they can't determine the problem, I would like my money back for the inspection and they did refund me.

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    Member QKSLVR99's Avatar
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    i got the same problem with mine, thought that is was just low on freon, but hooked up guages and the pressure was perfect. planning on taking mine to GM to fix the problem since I know a guy at our local one. Said he would fix it on off time for WAY less then the AC shops in town

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    Pony Killer Insert's Avatar
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    if its a slow leak in the lines heres what we do to diagnose...
    check pressure of R134a (gas), if its low we drain whatever is left, and pump the system full of oxygen, and then hold pressure. if pressure gauge slowly starts dropping there is a leak. small leaks are nearly impossible to find. so we then recharge system with R134a and some tracer dye, and you just have to let it leak out again over time, and this time the leak can be found. and the line can be repaired or replaced.
    choice #2: change all a/c lines... but this is expansive as hell.

    they found shavings? where the hell did they look to find shavings?

  7. #7
    Member apache's Avatar
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    The guy at Midas told me the "clutch" on my ac compressor had filings/shavings or something. Beats me, I've never heard that before. This is why its always best to take it somewhere else for a second opinion.

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    Member mdevecchio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insert View Post
    if its a slow leak in the lines heres what we do to diagnose...
    check pressure of R134a (gas), if its low we drain whatever is left, and pump the system full of oxygen, and then hold pressure. if pressure gauge slowly starts dropping there is a leak. small leaks are nearly impossible to find. so we then recharge system with R134a and some tracer dye, and you just have to let it leak out again over time, and this time the leak can be found. and the line can be repaired or replaced.
    choice #2: change all a/c lines... but this is expansive as hell.

    they found shavings? where the hell did they look to find shavings?
    I have one for you... I have a compressor the sometimes comes on and sometimes it doesn't. I have gas in the system and when it does run it runs good pressures. The A/C switch works as it should and everything runs except the Compressor. Checked fuses and all good, I still need to check voltage at the relay to verify that its not the problem. As I said it will run (when it wants to)
    and it will start and stop when using the switch and then later restart the car and it wont work at all.
    Thanks for any help,
    Marc

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apache View Post
    Thanks guys. Yeah I'm going to look for a shop which specializes in AC. Nowadays a lot of places like Midas and the dealerships will not so easily recharge the system without giving you a hassle. I've usually run into the situation where they tell me it is illegal to charge the system if there is a leak (polluting the environment, etc), and am told they need to find the leak and FIX the problem.
    WOOOOW thats dumb. Thats why we recharge and add tracer dye. That gets us past the "illegal to refill a leaky system." Now once we find a leak, we won't recharge the system without fixing the problem. THATS ILLEGAL!! I work at a GM Dealership FYI.

    And metal shavings are normal when you have a steel clutch that engages against a steel pulley. Jeez did Midas hire a high school kid who is trying to talk smart or what??!??

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    Pony Killer Insert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdevecchio View Post
    I have one for you... I have a compressor the sometimes comes on and sometimes it doesn't. I have gas in the system and when it does run it runs good pressures. The A/C switch works as it should and everything runs except the Compressor. Checked fuses and all good, I still need to check voltage at the relay to verify that its not the problem. As I said it will run (when it wants to)
    and it will start and stop when using the switch and then later restart the car and it wont work at all.
    Thanks for any help,
    Marc
    well if when it does run, it runs fine i would doubt it is compressor. i would look into an electrical problem somewhere, might be a short.

    is there any squealing noise when it wont work? if so, it might be a bad clutch... but i would look for an electrical problem first.

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    Member mdevecchio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insert View Post
    well if when it does run, it runs fine i would doubt it is compressor. i would look into an electrical problem somewhere, might be a short.

    is there any squealing noise when it wont work? if so, it might be a bad clutch... but i would look for an electrical problem first.
    No squealing noises. Any idea where to look for a possible loose wire or any electrical problems pertaining to the A/C circuit?
    Its funny because I just went thru repairing the VATS connection a couple weeks ago! (Just added resistors)

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    I'd try swapping the AC Compressor relay in the underhood block with another relay in there like the AIR Pump or something. While you're at it check the bottom of the relay for green corrosion.
    Another idea is to run a new ground wire (the black one) for the compressor.
    At least these 2 ideas will help narrow it down somewhat.

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    Member mdevecchio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    I'd try swapping the AC Compressor relay in the underhood block with another relay in there like the AIR Pump or something. While you're at it check the bottom of the relay for green corrosion.
    Another idea is to run a new ground wire (the black one) for the compressor.
    At least these 2 ideas will help narrow it down somewhat.
    Thats some great ideas, im heading to Carlisle tomorrow so it wont be until sunday that I can check but ill let you know.

    Thanks for the help


    Marc

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    the cake is a lie twozs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutlass View Post
    WOOOOW thats dumb. Thats why we recharge and add tracer dye. That gets us past the "illegal to refill a leaky system." Now once we find a leak, we won't recharge the system without fixing the problem. THATS ILLEGAL!! I work at a GM Dealership FYI.

    And metal shavings are normal when you have a steel clutch that engages against a steel pulley. Jeez did Midas hire a high school kid who is trying to talk smart or what??!??
    you have heard of filling the system with dry nitrogen and spraying the fittings with a liquid leak detector and finding the leak that way?BTW i have CFC certification and it is illegal to vent any freon. after you find the leak how do you discharge the contaminated freon in the system to fix the leak? and how do metal filings get into the sealed system from the clutch, explain that one . do you really know how this stuff works!
    Last edited by twozs; 06-20-2008 at 09:01 PM.

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    Member apache's Avatar
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    Update:
    Well, I took my car to a shop yesterday which specializes in AC. They had my car in there for a couple hours inspecting it, and couldn't find any leak. They didn't even mention anything about the fan issue reported by Midas, or the compressor "shavings" (probably because there was no real issue there). Anyway, I paid for $155 for the entire inspection and an AC charge. They put the tracer dye in like some of you said. Good shop, and very knowledgeable guys. Now I have AC!
    Last edited by apache; 06-20-2008 at 11:27 PM.

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    Single Malt rbob93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apache View Post
    Update:
    Well, I took my car to a shop yesterday which specializes in AC. They had my car in there for a couple hours inspecting it, and couldn't find any leak. They didn't even mention anything about the fan issue reported by Midas, or the compressor "shavings" (probably because there was no real issue there). Anyway, I paid for $155 for the entire inspection and an AC charge. They put the tracer dye in like some of you said. Good shop, and very knowledgeable guys. Now I have AC!
    Cool!.....pun intended

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twozs View Post
    you have heard of filling the system with dry nitrogen and spraying the fittings with a liquid leak detector and finding the leak that way?BTW i have CFC certification and it is illegal to vent any freon. after you find the leak how do you discharge the contaminated freon in the system to fix the leak? and how do metal filings get into the sealed system from the clutch, explain that one . do you really know how this stuff works!
    hahaha what?!?! The metal shavings aren't in the sealed system, they were apparently on the compressor clutch.
    Yeah I am A/C certified here in Wisconsin. I've never heard of the nitrogen leak detection but now I am curious. I'll have to do a little research on that.
    The method we use if the leak isn't easily found, is to recharge the system with refrigerant and tracer dye and have the customer come back in about 200 miles. Sometimes by then the dye shows up, so we use our A/C machines to suck the refrigerant out, then fix the leak, and recharge the system. We don't just vent it to the atmosphere. I don't understand your question about the contaminated freon because its not contaminated with anything???

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    Member iam_dale's Avatar
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    Why is it illegal to vent R134? I thought the automakers went to this rinstead of the old freon because R134 wasn't a pollutant. Am I wrong on this?

    thanks
    dale

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    yes they are not as strict for 134a as they were for R-12, back in CA i was told by the shop to discharge (r-12) at my own risk.

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    Life in the Fast lane sunsetorangess's Avatar
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    Midas, Meinke and jiffylube are just quick oil change places, Save yourself time and heartache by searching for the right shop for the job. Iv had too many customers come to me to fix things that were messed up by the other places.
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