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A/C Condenser Fan Works intermittently

Engine Tech / Drivetrain


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Old 06-14-2011, 12:12 PM   #1
txcivic79
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Default A/C Condenser Fan Works intermittently

Hello,
I have a 98 Civic EX and have some a/c problems. I have read alot online and trouble shot what I could find but can't figure it out.
The condenser fan only works intermittently? Mostly not at all but it does work every once in a while. I thought I had fixed it last night as I switched the relays for the radiator fan and condenser fan to see if that was it, cleaned the ground by the fan and on top of the condenser and a really dirty ground by the air inlet box on the left side that was really really dirty, washed it off as I just used vinegar (didn't have anything else to use, heard this was ok in a pinch) started it up and the fan worked perfectly! let it run for about 15 mins with no problems, cycled it on and off by pushing the a/c switch inside and it would turn on and off just fine! Went to bed feeling great! Woke up this morning and started it up and turned on the a/c, popped the hood to be sure the fan was on and nothing............... cycled it a few times with no luck...... What am I missing? Can't be a fuse, fan does work so the motor is good, relays must be good, cleaned the grounds.. Could it be when I cleaned them it worked as they were also wet too? Any help would be greatly appreciated as it is very warm here, 102 today. Thanks again!
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #2
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Question

How do I "jump" the condenser fan at the fuse box to see if it will turn on? I tried last night but couldn't get it to work but started the car and tried the a/c again and it worked off and on?
Could this be a low r134a issue too? The clutch engages but after the high side gets very hot to the touch it tries to engage but clicks on and off, I'm assuming to protect itself.
Anybody have any thoughts, suggestions?
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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Sounds like the refrigerant charge may be low. When the A/C fan runs and the clutch engages, does the A/C blow cold?
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #4
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When the fan does run it is not cold but fairly cool. I didn't know if low refrigerant would cause the fan to run intermittently and didn't want to just guess. From what your saying this could be part of the problem? When the fan does run it does not seem as powerful as other cars I have owned, maybe this is just how it is, the fan spins smoothly and freely when I spin it, once it is about to stop it kinda catches like it is magnetic, assuming it is. Is there anything special to know if I buy one of the recharge kits? I read the bottle and it seems pretty self explanatory but I do not own any manifold gauges so would only have the gauge on the bottle that came with it. Let me know if you think I should check something else or if adding refrigerant would be the next step.
Also, how do I jump the relay connection at the fuse box to test the fan? I tried but couldn't get it to turn on at all? Does the ignition just need to be on or does the car need to be running?
Thanks for your help Ronj!
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txcivic79 View Post
When the fan does run it is not cold but fairly cool. I didn't know if low refrigerant would cause the fan to run intermittently and didn't want to just guess. From what your saying this could be part of the problem? When the fan does run it does not seem as powerful as other cars I have owned, maybe this is just how it is, the fan spins smoothly and freely when I spin it, once it is about to stop it kinda catches like it is magnetic, assuming it is. Is there anything special to know if I buy one of the recharge kits? I read the bottle and it seems pretty self explanatory but I do not own any manifold gauges so would only have the gauge on the bottle that came with it. Let me know if you think I should check something else or if adding refrigerant would be the next step.
Also, how do I jump the relay connection at the fuse box to test the fan? I tried but couldn't get it to turn on at all? Does the ignition just need to be on or does the car need to be running?
Thanks for your help Ronj!
You are correct that low (or high) refrigerant pressure would not turn off the fan. I thought that you might have two problems, but you are correct in focusing on the fan problem first.

If you run power and ground wires directly from the battery to the condenser fan (driver's side), does the fan now run continuously and strongly?
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:18 PM   #6
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I had not tried that yet as I didn't know how really and need to buy a small amount of wire too. So, dumb question how do I do that? Does it matter which what wire hooks up to which part of the connector? Ex. blue is negative etc..
I see there is the condenser fan 2p connector and the condenser fan relay connector-which do I try?
I will not have an opportunity to try this until tonight, is there anything else I could trouble shoot or test at the same time?
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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I have read alot of your posts since I have joined and the one thing I have taken away was you always saying to troubleshoot things first oppossed to just start replacing stuff so thank you! That is why I waited on adding any kind of refrigerant! Thanks again for the help and tips!!! 102 in Austin today so a/c would be nice.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:45 PM   #8
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The condenser fan has a 2P (2-wire) connector that has a white wire (power/hot) and black wire (ground). You need two lengths of wire that can reach from the battery to the fan 2P connector. The gauge/thickness of the two wires should be similar or larger than those in the 2P connector. Connect one wire to the red battery post (positive) and one to the black battery post (negative). Then connect the positive battery wire to the white wire terminal of the fan-side 2P connector and the negative battery wire to the black wire terminal of the fan-side 2P connector. Does the fan run continuously and strongly?
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:04 PM   #9
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I hooked it up and it worked fine, tried it a couple times with no problems.
I hooked everything back up and started the car, turned on the ac and it worked. Turned ac off and back on but now the fan would not cycle on again??? What else can I test to figure this out?
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:01 PM   #10
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The next tests require a digital multimeter. Do you have one?
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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Smile

Sure do!
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:54 PM   #12
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Unplug the condenser fan connector. Set your multimeter to read resistance/Ohms. Touch one meter probe to the negative battery terminal and the other meter probe to the black wire terminal in the wire harness-side fan connector. What resistance do you read?
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:40 AM   #13
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I am somewhat unfamiliar with multimeters so I set it to 200k and when hooked up it read 0, when I switchenit to just 200 it read .3. The instructions it came with were unclear on which 200 to use. If I understand it correctly that is good, right?
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txcivic79 View Post
I am somewhat unfamiliar with multimeters so I set it to 200k and when hooked up it read 0, when I switchenit to just 200 it read .3. The instructions it came with were unclear on which 200 to use. If I understand it correctly that is good, right?
That's fine. The 200 Ohm range was the correct one to use.

Test #2:
Unplug the condenser fan connector. Turn the key to ON(II) and the A/C button and blower on. Set the multimeter to read DCV. Then measure voltage between the negative battery post and the white wire terminal in the wire harness connector.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:16 PM   #15
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It read 11 when set to 1000 dcv and it read 12.2 when set to 200 dcv
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