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Weak A/C

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 17 Apr 2011, 09:11 pm
blown05gt's Avatar
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Default Weak A/C

Not sure if this is a common issue but I have been reading that PT A/C's dont seem to last too long. During driving the A/C blows as cold as the artics, but when at a stop the car sputters like it wants to cut off and the A/C blows hot. Only at a stop with the A/C on. I have done the A/C refill and nothing has changed, compressor runs, I am at a loss of ideas without replacing the A/C system.
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 09:08 am
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by blown05gt View Post
Not sure if this is a common issue but I have been reading that PT A/C's dont seem to last too long. During driving the A/C blows as cold as the artics, but when at a stop the car sputters like it wants to cut off and the A/C blows hot. Only at a stop with the A/C on. I have done the A/C refill and nothing has changed, compressor runs, I am at a loss of ideas without replacing the A/C system.
Make sure that your radiator fan is working on both speeds. You didn't mention what year or how many miles, that may help.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 18 Apr 2011, 09:21 am
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Default Re: Weak A/C

I'd do a wider search on the net regarding AC issues. That's not a PT specific issue there. Do you hear any loud squeaking when the compressor is running at a stop light? How are your belts (condition/tightness)? Could be you're not moving air through it as Hooligan suggests, if your low-speed fan is not running then you will see this problem, but normally you'd have to really be sitting a while for it to go from cold to hot.

Mine, an '06, works so well you could hang meat in there with it on recirc and full blast. Best AC I've ever had in a vehicle.

Here's my take, in a nutshell, from what you've stated, and this could be off by miles, I think I've been incorrect once in my past:
  • Check low-speed fan, make sure it's running
  • When sitting at idle, after the engine is hot, run the AC and check to make sure the compressor wheel is turning at the same rate as the belt.
  • If the face of the compressor wheel is not turning at the same rate/speed/rotations per minute as the belt, then either your belt is loose, or the bearings in your compressor are going bad, OR you are pumping on a backflow issue where you are trying to push pressure up the pipes, but one is messed up and pushing pressure back at you.
  • If the compressor wheel appears to be turning normally, and the low-speed fan appears to be working, the remove your center console face plate and check behind it to insure the temp control and fan speed controls are not whacked. I had one vacuum line pinched and my AC wouldn't work once. Course that was because I put it back together wrong but at least I fixed it.

Last edited by Chromenut; 18 Apr 2011 at 09:28 am.
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 09:31 am
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackjroadster View Post
it could be an internal blockage or restriction in the condenser core. not a typical failure and will require tricky and lengthy car repair..
I agree, I was trying to get those words out at the end of one of my bullets but you put it together better! And that repair is a mega-PITA!
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 10:07 am
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Sputters when at a standstill ..... sounds like you have one of a few conditions, in addition to the ones mentioned above you could also have one of the following: either your engine is not being idled higher by the PCM when the A/C is on, which could be caused by the idle control valve or several other components not related to the A/C, you could have overcharged the system when you Added refrigerant to the system, which could cause the compressor to have a harder time moving it, especially when at a lower RPM but work fine (at least till it blows a gasket, seal, compressor or another component) at driving RPM's.

First thing I would do especially if you did not use gauges on both sides of the system when adding refrigerant, get someone to check it for you.
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 10:58 am
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Yep, forgot that, Silver's idea about too much refrigerant can also cause an issue like this.... good one....
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 01:21 pm
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Blown, your symptoms indicate that your radiator fan is not working properly. It's either running too slow, or one of the speeds is not running fast enough, or it's just plain busted.

The radiator fan helps cool your engine coolant (at idle), of course. But it also cools your A/C compressor. When the fan's kaput--or running too slowly--the high side of your compressor lines get too hot, which makes the pressure build up in the compressor. This condition puts too much strain on your engine (at idle), and the motor starts sputtering like it's going to die.

It's like walking slowly (at idle), and suddenly someone puts a 50 lb. bag of Purina Dog Chow on your shoulders.

The result is also "hot" air coming out the vents (at idle only). But when you get going on the road, the natural air, rushing past your A/C condenser, starts to cool your "high side" and your A/C starts running cool again.

This subjec has been discussed many times on this forum. There may be another problem with your A/C, but this is the most common one--according to the symptoms you mentioned in your original post.

Tim
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 05:21 pm
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooligan View Post
Make sure that your radiator fan is working on both speeds. You didn't mention what year or how many miles, that may help.
It is a 2007 with 66,280 miles. Id imagine while driving the fan works fine and when I allow the car to idle in the driveway with the air on I can hear the fan spinning. It is not hot hot air that blows, it is more like room temp air that blows.
As for having over filled the A/C and causing it to sputter, the sputtering came before I refilled the A/C. So after refilling there was no difference. I used the kit with the gage.
The belts are good, no fraying or cracking. I appreciate all the input but I know that I am going to have to bite the bullet and pay a visit to a dealer. How can such a small engine be crammed into a small engine bay with no room to work!

If it is the radiator fan that is broken is there a thread covering this fix?

I will do some more research before getting ready to shell out the green.
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Last edited by blown05gt; 18 Apr 2011 at 05:24 pm.
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 06:23 pm
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Blown, since you included a pretty nice picture at the end of your last post, I'll tell you again that you've already got the answer you need. You can feel the cold "artic" air coming from your vents when the car is on the road (not stopped, in other words). There's a good reason for this: the air is rushing past your condenser and cooling your refridgerant. When you're stopped at idle--no air (or too little) is passing through your condenser--thus no refridgerant is being cooled ....

At 60-some-thousand miles, my 2003 PT Limited Edition did what your PT is doing now: sputtering at idle when using the A/C; hot air coming from the vents whilst the sputtering at idle is going on; cold air when out on the road and tooling along, fancy free (and the sputtering stops while on the road, also).

Your fan may be turning--but, either not fast enough, or the high speed of your two-speed fan is not coming on ... or going fast enough. The high-speed (second speed) on your fan makes an easily discernable whirring racket that you can hear while standing in front of the car with the hood up and the A/C on. It's the noisiest thing going on in there.

In my case, also, my temperture needle on the dash never got above the "almost-mid-way" normal setting. Yet, the fan was the problem. I suspect the engine didn't overheat because all this occurred with me a few months before it was full-blown summer, and we don't have long waints in my small town at stop signs, etc.

As far as the dealer goes, some that have been discussed on here pretend as if they haven't the faintest idea what's going on. They want to sell you a new A/C system, I suppose. Or maybe they're just really dumb ....

And I believe there's a "Sticky" on this forum that shows you how to remove and replace your fan that can be purchased on E-Bay or RockAuto for far less than the dealer would charge you.

Tim
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Old 18 Apr 2011, 06:31 pm
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Default Re: Weak A/C

Blown, I forgot to mention that Crewzin has included instructions on how to test your radiator fan in a post that was posted in the last few days entilted "How to Test your Radiator Fan".

Check it out.

Tim
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