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2011 Explorer - No AC at idle

mpfabish

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The AC in my 2011 Explorer works fine when driving, but blows hot air when sitting in traffic or parked. Dealer adjusted the freon and said I needed some sort of update that won't be available until the end of July. Unfortunately, I failed to turn the engine off during a recent business trip. When I returned the battery was dead and it was out of gas. Wondering if this may have caused the air conditioning problem.
 


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peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum mpfabish.:wavey:
Have you ever had the cooling fans replaced? The 2011 models had many fan failures. Then there was the Customer Satisfaction Program 12B36 that reprogrammed the control module to periodically run the fans at a high speed to prevent possible corrosion of the fan motor contacts.

Peter
 




mpfabish

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The dealer replaced the fans when the vehicle was about a year old. I will check into the satisfaction program.
 




peterk9

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new to ford

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sounds like your cooling fans are failing. When they dont cool down enough, as a protection, it cut's-off the AC to avoid additional loads to the engine. keep a close eye on your engine coolant gauge when this happens again, if it does, take it straight to the dealership if you want to avoid your engine to overheat!
 




carsmellslikedog

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Hello - first post here. I'm having a similar issue on my 2011 Explorer. My AC starts blowing warm air when the car is idling or driving at low speeds.

I popped the hood with the engine running and wiggled around the line where it connects to the radiator cooling fan control unit - when I did that fan would start back up for a short time then turn off again.

I've taken the control unit out and inspected the connectors and they look to be in good shape - no arcing or burn marks or anything.

Could this be a bad control unit? Why would wiggling the wires around cause the fan to start up momentarily? I guess it could be a coincidence.

ac control unit ford.jpg
 




peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum. :wave:
Have you checked the coolant level? Low refrigerant? If wiggling the wire causes the fan to come on it sounds like a bad connection or broken wire.

Peter
 




carsmellslikedog

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Welcome to the Forum. :wave:
Have you checked the coolant level? Low refrigerant? If wiggling the wire causes the fan to come on it sounds like a bad connection or broken wire.

Peter
So I popped the hood again, reinstalled the control unit, blew out all the connectors with compressed air and reinstalled it. The wiggling wire trick doesn't seem to have any effect anymore. I let the car idle for about ten minutes and didn't observe either fan kick on. The coolant temp was normal.

I haven't checked the refrigerant level - not sure how.

When the car is driving at speed, the air will blow cold. Why could this be?

When I shut off the AC there is a slow hissing noise that slows down and quiets over time. Is this indicative of anything.
 




Odrapnew

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So I popped the hood again, reinstalled the control unit, blew out all the connectors with compressed air and reinstalled it. The wiggling wire trick doesn't seem to have any effect anymore. I let the car idle for about ten minutes and didn't observe either fan kick on. The coolant temp was normal.

I haven't checked the refrigerant level - not sure how.

When the car is driving at speed, the air will blow cold. Why could this be?

When I shut off the AC there is a slow hissing noise that slows down and quiets over time. Is this indicative of anything.

You get cold air while moving because air is flowing across the condenser. Essentially a radiator for your A/C system.
With no air flow, the condenser cannot do it's job of condensing the A/C refrigerant.

I believe the fan should be running all the time with A/C on at idle or slow speed. If the fan isn't running and you are stationary, you have no air flow across the condenser.

As for the hissing, that could just be the high pressure bleeding off into the low pressure part of the system. Without knowing for sure that there are no leaks, it could be normal or it could be a sign of issues. I know my old (1989) mustang hisses for a bit after shutdown when using the A/C and has been doing that for 10+ years. I'd have to check my Explorer next time I use the A/C.
 




carsmellslikedog

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You get cold air while moving because air is flowing across the condenser. Essentially a radiator for your A/C system.
With no air flow, the condenser cannot do it's job of condensing the A/C refrigerant.

I believe the fan should be running all the time with A/C on at idle or slow speed. If the fan isn't running and you are stationary, you have no air flow across the condenser.

As for the hissing, that could just be the high pressure bleeding off into the low pressure part of the system. Without knowing for sure that there are no leaks, it could be normal or it could be a sign of issues. I know my old (1989) mustang hisses for a bit after shutdown when using the A/C and has been doing that for 10+ years. I'd have to check my Explorer next time I use the A/C.
Thank you for that info. That makes a lot of sense. So will the AC blow cold air even if the compressor isn't working just from the air flow?

Also how common is it for the fan to fail? My car has about 160,000 miles. I'm the second owner - not sure if it's been replaced or not.
 




Odrapnew

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Thank you for that info. That makes a lot of sense. So will the AC blow cold air even if the compressor isn't working just from the air flow?

Also how common is it for the fan to fail? My car has about 160,000 miles. I'm the second owner - not sure if it's been replaced or not.

If the compressor is not working, you will not have A/C.

It sounds like your compressor is working since you have cold A/C when you are moving.

Also, as I mentioned, if the fans aren't running with A/C on and sitting idle, you will have little to no cooling.

Unfortunately I don't know the failure rate of the fans so I can't help there.
 




peterk9

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If the A/C is ON at idle, you should still get cold air. That is one of the nice things about remote start. It can cool the interior before you get in.
There was no mention of whether the coolant level was good.

Peter
 




Mbrooks420

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Coolant level will effect heat, not AC.
 




peterk9

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:banghead:
 




Mbrooks420

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carsmellslikedog

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If the A/C is ON at idle, you should still get cold air. That is one of the nice things about remote start. It can cool the interior before you get in.
There was no mention of whether the coolant level was good.

Peter
Hey Peter,

Based on what user Odrapnew (thanks, man!) said I think I might have a bad fan. I haven't checked my refrigerant, I don't have the tool to do that, but I suspect low refrigerant isn't the issue since it blows decently cold when driving at speed. As far as coolant, I don't have any reason to suspect it's low, but I will check it out - as Mbrooks420 (nice) mentioned it's good to keep an eye on. Remote start would be nice, but so would a car that doesn't smell like an old dog, we can't have it all, can we?

I'm waiting on my Haynes shop manual to arrive to see how I remove the fans. Surprisingly there are zero videos on youtube of a cooling fan replacement on 5th gen. Explorers. I did find this video of a fan replacement on a Ford Edge (2011-14 model).
 




carsmellslikedog

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If the compressor is not working, you will not have A/C.

It sounds like your compressor is working since you have cold A/C when you are moving.

Also, as I mentioned, if the fans aren't running with A/C on and sitting idle, you will have little to no cooling.

Unfortunately I don't know the failure rate of the fans so I can't help there.
Just curious about the fans. Does the radiator fan only turn on when the engine starts getting to hot at idle? I'm guessing if the condenser fan is bad, the radiator fan is also bad, since they're in the same unit. I guess it would make sense that I don't need a fan when I'm driving because of the air cooling, but how much trouble am I in if I'm idling for a while on a 90 degree day with a bad radiator fan?
 




Odrapnew

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Just curious about the fans. Does the radiator fan only turn on when the engine starts getting to hot at idle? I'm guessing if the condenser fan is bad, the radiator fan is also bad, since they're in the same unit. I guess it would make sense that I don't need a fan when I'm driving because of the air cooling, but how much trouble am I in if I'm idling for a while on a 90 degree day with a bad radiator fan?

I believe they are the same fan, just controlled differently.

The fan(s) should turn on low when A/C is turned on and vehicle at idle, regardless of engine temp to keep that air flow across the condenser.

It's possible you are low on refrigerant.
If that's low, the pressure switches in the A/C system might prevent it from running until it gets enough air flow across the condenser. That's just a guess, but something to check.

You could let it idle for a while without A/C on and watch coolant temp gauge. The fans should come on as temp increases. I don't know what that temperature point is, but I would guess if you drive around to get the engine fully to temp and then park and idle, fan should come on within 5-10 minutes. Just keep eye on gauge to make sure ot doesn't overheat. If fan comes on, the would lead me to believe the fans are OK and it's the controller.

BTW, I'm not a mechanic, just using some of the knowledge I've gained over the years. I can't guarantee any of the above is accurate, but just thinking of things you can try at home without any expensive tools/equipment.
 




peterk9

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Just curious about the fans. Does the radiator fan only turn on when the engine starts getting to hot at idle? I'm guessing if the condenser fan is bad, the radiator fan is also bad, since they're in the same unit. I guess it would make sense that I don't need a fan when I'm driving because of the air cooling, but how much trouble am I in if I'm idling for a while on a 90 degree day with a bad radiator fan?
The answer to your question seems to be YES. I went back and checked a few posts and the fans do not run with a cold start-up. Cooling fans and cooling fans run at startup I also found this post; cooling fan issues
Here is another thread but no conclusion; Correct part# for 2011 cooling fans??

Peter
 


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