Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2000 TownCar AC Delay

It takes 4 minutes for the AC to start blowing cold air. I recently had the AC looked over with new lines installed, new recharge with R134a refrigerant and the pump checked fine. Any ideas as to why it takes so long?

If you had someone do the work you describe why not ask them this question?

I would like to have some ideas as to the problem before I go back to the shop and see what they say.


“the pump checked fine.”

Care to elaborate?

The system on your car doesn’t have a “pump” . . . I’m thinking you may have meant AC compressor

And just what is “fine” . . . ?

Pressures correct?

Belt fine?

No leaks?

Very often, if a system takes long to blow cold, it’s because of a low charge?

Just how did the shop go about recharging the system?

Using a professional recover/evacuate/recharge machine?

Or using a manifold, hose, scale and cans . . . ?

Now I’m going to narrow it down a little more . . .

Did it take long to blow cold IMMEDIATELY after the repair?

or was everything fine for awhile, and NOW you’ve noticed it takes a long time to blow cold?

If the latter, you may have a leak, which the guy didn’t initially find . . . quite common

The shop said it was working as it should but because the first time I used it, it too 4 minutes I was unsure whether they left the car sit for a few hours before turning it on again to see just how long it takes to cool. I suspect they didn’t. So other than being undercharged/low pressure is there any other possibilities?

If you’re saying the AC delay occurs only when the is engine cold, that’s normal

The reason for this is they want the engine to reach operating temperature as quickly as possible. This reduces emissions.

If the AC was allowed to operate while the engine is cold, this would cause the condenser/radiator fans to operate. This would then cause it to take longer for the engine to reach operating temperature. And that creates higher emissions.

You may also notice that the transmission converter clutch doesn’t engage while the engine is cold. This is because they want the engine RPM’s to remain high so the engine warms up faster to reduce emissions. Then once the engine reaches operating temperature, the converter clutch starts to engage.


Does the fan immediately blow air out the vents when the AC is turned on? And does the 4 minute delay occur when the car is left idling in park and also if immediately put in gear and driven away normally? Does the cooling performance decline significantly while stopped for several minutes in traffic, etc?

Are you saying that you turn on the A/C and it blows air immediately but it takes 4 minutes for the air to become cool?

What part of the country are you in and what is the outside temperature when this happens?

I think I know what asemaster is getting at but as usual more info is needed.

Since I assume this car has EATC you might run a diagnostic check on it. The codes are limited in number but the test is easy, quick, and most importantly; free.

With the engine warmed up, shut the engine off, and then turn the key back to the RUN position.
Push the OFF and FLOOR button at the same time. Release them and quickly push the AUTOMATIC button.

The display will cycle some gibberish for a while before showing a DTC code number.

The EATC units are also prone to a number of glitches caused by the vacuum solenoids inside the unit. There are 8 little spring loaded plungers with O-rings and foam pads. Over time the O-rings harden and the foam disentegrates and pretty much everything related to the heating or A/C can go stupid.

If the EATC unit in your car is original it’s amazing that it has survived this long.

To Rod Knox - The fan starts blowing immediately. It makes no difference whether the car is idling or not.
To Asemaster - It starts blowing immediately but always takes about 4 minutes to blow cold air. I live in central California where the temp is currently in the 90s.
To ok4450 - The EATC test came up with 188 code.