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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm in TN and its starting to get pretty warm, The other day. i got in my car. turned on the AC and it didnt get cold. With previous vehicles. i know they have AC Clutch Relays, Which sometimes go bad. but i was unable to find one on the kia. Same with clutch on the compressor. But apparently kia's compressors dont have an outer clutch?

Any tips on troubleshooting? I ordered an AC gauge to check pressure levels, but in the mean time i bought one of those cans of AC Pro. that has the gauge for low side, i hooked it up. and it went to the Red level. Car was on. AC set to low. and fan at highest setting, but again. with the optima. its hard to see if the clutch is engaging since its internal. just looking for some advice. as most shops around me have no availability to even get me in to hook up a gauge. for the next 2-3 weeks.

Also, Could it be one of the actuators? blend door. I read that sometimes that could be an issue.
 

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These cars have no clutch assembly, they have a crappy VDC, variable displacement compressor, and it runs all the time, even when the A/C is off.
Most experience a a delay in cold air for sometimes 5, 10, 15 minutes after start up, then will cool as it should, and this is because of the prone to fail
electronic control valve at the back of the compressor.
Another problem with these compressors that they run all the time, if no refrigerant in the system, no oil will be circulated, so compressor can be destroyed.
Get gauges, check system pressures, when off, I'm going to say @ 100 psi, if so, it should at least provide cool air, if very low, need to check
for leak..
Let's assume the valve has gone south, it can be replaced with another crappy valve w/o replacement of the entire compressor, but the system needs
to be discharged, valve removed, new installed, evacuated, charged with, I believe 19.3 oz refrigerant.

Now if there is a leak, you'll need to find the area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
These cars have no clutch assembly, they have a crappy VDC, variable displacement compressor, and it runs all the time, even when the A/C is off.
Most experience a a delay in cold air for sometimes 5, 10, 15 minutes after start up, then will cool as it should, and this is because of the prone to fail
electronic control valve at the back of the compressor.
Another problem with these compressors that they run all the time, if no refrigerant in the system, no oil will be circulated, so compressor can be destroyed.
Get gauges, check system pressures, when off, I'm going to say @ 100 psi, if so, it should at least provide cool air, if very low, need to check
for leak..
Let's assume the valve has gone south, it can be replaced with another crappy valve w/o replacement of the entire compressor, but the system needs
to be discharged, valve removed, new installed, evacuated, charged with, I believe 19.3 oz refrigerant.

Now if there is a leak, you'll need to find the area.
So i took it to a shop here, they did an Evac/recharge to see if it was low, turns out. wasnt low. they called and said the compressor wasnt engaging when they put their probe to it. and it needs replaced along with the TXV, I decided to call a couple other shops and ask around. since this shop quoted $1100 before tax, and all of them said to get a second opinion. cuz that specific shop doesnt specialize in it. and that what they said didnt make sense considering the whole clutchless compressor and them saying it didnt engage.

also they have the compressor at $750 plus their hour and a half of labor. and the TXV at $220, and i found out they have a 44% mark up on parts, some parts are even more of a mark up. so its a bit high.

any tips on how to tell if its the valve, without draining the system and puilling the valve out? Im gonna guess they didnt do any of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another thing, with conventional compressors, i know if you turn them on. they instantly drop your RPM's for a second. as its pulling a load, im assuming thats not the case with the Variable ones? since its running from start?
 

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FYI the compressor to evacuate is just over $100, the valve/gauge cluster is about $40, and the replacement refrigerant is around $25 I think. So also consider DIY if you are handy, to replace the valve

This is an overview of how easy it would be to DIY (for a cooling system not specific to Optima) to handle the cooling system, so you'd also have to add the steps to replace the valve:
 

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Another thing, with conventional compressors, i know if you turn them on. they instantly drop your RPM's for a second. as its pulling a load, im assuming thats not the case with the Variable ones? since its running from start?
That is correct.
My question would be, once you experienced no cold air, did it ever come back on? Normally when the valve starts to deteriorate,set A/C temp, nothing but outside air for 5, 10, sometimes 15 minutes, then the A/C would be fine, but also when stopped for a period of time, as in traffic, the cold air would taper off to barely cool, then back to normal after driving when RPM's are off idle, but eventually it would go completely, no cold air at any time.
To me, the valves are junk, actually the entire system, at least in the Hyundai/Kia is junk, many problems with the valve, so shops would rather replace the compressor rather than just the valve as it's easy work and more money.

On our '11 2.0T, the valve started going back in 2016, cold air on/off, so replaced the entire compressor as I found a used unit for $30, replaced the valve in that unit 170,000 miles and now, the system started acting up again just recently at 227,000 miles, but once again, found a unit with only 16,000 miles so will do another replacement in the near future. Not a big job, just an annoyance with the removal of the undercovers etc, but also a good time to change the serpentine belt, but also need to pick up a couple o rings for the lines, which you don't need when changing just the valve..

Here's some info:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That is correct.
My question would be, once you experienced no cold air, did it ever come back on? Normally when the valve starts to deteriorate,set A/C temp, nothing but outside air for 5, 10, sometimes 15 minutes, then the A/C would be fine, but also when stopped for a period of time, as in traffic, the cold air would taper off to barely cool, then back to normal after driving when RPM's are off idle, but eventually it would go completely, no cold air at any time.
To me, the valves are junk, actually the entire system, at least in the Hyundai/Kia is junk, many problems with the valve, so shops would rather replace the compressor rather than just the valve as it's easy work and more money.

On our '11 2.0T, the valve started going back in 2016, cold air on/off, so replaced the entire compressor as I found a used unit for $30, replaced the valve in that unit 170,000 miles and now, the system started acting up again just recently at 227,000 miles, but once again, found a unit with only 16,000 miles so will do another replacement in the near future. Not a big job, just an annoyance with the removal of the undercovers etc, but also a good time to change the serpentine belt, but also need to pick up a couple o rings for the lines, which you don't need when changing just the valve..

Here's some info:
Not really, I feel like it hadnt been as cold as it could be here lately. like sure it would cool the cabin. but it wasnt that like Icy cold air that youll notice, and then the other day i got in the car. turned it on and it never got cold. just outside temps basically.

A guy i used to work with, used to work at a family owned mechanic shop here. and he told me to give them a call so i called them. They said theyre familiar with the VDC systems. and would run through a proper diagnostics. and they also will put on parts that are customer bought, instead of forcing you to pay the High mark up on their ordered parts, they also informed me. the shop i took it to the other day that said i needed a new comp and TXV. are pretty bad, said theyve recently had a few cars come in that went to that shop for simple things (brake change was the most common) and they were putting brake pads on backwards, not installing the brake clips. just a mess of stuff. lol
 

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Not really, I feel like it hadnt been as cold as it could be here lately. like sure it would cool the cabin. but it wasnt that like Icy cold air that youll notice, and then the other day i got in the car. turned it on and it never got cold. just outside temps basically.

A guy i used to work with, used to work at a family owned mechanic shop here. and he told me to give them a call so i called them. They said theyre familiar with the VDC systems. and would run through a proper diagnostics. and they also will put on parts that are customer bought, instead of forcing you to pay the High mark up on their ordered parts, they also informed me. the shop i took it to the other day that said i needed a new comp and TXV. are pretty bad, said theyve recently had a few cars come in that went to that shop for simple things (brake change was the most common) and they were putting brake pads on backwards, not installing the brake clips. just a mess of stuff. lol
Let us know how you make out and what was diagnosed.
With a no cold air condition, would like to know if system has refrigerant, but the only way to make that determination is with gauges, or one could push the
schrader valve to see if any pressure discharged. If no refrigerant, the compressor could seize as no lubrication will be circulated, but if the car has been driven consistently, chances are there's refrigerant in the system..

Just thought I'd mention, that in my experience, one shop seems to always talk negatively about another shop. Relative works at a shop and hear horror stories about vehicles that come in from other shops, and as I know owners of those other shops, they speak of cars that weren't repaired properly by the shop where my relative works.
Just keep an open mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Let us know how you make out and what was diagnosed.
With a no cold air condition, would like to know if system has refrigerant, but the only way to make that determination is with gauges, or one could push the
schrader valve to see if any pressure discharged. If no refrigerant, the compressor could seize as no lubrication will be circulated, but if the car has been driven consistently, chances are there's refrigerant in the system..

Just thought I'd mention, that in my experience, one shop seems to always talk negatively about another shop. Relative works at a shop and hear horror stories about vehicles that come in from other shops, and as I know owners of those other shops, they speak of cars that weren't repaired properly by the shop where my relative works.
Just keep an open mind.
Yeah, i had it evac'd and recharged, and they said it had correct level of Refrigerant.

This shop is a pretty well known shop in my city family owned, been around for 30 years or so. And from most people ive talked to, the shop i took the car to first. Is mostly a tire/oil place, and they dont do good work. I know of the whole talk bad about other shop things. its just part of it, But i called around to about 5 shops and was asking about the issue, and they all were booked. when i explained the issues, and told them where i took it. they all said similar "That shops specialty is oil and tires and they dont even do that good" and multiple referred me to some of the other shops cuz they didnt have the availability, but seems that shop is pretty spotty, which is why im not going back. even if the compressor needs replaced, plus they have a pretty high markup on parts, like 55-60% mark up.
 

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Yeah, i had it evac'd and recharged, and they said it had correct level of Refrigerant.

This shop is a pretty well known shop in my city family owned, been around for 30 years or so. And from most people ive talked to, the shop i took the car to first. Is mostly a tire/oil place, and they dont do good work. I know of the whole talk bad about other shop things. its just part of it, But i called around to about 5 shops and was asking about the issue, and they all were booked. when i explained the issues, and told them where i took it. they all said similar "That shops specialty is oil and tires and they dont even do that good" and multiple referred me to some of the other shops cuz they didnt have the availability, but seems that shop is pretty spotty, which is why im not going back. even if the compressor needs replaced, plus they have a pretty high markup on parts, like 55-60% mark up.
Well, you've done your homework, but having the system full leaves the question as to why the displacement isn't changing in the compressor.
Also, if the valve isn't working they'd have a very difficult time charging the system as w/o the compressor running at capacity, it won't pull in the
refrigerant properly. When mine went completely back in 2016, not having the special equipment and not a great deal of info on the VDC, checked all components first, transducer, evap temp sensor, etc, but no way to check valve performance, so just did a replacement, then fine.

When they do the repair please come back with the info as it's the only way I can track problems, repair procedures.
 

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i had the same issue and got the valve replaced (with an ebay part...) by a shady AC shop. They still charged me a couple hundred dollars, and said that they generally just replace compressors. There were a few Kias there too. Performance is better but it's not 100%. I still get not-as-cold air on occasion. Hard to tell if it's the valve or what. The connector/harness that plugs into the valve looked pretty chewed up too on the inside for what it's worth and I ordered a replacement (found one on AliExpress) but haven't changed it out yet.

It doesn't seem to be an issue isolated to Kia/Hyundai, check out this VW video
 
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