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Unread 07-10-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
lovemyjeeps
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Condenser? Or something else?

How do you know for absolute SURE it's the condenser?
Mine (98 jeep gc) the a/c clutch comes on goes right back off, seems very strong and sure ... autoparts store freon did nothing (said it was fine) and then unfortunately AFTER that I read how picky the systems were about the FREON mix. I just had the clutch replaced less than a year ago .. seven hundred dollars.
The car was running perfectly then the water pump and now this w/in two weeks. Please for the love of jeep tell me there is some solution NOT seven hundred dollars? And/or any of the normal helpful advice. Thanks.

Symptoms: As above and then all hot air, seems to run fine but maybe a littttttle sluggish with the air off only now and then, fan runs fine. I drove home a car with ice cold air woke up to warm air blowing. Did I do something by trying to clear out the drain through the evaporator? I found the instructions here it seemed to make the a/c run like a horse the whole car felt brand new. Very odd this turn of events.
Help me if you can, please.

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Unread 07-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
CJ7-Tim
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Visit an A/C repair shop and have them test the A/C system pressure and diagnose the symptoms.
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Unread 07-10-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
lovemyjeeps
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Thanks, Tim. I appreciate it Seems the obvious thing to do. Just didn't trust the one that someone recommended and wondered if the clutch ticking on and off meant condenser. Figured there was "a sign"
I could go by.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 06:43 AM   #4
CJ7-Tim
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If the compressor is cycling on/off rapidly, it is low on R134a refrigerant. A/C isn't rocket science, but having the proper diagnostic tools, and some experience, is the key. Have them check the air gap on the compressor clutch.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
BillB7581
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The clutch cycling just means it is low on refrigerant and there is a leak somewhere. If none of the hoses are obviously oily, you can have someone charge the system with nitrogen and listen for leaks behind the dash, or put that dye stuff in it along with a full charge and check the condesate under a black light.

If the condenser is leaking, you should see some oil or something where theleak is on these XJ's it's usually the evaporator though.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 07:30 AM   #6
BillB7581
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700 sounds really steep for a clutch... I got my heater core and evap core done by a radiator shop for 750.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 10:23 AM   #7
lovemyjeeps
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11Thanks so much for add'l information. I really appreciate the input and know I can't ignore it and really shouldn't drive it so..
We did go the auto parts route of the 40 dollar can of charging, even replaced and then reverted back to the original a/c relay switch. The cheap freon can goes straight to green says no problem. (LOL) So that's already 70 so far misdiagnoses.


The clutch mechanic started out OK but then he was selling extra services like "restoring headlights" and you know other "extras". Which I declined. After that the bill just seemed to be one hundred to two hundred dollars higher each visit. I don't mind paying fair and extra for a good fast job AT ALL but ... we think it's time for a different mechanic. Now "between" mechanics. Had a friend do the waterpump. It was like a HORSE !! Then this.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #8
lovemyjeeps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
If the compressor is cycling on/off rapidly, it is low on R134a refrigerant. A/C isn't rocket science, but having the proper diagnostic tools, and some experience, is the key. Have them check the air gap on the compressor clutch.

Thank you ! Approximately it cycles like this. I get ready to get out after I open the hood. I reach back to turn the car on. I turn on the a/c. By the time I get close to it then it ticks on AND OFF. Another good mechanic said the same thing you are and said go get the advanced auto parts freon. I think jeeps do not like that stuff. While you stand there it cycles on off on off more with gaps as long as it takes you to read this sentence. That often At this point I turn it off. IF you are inside the car when you turn the air on there is a dirty not quite burnt smell.
If I drive the car am I pressing my luck? The serpentine belt seems just fine. We've all looked at it but again I feel the slightest hesitation at times.
Thanks for the suggestions.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 10:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillB7581 View Post
The clutch cycling just means it is low on refrigerant and there is a leak somewhere. If none of the hoses are obviously oily, you can have someone charge the system with nitrogen and listen for leaks behind the dash, or put that dye stuff in it along with a full charge and check the condesate under a black light.

If the condenser is leaking, you should see some oil or something where theleak is on these XJ's it's usually the evaporator though.
Thanks ! I did hear some hissing but figured the a/c was draining there because I tried to drain it with the instructable here and that seemed to work very well. They said if it was done right, it would start to drain under the hood by the front again. Maybe I made a leak. Hope not.
I guess the evaporator would be BIG MONEY>??
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Unread 07-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #10
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We can guess all day long, but the bottom line is that you HAVE to get pressure gauges on both the high-side and low-side test ports to really see what's happening. If its low on refrigerant, the clutch may cycle as you describe because the low side pressure is dipping too low, and the low pressure switch is cutting power to the clutch. But, if there's a clog in the system- say the orifice tube is plugged, or the condensor is plugged (which would be extremely hard to believe, by the way- if its gonna plug it will be the orifice tube), then it could be shutting off because the high-side pressure is too high. If the pressures show normal range, then it could be the clutch coil is going bad and can't keep the clutch engaged properly, or that the clutch plate gap is shimmed too wide.

Do the compressor inlet and discharge tubes change temperature when its doing this? The inlet (suction) should get cool and the dishcarge should get hot. Warning- if there's a clog that discharge pipe can get REALLY hot, test it like you would an iron. Don't just grab it!
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Unread 07-11-2012, 12:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemyjeeps View Post
Thanks ! I did hear some hissing but figured the a/c was draining there because I tried to drain it with the instructable here and that seemed to work very well. They said if it was done right, it would start to drain under the hood by the front again. Maybe I made a leak. Hope not.
I guess the evaporator would be BIG MONEY>??
I got my evaporator and heater core done for 750.00 (you may as well change the heater core while you are in there) I work as a diesel mechanic and didnt feel like doing it, you have to basically take the interior of the car down to a bare firewall LOL.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 02:14 PM   #12
lovemyjeeps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 440_Magnum View Post
We can guess all day long, but the bottom line is that you HAVE to get pressure gauges on both the high-side and low-side test ports to really see what's happening. If its low on refrigerant, the clutch may cycle as you describe because the low side pressure is dipping too low, and the low pressure switch is cutting power to the clutch. But, if there's a clog in the system- say the orifice tube is plugged, or the condensor is plugged (which would be extremely hard to believe, by the way- if its gonna plug it will be the orifice tube), then it could be shutting off because the high-side pressure is too high. If the pressures show normal range, then it could be the clutch coil is going bad and can't keep the clutch engaged properly, or that the clutch plate gap is shimmed too wide.

Do the compressor inlet and discharge tubes change temperature when its doing this? The inlet (suction) should get cool and the dishcarge should get hot. Warning- if there's a clog that discharge pipe can get REALLY hot, test it like you would an iron. Don't just grab it!

(thanks for warning)

Going to check this out. Interrupted by major storm. I know it might not seem like it but you guys are helping me formulate a plan. I will go check all this out. I had also read elsewhere on here about the clutch coil. More when I know more. T H A N K S !!!
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Unread 07-11-2012, 02:19 PM   #13
lovemyjeeps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillB7581 View Post
I got my evaporator and heater core done for 750.00 (you may as well change the heater core while you are in there) I work as a diesel mechanic and didnt feel like doing it, you have to basically take the interior of the car down to a bare firewall LOL.

If you could see my car right now .... I have heard that before. The thing is I never really bothered with a/c too much til this car. Now ... well ... I've fallen in the trap.
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Unread 07-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #14
lovemyjeeps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 440_Magnum View Post
We can guess all day long, but the bottom line is that you HAVE to get pressure gauges on both the high-side and low-side test ports to really see what's happening. If its low on refrigerant, the clutch may cycle as you describe because the low side pressure is dipping too low, and the low pressure switch is cutting power to the clutch. But, if there's a clog in the system- say the orifice tube is plugged, or the condensor is plugged (which would be extremely hard to believe, by the way- if its gonna plug it will be the orifice tube), then it could be shutting off because the high-side pressure is too high. If the pressures show normal range, then it could be the clutch coil is going bad and can't keep the clutch engaged properly, or that the clutch plate gap is shimmed too wide.

Do the compressor inlet and discharge tubes change temperature when its doing this? The inlet (suction) should get cool and the dishcarge should get hot. Warning- if there's a clog that discharge pipe can get REALLY hot, test it like you would an iron. Don't just grab it!
Pipe going out gets hot. Not terribly. The pipe coming in ... gets cool but not cold. I remember that pipe sweating so it used to get real cold. I did not run it for long, though. Under five minutes. It's going to the shop. I'll watch them like a hawk. I do so much appreciate the help, the info, the hints and not least of all: "try a few more things".

But you guys are right. It's time to take my untrusting self over and let a guy take a look. Maybe it will be something simple. That's why I love jeeps ! But they sure made up for it with this crazy air conditioner.
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Unread 07-30-2012, 10:25 PM   #15
lovemyjeeps
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HELP !!! Took the jeep to the shop, watched them the whole time. He was a good mechanic but the setup was odd. He replaced the valve? Did all the vac stuff y'all mentioned in other posts, it held, tested for leaks none could be found. I thought I noticed it being "not quite as cool" the next day. Then four or five days later I woke up it was all hot air again. The odd way this occurs is bothering me. Go to bed with icey cold air wake up to hot ?!?! The NEXT DAY after that I go to leave on a road trip with family which I got the air fixed in anticipation of (LOL on me) and it was blowing icey air again. By the time the family got in the car that was over. None at all again. He charged me for the recharge and to change out the valve and I watched him bypass the valve etc and everything ran fine and so far it's over 100 dollars. I'm taking it back to the same guy.

Any thoughts is all I want to know? Why is it icey cold at night and then wake up next day and gone, air is all hot? Does that seem odd to you guys? I ask because my car has been vandalized in the past here.
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