HVAC Blows Hot Air - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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HVAC Blows Hot Air

Honda Clarity AC blowing warm air from vents. With AC turned on the air was hotter than when turned off.

My repair was unconventional:

I used a Pittsburgh A/C Manifold Gauge Set ($59 at Harbor Freight) with R-1234yf adapters ($21 on Amazon) to diagnose the HVAC. High/Low side pressures were lower than specs.

I used a Kozyvacu vacuum pump ($109 from Amazon) to evacuate R-1234yf and test for leaks by holding a vacuum for 30 minutes.

HVAC successfully held vacuum so no leaks.

I reconnected the vacuum pump and ran it for another 30 minutes to evacuate any water in the system.

Unconventional Part

I refilled the AC with 395 grams of R-134a refrigerant. Replaced expensive R-1234yf ($44/can) with inexpensive R-134a ($5/can). One full 12oz bottle (340 grams) then a digital scale to measure 55 grams from a second bottle. I used the "AC Pro Certified R-134a self sealing can tap" ($6 on Amazon, $5 at Walmart) to connect the R-134a to the Harbor Freight Manifold Gauge yellow tube.

Result

It works.

Risk

I have no idea if R-134a will cause long term damage to the AC system. In addition, Honda warns us to use a specific type of oil with electrical insulating properties. I do not know if the special oil is compatible with R-134a. But I'm gonna find out because I only have 10K miles on my Clarity and there's no way the AC system should have been malfunctioning already.

I read forum posts on another forum where Clarity owners were running into AC problems at low mileage. They took their Honda Clarity to dealerships who refilled the system ($300.) Later, they ran into AC problems again prompting the dealership to look for leaks. Some owners were told they needed a new condenser, another was told he needed a new evaporator (a discontinued part by Honda.) The parts were on backorder -- from Japan! -- leading to lengthy repair times.

So I said phuket wrt dealership and warranty. If I run into AC problems I'll post an update. If I don't post an update then the AC is still working. If my Honda explodes I'll send it to the junkyard and buy a Kia.

Quote:
Recommended POE oil: SANDEN SE-A2

Parts Number
Oil Amount
Adjust Type
P/N 38899-5WM-013
50 m L (1 2/3 fl oz)
E

The electric A/C compressor in this vehicle is powered by the electric powertrain high voltage battery module, and this oil is required because it has unique electrical insulting qualities.

It is important to have the correct amount of refrigerant oil in the A/C system to ensure proper lubrication of the electric A/C compressor. Too little oil damages the electric A/C compressor; too much oil reduces the cooling capacity of the system, and can produce high vent temperatures.

To avoid contamination, do not return the oil to the container once dispensed, and never mix it with other refrigerant oils.

Use the refrigerant oil immediately after opening the container, and dispose of any unused oil. The oil rapidly absorbs moisture, which damages its electrical insulating (for hybrids) and lubricating properties.

Do not spill the refrigerant oil on the vehicle, because it may damage painted surfaces. If refrigerant oil contacts the paint, wash it off with water immediately.

Add the recommended refrigerant oil in the amount listed if you replace any of the following parts:

Parts
Refrigerant Oil Quantity
A/C condenser
25 mL (5/6 fl oz)
Evaporator
40 mL (1 1/3 fl oz)
Each line or hose
10 mL (1/3 fl oz)
Desiccant
10 mL (1/3 fl oz)
Leakage repair
25 mL (5/6 fl oz)
Electric A/C compressor
140-170 mL (4 2/3-5 2/3 fl oz)
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Last edited by BradleyS; 07-09-2020 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Because I should have included Air Conditioning for the Google
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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High/Low Side pressure charts.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Pressure gauge diagnostics
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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A/C Refrigerant Recovery/Evacuation/Charging- Procedure

(I refilled my AC to the low end of the capacity spectrum because I used a non-spec refrigerant. It worked so I called it good and didn't add more.)

Quote:
4. A/C Refrigerant - Charge

1.
Charge the system with the specified amount of R-1234yf refrigerant. Do not overcharge the system; the electric A/C compressor will be damaged.

Select the appropriate units of measure for your refrigerant A/C recover/recycle/recharge machine.

Refrigerant Capacity:
395 to 445 g
13.93 to 15.70 oz
0.395 to 0.445 kg
0.871 to 0.981 lbs
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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If your vacuum test fails Honda recommends leak testing.

Quote:
2. A/C System - Evacuate

1.
Evacuate the system. The vacuum pump should run for a minimum of 30 minutes or until the moisture vacuum test passes, to eliminate all moisture from the system. When the suction gauge reads -93.3 kPa (-700 mmHg, -27.55 inHg) for at least 30 minutes, or the moisture vacuum test passes, close all valves, and turn off the vacuum pump.

2.
If the suction gauge does not reach approximately -93.3 kPa (-700 mmHg, -27.55 inHg) in 15 minutes or the moisture vacuum test fails, there is probably a leak in the system. Partially charge the system, and check for leaks.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Honda's leak check procedure.

Quote:
4. A/C Refrigerant - Leak Check

NOTE:

There are a variety of approved leak detectors available that can be used to detect a leak depending on the model. Refer to available service information for more information.

Use of leak dyes are prohibited depending on the model. Refer to available service information to see which models can accept leak dye.

If a leak cannot be found by any method, do the following:


Let the vehicle idle for 30 minutes with the hood down and the climate control set to the max cool position.

After 30 minutes, drive the vehicle for couple miles and check for leaks again.

1.
With the power system off, use a leak detector to detect the leak source. Follow a continuous path in order to ensure that you will not miss any possible leaks. Test the following areas of the system for leaks:

NOTE: Move the probe slowly (1 in/second or less), and keep it within 1/4 in of the component being checked. This maximizes the chance of detecting a leak.

Possible Leak Area
Diagnostic Procedure
Notes
Service ports
Check the service ports with the service caps installed
Ensure that the seals on the service caps are in place, and that the caps are tight. The caps are used as the final seals in the system
Electric A/C compressor
Wave the leak detector around the entire electric A/C compressor
Check for leaks at all of the electric A/C compressor joints, hose fittings, front housing bolts, relief valve and the scroll bolts on the back of the electric A/C compressor
A/C condenser
Wave the leak detector around the entire A/C condenser

Check for joints or connections coated with oily dust

Check for damaged and corroded areas

Check all fittings, couplings, brazed/welded areas and areas around attachment points

If you detect a leak, determine if the leak is coming from the A/C condenser or the receiver/dryer

When using a refrigerant gas leak detector - If you detect a leak, blow compressed air over the area, then recheck for leaks. For large leaks, cleaning the area with compressed air may help you pinpoint the leak source
Evaporator

Check at the evaporator drain hose

Turn the blower on at low speed and check at the passenger's side vent
Remove the blower unit as necessary to check for leaks
A/C lines
Wiggle the rubber hoses when checking crimped metal ends

Check all fittings, couplings, pressure switches, brazed/welded areas, and areas around attachment points on A/C lines and components

Check for damaged and corroded areas

Detected Leak Area
Repair Action
Service ports
If a leak is found, replace the cap/O-ring seal or A/C line as needed
Electric A/C compressor

If the electric A/C compressor relief valve appears to be leaking, determine whether the leak is coming from the relief valve, or the joint between the electric A/C compressor casing and the valve. If the leak is from the relief valve, check the A/C system pressures, and refer to the pressure test table in the A/C system test. If the leak is from the casing/valve joint, replace the electric A/C compressor relief valve

If the leak is coming from the suction hose and/or discharge hose fittings on the electric A/C compressor, clean the A/C fittings and replace the suction/discharge fitting O-rings

For all other electric A/C compressor leaks, remove and replace the electric A/C compressor
A/C condenser
Replace either the receiver/dryer or the A/C condenser, depending on the location of the leak
Evaporator

If the source of the leak was determined, replace the component causing the leak

If the source of the leak was not determined, remove the evaporator core and visually check for damage and oily dust, then replace the evaporator core, O-rings, or the expansion valve as necessary
A/C lines
Remove and replace the A/C line causing the leak
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 05:06 PM
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Was this a gradual reduction in cooling over a period of time or did it come on more suddenly? Normally I would ask if it's the first time you have used AC this year but since it is mid-July I am guessing not.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 11:32 PM
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@BradleyS

Thanks for the info and details. Hope it works out for you.

Dealerships are useless and a waste of good air.

Keep us posted!


Good luck!
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Last edited by Clarity_newbie; 07-09-2020 at 11:49 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002 View Post
Was this a gradual reduction in cooling over a period of time or did it come on more suddenly? Normally I would ask if it's the first time you have used AC this year but since it is mid-July I am guessing not.
I live in the coastal Pacific Northwest. No AC since last summer and our summer this year has been unusually cool. Had a warm day so I turned on the AC to keep my dog comfortable (I was fine) and it blew warm.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyS View Post
I live in the coastal Pacific Northwest. No AC since last summer and our summer this year has been unusually cool. Had a warm day so I turned on the AC to keep my dog comfortable (I was fine) and it blew warm.
If you haven't used the AC for nearly a year and didn't use defrost during the winter, that used to be something that could cause refrigerant loss because the seals lose their lubrication. Not sure if that is the case with a modern system like Clarity has, but that would be your best case scenario here because that means the system is otherwise OK and the recharge that you did should be all that is needed. If however that wasn't what did it, something caused the leak and it will occur again. As you alluded to some Clarity owners have had condensers that have leaked, with a harbinger in some cases being a loss of refrigerant some months prior but the dealer couldn't find a leak. Followed by another leak some months later with the dealer this time finding the leak in the condenser and replacing it under warranty (if still within 3yr/36000 mile or extended warranty). In other cases the dealer found the leak on the first visit.

Refrigerant is only covered for 2yr/24000 miles if the recharging is not part of a warranty repair, so if you are beyond that timeframe I suppose you did run the risk of having an expensive refilling by the dealer if they couldn't find a leak. I suppose in that case it would make sense to tell them no thanks and look for lower costs options for the refill, either DIY like you did, or going to an independent shop. Of course the dealer will still charge for the leak test, it's probably unlikely they would reimburse for that even if a few months later a leak was found.
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