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Hey folks,

I'm having an issue with my A/C compressor cycling every 5 seconds or so when the A/C is set to LOW while idling and ECON OFF. It should remain on, correct? Here's a brief story of how I got to this situation:

My air conditioner was blowing hot air, so I decided to attempt a re-charge using R134A. Prior to the re-charge, the gauge reading on the low side was about 15 PSI. I don't think the compressor was turning on. Refrigerant was added to yield a pressure of about 35 PSI when the compressor was on (ambient temperature was about 75-80F). Air at about 40F blows out the vents at night when it is 75-80F outside, and about 50F when it is 90F outside.

So, here's the issue: When the hood is propped open, the A/C compressor doesn't cycle (again on the LOW setting, ECON OFF, car idling, fans at full blast). When the hood is closed, the A/C starts cycling every few seconds. When it is opened, it stops cycling and remains on after 30 seconds or so. I think that the additional heat is causing this when the hood is closed, but what can I do to fix it? Could the relay contacts be expanding and becoming unreliable, or do I need to do something else?

A second issue I noticed was while driving, I could feel the A/C cycling. There's a distinctive jerk when the clutch activates. I don't recall feeling this before. Is this normal?

Thanks for any guidance. Note that I'm fairly new to DIY auto repair, too, so don't assume much prior knowledge :).
 

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When the AC is on, you will feel a definite braking in the engine, especially at low speed and rpm.
Opening and closing the hood shouldn't matter on the cycles. That is controlled by the temp. setting and the thermometer mounted in the climate control.
By LOW I assume you mean setting the climate control at around 60F? (Complete counterclockwise)
Loose wire somewhere?

HTH
Willie
 

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A/C blowing hot air?

Well it's August and I live in Texas. I was on the highway yesterday and my a/c just stared blowing hot air. I was hoping it just needed a charge so I bought a recharge can with gauge today and when I attached the gauge to charge it was reading over 100psi which according to the can indicated a mechanical issue. So I went through the manual and checked all the fuses. All were in good working order. I do not hear the compressor kick on or off from what I can tell. Any thoughts on what else to check before I have to take it to Honda? I read somewhere that someone had a compressor clutch relay go bad but I can't tell if it's good or bad since you can't see inside like a fuse. I'm scratching my head and any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thank.

Jesse - DFW, TX
2011 Honda Insight
113,000 miles
 

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When the AC is on, you will feel a definite braking in the engine, especially at low speed and rpm.
Opening and closing the hood shouldn't matter on the cycles. That is controlled by the temp. setting and the thermometer mounted in the climate control.
By LOW I assume you mean setting the climate control at around 60F? (Complete counterclockwise)
Loose wire somewhere?

HTH
Willie
So, you're saying it's normal for the engine to surge and stutter when the A/C is on? Mine started doing that after I added DIY refrigerant, instead of getting it professionally recharged. Normal? ('02, manual, 285,000 mi)
-fred
 

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So, you're saying it's normal for the engine to surge and stutter when the A/C is on? Mine started doing that after I added DIY refrigerant, instead of getting it professionally recharged. Normal? ('02, manual, 285,000 mi)
-fred
Well, let's start with: this is the second generation forum. Second, unless you have knowledge & experience with auto A/C systems, adding DIY refrigerant can be counterproductive. For one thing, overcharged is just as bad (sometimes worse) than undercharged.
 

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Aha, the infamous AC blowing hot air issue. OK, this has baffled me for 2 years now. Apparently this is a very common issue with all Hondas of this vintage (Civics, etc...)
The first thing to check (assuming your refrigerant level is correct) is the AC clutch relay, next to the 12v battery. It's an easy thing to replace and fairly inexpensive. See this video:
Unfortunately oftentimes that is not the problem either. It turns out that the clutch plate on the compressor is activated with an electro magnet. Over time, the plate gets slightly worn and/or modified by years of heat abuse and, once the outside temp goes above a certain level (80-85 in my case), the clutch plate does not make contact anymore. Most dealership will be more than happy to charge you for a new compressor to fix it. Fortunately, thanks to a genius named Eric at South Main Auto, there is a (relatively) simple fix:
I tried his trick and it worked. I cannot hank him enough. Cost: $0. Except for an afternoon's spent on the garage floor.
Best of luck
 
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