Hello there, I am a Master Automobile Technician certified by Honda and ASE. I can help you with the problem you are having with your Honda!
The most common problems with these are the A/C compressor relays. The first thing I would check is if the compressor clutch pulley is spinning when the air is hot. Also check to see if the fans are running in the engine bay by the radiator.
These relays are bad about sticking either on or off. If they stick off then you have what your describing with sporadic operation.
If they stick on then the compressor will continue to run even when turned off. This can cause pressure to build to high becasue it can't cycle on & off as designed. As a result it will usually blow off the excess refrigerant and stop cooling all together. This is usually accompanied by a dead battery because the relay is staying on.I believe you may have the relay sporadically sticking off but want to check the compressor and fan first,
The compressor does run, That is interresting, I will have the dealer check the relays and the compressor operation. I have tried cycling the A/C of and back several times with no sucess.
If it is sticking off, you can usually tap on the relay and the compressor clutch will engage and the air will get cold again. The relay is in the under hood fuse box. If you look at the lid it will identify the relay usually with a snow flake icon. There will be three relays with the snow flake. You are looking for the snowflake by itself. The other two snow flakes will have a picture of a radiator with them to indicate the fan relays.
So when you say the compressor runs, can you actually see that the clutch is spinning with the pulley on the compressor?
I will check that out in the morning.
Another possibility is that you have a fan thats not working at times but this will usually cause a gradual warming of the air. If it changes temp rapidly and suddenly that would indicate to me that the compressor clutch has disengaged and shut the compressor off. Under normal operation the compressor clutch will cycle on & off at pretty regular intervals. If it goes off and does not come back on then try tapping on the relay. Alternatively you can try swapping the compressor relay with another such as the horn relay and see if the problem goes away.
Yes, checked that today as I could feel the idle change when turning on and offr.
The fans and compressor will cycle on/off at the same time too so that is another indicator. If the fans are running but the compressor clutch is not spinning with the compressor pulley then we really need to start thinking about that relay.
I will check it out in the morning, thank you the info it sure fits the problem.
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I will verify all of these possibilities in the morning!
You can rest assured you will get excellent feedback.
Also, your 03 Element may not show the snow flake icons I mentioned. If so, look for a relay that says something about a "clutch".Thanks!
I checked the relays fans and A/C clutch they are all working properly.