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I have a 2008 CRV, 101K miles, and the AC died. It just started blowing hot air on a hot summer day. Just getting around to dealing with it now. Pressure is verified good, as is the electrical. Mechanic wants to replace compressor, at about $900 parts and labor.

Reading around, it looks like I may be experiencing Black Death

This brings up a number of questions. First, is it likely that I'm experiencing Black Death. Second, should replacing the compressor be an option, or do I really need to do the Compressor, Condenser, Drier, and Evaporator?

Lastly, I see some kits: KIT1 and KIT2. Would a kit like this be as reliable as something my mechanic would put in? Would it be rude for me to ask my mechanic if he would put in a kit to save me a few dollars?

  • Do you have your high side and low side pressures available? Ambient temperature, and temperature from the air vents. Without all four of those, you can't make any judgment (with that data, you can make some judgements, but not complete diagnosis without being in front of the vehicle) – PeteCon Mar 20 '17 at 17:35
  • No info on the pressures, @PeteCon. A "fill with dye" was what I thought they were going to do, but once they started poking around and saw that the "pressure was OK", they didn't fill it, and couldn't find a problem other than the compressor -- but it's a pretty reputable dealer and they've never given me reason to question their expertise before. This seems like a case of "I didn't know what to ask". I was just happy they didn't charge me for a useless fill with dye. – Scott Seidman Mar 20 '17 at 20:25
  • ooops, I meant "mechanic", and not "dealer". Though, I do have a dealer visit next week for some recall work on the airbags. Any point in asking them? – Scott Seidman Mar 20 '17 at 20:51
  • No harm in asking them for an AC diagnosis. It may cost an extra $60, but if you're looking at a $900 repair anyway, that's not a lot - and if it saves you a $900 repair, it's a bargain. – PeteCon Mar 20 '17 at 21:12
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    hondaproblems.com/tsbs/CR-V/2008 is your friend. From that page; "#SB-12-072: A WARRANTY EXTENSION, ON SOME VEHICLES, DUE TO A/C COMPRESSOR CLUTCH WAS WEARING OUT WITH SYMPTOMS OF POOR PERFORMANCE, NOT WORKING OR BLOWING WARM AIR OR MAKING NOISES. MODEL 2007-2011 CR-V." – PeteCon Mar 21 '17 at 2:03
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It's impossible to say for sure whether you are having black death from your post, although the description you have does not indicate it. The description of the black death symptoms indicate it's pretty dramatic, including noises and black smoke coming out of the vents, but your post says it was simply blowing hot air in which case it could be a pretty straightforward compressor failure rather than a catastrophic implosion and destruction of the whole system.

In the black death phenomenon as described the compressor comes apart and pieces of it are spewed throughout the AC system, requiring the entire thing to be stripped out and replaced at substantial expense. You really don't want to do that if it's not absolutely necessary, so if it's just a compressor you should be happy.

Unless you have a reason to not trust your mechanic I would go with the compressor replacement, if don't trust him get a second opinion.

  • Do you think that the implosion would be obvious once they pull the compressor, if that did happen, so they would know they needed to do the rest? The only thing that might annoy me more than spending $900 on a compressor would be spending $900 on a compressor that dies right away! – Scott Seidman Mar 20 '17 at 20:27
  • I don't think the damage would be obvious unless they took the compressor apart after pulling it, although I've never seen any pictures. – GdD Mar 20 '17 at 20:47
  • Update: Brought it in today. Mechanic told me the Honda compressor comes along with a footnote that says the condenser/dryer might need replacing too, and what they need to look for on disassembly. They're all over it, and I trust them. – Scott Seidman Apr 20 '17 at 18:12

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