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Thread: A/C performance problems -- not compressor/freon/evaporator related

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    26

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    Check fuse F12 for the rear heater. I removed this fuse recently when I removed my rear heater and discovered that the A/C won't work without it.

    Tim Hannink
    Winter Park, Florida
    Goldibox - 1987 Vanagon Camper, Wolfsburg Edition
    http://home.earthlink.net/~tjhannink/
    http://photos.yahoo.com/tjhannink Vanagon Album
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfsburg_campers/
    TJ Hannink
    Goldibox - 1987 Vanagon Camper, Wolfsburg Edition
    1981 Bluebird Wanderlodge, FC-33
    Winter Park, Florida
    [url]http://home.earthlink.net/~tjhannink/[/url]
    [url]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfsburg_campers[/url]
    [url]http://photos.ya

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  3. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    26

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by V. Threlkeld:
    My Bentley seem quite vague when it come to removing the evaporator housing in the Westfalia. Thanks for any suggestions.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is how I lower the evaporator cover on my 1987 Vanagon Camper.
    Remove the duct housing (with the vents) above the rear seat. I use a razor blad and a small screwdriver to pry the covers off of the screws. Remember the four Phillips screws that hold it in from the upper bunk. I ususally do those first so I don't forget them.
    Remove the two Phillips head screws on the front of the evaporator cover.
    Remove the rearmost bolt holding the evaporator cover to the rear cabinet.
    Remove the rear grill cover.
    Remove the front bolt holding the evaporator cover to the rear cabinet.
    Disconnect the drain hoses from the drip pan and pull them out of the holes in the evaporator cover.
    Support the bottom of the evaporator cover. (I use a large hydraulic jack with a laundry basket on top of it.)
    Remove the two Phillips screws on the bottom of the evaporator cover.
    Lower the cover 4-6".
    Disconnect the wiring to the blower motors and the speakers. (remember to fish the speaker wire out of the cover)
    Unbolt the blower resistors from the evaporator cover.
    Lower the evaporator cover and remove it from the van. (the cover weighs about 20 lbs)
    Remove the inner housing and deflector from the front of the evaporator, it should pull straight out from the front.
    You should be able to see whats left of the old foam weatherstriping now on the inside of the outer cover.
    I used 1-1/2"w x 1/4"d foam weatherstripping used to seal bed toppers to the back of pickup trucks as a replacement for the original foam.
    You also need to pay special attention to where the A/C pressure hoses and evaporator drain hoses enter the inner housing. I wrapped layers of the same foam around the hoses in order to build them up enough to seal the gaps.
    I took the time to clean and oil the blower fans as well. This is also a great time to upgrade your rear speakers.
    Re-installation is, of course, the reverse of removal. I used a stainless duct tape to seal the rear sides of the inner housing to the brackets that the bottom of the outer housing screw into.
    Before I re-installed the duct housing, I put in some foam rubber channels inside it to divert all of the air to the front vents. A photo is here: http://home.earthlink.net/~tjhannink..._Channels2.jpg

    The foam came from Walmart and is part of a window A/C insulation kit. I glued it to the cover with 3M spray adhesive.

    I also have a post in the "Demystifying Vanagon heater & fresh air controls" which has more info about improving the performance of the Vanagon Camper air conditioning system.

    BTW, the best tool to have when doing this is a fully charged cordless screwdriver with a good #2 Phillips bit.

    Good luck,

    Tim Hannink
    Goldibox - 1987 Vanagon Camper, Wolfsburg Edition
    Winter Park, Florida
    http://home.earthlink.net/~tjhannink/
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfsburg_campers
    http://photos.yahoo.com/tjhannink Vanagon Album
    TJ Hannink
    Goldibox - 1987 Vanagon Camper, Wolfsburg Edition
    1981 Bluebird Wanderlodge, FC-33
    Winter Park, Florida
    [url]http://home.earthlink.net/~tjhannink/[/url]
    [url]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfsburg_campers[/url]
    [url]http://photos.ya

  4. #13
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Posts
    3,806

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    Transferred to consolidate same topic.

    Dru Junior Member posted June 25, 2004 07:49 PM

    I recently moved to Tucson, AZ, and had my '85 Westfalia's A/C compressor, receiver and dryer replaced at Beaudry VW Dealership. The problem is that the "parked" temp inside the van can reach 114 and then my A/C has difficulty cooling such a huge space.
    If I put up a barrier (cardboard or plywood) right under the rear vents right behind the back bench seat to block air from moving into the far back area, would that interfere with the A/C's functioning? I thought maybe minimizing the amount of space that has to be cooled might help. On the other hand, I know the far back upper vent (where there's a shelf)can never be blocked and I don't know if that vent has anything to do with the A/C functioning.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Dru

  5. #14
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
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    Such a 'block off' would be self-defeating. That grill above the rear shelf is the evaporator intake. All air coming out the vents must first go in there. Although I don't doubt there might be enough leakage around a curtain to allow the A/C to continue to work, it will add temps to the evaporator and thus higher compressor pressures and work-load.

    The Vanagon A/C is, for all practical purposes, an aftermarket design, so it is a recirculating system. It takes inside air and conditions it. Thus, over time, the air is cooler and dried, so the A/C works less and is more efficient as compared to taking in fresh hot outside air and attempting to bring it down to that level. But . . .

    The problem with the Vanagon A/C is circulation, not capacity. You're on the right track, but the ideal would be to somehow get vents into the front cabin and not have it recirculating the cabin air behind the front seats. Elsewhere you'll see suggestions of front cabin fans to assist circulation. The non-Westy vans had ductwork carrying air to the front cabin, but that isn't practical with the poptop roof opening. Blocking off the cargo area by putting a tarp or cover over the cargo at or even above rear seatback height could reduce interior A/C volume. Since cold air sinks, ditto the entire camping cabin-space. But you still run into the problem of the cooled air reaching the front cabin.

    I'm still convinced that some sort of ducting, perhaps removeable or tracking along the sides of the roof opening that exited in the front cabin would solve most of the problems. I just haven't had enough 'round-to-it' to design and fabricate one. I just finished a beach trip with kids and they were freezing in the back while we roasted in front, even with dash fans.

    So I'll continue to look for some way to duct A/C to the front cabin. With the new collapsable ductwork now availalbe, maybe even something that snap fastens to the rear panel, fan assisted. Lousy design. The Type II's had the evaporator under the dash and was the way to go. It reduced rear A/C but not to the extent the rear evaporator does to the front. The driver/passenger seat are almost always used -- the rear seat far less so.

  6. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    3

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    I have a 1984 California Westy with a dealer installed Behr system (blows from the front with the fan and cooling switches).

    I thought it needed coolant, but it mysteriously started working about a month ago. It blew ice cold and kicked the idle dowbit. It then started working intermitantly, and now it's not working again. The compressor's not engaging. I'm suspecting an electrical problem. Does anyone know where I can find a wiring diagram of this system? I checked the switches wih a multimeter, and they seem good. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks,

  7. #16
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
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    3,806

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    Get a set of gauges on it. What I suspect, since it will blew very cold before cutting out, is you've got an overcharge and the high-pressure switch is cutting out the compressor. Other possibilities are icing -- if it starts cool and then quits, which will have the same effect on pressures. Failure of the evaporator fans will do the same.

    "A/C Diagnostics . . ." has its own topic this forum.

    The Behr was similar to most aftermarket systems so the wiring diagram for late Type II's posted on this site (Tech Drawings) should give you a good idea of what to expect. A good A/C manual like Murray Gold Seal's will show you how to test components. I have a Behr wiring diagram for a Porsche and except for that model not having condensor fans, it is very similar. Being dealer installed, you will at least have separate and easier-to-trace harnesses since they won't be part of the Vanagon OE sets.

  8. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    11

    Default experience with A/C thermostat failure?

    These threads on A/C have been very helpful; thanks so much Capt. Mike and co.

    The A/C on my 1990 Vanagon GL camper was not working when I bought it last October. Now I'm trying to get to the bottom of the problem.

    There has obviously been a minor burn in the D pillar, which probably explains why the previous owner turned it off and never tried it again, nor did he look into the problem. The evidence suggests that some wires/insulation got too close to the S-0 50aFuse (as warned by Capt. Mike elsewhere; see Bentley p. 87.4, photo 87-885)

    The local Vanagon electrical expert converted the system to R134a, checked out all the wiring and found that the bad link in the system was the A/C thermostat - that is, when he bypassed the thermostat, the system worked, but otherwise would not. Does this sound a reasonable diagnosis?

    ...and, of course, any comments on experience with A/C thermostat failures would be helpful. The fact that I haven't seen any mention of this particular problem here has me concerned that it might be something else.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 06-02-2010 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Remove "where can I get" content (Guideline #5). Email blocked

  9. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Whittier, Ca
    Posts
    9

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    Hello all...new to this so please bare with me...Im looking for a little help with my 87 Vanagon. A/c is working finally after a new compresssor and converting to 134a. However even before conversion my fan seems to stop intermittent. It works great until I crank it up to 4 (and only on 4, 1-3 are fine and can run no problem for long periods of time...but as we all know 4 is what is needed to cool down the beast.) I can actually run it on 4 (full power anywhere from 10 to 20 min then something in the relays located behind the left pillar in the rear starts to click. And the blower starts to cut in and out. Fif anyone can help or point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

  10. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    11

    Default clicking in the D pillar?

    Hi ferchdogg,
    Welcome! I assume you've opened up the D pillar (rear left) and run the A/C on 4 until the clicking starts. Step one would be to try to locate the precise source of the clicking - might be one of the relays A, B, or C (see picture on p. 87.5 of the Bentley manual) or thermostat (p. 87.6). I'm leaving my beast with a guy today to see if he can solve my ongoing problem (see earlier) - will ask him about yours for you. - Liam
    Last edited by Liam; 04-22-2011 at 06:36 AM.

  11. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Whittier, Ca
    Posts
    9

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    Wow! Thanks...look forward to his answer. Yes I took apart the pillar and located the clicking noise coming from the center relay from what I can tell. So I did the dumb thing and pulled some used ones from a junkyard Vanagon but it still made the same noise. Anyhow looking forward to your guys response...

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