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1995 Civic EX 1.6L - D16Z6 – 5 speed

I recently purchased this car. The compressor and receiver/dryer had recently been replaced by PO. PO stated that he never charged the system.

I ran the AC, fan and vent functions seem to function properly but air temperatures are around 80 degrees.

Brought the car to a shop, lines were evacuated, pressure tested and checked for leaks. System was recharged, same issue, no cold temps in the vehicle. The mechanic suggested replacing the newly replaced AC compressor, claiming possibly there was no oil added.

Near the AC condenser, the Low pressure aluminum lines near the fill cap cover get ice cold to the touch and condensates.

I then had the system evacuated. I replaced my compressor with one that I had from my del sol, emptied old oil, filled suction side about 5 oz.
Returned to a different shop, had the system evacuated and recharged. He claimed I may have added too much oil to the compressor and replaced my high pressure fill stem as Freon sprayed out all over everything with my car running. We let the car run for 10 minutes with the AC on and it’s still not outputting cold air weather driving or sitting, all speeds checked.

At this point, I’m assuming there is some issue under the dash. Could it be electrical? I have noticed there is a short somewhere while driving at night. All interior lights go out and bumps in the road don’t seem to affect anything. Sometimes and maybe it’s a coincidence, when I depress the clutch, the lights will come back on. The last time I ran the AC, a piece of white Styrofoam blew to the inner center vent. Isn’t there Styrofoam near the blower motor? I’ve taken the speedo plastic with the center and left vents out as well as the aftermarket radio and radio cage. I’m really dreading taking the dash out but if I must, I am willing to do so. There is some AC temperature control near the condenser, correct? Could it be this?
 

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the artist formerly known as drexelstudent11
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check all the plugs up front by the condenser, I missed one when reconnecting my AC and had the same symptoms. The one I missed was right by the driver's headlight
 

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If a line is freezing, which is what your describing, then you have a clogged line or a clog in the line that might be moving. Either case, the system will not work if you dont clear the lines.

The question, to the PO, would have really been why did you do that much work to the HVAC system to begin with? What went wrong? I would say that most would not put the money into correctly fixing the original issue. I would be willing to bet money on it that your system is and has been contaminated. Have the system evacuated and then open a few lines. Open a few lines, once you have the correct o-rings to replace them, and run a q-tip inside the line. The q-tip should come out with a light olive oil color, anything else is a sign of contamination.

If the compressor clutch is coming on and off, then its not an electrical problem. Outside of the primary brake lights system, the A/C side of the HVAC system is one of the simplest system.

Also, a new compressor comes with 100% of the oil needed for the entire system. When replacing one, you need to drain the old anf measure it. then drain the new and replace only what you collect. Any more or any less WILL affect the system.

-> There is foam around the evaporator unit inside the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
OK, thanks for the replies.

I will check the plugs in a moment. As for the compressor, the clutch does activate/deactivate when AC is on/off.

If I didn't miss any plugs, I will have the system evacuated again. If I do have a contaminated system, is there a possible cleaning method? What parts of the AC system, if any, can be salvaged if my system is contaminated?

EDIT:
I forgot to ask about the engine bogging down. When I am at a stand still, 1st gear take off with the AC on seems to be a real struggle for the engine. As stated before, I have a del sol and I don't recall the d-series engine struggling as much as this civic is. After 2nd gear, it doesn't seem to be an issue. With the AC on in first, it seems like I have to rev the engine a lot more than I typically do.
 

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Had a civic a few months back with the same concern, turned out to be a crap shoot distributor assembly. Not saying thats what yours is, but its a place to start.

If in fact the a/c system has been contaminated AND you have a clog, there isnt much you can do outside of replacing everything. Only thing salvageable are hard lines, assuming you can clear them of any debris (since you have a clog). Usually this is done with a very harsh chemical.

I got some on my leg once while rebuilding a pilot HVAC. Yeah, that stuff right there is NOT fun on the skin.
 

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IAlso, a new compressor comes with 100% of the oil needed for the entire system. When replacing one, you need to drain the old anf measure it. then drain the new and replace only what you collect. Any more or any less WILL affect the system.
The same part number compressor that is put on a Suburban with front a/c will NOT have a different amount of oil as the compressor put on a Suburban with front and rear a/c.

Compressors do NOT come with all the oil required for a system.

Which line are you talking about that's cold to the touch? The return line is the larger one. If the line is not cold coming out of the evaporator, there is a problem.

If the large line (return line) coming out of the evaporator is not cold, but is instead hot, trace it until you find the point at which it becomes cold. The spot between the spots you felt hot and cold is your clog.

Do you know what your pressures are? Pressures, temp out of the vents, and ambient temps would certainly help.

If you've got a really high high side and your low side is nearly going into vacuum, you've got a serious clog. If your high side is bouncing from say 250 to 150, you may have a clog or a bad reed valve.

If you've got a low high side and a high low side, you either have a bad compressor, or an open expansion valve.

It really could be a number of things, but without knowing pressures we could be guessing all day.
 

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my name says Guest, but Im really a MEMBER
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Ok, there a ton of info in this thread already. Basics starting over.

Agree why was the compressor replaced in the first place? Ideally the system would be flushed out when a compressor is replaced. Then why was the system not recharged after? So if it wasn't recharged after the intial repair it would never blow cold empty.....


I'd get it to a good a/c shop. A lot of places do a/c, but there leak fixers more or less. anything outside of that they can't diag. ( myself am not very good at all at diag. a/c).

5oz of oil just for the compressor is a lot. systems may have less then that total. could be as simple as to much oil.
 

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del Sol si '94
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Id install a new dryer also, if youre going thru all those issues. And I second guest's post above about the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks again for all your replies. I will do my best to not repeat what has already been stated.

I had an MSD external coil, cap and rotor and some NGK wires laying around from another build and installed them just to see since 99EJ6T mentioned that about his distributor. I also replaced the Thermostat and the heater control valve as well as the lower radiator hose. Same AC issue.

Took it in again to get the system vacuumed. The shop said everything looks normal with the pressure in both lines. He did give me a printout but I cannot locate it at the moment. They evacuated the system and the Freon removed was slightly under 1 lb. Again, I don't have the readings on the H/L but the tech said they are all within normal range.

What should my next step be at this point? I would like to do as much of the mechanical repairs myself to reduce expenses on this vehicle. I thought I should get it evacuated again, replace with the rebuilt compressor I took off, check the lines and go from there.
Agree why was the compressor replaced in the first place? Ideally the system would be flushed out when a compressor is replaced. Then why was the system not recharged after? So if it wasn't recharged after the intial repair it would never blow cold empty.....
Craigslist purchase. PO told me no Freon was added. The shop pulled Freon from the car when I brought it in so obviously, he knew more to the story. It appeared that the PO and his friend were car flippers, fixing basic mechanics of an ill car. It's got a strong engine and clutch but the thing was dirty all over. How does an AC system get flushed? I mentioned something like this and was told that all they could do is evacuate the system.
Id install a new dryer also, if youre going thru all those issues. And I second guest's post above about the oil.
Car had a new dryer and compressor when initially purchased. I do have a complete, working AC system from my del sol build that I wouldn't mind taking from if it could help diagnose my issue.
 

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The same part number compressor that is put on a Suburban with front a/c will NOT have a different amount of oil as the compressor put on a Suburban with front and rear a/c.
And how much oil is required?? You sure its not the same amount? Every A/C system I have done, when installing a brand new compressor has had the exact amount of oil required for the system. MAYBE chevy is different, the odd ball of the group. I dont honestly know, cause I dont work at chevy to find out. I do, however, work for honda.

Edit: I find it odd that it even matters, to you, if the new compressor does or does not have all the oil. Why? Cause a real A/C tech wouldnt even care because he would be draining the oil from the old and ensuring that that amount is all he added to the system. Meaning he would drain the new compressor of any oil it might contain. So it has all the oil for the system, it doesnt have the oil for the system, its bone dry and you have to rub honey dew on it before installing it. POINT being: "Drain and measure" is a FUNDAMENTAL step in rebuilding a broken A/C system.

receiver/dryer should be replaced every time the system is opened and just prior to putting the system into vacuum.....

Fun note: The amount of oil required for the system has little to do with its physical size and more to do with how much oil the refrigerant can suspend.

A/C diag is not a fun subject for most in the field. Goes hand in hand with electrical diag. Two subjects 90% of "techs" cant grasp. If a HVAC shop doesnt know how to clean the system (or how important being clean is for that system, they have no idea what they are doing. They are letting the machine do all the work. AKA, they use the auto function and walk away. A tech with heavy A/C knowledge will have one specific tool in his tool box for A/C diag and service, its one he doesnt get off the tool truck and that you probably have in your house..

One of these:

 
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