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I have a 2002 Nissan Altima SL. When I start the car and…

I have a 2002...

I have a 2002 Nissan Altima SL. When I start the car and turn on the A/C, cold air comes out for 5 minutes or so. Then the air coming out isn't cold anymore. Doesn't stop blowing - just stops blowing cold. The same thing happens when I use the heater - hot air at first, then not hot air after 5 minutes or so.

Mechanic's Assistant: Have you checked the coolant level? Have you checked for a leak in the radiator?

Yes, had a 100,000 mile check recently.

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Altima yourself? What have you tried so far?

Yes, I'm trying to fix it myself. It's my college son's car and he's going on a trip. I looked under the driver side foot well to make sure the heat/AC cable was attached and was moving the nylon gear mechanism properly. Watched a Youtube video on changing the HVAC blower relay under the passenger dash - but the blower doesn't appear to be the problem - it blows consistently.

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

Just that it doesn't appear to be an intermittent problem. It has happened every time I've driven his car this summer.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
My son says that sometimes when he starts driving he won’t have heat or won’t have A/C, then part way into his trip it will kick in.
Answered in 18 minutes by:
7/13/2018
Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 27,801
Experience: Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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Hi there! My name is Mike. The site will be promoting a call.I will let you know if it's necessary

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Can you turn on the air conditioning and listen for the compressor kicking on and off.

You might be able to see it kicking on as well. I need to know if it's cycling on and off or just staying on.

Let me know please.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I let it idle for about 5 min. The compressor was cycling on and off during that time.

Ok, thanks, ***** ***** lose the air conditioning in that amount of time? I mean I need to now know if the compressor is turning off when you lose the cool air or if it's still going. This will point me to an issue inside or outside the car.

Also, is it an auto system or manual?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The compressor was cycling about every 15 sec. In the 5 minutes of idle time we did not lose AC (the air blowing out was colder obviously when the compressor was cycling on). My son is driving it around the block now to see if he can get the AC to stop blowing cold air - when it does, he will pull over and see whether or not the AC is cycling on and off.

Sounds good, let me know.

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I am going to be away from my keyboard for a few moments while I go on break.Let me know what you find and I will reply as soon as I am back.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Sounds great - Here's the scoop... Curt was driving the car until the cold air stopped blowing out. When it did, he pulled over and listened to the engine. He noted that the compressor was no longer cycling. He shut the engine off, restarted the car - and still no compressor cycling (and no cold air). He had no cold air all the way back home.

Ok

This one is going to be a little tricky because we really need some gages to test the pressure.

Here are some possible causes for the compressor turning off.

Most likely would be pressure. This is increasing the longer the compressor runs. So, make sure both cooling fans are coming on with the compressor. Also, if you can, try taking a garden hose and spraying the cooling fins on the radiator and the condenser. Sometimes the cooling fins will get full of dirt which slows the air flow and causes the pressure to get to high, the system will then turn off until the pressure get's low enough to kick on again

The final thing would be the pressure switch. This can fail and cause the compressor to turn off when the pressure is low. If that's the case, we need gages to really check the pressure.

I think I would check the fans and try to clean the fins, then if that doesn't solve it, you might need professional help to check the pressure switch.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
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Thank you so much!

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
are you talking about the 2 radiator cooling fans?

Yes, they should both be running as the air compressor cycles, if not, then the freon can't cool enough and it builds pressure until the pressure switch turns it off.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok - yes they are both running. I was next going to hose off the fins. Is garden hose pressure adequate? I also have a pressure washer with various nozzles.

When I worked for the dealer we used a garden hose. To much pressure can blow the fins right out.

If you can, pull the fans out, if not that's ok but try to go from the engine side. That should push the dirt out.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Got it - thanks!

You're very welcome, hopefully it's this simple. If this doesn't work, you really will need to get some gages so we can check the pressures.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Also, please don't forget to rate so I can get credit.

Thank you.

Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 27,801
Experience: Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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