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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I have this strange A/C problem that came up (2004, 155xxx km). So for awhile, the temperature control seems weird. From Lo to Hi, the air coming out of the vents feel either cold, average, or hot, and no in between. In another words, instead of a Lo, 19, 20…30, 31, Hi, it feels more like Low, medium, hi. So I figured it was maybe the gate that’s controlling the air mixture is messed up.

Fast forward a few months, the A/C breaks down – no cold air comes out anymore. So I took it to a mechanic, and a relay was replaced and it seemed to work okay. However, it felt like the A/C is constantly on regardless whether it is ‘on’ or ‘off’ or ‘defogging mode’ or whichever combinations of settings. So if I set the temperature to say 21 degrees, and I pressed the ‘A/C off” button, it does nothing, the air is clearly still ice cold. Even when I shut off the whole temperature display panel, you can still residual cold air coming out of the vents.

A day later, the car was idling in the park lot, I felt vibrations from under the hood, so I popped the hood to examine it like a sane person. All of a sudden white pressurized smoke/steam blew off from under the header. This is accompanied by a loud sound that can be described as pressurized steam coming out of a pipe or something. I turned the car off, turn it on again, and it happened again.

So I get the car towed to a mechanic, turned on the car, it happens again. Mechanic says he will have a look later. A couple days later, he tells me that he turned on the car and drove it for awhile numerous times, and the ‘pressurized steam/smoke escaping’ issue just never came back. And he couldn’t find any holes or anything that would indicate a problem. Very strange. So I took the car back and continued to drive it. Air is cold, but it still has the issue that the A/C feels like it is constantly on regardless of the setting. In addition, I can sometimes hear ‘steam/water running through a pipe’ sound from the vents, and it is a bit louder than normal for sure.

For those who actually finished reading this long post, any idea what the issue here is? So what should I do now? Should I wait until something blows up and then take it in to get it fixed? Any tests I can do myself to help identify the issue? Help!!
 

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Sounds like high head pressure is getting to your safety valve. If the compressor clutch is sticking on for any reason like you said, and you have the ac button off, the condenser fan motor is also off. High side pressure is getting so high that the safety valve on the compressor is opening to relive pressure before catastrophic failure. Not to mention if the comp never cycles off it will eventually explode due to high head and suction pressures.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! That explanation makes sense. So does that mean I should look into the compressor's clutch and see if it is sticking on?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just wanted to update you guys on the problem and solution.

Apparently it was a bad relay to begin with, and the relay replaced was also bad. I went to the dealer and they replaced the second relay, and everything works fine so far (1 day so far). All these crazy problem was just caused by a bad relay...FML :puke:

Funny side story, the dealership tried to sell the relay to my gf at $194 (just the part), and apparently my 2 day-old Optima Redtop battery is out of spec and needs to be replaced for $275. I had to call them and yell at the guy and ended up paying $14 for the relay. Talk about stealership eh..
 
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