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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

I'm Ryan. I've just posted over in the "greetings" forum,

My mother drives a 2006 CR-V SE (UK made, VIN SHSRD78916Uxxxxxx)
She bought it used, one year old, from Criswell Honda, a quite nice dealership in Germantown, MD.

Since then, it's had one HVAC related issue (condenser), although it was within, and covered by, the extended warranty. Now that said warranty has reached its expiry, when "problems arise" they get looked at with a whole new pair of eyes (mine)

Today, in the morning (82 F Ambient, 60%+ RH) we were driving, and the A/C was functioning as I expect it to, and as it typically does. We've been running the A/C for approximately a month so far this season without issue. It typically cools quite quickly, and on "MAX A/C" it's like a meat locker in there within minutes...

On the return journey, the A/C ceased outputting cold air. I made sure the A/C light was on, and that there were no "check engine" or other warning lights on the dash. It went from sweet, sweet cooling and dehumidification to "that sweat box in Cool Hand Luke" in approximately six seconds flat.

I didn't hear any unusual noises at the time (or at all, for that matter) and for the two minutes that I had my hand over the vent after "the realization", I could feel the air *TRYING* to get cooler (on recirc), but not doing so. I shut down the compressor at the switch, and redirected to the Harbor Freight for a set of manifold pressure gauges, a multimeter (mine is elsewhere) and some nitrile gloves. I then went to Pep Boys to procure 24oz. (a bit much, but only sold in 12oz increments) of refrigerant (DuPont Suva R134a), and a pierce-tapper/shorthose with Quick Connect to recharge into the low side.
I have already a decent thermometer to place in a vent.


Upon returning, I assembled my new three hose/two dial manifold pressure tester/charge unit, and brought it out. The vehicle had cooled a bit since arriving but the ambient temperature was still at least 90 degrees fahrenheit, and the humidity was killer.

Made sure all valves were closed and NPT's tight, I connected the HS/LS quick-connects to their respective ports, and started the vehicle. I ran it five minutes at 2,000RPM to bring it to operating temperature, and the engine fans had begun spinning. When up to temperature, I activated the air conditioning, MAX A/C, I dropped to idle, went about to the engine bay, and opened the valves on the back of the HS/LS quick connects, which instantly caused a reaction in the dials on the meter. They rose quickly, and showed a reading that did not waver over the four minutes of testing, and also caused a realllllllllllllllly icky feeling to develop in the pit of my stomach:

LOW SIDE : 125 psi
HIGH SIDE: 125 ps

They are equal, and too high for the low side, too low for the high side.

I am praying it's not a compressor, and perhaps a pressure switch had freaked out or something, and halted the compressor mid-stroke.

My questions are:

1) What's it typically mean when the HS/LS pressures match in the context described?

2) What are some common-sense electrical checks I can make? I've pulled the two A/C relays i could find (in the engine bay) and tested them by applying 12VDC to the proper terminals and, after the "click" of the solenoid firing, heard the "beep" from my multimeter indicating that there was continuity between the appropriate points on both relays *that i could locate*. All fuses look okay so far, I've looked under dash on driver's side and in engine compartment.

3) is there a way to find out if the compressor is kicking in? I had my mom activate the A/C while i was near the compressor, but heard no audible "snap" of a clutch closing. I'd like to manually activate the compressor for a bit (a minute or so) to see if the pressures stabilize, or if a differential develops. Which wire/wires should i jump to manually activate the compressor clutch?

4) True, compressor is mounted on the bottom of the motor, although, there is a generous amount of plastic shielding covering that area, and the unit looks okay to a *cursory* visual inspection. "Okay" meaning its actually pretty clean, no salt pitting, hasn't exploded, belt is good...

5) What are SPECS for this HVAC system? I've been able to ascertain that:
it holds between 17.0 ounces and 18.9 ounces of R134a, and takes a PAG oil charge (but i don't know the viscosity required for the PAG, and had figured most of it would still be in the system). I honestly don't think it's leaking at all, given the pressure in the system, and it's consistency...

6) WIRING/HVAC PLUMBING SCHEMATIC. If I had one of these, I could trace the wires and such...

So far, I've found one switch/thermistor on the high side. I've popped off its harness and jumpered it, and it raises the idle about 100 RPM, and caused the fan(s) to activate. I'm THINKING that means it's a temp meter, but not sure... It can't be the only switch in the system... where are the others located in the '06 CR-V SE?

The issue happened suddenly, and while driving. This is one reason I'm hoping it's electrical, and not the compressor.

Any advice would be most appreciated. I am a fast study, and hope to learn a bit, and perhaps save my mom a bit of loot, as she is quite ill, and has been hit with bill after bill for the HOME a/c in the last month, and now the CAR a/c is on the fritz!

*most* projects are within my technical ability, aside from those that need structural welding, or involve operating on still-beating human hearts ;)

Thanks so much for reading all that, and especially considering i'm the FNG. ;)

Sincerest Regards,


5 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I've been informed by a family friend/ASE Certified Master Technician that the compressor is OK, it's the clutch that's failed. 155,500 miles on the clock, so the mechanic offered to drop an aftermarket compressor/clutch in there for something like $850 total, with a one year warranty.

If I order OEM parts from Majestic Honda (the newer Keihin Japan made OEM part) and have Criswell Honda install them, the quote rises to something like $1,213. (Though I get a Honda-backed warranty on the part, and the labor)

My question here is, does anyone have any experience with the various aftermarket replacement compressors? So far, I've found:

* Behr/Hella (German)
* Omega
* Hadyon (sp?)
* Keihin (OEM, Japanese made)
* UAC (Universal Air, Chinese made I believe, CHEAP)
* 4 Seasons
* buyautoparts dot com (say they manufacture their own drop in replacement IN HOUSE (?!?) and it's superior to the Keihin, though the rep couldn't tell me if it was still a "scroll" type comp.)
* a few others, chime in with one if you've had experience with one that's decent :)

I appreciate the time it takes to read all this... I've been pulling out clumps of my massive head of hair for two days now trying to make sense of the issue.

Another question... Do the "thermal protection" devices mounted on top of the compressor fail? I'm showing 130 PSI on the low AND high sides, so this compressor shouldn't be engaging at all anyway, no? From what I've read, there's a 125 PSI cutoff? The electrical diagnostic performed shows continuity all the way down to the compressor, where "all rail service terminates". The relays check out, fuses are good, there's just no clutch engagement.
I was thinking it could have been the thermal switch on top... In my experience, clutch failures are usually noisy, stinky and gradual, where this one just conked out all at once.

Thanks for reading, any ideas or other input is welcome!

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