Honda Air Condition Troubleshootingby Wesley Tucker
Honda air conditioners do not add cold to the driving area. Air conditioners remove heat and moisture from the air. Knowing how the air conditioner functions is important to do any repairs. If you spend time looking for ways to “add cold” then you’ll never fix a problem. An Honda air conditioner has four separate functions for removing controlling heat: the thermostat, fan, the compressor and drive belt. Repairing a Honda air conditioner (A/C) unit means troubleshooting all four components.
Troubleshooting the compressor
The heart of the Honda’s A/C is the compressor. Compressors have a certain amount of coolant, the additive responsible for effectively removing heat from surrounding air. Compressing the coolant makes it colder and as it gets colder removes the heat from air circulated around the coolant. Check the coolant levels in the A/C unit and refill with the correct coolant as needed. Hondas more than 20 years old may require a coolant no longer available to the public. Check the owner’s manual or look on the side of the compressor for coolant specifications. If your Honda needs older coolant you will have to have it serviced by a certified vehicle air condition mechanic. These professionals are the only technicians allowed today to handle older coolants. Repairing a compressor, however, involves replacement. Air conditioner compressors, however, are not welded but attached by screws and bolts. Removing the compressor and installing a new one is just a matter of removing the mounts, disconnecting the coolant inlet and outlet attachment, and completing the process in reverse for installation. Make sure, though, to bleed all the coolant before disconnecting the coolant fittings. Coolant is under pressure. Located on the coolant tubing is a small outlet valve similar to a tire valve. Depress it until the coolant is expelled.
Troubleshooting Drive Belt
A flywheel in the main serpentine drive belt powers the air conditioner compressor. The belt is found on the front of the engine and winds around other flywheels for the oil, water, power brake and steering (if equipped) pumps, and on some Hondas the radiator fan. A slipping belt causes the compressor to spin sporadically, and warm air may be the first sign the belt needs replacing before larger problems happen. Check the belt for damage. If there is any belt slack or fraying, replace immediately. Loosen the belt tension wheel with a fitting socket to change the belt. A diagram on the front of the motor diagrams the proper winding to get all the flywheels attached to the belt.
A fan behind the dashboard drives the cold air through the Honda’s dashboard vents. The fan could be directly behind, underneath and behind on the other side of the firewall--the sheet metal separating the engine bay from the passenger area depending on the model. Locate the fan and make sure it operates correctly. If a blade is broken, you will need to replace the fan. Use the correct tool to tighten the fan blade to the drive shaft if it is loose. Clean the fan of any dirt buildup, grease or oil. Fans do not need lubrication.
Troubleshooting Thermostat Controls
Make sure the fuse for the A/C unit is not burned through. If the air conditioner will not operate with or without the fuse, replace the fuse. Also, check inside the dashboard for any loose or broken connections. Repair any loose or split wires. If the temperature control unit will not respond to any settings it needs to be replaced. You won’t have to use a soldering tool because all the connections are screws or snap connections. Taking out the old thermostat and putting in a new one is not hard.
Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.