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Venting Steam?

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Old 14 Sep 2009, 06:42 am
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Default Venting Steam?

2003 PT Cruiser non-turbo - seems to be vending at high pressure steam (or something) from under the car on the driver side front. Happens w/ the AC on. The temp gauge was ok. Any idea what is wrong before I make what will undoubtedly be multiple trips to my local dealer?
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 06:50 am
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Default Re: Venting Steam?

You might have a freon (or whatever they use) leak. If so, your A/C will soon not work.
Can you open hood and see where it's coming from, or too dangerous?
Other possibility, of course, is coolant - but why only with A/C on?
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 07:46 am
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Default Re: Venting Steam?

I just had the refrigerant checked in May. Is there some sort of pressure relief valve that could be openning?
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 03:04 pm
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Default Re: Venting Steam?

Venting from the bottom of the compressor usually means the pressure is building up because of overheating, or one of two sensors is not working. You have a high pressure sensor on the compressor itself or a cycling switch (sometimes called the low pressure switch) located on top of the accumulator. Best to take it to a shop that knows what they are doing with air-conditioning.

If it turns out that one or both speeds of the fan aren't coming on, come back and we'll walk you thru the procedures to replace it.
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 03:11 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Michigan
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Default Re: Venting Steam?

I don't think I've ever seen air conditioning refrigerant make steam.
I'd for sure check your coolant level.
If your coolant gets too low the gage will not read correctly because there is no coolant to make it get hot.
You should not only check the white plastic overflow bottle but also when the car is cold (hours or overnight) remove the radiator cap to see if there is still fluid in there.
Do this very soon before you hurt the engine.
If you see full coolant in both places then at least you can rest a little easier.
If by chance you have a small leak in you radiator, have someone some do a pressure test on the cooling system when the car is fairly cool. This will readily show a leak.
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Old 14 Sep 2009, 09:01 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 535
Default Re: Venting Steam?

It is freon. It's coming from the high pressure vent. Your cooling fan is not working properly. It needs to be replaced and a/c system recharged.
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Old 15 Sep 2009, 01:28 pm
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Default Re: Venting Steam?

Ok - thanks for all the advice. I checked the coolant and it was down - maybe 1/2 quart. Topped it up and drove about 20 miles to get it nice and hot and did not notice the venting. Lert it idle in the garage for about 10 minutes and noticed that the AC compressor seemed to cycle on and off every few seconds.
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