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Old 05-30-2011, 11:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Reset A/C Compressor - How to ?

So my A/C isn't blowing cold air anymore. I went through the trouble code method and I don't have any codes showing. I had it pressure tested and its properly pressurized. They checked the chemical makeup and there are no contaminants or air, and its completly charged. The cabin filter was dirty so I replaced it. My car has 100k miles on it and I haven't had any issues prior to now. On Friday it was good, on Sunday..nothing.

Yet no cold air. The compressor kicks on, but still no cold air.

Someone told me that I could short the relay switch with a paper clip to reset the compressor to make it start working again given everything else is checking out. I saw what might be the relay switch right by the cabin filter. Has anyone manually reset their compressor before to get it going again. I know its paranoia, but the thought crossed my mind on how coincidental it occurred as I rounded the bend on 100k.

Is there anything else I should be looking at ?

Note: Looking at the connections again...there are several. I don't even know which one would be a candidate for shorting the relay on to be honest. There is a big black box to the left, a connector in the back that is white on the left side, and another one on the right that is green... and probably others I can't see. Any assistance, aside from taking to the dealer, would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by bsc70808cc; 05-31-2011 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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...bump...

Going to take a guess here... the white one is the switch that I would need to jumper with a paper clip to get the compressor to cycle and start the A/C going again ... because its the only that is white ... and white is well.. like snow or ice which remains me of the A/C.

What do you think ?
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I wouldn't use a paper clip to short anything especially if you dont even know witch relay goes to what. You said you had a bunch of tests done, who did the tests? I would take it to a pro before you start sticking paper clips into things, you may turn a simple fix into a big $ problem.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I wouldn't use a paper clip to short anything especially if you dont even know witch relay goes to what. You said you had a bunch of tests done, who did the tests? I would take it to a pro before you start sticking paper clips into things, you may turn a simple fix into a big $ problem.
The diagnostics are built-in to our cars, there is another thread on this site that walks through the process of getting that part to report back any issues that the onboard systems know about. As to the other tests, I took it to a local shop here in town who hooked up some testing equipment that samples the contents of the system and does a chemical analysis as well as confirms if the system is pressurized. All that checked out... it was part of the free check up they offered.

Cycling the compressor on some cars is easy to do by way of onboard diagnostics i.e. Cadillacs . So far I haven't found anything online that indicates we have it so easy.

Your advice is well noted though, which is why I am trying to find out if anyone else has already taken that road and recycled the compressor by way of shorting the pressure switch relay.

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Old 06-01-2011, 07:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You said the compressor is kicking in correct? With the car running if you turn on the A/C the compressor does engage? If so, do the high (small pipe) and low (larger pipe) side lines feel hot and cold respectively? Does the radiator fan engage?

The shop that did the testing, did they look at pressure static, or did they confirm pressures with the A/C system running? Static pressure tells you only part of the story. With the system running the difference in pressure between the high and low side (or lack of difference) can tell a lot about what is going on in the system.

If the shop looked at the pressures while running and they were correct, then you may have a blend door problem (the door that mixes the hot and cold air from the heater and evaporator based on the temperature knob setting on the controls). Or you could have a less common issue of a blockage in the system after the evaporator, which causes the pressure drop to happen after the evaporator instead of before it, causing the system to give you no cooling effect.

If the pressures were not checked with the A/C running, then it could be a host of issues. If you say the compressor is kicking on, then it still could be either issue above, or an expansion valve issue, or maybe even an issue with the compressor itself. If the compressor is not kicking on it could be anything from a bad switch on the climate controls, bad relay, bad compressor clutch, bad high or low limit switch, etc.

First thing I would do is start the car and turn the A/C on and confirm whether or not the compressor is running. If not, it's going to be a matter of diagnosing the electrical side of things. If the compressor does run/cycle then I would feel the high and low side hoses and feel if (with the A/C running) the high side is warm and the low side is very cool/cold. Then go from there.

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Old 06-01-2011, 08:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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did you refill the a/c?
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You said the compressor is kicking in correct? With the car running if you turn on the A/C the compressor does engage? If so, do the high (small pipe) and low (larger pipe) side lines feel hot and cold respectively? Does the radiator fan engage?
With the car running the A/C compressor appears to engage. I have checked the temp on the side lines. The radiator fan engages as well.

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The shop that did the testing, did they look at pressure static, or did they confirm pressures with the A/C system running? Static pressure tells you only part of the story. With the system running the difference in pressure between the high and low side (or lack of difference) can tell a lot about what is going on in the system.
The shop checked with the A/C system running and everything indicates that its pressurized as well as being fully charged with no indications of a leak since there was no air in the system.

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If the shop looked at the pressures while running and they were correct, then you may have a blend door problem (the door that mixes the hot and cold air from the heater and evaporator based on the temperature knob setting on the controls). Or you could have a less common issue of a blockage in the system after the evaporator, which causes the pressure drop to happen after the evaporator instead of before it, causing the system to give you no cooling effect.
Any ideas on how I track that down ? I hate to take it to the shop for something stupid and easy to deal with and get charged an arm and a leg to fix.

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If the pressures were not checked with the A/C running, then it could be a host of issues. If you say the compressor is kicking on, then it still could be either issue above, or an expansion valve issue, or maybe even an issue with the compressor itself. If the compressor is not kicking on it could be anything from a bad switch on the climate controls, bad relay, bad compressor clutch, bad high or low limit switch, etc.

First thing I would do is start the car and turn the A/C on and confirm whether or not the compressor is running. If not, it's going to be a matter of diagnosing the electrical side of things. If the compressor does run/cycle then I would feel the high and low side hoses and feel if (with the A/C running) the high side is warm and the low side is very cool/cold. Then go from there.
I will go back and check the high and low side temps.

As a final note, and this may have no bearing whatsoever... the cabin filter... 100k miles on it and looked like trash. It has since been replaced and is on my calendar of regular maintenance now. I also know how easy it is now to get to.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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did you refill the a/c?
No need to. Its fully charged and has no leaks and no air in the system. That isn't the problem. I was hoping that it was that simple.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Is the low pressure switch in front the radiator on that silver tube piece on the driver side ?
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No need to. Its fully charged and has no leaks and no air in the system. That isn't the problem. I was hoping that it was that simple.
sometimes it wont work if the filling is done incorrectly. i hope the person who filled your a/c up turned up the a/c and fan to max while filling
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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sometimes it wont work if the filling is done incorrectly. i hope the person who filled your a/c up turned up the a/c and fan to max while filling
It hasn't been refilled since I purchased the vehicle used @ 33k .. I have a 101k on it now. I have owned it for about 3 years now. My assumption is that its the original charge.
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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It hasn't been refilled since I purchased the vehicle used @ 33k .. I have a 101k on it now. I have owned it for about 3 years now. My assumption is that its the original charge.
looks like your out. head over to advance auto get the refill kit. it actually comes with a meter to tell if your out or full or too much pressure. i'll take some pics tonight. i gotta refil mine. im at 48k
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Have you noticed one way or another whether or not you can get cold air briefly before the car warms up? If you aren't sure, try starting the car with the engine totally cold (maybe after sitting over night) and turn the A/C on imediately once you start the car. See if you get cold/cool air for a brief time. If you get cold air while the engine is cold, but it warms up as the engine does, you probably have a blend door problem.

If there is a blockage in the system the line will typically be warm up-stream of the blockage, and cold down stream (when the A/C is running). So finding a blockage can often be as simple as feeling the lines to see if there are any temperature changes. Now, on a properly working system there will be an intentional restriction shortly before the evaporator. Sometimes this is in the high side line before the line goes into the firewall to the evaporator, and sometimes it's basically right at the evaporator (I'm not sure on the Civics honestly), so if you feel a change here, this may be normal. However, once the low side line comes out of the firewall from the evaporator it should be cool. So if that line is still warm, and at some point after that there is a sudden temperature drop, that is a blockage. Just a heads up.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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here you go. here are some tips

One of the most common causes of a refrigerant leak is a simple $.25 O-ring. These air conditioning O-rings are at many of the connections from the different components to the individual hoses that carry the freon.




These connections can flex and move slightly during vehicle operation. The connection at the O-ring seal can either become loose or the O-ring can become nicked or worn, allowing the freon to leak out slowly.

The repair for this very common auto air conditioning problem is to carefully replace the O-ring and re tighten the connection. Then the air-conditioning system should be evacuated for 15 to 30 minutes and then recharged.

The perfect time to spring into action and diagnose the air conditioning yourself is when you feel that the air is not as cold as it used to be. This may be combined with a compressor cycling on and off frequently.
When the auto air conditioning system is still cooling, but not blowing the ice-cold air that it use to and the compressor is clicking on and off this can be an indication of a small leak. But more importantly a further indication that there is still freon in the system for leak testing. At this point, you can get a freon leak detector and try to diagnose where the freon is leaking from.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by itzyoaaron69 View Post
here you go. here are some tips

One of the most common causes of a refrigerant leak is a simple $.25 O-ring. These air conditioning O-rings are at many of the connections from the different components to the individual hoses that carry the freon.




These connections can flex and move slightly during vehicle operation. The connection at the O-ring seal can either become loose or the O-ring can become nicked or worn, allowing the freon to leak out slowly.

The repair for this very common auto air conditioning problem is to carefully replace the O-ring and re tighten the connection. Then the air-conditioning system should be evacuated for 15 to 30 minutes and then recharged.

The perfect time to spring into action and diagnose the air conditioning yourself is when you feel that the air is not as cold as it used to be. This may be combined with a compressor cycling on and off frequently.
When the auto air conditioning system is still cooling, but not blowing the ice-cold air that it use to and the compressor is clicking on and off this can be an indication of a small leak. But more importantly a further indication that there is still freon in the system for leak testing. At this point, you can get a freon leak detector and try to diagnose where the freon is leaking from.
While that is good information, all we have to go on when trying to diagnose an issue over the internet is what the person tells us. And what he has told us is that a shop has connected gauges and confirmed proper charge level and no leaks. If he's lying then maybe he has a leak, but that's his problem. Going on the assumption that he's telling the truth, he does not have a leak.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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heres another tip for him lol

"Start with the compressor. Does it engage when you turn on the A/C?

If so, the compressor is working and the A/C system probably contains enough refrigerant to make cold air, so the problem is inside the HVAC unit. Replace the motor that controls the blend air door (this is a difficult job and best left to a professional since it involves tearing apart the HVAC unit -- about an 8 to 10 hour job!).

If the compressor does not engage when you turn on the A/C, see if it will run by jumping the compressor clutch wire directly to the battery (use a fused jumper wire). If the compressor works when you jump it, and the A/C blows cold air, the system contains refrigerant and the fault is likely a bad A/C compressor clutch relay or a bad clutch cycling switch or pressure switch.

If the compressor does not engage when you jump it, the problem is a bad compressor clutch.

If the clutch engages but the compressor does not turn (the belt will start to slip and squeal), the compressor is locked up and you need a new compressor.

If the compressor clutch engages and turns the compressor, but the A/C still does not blow cold air, the system is probably low on refrigerant and needs to be recharged.

Refrigerant Checks

Connect an A/C pressure gauge to the HIGH SIDE service port (located in the high pressure hose that runs between the compressor and the condenser in the front of the engine compartment). The gauge will tell you if there is any pressure in the system. Simply depressing the service fitting valve with a small screwdriver to see if any refrigerant squirts out is NOT an accurate check because it tell you how much pressure is in the system. It may still have some pressure but not enough to trip the low pressure safety switch so the compressor will engage.

If your A/C system is low or out of refrigerant, check for leaks, then have the A/C system vacuum purged to remove air. After the air is out, it can be recharged with the specified amount of refrigerant. It is important to get any air out as this will reduce cooling efficiency and may make the compressor noisy.

A/C System Functional Checks

If the refrigeration circuit seems to be working (refrigerant in the system, compressor running and building pressure), but there is still no cooling, the problem might be an obstruction in the orifice tube (located in the high pressure hose between the condenser in the front of the radiator, and the evaporator located in the passenger compartment). A blockage here will prevent the refrigerant from entering the evaporator or recirculating through the refrigeration circuit.

If the orifice tube is plugged, the high side pressure reading will be lower than normal, and the low side reading will also be lower than normal because no refrigerant is circulating through the system.

If the refrigeration circuit seems to be functioning normally (compressor running, frost or condensation on the high pressure line from the condenser to the evaporator), but no cool air is blowing out of the ducts inside the car (and the blower is working), the fault is likely a BLEND AIR door that is stuck in the HEAT position, or possibly a badly clogged cabin air filter that is restricting airflow. Another possibility would be a fault in the automatic climate control system such as a ad interior temperature sensor or control module.

My advice to you if you know nothing about A/C service is to find a repair shop that specializes in A/C repairs and let them diagnose and repair your air conditioning cooling problem. Today's A/C systems with automatic climate control are very complex and require special tools and know-how to diagnose and repair."
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My advice to you if you know nothing about A/C service is to find a repair shop that specializes in A/C repairs and let them diagnose and repair your air conditioning cooling problem. Today's A/C systems with automatic climate control are very complex and require special tools and know-how to diagnose and repair."
I think this is the best advice in the end. Much appreciated for the feedback. The simple and obvious does not appear to be present.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
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hope everything works out for you.
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