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960 AC Problems

2329 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Smokey63090
I have two 960s, a 96 and a 97 and both have the same problem. It appeared on the 96 a year or so after purchase (used) and shown up on the 97 immediately (just got it this month).

We're in Texas and the summers are blistering down here. Here's the problem.

The AC will cycle off (just blow air) for several minutes and then come back on. This will occur while driving 70 +/- mph on the freeway. Only happens in the summer (when ambient temps are high). The occurrence is, of course, intermittant. It is real and not confined to a single vehicle (I thought the 96 might just have an odd malfunction, but when it turned up on the 97 I knew it was more than that).

Needless to say, this is an attribute that detracts from our enjoyment of an otherwise splendid automobile.

Does anyone out there have an idea of what's going on here? Apparently there are no TSRs on this condition and no obvious explanation. My mechanic is excellent and this is the first time he's not had an immediate answer to a Volvo question.

I'd appreciate any helpful comments or suggestions.
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My '92 and '93 940's do the same thing.

My mechanic told me that the A/C cycles off periodically under load like high speed, excessive heat, towing, or long climbs so that it doesn't add to the engine strain under load.

It's supposed to prevent that annoying shifting back and forth that was so common in American cars.

Thanks for your reply.

That's reasonable except that the 960 "image" is not one that has driver & passengers suffer for 10 min +/- in the heat.

Other markers (DB, Audi, etc.) seem to have solved this problem without producing such discomfort.

I'm still thinking there's a "fix" out there.
The only thing that I can think of is that the 'clutch' for the A/C is not working properly. This is what engages and disengages the compressor. I have a 1995 960 and the A/C works perfectly.

Try this, set the climate control to the lowest temp and then the fan speed to 5. If you set the ECC to 78 or put it in Auto, it will blow hot and cool air in cycles. Is this what is happening?

I had a similiar problem on my '91 940SE and it turned out to be a leaking vacuum line under the dash. The air would basically cut off when I hit the accelerator and come back on when I let off. Good luck.
Thanks for your reply but that's not what's going on with mine. I had a similar problem with the '96 (was a leaky control for a real floor air outlet), hit the gas and the AC just died. My problem happens at steady speed and is unaffected by what you're doing with the gas petal.

Thanks also for your comment. I'll give your suggestion a try and see what happens. Having the clutch fail and then come back after 10 or so minutes is not one that would come readily to mind.

Yes, when the ECC is set at a temp, the system does equilibrate at that temp (when it works). When it stops working properly, the fan just blows hot and with ambient temps of 95+, it gets pretty uncomfortable.

I have a 3 hour drive coming up tomorrow and I'll see if your diagnostic sequence tells a story.

Appreciate the responses.
That's exactly what's happening with my 960. Can you email me, or I will you if I don't hear from you within the next week or so, and let me know where this line is?

Thanks alot,
You're getting the AC cut off when cruising, right? Stays off for several minutes (5 to 10) and then spontaneously comes back on. If this is it, then it does sound like my problem.

What year is your 960? Mine's a '96 - at least this is where I'm observing it over time. Haven't had the '97 long enough to really know.

So, no solution here. My mechanic has looked at it at least twice with no luck. He's telling me that several of his customers have the same problem and that he's reproduced it in the shop. But no fix so far.

Let me know what you think.
I'm sorry C&E, but I was talkin to vinmanC32. My problem is it's cutting off when I accelerate, then comes back on when I left off the gas.

Sorry man...

Have you tried posting this to any other boards? Like Volvospeed.com? Or Brickboard.com?
Unfortunately I still did not get the answer for you however, the post above seems to have hit the issue. I just took it in and he told me what it was and took about 15 minutes to fix it. He was doing some other work, so I dont think I was billed for it or should I say, he didnt itemize for it.
I have a 97 S90 and I haven't experienced any problems with the AC.
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