A/C works intermittently

spider
alfaromeo

#1

This isn’t actually a Spyder, but an '02 156sw. 2l 16v. I am in Europe! The point is, the A/C comes on only after you have been driving for like an hour. Once it’s on, it works perfectly. I don’t drive every day. If I drove long enough yesterday to get it running, then it will also work today. If I haven’t driven for a few days, it won’t work until I have been on the road for an hour or so. So, I don’t seem to have a leak. It must be a switch, or maybe the A/C clutch. Any opinions?


#2

[quote=“robobass, post:1, topic:103555, full:true”]
the A/C comes on only after you have been driving for like an hour. [/quote]

first of all:
What do you mean by 'it comes on after an hour? What exactly isn’t working? It doesn’t blow any air at all? It blows air, but it isn’t cold at all? It’s cold, but not cold enough for your comfort?


#3

I don’t consider air conditioner repair a do it yourself item.


#4

Sorry, The blower always works fine. It just doesn’t blow cold most of the time. You can easily tell when the A/C starts working. The air suddenly becomes rightly cold!


#5

??? I have posted simply to get help identifying a problem. Is that somehow out of bounds on this forum?


#6

If it works after a while, and then for a few days, I would assume that the charge is fine- or pretty close to it. This sounds like an electrical issue- either a pressure switch or a relay. Could be the a/c clutch, but ones that I have seen fail work better when they are cold, and slip more when they are hot- the opposite of what you are describing.


#7

No it is not. Maybe I did not word it correctly. I just consider air conditioner repair a job for professionals and if you say I was told it could be part XYZ on the internet you might alienate the repairman.
Also most of the mechanics on this site are U.S. based and have not seen an Alfaromeo in years.


#8

or ever, lol


#9

Volvo, You just sound a bit angry and anti-social is all.


#10

how long has this been happening? recently like 1 week or 1 month? what is the air temp where you are now? you say Europe. like Norway? or Italy?


#11

At the risk of irritating the OP I would like to suggest trying to find a Europe based Alfa forum.


#12

This has been happening since last summer. I am in Germany, and don’t drive the car all that often, and mostly for short trips when I do, so the problem isn’t such a worry. I have consulted my trusty local Alfa forum, but no one has any ideas. I figured that air conditioning systems aren’t so different from one maker to another, and maybe this is something which happens on other cars too. So far it seems pretty singular, though.


#13

normally I would say alfa electronics might be sketchy. kinda like lucas bits on jaguars. they work when they feel like it. usually not. if none at an alfa forums has any issues with the cars electronics than it may be time for a shop to look at it. u turn on a/c, it does not work. shop should have a good route to proceed on.


#14

You’re probably right. I like and trust my Alfa guy, but I think he sometimes lacks focus. He is almost like a cousin. (If you know anything about Alfas, then you will understand!) I think that unless I need to make a long trip this summer, I will just leave it. My wife has a rockin’ Alfa 159 turbodiesel which is what we use for road trips. I do have an occasional business journey I must make in my car, but basically it’s just a super fun beater.


#15

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this problem posted before. AC works, blows plenty cold, but only after driving an hour. Interesting. hmmm … I think you are correct on the diagnosis OP, probably a switch isn’t working or the AC compressor isn’t turning on. Are you usually able to notice it when the AC compressor turns on? None of my cars have ever had it but on the rental cars I’ve driven w/AC it is very obvious when the AC compressor turns on, b/c the engine performance gets balky. Sort of feels like the car is suddenly pulling a 200 pound block of cement. lol … So do you feel that effect w/your car normally? And are you feeling it now, when the AC compressor turns on.

Should be no problem for a shop to verify if the AC compressor is turning on or not, that’s like a 15 minute job I’d guess.

One other idea, the AC compressor and everything else is working fine, and the problem is the vent doors. One or more are sticking n the closed position, so there’s plenty of cold air available, but it can’t get out. Vent door actuators sticking are not an uncommon thing reported here.

Edit: I should add my only alfa experience is reading the children’s book “The Little Red Roadster”. It’s a pretty good book, about a school teacher who wants a bit of excitement and buys an alfa, and joins up with a group of people who do races, but not the kind where you go fast, the kind where you have to go a certain route and pass certain marks at exactly the right time. One of my favorite reads as a kid.


#16

I don’t consider air conditioner repair a do it yourself item.

He could be a real handy person ?


#17

Vehicle owners often benefit from input and guidance from experienced technicians so they can understand the problem with their vehicle and are able to communicate this with their technician. Those with nothing to offer here only clutter the post. The first thing to check is if the compressor clutch engages when the A/C is switched on.


#18

Besides the things already suggested, a couple of things you can do yourself:

The next time the A/C is turned on but does not blow cold air you might want to observe the A/C clutch. With the A/C on it should be engaged and spinning. I f not you might have a clutch/coil problem. With the A/C off the clutch is disengaged and not spinning. Edit: Oops, just noticed that (Nevada_545) this was suggested.

You might also want to lightly tab the A/C relay, located in the fuse box, with maybe the handle of a screwdriver or something similar. A (sometimes) stuck or corroded relay could give you intermittent problems. You should also see a difference in rpm when you turn the A/C on and even feel the engine make up for the added compressor load.

I am not sure if your car allows you to set a specific temperature or this thing just blows cold air regardless of temperature. If your temperature is adjustable you may have a cabin temperature sensor that is bad, but I find that unlikely unless your warm/hot air is giving you similar problems.