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Old 09-05-2012, 11:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 2002 Taurus air conditioning problems

We have a 2002 Taurus SEL Duratec V6 with air conditioning problems.

* In July we were returning from a trip when the air conditioner stopped cooling over the course of a few minutes. Turning the ac off and on, then the ignition off and on, did not help. The blown air became warmer, and soon we noticed the blower sounded "throaty" - blowing at inconsistent levels - and gradually with less and less force until there was almost no air blowing from the front vents and very hot air blowing from the windshield vents. Cycling temp up to 90 and down to 60 didn't help (as it has in the past when air conditioning blew hot from the front vents).

* We took it to the mechanic who replaced the actuator motor and reset the control module.

* A couple of weeks later we went on another trip and experienced the identical symptoms in the same sequence.

* We returned to the mechanic and he learned the plastic door controlled by the actuator motor has a tendency to warp and then jam. He explained the module would lock out when this happened to prevent the motor from burning up. So he replaced the door and for a few days we had cold air, on short trips around town.

* During our most recent long trip we experienced similar symptoms as during the previous extended trips, except this time no hot air blew from the windshield vents and there was some cooling from the front vents ~ the throaty noise remained and cold air simply did not blow forcefully from the dash vents.

* We read about diagnostic codes and ran the test. No error codes were reported, just 888 at the end of test and the system reset did not affect the problem.

* Currently sometimes the system will run ok from a cold start, but will inevitably lapse into VERY minimal cooling mode (although it's not blowing full heat like it was before the plastic door was replaced) on an extended trip.

We are $1100 poorer & both we and our mechanic are frustrated. Any ideas? Many thanks in advance.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did they check the vacuum lines and motors which control the air routing through the plenum? If you have a leak in the lines, motors, valves or vacuum reservoir, you will not get the airflow routed properly over the evaporator and to the a/c ducts. Total loss of the vacuum system will cause the plenum to route air through the top of the dashboard vents that normally provide air to defrost the windshield.

Read the attached document starting at page 12 if you have the automatic climate control (EATC). You will see that the airflow depends on the state of the vacuum actuators. Intermittent/unexpected airflows could be due to vacuum leakage causing the actuators to not fully open or close. No vacuum at all to the actuators results in the DEFROST/FLOOR setting.

It may also be EATC module related but it sounds like your mechanic has already checked that out.

You mentioned one vacuum motor was replaced - how about the others?
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Last edited by rickpark; 09-05-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks VERY much for your reply. Printed it, stopped by the mechanic and showed it to him today. He indicated he'd checked vacuum lines and motors but after further thought wants to go back and recheck. We realize now and shared that we consistently have cold air around town ~ it's not until the car's been running for a couple of hours that the air blows less forcefully and does not cool the car.

Yes to EATC. What you describe certainly sounds like it could explain what we experienced. Will return when we have updated info.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Have the mechanic to remove the plastic shroud, under the front of the car, that is screw and clip fastened from fender to fender and under to the front bumper. The purpose is to make sure looking up in between the AC condenser and the front of the radiator is not covered with debris or fuzzy material say from cotton wood trees and or dandelion fuzzies covering the front of the radiator. I had this problem with my 02 blowing it out was the solution. The front of the radiator was covered with these fuzzy things and when I used the air the car would do all kinds of goofy things, including running hot with the AC on.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Will do ~ thanks for the suggestion. Looks like it will be a couple of weeks before our mechanics & our schedules mesh, but we plan to report back, especially if we find a solution that might benefit others.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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^ It's what's for dinner, lol!!!
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