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Trying to diagnose an issue with my wife's 2001 Honda CR-V air conditioning. First off, the A/C gets down to 50F when car is running idle for several minutes, so it's not too bad ... however on hot clear days in mid-afternoon the car never really feels cooled off. I think I may have some issues that may or may not be related.

1) The compressor clutch either stays engaged or isn't engaged at all. I don't hear any "clicking" at all and I cannot visibly see down there to see if it's engaging. I'm assuming since it's somewhat cool, that it's engaging?

2) I took a reading and the low side pressure is reading around 32psi and high side around 150psi. A/C turned on with max air. I did try to add R134a, the low pressure didn't seem to increase. I didn't want to continue since I'm not sure what's going on with my compressor.

3) Her car used to make a really high pitched squeal after a few seconds of the car turning on and the A/C being on. Sounded like a belt. I haven't heard that squeal in a while. All belts are spinning fine just based on inspection.

4) Compressor fan seems to stay running but the radiator fan isn't running at all. Even after 10 mins or so of running. May not have anything to do with it and engine may not be hot enough?

5) Cooling fan and Condenser fan fuses are intact.

Whatever help would be appreciated, thanks.

  • At what ambient temperature did you measure the pressures? – Zaid Aug 18 '15 at 10:42
  • I didn't check but safe to say 85-90 and since its Florida an unrealistic humidity % – xhermit Aug 18 '15 at 11:02
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According to the 2000 CR-V service manual, under the pressure-test conditions (86 °C, 70 % RH):

  • the low-side pressure should be around 43 psi (compared to 32 psi)
  • the high-side pressure should be around 320 psi (compared to 150 psi)

perf chart


Possible scenarios

It seems that there are one or two factors at play here:

  1. There is insufficient refrigerant in the system

    This can be confirmed by the presence of excessive bubbles in the sight glass on the bottle-shaped dryer/receiver.

  2. There are clogged lines

    Judging by the numbers, it would seem that the high-pressure line is more of a problem in this regard.


Recommendations

I suggest following a two-step plan:

  1. Add more refrigerant to the system

    At least enough to get the low-side pressure within spec. At this point, you should use the performance chart to judge whether the high-side pressure is within spec.

    If it's not in spec, proceed to Step 2. Else this should fix it

  2. Address clogged refrigerant lines

    If the top-up doesn't bring the high-side pressure within spec, it's likely that the high-side line is clogged.

    The service manual recommends repair or replacement. It may be possible to clean the line out with compressed air, but can't say for sure.

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