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Hello everyone!

My Honda CRV 2003 overheated the other day when I was driving back home from running some errands around town. All of a sudden white smoke starts spewing out from the front of the car! Immediately I felt the A/C air getting warmer. I pulled over immediately into my garage ( I was close to my house thankfully) and let it cool down and once it was cool I checked the Radiator to see if it was empty of water (thinking a hose broke) which it wasn't, it needed very little to top it off. Off the bat I noticed both the Condenser fan and the motor fan was not turning on. Even with the A/C on the condenser fan did not power up. I let it run for about an hour checking for any leaks or if it would over heat again. It did not. I'm thinking the fans died on me? Or maybe a relay?

Please help!
 

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First, let me welcome you to the forum. From reading your description, the smoke you mentioned more than likely AC Freon, which looks like steam is leaked somewhere causing the warm AC air as well as cutting the power to the fans. The AC system must be properly charged for the fans to operate. Good luck. JMHO
David g..............:cool:
 

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Just checked the relays and the fans... they look good. We noticed when we turn on the acc the air compressor doesn't turn on. How do I test the air compressor?
 

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You are best off having the A/C system checked by a professional that has the tools to properly diagnose the system without damaging it or the environment.

There is a Low Refrigerant switch in the A/C system that disables the compressor if the Freon is low. From your description, you need to have that leak diagnosed, then the system must be evacuated and any lost compressor oil restored. You might also need a new receiver/dryer for most efficient operation.
 

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Did your temp gauge go to the Hot position or not? Was it much higher than normal? Has it ever shown that hot (gauge wise) before?

I don't have an electrical diagram for a 2003 CRV, but I do believe both the condenser fan and the radiator fan should turn on when the AC is switch on regardless of the charge of refrigerant or whether the compressor actually engages or not. Think, not certain. :)
It is very possible that one on the fans hasn't worked in quite awhile and now the other one quits so you notice it. Kind of like some people wonder why both brake lights went out at the same time but the actual situation was that one was out and just wasn't noticed until neither one worked.
On a 2000 CRV there are two fuses that need to be checked for the condenser fan.
One is in the under the hood fuse/relay box and is #56 (20A) and the other is in the under-dash fuse/relay box #17 (7.5A). Yours are most likely different.
I believe that 7.5A fuse in the under-dash fuse/relay box provides power to the relays that control both the condenser fan and the radiator fan. It is fails, neither fan will run.
You can feed 12v directly to either motor at their connectors to see if the fans actually turn properly.
If they work that way, then the motors are OK.
You can also disconnect the connector at the temp sending unit next to the thermostat and just jumper the two pins in that connector and then turn the key on and see if the radiator fan goes on. If not, it is either a bad fan motor or a fuse or a relay. If it goes on, then it is probably a bad temp sending unit.
There are vids on youtube on troubleshooting those fan operations.
Buffalo4
 

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Thank you so much! But how is it that the AC compressor affects the Motor fan? Also, is it worth just trying to recharge the Freon myself to see if the compressor kicks in? Of course I'm trying to go for the cheapest route first... Thank you!
 

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Did your temp gauge go to the Hot position or not? Was it much higher than normal? Has it ever shown that hot (gauge wise) before?

I don't have an electrical diagram for a 2003 CRV, but I do believe both the condenser fan and the radiator fan should turn on when the AC is switch on regardless of the charge of refrigerant or whether the compressor actually engages or not. Think, not certain. :)
It is very possible that one on the fans hasn't worked in quite awhile and now the other one quits so you notice it. Kind of like some people wonder why both brake lights went out at the same time but the actual situation was that one was out and just wasn't noticed until neither one worked.
On a 2000 CRV there are two fuses that need to be checked for the condenser fan.
One is in the under the hood fuse/relay box and is #56 (20A) and the other is in the under-dash fuse/relay box #17 (7.5A). Yours are most likely different.
I believe that 7.5A fuse in the under-dash fuse/relay box provides power to the relays that control both the condenser fan and the radiator fan. It is fails, neither fan will run.
You can feed 12v directly to either motor at their connectors to see if the fans actually turn properly.
If they work that way, then the motors are OK.
You can also disconnect the connector at the temp sending unit next to the thermostat and just jumper the two pins in that connector and then turn the key on and see if the radiator fan goes on. If not, it is either a bad fan motor or a fuse or a relay. If it goes on, then it is probably a bad temp sending unit.
There are vids on youtube on troubleshooting those fan operations.
Buffalo4
Thank you for the suggestion! We checked both fans and they run just fine. Also checked the fuses the relays and they seem fine also... The only obvious thing is the AC compressor not turning on. I don't want to take it to a AC professional since they will probably charge me $1000. My mechanic is pretty good and will take a second look at it on Sunday to find the root of the problem. At this point can I just have him change the AC compressor all together?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You are best off having the A/C system checked by a professional that has the tools to properly diagnose the system without damaging it or the environment.

There is a Low Refrigerant switch in the A/C system that disables the compressor if the Freon is low. From your description, you need to have that leak diagnosed, then the system must be evacuated and any lost compressor oil restored. You might also need a new receiver/dryer for most efficient operation.
Thank you so much! But how is it that the AC compressor affects the Motor fan? Also, is it worth just trying to recharge the Freon myself to see if the compressor kicks in? Of course I'm trying to go for the cheapest route first... Thank you!
 

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Are you sure the engine overheated? Perhaps it was just as Southwind said and the white smoke was actually refrigerant. That would probably mean a refrigerant leak, a MAJOR one. If so, you would get 'white smoke' and the compressor would shut off. Just being low on refrigerant would not cause the 'white smoke', but it would cause the compressor to shut off. I don't see how it would stop the fans from running.

If you jumper the pins in the connector at the fan temp sensor switch next to the thermostat and turn the ignition to ON, does the radiator (pass side) fan go on? If it goes on, then that relay, fuse and fan motor are OK. If that fan doesn't go on when the engine is approx 200F, than that sensor is not working properly.

How did you check the relays and the fans?
The radiator fan relay can be energized either by the radiator fan switch (199F) or by the ECM\PCM.
So, if you jumper those two wires at the radiator fan switch next to the thermostat and turn the ignition switch to ON, the radiator fan should go on.

To get an AC compressor to engage with a too low refrigerant charge, you will have to Google some more.

You need to determine if the compressor and its clutch are operable before replacing anything but the refrigerant.
I too do not know how or if the compressor can affect the fans. The AC switch can, but i think it goes through the PCM to turn both fans on. Perhaps there is a bad or loose connector at the PCM, or the PCM is faulty.

The condenser fan goes on when its relay is energized. That relay is energized through the ECM\PCM when it gets the signal from the AC switch on the dash. It just provides a ground to the relay so that the relay energizes and closes it contacts.

I am getting this info from the 97-00 Service Manual, not from a '03 one.

Again, how did you determine that the fans , fuses and relays were good?

If the leak was other than the compressor, the compressor is probably still good.

Buffalo4
 
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