Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
3/9/20 5:05 p.m.

Hey guys, 

 

Spring has a surprise sighting today in MA. My wife and I went out to buy a new dishwasher and stopped at a fancy bakery and bought some awesome pastries. During the drive home on the highway it got warm in the van and I was worried that the pastries would melt before getting home. So I turned on the A/C. It initially felt like we were getting cooler, but then not so much. My wife said she was getting cold air, but I was not. It seems like perhaps it is cooling a little bit, but on the driver's side it is not. The Sienna is a low spec model that does not have dual zone climate control, so I'm confused as to why it would be cooler on the passenger side than on the driver's side. This happened on my 04 Suburban, but that had dual zone climate control. Also it feels like the cooling isn't what it has been in the past. Leak? Recharge with refrigerant? Blend door? 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
3/9/20 5:07 p.m.

I fat fingered the title. Should read 06 Sienna. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
3/9/20 5:15 p.m.

Probably just low on charge.  When you get a situation where it is only cooling on one side of the car, what is generally happening is the refrigerant all evaporates in the first half/third/quarter of the evaporator.  (To think of it as the heat transfer being all used up before it gets to the other side, would not be a bad way to think of it)

 

Refrigerant USUALLY flows right to left in an evaporator, since the evaporator in cars that can be left or right hand drive is usually in the center of the car, and the refrigerant lines are on the right side of a LHD car, where the steering and pedal assemblies aren't.  So "only cool on the right side" is actually a common concern to have.

 

 

einy
einy HalfDork
3/9/20 7:39 p.m.

I vote blend door.  Same thing happened on family friend’s ‘05 Camry.  Cold on passenger side, warm on driver’s side.  

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
3/10/20 5:35 a.m.
einy said:

I vote blend door.  Same thing happened on family friend’s ‘05 Camry.  Cold on passenger side, warm on driver’s side.  

I can't wrap my head around how this is happening on a vehicle that isn't equipped with dual zone climate control though. 

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
3/10/20 12:12 p.m.

Apparently the Siennas have some blend door issues.  Ours does.  

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
3/12/20 6:50 p.m.

So I checked the blend door that moves from hot to cold and it appears to be working just fine. Maybe it's the refrigerant that is low. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
3/12/20 6:53 p.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

It is one of the main things that happens with a low charge, to the point that putting the thermometer in the left and right vents is a quick and dirty way to gauge charge level.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
3/12/20 6:54 p.m.
Knurled. said:

In reply to Mazdax605 :

It is one of the main things that happens with a low charge, to the point that putting the thermometer in the left and right vents is a quick and dirty way to gauge charge level.

I still can't wrap my head around that, but you're probably right. 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/27/20 7:19 a.m.

Hey guys,

 

 To follow up on this. I have a set of HF A/C gauges. Also I have access to a vacuum pump. Do you think I can "recharge" this on my own with no knowledge of how A/C works, or should I  pay a professional? Could I just add a can of Vatozone FLAPS refrigerant, and be good for a while? 

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
4/27/20 8:00 a.m.

This happed to my wife's R350 last summer, a can of refrigerant with the cheap gage that came with it and all was well.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
4/27/20 9:06 a.m.

Does it have rear a/c?  COuld be low on charged due to rotted rear lines..  This happened to my 2013, due to minnesota..  thanks.. Minnesota..   Luckily my wife insisted on the gold plated used car warranty from Toyota..  They paid for the whole thing.. 3 days in the shop(had to order parts) and rental car.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/27/20 9:07 a.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

Does it have rear a/c?  COuld be low on charged due to rotted rear lines..  This happened to my 2013, due to minnesota..  thanks.. Minnesota..   Luckily my wife insisted on the gold plated used car warranty from Toyota..  They paid for the whole thing.. 3 days in the shop(had to order parts) and rental car.

It does have rear A/C. 

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/27/20 9:24 a.m.

I would use your manifold gauges to see what you have on the high and low side.  If it is just a little low, top it off.  If it is empty, use your vacuum pump and draw down a deep vaccum for and then watch your gauges and see how bad it's leaking.  If it won't hold vacuum, you have a gross leak.  If it holds vacuum, then refill with refrigerant and UV dye.   

The condenser takes the most abuse, so I'd look for leaks there first.  If you have to replace it, get a new receiver/drier also. 

 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
4/27/20 9:33 a.m.
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) said:

I would use your manifold gauges to see what you have on the high and low side.  If it is just a little low, top it off.  If it is empty, use your vacuum pump and draw down a deep vaccum for and then watch your gauges and see how bad it's leaking.  If it won't hold vacuum, you have a gross leak.  If it holds vacuum, then refill with refrigerant and UV dye.   

The condenser takes the most abuse, so I'd look for leaks there first.  If you have to replace it, get a new receiver/drier also. 

 

Thanks. Is it as easy as hooking up the gauges and running the A/C to see level of charge? 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/14/20 8:53 a.m.

Broke down and had a local shop charge the A/C for me. Working great!! 

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/14/20 9:50 a.m.

Great!  Now the secret is keeping track of how long it lasts.  It could be that it had a super-tiny leak from the factory and you'll get another 15 years out of that charge, or it could be that it developed a faster leak two months ago.

With R134, sometimes people think that it's safe for the environment.  The truth is, it is way better than R12 but still kinda rough on the atmosphere.  If I recharge and I get a full summer out of it, I'll leave it until next year and put another wee bit in.  If I'm only getting a couple months out of it, I will do a proper leak detection and fix the problem so I'm not polluting.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/14/20 9:52 a.m.

The shop put some dye in it to find a leak. He's thinking it's minor as it held vacuum good, so we'll see. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/14/20 9:56 a.m.

You need to take the plunge and learn to use your gauges. AC work is relatively simple for most problems and if you have gauges then you have all the tools you need. The only downside being once you're the "AC guy" amongst your friends they all come to you. That's annoying. 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/14/20 9:57 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

You need to take the plunge and learn to use your gauges. AC work is relatively simple for most problems and if you have gauges then you have all the tools you need. The only downside being once you're the "AC guy" amongst your friends they all come to you. That's annoying. 

I used the gauges, and even attempted to charge the system myself with a can of 134a I bought for my sons Pontiac Vibe, but it just wasn't working. Not sure what I was doing wrong however. 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/14/20 11:36 a.m.

For those that know A/C, is 42 degrees that I have indicated on the harbor freight thermometer an acceptable temp? It's plenty cold to me, but not sure what is considered good. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/14/20 11:54 a.m.
Mazdax605 said:

For those that know A/C, is 42 degrees that I have indicated on the harbor freight thermometer an acceptable temp? It's plenty cold to me, but not sure what is considered good. 

Depends on a lot of factors like outside temp, fan speed, recirc or not, moving or not.

 

If that is sitting still with the fan on high, that is outstanding.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
5/14/20 2:10 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
Mazdax605 said:

For those that know A/C, is 42 degrees that I have indicated on the harbor freight thermometer an acceptable temp? It's plenty cold to me, but not sure what is considered good. 

Depends on a lot of factors like outside temp, fan speed, recirc or not, moving or not.

 

If that is sitting still with the fan on high, that is outstanding.

This was sitting still, with fan on one step below high,recirc on, and ambient outside temp around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
5/14/20 8:41 p.m.

Eric the Car Guy videos on youtube about automotive a/c were a good source of info to teach me how to diagnose and completely repair the Civic’s system last summer.  Original independent garage quote was $1300.  End cost for the diy replacement if compressor, condensor, and drier was $600 using all Denso new parts.  Only thing I hired out was the initial decharge and the final recharge after I used an Autozone loan-a-tool vacuum pump to evacuate the system and check it for leaks.  Still far from free, but it was enough of a savings to make it worthwhile to do most of the work myself, and fun to learn something new to boot.

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