A/C Problem 1989 Buick Park Avenue

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  #1  
Old 07-09-06, 03:56 PM
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Unhappy A/C Problem 1989 Buick Park Avenue

I live in hot humid Florida and now my car's a/c is giving me trouble! A few days ago, it just stopped coming on. Since then, I've been able to get it to kick on (SOMETIMES) by banging on the dashboard and under the a/c panel. I'm guessing there's an electrical short...frankly, I know so little about cars, I couldn't show you any of the a/c components under the hood! In other words, I can't check it out myself. I talked to one guy at an a/c shop and he said that it would cost $60 an hour for his tech to try to find where the problem is in the electrical system (the guy said it sounds like an electrical problem to him...hey, I knew a little bit! HA!!) Now that's a lot of money for a mop monkey like me! Also, today, I got the a/c to kick on, but I noticed that while I was driving, it seemed like it was blowing out air inconsistently, so I don't know if that would also have anything to do with a short or not...
So, any suggestions, advice, etc.? Is $60 an hour reasonable? Is it likely to take many hours to find a short in the a/c system? This car has an electronic/digital control panel, I might add. Thankfully, it is not a dual climate controlled car!
thanx!
janet
 
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  #2  
Old 07-09-06, 07:27 PM
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$60/hr. is very reasonable...depending on how efficient his technicians are of course. I'd rather pay a higher rate per hour for a good mechanic than a lower rate per hour for a lesser mechanic. What might take one just a few minutes to find, might take another several hours.

Just for comparison, my shop rate is $70 per hour and I'm one of the cheapest guys around.

You can still set a limit with this guy though...just tell him to call you if his charges start to exceed X dollars. If he calls you telling you he's going to need more time, ask him to explain what he's checked so far and which components he's managed to eliminate.

Another thing to consider is the speciality of this type of repair/vehicle's electronic climate control system. It may be more advantageous to take this particular problem to a Buick dealer. They will have more familiarity with this vehicle and it's electronic climate control. This might translate into less time spent trying to identify the problem.

Just because they diagnose it doesn't mean they have to fix it either. Have them call you once a diagnosis is made and let them give you an estimate to fix the problem. Then comparison shop the repair at other locations. For instance, if they tell you the control assembly needs to be replaced for a cost of $225.18 for the part...you can often get that part from a salvage yard for $50.

Just one final note...that particular system has a built in diagnostic mode. Turn the ignition switch to RUN. Press the hidden button between HI and EXT TEMP buttons. The display will indicate the number of the fault code. "00" is the code for no fault codes detected. If you do this and get another number besides 00, post it here and I'll tell you the description of the code.
 
  #3  
Old 07-10-06, 02:10 AM
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Hi, Dav!
I did what you said and the code was 00.
thanx!
janet
 
  #4  
Old 07-10-06, 05:34 AM
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Unfortunately that means that your car is not detecting any problems with the AC system. Actually, I guess that's fortunate too depending on how you look at it.

I'm guessing that the control unit (the part in the dash that you press the buttons on) is going bad. I actually see that quite often...especially on electronically controlled AC systems.

That puts you back to my original post. You're going to have to decide whether or not to take it to a dealer or independent repair shop. The only other possibility is to take a guess and replace that control unit yourself. You might call a salvage yard and price the part just to see if it might be financially feasible.
 
  #5  
Old 07-10-06, 08:35 PM
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Hi, Dav
I went to a shop today and I'm supposed to take the car in to him tomorrow for a diagnosis. He's also gonna put the car on the computer so he can find out why it's a problem cranking. The manager at Autozone recommended this guy...it's always a crapshoot though...I'll let you know what happens. I can't fix the car myself...I have no auto repair skills whatsoever, so I'm at these mechanics' mercy and just have to hope they're honest. Thank you for the insight you gave me. I plan to use it!
janet
 
  #6  
Old 07-10-06, 09:13 PM
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An auto parts store recommendation is a good place to start. They're not intentionally going to steer you wrong in most cases since they know that it could come back to hurt their own business.

By the way, if it turns out the guy is good and treats you right, make sure you reward him by taking all of your business to him since it sounds like you don't have a regular mechanic. I tend to treat my customers that bring all of their business to me better than my one-time customers. I'll reward their loyalty with free oil changes, discounted parts/labor etc. They also hold a lot of sway over me when it comes to unresolved problems/complaints. I'll tend to "eat it" every once in a while just because I know I can make it up later by their continued patronage.

Let us know what happens!
 
  #7  
Old 07-11-06, 12:53 PM
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Hi, Dav!
The a/c is fixed! It was the blower fan. As to the cranking problem, the throttle thingy-ma-jig was real dirty. They cleaned it and we will see...my total cost was $177.95---a lot less than I feared! I like them and will probably keep them as my regular mechanics!
janet
Thanks a million!
 
  #8  
Old 07-11-06, 04:19 PM
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Congratulations on gettin fixed inexpensively..and on finding a mechanic you can trust! Glad it worked out for you.
 
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