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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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AC blowing warm air

Hi everyone.

It's that time of the year again where it's definitely good to have AC if you're leaving the hard top on. My car is blowing warm air at me even with the AC on it's maximum setting.

The little blue light turns on when I push it to turn the AC on, I'm not sure when that would not turn on and why, but for the sake of full disclosure of my issue that light is turning on fine. The air blows out fine also. No issues there.

I connected my AC pro and had the car running, AC on the maximum settings, and then I read the pressure on the AC pro and it was in the red zone at the maximum pressure. I then went on to watch some YouTube videos and saw one which I believe was made by AC pro and they said that if it reads in the red zone right away that the compressor is not kicking in. The solution they said was to add a bottle of AC pro to get the compressor to kick in. For some reason that just seems odd to me so I wanted to check with you guys on what I should do?

I called two shops and one shop was getting me all scheduled to look at it then he asked "What kind of car is it?" and I told him and then he said "Oh maybe you should bring that to the Lotus dealership", so I just got off the phone with that shop. The next shop which deals only with exotic cars or high-end luxury vehicles said they could do it but when I asked for a price quote he said "If it's just refilling and checking the system, probably $200-300, if it's something more or the compressor is bad then the price will go up." I really would like to avoid paying $200-300 just to get this diagnosed or refilled... so any advice on what I should do next is much appreciated!

2007 X-Charged Mustang - Performance White
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Last edited by maxshuty; 04-27-2016 at 08:21 AM.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 10:06 AM
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A set of real gauges are 60 bucks or so at Harbor Freight

Then you can see what is really going on
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exigegus View Post
A set of real gauges are 60 bucks or so at Harbor Freight

Then you can see what is really going on
A set of gauges, adapters, and vacuum pump is free to borrow at AutoZone.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for my ignorance, but what will I be looking for with these gauges? I'm all about self learning and doing it yourself, I just need to know what to look for.

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 04:01 PM
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once you know high side and low side pressures, and ambient temperature, you have information to determine what is going on.

there are charts of ambient temp vs hi/lo pressure and also system off pressure
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exigegus View Post
once you know high side and low side pressures, and ambient temperature, you have information to determine what is going on.

there are charts of ambient temp vs hi/lo pressure and also system off pressure
The charts can be a bit difficult to read in that I have googled and found different values high/low for the same ambient pressure and refrigerant. Some fudging is required.

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f313...-temps-120666/
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 04:11 PM
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1. Take the hardtop off.

2. You can tell if compressor has kicked in.

3. If it doesn't, it's almost always a refrigerant leak.

4. Compressors don't work when refrigerant is too low.

Usually. a dye is mixed w/the new refrigerant, so you can find the leak with an ultraviolet light (or a lava lamp).

Google how the gauges work. BUT, I don't recommend this stuff for amateurs w/no experience.

A good shop will evacuate the system (req'd by law?), add the die and either fix the leak or tell you which part is leaking.

I had to replace a metal a/c line, but knew I needed the correct a/c/ lubricant for that. Not expensive.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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1. Take the hardtop off.

2. You can tell if compressor has kicked in.

3. If it doesn't, it's almost always a refrigerant leak.

4. Compressors don't work when refrigerant is too low.

Usually. a dye is mixed w/the new refrigerant, so you can find the leak with an ultraviolet light (or a lava lamp).

Google how the gauges work. BUT, I don't recommend this stuff for amateurs w/no experience.

A good shop will evacuate the system (req'd by law?), add the die and either fix the leak or tell you which part is leaking.

I had to replace a metal a/c line, but knew I needed the correct a/c/ lubricant for that. Not expensive.

Thanks for that information.

Two questions:
1)

I took that video last night. Am I looking at the compressor in that video or something else?

2) If I sprayed AC pro in the car is all hope of finding the leak gone since it has that stop leak stuff in it?

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 08:52 AM
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Is it blowing HOT air or warm air?
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 09:34 AM
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Dude you're heading down a really nasty rabbit hole. Here's my similar experience that is still unresolved:

2007 Lotus Elise SC complete diagnotic and repair history notes for service tech:

After purchasing the vehicle from the previous owner it was discovered that the AC was not blowing cold. On two occasions I was able to get cold air by cycling the AC blower off and on repeatedly. This no longer works. The blower works properly and the heater works properly. Also, the AC light on the button turns on when pressed and the engine RPM raises as it should. I watched the AC compressor with a flashlight as someone turned the AC on and off and I discovered that the clutch was not engaging, or was engaging very softly as if the clutch was possible worn or broken.

I called the previous owner to discuss troubleshooting history. I was told that the car was taken to the Lotus dealer for AC repair and the dealer discovered a "bad ground" near the compressor in the engine bay. The ground was fixed, but the AC still did not work. The next step was to remove the front clam and inspect wiring, but the previous owner declined this work.

After researching countless forum threads on the topic I began troubleshooting the AC system myself. These are the efforts that have been made to this point, with mixed success:

1. Hot/cool air flap tested and found to be functioning properly. The blower duct was removed and I visually confirmed the flap moved when the thermostat was rotated inside the car.

2. Temperature probe was found to be poking into the condensor fins. I pulled the probe just slightly away from the condensor fins.

3. Wiring to the Trinary switch was inspected as far as I could see and looked ok. Connectors to the Trinary switch were cleaned and inspected. All seems OK, however I could not inspect all of the wiring with the front clam in place.

4. AC relay was replaced with a used unit. This did not resolve the problem so I re-installed the original relay.

5. The AC compressor relay fuse was inspected (front fuse box). The AC compressor fuse was inspected (under dashboard). The ECU fuse (R4, engine bay) was pulled for 10 minutes and replaced.

6. I attached a pressure gauge to the low side refrigerant port and found the system was charged to way over 100 psi. I relieved the pressure down to 40 psi. I then relieved 100% of the refrigerant and re-charged with an off the shelf r134 to 50 psi.

7. The discovery of extreme pressure on the low side port led me to believe possible AC compressor damage had occurred. I replaced the AC compressor with a new unit designed for an '05-'09 Toyota MR2 Sypder. I had to re-use the wire harness off of the old compressor as the new harness would not reach the plug.

8. I had the AC system professionally recharged, filling it with 1.25 lbs of refrigerant.

9. I disconnected the vehicle battery for over 2 hours and reconnected in hopes the ECU would re-learn the refrigerant pressure and activate the AC.

Current status is the AC now works intermettently. If the car starts and the AC works, then it stays working. If the car starts and the AC does NOT work, then it will not work until a successful restart of the engine.

Other theories:
1. Bad ecu. I also have an airbag light on the dashboard. Perhaps this is related.
2. Bad wiring. Perhaps there is a wire with too much resistance or it is grounding somewhere.
3. Bad temperature probe.
4. Bad trinary switch.
5. Both my current AC relay and the used relay I tested are bad.
6. Bad thermostat.

Important note: This vehicle did not come with the factory supercharger. It was installed by the previous owner. I imagine the AC issue came about after the supercharger was installed. There must be some connection to the supercharger, perhaps in the ECU software that is causing this.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sturgeongeneral View Post
Is it blowing HOT air or warm air?
It's blowing roughly whatever the temperature is outside, maybe just a tad warmer.

In that video I posted, am I looking at the AC compressor? (Fast forward to about 50% through the video, it's only a minute long.)
@LiveToDrive - I really hope that my issues are not anything like what you have had to deal with. I hope that you're able to get the issues resolved.

Last edited by maxshuty; 04-19-2016 at 10:04 AM.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxshuty View Post
It's blowing roughly whatever the temperature is outside, maybe just a tad warmer.

In that video I posted, am I looking at the AC compressor? (Fast forward to about 50% through the video, it's only a minute long.)
@LiveToDrive - I really hope that my issues are not anything like what you have had to deal with. I hope that you're able to get the issues resolved.
This photo shows the front of the engine well:
http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elis.../DSC00040b.jpg

The AC Compressor is in the lower right corner.
The video doesn't appear to be showing the compressor. Those two lines that the camera are focusing on belong to the AC IIRC and the test ports can be found right around there.

If you can follow instructions, are detail oriented, and are mechanically inclined, you can do your own AC work. There is some danger, so it's best if someone shows you how to do it the first time. I would practice on your daily driver first. There are little details like cleaning fittings, bleeding air out of the gauge set, and testing the system for leaks that are important.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 12:15 PM
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Round,

I agree that someone should help him. I am not a fan of amateurs fooling with AC.

But, I think practicing with his DD is a bad idea; that a/c works.

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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Round,

I agree that someone should help him. I am not a fan of amateurs fooling with AC.

But, I think practicing with his DD is a bad idea; that a/c works.
I would really like to learn this. I'm not about to start taking things apart I'm just trying to find the location of the compressor and how I can look at it when the car is running so I can be sure that it's not engaging. If it is then I'll be taking it to a shop, if it's not then from my understanding it is very likely to just be empty on R134 based on what I've already read on these forums and other forums. I can handle refilling the refrigerant as I've done that before, I just don't want to start adding it if I have a bigger problem. The shops around here either don't want to touch the car, or the one that will is trying to charge $200-$300 just to empty and refill the refrigerant, then if they find anything wrong it will be extra on top of that $200-$300 which seems really steep.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 11:00 AM
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I am betting the refrigerant is not your issue. If you showed pressure in the red then you obviously had refrigerant. Refilling it won't help and you can't use A/C Pro on these cars because they fill by weight, not pressure. It should take 1.25 lbs.
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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I am betting the refrigerant is not your issue. If you showed pressure in the red then you obviously had refrigerant. Refilling it won't help and you can't use A/C Pro on these cars because they fill by weight, not pressure. It should take 1.25 lbs.
It will show in the red if the compressor does not engage. Good to know about AC Pro though!

I'm going to call around to more shops and see what I can come up with to get it serviced by the professionals, hopefully I don't get more people not wanting to work on it or trying to charge outrageous prices.

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Last edited by maxshuty; 04-21-2016 at 07:17 AM.
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:16 AM
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I have the exact same system and even had a shop refill it at $250 to no avail. When i takes to elise owners here where I live they just laughed and said ac and elise never works so i should just give up. It is very frustrating though as it get very very hot in the summer even with roof off.

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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 10:52 AM
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My local Chester Auto Repair was less expensive. And, if system leaks afterwards, the next refrigerant is n/c. Labor is still charged.

Many of us have pretty good a/c. Great on a summer day with rain.

Not nearly strong enough to work with top off however.

NOTE: Bring the specs from your manual. I have service manual; not sure what's in owners' manual.

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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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My local Chester Auto Repair was less expensive. And, if system leaks afterwards, the next refrigerant is n/c. Labor is still charged.

Many of us have pretty good a/c. Great on a summer day with rain.

Not nearly strong enough to work with top off however.

NOTE: Bring the specs from your manual. I have service manual; not sure what's in owners' manual.
I've got the service manual on my phone Maybe I should print off the pages talking about AC (I think the "PL" section).

I called around and after getting various prices from "We wont work on your car" to $300+ I found a shop that is about an hour away but they will do it for $70 and have 4.9/5 stars on google reviews with 50+ reviews... and for a mechanic shop I think that's pretty solid since most of the others seem to have 2-3 stars.

I have it scheduled for Tuesday so I'm hoping that it just needs evacuation and refilling. I'll try and update this thread after the work gets done.
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 11:52 AM
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If the gauge is showing in the RED zone, then the compressor is NOT kicking on. That does NOT mean you are low on Freon, just that the compressor is not kicking on. Start there (fuse, a/c button (does it go green at dash?).

That's your starting point. If you are low on Freon, and the AC does not kick on you should not be in the RED zone.

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