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Old 05-20-2009, 07:46 PM   #1
januszk
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A/C not cycling is this normal?

Hello everybody.
I've a quick (I hope) A/C question. It's about 2001 SE Wagon. I bought it 5 years ago with low A/C refrigerant. When A/C was on the compressor cycled on and off in a very short intervals. I knew it had to leak somewhere but for starters I applied two cans of the refrigerant and it lasted until this May (its Florida so it had to work quite good). A couple of weeks ago I've noticed that it takes a long time to cool off the air coming out the vents so I checked it out there was the same short interval cycling again. I bought another can of the refrigerant and put it in. Now the air is as cold as it can be but I've also noticed something that I'm not sure about. When I turn the A/C on the fan start working first and then compressor kicks in a few seconds later. After that they never stop as long as the A/C is on (at least on idle). I also have Nissan Altima and there the A/C clutch and fan goes on and off in a cycles of about 20 seconds. Is that OK for the Focus to have both fans and compressor working non-stop? If not, what should I check?

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Old 05-20-2009, 07:57 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with your year.....but there's a thermistor in the evaporator that shuts off the compressor when the temperature drops to a certain point. So if the temperature never gets that low, the compressor continues running till you shut off the engine.

Why.......you may be simply low on freon (134a). The air at the center vent should drop down to about 40F or so. If it never gets close to that, the compressor will stay running. Check the freon level first.......maybe take it to a shop.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:06 PM   #3
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Thanks. I think freon should be fine. When it was low compressor was going on and off every few seconds (low pressure switch came to work I guess). This seem to be confirmed by other posts in this forum. Once I added one bottle it started cooling off much quicker then before and air coming out of the vents seems quite cold. I didn't measure it though so I don't know what the temperature actually was. I'll do it as soon as I have a chance. Do you think I could get to that thermostat without ripping off the whole dashboard?

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Old 05-20-2009, 11:48 PM   #4
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Don't go guessing at it......could be costly. I'm still betting on low freon. Measure the output temp at the center vent, before it gets hot outside (in the sun). If it never gets below 50F, I'd recheck the freon level, using a set of gauges.

Replacing a thermister (if you even have one in that year), can be a bad job, requiring complete removal of the evaporator housing, and not worth guessing at.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:09 AM   #5
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I thought so. I'll check the temperature and will see then.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:06 AM   #6
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Thermistor failures (can go by a different name) are relatively rare compared to other failures. If a thermistor fails and causes a normal system to stay running (the compressor), the evaporator will eventually freeze up....a solid block of ice.

You'd notice a drop-off in airflow and the blower noise would change. No harm is done however.....it will thaw out when you turn off the AC. But like I said.....a rare failure from what I've seen.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:25 AM   #7
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Is there a chance that this may be normal for this particular car? I've heard about systems that never turn off the compressor but somehow control the amount of pressure it creates (I think Nissan does it in some of his Maxima models). I've compared my Focus A/C (this is wagon) with my Altima and with Focus sedan (similar year) and I have noticed that the A/C accumulator is huge in wagon, about 3 times bigger then the one in Altima. I was thinking that maybe it is all designed that way since there is much more space to cool down in wagon then there is in sedan?

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Old 05-21-2009, 07:33 AM   #8
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Can't answer that question........sorry. On my '06 SES the compressor cycles on/off like a normal system.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:38 AM   #9
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OK. Thanks. I'll check the temperature and if it does not go low enough I'll check system pressure.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:56 AM   #10
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At least get one of the more R-134 cans with a disposable gauge on it. Those aren't super accurate, but will do well enough to keep you from over charging the system. Just don't go trying one with stop leak in it. Somewhere between 30 and 40 psi is an optimal charge, or use BlueFront's interior temp method. Too much refrigerant will reduce the cool air you feel inside the car just as well as low refrigerant will.
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