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2008 Honda CR-V AWD
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few days ago I noticed my A/C isn't blowing cold air anymore. Not hot, just not cold. I spent all day Thursday trying to work on this. I've read a lot of posts and watched a lot of videos on this topic but I can't decide how to proceed now. First I suspected the compressor or the compressor clutch specifically since that is what is known to go bad most often on these and it's been replaced before. I believe it's either a refrigerant problem or the compressor but I'm not sure how to know. So far I:

1. Looked at the compressor. The clutch does not engage when the AC is on. I can turn it with my finger but it takes a little force. The fans don't come on either when AC is on.
2. Checked fuses and relays. The three relays that are for the fan and compressor are all the same so I switched them all around and nothing changed. I think it's unlikely that all 3 are bad.
3. Checked the coolant in the radiator. Surprisingly, there was almost none in the reservoir so I got that filled.
4. Check to see if fans were good. Both run when connected straight to the battery.
5. Checked ECT switch. I put a paperclip between the contact in the wires going to the ECT on the radiator and nothing changed when ac was on so it's not that switch.
6. I tried to do the same with the low refrigerant pressure switch on the compressor but I just can't get it unplugged, it's too tight in there.

If there's low refrigerant then the compressor won't even try to come on right? Same with the fans right or no? So I'm not sure if I need to try to borrow a pressure gauge or not because I also read if your compressor is bad it changes the pressure so then I still might not be able to tell or will low refrigerant be obvious?

Not sure of the best way to proceed at this point. I would appreciate some advice. Thanks!

I also drove it a little yesterday and the check engine light came on after about 15 minutes, not sure if it's related but it seems suspicious.
 

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Everything in Moderation
2006 CR-V EX, 5MT
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12,107 Posts
First, tell us the CEL code (get it from an Autozone or similar if you don't have a reader)

Have your system checked at an A/C shop. SOUNDS low but as you said, compressor clutches have been an issue with that Generation. Need to have the compressor clutch gap checked.

If the refrigerant isn't TOO low, the fans will engage but the clutch will not pull in.
 

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'07 CR-V EX-L AWD
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Welcome to the forum! When I first got my '07, which had 92k on it when I got it, it seemed to cool good, but it wasn't long before it seemed to cool less and less, then little. I ran it over to the shop and had my mechanic check it and sure enough, it was low on gas. He evacuated it, pulled a hard vacuum, let it leak test for an hour, no leak, did a fresh recharge, and done. It's blown ice cold ever since.

The thing about these A/C systems in our CR-Vs is that they are really tiny. The entire system only holds 1.08 pounds of gas when full. Mine was a half pound low, which means it cooled until it was half empty. Not bad for eleven years of service. A lot of folks will complain that the systems are not very reliable, but I disagree. I thing the main cause of nearly all A/C issues in these things is that people let them get and run low on gas over long periods and then don't understand why the compressor or clutch goes out. If the compressor goes out it's because you (or the original owner) ran it low on gas for years and low on gas is low on lubricant too. If the clutch goes out, that happened because it spent far too long short-cycling because it was yup! You guessed it - low on gas. So I will check the gas yearly. Simple. Since I'm in Texas, that A/C is a life or death issue! We live in a hostile environment for most of the year here. So far I've had no further issues.
 

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I've had two AC compressor clutches go bad--one in each of our 2009s. Very common issue in these third gen CR-Vs--it's a matter of when, not if, they go bad. And they will often burn out the relay that they are powered through.

If that turns out to be the problem, count on getting a whole new compressor. Don't mess around replacing only the clutch, as you'll have to pay for about the same labor if/when the compressor itself goes bad (or if you do it yourself, it's double the work). Start fresh with a nice remanufactured compressor and don't look back. I had both of mine done at a Honda dealer (one near home, the other in Salt Lake City), so I have a nationwide 3 year/36,000 mile parts and labor warranty on the compressors. On top of it, they'll also inspect the entire system for leaks--ours had a few o-rings replaces to ensure it was all sealed up tight.

If not a dealer, Denso may be a good bet for a remanufactured compressor.

There are other threads here with diagnoses for the clutch or other AC issues.
 

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2010 EX-L (AWD, non-Nav)
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565 Posts
3. Checked the coolant in the radiator. Surprisingly, there was almost none in the reservoir so I got that filled.
It's not related to the a/c issue.

I also drove it a little yesterday and the check engine light came on after about 15 minutes, not sure if it's related but it seems suspicious.
This, too, is not related to the a/c issue, but should be looked in to.

If there's low refrigerant then the compressor won't even try to come on right? Same with the fans right or no?
Correct on both. I agree with Carbuff2, it sounds like it's low on refrigerant. I'd take it to an a/c shop; they can deal with it properly.
 

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2008 Honda CR-V AWD
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, everyone.
I went to the auto parts store and got the OBD, turns out I must not have plugged the connection to the engine coolant temperature switch back in properly, that's fixed now.
They had a little gauge that we plugged onto the low side of the refrigerant line and it didn't even move. It seems that I'm just out of refrigerant completely. I contemplated trying to fill it up myself but finally decided it would be worth it to get it done professionally especially since it looks like it has a leak. I went by the shop and basically we settled on me bringing it in another day where they'll check the pressure, partially charge, evacuate, check for leaks, etc.
 

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2008 Honda CR-V AWD
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Turns out there was a hole in my condenser. System was completely empty, that's why nothing would kick on. I'm going to replace it myself and then bring it back to get it charged. Any recommendations for which condenser to buy or steer clear of? Options online seem pretty much the same but range in price from $50 to almost $200. I'm also a little fuzzy on what I've seen about adding a little oil to the condenser when you install it.
 

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'07 CR-V EX-L AWD
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Nice, but not advisable unless you are a competent A/C tech. It's a step-by-step procedure that must be done exactly right or you risk the compressor and other components. Much better to get it done right. Otherwise it can get real expensive real quick.
 

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Nice, but not advisable unless you are a competent A/C tech. It's a step-by-step procedure that must be done exactly right or you risk the compressor and other components. Much better to get it done right. Otherwise it can get real expensive real quick.
So, he can change the condenser, but you don't think he can recharge it? That is easier IMHO. I am sure videos out there or ask questions here. Freon and charge hoses sold everywhere. You basically only adding the evacuation prior to the charge.
 

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First, tell us the CEL code (get it from an Autozone or similar if you don't have a reader)

Have your system checked at an A/C shop. SOUNDS low but as you said, compressor clutches have been an issue with that Generation. Need to have the compressor clutch gap checked.

If the refrigerant isn't TOO low, the fans will engage but the clutch will not pull in.
OBD2 is for emissions related parameters only. A scan tool with body module capabilities is required to read A/C. A/C will not throw an emissions code or light.
 

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A few days ago I noticed my A/C isn't blowing cold air anymore. Not hot, just not cold. I spent all day Thursday trying to work on this. I've read a lot of posts and watched a lot of videos on this topic but I can't decide how to proceed now. First I suspected the compressor or the compressor clutch specifically since that is what is known to go bad most often on these and it's been replaced before. I believe it's either a refrigerant problem or the compressor but I'm not sure how to know. So far I:

1. Looked at the compressor. The clutch does not engage when the AC is on. I can turn it with my finger but it takes a little force. The fans don't come on either when AC is on.
2. Checked fuses and relays. The three relays that are for the fan and compressor are all the same so I switched them all around and nothing changed. I think it's unlikely that all 3 are bad.
3. Checked the coolant in the radiator. Surprisingly, there was almost none in the reservoir so I got that filled.
4. Check to see if fans were good. Both run when connected straight to the battery.
5. Checked ECT switch. I put a paperclip between the contact in the wires going to the ECT on the radiator and nothing changed when ac was on so it's not that switch.
6. I tried to do the same with the low refrigerant pressure switch on the compressor but I just can't get it unplugged, it's too tight in there.

If there's low refrigerant then the compressor won't even try to come on right? Same with the fans right or no? So I'm not sure if I need to try to borrow a pressure gauge or not because I also read if your compressor is bad it changes the pressure so then I still might not be able to tell or will low refrigerant be obvious?

Not sure of the best way to proceed at this point. I would appreciate some advice. Thanks!

I also drove it a little yesterday and the check engine light came on after about 15 minutes, not sure if it's related but it seems suspicious.
I had this issue and ended up replacing the compressor wit a ré manufactured compressor, which carries a 3 year warranty. A third party part and installation by a non-Honda but reputable garage would have been cheaper, but the warranty would have been far less. It is what it is. Other than this, my ‘09 has been perfect.
 

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Turns out there was a hole in my condenser. System was completely empty, that's why nothing would kick on. I'm going to replace it myself and then bring it back to get it charged. Any recommendations for which condenser to buy or steer clear of? Options online seem pretty much the same but range in price from $50 to almost $200. I'm also a little fuzzy on what I've seen about adding a little oil to the condenser when you install it.
You're better off going to a professional than doing it yourself. There's a lot of things to consider with an A/C system that old. The fact that you had a hole in the condenser that made it lose the refrigerant that quickly means that air is also in the system now which means the dessicant is probably saturated with moisture. I believe that on this model, the condenser assembly has the dessicant bag inside of a tube/tank on the driver side of the condenser assembly. It has a little plastic plug on the bottom to replace the dessicant bag. All of this is irrelevant since you're going to replace the entire condenser and the new one "should" come with a new bag in it anyway. However, note that it calls for 2.3 hours (flat rate) to replace the condenser because it includes removal of the bumper in order to get access to the condenser.

Yes, you probably "could" replace the condenser yourself if you're patient and all, but then don't forget to add refrigerant oil, trying to guess how much was lost from the leak, etc. After completing that, you'll then need a manifold gauge set to connect to the high and low side ports and connect a vacuum pump to the system. You want to leave it on for at least 30 minutes AFTER the vacuum reading reaches maximum, which is between 29.5-30.0 inches of vacuum at sea level. This will ensure that any moisture in the system will "boil off" and be eliminated from the system. Then, turn the pump off after closing both high and low side valves on the gauge set and let it sit for 10 minutes. If the readings don't drop, then you can presume no leaks in the system and can proceed to add R-134a to the system. Full charge on this vehicle is between 15.5 ounces and 17.3 ounces of refrigerant. Good luck!
 

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'07 CR-V EX-L AWD
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Not nearly as easy to do as it is to say. Changing the condenser coil is just a parts replacement. Pulling a vacuum and running a leakdown test is not too bad. Accurately recharging a system (including a fresh oil charge) that only holds just 1.08 pounds of gas is considerably more involved and damage easily done. A thousand dollar piece of cake is not all that tasty. And, oh, yeah he'll need a new dryer too. Not a job for the inexperienced.
 

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I am in the "let the professional do it" camp. A neighbor recharged his A/C putting in too much Freon. Too much pressure built up, blew the pressure hose and he ended up with a bulge in the hood where the house smacked the underside of the hood.
 

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2008 Honda CR-V AWD
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm with you, but I don't understand if you know exactly how much the system should hold and it's empty, how is there any risk of putting in too much?
 

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I'm with you, but I don't understand if you know exactly how much the system should hold and it's empty, how is there any risk of putting in too much?
Because you cannot see it. The whole multi-step process is enclosed. You have to know how to monitor and control every stage of the process using the manifold gauges and controls. It's complex and requires a thorough understanding of what is happening in real time. It's not a game where you can just guess, or approximate. You have to be absolutely precise. Your question is ample evidence you do not qualify.
 
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