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Old 10-26-2010, 05:57 PM   #1
vtlowrider
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Default AC Issue - AC Intermittent

I've tried to search this for the last two days but apparently the search feature is down.

I have an 04 hatch that has been regularly maintained since I purchased it new from the dealer. I'm not the biggest fan of AC, but it is a necessity living in California sometimes; moreover it's essential when raining and using your defrost (This is how I found my AC isn't working correctly)

The other day when SoCal got some rain, I was driving home and the defrost was having no effect, in fact it made it substantially worse to a point where I was blind on the highway!

In response to this, I had the compressor levels checked and topped off. However the problem repeats itself.

What seems to be the problem is when I turn the AC on, the Green AC light only comes on if the vents are on 2 or 3, rarely 1 or 4. Does not matter if the car is at idle or under load through the powerband. Frequently, the AC will simply turn off and I am merely operating on regular vent air (Again, this is a problem during a rainstorm and my windshield fogs up)

I recall reading somewhere that the actually HVAC controls on the dash might be faulty and I should check the local salvage yards as a solution; have not done this yet as I want to make sure this is the source of the problem. I'm hoping it's not the actual AC compressor.

Any help is appreciated, thanks.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

I don't understand that statement, "the Green AC light only comes on if the vents are on 2 or 3, rarely 1 or 4." What do those numbers mean?

Here's something you might try in the short term. A prior car I owned had no AC, and as you might expect sometimes the front defrost was not super effective in warm and rainy conditions ... try cracking the front passenger window 1/2 an inch, and the rear drivers side window 1/2 an inch. The fresh air flow through the passenger compartment should help a lot.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

Center control of the HVAC has OFF 1 2 3 4, vent speeds.

AC Light stays on (sometimes) when vent speed is 2 or 3, AC will not engage at all when vent speed is in position 1 or 4

Biggest issue I have is when driving in the rain and turn my defrost on instead of clearing up my windshield, it gets worse. Or at times it'll work for a short period of time, and then the AC cuts out and my defrost instantly "fogs" my windshield, thus making me blind.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

probably bad fan speed switch
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

[quote author=hoffo link=topic=181456.msg3842700#msg3842700 date=1288243027]
probably bad fan speed switch
[/quote]

Best bet, replace the HVAC controls with a set off eBay for example and problem "should" be solved? Or is the fan switch in the form of a relay elsewhere in the dash?
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

I'm not an expert on the subject but reading a lot of the a/c problem threads it seems the actual switch unit in the dash that controls the fan 0 1 2 3 4 the contacts wear and don't make good contact and thus you have to replace the switch. If you try to kick the a/c on without the fan on it will not turn on and if you turn the fan to 0 with the a/c on it turns off. So it seems to make sense that if the switch has bad contact internally it would lead to the a/c cutting off.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

Great, appreciate the pointing in the right direction; now off to find a suitable replacement. Cheaper than replacing the AC Compressor; but all the same, money I'd rather be putting into other aspect of my build. Again, thanks!

-Mike
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

My experience with electric switches is that, when you try to use them, they either work, or they don't. And yeah, they might work one day, and not the next. But to turn your fan on, and have the fan keep working, and the A/C works for awhile but then later cuts out (what you described with your front defrost), that sounds like a very quirky failure to be attributed to an electric switch. Not impossible, the switch sounds like it could in reality be a unit which contains many switches.

Another possibility. The A/C system does have an "A/C Pressure Cut Off Switch." It prevents the system from starting, and stops it from operating after it starts, if the pressure is either too low or too high. So, what is happening to you COULD be this switch ... either the pressure is legitimately out of range, and whatever is causing that to happen needs to be rectified ... or the cut off switch is faulty and sending a wrong signal.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

One would think so but there are several threads on this forum I have read about that fan switch working intermittently. It's a known issue on these cars and it's unfortunate that companies cheap out so much on parts like this even though I've owned mid 80s Japanese cars over 25 years old and all the electrical switches still worked fine.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: AC Issue - AC Intermittent

I hear you hoffo, and I'll defer to your knowledge about this switch. Hopefully they improved it for later year Mazda 3s (like mine).
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