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2012 AC - Troubleshooting Steps

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by harpharperharp, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Sep 10, 2020 at 9:10 AM
    #1
    harpharperharp

    harpharperharp [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey all! Did some searching, and couldn't find a good rundown of AC trouble for someone who hasn't already worked on car AC. I was wondering if someone could give me some guidance on where to start with trouble shooting my AC issues.

    AC has never been super cold in the year and 20k I've owned the truck, but it got considerably worse suddenly last week.

    Notes:

    1. air is* colder than ambient temperature, but not by a lot. (I say is* because I did not use a thermometer, but it feels colder. Could be the evaporative effect on my skin, but it is def. not hot hot

    2. AC light is not blinking.

    3. Fan blows hard. Just changed cabin air filter as well.

    4. I've noticed a couple sounds lately, but nothing that crazy. A bit of very quiet hissing out of the vents as the AC powers down, as well as a whistle with the fan on while accelerating.

    I'm pretty mechanically inclined and like to do all my own work if possible, but just have no experience with AC systems. Can someone give me some advice on an order to check things?

    Thinking the truck may have never had the AC recharged, so thinking that's a good place to start?

    Thanks all! Again, my apologies if I missed a thread on this, but a lot of the info I found was very piecemeal.
     
  2. Sep 10, 2020 at 9:49 AM
    #2
    DiscoYaker

    DiscoYaker Well-Known Member

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    I just started having an issue with mine. Ive been searching and found some stuff but like you nothing great. Ive noticed using Google search and typing in 'tacomaworld' first and then a few keywords is alot easier.

    With mine it just went to hell a week ago out of nowhere while on a 5 hour journey. I was towing a small trailer but I think that was inconsequential.

    In noticed the driver side vent blows pretty cold but the further you get to passenger side the warmer it get but have good airflow all around.

    Sorry I dont have answers for you just kind of going through the same thing

     
    harpharperharp [OP] likes this.
  3. Sep 10, 2020 at 9:55 AM
    #3
    harpharperharp

    harpharperharp [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Kings, TC UCA, Dakar HD, OME sports, drawers, canopy, awning, racks galore.
    Ill see if mine is doing the same thing as far as vents go! And will share what I learn as I figure it out.
     
  4. Sep 10, 2020 at 10:03 AM
    #4
    spitdog

    spitdog Well-Known Member

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    I would get a set of manifold gauges and check your pressures. You most likely have a leak and will need to repair that first before you can add r134a. To find a leak you will add a little dye, and search with a uv light.

    You may have a leek at o rings, condenser ect. You will need a vacuum pump to recharge system.

    You can get loaner tools at auto zone or buy at harbor fright ect.

    I was in the same boat this spring with a bad condenser. Bought tools and did it myself and works like a charm.

    Since your handy, you can do this and save some money.
     
  5. Sep 10, 2020 at 11:21 AM
    #5
    TnShooter

    TnShooter Well-Known Member

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    The colder one one side of the truck and warmer one the other, is indicative of low refrigerant.
     
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  6. Sep 10, 2020 at 11:22 AM
    #6
    DiscoYaker

    DiscoYaker Well-Known Member

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    Good to know, ill check that out
     
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  7. Sep 10, 2020 at 5:20 PM
    #7
    harpharperharp

    harpharperharp [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'll start there! Thanks. What about telling whether my clutch or compressor is bad? how are they related?
     
  8. Sep 10, 2020 at 6:12 PM
    #8
    TnShooter

    TnShooter Well-Known Member

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    The clutch is mounted on the compressor, it engages (spins) the compressor.
    Just like a clutch on a car, except it’s magnetic.

    You’d likely know by now if it were locked up.

    To see if the clutch is working, start the truck.
    Open the hood and look at the AC compressor.
    Then have some one turn on the AC. You should see the clutch/compressor face start spinning.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
    harpharperharp [OP] likes this.
  9. Sep 10, 2020 at 6:24 PM
    #9
    TnShooter

    TnShooter Well-Known Member

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    BTW, it is normal for the compressor to kick on and off.
    It does this to prevent freezing up the condenser and burning up the compressor.

    Again, it should come on and then go off at some point.
    Usually a few mins apart.
    You’re just looking for it to come on. That should tell you the clutch is working.
     
  10. Sep 10, 2020 at 6:52 PM
    #10
    DiscoYaker

    DiscoYaker Well-Known Member

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    @harpharperharp

    Did you ever check to see if drivers side is colder than passenger?
    Just curious
     
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  11. Sep 10, 2020 at 6:54 PM
    #11
    po35042

    po35042 Well-Known Member

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    Just for reference, local dealership replaced my compressor and condenser/drier for about $1600 a few months ago.
    I was gonna do it myself but was working a lot of overtime and didn't have the time.
    A few things I learned from the research, mostly from the good folks here on TW:
    1. The Tacoma drier (usually replaced when replacing a compressor on any car) is built in to the condenser (small radiator out front).
    Most other vehicles I have worked on have the drier separate, saving you from having to buy the condenser too.
    2. If the compressor hurls and locks up, it sends shrapnel thru the entire system and is more expensive to fix. So fix it sooner rather than later. Yours sounds like it has not locked up yet so you should be able to fix it more affordably. Running it low on refrigerant or even worse overcharged with refrigerant can lock up the compressor.
    3. You can get a can of refrigerant at the local auto parts with a hose and gauge that may get you blowing cold short term, but it is better to get a set of real gauges and learn how to use them. Many of the diy cans also have leak sealant in them, which usually doesn't seal a leak and may finish off the compressor.
    4. Since the Tacoma still has an old fashioned thermal fan clutch, it has more trouble keeping the AC cool in slow traffic and or/red lights. You have probably noticed it does better once you get moving down the road. If the fan clutch is no longer kicking in and out at the right temperatures, your AC system won't blow as cold. I have not replaced my clutch yet (176k miles), but have read here that replacing it may give you colder air in the cab.
     
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  12. Sep 10, 2020 at 6:58 PM
    #12
    Bishop84

    Bishop84 Well-Known Member

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    Step one, discharge measure whats in the system, recharge. (this requires a machine)

    Step two, find leak, fix leak. All a/c systems lose charge over time, and anything under 75% the system won't even try to start.

    Step three no leak. Check compressor. The clutch usually feels like shit on tacoma when you try to spin it by hand while the truck is off.

    I can usually command the clutch on once when its failing, then never again. Tacomas are famous for compressor/clutches.

    Step four, clutch/compressor is good, and no leaks? Need gauge diag with a proper tech.
     
  13. Sep 10, 2020 at 7:17 PM
    #13
    DiscoYaker

    DiscoYaker Well-Known Member

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  14. Sep 10, 2020 at 7:26 PM
    #14
    dblwall

    dblwall Member

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    Had the same problem last year, driver side blew cold but passengers outlets not so much. Bought the can of refrigerant with the gauge and it was low, charged and was fine. This summer problem returned and checked the pressure and was right in the middle of the green. But here in Arizona when it's 120* it won't catch up and cool it down.
     
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  15. Sep 10, 2020 at 7:33 PM
    #15
    po35042

    po35042 Well-Known Member

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    I have read several times on here that the Tacoma AC system is barely adequate even when brand new. Perhaps they are still running with the design/ cab volume parameters of a first gen single cab? I also have seen a lot of parts stamped "Delphi" on this truck in the AC/electrical parts, which gives me nightmares from when I used to work on Chevys.
     
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  16. Sep 10, 2020 at 7:51 PM
    #16
    Jimmyh

    Jimmyh Well-Known Member

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    Evaporator Coil...
     
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  17. Sep 10, 2020 at 8:33 PM
    #17
    TnShooter

    TnShooter Well-Known Member

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    Yes, thanks for the correction.
    I get those confused a lot.
    Actually, I prefer NOT to do AC work.

    Unless you have the equipment, tools, and know how, you’re better off letting someone else fix it.
    I might consider doing an A/C clutch replacement myself.
    Other than that, I’m not afraid to admit. I’m in over my head.


    I’ll be rolling the windows down. :D
     
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  18. Sep 11, 2020 at 7:10 AM
    #18
    CurtB

    CurtB Well-Known Member

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    Step two should be step one. ;)
     
  19. Sep 11, 2020 at 7:17 AM
    #19
    BillsSR5

    BillsSR5 Living 24/7 in Skidoo's head

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    best advice
     
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  20. Sep 11, 2020 at 9:21 AM
    #20
    spitdog

    spitdog Well-Known Member

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    That’s exactly why I chose the learning process and did it myself.
     
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