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2003 A/C Problem

 
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Old 16 Aug 2015, 09:32 am
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Default 2003 A/C Problem

The a/c on my 2003 LE (37K miles) has been starting to act up lately, especially in very hot weather. To-date, it has never been worked on. Until the car reaches operating temperature, the a/c runs fine. Shortly thereafter, when stopped at a light, the engine starts to run a little rough (slight bucking) and the a/c air becomes a little warmer. Upon reaching normal speed, the symptoms disappear and the air returns to normal. As long as I'm moving, all is OK. Without the a/c on, the car runs smoothly. Any ideas what is causing this problem?
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Old 16 Aug 2015, 09:45 am
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Default Re: 2003 A/C Problem

Check to see if both fan speeds are working.

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Old 16 Aug 2015, 11:35 am
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Default Re: 2003 A/C Problem

When you driving the PT Cruiser at normal highway speeds the radiator fan does not run.

I would suggest with the engine cold, start the engine, turn on your A/C and see if the low speed on your radiator fan comes on immediately. If the low speed radiator fan does not come on then check the radiator fan wires and plug. Make sure they are making good contact. If that looks good then check the low speed on the radiator fan itself.

If the low speed comes on okay I would suggest with the engine cold, remove the low speed relay and see if the high speed on your radiator fan come on. If it does and your idle starts to get rough (bucking) then check the radiator fan wires and plug. Make sure they are making good contact. I would check the high speed on the radiator fan itself.

If the radiator fan checks out okay I would check to see if the freon pressure in your A/C is low.

When you driving the PT Cruiser at normal highway speeds the radiator fan does not run.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 16 Aug 2015 at 12:07 pm.
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Old 17 Aug 2015, 10:43 am
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Default Re: 2003 A/C Problem

Thanks guys. Turned on the a/c with the engine cold. The low speed fan came on OK. After driving the car for a while on a very hot day, I put it in park and noted that the high speed fan was running. The car started to buck a little.
At no time has the car ever overheated. The temp gauge needle has always stayed just below the midpoint. Other than the refrigerant level, is there anything else I should check?
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Old 26 Sep 2015, 11:53 am
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Default Re: 2003 A/C Problem

After some additional research on this forum, and with some useful info from PTDIY and YouTube, I ultimately decided to replace the cooling fan with a new Dorman. Problem solved. Also used the opportunity to flush the cooling system and replace the radiator hoses. Lastly, I determined the refrigerant to be slightly below normal, and added some with an AC Pro kit.

Out of curiosity, I disassembled the old fan motor and found one of the brushes to be extremely worn (a common problem, I've learned), in addition to a lot of black soot.

Thank you to all forum members who have offered their invaluable insights and suggestions on this topic in this and other related threads.
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