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Thread: A/C not working

  1. #1
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    Default A/C not working

    I am now the proud owner of a 1988 Lincoln Town Car and the A/C is not working. It's blowing hot air. Where do I start to find out what is wrong with it? I have read through some posts but it seems there is so many and I really don't have the time to read through all of them.
    It seems the A/C in this car is different than the ones in newer cars....

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  2. #2
    all the CFI are belong to me
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    Congratulations on your new car acquisition. I'll try to run through this as best I can:

    First-first (added this point later...), open the glovebox and flip it down towards the floor so you can see behind it (there are little arm things you can move out of the way to let it fall down like that). You will see behind the glovebox, a gold-coloured metal cylinder. In the centre of it, there is a hose fitting. If the hose is not attached to it, this will cause your issue. If the hose is seen hanging nearby with a pencil, golf tee, or bolt stuck in the end to block it off, this was done intentionally by the previous owner because the heat was not working in the winter, and there is a problem with the vacuum temperature sensor/valve, which I will touch on later. But right now all you care about is making sure the line is plugged into it or not. Report back with your findings.

    First (after the first-first thing), you should identify if the AC compressor is running when you set the AC to be on. Looking at the engine from the front, the topmost, leftmost pulley is that of the AC compressor. The outer part of the pulley that the belt touches always spins with the engine. The inner part of the pulley (called the compressor clutch) stays still when AC is off, and spins together with the outside part when AC is on. Start the car, observe what the pulley looks like when AC is turned off, then turn AC on and observe if it changes. Let us know what happens. If it is not spinning at all, it could be an electrical problem, or low/no refrigerant. If it spins only in short bursts and cycles off again repeatedly, it is likely low refrigerant.

    If the compressor is running continuously or at least for more than a few seconds at a time, the evaporator and the drier should be getting cold to the touch. On the passenger side of the engine bay against the firewall, there is a black plastic housing where the evaporator core is located, with a metal canister mounted in front of it, which is the drier. The metal body of the drier will get noticeably colder than the surrounding air if the system is cooling. I am not sure if it can technically get cold enough to cause frostbite, but be cautious when touching it regardless. If the evaporator and drier are not getting cold to the touch after a short time of the system running, you probably need to take the car to a qualified AC repair shop, or otherwise will need to invest in some special tools and do some considerable reading to learn how to work on that system.

    If the compressor runs, and the evaporator/drier are getting cold, then the problem is with the controls that change the temperature of the air that blows out of the vents. The car is making cold air, but is not letting you have any of it.
    Possible problem points: vacuum lines, check valve, reservoir canister, control head (with the sliding levers on the dash), temperature sensor/valve, servo (the gold canister). Post back with your findings from above and we can dive into this fun stuff if necessary.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-09-2021 at 01:01 AM.

    Current: 83 GM 2dr POTM 10/2019 | 84 TC POTM 1/2017 & 4/2019 | 85 CS | 85 Ranger +trlr | 86 GM | 91 GM POTM 12/2017
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  3. #3
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    As a fellow '88 TC owner, I need pics and details of this new ride.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  4. #4
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    Here are some pics of my "Mobster" car
    The interior is burgundy plush. Everything works except the A/C and the radio. I will put another radio in though, cause I need good tunes while cruising.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  5. #5
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    +1 on what Kishy said. Figure out if its a system or a blend door problem. Both need to work correctly or no cold air.

    It works basically the same as everything else, the one hitch in the giddy-up is that vacuum control valve that operates the blend door.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  6. #6
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    So we checked under the glove box and everything seems to be connected. Next we checked under the hood and the A/C compressor does not engage at all.
    This guy

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  7. #7
    fomoco panthers !
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    Really nice Towncar. My favorite colors, Black and red. My thought is your ac system is discharged and has not been updated to R134. No one recharged the system with R-12 because it is so expensive. R134 conversion can be done on the cheap or done right. I am gathering the parts to do a total conversion on one of my 89 TCs. Since our cars are so old, it is very wise to replace most of the A/C components. The parts are not that expensive. Check out Rock Auto.

  8. #8
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    Mainmantom what parts do I need to change all that?
    This is a picture of what's in it...

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  9. #9
    all the CFI are belong to me
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    That is a really nice looking car, for sure.

    Since the clutch is not engaging, there are two possibilities:
    1. An electrical problem causing the clutch not to receive power to engage. This is not likely, but it's possible, so I'll throw it in here.
    2. The refrigerant charge is too low, or the low pressure switch is faulty and thinks it is too low. It is likely that the refrigerant charge is low, as suggested above.

    Some of the oil staining pattern on the compressor and the lines behind it is indicative of a leak, which would be typical and expected.

    At this point I'd suggest taking it to a reputable shop that does AC service for further diagnosis. You'll probably end up with two options, a cheaper "just get it working" option that may only last the season (e.g. "stop-leak" chemical and put some sort of refrigerant in it) and a more expensive proper repair, which would involve a thorough leak test, replacing the parts that are commercially available, replacing all seals/O-rings and charging the system only after all leaks are corrected. R134a conversion is more or less mandatory in either case which any shop that does professional AC service can do for you. All of that is possible to DIY but requires special tools and knowledge; the average person is best off getting the work done by a reputable shop.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-09-2021 at 11:13 PM.

    Current: 83 GM 2dr POTM 10/2019 | 84 TC POTM 1/2017 & 4/2019 | 85 CS | 85 Ranger +trlr | 86 GM | 91 GM POTM 12/2017
    Gone: 97 CV | 83 TC
    Junkyards

  10. #10
    fomoco panthers !
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    I am replacing all the A/C hoses, compressor, dryer, condenser, orifice tube, pressure switch, O rings,extra compressor oil. I am using as many Motorcraft parts as possible. New compressor, not reman or rebuilt. Compressor is old and R134 runs at a higher pressure. More strain on a old compressor. All hoses because they are so old. New system uses a different oil, not compatible with each other.
    I agree with Kishy, A good A/C shop should do this job. Maybe you have a good mechanic ?
    Before you buy parts, ask whoever will be doing the job if they allow you to buy your own parts and they will install them. Many shops will not as they don't trust the customer to get good or the correct parts.
    Do you realize you have the original radiator hoses/clamps still on that car ?? Get those changed asap
    Last edited by Mainemantom; 06-09-2021 at 11:23 PM.

  11. #11

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    My ACīs also not working. Empty since late 90s (due to info from previous owner in Germany). I assume it had been empitied for shipment and never charged again since the car was 15 years in storage after that.

    My compressor has severe oil stains BUT before throwing any parts at it I went to the shop and had the system pressurized with nitrogen @290psi. It showed zero leaks. Checked all connections with soap spray. Nitrogen holds pressure for over a week now. Coil energizes but pulley was broken in two parts (see other thread).

    Shop will not use R134a but a replacement for R12 which can be used with the mineral oil. Donīt know which one theyīll use exactly.

    So you could pressurize the system with nitrogen and check for leaks first.

  12. #12
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    That is a nice Townie, I'm envious. Mine is black with sandalwood interior, but I've always coveted porno red. Digidash?

    With my Townie, I replaced the compressor and accumulator & had it converted. It worked fine for the past six years, it's low right now.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  13. #13
    Lost and driftin' Arquemann's Avatar
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    When I got my MGM originally (it had sat for many years), the AC just needed a refill, but it took almost 30 minutes of faffing around for the system to realize it was charged and start circulating.
    Mine is a bit of a hodgepodge, still has the old valves, but has a reman compressor and runs R134a.

    On mine I had the AC clutch go bad later on.
    You can check the plug on the AC clutch to see if it has a ground and power when the car runs. If it gets both, the clutch is bad. I believe you can also test the clutch by giving it ground and power and see if it'll engage.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
    2008 BMW 530d Touring, "Femma"

  14. #14
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    Thank you all for this information. By the looks of it, this seems to be a bigger job. I do have two mechanics (my best friend and roommate and my boss) who help me with all my car stuff. But I will also have a professional shop look at it and give me an estimate on the cost to do a conversion. I assume though it's gonna be Windows open this Summer.

    Oh ja, one more question. I watched a few videos on YouTube and saw on one that this part is lit up. I checked on mine but it doesn't look there is any light bulbs behind it. Are they supposed to light up or is this homemade?

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  15. #15
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Home made. Would be cool to put an amber bulb in there.

    Oh and if your compressor spins fairly easily by hand, you might get lucky with being able to reuse it.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  16. #16
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    It does turn by hand easily...

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  17. #17
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    DerektheGreat, it does not have a digidash, thanks goodness cause I hate them. I like the old school stuff.
    The blue light you see is a reflection of my outdoor light by the door. However I want to replace the interior lights with this type of blue lightbulbs. I think it looks cool. I have them in my Grand Marquis too...

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  18. #18
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Blue.. The hardest color on your eyes at night.

    I love the digi dash. Really, I just love options. My car doesn't have it either but I wish it did. I dig all the big square buttons that go beneath the heater controls and such.

    Your car have the Premium stereo or the JBL option? Load leveling suspension? Want to sell it?
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  19. #19
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    I love the blue lights. I have them everywhere
    It has the JBL option and I did read about load leveling stuff in the little "Bible" that came with the car.
    Sorry, but selling is not an option. I enjoy this too much. This car came to me, I wasn't looking for it. My roommate's son tagged me in the post and I literally said I am not interested.
    But I couldn't get the car out of my head while I went grocery shopping and when I got home, I messaged my roommate's son and asked if he could arrange a meeting with the seller but it has to happen "tonight". After the test drive I bought the car on the spot and took it home.
    There is absolutely no rust underneath. Apparently the car originated in Florida and has been a garage car all the time, which I will continue to do so too. And definitely no winter driving.
    Here is a picture of the two beauties we took for a ride last night

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (love it) my current daily driver
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  20. #20
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    ..What would you want for the Ford-JBL badges on the speaker grilles on the rear package tray???

    Townies are good looking cars. I might actually try and sell mine this year, I think it's time to move on.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

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