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E36General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.
I'm trying to charge my A/C but can't get the compressor to run. Its cold outside, 0 degress Celius. Could that be why the A/C won't run? Could the lack of freon chagre pressure cause it not to run? Help the refrigeration guy doing the charging is not cheap.
Is my compressor or clutch gone or could there be there another switch in the controls that is stopping the compressor from running?
The A/C compressor will normally run in cold weather if you turn on the defrost setting. It tries to dry the air that will blow on the windshield. It would make sense, however, if there were a lower temperature limit to that function because it cannot get any more moisture out of the air by cooling it below 0 C. You may have to wait until the temperature gets up a few degrees, or you can hardwire 12V to the compressor clutch plug. That will be tricky since you would have to have the car up on ramps to get to it.
There is also a low pressure sensor switch on or near the compressor. It is designed to keep the compressor from starting if there is no freon in the system at all. You can bypass that if you hardwire 12V to the clutch, or if you pull the plug off the pressure switch and short across it with a jumper. The problem is that if the pressure is so low that the pressure switch won't let the compressor start, you may have lost the oil from the system, or you may have air in the system. If either of those is the case, you will need to spring the $$ for professional help because you need a vacuum pump.