Question about Nissan Altima

4 Answers

2004 Altima won't cool. Compressor runs. It registers 30 psi on low side with compressor off. 0 pos with compressor running. It will not take any more freon.

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  • miketilson Mar 18, 2011

    Systems don't have to be emptied (evacuated) and completed recharged if their just a bit low on coolant. I have added coolant many times to many vehicles. This problem is different.

    I need someone to tell me to go to Pep Boys. Need help from a real online tech.

  • miketilson Mar 18, 2011

    This system has been low before and had coolant with/dye added to it. No leak was detectable and the system started cooling normally.

    The system was not evacuated and recharged in that process and, while I know that that is sometimes necessary, it is not always necessary in order to diagnose a failing component.

    People don't come to this site to be referred to manufacturer's shop. If that's necessary, we'll figure it out. People who like to fix things themsleves come here. We're willing to pay you for advice in order to save money.

    Any brave sole out there willing to take a try at diagnosis?

  • miketilson Mar 18, 2011

    Thanks much. You're helping but let me explain the problem again.



    The compressor appears to be working. The clutch engages and everything sounds and looks normal. The compressor is not cycling abnormally.



    When the AC is ON, the low pressure (charge side) drops to 0 PSI. When the AC is OFF, the low pressure rises to 30 PSI. It will not take any coolant at all wihile running full AC. Of course, it won't take any with the AC off either.



    The AC lost enough coolant in the winter of 2010 that it would not cool. It did, however, graciously accept a lttle more than 12 oz. of R134a and cooled just fine for the remainder of 2010. It's had to be leaking somewhere but not too much. No obvious signs.



    Looking forward to your response.



    Thanks.

  • miketilson Mar 19, 2011

    This one was working fine. Then we stopped using it during winter. The next time we tried, it wouldn't cool. Doesn't that rule out too much coolant? Also, doesn't 30 psi with the system off indicate low coolant?



    Thanks.

  • miketilson Mar 19, 2011

    Well we're kind of getting back to my original statement. The systems in on full blast, reads 0, and it WON"T take any freon (R134a).



    Now, I've verified that my clutch is engaging, my compressor is doing something (since there is a pressure difference between on and off), there are no unusual noises, no obvious leaks, no abnormal compressor cycling - but it won't take freon.



    What about the expansion valve? Could that be in play?

  • miketilson Mar 19, 2011

    You did your best I believe. I'm a pretty savvy mechnical sort of person who just likes to know what's wrong and weight my options before blindly going to a repair shop.

    I'm accepting you're response even though I still have no ideal what's wrong and that's not why a paid to come here.

    Good luck and thanks for you efforts.

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4 Answers

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  • Nissan Master
  • 1,940 Answers

You do have the compressor On while you are charging the system, right? Since you have 30 psi with the compressor off, and 0 psi with the compressor On, this tells us your compressor is working, and you are nowhere near charged. Keep filling, until your low side gauge indicates full/normal charge. Do NOT overfill, it won't get cooler. It would get warmer and it will eventually damage the compressor. If your system was evacuated, you may need anywhere from 3-5 cans of Freon to fill the system, depending on the size of the cans. If your lines are freezing, there may be a restriction. I hope you got all the moisture out before charging, by pulling a strong vacuum in the system. I also hope you didn't release any old freon into the air.

If you are not EPA MVAC Certified, and a standard recharge isn't fixing the problem, I recommend you get an EPA MVAC certified technician to fix your A/C.

Also keep in mind that the only accurate way to charge an auto a/c system is to safely and legally recover and evacuate all the existing gas from the system, then hopefully after a successful leak repair, carefully weigh-in an the exact amount listed on the a/c factory specification label placed under the hood by the factory to assist the service technician, which, again may leak-out if the needed repair is not performed properly.

Posted on Mar 19, 2011

  • Jeremy Moore
    Jeremy Moore Mar 19, 2011

    You have to have the compressor on when attempting to charge Freon into the low pressure side. Also, 30 psi is too low for the A/C to work, and on most systems this isn't enough to even kick the compressor on because of the Low Pressure Safety Switch. It sounds like your compressor may be kicking on, thus explains the drop to 0 psi. You may need to have the system evacuated, vacuumed, and then charged if you are unsuccessful in charging the system yourself. When you are charging the system, make sure the compressor is on, A/C is on Full Speed, all the way on Cold, and hold the Freon can upside down, shake it a bit. It may not seem like it is charging, but this takes time, especially as the system becomes more pressurized. These freon cans hold about 70 psi of Freon, so the closer you get to that pressure, the slower it will charge.

  • Jeremy Moore
    Jeremy Moore Mar 19, 2011

    If you are sure your clutch is engaging, and still not taking freon, you may have a bad compressor. Keep in mind, these systems have low and high pressure, and the freon can cause death due to oxygen displacement. Even if you had a bad expansion valve, you would still have to replace the valve, after evacuating the system, re-oil the compressor, and recharge the system. If you are not certified to work on A/C systems, which I am, take it to a certified professional. I have told you what you can do, and there is not much more I can tell you. If your compressor clutch is not engaging, which I am sure it is because of the pressure drop, you could try and jump the Low Pressure safety switch to get the compressor to turn on, else you may have a bad compressor. To be safe, take it to a professional. It's not worth your life to stay cool.

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  • Nissan Master
  • 5,370 Answers

If there is enough freon, then when you turn your switch to the AC position you should be able to look under the hood and see if the AC clutch is spinning.
If there is freon, but the clutch still doesn't spin, then you have a bad /weak AC compressor. ----------------- The clutch on the compressor is controlled by the low and high pressure switches. You will have to check the low switch then the high. The low switch is on the evaporator, which is the long tube looking item by the firewall on the passenger side. It has a plug with two wires on it. If you jumper the connector, it will engage the AC clutch. If that doesn't work than it might be the high switch and that is on the high line connecting to the condenser. Passenger side towards the front of the car.If that is also not making it work, and if the freon is full and its not leaking then its weak/faulty compressor causing this. ------------------ Usually the compressor cycles because the low side pressure drops to low and that cuts off the compressor. Then the pressure on the low side increases and the compressor turns back on, repeat and repeat. AC work by pressurizing the freon which cause it to change state, from liquid to gas which removes heat. If the system doesn't stay within the proper pressure, it turns off. Also, the high or low switches could be bad or the compressor is worn and can't keep the pressure on the high side up enough. If you have 30 lbs. on the low side while the compressor is on, it should stay on. If the air isn't cold at 30 lbs,then you might need a new compressor. If it keeps cycling or going off, you might need a high or low switch. But if it registers 30 psi on low side with compressor off, then its faulty switch or freon is low or leaking.The ac pressure test has to be done. ------------------Check out this possibilities.Keep updated.This should help.Thanks.Helpmech.

Posted on Mar 18, 2011

  • raj somaiya Mar 19, 2011

    When you are charging the system do not keep buying the cans of freon with sealers and oils.If that is the case, then excess of oil must be causing this problem.This excess oil has to be drained out.You can drain some freon and recheck if you get bit proper cooling.------------
    Do not overfill! Adding more than the recommended amount of refrigerant will NOT improve performance but actually will decrease performance. Also check the orifice tube.
    A restricted orifice will usually show as very low suction side pressure and lower than normal high side pressure. When the compressor kicks in, the suction against the restricted orifice will cause the compressor to quickly cycle out. After compressor disengagement, the rise in suction side pressure will usually be very slow. Rapid compressor disengagement and slow engagement may indicate a clogged orifice. A clogged orifice tube will starve a compressor of oil.--------------
    The system has to be evacuated and the proper amount of freon added. It is very easy to damage or destroy your compressor by overcharging, and it is not practical to judge the proper amount by gauge.----------------Too much gas will cause the compressor not to engage, there is a safety switch called the hi-low pressure switch(common name) that will keep the compressor from turning to prevent an explosion or rupture of the system due to an excessive pressure if too much gas was added to it. In the same way it will not allow the compressor to engage if the pressure is too low and damage can occur due to the lack of refrigerant /oil for lubrication in the system. The gas has oil suspended with it, too little and the compressor starves of lubricating oil and seize up.That switch will prevent any of those two conditions.
    -------------------
    The refrigerant oil is suspended in the Freon and too much oil will clog the components and be detrimental to its operation. If a leak in the system has been located and repaired, such as a loose fitting, a small amount of oil can be introduced into the system with the engine running without harm to the unit.--------------
    Too much refrigerant oil can destroy a compressor.And too low oil can can also do the same.There will be no cooling or very low cooling problem noticed.------------Get the freon and oil level checked.Get it rechecked and confirmed at local ac recharging store.-----------------
    This should help.Thanks.Helpmech.

  • raj somaiya Mar 20, 2011

    Thanks for the appreciation.Helpmech.

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  • Master
  • 1,702 Answers

30 psi with compressor off is to low, and 0 running is way to low, you need to check the high side pressure, but i think you need to have the system discharged and vacuumed down and then recharge with the proper amount of freon, 134A systems are very sensitive to the charge amount there may be nothing wrong other then the charge but until you have the proper charge you can not test anything else in the system......good luck


let mw know if there is any thing else i can do for you.

Posted on Mar 18, 2011

  • john nail
    john nail Mar 18, 2011

    i just read your responce to the other person who tryed to help you and i will assure you i am a real tech. with over 25 years of experience, ASE master in auto, trucks, buses, auto body, and estemating, so be assured whin i tell you that the freon needs to be the proper amount i do know what i am talking about.

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Probably didn't take any

Do you have refrigerant knowledge?

If not, you need a repair shop that does
Not all shops do

All systems with A/C problems have to be
evacuated,repaired for leaks,vacuum tested and
properly charged

The simple act of adding to a system could ruin it

Posted on Mar 17, 2011

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