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A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
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  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

88 Honda Civic, A/C Woes
Q: I have an '88 Honda Civic 4dr, 1.5l, 5spd. I was having problems with my AC in hot weather. I checked the sight glass while operating and there were a few bubbles. I recovered the R-12 and recovered the amount Honda told me belonged in the system, 1.75 lbs.. I then evacuated the system and it held good vacuum. I then recharged with the 1.75 lbs.. The AC works great if it is below 80-85 degrees. Once the temperature is higher the car seems to want to stall and the AC barely works. If I drive for an extended time on the highway, the AC seems to catch up and work fairly well, even if I get into city driving. Most of my driving is city driving and I need some advice. Is there a possible restriction? Overcharge?

A: My first impression is there's poor air flow through the A/C condenser. The A/C condenser, which is mounted in front of the radiator, is responsible for removing the heat from the A/C system. Your Honda should be equipped with two electric cooling fans, a radiator fan and an A/C condenser fan. Whenever the AC is activated the condenser fan should be functioning. If the condenser fan is not operating, the air flow over the condenser will not be adequate enough to remove the heat. This results in an increase in operating temperature and pressure of the A/C system. As the temperature climbs the ability of the A/C system to cool decreases and the pressure in the system increases. The increase in pressure puts additional load on the A/C compressor which is driven by the engine. The additional load will slow the idle speed of the engine, which could cause stalling. In some regions of the country, bugs, yes bugs, can plug up the cooling fins of the condenser. Bugs, paper or leaves can restrict the air flow through the A/C condenser. A closer inspection of your A/C system should get the bugs out.

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