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Intermittent AC #4530840
10/01/17 04:22 AM
10/01/17 04:22 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 207
NY
greasegunn Offline OP
greasegunn  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 207
NY
My 2010 Honda Civic with 98,000 miles is having an intermittent AC issue. The AC will work fine for approximately 20 minutes and then it stops. It seems to work longer in cooler weather and shorter in hotter weather. Once it has been parked awhile it will work again.

Some investigating on the internet indicates it may be a worn compressor clutch and the repair is fairly straightforward. The issue that Iím trying to resolve in my mind is why it is intermittent? Why does the AC work initially and then stop? If the clutch is worn why does it work at all?

Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4530850
10/01/17 05:14 AM
10/01/17 05:14 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 10,282
ROCHESTER, NY
Char Baby Offline
Char Baby  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 10,282
ROCHESTER, NY
Check out this site. It's quick, you can skip ahead, and I have used this exact repair on the Mazda3 in my signature. Worked great!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNx0X4INfiw


"Retired"
-----------------------------------

'80 Firebird FORMULA V8/4bbl-purchased "NEW"
'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
'15 Honda Civic LX
Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4530922
10/01/17 08:31 AM
10/01/17 08:31 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,921
Illinois
SHOZ Offline
SHOZ  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,921
Illinois
I've seen the clutch gap increase on high mileage cars and the AC quit engaging one they get hot. I've also seen the evaporator freeze up in hot weather and do exactly what you describe.


2008 Hyundai Accent 1.6L 5 sp manual hatchback
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Track 2L Turbo 6sp manual
Re: Intermittent AC [Re: SHOZ] #4530927
10/01/17 08:35 AM
10/01/17 08:35 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 9,560
Boston, MA
HerrStig Offline
HerrStig  Offline
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 9,560
Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: SHOZ
I've seen the clutch gap increase on high mileage cars and the AC quit engaging one they get hot. I've also seen the evaporator freeze up in hot weather and do exactly what you describe.
Evap freezing can be caused by a low charge level.

Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4530928
10/01/17 08:35 AM
10/01/17 08:35 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,530
USA
mk378 Offline
mk378  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,530
USA
To diagnose, drive until it stops working then pull over (leave the engine and A/C switch on) and check whether the clutch is engaged or not. If you have freeze-up there will likely be ice on the line from the evaporator to the compressor.

The clutch is based on an electromagnet. As the magnet coil gets hotter, its magnetic output decreases slightly. This will cause a clutch that is a little too wide to stop engaging, though it works when cold.

Last edited by mk378; 10/01/17 08:36 AM.
Re: Intermittent AC [Re: HerrStig] #4530929
10/01/17 08:36 AM
10/01/17 08:36 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,921
Illinois
SHOZ Offline
SHOZ  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,921
Illinois
Originally Posted By: HerrStig
Originally Posted By: SHOZ
I've seen the clutch gap increase on high mileage cars and the AC quit engaging one they get hot. I've also seen the evaporator freeze up in hot weather and do exactly what you describe.
Evap freezing can be caused by a low charge level.
Or bad thermistors on the evap coil.


2008 Hyundai Accent 1.6L 5 sp manual hatchback
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Track 2L Turbo 6sp manual
Re: Intermittent AC [Re: SHOZ] #4530934
10/01/17 08:41 AM
10/01/17 08:41 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,384
DFW
DBMaster Offline
DBMaster  Offline
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,384
DFW
Originally Posted By: SHOZ
I've seen the clutch gap increase on high mileage cars and the AC quit engaging one they get hot. I've also seen the evaporator freeze up in hot weather and do exactly what you describe.


My 89 Accord did exactly that after about 100,000 miles. I could tell the clutch was energizing because a wrench would easily be held on the front of it due to the magnetism. I was unable to get the shim adjustment done because the shaft seal already had a slow leak so I ended up replacing the compressor. That car went through compressors every 100,000 miles like clockwork.

Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4531019
10/01/17 09:54 AM
10/01/17 09:54 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,370
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,370
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Could be many things. Clutch gap,clutch coil,relay,expansion valve etc. Is the clutch still locked when it stops working?


02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4531055
10/01/17 10:38 AM
10/01/17 10:38 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 717
Canada
i_hate_autofraud Offline
i_hate_autofraud  Offline
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 717
Canada

Don't forget to look at the pressure limit switches, too low, it stops, too high it stops too!

Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4531104
10/01/17 12:05 PM
10/01/17 12:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,278
WI
HoosierJeeper Offline
HoosierJeeper  Offline
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,278
WI
Sounds like a clutch issue. I doubt anything would be freezing up in that short amount of time. I'd pop the hood next time it stops and see what the clutch is doing.


15 Jeep KL Limited V6: Formula Shell 5W20
07 LR3 SE V8: Maxlife 5W30
05 Jeep KJ Limited: PHM 5W30
96 Jeep XJ Country: STP HM 5W30 (winter)
Re: Intermittent AC [Re: greasegunn] #4531149
10/01/17 12:53 PM
10/01/17 12:53 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 968
TX, USA
JMJNet Offline
JMJNet  Offline
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 968
TX, USA
If the AC Clutch is about to seize, you will hear screeching noise every time the AC is turned on.

In my 04 Sienna, it was running like that for about 6 months.
Then it completely seized.
At that point, it is not worth to just fixing the clutch because the price of new compressor is only marginally more than the price of just the clutch like $20-$30 difference.

Trouble is, you have to replace the condenser also since the new condenser cannot be flushed anymore, either.


  • 2017 Toyota Sienna
  • 1995 GMC Suburban 6.5L Turbo Diesel



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