A/C Stopped Working -- What to check? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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A/C Stopped Working -- What to check?

My air conditioner stopped working today on my 2005 Elise. I guess this is a good time of year for it to fail. I'm not sure how to proceed from here. I'd like to do as much as I can myself before taking it in for service. The 3 causes I think are most likely are:

1. Out of freon -- This happened to me once before, a few years ago

2. A consequence of resetting check engine light -- I first saw this issue after resetting the check engine light (the gas cap was loose). A few minute later, I noticed the reset trip meter button on the steering wheel wasn't working consistently. Then I checked all the electrical controls, and saw the A/C was not working (last ran A/C several days earlier). Maybe resetting the check engine light triggered some type of electrical or fuse issue that stopped the A/C.

3. Typical Lotus A/C issues -- I realize air conditioner problems are not uncommon for Lotuses. However, mine has never had the typical A/C issues in it's 6 year history. Instead the A/C has always blowed cold, without issue. So I'd be surprised if they are starting now.


Does anyone have ideas about what I could do to confirm the cause or anything else I could do myself before bringing it for service?

Last edited by aka23; 02-02-2011 at 08:15 PM.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:45 PM
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stopped working meaning what exactly?

Isn't blowing cold air?
Blows cold air for a few minutes then turns warm?
Isn't blowing air at all?
Other?
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:59 PM
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If it isn't blowing anything, heat or AC, then it is probably your resistor pack, which sucks.

Is the light coming on, but is the compressor not (you'll hear it in the engine bay click)? You could be out of freon, but you would have seen a gradual decrease in AC power, although I am not sure you would have noticed with this balmy winter we are having <cough> If you hear the compressor click, the engine RPMs change, but the air stay warm, you are out of freon and immediately turn off the AC, it needs freon to stay operating correctly. Most places can fill you up easily, but you may want to track down that leak.

You can check the fuses, they are under the dash in the passenger side. Prepare to channel your inner circus midget when looking at them...

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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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stopped working meaning what exactly?

Isn't blowing cold air?
Blows cold air for a few minutes then turns warm?
Isn't blowing air at all?
Other?
When the temp dial is turned to maximum cold, the vents blow cabin temperature air (instead of the cold temp I expected). The temperature is the same whether or not the A/C button is pressed, but the blue light appears while the A/C is on. The temp remains the same for any number of minutes. If I turn the dial to hot, hot air blows out as expected.

Last edited by aka23; 02-02-2011 at 05:53 PM.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by NolanA View Post
When the temp dial is turned to maximum cold, the vents blow cabin temperature air (instead of the cold temp I expected). The temperature is the same whether or not the A/C button is pressed, but the blue light appears while the A/C is on. The temp remains the same for any number of minutes. If I turn the dial to hot, hot air blows out as expected.
did you check the fuse? Is the compressor turning? Does engine sound, rpm change when you hit the button?

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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:08 PM
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Check fuses F7, F19 & C4
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:44 AM
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Sounds like you're out of Freon to me.

This could be due to just a long period of disuse, thus the seals have dried up, or it could be a more serious problem.

Anyway, any automotive A/C place can help you to both pressure test your system and to refill. You probably need to know the amount the refill as the A/C place won't have your car in their list. I forgotten the quantity right now, but it's in the service manual. Possibly also in the user manual.

The connection points for refills/ pressure tests are on the right hand side in the engine bay, and can possibly be accessed through the air scoop on the right hand side. (Only done this with an Exige where that is by far the easiest way to access the connection points)
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 08:44 AM
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Sounds like out of Freon to me. Fill it in the spring and take it back a month later to have them look for the dye. Waiting too long between refill and recheck gives the dye time to get washed off / fade etc. I'm refilling mine come spring for this reason - they couldn't find any traces of the dye last time.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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After replacing the freon, the A/C works perfectly again. I'm glad to have it today, as my outdoor thermometer is reading in the mid 80s. Thanks for the help.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by NolanA View Post
After replacing the freon, the A/C works perfectly again. I'm glad to have it today, as my outdoor thermometer is reading in the mid 80s. Thanks for the help.
I am glad you have it working, however there is always a reason for loosing refrigerant, something that maybe you should check if it happens again.
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 11:19 AM
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Just to pic a nit, Freon is a DuPont trade name for R-12 refrigerant. There were many manufacturers of R-12. It's kind of like calling a facial tissue a Kleenex.

By the way, our cars DO NOT use R-12, they use R-134a refrigerant. R-12 was phased out in cars starting back in '93 - '94 or so...




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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-14-2011, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TheViper View Post
Check fuses F7, F19 & C4
Michael
My a/c has just stopped functioning. Here are my symptoms:
1. The a/c momentary switch light comes on.
2. The compressor doesn't cut in. No cool air from vents.
3. All three fan speeds work fine.
4. The recirculation light comes on (which I think means the switch pack's ok).
5. Fuses F7, F19 & C4 are fine.
6. The connectors into the relay pack on the LHS wheelarch lining are secure.
7. The circuits inside the relay pack on the LHS wheelarch lining look fine (popped it apart to check).
8. I have 12v into F19.
9. I fail to see any voltage into C4 w/ the key in the ignition & turned to position II (didn't try with the engine running, though) - may need to double-check this.
10. The a/c was working fine before I wired up my oil temp gauge which takes power from C2 (piggy-back) - and yes, my wipers still work!
11. Even with the oil temp gauge completely unplugged, still no a/c compressor action.

As I'm a big "what did you touch before it went bang?" kinda guy, how can I be sure what I've fiddled with hasn't caused the a/c issue. I'm also an advocate of something unrelated going bang under coincidental circumstances ;-) I really wish there was a way to diagnose the a/c no worky cause (i.e. low gas) without having to check the gas level!

Also, should the radiator fans come on at half-speed when the a/c is turned on? My rad fans *don't* come on when the a/c button's pressed (and the light's lit) but I'm assuming that the fans are driven by the compressor cutting in & *not* the button pressed.

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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifiandmtb View Post
My a/c has just stopped functioning. Here are my symptoms:
1. The a/c momentary switch light comes on.
2. The compressor doesn't cut in. No cool air from vents.
3. All three fan speeds work fine.
4. The recirculation light comes on (which I think means the switch pack's ok).
5. Fuses F7, F19 & C4 are fine.
6. The connectors into the relay pack on the LHS wheelarch lining are secure.
7. The circuits inside the relay pack on the LHS wheelarch lining look fine (popped it apart to check).
8. I have 12v into F19.
9. I fail to see any voltage into C4 w/ the key in the ignition & turned to position II (didn't try with the engine running, though) - may need to double-check this.
10. The a/c was working fine before I wired up my oil temp gauge which takes power from C2 (piggy-back) - and yes, my wipers still work!
11. Even with the oil temp gauge completely unplugged, still no a/c compressor action.

As I'm a big "what did you touch before it went bang?" kinda guy, how can I be sure what I've fiddled with hasn't caused the a/c issue. I'm also an advocate of something unrelated going bang under coincidental circumstances ;-) I really wish there was a way to diagnose the a/c no worky cause (i.e. low gas) without having to check the gas level!

Also, should the radiator fans come on at half-speed when the a/c is turned on? My rad fans *don't* come on when the a/c button's pressed (and the light's lit) but I'm assuming that the fans are driven by the compressor cutting in & *not* the button pressed.
There is only 12V at C4 when the compressor relay closes, which is controlled by the ECU. Try jumping the relay contact by bridging brown/white wire to the red at the AC control module to see if the compressor starts.
If it does, it could be the Trinary switch not signalling the ECU to start the compressor due to low refrigerant level or defective wiring or switch.
The fans are also controlled by the ECU and run at half speed if the compressor is running.
Michael

Last edited by SirLotus; 05-15-2011 at 04:39 AM.
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 05:04 AM
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By a/c control module you also mean the relay pack on top of the wheelarch lining? So unplug the relay pack & bridge the wires together?

Your help is invaluable as always!

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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifiandmtb View Post
By a/c control module you also mean the relay pack on top of the wheelarch lining? So unplug the relay pack & bridge the wires together?

Your help is invaluable as always!
Yes to all.
Michael
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post #16 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 01:52 PM
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wtf?! My a/c just started doing something similar to this...

1. all switches/ positions and lights work.
2. I hear the "click" of the compressor relay when I push the "snowflake" button.
3. I checked the refrigerant level and it's good too.
4. all I get is cabin temp air. (or hot air in the red zone on the temp dial)
5. My radiator fans come on like they are supposed to as well.
Anyone got any ideas?? I don't have any Lotus dealerships or service centers near me either. So this kinda has to be a DIY thing for me. My car is an '05 as well.

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post #17 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 4elise View Post
wtf?! My a/c just started doing something similar to this...

1. all switches/ positions and lights work.
2. I hear the "click" of the compressor relay when I push the "snowflake" button.
3. I checked the refrigerant level and it's good too.
4. all I get is cabin temp air. (or hot air in the red zone on the temp dial)
5. My radiator fans come on like they are supposed to as well.
Anyone got any ideas?? I don't have any Lotus dealerships or service centers near me either. So this kinda has to be a DIY thing for me. My car is an '05 as well.
I know you checked it but am thinking you are low on refrigerant.
Michael
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post #18 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 02:41 PM
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This could be due to just a long period of disuse, thus the seals have dried up, or it could be a more serious problem.
Sometimes my car gets driven 30-40 miles in the whole year.

If I run the A/C every few months (5 miles or so), is that enough not to have a prolonged "disuse" so that the system stays operational and seals don't dry up?

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post #19 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 01:57 PM
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My A/C went out too today. The fan switch is set to three, blue light is on, but nothing from the vents. I hear a clicking from the engine compartment when I hit the A/C button, but no air.

I tried the speedo resynch procedure and the A/C started working again, just once, and then hasn't worked since. I have no idea what the problem is...

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post #20 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TheViper View Post
There is only 12V at C4 when the compressor relay closes, which is controlled by the ECU. Try jumping the relay contact by bridging brown/white wire to the red at the AC control module to see if the compressor starts.
If it does, it could be the Trinary switch not signalling the ECU to start the compressor due to low refrigerant level or defective wiring or switch.
The fans are also controlled by the ECU and run at half speed if the compressor is running.
Michael
When jumping the relay contact, I understand that you unplug the wider connector and use some coated wire to bridge the brown/white to the red. Do you leave the other wires disconnected while attempting this?

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