Honda AC questions/concerns

Reply

  #1  
Old 07-07-05, 08:25 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Honda AC questions/concerns

My son has a 1995 Honda Civic EX which developed cronic AC problems. After too many shop repairs and disappointems we decided to start over and replace components. We installed a new compressor, evaporator, dryer canister and lines. Basically, we have a completely new AC. We followed the local Honda dealers recommendation and put 2 ounces of lubricant in the dryer canister before charging and installed regrigerant per their recommndation. Finally, cold air...the engine had stopped the uncontrolable reving when the compressor cycled on when it was a cold start which had started when the AC began giving us problems. We backed the car from the garage and let it run to make sure all was working fine. After about three minutes when the compressor cycled on the engine began to sound labored and the cycling became more frequent. Suddenly, a loud hiss and there was green slime all over the driveway and at the bottom of the plastic shield directly under the radiator and evaporator. We immediately shut off the AC and the engine. In disbelief we sat there wondering what was happening. What had we done wrong and had we damaged the new parts.

After a few minutes and too much curiosity, we restarted the engine and the AC to see if there was an obvious flaw. Cold air! No signs of leaks or damaged or failed new parts. The compressor cycled on and off normally, no out of control reving as before and it's working fine. We rechecked the regrigerant level and pressure and it's normal. We let it run for about 10 minutes and all is working fine. We cleaned up the mess on the driveway and the car and it's been working fine since. I'm clueless! He left for class this morning and it's still working fine.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Curiosity has the best of me now as does my concern for a properly working vehicle for my son.

Thanks in advance for any help...
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-07-05, 08:35 AM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,172
Did you pull a vacuum on the system before adding the refrigerant?

Did you add oil directly to the compressor?

How many ounces of refrig did you put it?

What is the green slime? Oily or watery, how much, etc?

Did you charge unit with refrigerant/stop leak product?

Worst case scenario: You did not pull a vac, nor add oil to compressor. Unit blew a leak on the high side, then stop leak temporarily sealed it.

Let's hope that is not the case.
 

Last edited by Lugnut; 07-07-05 at 08:46 AM.
  #3  
Old 07-07-05, 09:19 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the reply...

The "green slime" was oily... it was hard to tell exactly how much because it was "sprayed" but if I had to guess I'd say about 2 oz.

We also added oil to the compressor before installation but failed to pull a vacuum. According to the advice given by the dealer, that was not necessary with the new parts and was explained that it would be done if I suspected moisture in the system or replacing one component. Bad advice?

We added about 14 oz of refrigerant based on what the local dealer suggested and it did contain a stop leak compound.

How can I test for a leak at this point...?

What can I do not to make sure the system is still intact?

Thanks again!
 
  #4  
Old 07-07-05, 09:42 AM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,172
Pulling a vacuum is not optional. It is always required.

Call the driver of the car and tell him to not run the air even for 1 second. You are in danger of ruining the compressor, if it's not too late already.

The refrigerant will have to be recovered (special tools requires) and then the leak must located and fixed via visual inspection and a vacuum test. You need to reestablish how much oil is now in the system since the blow out. Then pull a vacuum and add refrigerant. Do not add stop leak to a new system since it can cause more problems in the long run. After you have done all this, you may then discover that your compressor is ruined.

I don't say any of this to be an alarmist. The fact is that someone committed a fatal error by not drawing a vacuum on the system before charging it.
 
  #5  
Old 07-07-05, 09:43 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 312
Definitely bad advice concerning the vacuum. Stop leak is also bad news for an A/C system. I'm guessing your "green slimy substance" is UV dye either contained in the refrigerant you installed or left over from previous attempts at repair (or both). It is designed to mix with the oil in the system, hence the "slime." Too much will interfere with the oil's ability to mix with the refrigerant, and can cause head pressure to increase. From the sound of it, pressure was relieved somewhere. At this point, you have no way of knowing how much oil is in the system, how much dye is in the system, and you're undercharged on refrigerant. Take it to an A/C specialty shop (not the dealer) and bare minimum have it evacuated, flushed to eliminate all traces of oil, dye, and stop leak, oil charged to specs, vacuum applied and recharged. It will likely not be cheap, but it will be worth it to protect what you already have invested.
 
  #6  
Old 07-07-05, 09:52 AM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,172
Originally Posted by chet2068
...According to the advice given by the dealer, that was not necessary with the new parts and was explained that it would be done if I suspected moisture in the system or replacing one component.
Anytime a system is opened (usually to replace a part), a vacuum must be drawn.
 
  #7  
Old 07-07-05, 10:18 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Posts: 923
It sounds like there was too much "stuff" (refrigerant and air) in the system, it was overpressured, and the relief valve vented stuff until an acceptable safe pressure was reached.

I agree with others that the system should have been vacuumed before charging, and I suspect an a/c manifold gauge set wasn't used to monitor the pressures.

You may have cold a/c, but with the air in the system, it will react with the stop leak and over time gum up the system internals - a shame after all the trouble and expense of replacing expensive components.
 
  #8  
Old 07-07-05, 10:18 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Don't think you're an alarmist... I've gotten better insight and advice here than at the dealer... obviously.

I called and told my son not to run the AC until it can be checked out. Unfortunately, there are no good shops in our area and the repairs he had done previously were bad and obviously by someone who did not have the proper knowledge...

Question, however... if the stop leak products are no good for a new system, why do many recommend using them? Makes no sense to me!
 
  #9  
Old 07-07-05, 10:23 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I'm trying to find a reputable AC shop now. Seems the advice I received was faulty from the beginning and may have caused more trouble. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the new components are still okay and that it's was in fact a pressure relief system in lieu of a damage to the new pieces... they weren't inexpensive. Neither were the bad repairs before...

thanks guys...
 
  #10  
Old 07-07-05, 10:26 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 312
Originally Posted by chet2068
Question, however... if the stop leak products are no good for a new system, why do many recommend using them? Makes no sense to me!
Who recommended them? Those doing the selling? Such products simply prey on the "cheaper is better" mentality. There is no such thing as a "miracle in a can."
 
  #11  
Old 07-07-05, 10:34 AM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,172
I can assure you that compressor manufacturers do not recommend stop leak and in most cases, will void the warranty. (Although, in practice, the warranty is honored long before the factory discovers there is stop leak in the unit ).
 
  #12  
Old 07-07-05, 11:23 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by pmgheritage
Who recommended them? Those doing the selling? Such products simply prey on the "cheaper is better" mentality. There is no such thing as a "miracle in a can."

Actually, we don't have the "cheaper is better" mentality at all. Just got tired of bad repairs and decided on alternatives. In a sense, it's shame on me for trying make the repairs without the certainty of good advice and guidence. But bad advice is still bad advice. So shame on them as well. I would have glady had the system evacuated and recharged by competent folks but I fell into host of misinformation and bad advice. Call it a learning curve... Ranks right up there with the experience of learning who does good quality repairs. So far, I've not had good luck in town...
 
  #13  
Old 07-07-05, 11:53 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Posts: 923
The best advice for a/c repair can be found at these two sites:

http://www.aircondition.com/wwwboard/

http://www.autoacforum.com/categories.cfm?catid=2

Frankly, because I spent hours on these sites and the tools I collected (vacuum pump, a/c manifold gauge set, and black light), I can now do a/c repair.

Chet, if you're interested in salvaging your system, check these two sites out and search using the keyword "flushing". Basically, you disconnect everything, flush mineral spirits through everything that's open... evaporator, condenser, manifold lines. The compressor is flushed by draining all the fluid, then running new fluid through, turning the compressor by hand.

Then if you haven't done so already, change the o-rings.

Add the specified amount of lubricant, spreading it throughout the system... 2 oz in dryer, 2 oz in condenser, 2 oz in evaporator, the rest in the compressor.

After buttoning everything back up, pull a vacuum. Some DIYers use a good motor from a discarded refrigerator or dehumidifier to pull a vacuum.

Charge refrigerant using vent temperatures and HI and LO pressures measured with an a/c manifold gauge as a guide to the final charge.
 
  #14  
Old 07-07-05, 11:57 AM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,172
Quote: "...flush mineral spirits through everything that's open..."

You might want to reconsider that one.
 
  #15  
Old 07-07-05, 01:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Posts: 923
By open, I mean everything that is an unimpeded straight shot. This means the compressor, dryer, line with orifice tube, and line with muffler cannot be flushed. I also neglected to mention using shop air in combination with solvent to do the flush.

There's a bit to know about working on a/c systems.... more than can be written in one post. That's why I referred Chet to the a/c web sites where he can get the detail he needs.
 
  #16  
Old 07-07-05, 01:11 PM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,172
I was referring to the underlined mineral spirits.
 
  #17  
Old 07-07-05, 01:16 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 312
Originally Posted by chet2068
Actually, we don't have the "cheaper is better" mentality at all. Just got tired of bad repairs and decided on alternatives. In a sense, it's shame on me for trying make the repairs without the certainty of good advice and guidence. But bad advice is still bad advice. So shame on them as well. I would have glady had the system evacuated and recharged by competent folks but I fell into host of misinformation and bad advice. Call it a learning curve... Ranks right up there with the experience of learning who does good quality repairs. So far, I've not had good luck in town...
I didn't mean to say that you were, and I apologize if I came across in that manner. Unfortunately, that sort of mentality is the only reason that there is a market for these products. If the majority of the population made the decision to do as you have - educate themselves - these types of products would disappear overnight.

BTW, I'm with Lugnut on the mineral spirits - no-no. I may be wrong, but I think that most available A/C flush chemicals are alcohol based. Dilutes the oil almost instantly and evaporates almost instantly as well. I used Wynn's product for years with great success.
 
  #18  
Old 07-07-05, 02:40 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Posts: 923
The flushing practise I find common among a/c techs is to flush with mineral spirits, then follow up with either alcohol, lacquer thinner, or brake cleaner. Mineral spirits are used because it's cheap and can move the contaminants out, but it leaves a residue. The other chemicals remove the residue.

Again, these procedures are written in detail in the two links I provided. There's just too much information to provide in one thread.
 
  #19  
Old 07-07-05, 03:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 312
Originally Posted by Kestas
The flushing practise I find common among a/c techs is to flush with mineral spirits, then follow up with either alcohol, lacquer thinner, or brake cleaner. Mineral spirits are used because it's cheap and can move the contaminants out, but it leaves a residue. The other chemicals remove the residue.

Again, these procedures are written in detail in the two links I provided. There's just too much information to provide in one thread.
I can't see the mineral spirits, or thinner for that matter. Just means you have to reflush to remove the contaminant you introduced to remove the contaminants. Brake cleaner - yes, because the quality stuff is pure alcohol anyway. Alcohol with shop air also allows flushing the ENTIRE system, with no worries of residue or puddling. Orifice tube should be removed anyway. There are quality products available designed specifically for this purpose, that work as designed. Why not use them?
 
  #20  
Old 07-07-05, 03:14 PM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by Kestas
The best advice for a/c repair can be found at these two sites:

http://www.aircondition.com/wwwboard/

http://www.autoacforum.com/categories.cfm?catid=2

Frankly, because I spent hours on these sites and the tools I collected (vacuum pump, a/c manifold gauge set, and black light), I can now do a/c repair.

Chet, if you're interested in salvaging your system, check these two sites out and search using the keyword "flushing". Basically, you disconnect everything, flush mineral spirits through everything that's open... evaporator, condenser, manifold lines. The compressor is flushed by draining all the fluid, then running new fluid through, turning the compressor by hand.

Then if you haven't done so already, change the o-rings.

Add the specified amount of lubricant, spreading it throughout the system... 2 oz in dryer, 2 oz in condenser, 2 oz in evaporator, the rest in the compressor.

After buttoning everything back up, pull a vacuum. Some DIYers use a good motor from a discarded refrigerator or dehumidifier to pull a vacuum.

Charge refrigerant using vent temperatures and HI and LO pressures measured with an a/c manifold gauge as a guide to the final charge.
Thanks... great sites and am digging through them a bit at a time...
 
  #21  
Old 07-07-05, 04:57 PM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by pmgheritage
I didn't mean to say that you were, and I apologize if I came across in that manner. Unfortunately, that sort of mentality is the only reason that there is a market for these products. If the majority of the population made the decision to do as you have - educate themselves - these types of products would disappear overnight.

BTW, I'm with Lugnut on the mineral spirits - no-no. I may be wrong, but I think that most available A/C flush chemicals are alcohol based. Dilutes the oil almost instantly and evaporates almost instantly as well. I used Wynn's product for years with great success.

Not to worry... no offense taken. Just wanted to let you know I try to do things right. I'd rather pay for good advice and service than not!

I agree about the mineral spirits to some degree. It's a great solvent for removing oil and grease but it leaves a residue. I use it in combination with a good motor oil for cleaning and lubing drive train parts on my bikes where I want a residue. I have a chemical called Clean Streak that does a great job of removing the residue. It's alcohol based, dries clean and is gentle on rubber compounds and synthetics... It works just as weel as old school carbontetrachloride for a clean surface but hasn't the ill effects. My thoughts are to flush the system and use the mineral spirits to break down the oil then "rinse" with the Clean Streak. Should work as well as brake cleaner and I already have in on the shelf... I'll definately get some of the Wynn's product for later use or of this doesn't work like I think it will.

Thanks for the help... cheers! It's Miller time...
 
  #22  
Old 07-07-05, 07:31 PM
billys68ss's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459
Chet,
What part of VA? I am in NOVA and there are some other guys here from the great Commonwealth. If you are close to one of us maybe we can help out a fellow DIYer. You have gotten alot of great advice here and as long as you have the proper tools you should be armed with everything else you need to do the job right.
Good Luck,
Hope this helps ya,
Billy
 
  #23  
Old 07-08-05, 09:55 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by billys68ss
Chet,
What part of VA? I am in NOVA and there are some other guys here from the great Commonwealth. If you are close to one of us maybe we can help out a fellow DIYer. You have gotten alot of great advice here and as long as you have the proper tools you should be armed with everything else you need to do the job right.
Good Luck,
Hope this helps ya,
Billy
Thanks Billy...

Sorry not to respond sooner, The rains we got had my attention glued to a building site I have near Stanardsville where, of course, the rain guage showed over 31/2" of rain landed on a very steep, very vulnerable open site. Seems like every strong storm that passes through here hovers over my projects just to check my erosion controls. They held but what a big mess to clean up.

Anyway, I'm near Charlottesville but the bad repairs were done in the Northern Neck. I've managed to get enough good information from response here and found the equipment I need from friends to re-do the botched process... I have a vaccuum pump, manifold guages, cleaning solutions and air so I think we're good to go. I've had some bad experience from local dealers and repair shops here as well so I'm going to try again. I also have a Hayes manual on hand which gives quantity and pressure requirements and reinforces what I've learned here. This will be our weekend project... My first step will be to clean out the goup and then I'lll follow the advice I've gotten here along with the information I have in the Hayes manual and I think I'll be good to go. I should have don it this way in the first place and I chalk it up to live and learn.

Thanks again and I'll let you know how it goes...
 
  #24  
Old 07-08-05, 08:16 PM
billys68ss's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459
Im glad everything is working out so far. Good Luck with it. The Haynes manuals are ok for general information, but thats about it. I do however remember seeing a diagnostic chart in the back of one once that tells you how to diagnose your A/C system based on your pressure readings. This is a very valuable tool.
Once again, Good Luck!!!
Billy
 
  #25  
Old 07-13-05, 10:34 AM
chet2068
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up A-okay

Originally Posted by billys68ss
Im glad everything is working out so far. Good Luck with it. The Haynes manuals are ok for general information, but thats about it. I do however remember seeing a diagnostic chart in the back of one once that tells you how to diagnose your A/C system based on your pressure readings. This is a very valuable tool.
Once again, Good Luck!!!
Billy
Billy... Over the weekend we re-repaired the system properly. I was surprised to see just how much trash we got out of the system. Fortunately, nothing was damaged from the previous attempt and after following the the helpful information we got here and using the charts in the Hayes manual the AC works beautifully. Needless to say, I won't be using the dealer as a resourse again... My son finished his exams and left yesterday afternoon on a trip to NC to meet up with his mom in a nice cool car.

Thanks to all for the help...

Chet...
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes