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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own four Versas: One 2009 and three 2010's. (I own a driving school.)

ALL of them have had issues with the air conditioning getting hot when the car remains stationary for a few minutes. This doesn't happen with a new car, but after about 80K to 100K miles, it has been a recurring theme.

We've replaced the condenser (or evaporator, I forget which) when the dealer told us the dessicant ("do not eat" beads to keep the refrigerant dry) leaked into the whole system. It helped, temporarily.

We've replaced compressors, we've replaced expansion valves. Of course we've recharged systems and looked for leaks. With every solution, sure enough, next summer the AC poops out. (Although it works fine when the car is in motion.)

What's going on?
 

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...... the air conditioning getting hot when the car remains stationary for a few minutes. ........Although it works fine when the car is in motion.......
Sounds like the electric fan is not working to cool the condenser down when the car is sitting still. But, it's happening on all 4 cars? That's mind boggling!
 

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My AC was subpar brand new on my 09. On the third summer of ownership it wouldn't blow cold at all and I put a can in. Next summer same thing and another can. This year again same thing and another can but this time with UV dye. I haven't found the the leak yet and just as always the AC isn't that great unless cruising on the highway. I def have a leak somewhere but just can't locate it. Even when fixed if it works like new it's still mediocre at best.

My fans turn on but maybe they aren't efficient enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like the electric fan is not working to cool the condenser down when the car is sitting still. But, it's happening on all 4 cars? That's mind boggling!
Indeed.

The fans do turn. (That's why Versas are the loudest-idling small cars I've ever heard!)

Mind you, the odometers are in the 200K range at this point, but it's been happening every year for the last few. Today we have 100+ degree heat.

We also idle the cars relatively frequently, more than most I think. With students we sometimes do parking maneuvers for 15-20 minutes, or we pull over and draw intersections on paper for training purposes.

I know I'm asking a lot from a car's AC. But the issue is severe enough that it's getting to be a big customer service issue that I can hardly keep up with, and can even hurt my business.

I was hoping someone could identify a common point of failure in the AC? Something I'm overlooking?
 

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Two metal tubes on right go to and from evaporator.
It can be replaced without taking whole dashboard apart.
I'm currently at 249000km
 

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Mine are all 2009 and 2010's. Wonder if that would still apply?
Date on the link is 2010.11.17 so I assume that's a bit premature to judge the newer ones at that time. It's not much of a stretch to say newer V's may have same affliction.
 

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my compressor went out in 2012 on an early '08. A/C is definitely not the best in these. Will be checking my evaporator lines for leakage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just talked to our mechanic, who works with the whole fleet. He's a "creative thinker" as mechanics go... He's not bound by the "replace everything approach" as you get at the dealer or most shops.

Here's what we know:
* The AC only fails when the car is stationary. It works fine when it's moving.
* New cars don't have this issue, which means as-designed, it works. So something is either broken, worn, leaking, or dirty.
* It's not RPM's, but forward motion that makes the difference. (Revving the engine does not make the AC work.)

From all this, we've narrowed it down to this fact: When the car is stationary, heat isn't transferring at the condenser. Forward motion blows more air over the condenser than the fan alone.

The first thing we checked was whether the electric fans are turning. They are.

The next thing to check was if bugs or plastic bags are blocking the condenser. They aren't.

So, at this point we think either the fans are inefficient (slow motor, bad pitch of the blades, broken fan blades) OR the condenser is clogged up or dirty INSIDE. (Not bugs on the outside.)

Will keep this thread updated. Hopefully we can reach find an answer for all our cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
WOO HOO! We found the problem! I think this may help others with high mileage pre-2011 Versas.

The radiator and the condenser both looked clean. But on each of them, in the space BETWEEN them where you can't see with visual inspection unless you remove a piece, there was a ton of grime, road gunk, and bugs.

I don't know how it got there, but a thorough cleaning really did wonders for the AC, and that's for FOUR cars... all with the same symptoms, all with the same cure which worked.

Best of all, it's a cheap repair for an issue that's been plaguing our whole fleet for several years.

I don't know what methods the mechanic used to clean in there... Maybe a steam cleaner was involved... But I know in addition to a small labor charge, he also charged for some kind of chemical.
 

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There's not enough diagnosis going on in shops today. This is why there are many occurrences such as this where the obvious wasn't checked first. You have to ask yourself the question, how does the AC system cool the interior? Once you know how it works, diagnosis is easy. It's really just a phase change that delivers cooling, if that phase change can't happen (insulated condenser caused by grime etc) you get no cooling...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I'd say in this case, they "checked", but they didn't "CHECK" for the right thing... I knew it was a possibility the condenser was grimed up because it makes sense. So I asked if it was checked. They said yes so as the customer, I did all I could short of doing the work myself.

I must admit, the answer wasn't necessarily intuitive... If the exposed part of the condenser was clean, I would normally expect the hidden part to be clean too... After all, it's more shielded from bugs and such by the radiator. On the other hand, since that side is less exposed I guess grime is less likely to be shaken or blown loose. I guess that's why it collected there.

I'm sure they looked at the cars' condensers and they looked clean... But when nothing else revealed a problem, they didn't think to look more thoroughly between the two components. So they used the old "replace expensive parts until it works" approach.

Unfortunately, the shotgun approach actually works, reinforcing the behavior... You just have to replace the entire system, piece-by-piece. After all, it's only the customer's money.
 

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well mine is still not fixed. I can't find the leak but I have noticed that if I don't use the AC at all the r134a will piss out somewhere and I get no cold air. But if I use the AC every few days I am in the car I seem to keep it in the system. It still doesn't blow all that cold but it is works just enough for me.
 

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well mine is still not fixed. I can't find the leak but I have noticed that if I don't use the AC at all the r134a will piss out somewhere and I get no cold air. But if I use the AC every few days I am in the car I seem to keep it in the system. It still doesn't blow all that cold but it is works just enough for me.
I just came here to say that my 2011 Versa S Hatch 1.8 Auto hit 100,000 miles and the Evaporator had to be replaced.

Hissed for years, one day it only blew hot air. Pressure and leak test. It would leak out all the freon as soon as it was put back in and charged back up. Three rounds of dye were put through looking for leaks and were only found again when the Evap was removed to be replaced.
 

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Now if it cooled with engine reved that means its low on freon. If it blew hot then cold and kept switching it up thats the orifice or valve sticking.

Granted a set of AC Gauges can tell you a lot, sometimes its just routine maintenance. I used the pressure washer on my outside ac unit and man it cools and heats better. On cars I also stick the power washer wand between the radiator and condenser to blow them both out.

Lastly, each summer I buy a can of arctic freeze synthetic 134a and top off all 3 of my vehicles. I added a little to my versa and it made the ac a tad more cooler. My 95 suzuki sidekick jlx takes almost the entire can. :grin

Here's what we know:
* The AC only fails when the car is stationary. It works fine when it's moving.
* New cars don't have this issue, which means as-designed, it works. So something is either broken, worn, leaking, or dirty.
* It's not RPM's, but forward motion that makes the difference. (Revving the engine does not make the AC work.)

From all this, we've narrowed it down to this fact: When the car is stationary, heat isn't transferring at the condenser. Forward motion blows more air over the condenser than the fan alone.
 

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Once you learn the simple rules a/c is not rocket science but the techs sure want you to think it is. I learned long ago and do all my own a/c repair for many years but you pretty much MUST buy a full gauge set or past a certain point you are simply p-ssing in the wind. The simple lowside charging tools are garbage but the industry does that to protect themselves from liability, car owner not smart enough to fill a/c but smart enough to find a top lawyer.

When I sold parts I saw so many stupid things done there it was beyond belief. Here in Texas everybody self charges and you can walk past a guy and tell his IQ level in 3 seconds by what he is doing there.

One thing for sure, there is no need to redo the work more than the one time but many do owing to not doing it the first time correctly. Active thinking in your own behalf figures in greatly there, unfortunately most think that hurts too much.

Modern a/c parts are commonly aluminum rather than oldschool copper which could easily be repaired. The copper was heavier and aluminum better for light car and mileage, the BIG kicker though is that aluminum has to be furnace brazed all at once meaning you pretty much cannot repair the part out in the field. It sells far more parts.

The luck of the draw with the o-ring seals too, one car goes 10 years with zero refrigerant leak and the one right after it on the assembly line leaks down in a year to constantly have to charge it. You never saw that nearly so much on oldschool cars with positive bolt-together connections. All simply so the union guy on the line can snap in a line using no tool whatsoever. Then car owner then has to suffer the systems constantly leaking, it gets far more dealer work. Beginning to see a trend here yet?

I'm new here and still trying to get a feel for Nissan and how they do things. After 40 years with Ford, it has become painfully evident that they use their engineers now as much to make you buy more parts now as in designing new cars. Maybe more. They have made so many parts to where it is obvious by a simple 5 second look that the part is INTENDED to fail early, they are on a tear to greatly increase the part sales WAY over the oldschool numbers. The cars don't break engines/trans much at all and can make 300K miles with ease but the small parts breakage is so bad that it is clear they use the parts breaking as nuisance items to stack up enough to where owner gets so tired of buying them he then buys a new car.

The a/c system figures into that somewhere............................
 
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