With the pandemic altering daily life for just about everyone alive, the slogan “the new normal” has exploded into popular parlance. Everything has changed and nothing, allegedly, will ever be the same. Governments are issuing stringent lockdown orders the likes of which haven’t been seen in our lifetimes, companies are initiating aggressive new health protocols, and gigantic tech firms are deciding what constitutes harmful information online as they act as censors for the public good. Worst of all, there’s little reason to drive anywhere — unless you’re planning on bugging out to live in the woods.
Whatever form society takes after the pandemic subsides, those eerily empty roads probably won’t be among the lingering changes. People are already chomping at the bit to get out there and do something, meaning most folks will return to their road-going ways. Which doesn’t mean COVID-19 won’t have an influence on future designs. Automakers are already mulling the possibility of adding better air filtration systems as a selling point.
I got a case of Panther Love and bought a nice 89 Town car. It’s a lower mileage (62k) girl, one that has been taken care of. I DD it.
I have been busy fixing everything that breaks on it. Previous owners just didn’t use her much, and so a wide variety of stuff just goes out. Window regulators. Alternator, battery, alignment, tires…… the list goes in and on. Every week something happens. That’s ok, and I expected as much. The engine, body, interior and tranny all seem good-superb.
It has of course an automatic temp control HVAC system, and and already I have been chasing numerous gremlins. Started with needing a new heater control valve as the floor setting never worked for the heater. That was an easy fix. But now it seems she has vacuum leaks under the dash or in places my good mechanics can’t find under the hood. Leaks that cause the system to do weird stuff, like sending all the air to the defroster under acceleration, and or switching from Heat to ac and back just for a moment. They have run all sorts of vacuum tests under the hood and can’t find the problem.
My questions is this: I have very good vintage car mechanics, but they charge 140/hour and it adds up quickly. And they are not HVAC specialists. They will gladly troubleshoot if I let them. Pull the dash and start poking around. That’s the next step.
Is there not a better way? Does an Ford (or any manufacturer) Vintage HVAC mechanic exist somewhere, someone who already knows the system? Seems to me that the experience curve might be mighty handy here. Something like a Lincoln doctor who is board certified in HVAC. That would be too cool. I can dream, no?
Or should I just stick with the guys I have and hope for the best while paying the man. I live in the Washington DC metro area. I am obviously not capable of doing this myself.
Toyota might have another stinky legal problem on its hands. A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in the US. District Court for the Southern District of Florida claims the automaker committed fraud by failing to properly address an HVAC problem that leaves Camry cabins in an unpleasantly scented state.
Condensation is the culprit in this issue, though the plaintiffs accuse Toyota of covering up the fact that it doesn’t have a solution.
I have a problem with the air conditioning not functioning properly on my ’89 Ford Taurus LX equipped with Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC).
When I start the car on a warm day the AC can blow icy cold air immediately, but the temperature gradually rises to ambient temperature by the time I reach the freeway, and is bad enough that I turn the EATC off. When I turn on the EATC by pressing AUTO, it often feels like it’s blowing maximum heat. I have noticed that when this happens the AC compressor clutch is not cycling on and off. During the winter, the AC compressor clutch clicks on and off. The problem seems to be intermittent and only occurs during warmer months. Also, during startup, you can hear an audible “whirring” noise in the dash, and that started to sound abnormal about the same time the AC stopped working. By “abnormal” I mean it lasts much longer than it used to. I believe the noise I’m hearing is the temperature blend door being moved so the EATC knows the position of the blend door.
A lawsuit filed by two Georgia Mercedes-Benz owners accuses the automaker of failing to rectify a long-standing HVAC problem and stiffing customers with the bill.
Sunil Amin and Trushar Patel claim the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in numerous models dating to the turn of the century are inherently faulty and want Mercedes-Benz and its parent, Daimler AG, to pay damages. They also want the suit to grow into a class action.
The plaintiffs say the issue started a noxious odor emitted from the vehicles’ vents and, despite attempts to have the issue fixed, nothing the automaker has done has made a difference.
Just because your vehicle is the most popular model in the world doesn’t mean there’s spare parts stashed in every storage room and broom closet.
The owner of one 2009 F-150 crew cab found this out the hard way, forcing him to turn to the media and consumer rights groups to keep his truck driveable after an extensive search for a replacement part turned up dry.
Every time I see a car on the street without its rear bumper, I see these vents under where the bumper is supposed to go. I have an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 1993 that also has these vents inside the rear doors.
What is the function of those vents?
(I really wanted to put the “n” in there.)
I have a ’97 Prelude that will sometimes cycle on and off its air conditioning when it’s unbearable hot outside (June-September here in Phoenix). Air will come out nice and cold, then it will get real warm suddenly for about 30 seconds before getting cold again. It only happens when it’s extremely hot outside and I’ve been driving for awhile. It works fine the majority of the time. What do you think?
TTAC Commentator sastexan writes:
Hope you are doing well. I haven’t seen a lot of activity from you on TTAC lately (but I haven’t been as religious a reader lately either between work and kiddos). I find it interesting what cars default to having their climate control (manual or automatic) on re-circulating versus fresh air. One of the things I like about our Odyssey is that it defaults to fresh air unless the cooling load called for is very heavy (in auto mode, in manual mode it won’t switch).
So, the world is coming to an end.
Smartphone users who just can’t handle the thought of their iDroidberrys shutting off because they get a little overheated, GM has a solution for you. The automaker announced a feature in upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas that will cool the phone while charging on the wireless mat before it turns itself into a hot brick of glass, plastic and metal.
Finally, engineers at GM got my letter.
TTAC commentator Land Ark writes:
I recently acquired a 2007 Honda Civic EX sedan from a neighbor who moved out of the country. I got a really good deal on it and for the most part it’s in good shape. It has 80k miles, 5 speed, and one major flaw. The air conditioning is a little bi-polar; sometimes if blows cold and sometimes not.
My wife has a 2009 CRV EX-L with a bit over 100,000 miles on it. Its a great car in great condition and seems to have quite a bit of life left in it. Lots of highway miles in a short period of time have been easy on it. But there are two issues:
1) Every time I get in it I smell a very strong musty odor.
2) My wife swears it doesn’t exist.
My wife drives a 1998 328i that we bought new for her- it currently has 64,300 miles on it. She drives it more or less daily (just not very far) so we couldn ’t just get rid of it; it would have to be replaced. I call this car ”The Immaculata” as it lives in covered parking and is often mistaken by her un-car-savvy girlfriends as almost new.
Unfortunately that isn’t the case. It got a new hood and fender after ”an incident”, and it’s ticked off the list of usual E36 demands. New shocks, radiator, etc. However it’s gotten everything it wanted including regular oil changes and radiator and brake flushes and a transmission flush as well.
Now it’s advanced down the list to having the HVAC mix door slam open when the heat comes on. My Independent macanic say $1,500 to fix that but it annoys the wife.
Thought about replacing the car, but I’m kind of stuck. She’s used to her heated seats and the easy power of the BMW. The suggestion of a new Mini was sneered at. However obviously this car, even in great condition as it is won’t be worth enough to make the trade for a new 3 – and she won’t eventry driving my 2011 anyhow.
So… should I bite the bullet and fix the noise she’s complaining about, bite the shotgun shell and dump it while it’s as valuable as it will ever get and buy a new car she doesn’t want, or tell her she’s crazy and that I don’t hear the noise?
Geek alert! This one is tech-heavy!
TTAC Commentator Skor writes:
Not a question, but it’s good to know that as long as there are cars there are people who will come up with hacks, no matter how complicated things get.
I have an 1992 Cadillac Seville and the blower motor fan disintegrated and jammed up the blower motor, which in turn shorted out the blower resistor. The squirrel cage disintegrated. I checked inside the blower housing to see if there was anything loose, but I could find nothing except pieces of the fan. All of this stuff was OE, no one has been in there since the car came from the factory. I’m sure someone at GM thought that saving a nickel on plastic was a good idea. Well, I bought a new motor/fan assembly and installed it. Wasn’t too bad, about $40. When I tried it, it was a no-go. Next thing I do is check the fuse (30 amp) it was fine. Then I checked the blower motor controller. It was blown. Crap! Apparently when the fan blew up, it jammed the motor, which then took out the motor controller. I’m thinking to myself:
“Nice engineering. The components on this circuit blow before the fuse does. WTF is the fuse for?”
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- ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
- ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
- ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
- ToolGuy Nice torque figure.
- ToolGuy Pretty cool.