I asked because my AC is not working and I can't prove to the dealership that it is not.
The cooling problem is intermittent. Sometimes about 20 minutes after driving the van, the cooled air becomes warm (outside temp). I didn't care when it was winner time even thou I did notice that. When it was 108 degree here last week and I had a family of 7 with me, they were all baking inside the van. I then learned when I drove on the freeway, cooled air comes right back. When I drove in the city, the air became warm.
That leads me to believe that the condensor fan and/or the radiator fan is not running to blow cool the refrigant. So I opened the hood and turned the AC manually to the maximum. Bingo, after a while BOTH radiator fan and condensor fan stopped running (high speed or low), and then for 30 sec of so, they will try to spin up for a split sec and stopped again and so on...
It is at this moment the air becomes warm.
This problem is not easily duplicateable. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes after engine is started. Sometimes I don't see it for 2 hours.
The van is out of the standard warranty and still in the extended warranty. I knew the problem might not be duplicateable if I take it to the dealership (and I had to arrange drop off and pickup etc) so I decided to see if it is a quick fix that I can do myself.
The compressor is running ALL the time. It is only the two fans (radiator and condensor fans) that would stop running suddenly. I caught the moment when the fans stopped running and did a continutity test on the dual-function pressure switch and see continutity on both connections - meaning the pressure is within range. I then suspected the relays, I switch around the three relays (condenser, radiator and something else) as they are all the same and the problem still there. I checked the three diodes and they are all good. Then I gave up as I felt like it is beyond my skill.
This morning I took the van to the dealership. I warmed up the van before I approached the service dept. I showed the service adivisor that with the AC turned on all the way, the two fans stop and immediately no cooled air. SHE SAID THAT IS NORMAL. I explained to her that it was when cooled air became not cooled. She jumped into the van and felt the air and said, it felt cool to her! OF COURSE, IT WAS ONLY AROUND 65 DEGREE THIS MORNING. She then said they could take it for an inspection for $139 unless problem is found. If found, they will fix it and charge the HondaCare extended warranty. I knew it! I knew I would be screwed. But if I don't give them a try, there will be more hassle of driving it back and forth so I left them the van.
4pm today they called and said - you got it - NO PROBLEM FOUND DEPSITE 3 HOURS OF TEST DRIVING IT! Yeah right, three hours of testing! I knew they just briefly turned on the AC and feel some cooled air and that is it. Done.
I called another dealership and asked for a service manager. He confirmed with me that with a properly working AC, if it is turned on (all the way), the radiator fan and the condensing will be running at high speed ALL THE TIME. But he refused to help me to call this local dealership to explain (of course he wouldn't) and they are 30 miles away.
So I called the Honda customer relations 1-800 number and asked the guy the question - WITH AC TURNED ON, WILL BOTH FANS RUN ALL THE TIME? He couldn't say yes or no and he has no resource to ask the question. I was hoping he answered YES so that I could make him call the service advisor lady to tell her that if both or even one fan(s) not running while the AC is turned out, something is wrong. Oh well.
Tomorrow, I have to arrange a drop off and pickup and pay them $139 to get me van back for doing nothing. The feeling of either cooled air or just outside-temp air is blowing out from the AC is really subjective and I was hoping to find a solid answer from any expert or technical authority from Honda to give me an answer of YES for the question so that I can fight with them to get them fix the problem or not paying the $139.
Then I will have to take it to a local AC shop and expect them to tell me this is bad, that is bad, blah, blah, blah....
That is when the engine is running while the AC is off. Then the radiator fan will turn on when the engine is warm enough. But when AC is turned on, even the engine is icy cold, both fans turn on immediately, am I right??
Well I don't know the answer to the fan question either, but for the diagnostic fee you paid I would expect them to test the refrigerant charge and the temp coming out of the vents. I would not be leaving the dealer paying a bill for "no problem found" without some proof of actual testing. If there is a leak in an AC system (even tiny) it will suck in moisture and mix with the refrigerant. When that moisture gets to the expansion valve it can freeze and plug the valve causing warm air. The fans coming on or not coming on are your personal red herring. Something is wrong, focus on that. If you have Honda care you do not have to figure this out yourself. You may have to try another dealer though. When they do find something wrong and fix it, take their invoice back to the dealer you paid to do nothing and demand reimbursement. Call Honda care and tell them about your experience with this dealer.
Went back to the dealer next afternoon (hot afternoon) and see how they couldn't duplicate the problem despite 4 hours of turning on the AC. The service advisor made me pay for it first so that they could pull the van out. Fine. I wrote them a check (which I can stop if I have to). They pulled the van out and I parked it in the parking lot and turned the AC on. INSTANTLY, AC was blowing warm air. I brought an alarm clock that shows temperature and hook it right on the air outlet. It was 101 degree. I got the advisor out and she looked at it and got the mechanic out. He looked at it and admitted it's a problem and he said he didn't see that yesterday despite 4 hours of inspection. I said now you could see it and can you fix it? He said he doesn't know if the problem would still be there when he works on it again and there will be another $139 charge if problem-not-found. He then said he won't be here this week and talked to the advisor privately for 2 minutes. Advisor approached me and said he can look at it again next week and I could bring it back. I yelled and said "BRING IT BACK?! Shouldn't you be keeping it and continue to work on it, now that you see the problem? Don't you have another mechanic?" She said other mechanics are not available. I asked what if there is another customer with AC problem pulling up and ask for AC service, would they send her/him home and come back next week? She said NOTHING. I then asked what about my money? That $139 for a NO-PROBLEM-FOUND while they are looking at the problem right now.
I made a scene right there and forced her to talk to the manager. 5 minutes later, she brought me back the check and I left.
It is not the $139 fee. It is the hassle of bringing the van back and forth, waiting in the service driveway for 30 minutes and even I showed them the problem in their face, they tried to make me come back a week later and tried to swallow my $139. I am 100% sure the mechanic didn't spend 4 hours on it. It was cool and windy morning that day and pretty sure he just turned it on and feel the air by hand and it felt cold and he just let it sit for a while.
I left and went to another dealer. Show the advisor the problem at the spot. They want $165 for inspection which could be paid by the extended warranty (HondaCare) if the service is covered by warranty (meaning it was not caused by outside influence). I said fine and left the van. I did install my video/navigation system. Hopefully they won't use that excuse (outside influence of electrical problem) and make me pay arm and leg.
Next day they called and said they still couldn't find the problem and they need another day and another $185. I have no choice but said fine.
All they want is more money, either rip me off or rip HondaCare off. Especially when we can't verify or prove the time they spend on the car or their troubleshooting technique (because of the insurance reason that we cannot approach the workarea).
I will see what the outcome is.
I remember one time when I owned a BMW. They did a recall for me for some fuel pump problem. Six months later, I went back for oil change and the advisor asked if I did the fuel pump recall. I intentionally said I didn't know. End up they change the fuel pump again and charged BMW another recall service as they thought I didn't remember and won't tell BMW headquarters.
This unbelievable. Have looked over your Honda Care stuff? Presented your card? If this is a "condensor taken out bya rock" incident, then it would be a comp claim through your regular auto insurance. Honda Care customers are not supposed to be treated this way. Do call them and relate your experience.
Dealer called yesterday afternoon and said the problem was due to the plugged receiver. It has lots of debris and it's the cause of the high pressure which shut down the system. This is because of the overcharge of refrigent which was a mistake made by the service which was performed 8 months ago by the original dealer (where we bought the van from) with a noisy AC compressor problem.
Picked up the van and everything seems ok. Paid $50 deductible with the extended warranty.
Ordeal is over. I hate going to the dealers. They always threaten you that if the problem is due to outside influence, I have to pay their outragous inspection fee.