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Unread 06-28-2007, 03:50 PM   #1
jwomack
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Air Conditioning Acting Weird

The air in my jeep is acting up. At first I thought it may be a refridgerant leak but I'm not so sure thats it. Usually when a vehicle needs to have the air recharged it will just blow warmish air from the get go. My '98 TJ will blow really cold air for about 15-20 minutes and then the air will turn to a warmish air. Does anyone have any ideas about what could be causing this? Hopefully its nothing major, I don't want to spend the money on my air and its just now starting to get hot here in Arkansas.

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Unread 06-28-2007, 04:00 PM   #2
Rocky529
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Does your compressor still cycle after 15-20 minutes of operation? Your evaporator may be freezing up.
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Unread 06-29-2007, 02:00 AM   #3
jwomack
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I can hear what sounds like the compressor cycling... how can I tell if the evaporator is freezing up? Will the compressor not cycle if this is the case?
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Unread 06-29-2007, 07:17 AM   #4
nitecop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky529
Does your compressor still cycle after 15-20 minutes of operation? Your evaporator may be freezing up.
Which is also a sign of low refigerant.
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Unread 06-29-2007, 09:29 AM   #5
ElCanon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwomack
The air in my jeep is acting up. At first I thought it may be a refridgerant leak but I'm not so sure thats it. Usually when a vehicle needs to have the air recharged it will just blow warmish air from the get go. My '98 TJ will blow really cold air for about 15-20 minutes and then the air will turn to a warmish air. Does anyone have any ideas about what could be causing this? Hopefully its nothing major, I don't want to spend the money on my air and its just now starting to get hot here in Arkansas.
I hear ya. For a couple of years, I've been going through the same thing with my 97, which is why these threads always catch my attention. I've been OK with "just put the top down and drive" but sometimes it just gets too humid to deal. Even in New England there are days where you just want the cool, crisp air coming out of those vents. When it's sticky and raining... forget it.

Out of 4 (!) people who have looked at it, one local dealership suggested it might be the evaporator core. Because it was quoted at a $1000 fix (the labor involved in pulling the dash etc. - just look at Rocky's photos) I've looked for second and third opinions. If the evaporator was freezing up, I'd expect to see a flood of moisture/water escape from the drain hose (or into the cabin) as it thaws out. I've actually tried to observe this and it does not happen.

One thing for sure is that the system is NOT low on refrigerant, because if I wait a bit, the A/C will blow very cold again, for 15-20 minutes at least. It has been this way for over a year, both before and after a recharge. If it was losing R134, my guess is that it would just be warm all the time.

I've also
- replaced the low pressure switch, 'cause it's cheap and easy
- had the refrigerant level verified
- checked the controls in the dash for any funny business (melted/defective fan switches are a common issue)

Here's the deal. The compressor consistently shuts down and stops cycling, but over time the interval of cold air first has been getting shorter. While at one point it was shutting down after 30 minutes now it's down to like 15-20.

One idea is that the compressor clutch is shot... the coils heat up to a point and then the clutch gives out. I'm close to replacing the compressor outright. I've been advised that while the clutch is replaceable, it makes sense to just replace the entire thing.

It's hard to justify dropping a lot of cash into A/C on a 97 with a ton of miles, but I'd love to have this one creature comfort back. If I replace a compressor and then need an evaporator, that'd kill me!!

More and more people are cropping up with this type of problem. Any ideas from anyone who's fixed their A/C?

Last edited by ElCanon; 06-29-2007 at 09:47 AM..
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Unread 06-29-2007, 01:23 PM   #6
jwomack
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Sounds like you have the exact same problem as me. My air will get cold again after about a 30 minute cycle, just like yours. Any idea how much it costs to have a new compressor dropped into a TJ? There are just some days when its 110 degrees at 70% humidity amd you want your top up with the air on.
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Unread 06-29-2007, 01:43 PM   #7
Rocky529
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwomack
Sounds like you have the exact same problem as me. My air will get cold again after about a 30 minute cycle, just like yours. Any idea how much it costs to have a new compressor dropped into a TJ? There are just some days when its 110 degrees at 70% humidity amd you want your top up with the air on.
It just bolts in, you can do it yourself... the cost of the compressor itself is around $200 if I am not mistaken.

Replacing the compressor requires recovering your refrigerant, and then after the compressor is replaced, you have to evacuate your system and then charge it back up again. Leave this part to the professionals, however you can do the actual replacement of the compressor.
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2.25" Suspension Lift with Old Man Emu Shocks
Performance Accessories 1" Body Lift
Daystar 1" Motor Mount Lift
Spidertrax 1.25" Wheel Spacers - 32"x11.5" MT/R Tires
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Unread 06-29-2007, 10:19 PM   #8
TrenchTownRockr
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My wife had this same problem with her Cherokee for the past two summers and I recently had it fixed. It's the compressor clutch. Costs about $220 for the part and is an easy install. It's the diagnosis that's a pita. It does get progressively worse and will eventually begin squealing like a city boy on vacation in the mountains of Georgia.
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