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Old 05-28-2019, 03:10 PM   #1
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AC Not Working Properly

Hi guys, first post on here so try and help me out!

I have a 2014 Focus se and the ac is good at highway speeds but blows hot when idle at a stoplight or when at slow speeds. I used the pressure gauges and got 45 psi on the low side and 300psi on the high side. The ambient temperature was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The car was running, windows down and I had the ac maxed. From what I see online, it looks like I’m a bit low on refrigerant. I suspect that there may be something else wrong though. The radiator fan comes on when I turn the ac on. I can see the compressor clutch plate come on when I turn on the ac but I never see it cycle on and off, maybe cause it’s so hot . Idk what else to check or do other than top off the refrigerant.

Any help is appreciated!


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Old 05-28-2019, 04:18 PM   #2
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I believe the compressors on our cars are variable, and will not "cycle" on and off but rather will spin constantly while the AC is active. It sounds to me like the high speed circuit or conteoller of your radiator fan is bad. If it's 100 out, at idle the radiator fan should be spinning at high speed and pretty audible even with the hood closed. If you're seeing pressure at 45 on the low side, don't add any more, it's not low.

It could also be icing up internally, is your low pressure side hose ice cold when the AC is running? If the AC works fine on the highway but not in town, it's because you have sufficient air moving through the condenser in front of your radiator. At idle, the high speed fan should be running to pull air over the coils so if it's just spinning nice and quiet, that's the culprit. I've seen these fail on the c-max (dame platform) with the same symptoms you describe, only cold when vehicle in motion.
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:46 PM   #3
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I agree with Coolzzy on this one. Sounds like your condenser is not getting air flow. Some of these cars have blinds in front of the radiator that close in colder weather to help shorten the warm up time by restricting air flow through the radiator. Check and make sure that those blinds (if equipped in your Focus) are fully open. If they are not completely open your condenser will not get the air flow it needs to function correctly at idle.

On a side topic, If the a/c compressors on the mk3 Focuses are variable. The scroll valve may have gone bad. The way to test this is to rev up the engine a little (say 1500-2000 rpm) and hold it there while parked and see if the a/c begins to blow cold. If it does, you have a bad scroll valve. If not, its the condenser. I have a '05 Ford Freestyle that did the same thing. Fortunately, I was able to find a replacement scroll valve for it and replace it myself. However, If the mk3 Focues have a scroll valve. I doubt it will be user serviceable.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:05 PM   #4
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Ok, so after reading the replies and going back to look at my car, I found a couple things...

1. I started the car with the ac off and allowed it to warm up, even revved it a few times and the radiator fan never came on. But it does come on as soon as I turn on the ac.
2. The low pressure side was not ice cold while the ac was running.
3. The blinds inside the front bumper do open fully when I turn on the ac.
4. When revving the engine and holding it, the air did not get colder so I can rule out the scroll valve

So it sounds like I have a problem with the condenser and then a problem with the radiator fan??

Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorillaphant1997 View Post
From what I see online, it looks like Iím a bit low on refrigerant.
You might want to let a shop pull a vacuum on it to ensure you have no leaks and then charge it back up correctly. If you're low, you need to jump on fixing leaks first.
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Old 05-29-2019, 11:44 AM   #6
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The radiator fan(s) generally turns on when ever the a/c is on. That operation seems normal.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:37 AM   #7
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The radiator fan runs at two speeds. It will always turn on to low when the AC is engaged but with higher heat levels it will alternate between low and high speed on demand. The ammount of air it moves is greatly increased in high speed fan mode as well as the volume of noise it makes. You need to confirm the high speed is working.
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Old 05-30-2019, 10:53 AM   #8
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anyone thought to have a look at the belt? the belt for the compressor is a pretensioned belt that has to be "walked" onto the pulleys, possible stretching???


just to touch on the grille shutters,

by default they should go full open below ~20 mph (don't quote me exactly but its about) and when the ac is on hot or cold outside

however, i have read they have a rare tendency to get stuck, be it from bugs/dirt/debris and can be manually (by hand) actuated with firm steady pressure WITH CAR OFF - they have sufficient torque to cause harm to you or themselves (they are plastic after all) if you try this with the car on!
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