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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the somewhat well known intermittent cooling problem with the AC. I drive for 15 minutes with cool air and then it warms up. If I turn off the AC for 10 minutes while still driving, then turn it back on, it gets cool again.

The mechanic I’m using changed the ac clutch and in the process found metal bits in the system and suggested changing the compressor as well. He found a good deal on a salvage yard compressor with only 6k on the odometer. So fantastic, I think, problem solved.

Today driving home was the first opportunity to test the AC, and the same problem happens! I used a shop close to work so I could just drop it off and walk to work. Should I take it back to the same shop and give them another shot at it, or is this a sign to take it to the Volvo tech with something like 30 years of experience? He’s great, but I’ll have to beg a ride to work (public trans doesn’t pick up out here)
And sometimes he can be a bit forgetful which makes me a little nervous.


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I’ve had the same issue with the intermittent AC. I took it to a shop and they told me I should just have it drained and recharged with refrigerant. I did that, and the problem seems slightly better but I think it’s still intermittent. Harder to tell, but I’m pretty sure it’s still broken. I saw a YouTube video that explained that it was probably the compressor clutch, but I haven’t looked into that yet. I’d also appreciate some feedback from those more experienced than myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh yeah the mechanic said the ac charge is fine. It’s at full pressure.


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The problem isn't the compressor or your freon level, it's a worn compressor clutch. The gap is too large, so once it gets hot, it's hard for it to reengage. A junkyard compressor clutch was likely just as old (if not older) than your current one, so it would likely give the same problems.

Remove the shims to get it back within acceptable range and it'll be fine for another 100k miles of use. Very common problem on all cars, but especially Volvos.

 

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Are you certain he removed all of the shims from the mating surface between the compressor and clutch?

What you describe is the exact clutch symptoms that people have had since these cars came out in 2004.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I’m taking it back in this week and I’ll talk to the mechanic. I’ll let you know how it goes.


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If you are 100% positive you have alot of freon then it could be the thermoswitch or expansion valve if it's not the ac clutch.
Just search YouTube Volvo compressor and get some zipties like in the video to test the clutch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sjEPiXNDP0

Btw my low side ac port that you use to fill Freon had a loose Schrader valve so I had a slow ac leak.
If you hear gurgles or burps as soon as you turn your ac on for the first time it could be leaking and you not know it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Took it back today. Turns out they did leave some shims when replacing the clutch so it was a quick fix.

There was a tiny leak from the ac charging port. They found it when first diagnosing, and fixed it when doing the clutch.

Thanks again for the feedback I appreciate it.


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Another possibility besides shims... Is the outside temperature reading correct. My sensor was going bad and would read 50 F when it was about 90 F outside. The system was blowing hot air at me. Replaced the sensor (in mirror) and all is good.
 

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Another possibility besides shims... Is the outside temperature reading correct. My sensor was going bad and would read 50 F when it was about 90 F outside. The system was blowing hot air at me. Replaced the sensor (in mirror) and all is good.
I'm not sure that makes sense.... Cars with auto climate reference the interior temperature sensor behind the waterfall. Perhaps it was taking the exterior reading and presuming it was colder than the interior so it wasn't cooling efficiently? But you should have been able to override this by manually adjusting the temperature. Otherwise, it wouldn't be possible to get your AC to engage when when it's below 55°F outside, yet all 6 of mine have been capable of this.

Also, cars without auto climate pay not attention to the actual air temperature. It's just a dial for fan speed and preferred temp range (not specific degrees like auto climate shows).

But I could be wrong!
 

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I had the same problem at 80,000 miles in my 2013 C30. My A/C tech (A/C specialty shop) told me it was the clutch as well, only he didn't offer any fix beyond replacing the compressor, which he did. I thought the clutch could replaced separately, and for less money, but he didn't offer that option. It's been perfect for the last 10,000 miles.
 

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I'm not sure that makes sense.... Cars with auto climate reference the interior temperature sensor behind the waterfall. Perhaps it was taking the exterior reading and presuming it was colder than the interior so it wasn't cooling efficiently? But you should have been able to override this by manually adjusting the temperature. Otherwise, it wouldn't be possible to get your AC to engage when when it's below 55°F outside, yet all 6 of mine have been capable of this.

Also, cars without auto climate pay not attention to the actual air temperature. It's just a dial for fan speed and preferred temp range (not specific degrees like auto climate shows).

But I could be wrong!
I should have mentioned that I have auto climate control. You are correct in that the non-auto climate shouldn't care since it is an open-loop system. However, the auto-climate system does factor in the outside air temperature. When the sensor erroneously indicated 50 deg F, my A/C was blowing warm. When it would read correct, the A/C was cold. I replaced the outside temp sensor and all is good.

I am wondering if the engine management also uses the outside temperature sensor. While the sensor was bad my fuel economy was bad. It seems better now but the jury is still out. I know it reads the intake temperature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don’t have auto climate anyway but wish I did. The ACs been cooling fine since the old shims were removed on Wednesday. We had our first 90plus degree day in Denver on Thursday, which is unusually late, but I got it fixed just in time.


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