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A/C Issue and the Dealer

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Technical Discussion' started by Alexma, May 27, 2011.

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  1. Alexma

    Alexma Member

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    Took the Prius in for 5K service. While there I asked them to check out the A/C system.

    The A/C would cool but not get cold. I confirmed this by sticking a meat thermometer into the vent. I would get 60 degrees, maybe 50 at night if I was lucky.

    I did not know if this was normal for the hybrid with a belt less system.

    After picking up the Prius, the notes mentioned that the A/C system was operating within normal parameters and the Prius was run for 5 miles and the temp hit and maintained 40 degrees. No repairs were performed on the A/C system.

    As I got into my car, I started it up and turned on the A/C. As I was readjusting the seat, I noticed that the air temperature was noticeably cooler. (INTERESTING) I pulled out the thermometer and put it back into the vent. As I hit the freeway....40 degrees.


    I know that there had to be an adjustment done. I suspect that the heater valve was adjusted to make sure that it was 100% closed.

    What I find interesting is that the tech said "operating within normal parameters" and I get the car back with the A/C working better.

    Just what are they afraid of?
  2. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    I would think in order to test you would have to turn fan to full, and the temp to "low". it would help us to know what modes buttons you used to test the ac? Was eco mode on? ect ect..
  3. jamesa53

    jamesa53 New Member

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    If the car is in ECO mode the fan doesnt run as fast, therefore doesnt cool as well. Perhaps that was the problem.
  4. Alexma

    Alexma Member

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    Ok Guys.....more details.


    The mode was normal and the setting was LO.

    The point is, before letting the service department work on the car, I confirmed that the A/C system was not getting cold but was cooling.

    I took the car in around 5250 miles. The condition was there since the first time I started using the A/C.

    It was probably 2 weeks after I purchased the car before using the A/C. The weather was cool/cold and rainy.

    The first time I noticed was during my trip to Arizona. On the way home going down hill doing 75-80 mph in normal mode, setting on LO. The A/C did not feel cold at all. Had the entire family in the car and it was getting "warm" inside.

    To confirm this, I put a temperature probe into the vents. This was around 2500 miles or so. The A/C would go down to 50 degrees when it was getting dark outside. Since this meant the outside temperature was cooler then the daytime.

    So, for 2500 + miles, I observed the behavior of the A/C system in all modes, speeds, weather conditions, as the outside temperature was starting to warm up in my area.

    How do I know that it was probably the heater valve? I had the same situation in both my 01 Tundra and 02 Sequoia.

    When the A/C system is turned on the system will close the valve. If the valve is not fully closed, hot air from the core will take away from the cooling capacity of the system.

    This is not a hard adjustment to fix. Turn the system on cold (LO) inspect the valve to see if it is fully close. If not, release the clamp on cable and readjust until it is fully close and reinstall the clamp.

    If I took the time to crack the hood, I would do it myself.

    But, since it was going in for service, I let the dealer document and correct the situation.

    My problem, I made observations before and after the service. If there was no adjustments made, the temperature range would have stayed the same.

    With a temperature probe, I was able to confirm that the system was now running colder.

    Go to any A/C shop and they too will use a temperature probe to check the output of the system. If it is not cooling, they will start to troubleshoot. Looking at the heater valve, checking the level of freon, and looking for leaks.


    If I left anything out....let me know.

    I just have an issue with the tech not documenting that any work was done.

    BTW - It's FRIDAY! Happy long weekend everyone! :cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:
  5. Alexma

    Alexma Member

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    I forgot to mention....flow is on face only and fan speed on high....even lowers fan speed to see if the core would get cooler due to the slower air flow.
  6. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    So your saying if you used the "auto" button and the ac button was on and you lowered the temp to say 70 degeres, the car wouldn't blow very cold air and if would be to warm for everybody inside the car? If you were in "normal drive mode" with the auto button for the temp turned on with the ac button on and turned the temp to 70 on a hot day the car should start blowing cold air in at the highest fan setting.

    What do you mean by lo do you mean low on the temp setting with auto ac engaged? or lo as in the fan was at low speed with the auto not turned on.

    I don't see any reason why if they found something wrong they would want you to know they fixed something so tey can turn in the service order so the can get paid. Why would they want to just fix things for free?


    i just seen your second post their. So you had ac button on, fan speed all they way up, and had the temp set on low witch i think is below 65. And you noticed the air is now colder than before. Really can't help you then, i can't think of a reason why a dealer would want to try to fool you and fix things for free.
  7. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    Has the dealer switched it to recirculate, so it's cooling the already cool air in the car ?
  8. stefano5777

    stefano5777 Member

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    I think someone is speaking conspiracy or is it paranoia????:D
  9. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    I forgot all about that.
  10. Alexma

    Alexma Member

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    LOL.....I did forget to mention that it was on recirc...
  11. Alexma

    Alexma Member

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    Just an update...

    CA to Vegas trip. Death Valley hit 111 degrees and it was 106 in Vegas.

    No problems with the A/C.

    Temp at the vents were 42-48 degrees, depending on fan speed and temp.

    A/C on Recirc - Auto (72 degrees) - Eco...........

    Took the car out on one of the days - 104 out - short drive, maybe 5-6 miles.

    The car had no problems cooling the car.

    Just wanted to give everyone an update.

    Wish there were some vents in the headliner for the rear seat passengers. I have them in my Sequoia and the kids love having a vent that blows air right at them.
  12. luvmypriushybrid

    luvmypriushybrid Junior Member

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    I don't think there are any midsize cars that have air vents in the headliners...I know that there are a few who have vents on the back of the armrests for the rear passengers.
    I live in South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) where it is hot and so damn muggy year-round, so I am with you when it comes to how cold the air conditioning gets.

    You used a meat thermometer to measure the temperature of the air conditioning. Which one works better? The digital thermometers or the good-old fashioned ones? And how long did you leave it in the vents to get an accurate reading?
  13. Alexma

    Alexma Member

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    I just have the old fashioned dial type. Accurate if they are zeroed out and adjustable.

    I just left it clipped in the vent the whole time. I turned the 40 degree mark so it was on top....
  14. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I wonder if dealership service centers don't sometimes fudge in a situation like this. I have no idea what condition the OP's heater valve may or may not of been in...but I can believe that perhaps the service department would make a simple adjustment but leave it undocumented.

    If you haven't filled out the JD Powers initial quality survey yet, then there is advantage to Toyota to simply making the adjustment but telling you nothing was wrong and nothing was done.

    You drive home happy...with a cooler AC, concievably believing nothing was ever wrong...thus when you do receive or fill out the survey you do not mark anything down about a AC problem or repair.

    That's about the only concievable reason I can imagine as to why a dealership service department would be disingenious in this regard.

    Otherwise why not just say...yeah...we adjusted the valve it wasn't closing all the way....

    In the dealerships defense? If you never checked before bringing it in, and you are only basing this opinion on perceived results gauged by using a thermometer? Then IMO it is also possible they are telling the truth and nothing was done.

    Unless you visually confirmed that the valve was indeed out of adjustment...and now is in adjustment...then what happened or didn't happen, is all pure speculation.
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