Last post on Dec 03, 2013 at 9:42 AM
You are in the Honda CR-V
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Honda CR-V, Heating / Cooling, SUV
#1651 of 2218 Another CR-V A/C casualty
Aug 03, 2010 (11:13 am)
Thanks to everyone posting their experiences to the board. I'll add my 2¢ worth since it will help build a database of information for this problem.
My 2003 CR-V (105,000 miles) air conditioning failed last week during a 100-degree heatwave in Virginia. I haven't had it to a shop yet, but based on the symptoms and descriptions here, I assume the compressor imploded.
I have spoken to service departments at five area Honda dealers, and I have gotten five fixes with a range of prices:
Dealer 1–usually replaces only the compressor and the filter in the receiver/dryer because "the filter catches all the contaminants". Estimate of $1,500.
Dealer 2–replaces the entire system because all components are contaminated. Estimate of $3,700.
Dealer 3–replaces everything but the evaporator in the passenger side. Estimate of $2,500.
Dealer 4–replaces everything including the evaporator, but not the hoses. Estimate $2,200.
Dealer 5–replaces the entire system. Estimate of $3800.
All of these dealers acknowledge this is a common repair, yet they don't agree on the proper repair, despite Honda's own Service Bulletin guidelines. And the two that replace the entire system seem to be significantly overcharging for the repair. The MSRP from Honda for all of the parts in the A/C system including Service Kit C, Clutch Set and Coil Set is about $2,000. Shopping online, I found I can purchase those same components from a Honda dealer for about $1400. That means that in addition to charging a sizeable markup on the parts, they are charging $1,700-1,800 for labor and refrigerant. The Service Bulletin calls for 5.8 hours repair time. One shop told me it's actually a 10-hour job, while another shop said the repair can be done in one day.
I have called and written to American Honda, and have been told that they cannot defray any costs because of the vehicle mileage. Yet I have seen posts here where they have offered assistance to owners with vehicles as high as 116,000 miles.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this problem other than Honda has a defect issue with the CR-V A/C system, refuses to publicly acknowledge it and is screwing its long-time customers and long-term reputation.
I really don't know what to do next.
#1652 of 2218 Re: Let's press American Honda to not pull a BP on us!! [isellhondas]
Aug 03, 2010 (11:31 am)
Thanks. Your experience in the tool business makes your compliment even more important to me. And believe me, I'm the kind of guy who can be VERY frank.
A couple of points. Sorry for the confusion on the tool name but you figured it out...Chinese Communist. Sorry!
As far as the paranoia about air flow through the front, I take my experience from 65-67 Chevy Corvettes with the big block (BB) engines, 396 or 427 cubic inch. When the first Vette BB-engined cars came off the line Chevy got a LOT of complaints about the cars overheating even though they beefed up the radiators. The factory applied a number of fixes and one of them was a new front license plate holder that moved the plate out from the front center (even though it was in low in the air stream) to 'way over on the driver's side. That and extra foam insulation to make sure all of the air pulled in from the fan went through the radiator and the attached shroud solved the BB overheating problems for that model run.
Unfortunately, the General launced a new body for '68 and kep the same frame/drive train which caused the problem to reapper again. They solved those problems during the first year but I've learned the hard way that you need to get ALL of the air ALL of the time over ALL of the coolers to ensure that you have no problems with overheating.
As I noted earlier, I did a belt-and-suspenders fix by adding that 10" pusher fan and with that puppy on, in 90* weather, I can comfortable put my hand on the condenser wheras the it was a bit too hot with just the factory setup. I'm sure it will be fine without the pusher because the engineers factored all of this in their original design. They just didn't count on the effect of the ravages of time.
I hope this helps.
#1653 of 2218 Re: Let's press American Honda to not pull a BP on us!! [vinnie_the_kid]
Aug 03, 2010 (12:12 pm)
I just hope that Chinese compressor holds up.
I think much of the reason for all of the unhappiness is the COST of fixing it.
I know I'm a dinosaur but back when I ran a shop, we actually fixed things. We overhauled compressors and freon didn't cost an arm and a leg like it does today.
We actually fixed some things for free if you can believe that and we would try to save our customers money if it was an older car or money was tight.
In the example someone stated above, one dealer wanted 1500.00 to fix it and seemed to have no fears that anything more would be necessary.
The other places wanted to replace the entire system just "in case".
The trouble is, some people are quick to blame problems on the shop that tried to save them money. They do the 1500.00 repair and sure enough, a loose piece of metal wrecks something and back comes an unhappy customer demanding the shop fix it for free. And they do. From that point forward, having learned an expensive and bitter lesson, they take a hard stance and refuse to do the job unless they fix everything!
Shop labor is 100.00 per hour and more and genuine replacement parts are very expensive. I was in California last month and one of the xenon headlights in my buddy's Mercedes burnt out. we pulled into the Mercedes dealer and waited two hours and he paid 320.00 parts and labor! for a lousy headlight!
Labor was 160.00/hr!
I don't blame people for being unhappy but things do break given enough time and miles.
And, I remember those Corvettes. Especially if they had A/C they would overheat in traffic situations.
#1654 of 2218 Re: Another CR-V A/C casualty [old_red]
Aug 03, 2010 (1:15 pm)
While I did/will be getting assistance, I am the guy with the 116K mile CRV, I still question the amount of the assistance: Are they doing a complete a/c replace worth $3K, or a less fix that in the end, only cuts me a deal on the parts? Not sure as I was just given a "cap" for my out of pocket, which I was satisified with (otherwise I would be driving a new car today). In any event, we have bought nothing but honda's since 1996 with the most recent being a 2008 Pilot. We also had issues with our 2000 Ody, so alot may have to do with the customer and past buying history...I realize it shouldn't be that way, but suspect it does have something to do with it. Parts are in on Wednesday and its going in Thursday.
#1655 of 2218 Re: AC is a luxery not a necessity [kyfdx]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:01 pm)
"Really? On my '02, it turned off the light and the compressor.... Did you close your eyes and click your heels together, three times?"
Are you manually turning off the compressor?
Take a look at the post following the instructions you linked:
"One thing I might add.. after disabling the function, the A/C will still come on, each time you turn it to the defrost setting.. The difference will be: you can turn the A/C off by pushing the A/C button. Something you couldn't do before. "
#1656 of 2218 Re: Let's press American Honda to not pull a BP on us!! [meliharper]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:05 pm)
"One more laugh, my sister just bought a used '01 Honda CRV, I'm praying that '01 was a better year. "
Some of the late year 2001 models picked up the problem. My father in law had his compressor go out about 3 years ago - he has a 2001.
#1657 of 2218 Re: Another CR-V A/C casualty [tapone1]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:20 pm)
Thanks for the follow-up. I can't say I've only bought Hondas, but my other primary vehicle is a 1997 Civic bought new in 1996. It has 275,000 miles and I just replaced the compressor (not the whole system) this summer. The only other costs have been routine maintenance. Before the Civic, I had a 1985 Prelude with 215,000 miles when I sold it, and the A/C still worked on that one too.
The problem with the CR-V A/C is that it has a history of failing prematurely, relative not only to other Honda vehicles, but to other brands as well. And that is what is so maddening about this repair expense.
#1658 of 2218 Re: Another CR-V A/C casualty [old_red]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:15 pm)
ARRGHHH! I just posted a long response to old_red and my computer crashed. So I'll keep it short.
FWIW, I think you should skip the dealers and go to a good local shop that you trust AND is willing to work with you AND you're not real anxious to get the car back right away.
From what I've read, the problems tend to be "upfront" in the system rather than under the dash with the evaporator. All I know is what I read. The reason the dealers just replace everything is that they are certain that you won't come back and it's better to have a customer upset b/c of cost and a fixed car than a broken car that is bleeding a customer to death. It just makes sense.
Since you have to pull the front bumper to anything serious to the AC system, might as well pay your guy to pull that and check the easy stuff (after he checks the AC system with the procedure outlined by Honda which involves only the knobs in the center of the console.)
I assume that there are no leaks evident. If everything checks out OK, he first checks the compressor clutch by putting 12v directly to the clutch wire. If it does not engage, replace the pump. If the pump is bad, then it's easy to simply check the interior of the AC lines for bits of debris (if your compressor made a "noise" just before it died, then it loaded your AC system with shrapnel and you must replace everything back to the evaporator under the dash - $$$$$). My compressor just died so I was lucky. I'm not convinced that compressor explode as often as people say they do.
If the compressor looks OK inside and the lines look OK, then have him check the condenser in front of the radiator in the front. If that's clogged as mine was, then you luck out as I did. If not, spend $40 to replace the drier dessicant as a precaution.
I think it all comes down to whether you want to hang on to the car for as long a period of time as justifies your expenditure. A car with a non functioning AC has to worth a LOT less than otherwise. Tough call.
#1659 of 2218 Re: Let's press American Honda to not pull a BP on us!! [alana50]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:35 pm)
Yes any 8-9 year old vehicle is going to have problems and I would expect them but every 2 years the a/c failing starting in year 2 is unacceptable high miles or not.
#1660 of 2218 Re: Let's press American Honda to not pull a BP on us!! [isellhondas]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:38 pm)
You know, I thought about the quality of that ChiCom compressor when I was making my purchase. What I do know is that I have a Taiwanese made AC compressor that is branded as a Sanden. Sanden is one of the most popular aftermarket Japanese AC compressors for the hot rod crowd. I'm not married to Japanese quality but at least I've had experience with other countries of origin. My Sanden compressor has worked perfectly for over five years in my big block vette.
And let's say I'm wrong about the ChiCom unit and it fries in two years. If I still have the car and didn't grenade the compressor, then I buy another one and this time it takes me two hours to flip out the old for the new. Since I don't pay for labor, it just doesn't matter in this world of disposable items. You raise a good point about the cost of labor. I don't mind at all that someone makes a living but why do they have to make ALL of their boat payments off of just ME?
I suppose I'm rationalizing here and I risk going off topic but I recently learned that our refrigerator uses R134a as a refrigerant so that my tools will work on our SubZero. TALK ABOUT A rip off. I had no choice of fridges, this beast came with the house. The temp kept going up and I finally called the authorized repairman who replaced the condenser under warranty. I carefully watched him. His skill set consists of soldering and getting factory parts at cost. I scoped out his tools. He used a 25 micron vacuum pump (what I bought at Harbor Freight) PLUS he never recovered the old refrigerant. He used a mannometer wheras I use gauges. His refrigerant tank was labeled the same as that for the cars.
He charged me $300 for his travel time and refrigerant under warranty. He said the bill, out of warranty, is almost $2,000.
THAT was when I decided that I could fix a car AC system.