Hello all…hoping someone can give me some insight and perhaps a direction to move in to resolve a stubborn issue with my Pacifica. I apologize in advance for the length, but giving all this info may help.
Its a 2004, purchased within months after introduction. I have about 109,000 miles on it and it really has been a great vehicle for my family.
The problem I’m trying to resolve is with the A/C (and perhaps related to the heater as well). It first surfaced almost a year ago when transporting our daughter back to college…a long drive in early September from NJ to GA. About two hours into the trip we felt the temperature rising in the cabin to somewhat uncomfortable levels. It was a hot day, but we then realized that no cold air was coming from the dash vents. Matter of fact, almost no air was moving through the vents.
We pulled off the interstate at a local mechanic to ask him to take a quick look and see if there was anything wrong. Knowing we still had a good 10 hours of driving into hot steamy GA, being without A/C was not going to be good. This mechanic said it would be about an hour, so we went for lunch. When we returned, he pulled the car around and told us NOTHING was wrong…and sure enough ice cold air was now blowing through the vents.
We continued our trip. And about 90 minutes later, the air got warmer…and again ultimately stopped coming through the vents. We discovered that if we shut the A/C off completely to let it ‘rest’ for 45-60 minutes, we could get cold air back for another hour, so we continued the rest of the trip alternating between hot and cold and took it in when we returned to our regular mechanic.
He inspected and found nothing seemed to be wrong. Said they couldn’t duplicate it. As the weather was getting cooler and no A/C was needed, we kind of put it on the back burner.
Around December, we noticed a similar problem develop with the heat. After 60-90 minutes, the warm air stopped blowing into the cabin. We could HEAR the blower motor running, but the airflow was not there. Our feet were getting COLD on long drives. The heat would work fine around town during short trips, but anything more than 60-90 minutes and it would get cold.
Something went wonky with the resistor and blower, so we had the resistor changed. Also had the thermostat replaced, thinking that might be the issue. We never really drove it a long distance after that so don’t really know if the issue is resolved.
We discovered around Easter that the A/C issue remained and were determined to get it fixed before returning to GA in June to get our daughter. I opted to take it to a Chrysler dealer with the belief that they would have a better understanding of the system (over my mechanic). I asked them to PLEASE duplicate the problem, even if they had to burn a tank of gas to do it.
After a day at the shop, they called me and claimed they had duplicated the problem and discovered that there was ‘rodent debris’ in the intake area and it was blocking the airflow, probably causing things to freeze up. They cleaned and disinfected everything out, changed the cabin air filter and pronounced it fixed.
We left for Georgia. It wasn’t fixed. Sure enough, 90 minutes in, the air got warm and ultimately stopped blowing into the cabin (but we can hear the blower working). We shut the A/C off but left the blower on and in an amazing twist, suddenly there was a RUSH of cold air coming in, for about 15 minutes. As it got warm again, we’d put the A/C back on and could get nice cold air for another 90 minutes. We cycled like this all the way to GA and back.
My logic tells me SOMETHING is freezing up and blocking the airflow, and then when we shut the A/C off and just let the blower work the ‘ice’ starts melting and thus clearing the way for the air to flow into the cabin again. Its cold because the air is moving over something icy, and then once it melts the air gets warm again. Since the blockage is now melted, the A/C can work again until it freezes up and blocks the airflow.
But what is it REALLY? How do I explain what repair I need, or even get someone to diagnose this? Having had to to two different places and gotten nowhere, I am at a loss as to what to do now.
I also wonder if the A/C issue isn’t somehow related to the heat issue.
If you made it this far, thank you so much…and if you have any advice to offer even better!