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Old 06-27-2010, 12:20 PM   #1
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Exclamation Urgently need help - Dash AC not working

Sorry for the "urgent" request for help - but I'm stuck and due to be on the road in two days. I live in a remote (read boondocks) area of NC, none of the Ford dealers around here are able to help with the F53 chassis, nor are they equipped to.

This is regarding a 1999 33' Holiday Rambler Vacationer, built on the F53 chassis. I am NOT a car repair person, but if told what to do, or shown once, I can usually handle simple stuff.

I was coming back from Birmingham and my dash AC just all of a sudden stopped working. It was blowing fine (never "cold" - but maintained ~45-50F). All of a sudden, no fan. The cab got VERY warm (HOT!) and I was forced to run the generator to power the house a/c for the remainder of the trip, which did little to cool the driver area.

I did find an "Advance Auto Parts" who offered to come out and check the computer (I also have an idiot light on, but I think that's just the gas tank cap not being tight - it's been on for weeks). He couldn't FIND the plug, but I pulled the cowling off the steering column and found it myself. Need to go back to have him plug in and find what the code says. I'm not positive, but since it's been on for a while, I don't think it's related.

I got back home, pulled every fuse and checked. None blown. I found a fan relay - replaced it with new, no change. The fuse panels I've found are in the cab area, by the brake pedal, and a larger master fuse panel under the hood. There's also a 4 spot relay panel just below that, I did NOT open that to check, but looking at the schematics, they're not anything to do with fans.

Is there a fusable link anywhere in this do you think? If so, any idea WHERE? Could the fan motor have just "died" (no previous noises)?

I *THINK* (again I'm a novice at this) I hear the compressor kick on when I turn the dash a/c on, but there's no fan.

Any input, thoughts or ideas would be VERY appreciated. I'm getting desperate here

Thanks guys
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:17 PM   #2
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Confirmed, the compressor is engaging when switched on, just no fan.

I just tried pulling the dash panel (my God there's a ton of screws) - but I'm limited cause I can't get the stereo out all the way (probably aftermarket). Should I continue on this - maybe the switch is bad?
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:43 PM   #3
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I'm no mechanic so; just use your genset and the house AC!
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cousin Ed View Post
I'm no mechanic so; just use your genset and the house AC!
LoL - if I can't find the solution from the experts here, I'll have to wait till I get to NY to find a dealer that can address it - so, ya, that's the plan.

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Old 06-27-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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I'm guessing the fan control setup has a connection undone or internal switch gone bad. Unusual for a fan to quit all at once, tho possible. The sudden death acts more like loss of signal.

First check is for 12V to either the #30 or #87 terminal of the relay (assuming standard Bosch type). If none, then you've lost voltage to the relay and need to follow that to find the "open" and fix it.
Then, assuming 12V to the load side of relay, start at the relay coil contacts (#85 & 86 on a standard Bosch type relay, labeled on the plastic next to the spades) and follow them. One goes to ground and one to "signal" or 12V that should switch on when your dash switch is turned to AC or MaxAC. If no 12V to the relay coil, or no ground then the fan isn't getting told to come on.

If I couldn't find my problem checking from the relay contacts, load first then coil, IIWMI'd run 12V w/a 3A fuse inline to the coil and a fresh 12V to #30 with 15A fuse inline, and ground wire from #87 to ground and see if the fan comes on.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
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So there's TWO relays? Hmm. Ok, I found one and replaced it, would they both be in the same panel? (Sorry, like I said, I'm not well versed on mechanics, but trying to save a few bucks if this is something I _can_ fix)

I don't know how to "check" them, so far it's just been easier to replace
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:45 PM   #7
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No, I'm assuming there is only one relay, and keying off that one relay to diagnose the problem. Simply replacing the relay only means its not likelyt he relay; but remember the relay is just one part of a switch circuit and the tests I'm advising are to look at the rest of the circuit. the relay has a coil side (85/86) that energizes an electromagnet to close the load contacts (30/87)
Coil side is simply a continuous coil of wire. Each spade on the relay should be connected to ground when connections are plugged to it (you can read if this is so using a Ohm meter and you should have ground (ohms = 0 touching spade w/one meter lead & chassis ground w/the other) w/key off from either 85/86 spade to chassis ground, & wires connected to spades 85/86).
Load side is an open switch (spades 30 & 87 not connected, ohm meter needle doesn't move or digital scale reads infinity when no call for AC, and should be a closed switch, ohms = 0 between 30 & 87 when there is a call).

My process is to check the load side to see if it has 12V (probably need key on) on either 30 or 87, check coil side for ground continuity from both spades 85 & 86 to chassis ground as a start to see if the coil is getting the connectivity it needs to operate. I'm assuming relay is good since you tried a second one.
From there, I'd simply follow the 4 relay inputs/outputs to their necessary conclusions to see they are doing what they need. If they are, then maybe the fan is kaput.
If you wind up suspecting the fan, you should be able to bypass the relay by applying 12V directly to the fan (w/an inline fuse on your test lead) to see if it runs. I'd start w/the relay tests since they are easy and you know where the relay is. Following the load side will show you where the fan 12V input is.

If all else fails, you can run a new circuit w/a switch to enable the fan while the compressor is engaged, including inline fuse. This can be a temporary setup till you engage a permanent diagnostic & fix.
Note my many admonitions to include a fuse; w/a problem of this type, there is the possibility you have a short and don't want to start a fire or burn yourself w/melting insulation/wire. Popping fuses means the hunt is on for the short, and it is probably better to run the gen and get a fan to blow into the cockpit from aft, till you can get qualified help.
Hope this explains it.

One fast check for the coil side of the circuit is to to see if relay is engaging when you call for AC. Key on, put your fingers on the relay cube, turn AC switch to AC or MaxAC. You should feel the relay contacts snap together. If no snap then no 12V is going to coil & problem is on the AC switch side which includes the dash switch & coil. If you get the contacts snapping, then problem is on load part of circuit which includes 12V to 30 or 87, fan & fan ground (plus in each case the wires and connections establishing a complete circuit).

Gotta run for a haircut, hope this helps.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
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Wow, THANK YOU - even I can follow this

I *really* appreciate your help!
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