Question about 1997 Dodge Dakota

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I have a 1997 Dakota, 5.2, 2WD with both heating and AC trouble. After driving for about 15 minutes, more or less, the AC stops blowing cold air. There is a musty smell and then it blows warm to hot air. The blower is still blowing strong. In winter, the heater will blow hot for a while, then blow cold. Sometimes it doesn't blow hot at all, even after first starting it. A mechanic said the AC system was good. I checked the AC Compressor clutch relay, it was good. I did not get battery voltage in the relay coil battery terminal (86)cavity with ignition on. I just got 4 volts.

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  • Tony Aug 09, 2010

    The smell is temporary, I only smell it when the cool air first stops and the warm air is about to begin. It is very faint. Sometimes there is no smell. Sometimes, the AC won't kick on at all when I start to drive on a hot day. I do live in Florida. The heater stopped working around the same time the AC stopped. Can they be related? Anything in common to both systems? Could it be a blend door? It feels like vent air is coming in both when I have the AC on in summer and when I have the heat on in winter. I duct taped the vents on the outside below the windshield to see if the warm air would stay out, and there was no change...problem still present

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Since you seem to be able to test things yourself your best bet would be to get the diagniostic procedures to address this correctly. You can go to mitchell1diy or alldata, both online. The musty smell your talking about is most likley mold on the evaporator. Alot of vehicles are suseptable to this and they sell a chemical you can spray into the system before or after the blower fan so as to coat the evaporator to kill the mold.

Posted on Aug 09, 2010

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Hello! #1...Relay coil voltage is normal when ignition is in run or start with A/C on...Relay is pulled and you are reading the voltage drop across the coil...#2...The musty odor is caused by the growth of mold on the evaporator...Mold must be neutralized with a specifically designed spray cleaner (auto parts store) for disinfecting evaporator cores,,,Remove blower resistor pack from top of blower housing under the hood...Spray into the hole...#3...More then likely the A/C quits working due to a contaminated Dryer/Accumulator...This is a costly fix, in that refrigerant must be removed/captured in order to change Accumulator...#4...The heater core is blocked by crud in the cooling system...Drain radiator and back-flush the cooling system (with heater on full hot)...You can purchase a back-flush kit that installs in heater inlet hose...

Guru....................Saailer

Posted on Aug 07, 2010

  • 1 more comment 
  • Tony Aug 07, 2010

    The smell is temporary, I only smell it when the cool air first stops and the warm air is about to begin. Then I don't smell it any more. Sometimes, the AC won't kick on at all when I start to drive on a hot day, and I don't smell it at all. I do live in Florida. The heater stopped working around the same time the AC stopped. Can they be related? Anything in common to both systems? Should I check the relay again when the AC quits? Could it be a sticking relay? Could it be a blend door? It feels like vent air is coming in both when I have the AC on in summer and when I have the heat on in winter. I duct taped the vents on the outside below the windshield to see if the warm air would stay out, and there was no change...problem still present.

  • Tony Aug 07, 2010

    The smell is temporary, I only smell it when the cool air first stops and the warm air is about to begin. Then I don't smell it any more. Sometimes, the AC won't kick on at all when I start to drive on a hot day, and I don't smell it at all. I do live in Florida. The heater stopped working around the same time the AC stopped. Can they be related? Anything in common to both systems? Should I check the relay again when the AC quits? Could it be a sticking relay? Could it be a blend door? It feels like vent air is coming in both when I have the AC on in summer and when I have the heat on in winter. I duct taped the vents on the outside below the windshield to see if the warm air would stay out, and there was no change...problem still present.

  • David Burbee
    David Burbee Aug 09, 2010

    Hello! Yes there is a connection between heat and A/C...if the coolant temperature rises due to blockage in the water jacket/heater core...The A/C condenser sits right in front of the radiator...The vehicle is a 97 so age becomes a factor...Check the backside of the condenser for blockage...A/C will run cool,at first, then when engine reaches operating temperature the A/C reacts...Factor in the ambient temp. and the condenser can't get rid of the heat...I don't see a problem electrically or mechanically...Back-flush the cooling system with heater on high...Replace thermostat...Clean Both front and back of the A/C condenser...This is an inexpensive way to address the problem...You will be a happy camper if this solves the problem...And I'll go on record that it will...Saailer

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