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Honda CRV AC repair

Is it worth investing $3400 to repair the air conditioning… in a 2003 Honda CRV with 82K miles on it? or is this just the beginning of the car repair bills? The car is valued between 8 - 12K on KBB.

Find another shop. You should be able to put a complete NEW AC system in there for less then that.

Agree; the price quoted seems excessive. Typically a new compressor costs $800 installed, and allowing another $800 for other parts should top it off.

Go to a good independent shop that specializes in A/C

A 2003 CRV with that few miles has a lot of life left in it. provided you did the basic maintenance since that time.

For that kind of price it sounds like they’re planning on replacing every major component of the A/C system. An '03 with 82k miles should not be in that kind of condition.
You might provide some info about what it is they’re planning on doing but offhand I can’t see this kind of expense is really needed.

I See The Ten Page Honda Bulletin For Failed 02-04 CRV Air Conditioners. That’s Lousy.

I see there are 5 versions of what needs to be replaced, depending on the level of contamination residue and VIN. The worst includes compressor, condenser, receiver/dryer, desiccant bag, expansion valve, expansion valve O-rings, evaporator, A/C line, receiver line Areceiver line B, suction hose, and discharge hose. They show almost 6 hours labor, including R&R battery, bumper, radiator, and alternator (and that’s under warranty !).

I would sell the car, letting a buyer know the A/C doesn’t work, and buy a different vehicle, one with working A/C. I’d be afraid of spending all that money and having unreliable A/C.


CSA is correct on what is involved. Goggle Crv black death for more info. You have to replace the whole system, or it will fail again. Probably worth the repair if you are going to keep it, as otherwise these are great vehicles.

Black Death in AC systems has been around since AC systems. And all the components don’t need to be replaced.

For example, the evaporator, condenser, and hose assembly can be cleaned by using a special solvent made for removing black death debris. And this can be done with the components in place. The compressor, expansion valve , and the filter/drier will need replacing.

That doesn’t sound like $3,400 worth of work to me.


Sounds like you had an A/C compressor catastrophic failure–aka “black death” as noted above.

Flushing out components (like the condenser and evaporator core) is not reliable, as the design of a/c systems over the last 10 years or so has resuled in condensers with flow tubes so small and convoluted that flushing out all the debris is impossible. You may choose to have a shop try to flush the system, but no knowledgeable upright shop would give you any warranty on the compressor–so that’s an expensive gamble.

Find a good independent shop, they should be able to replace the a/c components as needed for under 2 grand. That’s a lot better than 3400.

At this point I don’t see how any of us can assume the TSB applies to this car or whether the diagnosis is even legitimate. None of the symptoms, A/C history, or the reasons for the high price tag has been provided.

I’m in agreement that Black Death doesn’t necessarily mean every component must be replaced. Quite a few years ago the A/C in my old Sable suffered Black Death and since the car had been pretty much relegated to a daily beater by then instead of a family car I had no intention of spending a fortune on it.
Boneyard compressor for 50 bucks, 40 or so for a new accumulator, small amount for chemicals/refrigerant, and it provided ice cold air (as in 30 degree air on a 105 degree day) for a number of years afterwards.

A/C problems are often misdiagnosed and even if the point is made that it needed all major components (not likely) the sticker price is way high.

Certainly The Diagnostic Method And What Was Found And By Whom, Would Be Helpful, But As TXdealer Points Out There Are Many Instances Of Expensive A/C Problems And Unhappy Owners Of These Vehicles.

On some sites there is mention of a class action lawsuit, but I didn’t see a resolution as of late. In some instances customers were able to negotiate with Honda Consumer Affairs for help. That’s the route I would take if there was a catastrophic A/C failure through no fault of the owner.

Of course this is all guesses and speculation at this point and we haven’t heard from the owner or received any additional information since the original question, but at this point it sounds like a car that fits a pattern.