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1996 Aerostar. A/C cycles on and off.

Aerostar Fan 96

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June 23, 2010
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Aerostar
Aloha Everyone,

My first post here so please excuse me if this question has been answered a few hundred times or if I sound like I don't know anything about cars because I don't. I recently moved to Hawaii and bought this 1996 Aerostar to get around in. To be honest I didn't think I'd keep it long but figured I'd drive it for a couple months until I bought something newer.

The Aerostar looked pretty straight and the interior wasn't ripped up but the entire vehicle was really pretty dirty with a ton of sand in it. The day after I bought it I ran across an ad for a guy that did detailing out of his house so I thought I'd get the Aerostar cleaned up. The guy did an amazing job. He spent 16 hours on it. He shampooed the carpet and seats, waxed and buffed the exterior, cleaned every inch of it, and only charged me a hundred bucks. Under all that dirt my Aerostar looked like new. I've driven it for about a month now and really like the little thing. It has 130,000+ miles on it and runs great. So good I'd decided to keep it until it dies. Why spend $20,000 on a vehicle when this one is fun to drive?

The only problem it has seems to be getting worse. Under hard acceleration the A/C seems to cycle off. When I let off the gas it comes back on. At first it was only when I'd be going up a hill, now it seems to be most anytime I hit the gas from a stop light. Today it started an additional problem where the airflow seems to shift from the dash vents to the windshield and maybe some vents near the floor.

It appears to have had some work done on the A/C a couple years back as the compressor and some of the parts attached to it have dates written on them from 2007 and 2008. From the way this little truck cleaned up someone must have taken good care of it before the beach lover I bought it from got a hold of it.

I'd like to take it to a shop and get it repaired but don't want to get ripped off. Since I am clueless about the A/C on this vehicle I'd be a pretty easy target. Can anyone give me some ideas on what it might be so I can sound a little educated when I take it in? In return I'll buy you lunch next time you come to Hawaii and take you for a ride in the cleanest 1996 Aerostar on the Island.

Mahalo !
 




Slofive-O

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1998 Mountaineer 5.0
I had a Taurus that shut off the compressor under acceleration by design.
Perhaps that switch or relay is beginning to fail.
 




BrooklynBay

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Welcome to this forum! I've moved your thread into the Aerostar section. I know that this is an old thread, but I just came across it now. The compressor clutch is supposed to cycle under hard acceleration. As for the issue with the vents, that sounds like a cracked vacuum line. Check the color coded hard plastic vacuum line in the front of the van near the rubber boot connector. It's near a servo piston, and a check valve.
 




rv4fun

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Year, Model & Trim Level
97, 96 & 97 Aerostar 3.0L
Two things will cycle the compressor - full throttle and low pressure in the a/c system. You could be a little low on refrigerant. The return line back to the compressor should be really cold and sweat profusely in Hawaii with all your humidity. If it's not cold with the a/c running, try adding some R134a till it gets cold and try another road test. Leaking shaft seals are a common problem but if your compressor was just replaced a couple of years ago, it shouldn't be bad already.

The shift in air discharge happens when the vacuum that operates the dampers drops. Try replacing the check-valve - bad check valves are a common problem. The damper motor diaphragm could be leaking or the tubing could be cracked.

I'm not sure if you have a Harbor Freight near by or not but try to get you hands on one of these brake bleeder - vacuum pumps Harbor Freight Brake Bleeder-Vacuum Pump. It's handy tool to test the diaphragms on the damper motors - after pumping it a few times to get the gauge to pull down, it should hold without leaking down. You might be able to borrow one from Auto Zone.
 




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