FJCGrrlCommunity MemberNovember 1, 2021 at 9:58 am
Can the engine coolant system/fluid directly or indirectly affect AC performance? Or, can an engine coolant system service affect (good or bad) AC performance?
Toyota FJ Cruiser Base Model 2 wheel drive
V6 (241Ci) 4.0L (1GR-FE), MFI
3 weeks ago did some 100,000 mile maintenance on my FJ: Engine Coolant system service/fluid flush, Transmission Fluid Flush & replaced front/back shocks. After I got it back, my AC only blows cold air at night (60 degrees outside). And even at night after it’s been running a bit or on the freeway, it’s no where near as cold as it was before the service. During the day it’s worse (70 degrees outside). I can just barely feel cold air if I put my hand right next to vent & put the vents setting to blow only up top. Before the services I mentioned above, AC was blowing cold no matter how hot it was outside. It would even blow cold when idling, but blows very warm now when idling.
I didn’t notice this problem till about 2 weeks later. After I got it back, had a cold spell outside & wasn’t using the AC. But had a couple warm days in a row this week, used the AC, & then realized the issue. However, it was very warm in the days leading up to the service so I had used the AC right before I took it in. (Live in So Cal by beach & in winter it can be 80 deg one day & 65 the next).
When realized issue, called repair shop right away who did service. Was told the engine coolant service/fluid flush-replace has nothing directly or indirectly to do with the AC… that it was just a funny coincidence. So they want to charge me again ($152) to check AC/recharge it & add “freon” if it’s low. And more $$ if there’s a bigger issue (leak, etc).
Is the repair shop being truthful that the AC problem is “purely coincidental” & has nothing to do with the engine coolant system and service they did?
He also told me the “freon” for the AC is a separate fluid than the coolant for the engine. Is that correct?
During the engine coolant service, could/should it have been discovered that the AC system had leaks?
If AC “freon” is leaking, would there be a puddle under the FJ after it sat for a while?
If I dont turn on AC, how long can I wait to get it fixed? I don’t have the money for repairs, so might be about a month before I can.
Things I’ve Tried:
Some experiments on the AC as described above (when it’s blowing all hot air, temp of day, changing vent settings, running the car on fwy, etc.) Nothing I try causes AC to blow at the cold temp like it did before service.
Last thing I’m going to try is changing the cabin air filter… it’s due. I haven’t tried that yet before posting because don’t have the funds to buy one right now (was also going to try to change it myself). But if it was the cabin filter, I logically would have had this problem before the service(s).
***below is the engine coolant service portion of the repair ticket @ service was completed:
Thank you in advance!
FYI: I have no automotive repair experience – so am seeking advice on whether repair shop was truthful & then I can decide whether or not to take it back to them. I have only taken it in to them once before for spark plug replacement & had no problems.
LisaMSelleenAdministratorNovember 1, 2021 at 7:07 pm
Basically, the AC system and the coolant system are two separate systems and have very little to do with each other. The only way I can imagine they did something is if they caused a leak by accident or forgot to plug in a wire for example. However, the chance seems very small so it’s very likely that it’s a coincidence.
The only way in my opinion to know if they did something is to let another workshop do the troubleshooting and after that see if it could be caused by them.
Because they are separate systems there is really nothing you do to check the AC system so it’s probably not something you will notice during the service either.
Continuing to drive with a broken AC system totally depends on what’s wrong with it. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about since the AC compressor will shut off and freely spin when the AC pressure is low. However, there is always a small chance that the AC compressor is broken and this could cause trouble if you drive with it so I would recommend a check as soon as possible!FJCGrrlCommunity MemberNovember 1, 2021 at 9:24 pm
Hello – Thanks so much for reply. I was going to take it back to original repair shop bc it sounds like it’s rare their service caused issue. But you’re right. I think to be on safe side I’ll take to my old mechanic that’s about 30 min drive. I know I can trust them & don’t want to worry. & I know I can’t do a DIY recharge.
I did read online that driving with a leak in AC system can cause outside air to get in & corrode components. So more reason to take in ASAP.
Quick Update: Today I let it idle for about 1 min with AC on max, trying to find the AC fan (couldn’t find it). But then after about 90 sec, pretty cold air was coming out of the middle and passenger side vents… but super warm on driver. WTH! I looked real quick online & bc I don’t have dual zone AC, it’s probably not the drivers side temp door actuator/servo motor….something something. It’s still a low freon/needs recharging issue. Also my cabin air filter was super dirty, if only it was just that!
Thnx again!November 10, 2021 at 5:40 pmDecember 1, 2021 at 10:20 pm
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