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Old 02-12-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
Marty5
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Fixed my a/c but need some advice

Hey everyone- My a/c was blowing warm and I read through the archives and decided to first try to unplug and replug the a/c wot relay located in the fuse box under the hood- well, it worked a/c is back-

I did note that there is a click coming from the compressor about every 5 seconds- I assume this is the clutch- is this normal?

I also noted the lights in the dash going dim which seems to coincide with the compressor working- is this a sign the compressor or my alternator is going bad?

The a/c is not ice cold, though when I push the recycle air button it gets colder-

any info appreciated,
Marty



Last edited by Marty5; 02-12-2013 at 06:55 PM. Reason: bad title
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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It sounds like you have a couple issues. That relay might be going bad or the contacts on it might have been dirty. Disturbing its sense of peace and tranquility by unplugging it and plugging it back in might have been enough to bring it back to life for the time being.

As far as the click, that would be the clutch engaging and disengaging. Being that it isn't very cold and its clicking so often leads me to believe the system is low on refrigerant. A shop with the appropriate AC tools should be able to tell you for sure, and if it is, the leak will need to be found and fixed.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info Jetrinka- I will get a new relay and plan on having the system tested and charged- thanks,Marty
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:34 AM   #4
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Before you do that, you need to figure out why your lights are dimming when the compressor clicks on. Yes, the AC clutch is a high power device, however, it shouldn't cause the lights to dim noticeably. This could be either an old battery, alternator not charging, alternator or battery wiring problem. It might simply be a battery terminal problem.

How good are you at self-repair? The battery terminals should be removed, cleaned, and reinstalled if no problems are found. While the battery terminals are removed, the negative and wire positive connections- just follow the battery cables down- should be checked to be sure those are tight. Make sure the negative battery terminal is removed and secured out of the way before working on the positive. If not- ZAP POW- molten metal sprays everywhere, or the battery might blow up spraying acid everywhere.

As for a bad alternator, you can check voltage output through the electronic odometer trick while driving. Voltage should remain fairly steady around 14+v. Wild fluctuations from 14.4 to 12.1 can indicate a wiring fault or loose connection. Voltage swings above 15v indicates a bad VR- and the alternator must be replaced or rebuilt. Sometimes an alternator will put out good voltage when first started, but as the alternator heats up, it drops down to battery voltage. This is also a sign of an alternator that needs to be rebuilt or replaced.

I highly suggest finding a local rebuilder. We always recommend this. All it takes is the ability to remove the alternator yourself, a way to get around without the car, and some time spent looking through the yellow pages. Automotive electrical rebuilders are located near every area- ask any independent shop on the phone, they will generally tell you. The cost difference is usually tremendous- mine was rebuilt for $80, but new costs $160-220. If not convenient due to only one vehicle and no friends, I suggest purchasing an alternator from the parts store, keeping your alternator, and that way you'll have one you can get rebuilt. This might seem unneeded except that in more than one case we've seen parts store alternators fail every 3 months- regardless of warranty. Usually it takes about 3 times before people get tired of changing it and running out of juice unexpectedly.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:35 AM   #5
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there are a few reasons why the a/c compressor would cycle on and off very quickly. The biggest on is that the system is low on refridgerant. Also onehas to remember that the a/c clutch on/off cycle time is controlled by a number of factors including ambient temp and the system pressures. There are at least 5 curves that determine how the a/c system works.

Its not hard to come up to speed on how to properly work on an a/c system. get the right tools or take it in to a shop.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:38 AM   #6
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Yes, ambient temperature at the time of using the AC is important. If ambient is over 60F, then there's no problem. In Miami, there's probably a low refrigerant problem. It could be lots of things though: low refrigerant, clogged orifice tube, old compressor, dirty evaporator, condenser clogged with bugs (which I strongly suspect in FL).
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
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Not sure about the Focus but on the Contour the accumulator would often rust out and be the source of the leak. Had that happen on two cars.
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