2006 Town and Country problems

I have a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country LX that is giving me headaches. I bought it two and a half years ago when it had about 54,000 miles on it. It ran great up until the warranty ran out and it hit 100,000 miles. I use it for business trips mainly but recently it has been my daily commute to work car. I drive 100 miles round trip to work and home daily. Just since January I’ve had to replace the A/C compressor (the old one locked up), the power steering oil cooler, the left rear brake caliper, and just this week it was in the shop for an intake manifold gasket leak. Oh, and the A/C isn’t working to well again. When driving it slow speeds or stop and go traffic the air is warm. When it highway speeds the air is cold like it should be. My mechanic said there was restriction in the condenser. He said he found a lot of dirt built up between the condenser and the radiator restricting the air flow. He tried to clean the dirt out using compressed air and rinsing it with water but he claims there is too much dirt in there. (Where the dirt came from I have no idea).

Anyway, he said this restriction is causing the R134 to be superheated to around 300 degrees, making his gauges jump around and the inside temperature to rise. He said he run some air through the condenser and after a few minutes the gauges settled out and the air coming through the vents started to cool. He shut the air off and the problem returned almost immediately. He suggests a condenser replacement should fix the problem with the dirt build up restriction. The condenser is $160 plus installation. This is no guaranteed solution to the problem. In addition to the restriction, the cooling fan for the A/C side isn’t running contributing to the super heating problem. I asked him with the dirt restriction problem wouldn’t it cause the engine to overheat too. He said “Not necessarily”. In my mind I’m wondering “If there is as much dirt in there as he made it seem wouldn’t it also restrict the air flow to the radiator which is located, attached to, the A/C condenser coil, leading to higher engine coolant temperature?”

I’m tired of dumping money into this vehicle only to wait anticipation for the next component failure to suck more money from my bank account. This is quickly turning into the $500.00 repair vehicle, every time it goes into the shop it’s $500.00. I own 7 cars total, one of which 263,000 miles on it and hasn’t given me ¼ of the problems this van has. The kicker here is this van is the newest and the most troublesome of the bunch.

Any suggestions with the A/C problems?

You have a delema. I don’t know who your “he” is for a mechanic but a general mechanic may not be enough for your situation. I would take my car to an AC specialist. From there, get an estimate and see if the car AC is worth fixing. If you decide it is and get it fixed, the real delema begins. Do you then drive a car that now works but with a poor history, or dump it ?

Fixing it is the only way you can realize the value out of selling or trading it so doing the math after finding someone more competent to estimate and fix it is the solution I would use. This is the unenviable decsion making we always go through with “older” cars. Best of luck.

This doesn’t help you now but in my opinion mid-2000’s Chrysler products aren’t known for long-term reliability.

As far as your A/C problem, get the fan(s) fixed first. Without enough airflow across the condenser and radiator, your A/C won’t work properly. Poor condenser cooling leads to excessively high pressure and may cause the system to shut down. What’s more, I’d bet that your first compressor failed because of the non-functioning cooling fan.

Its possible that there’s enough debris between your condenser and radiator to limit air flow, but if you have adequate engine and A/C cooling while driving I doubt it.

Save your new compressor. Don’t use the A/C until this is sorted out.