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A/C Problem... No clue what's wrong.

U235

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I DID search, couldn't find anything relative to this.

I guess what I need is a basic direction to point myself in, where should I start, when troubleshooting A/C problems? My A/C blows warm in the summer and cool in the winter :mad: 100+ degree days in Houston, TX, and I have to set it to Max A/C to get any kind of less-than-hot air coming out of the damned thing. And it's by no means cold.

Can anyone tell me where to start? Things to check, change, or do, to try to find my problem?


FWIW, I'm driving a 1998 XLT, 2wd with a 5.0. ~97k miles.
 


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scucci

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do a search for blend door. Lots of info on that. Have the a/c system pressures checked - at 13 years old you might have lost enough refrigerant to cause poor cooling.
 




U235

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Will do. Also -- My uncle put more freon in the system once, still thinks that's the problem, although I'm afraid to keep adding freon because I've heard that overdoing that can be harmful.
 




U235

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Remembering more details, trying to be specific as possible; far left vent, near door, hardly blows at all, even at max A/C. Same with Far right vent.
 




budwich

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do any vents / openings work at all? if so which ones?
 




U235

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do any vents / openings work at all? if so which ones?

Both of the center vents work, although they don't blow cold unless it's winter, hot unless it's summer, as mentioned above. Defrost vent works when defrost is turned on. Rear vents on the back of the center console seem to work, although not any better than the ones up front.


Also worth noting that during long drives, footspace on the driver's side gets pretty warm/hot. Dunno if that has anything to do with anything. Could just be heat from engine/transmission.
 




budwich

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you probably need to go back to AC basics.... does your compressor run when you turn on your AC??? do you know how to tell that it is running??? Is it cycling rapidly??? I suspect that your A/C isn't running at all or its cycling rapidly. Having said that, if it does (run), then you need to follow thru on the suggestion about the blender door. IF it doesn't run, odds are you are out / low on freon... which needs to be address probably by someone who knows something about your system.
 




U235

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you probably need to go back to AC basics.... does your compressor run when you turn on your AC??? do you know how to tell that it is running???

If this is the cylindrical part that is connected to the serpentine belt, then yes, it runs when I turn the A/C on. Also, the parts in the upper left corner (If looking into the engine compartment from the front) that relate to the A/C are cold, if that means anything.

Is it cycling rapidly??? I suspect that your A/C isn't running at all or its cycling rapidly.

I'm not sure what cycling rapidly means. Sorry I'm so clueless guys. :(
 




U235

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From what I've read, I think maybe it's overfilled with freon? Is there any way to check, or discharge a portion of it?
 




RomeovilleIL

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If this is the cylindrical part that is connected to the serpentine belt, then yes, it runs when I turn the A/C on. Also, the parts in the upper left corner (If looking into the engine compartment from the front) that relate to the A/C are cold, if that means anything.:(

Ok. You AC works if those lines and parts are cold so that is not your problem. For now leave them alone. Close the hood and move to the interior.

There are a couple possibilities. Assuming the control knobs or EATC digital controller are working correctly, the heat and cold TEMPATURE not working properly is related to the blend door and blend door actuator. Where it blows and fan speed are separate issues.

As for the tempature problem, you need to start by testing the actuator. There are lots of write ups on how to do it. The basic is to open the glove box, push in the sides and allow to drop down out of the way. The large black plastic box behind it is the plenumn (airbox). The actuator is the light colored flat rectangular module on the top left of the box. It needs to be removed to check it. There are 3 screws holding it on. The rear one is very difficult to reach. However you can skip unscrewing it. Instead carefully pry the actuator off its mount with a flat screwdrivers at each of the 4 pushpegs in the corners. Once you have the actuator off, turn the ignition on and move the temp control from hot to cold a couple times. You should see the peg on the bottom turning. If no movement, then you have a broken actuator. The dorman aftermarket usually does not work, get the motorcraft part.

Next check the blend door. They usually break at the top. With the actuator off, you will see there is a hole where the peg sticks down to engage the blend door. Its tough to see into, though a flashlight and small mirror can help here. You can also try using placing an allen wrench of similar size as the peg into the hole and try turning the door. If it is not broken, the door will turn smoothly with no slop from side to side. Any other result & you need a new blend door. Here the $10 part from dorman works perfectly and can be picked up at most Napa and OReillys stores in stock. I recommend the bottom cut method of installation since it works well and is not difficult. The proper service technique takes about 10 hours of shop time since it involves discharging the ac and removing the dash.

This is a great write-up with pics: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1925302&postcount=1
 




dcdyd

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Just try to understand whether this gauge kit can be used for measure the hi and lo pressure. My 98 blow 'not so cold' air in summer. I am also going to check the actuator and the blend door. Assuming that those are not problem, I may have low freon. SO I need to understand whether I can use the gauge for adding the right amount of freon. THanks!
 




budwich

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maybe... :) the AC guys will tell you that you have to evacuate the system and THEN add the correct WEIGHT amount of freon. Just trying to add freon to an existing "unknown level" is just "guess work". The gauges MAY help with the guess work BUT aren't necessarily the answer. The prime purpose of the gage (set) is to "tell" you if the system is functioning in a "predictable manner". Think of your fuel gage. It says "empty" yet most cars will drive a "few miles" before "empty" IS empty. Same on the full side. The only way to know if your tank is full or how full is to actual fill by "specific volume" from empty. OF course, the gas system isn't quite as "sensitive" to "overs', "unders", etc so basically no body really cares about "exactness". However, the "effectiveness" of your AC system is quite "sensitive" to the freon level which for a given system has been designed by "weight of injection".

Having said that, it is likely that you can find some degree of "success" using the gages to "get close" to a "good cooling effect"... :)
 




dcdyd

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maybe... :) the AC guys will tell you that you have to evacuate the system and THEN add the correct WEIGHT amount of freon. Just trying to add freon to an existing "unknown level" is just "guess work". The gauges MAY help with the guess work BUT aren't necessarily the answer. The prime purpose of the gage (set) is to "tell" you if the system is functioning in a "predictable manner". Think of your fuel gage. It says "empty" yet most cars will drive a "few miles" before "empty" IS empty. Same on the full side. The only way to know if your tank is full or how full is to actual fill by "specific volume" from empty. OF course, the gas system isn't quite as "sensitive" to "overs', "unders", etc so basically no body really cares about "exactness". However, the "effectiveness" of your AC system is quite "sensitive" to the freon level which for a given system has been designed by "weight of injection".

Having said that, it is likely that you can find some degree of "success" using the gages to "get close" to a "good cooling effect"... :)

Thank you for the answer and comprehensive comments.
 




Turdle

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Are you seeing cold ac components and moisture accumulating on the "curly q" metal line right over the accumulator bottle? If so, your blend door is stuck

No heat in winter--no cool in summer=blend door.
 




U235

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Peg on the actuator moves, but very slowly, and not a lot. Maybe somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a full rotation. Is this normal?
 




U235

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Okay, cut a hole in the bottom of the plenum, where the blender door is, as shown in the DIY posted. Air blows COLD out of the flap I cut. No matter which way I move the blender door, air blows COLD out of there. Air is still coming hot out of the vents, even when I close up the flap.

Is it just me, or does that not make any sense?
 




my98nnj

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Are you seeing cold ac components and moisture accumulating on the "curly q" metal line right over the accumulator bottle? If so, your blend door is stuck

No heat in winter--no cool in summer=blend door.

Agreed, but he should still get ice cold A/C on the MAX setting regardless of the blend door issue.

Being the OP isn't getting ice cold A/C on the MAX setting I think his system needs the help of an A/C tech. The system should be checked out, evacuated and recharged by weight with the correct equipment.

If the compressor, expansion valve or orifice tube and evaporator are working correctly, you should get ice cold A/C on the MAX setting.

Now if the Normal setting gives you hot air or you have uncontrolled air temperature on all other settings, then the blend door is at fault as well.
 




Turdle

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Cold air, and the fact your ac compressor stays running, means the ac works.

Now we need it to blow out the correct holes. The air will not divert to the vents until that flap you cut is sealed back up.

Do you have anything coming out of the defrost vent when ac and vent is selected?
 




U235

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The only time air comes out of the defrost vent is when I have it on defrost, go figure. It blows warm/hot air.
 


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RomeovilleIL

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Peg on the actuator moves, but very slowly, and not a lot. Maybe somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a full rotation. Is this normal?

Okay, cut a hole in the bottom of the plenum, where the blender door is, as shown in the DIY posted. Air blows COLD out of the flap I cut. No matter which way I move the blender door, air blows COLD out of there. Air is still coming hot out of the vents, even when I close up the flap.

Is it just me, or does that not make any sense?

The actuator should turn about 1/2 rotation and yes it is somewhat slow.

You have cold air coming out the flap. That is a good sign. Pull the door out & check if the top is broken. As mentioned the bottom flap needs to be sealed shut for the cold air to push up to the vents, but if the door isnt being held in place when the bottom of the box is closed it will end up flopping back to the middle again at half hot/half cold.
 




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