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1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days


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carolina-trader
Novice

May 8, 2021, 6:11 PM

Post #1 of 15 (810 views)
1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Problem that I have has been gradually getting worse until I finally took car into shop and they basically quoted throwing every part at the system in order to fix. They evacuated refrigerant and then put in 1.6lbs to exact specifications of vehicle.

1) several summers ago AC system stopped a few times (less than 5) on extremely hot days. Stopped is defined as no longer blowing cold air.

2) Last summer system stopped more frequently but still not to the point of fixing in a car this old. I worked around issue in that say if I was driving to the airport I would get gas the night before because if I drove car, stopped car and bought gas, and then started car, AC would not blow cold. AC would stay on during drive to wherever, return drive I might not have AC.

3) AC puts a load on car even if not blowing cold air. I hear click, and can tell engine is under a heavier load, even though no cold AC. I have trouble shooted (swapped with known good) relays and believe a "weak" relay is not the issue.

Through research I thought issue was a weak clutch but shop measured low side at a little less than 0 and high side at 90 but they were never able to measure with AC blowing cold so whatever the problem is, problem had kicked in and pressures were being measured while AC was not blowing cold air.

I ran AC at 2AM last night when it was 68 degrees and AC cycled at 38 degrees and 25 degrees. I finally stopped after 10 minutes but AC "worked" the entire time I had car on, though obviously too cold, but unsure where temperature should be when ambient temperature is 68degrees.

My thought is I need to get some gauges and get some good measurements with AC blowing cold in order to trouble shoot further. Next steps are appreciated.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 8, 2021, 6:42 PM

Post #2 of 15 (794 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In


Quote
I finally took car into shop and they basically quoted throwing every part at the system in order to fix.


That means you were definitely at the wrong shop. This isn't rocket science. It is a very basic procedure to follow a wiring diagram to determine why a compressor isn't engaging.

My first thought is it's just a weak clutch coil. The plates wear over time which increased the air gap in the clutch while the magnetic coil gets weaker. This is a very basic troubleshooting procedure to determine this once it stops working.

Now being a Toyota it can get a little more complicated but if the AC button starts flashing when this happens, then it's a pretty common failure to have a bad RPM sensor in the compressor. This would require replacing the whole compressor and clutch assembly also.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 8, 2021, 11:20 PM

Post #3 of 15 (783 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Quote Carolina-trader: ">I ran AC at 2AM last night when it was 68 degrees and AC cycled at 38 degrees and 25 degrees. I finally stopped after 10 minutes but AC "worked" the entire time I had car on, though obviously too cold, but unsure where temperature should be when ambient temperature is 68degrees.<"
Just what does that mean? Are YOU measuring temps with some device in a vent (good idea BTW) or what? If ambient is 68F where does some 25F come from?
I ask because no A/C should be that cold pretty much anywhere it would ice up.
You said you could feel the load of it needed or not so I'm lost why you ask for it.


A/C will kick on by itself now and then without you asking for it will or should not blow cool air at you it's just doing that for it's own amusement.
Hammer said this will blink the request for A/C button so also ask if that still lights up or not?
In short, it's not supposed to make it as cool as you've posted if correct so there's a problem there right away if it even tried to?


It's a car none made to freeze things literally should default to OFF if even close apparently it doesn't but waiting for a reply on temps,


T



carolina-trader
Novice

May 9, 2021, 11:36 AM

Post #4 of 15 (758 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Button light comes on and issue is really only on hot days but is getting worse to the point shop could never even get AC working for them. Car is parked on asphalt at shop and bakes in the sun.

Air temperatures were previously measure while car was sitting in an open garage with temperature in sixties. I measured again while car sitting in open driveway in shade with a small breeze at 80 degrees ambient temperature and AC air was blowing 39-44 degrees.

I am going to start with clutch or complete compressor replacement and go from there if needed. Thank you.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 9, 2021, 12:26 PM

Post #5 of 15 (754 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

It sounds like nobody seems to know what they are doing.
Why couldn't they get the AC working?

If you got 39 degrees at 80 degrees outside, there is nothing wrong with your compressor itself although the clutch could be intermittent.

That's the problem with AC repairs, people/shops tackle these jobs with no experience or knowledge. That usually ends with doing more damage than there was in the first place.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on May 9, 2021, 12:27 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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May 9, 2021, 1:24 PM

Post #6 of 15 (748 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Back I think was Hammer's first thought - clutch! As he just said if it CAN do those temps it's working. Super hot in the sun takes a while - no surprise.
See if you can watch compressor cut out meaning front hub of it is still when asking full blast A/C.
Some you can, some you can't do some easy tests. If it stops when hot from working air gap is important. Most would measure .020 to .029 is enough usually to quit. See it's an electro magnet sounds whacked but metal when hot isn't as magnetic!! Some there's room to tap on outer hub while running (AYOR) try soft wood or rubber if you did it could snap right on to engaged so beware of the way it turns if you do that.
So if you don't have tons of tools check the gap if there is a standard to biz cards, fold one tight. That should be tough to fit in the air gap --- > engine totally off and when cold fine.
A two wire clutch if so unplugged can test ohms for coil as I recall hovers around 3 to 5 ohms. If weak it would pull in to engage.


Jeez - Hammer said first off it isn't all rocket science BECAUSE IT CAN WORK apparently you test or find a better shop at A/C.


Sure, it's old now but you now just said it can work changes everything + those are nice expected ranges of output temps,


T



carolina-trader
Novice

May 10, 2021, 7:38 PM

Post #7 of 15 (712 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

When hot, I hear a click, engine shudders some as if under load, but I get no temperature drop whatsoever in lines and air. If I didn't know any better, I would think there was absolutely no refrigerant in the system. My field artillery ears cannot tell the difference between clicks when engine cold and AC works and engine hot and AC doesn't.

I can squeeze a business card in gap; if folded I cannot squeeze business card in gap. I ordered some branded feeler gauges in order to get a more accurate gap reading and I am going to remove wheel well shroud to see if my James Worthy hands can gain access to AC. I am going to trouble shoot more before taking to another shop and hope to follow up on this thread when I have more information.

Off topic - I like your signature and I try to buy everything made in USA though this fine automobile is a handme down. Camber 301/305 shirts work for me 9 months out of the year and Oregon Correctional Institution (prison blues dot net) will custom make my jeans for a fraction of what other business would charge (I can hardly buy anything off the rack). My sneakers come out of Maine :)


(This post was edited by carolina-trader on May 10, 2021, 7:39 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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May 10, 2021, 8:31 PM

Post #8 of 15 (706 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

OK on the gap. See what real feeler gauges say but that stupid biz card thing is pretty close. If it can't fit in folded it should be close enough. Also next is ohm test the clutch coil.
Said ~3-5 or so. That's tested without the plug on compressor, doesn't require it to be on a vehicle at all. HEAT makes changes unseen and or messes with relays with points inside, have to bust old one open to see those work or some what was wrong. That's not common to me on Toyota is was a wild issue with a decade of Ford products - placed wrong underhood or what IDK, I still carry spares for OTHERS (I'll do road calls still) same ones fit fuel pumps!
Beat on that OFF TOPIC:
Love it MAINE at it's best - L. L. Bean & Company! Just a few times since forever it closed is open again 24 hours! Duck boots still sell like a wildfire. They still make tons of their own stuff.
Maine is a family thing more than ever but more Southern spots than Portland, ME area.
Trivia: New England (home to me/us is 6 states BTW) ME is larger than the other five combined. It also heats with wood, 40% of all heat for homes or whatever is wood! It's also paper, lumber lest we forget unreal cold water Lobster and types of fish if you like that stuff. Highest tides in the US up to 70 FEET at one spot is highest in the world I think shared area with Canada,


Tom



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 11, 2021, 4:09 AM

Post #9 of 15 (693 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In


Quote
When hot, I hear a click, engine shudders some as if under load, but I get no temperature drop whatsoever in lines and air. If I didn't know any better, I would think there was absolutely no refrigerant in the system.


And yet nobody has put a set of gauges on this at the time to find out what the pressures read when this happens. You can't determine much without that information. I'm not talking about a DIY death kit with a single gauge with no numbers on it. We need to know the exact high and low pressures when this happens.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



carolina-trader
Novice

May 22, 2021, 5:33 PM

Post #10 of 15 (631 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Shop measured LOW at slightly less than 0 and HIGH at 90 but I figured these numbers meant nothing because AC was not engaged and blowing cold air and pressures in current state was not a reason to quote 2k to fix AC. I see no reason for me to measure pressures because I don't think compressor is broke and issue appears to be with clutch; 78degrees today 50% humidity and AC was blowing 40-44 degrees.

I removed wheel well to get a good gap reading measuring .032 then taking 1x4 and rubber mallet easily closed the gap to .022 without going crazy stupid with mallet. I am now in wait mode to see if AC quits when engine gets hotter.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 22, 2021, 5:44 PM

Post #11 of 15 (629 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Are you kidding?
All you accomplished is to maybe bend the clutch plate and destroy it. The clutch gap cannot be changed by pounding on it. It is adjusted by using very precise shims and it has to be disassembled to adjust.

If the air gap is too large it means the plates have worn and adjusting it is just a band aid. It would need a new compressor and clutch.

You haven't determined if the issue is anything related to the clutch of compressor yet.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



carolina-trader
Novice

May 24, 2021, 10:49 AM

Post #12 of 15 (596 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

I didn't pound, I tapped clutch dead center though not on bolt and gapped changed from .032 to .022; Today it is 90 degrees in the shade and asphalt measured 154 degrees; AC ran to destination at 25minutes, parked car on asphalt parking lot for 30minutes, and returned for another 25minutes of driving. For first time in years AC did not die on me while driving or fail to engage when starting.

Car is not a classic. What harm am I going to do with a few taps to clutch, destroy the clutch that is not engaging compressor resulting in my 2k quote to replace compressor, replace evaporator, and unclog/replace AC lines? Now that I see that I can get my hands on AC clutch with wheel shroud removed I will attempt to replace clutch plate if issue persists or have another shop blindly replace compressor at my request.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 24, 2021, 11:13 AM

Post #13 of 15 (592 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Quote back a couple you just repeated it "> .032 then taking 1x4 and rubber mallet easily closed the gap to .022<"
That ends the hunt for what's wrong it can't be as large as .032 or 90% of anything I ever found that much would be erratic or only work with the love tap on head of clutch.
Some can be adjusted some can't and most not available without whole compressor when I tried for a few. If already done some time ago IDK what you have for a compressor either as popular cars there a new clones look the same with differences some great, some not so great and NEW.


It has to be the way you are checking or that clutch is so messed up it's over anyway - you can't have both measurements IMO without a fatal problem to it.
Yes on how hot pavement was I measured 147F in full, clear daylight on darkest parts that get most sun where I am - that's hot for a car to suck in for air sitting still of course,


Tom



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 24, 2021, 12:05 PM

Post #14 of 15 (590 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In


Quote
I didn't pound, I tapped clutch dead center though not on bolt and gapped changed from .032 to .022;


No, you didn't change the gap, you bent the plate or shoved the crankshaft back..

There is a cast iron plate hub up against a compressor crankshaft. Nothing can move.
Shims between the two is the only means of adjustment.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on May 24, 2021, 12:06 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 24, 2021, 1:27 PM

Post #15 of 15 (578 views)
Re: 1996 Toyota Corolla AC stops on hot days Sign In

Ditto and again Carolina-trader. It's got to be bent or the way you can even check air gap properly ALL around, all at one check.
IDK, most clutches have a bearing at clutch and bushing in the back I've done my last rebuild of the things.
You might get a shim out NICE diagram by Hammer it would be closer it's fine well under standard .020 if not rubbing when OFF.
The bumping just made a magnet that was NOT strong enough engage - that problem is erratic as air gap increases AND also if it hot metal isn't as magnetic!
Tom







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