Neon A/C problem


#1

Mom drops by this morning to wish me a happy fathers’ day and asks me about her A/C. 1999 Dodge Neon, 60k. I have no experience with A/C . . . never even recharged one. The switch to turn it on is the blower motor switch, in the blue is A/C, in the red is heat. Used to hear the A/C come on when you switched it into the blue. Now . . . nothing. I checked the fuse under the dash), checked the relays (under the hood) . . . can’t really tell about a relay though, but cleaned the blades andmade certain that all was plugged in. The pulley to the A/C is OK, no noise from the unit, all wires and connectors seems to be OK . . . but no “click on” when you switch on the A/C. Suggestions? Rocketman . . . BTW, Happy Fathers’ Day!


#2

The only symptom you reported is that the blower fan is not working when A/C is switched on (blue). Does the fan come on when switched for fresh air (red)?


#3

A bit of clarification please. When you switch it to the blue side of the switch, does the fan blow, but you don’t hear the compressor click in, or is there no fan or compressor?

If the fan is blowing, but no compressor, you most certainly have a low R134a charge. If that’s the case, you can buy a kit at any parts supply to add refrigerant. It is not advisable to charge a system that is leaking until you find and fix the leak.


#4

Most likely the system is low on refrigerant. When this occurs the AC will NOT come on. This saves the compressor from self-destruction, as the refrigerant is also a compressor lubricant. Tell mom to take the car to a shop that specializes in AC. They will evacuate the system, dry it, and refill with refrigerant and leak-detection dye.

She may have to make a second trip so they can check on where the leak is and fix it.

AC repairs are not cheap, so tell her to be prepared. However, having it done correctly by a pro is much better than fooling around with it when you don’t have the equipment or expertise to do it correctly.


#5

Sorry . . . the blower motor (fan) DOES work . . . it just doesn’t turn the compressor on when you switch on the fan. I didn’t know that the AC won’t operate when low on refrigerant. Rocketman


#6

Just to clarify what MG and mcparadise told you…I drive a 1996 Neon. It’s got a leak in the A/C system somewhere (it doesn’t get hot enough in central NY for me to care about fixing it), but if I switch the A/C on by turning the fan switch to the blue side, I hear the compressor kick on despite the low, or nonexistent, charge. I may be mistaken, but based on my experiences I don’t think the Neon has that compressor-saving feature.

I’d guess there’s something wrong with the compressor, but A/C repairs can be complicated and expensive.