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Worn out AC compressor? (2003 Honda Accord 4cyl)

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Service and Repair Questions Answered Here Worn out AC compressor? (2003 Honda Accord 4cyl)

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  • #582145
    K24A4K24A4
    Participant

      Hi Guys,

      I’m in need of some help from you experienced AC people. The AC in my 2003 accord (4cyl) was working fine a month or two ago, and now it doesn’t cool at all. I have some experience working on AC systems, so I pulled out my AC gauges to check the low and high pressures. I figured I probably had a leak, but I was surprised to find that my gauges showed decent pressure on both sides running (25psi low, 165psi high). The AC clutch works properly, and I could see it spinning when the car was running. The temperature here today was close to 80F, so I would expect a high side reading somewhere between 175-210 PSI.

      MasterCool website says for 80F the low side should be around 40 PSI. Should I just try adding some 134A refrigerant? Another symptom I have is – when the AC is on, I hear a hissing sound coming from out of the center air vents.

      Please let me know what you guys think. At first I thought it might be a compressor problem…but now I’m thinking I might just be a bit low on refrigerant. Thanks.

      AC Off

      AC On

    Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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    • #582168
      college mancollege man
      Moderator

        Try adding some charge. Get the high side up to 200 psi
        The suction should come up also. You may have a leak in
        your evaporator. Use an electronic leak detector at the air
        vents to see if you pick up a leak.

        http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-automotive-hvac-problems

        #582290
        EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy
        Keymaster

          Yea it looks like a low charge to me. You might want to add some dye to find the source of a leak if you have one. More information on AC in this article.

          http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-automotive-hvac-problems

          #583647
          K24A4K24A4
          Participant

            Update – I added some refrigerant, and the AC works again. Eric, you helped me with this car a few years ago (the AC clutch went out) and you added some dye to the system. I bought a black light, and I have not been able to find any leaks in the engine bay, or from the evap drain tube.

            I ordered a refrigerant leak sniffer….I hope that helps me find the leak!

            #583919
            EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy
            Keymaster

              The most common place for a leak is actually at the schrader valves you hook your gages up to. Since the dye is already there it’s difficult do diagnose. You can spray the valves with a little soapy water to check for any bubbles that might come out.

              http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-automotive-hvac-problems

              #583931
              K24A4K24A4
              Participant

                Eric,

                Last summer the car had a leaking low-side schrader valve- I replaced the leaking valve and recharged the system.

                On this new leak – I did spray down the schrader ports with some soapy water, and I did not get any bubbles.

                My sniffer tool came yesterday, and it’s detecting refrigerant out of the center air vents…the clues are all pointing to an evaporator or expansion valve leak. Luckily, accessing the evaporator is not too terrible in a 7th gen accord….I think I can even see most of it by removing the glove box and blower assembly. I might start digging, and see if I can find any dye with the black light.

                More to come, this could be an epic repair job. I can source a new evaporator…I would just have to have a shop evacuate the system before I do the work.

                #584007
                EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy
                Keymaster

                  You’re right, removing that evaporator is not that big of a deal. Just be sure you have the system evacuated before you begin work. It’s not cool to vent refrigerant into the atmosphere, not to mention illegal.

                  #584054
                  K24A4K24A4
                  Participant

                    I decided to check my service ports with the AC sniffer before I got any further down the evaporator path – surprisingly, it detected leaks at both ports….bigger leaks than what I was finding from the air vents….the plot thickens.

                    I have a nifty valve core changing tool from Master Cool that lets you change the schrader valves on many R134A systems without losing refrigerant. The only problem is, my tool doesn’t seem to fit the larger low-side valves on Honda vehicles. I found that Master Cool makes a special (larger diameter) tool for Japanese cars, so I bought that tonight on Amazon.

                    I’m going to first change the schrader valves, and hope for the best. It’s a quick and cheap thing to do before I buy another evaporator, and invest the time into changing it out.

                    More to come…

                    #584102
                    dan jandan jan
                    Participant

                      [quote=”EricTheCarGuy” post=89536]The most common place for a leak is actually at the schrader valves you hook your gages up to. Since the dye is already there it’s difficult do diagnose. You can spray the valves with a little soapy water to check for any bubbles that might come out.

                      http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-automotive-hvac-problems%5B/quote%5D

                      I have definetley had this issue MULTIPLE times on my 2000 accord.

                      when I was 16 i took it to mechanic, and he switched it out, 2 years after it craped out again, changed it myself.

                      My fix was getting a really well made plastic cap and tightening it as much as I could. Havent exprinced the problem in many years now. It definetley going to leak still but it will minimizes it as there isnt much room between valve and cap.

                      I still have to add a little bit of 134a every two years.

                      #584165
                      EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy
                      Keymaster

                        One thing that causes AC seals to fail is over-tightening the joints. Just put enough torque on them to make them snug and seal. Don’t dry and drill them down. You can actually damage the ‘o’ rings doing that. It only takes a small leak and you’re right back where you started. Also, a little AC oil on the ‘o’ rings before installation is also helpful.

                        Good luck and keep us updated.

                        #584338
                        K24A4K24A4
                        Participant

                          Thanks for the tip, Eric. I will be sure to take it a little easy when I tighten down the new schrader valves….hopefully today, once the UPS man comes 🙂

                          #584528
                          EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy
                          Keymaster

                            Cool. Keep us posted.

                            #584560
                            K24A4K24A4
                            Participant

                              Update: I successfully replaced both high and low schrader valves yesterday. I checked my work with some soapy water, and I did not get even 1 bubble from either port!

                              The $70 i spent on the valve changing tool was well worth it….that thing is going to save my butt for years to come.

                              Eric, you talked about this in one of your AC videos – but it appeared that the old schader valve on the high port had gotten bent, in between the time that I installed it new, and now. Then I realized that my quick connects on my gauges have the pin that is not manually adjustable….I’m pretty sure it bend my valve …just like you said it could. I need to get a set of manual adjustable quick connects.

                              So for now….I guess I wait and see if my AC system holds pressure over the next week or two….if not…I guess my leak search continues….but now I can rule out the schrader valves….process of elimination!

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