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Hello, first post here, I've been reading a lot on here the last few weeks I've been searching for a small used SUV. The CR-V was top on the list until one day I came across an ad that said "No AC" I contacted the owner and he said "probably just needs a recharge, I really don't know for sure" After some research I learned about "black death". In the last 3 weeks I've been looking (pretty much on Craigslist from private owners) I've found FIVE different CR-Vs that have black death.

I found a nice 2003 the other day that the AC worked good on but the fear made me pass on it. Now I'm thinking first gen. 99-01, Nothing for sure yet but it's obviously harder to find an older unit in good shape.

My main question is how wide spread is this defect in the AC system? I didn't think much of it until I found so many with this issue.

Is there any way to check or test for this or does it just blow up one day?

Any help with this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Hello, first post here, I've been reading a lot on here the last few weeks I've been searching for a small used SUV. The CR-V was top on the list until one day I came across an ad that said "No AC" I contacted the owner and he said "probably just needs a recharge, I really don't know for sure" After some research I learned about "black death". In the last 3 weeks I've been looking (pretty much on Craigslist from private owners) I've found FIVE different CR-Vs that have black death.

I found a nice 2003 the other day that the AC worked good on but the fear made me pass on it. Now I'm thinking first gen. 99-01, Nothing for sure yet but it's obviously harder to find an older unit in good shape.

My main question is how wide spread is this defect in the AC system? I didn't think much of it until I found so many with this issue.

Is there any way to check or test for this or does it just blow up one day?

Any help with this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the forum. You can use the search bar for more info on the A/C systems, but from what I've read on here there is no way to tell if it's going to fail. One day it just does. I could be wrong since I don't have that gen CRV, but I've read numerous threads about the A/C just failing out of the blue.
 

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Everything in Moderation
2006 CR-V EX, 5MT
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The A/C compressors on early Gen2 CR-Vs (up to mid-2004) were subject to failure due to heat. The part was redesigned by Honda after that. Repairs made 2005 and later probably have the improved part.

Factory recommendation was to flush the entire system and replace many parts (due to the 'shrapnel' inside). But, now that the cars are off-warranty, repairs by independent shops may not have been as thorough.


Documentation is the key. If the seller can produce proof of proper repair, you are ahead of the game. If not, a deduction in selling price should be negotiated. (Inquire at a local A/C shop how much for the repair these days. Ask about costs to replace compressor, condenser, evaporator, and flush the system.)


+++++++++++

Even back in the day, compressor failures happened to a small percentage of Vs. I know of several owners who didn't have the issue over 10 years or more. But it was enough to be noted on Consumer Reports guides....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The A/C compressors on early Gen2 CR-Vs (up to mid-2004) were subject to failure due to heat. The part was redesigned by Honda after that. Repairs made 2005 and later probably have the improved part.

Factory recommendation was to flush the entire system and replace many parts (due to the 'shrapnel' inside). But, now that the cars are off-warranty, repairs by independent shops may not have been as thorough.


Documentation is the key. If the seller can produce proof of proper repair, you are ahead of the game. If not, a deduction in selling price should be negotiated. (Inquire at a local A/C shop how much for the repair these days. Ask about costs to replace compressor, condenser, evaporator, and flush the system.)


+++++++++++

Even back in the day, compressor failures happened to a small percentage of Vs. I know of several owners who didn't have the issue over 10 years or more. But it was enough to be noted on Consumer Reports guides....
Thanks for the responses. This problem appears to be pretty bad. MORE AND MORE are showing up for sale everyday. I wonder how many people are getting screwed every day. It really bothers me when people say "AC needs to be recharged" in their ad. Unfortunately the repair cost is astronomical! When you are looking at a $4000 vehicle there is no where enough room to to compensate for a repair like that. There is no way I'm going to gamble on this one. Too bad Honda dropped the ball on this one, there should have been a factory recall, the class action suit does nothing now.

The last Honda I owned was a 2002 Accord, sold it with 246000 miles. The ONLY thing I ever had to do to that car besides maintenance items was a starter and front axles. EVERYTHING else was original.
 

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think 02 and back would be a safe choice. My V is like your Accord, 218k and counting, compressor/condenser/ac system all original. Your lucky sellers have even told you about AC inoperative, most will not tell you. Don't let that discourage you, the gen 1 CRV are one tough little SUV, don't give up, the right one will come along. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
David g..........:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
think 02 and back would be a safe choice. My V is like your Accord, 218k and counting, compressor/condenser/ac system all original. Your lucky sellers have even told you about AC inoperative, most will not tell you. Don't let that discourage you, the gen 1 CRV are one tough little SUV, don't give up, the right one will come along. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
David g..........:cool:

Thanks! I've been looking hard all over the state, unfortunately I live in a smaller less populated area so most that come up are a good distance away, that makes going to take a look after work hard. Of course people tell you how great it is, then when you get there it's a totally different story. I had one the other day that said it was in EXCELLENT condition with no oil leaks and only a few minor paint chips here and there. Turns out it had a good oil leak, many dents and dings, the worst being the left back side, nice dent with broken tail light! To be honest the few I've looked at were in such bad shape I didn't even get around to testing the AC.

I've seen a few gen 1's that looked good but were gone within a few hours of posting. I'll definitely keep my eyes open, I know there's one waiting for me!
 

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d suggest going SOUTH to find a RUST/SALT FREE one. What part of CO are you ?
David g..........:cool:
I'm in Pueblo West which is about 110 miles South of Denver.

I've done some checking in different states and there seems to be a large number of FWD vehicles and very few AWD available. Here it's the opposite, most all of them are AWD. Even though this is a secondary commuter vehicle for me, FWD would be fine since I have a real 4X4 vehicle I can drive when necessary. The fuel economy is not worth sacrificing the AWD.

There was a nice looking 2007 AWD with 104K on Craigslist last night for $7700, that's a smokin' deal! Not that it's in my price range as I'm trying to stay around $4K so I can pay cash. However I can get a loan for 2.49% on 2006 and newer, you never know....... Of course that deal was gone before 10am this morning.
 

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On a side note, check with you local Banks, especially one you do business with, as well as any local credit unions about repossessions. A good way to find a bargain without a lot of travel. Good luck to you.
David g. :cool:
 

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On a side note, check with you local Banks, especially one you do business with, as well as any local credit unions about repossessions. A good way to find a bargain without a lot of travel. Good luck to you.
David g. :cool:
Good idea, I'll have to check around.

I noticed in your signature you have a 1997? I found a 1997 that appears to be in really good shape with new water pump and timing belt and other recent repairs. The only worry I have is it has 234K miles and it's an auto tranny.
 

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Hello, first post here, I've been reading a lot on here the last few weeks I've been searching for a small used SUV. The CR-V was top on the list until one day I came across an ad that said "No AC" I contacted the owner and he said "probably just needs a recharge, I really don't know for sure" After some research I learned about "black death". In the last 3 weeks I've been looking (pretty much on Craigslist from private owners) I've found FIVE different CR-Vs that have black death.

I found a nice 2003 the other day that the AC worked good on but the fear made me pass on it. Now I'm thinking first gen. 99-01, Nothing for sure yet but it's obviously harder to find an older unit in good shape.

My main question is how wide spread is this defect in the AC system? I didn't think much of it until I found so many with this issue.

Is there any way to check or test for this or does it just blow up one day?

Any help with this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
I don't think the "black death" is too common. It happens but probably not as much as you think. What does happen often is the A/C compressor clutch fails due to prolonged heat buildup. It's happened so much that Honda extended the warranty to 100k miles.
Just my luck ours failed at 108k. Honda wouldn't help with the repair cost which ran $700 not counting all the times we had it in the dealer and it would work fine when they tested it. Finally it failed again and we drove it to the dealer so they could test it in the parking lot. Luckily the dealer is only about 8 miles away.
 

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Is it safe to say that if you have the entire system replaced with current updated Honda OEM parts it won't fail again?

I found a 2004 that is pretty nice, has always been dealer maintained but had "black death". The paperwork verifies that it was all replaced by the dealer and currently works fine.
 

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Is it safe to say that if you have the entire system replaced with current updated Honda OEM parts it won't fail again?

I found a 2004 that is pretty nice, has always been dealer maintained but had "black death". The paperwork verifies that it was all replaced by the dealer and currently works fine.
No, the system could fail again. My understanding is the way the system was designed it's in a confined space at the bottom of the engine. This allows heat to build up as well as road debris, salt, etc to work on the system. Most mfgrs. put the compressor up top where Honda put it down below. Probably a space consideration.

Now in my case I've had my 2008 for just about nine years. It's garage kept, the weather here gets hot and humid but not for more than 3 months and I usually don't take it out in the snow (doesn't snow that much). The only problem I've had in all that time is the compressor clutch failed. No black death. So depending where you live and the weather it may/may not be a problem.
 

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No, the system could fail again. My understanding is the way the system was designed it's in a confined space at the bottom of the engine. This allows heat to build up as well as road debris, salt, etc to work on the system. Most mfgrs. put the compressor up top where Honda put it down below. Probably a space consideration.
You would be surprised at how many manufacturers put the down below on 4 cylinder cars like like Honda and don't have problems.
 

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The upgraded compressor that was fitted in mid-2004 (both at the factory, and as a dealer repair) seems to be working OK. Gen2s since 2005 have not seen the same rate of failure.

Likelihood of a repeat failure depended on the thoroughness of the repair shop's purge process, since an imploding compressor would send 'shrapnel' throughout the A/C system. Some repaired A/C systems developed leaks and so wouldn't work, but that's not a design issue as the original Black Death is.
 

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The upgraded compressor that was fitted in mid-2004 (both at the factory, and as a dealer repair) seems to be working OK. Gen2s since 2005 have not seen the same rate of failure.

Likelihood of a repeat failure depended on the thoroughness of the repair shop's purge process, since an imploding compressor would send 'shrapnel' throughout the A/C system. Some repaired A/C systems developed leaks and so wouldn't work, but that's not a design issue as the original Black Death is.
That's good to know. Maybe Colorado Sparky can check with the dealer and see if they used the upgraded compressor. He has the paperwork.
 

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replaced all my a/c related stuff for around 400 bucks diy. So new compressor, a/c lines, o rings, a/c oil, evaporator core, and front condenser. All parts were bought off amazon and it was around 110 bucks to get the system vacuum and refilled.
 

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I don't think the "black death" is too common. It happens but probably not as much as you think. What does happen often is the A/C compressor clutch fails due to prolonged heat buildup. It's happened so much that Honda extended the warranty to 100k miles.
Just my luck ours failed at 108k. Honda wouldn't help with the repair cost which ran $700 not counting all the times we had it in the dealer and it would work fine when they tested it. Finally it failed again and we drove it to the dealer so they could test it in the parking lot. Luckily the dealer is only about 8 miles away.

I think it IS very common actually ... our 2010 EXL w 80k miles has that issue, along with the oil consumption, so one more major issue not covered by Honda and we'll have the freaking trifecta!

Too bad because it's a beautiful, well-kept car otherwise. Getting Honda to stand by their product seems to be a loosing battle, unfortunately, as they'd apparently rather sell new CRVs.
 
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