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Author Topic: Air conditioning problem with 2009 Traverse  (Read 45895 times)
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corladon
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« on: June 30, 2011, 04:10:28 PM »

Hopefully someone here can help shed some light on our problem.  We purchased a used 2009 Traverse a couple of months ago.  So far so good except for a new A/C problem.  The car has the rear A/C option with the second row control / arm rest.  Not sure if it matters, but the thrid row seats were folded down and the car was packed floor to ceiling with luggage and camping gear.

The other day we were driving home from a 4 hour trip.  It was in the 80 - 90 degree range.  3 hours into the trip we hit some freeway construction and were in stop and go traffic for 30 minutes or so.

Towards the end of the construction we realized that the A/C wasn't working correctly.  The air that was coming out was not cold.  It was slightly cool but not as cold as it should be.  Stranger still was the fact that the front A/C was not blowing nearly as much air as it should have been.  The "volume" of air didn't change even if the fan speed was manually changed from low to high, it was always the low amount.  The rear A/C "volume" would change and was normal but the air was not cold.

I tried changing the inside/outside recycle, auto, manual modes, air blowing towards the feet, towards the face, etc.  Turned it off and on but nothing would fix it.

We turned the A/C off and opened the windows for 30 minutes or so.  On a whim I tried the A/C and it was working correctly.  "Volume" and temperature were working as normal. 

The car has 34K miles on it, so there's only 2K miles left on the warranty.  I took it into the local Chevy dealer and they said they couldn't find anything wrong with it.  They connected their diagnostic equipment to it and it "didn't have any error codes".  They’ve checked the Freon (?) level and it was fine and they couldn’t find a leak.

We've had a similiar problem one other time where the temperature from the A/C wasn’t as cold as it should have been but the “volume” was fine.  Later that day the unit started working correctly.

Has anyone experienced anything similar?  If I’ve reported the problem to Chevy at 34K miles and the problem happens at 37K+ miles will they still honor the warranty?
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BigBlackTraverse
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2011, 09:43:54 PM »

The ac condenser sits low in these and some people have put stones through them or dents them bad and it affects the ac. Look through the front bumper grill and see if the condenser is damaged.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 02:06:28 PM »

Dear corladon,

I have read your post about your air conditioning situation on your 2009 Chevrolet Traverse.  I can understand how frustrating this can be. 

Have you talked with the dealership about having a technician or other members of the service staff go for a ride with you so that you can point out what you have been experiencing?  Please keep in mind; no one knows the idiosyncrasies of your car better than you.  It’s for this reason I highly recommend that you consider personally road testing your vehicle with the Service Manager so you can demonstrate the concern you are experiencing.  This way, before anyone exits the car, it is perfectly clear what you are referring to.  The Service Manager then can provide you with his/her recommendation regarding the concern.  This is just food for thought.

You will want to contact the warranty specialist at the dealership to get the specific warranty information about your situation.  They should be able to provide you with the information that you are looking for.

Sincerely,
Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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corladon
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2011, 05:59:26 PM »

Thanks for the suggestion BigBlueTraverse, I'll check it out when I get home tonight.  Would I find the condenser on the left or right side?

Michelle, great to know Chevy employees read/respond on these boards.

The car is new to us so we are still figuring it out ourself.  We've only had the A/C problem the one time.  Last Friday on our way out of town we noticed that the A/C didn't seem to be cooling as well as it had in the past.  It was working but something didn’t seem right.  Monday on the way home it stopped cooling all together and the amount of air coming out of the front vents was significantly reduced.  After being off for 30 minutes the unit starte working correctly. 

Prior to last weekend we hadn't had a problem with the A/C but we also never felt it was as strong as the A/C in other cars we've owned (Camry, G35, Integra, Corolla).

My wife drove the car Tuesday after we got back and didn't have the problem.  The dealer had the car for the next two days and couldn't reproduce the problem.  The onboard diagnostic system must not have sensed the problem either as it didn't record any diagnostic codes.

While riding in the car Thursday evening I paid a bit more attention to the A/C system.  I borrowed a laser temp sensor from work and found that the air coming out of the front vents when the unit was max cold, max fan, recycle air was in the mid 55 F and the air out the top rear was 75 F.  That doesn't seem right.  It also seems like the dealer should have realized the rear air isn't cold enough.  The "test" was run on the freeway, 10 - 15 minutes after the car and A/C had been on, and the outside temp was somewhere in the 85 F range.

I checked our 2001 Camry and 2005 G35 and the A/C temps were much cooler, in the 45 F range.

I've had problems with our A/C units at work where they have a leak, which causes a pressure problem, which causes the unit to ice up.  When that happens the cooling ability of the system fails and the air flow is impacted as there's a large piece of ice between the fan and supply duct.  Turning the A/C off for a bit causes the ice to melt and the unit starts working.  That describes the problem with the car's A/C but the dealer says it isn't low on refrigerant and doesn't have  leak.
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NCChick
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 02:20:55 PM »

I can kinda relate about what you are talking about...

What happens with mine is that when I'm getting on the road after the car has been sitting in the heat all day, it'll cool down but not cold cold. Speed of the fan is not quite all the way max but just about and its not blowing like 'normal'.

after a good 30mins or so, all of a sudden, its super max force and COLD!

So i'm wondering if its because its so hot outside (90+degrees) that its taking awhile, a long while, to get cold....

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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 03:00:00 PM »

NC chick...
What is the selection of the RECIRCULATE Button?

If youre on the highway- with AC on-- and recirculate OFF--- youre drawing in HOT air from the outside..
in essence youre taking hot air and trying to cool it.

Ir youre on the highway- with AC on and recirculate ON- youre drawing in air from the CABIN- and cooling that.
Once youve cooled the cabin enough- eventually you reach a point where youre cooling COOL air.. and you get the sense that the air out of the vents is colder... because it is...  your cooling air that was already cooler than outside air.

So- heres what you do- if you get into your car that is super hot.....and its hot outside too...
open all windows and let the interior cool off so you can sit in it. Let the interior cool off a bit- then turn on AC and recirculate.
Then you can start closing the windows- and eventually youll start getting cold air.
Take note that you can hear a difference in the sound/intensity of air coming out of vents between outside and inside air.


hopefully that was your issue.
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 03:20:22 PM »

Dear NCChick,

Thank you for sharing your experience with the air conditioning on your vehicle. 

rbarrios has shared some great information about the air conditioning on an extremely hot day.  Thank you rbarrios.

Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 03:27:16 PM »

Dear corladon,

It is my pleasure to be on the forums with you.  Thank you for the additional information.

There are not many people that realize that they can take their vehicle to another dealership for a second opinion.  Have you done this already?  If you have not had a chance to the vehicle into another Chevrolet dealership, I recommend doing so and see what they have to say.

Sincerely,
Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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Quantum
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2011, 09:22:19 PM »


Prior to last weekend we hadn't had a problem with the A/C but we also never felt it was as strong as the A/C in other cars we've owned (Camry, G35, Integra, Corolla).


I have found that the AC in our 2010 Traverse is quite strong. 

I would definitely keep an eye on things, and if it happens while you are out driving, zip over to the dealership if they are close by and them have them step in.  I did that when I had my intermitent steering noise.  As soon as it occurred, I told my wife I was going to the dealership.  I asked the Service Adviser to hop in the Traverse and I demonstrated it to him.  He agreed there was an issue and wrote in the work order that he had witnessed the noise.
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2011, 03:41:51 AM »

Coradon,

I've had a few problems with my 2009 Buick Enclave's AC system that are finally fixed (knock on wood), and even did the check using the laser temperature sensor too.  Here's a few things to check because it looks like you were having the same issues as me:

  • Check the AC metal tube coming out from the evaporator, on the driver's side.  Do this when the car is first started, AC on full max, recirc, etc.  It should be very cold with condensation on it.  If it is, you probably don't have a refrigerant leak.  If you go underneath the car, you'll find the AC metal refrigerant tube going to the rear evaporator.  This should be cold with condensation on it too.  This is connected to the front AC system.*
  • Check the joints on the metal AC lines for green or yellow refrigerant "stains".  There's a dye in the refrigerant to help pinpoint leaks and mine leaked from one joint as well as the thermo expansion valve.  I believe there was a TSB on the thermo expansion valve.
  • The technician should also check for leaks using an electronic leak detector inside the cabin.  This will help pinpoint an evaporator leak.  Mine leaked from the evaporator also, requiring the whole dash to be taken out to fix it.
  • If you remove the black panels underneath the dashboard and look with a flashlight, you can see the actuator motors turn for the ac vent mode, driver/passenger temp, and recirc air.   The temp actuators are each side of the center console; the vent mode actuator is on the passenger side near the passenger temp mode actuator; and the recirc mode actuator is in back of the glove box, on the left side.  You can see all from underneath the dash with the black panels out.  When you change the temperature, vent, or recirc modes, you should see these motors move accordingly.  If they don’t move, you may have an actuator or wiring issue or possibly a binding “blend door.”  (See below)
  • One thing you won’t be able to check is if the HVAC case is warped.  When the actuators turn, they move the “blend doors” inside the HVAC case to change the temperature, vent mode (panel, defrost, floor), and recirc mode (inside or outside air).  If the HVAC is warped, the doors may not move freely.  Thus, if they cannot move enough you may get too much heat and not enough cool air, or vice versa.  I had a problem with my vent mode actuator moving erratically.  I thought it was the actuator, but it was actually a warped HVAC case causing the blend doors to bind.  My dashboard had to be taken out a second time to fix this.  There’s a TSB on this as well, and when I checked different part numbers for the HVAC case in 2008, 2009, and 2010 – leading me to believe that GM did several redesigns to possibly address a problem.

*Note that if you’re having problems with the front and rear AC not getting cold (as I did when I first started having problems) it’s pointing to a Freon leak.  The first dealership I took my car to swore the refrigerant was fine and went so far as to say they checked the pressures and temperature.  Well, the second dealership easily found an evaporator leak, and even showed me the bad part.  What could be happening is that the dealership mechanic knows he won’t make any money on the repair so he’s just sending you on your way saying he cannot “duplicate the problem.”  This is a common excuse for lazy mechanics, trust me.
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NCChick
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2011, 09:08:36 AM »

Thank you guys for your input...

I've done the recirculate and when I get in the car the first thing I do is drop the windows and open the sunroof because hot air rises, right?  Smiley

I've used both the recirculate button and straight air from the highway and it still does it....  I typically use the recirculate because like it should, it cools down the car faster than using straight air from outside because it being so hot.  I understand about its going to be colder etc... what I'm questioning is the fact that the air flow changes... no matter if I'm stopped (meaning less air flow getting in the system) or going down the road actually moving which will create air flow going in to the car. It does that for the recirculate button and without (but i know why it does it without the recirculate).....  just curious

hope this made sense...
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2011, 11:12:41 AM »

Dear NCChick,

I would have to agree with Quantum.  Showing the service personnel what is going on in your vehicle instead of trying to explain it to them is better.  I do realize that there are times explaining the situation works, but in your case having them sit in your vehicle or even taking them for a ride so you can point out what is going on may prove to be the best.

Sincerely,
Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2011, 02:47:29 PM »

NCchick- since youre aware of how to use the AC/Recirculate- and know of the airflow difference in outside and recirc...
and its doing something funny- thats not part of 'normal' operations.. then its time to take it in.
I was hoping it was something as simple as using recirc or not.
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2011, 12:31:56 AM »

Re: RECIRC

Does running A/C on RECIRC versus just regular A/C use more fuel?

Airportguy
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2011, 11:20:39 AM »

No; in RECIRC; the A/C system is using the cooled air from the cabin for cooling instead of taking outside air and cooling it down
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corladon
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2011, 02:57:20 PM »

   Sorry for the late reply, RL got in the way.

   NCCHICK, thanks for the tip but I always use the recirculation option.  Not only does it cool the car faster but it also helps eliminate outside smells from getting in the car.  One of my pet peeves with the Traverse is that the recirculation button seems to reset every time we turn the car off and back on.  It always defaults to the off position.  The manual confirms this behavior:
“Press to turn the recirculation mode on or off.  An indicator light comes on when recirculation is on. When the engine is turned off, the recirculation mode automatically turns off and must be re-selected when the engine is turned on again.”

   I called a different Chevy dealer and scheduled an appointment to drop the car off tonight.  Hopefully they will be able to find the problem (if one exists).

   To recap the three problems I’m having the A/C system:

1.   The original problem in the first post where the A/C system basically shutoff.  I haven't had that problem again but I’ve never experienced that kind of behavior with any of the cars I’ve owned or been in.
2.   The rear A/C temperature seems to be 15 – 20 degrees warmer that the front.  The second Chevy dealer I talked to today says that might be expected behavior as the air channels that carry the air from the front to back run near the outside of the car and take a while to cool down.  However, I’ve noticed that the temp difference is still there after 1+ hours of freeway driving.
3.   The A/C system as a whole doesn’t seem to be cold enough.  I in other cars I’ve owned the A/C is “biting” cold but the Traverse is not.  The dealer said “the Traverse should be blowing ice cubes” but that doesn’t describe my car.

I’ll update the post in a couple of days once I hear from the dealer.
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2011, 03:40:37 AM »

I'd be willing to bet it's your evaporator, especially if the ac line coming out of the evaporator doesn't get ice cold with condensation...mine had the evaporator issue and it's a 2009 enclave...be sure your dealer isn't lazy and actually checks INSIDE the car with a AC leak detector...
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2011, 12:11:26 PM »

      2.   The rear A/C temperature seems to be 15 – 20 degrees warmer that the front.  The second Chevy dealer I talked to today says that might be expected behavior as the air channels that carry the air from the front to back run near the outside of the car and take a while to cool down.  


this may be partially true.
I believe the rear has its own source of 'cold'.
Along the bottom of the vehicle are AC lines that run from the front to back.
Way in the back on the passenger side of the vehicle- behind the rear wheel- and in the bumper cavity area (above the muffler)-- are these ac lines.
So there may be a small radiator like box way back there...
(meaning cold AC air from the front- does not travel all the way back- instead- it travels from the back to the front (2nd and 3rd row)... where some if it does travel in the ceiling for a bit).


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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2011, 06:24:09 PM »

NCCHICK,

Good luck with this. Our 2009 traverse has the exact same issue. Original owner so I know the care the car has had previously so it is for sure an issue with the cars not anything on your end. Ours just left the dealer about an hour ago and though the service writer documented the issue on arrival the tech was not able to duplicate the problem. That’s my favorite dealer response. It was acting up when they brought it around to me but cleared up before the tech could see it. Convenient! I would try different dealers as the customer svc person said but I doubt you will get a different answer. Its been my experience when it comes to "characteristic of the vehicle" issues GM is helpful but the dealer never gets much accomplished. The best you can hope for is GM will let them throw parts at it and may get lucky and fix it (probably for just a little while though) and you will just learn to live with it until you get rid of the vehicle. Then you will get some random letter from GM stating that they have documented and released a permanent fix for said issue some 10 years later. Don't get me wrong I really do love GM they make beautiful and dependable cars. They just always seem to have that one little pain in the rear thing that they can't ever fix. Kind of like a marriage you take the good with the bad. If by some miracle my dealer actually figures out the issue I will be sure to let you know. Happy hunting! thumbs up
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2011, 11:20:50 AM »

Dear Sierra04,

I have read your post directed at NCCHICK.  When you took your vehicle in and they provided you with the "could not duplicate" response, was this for the air conditioning issue? 

In order to resolve your concern, I’d like to begin by gathering some facts and then we can work together to see how to resolve this issue.  Could you please, provide me with all the details of what you took your Traverse to the dealership for.

Please keep in mind; no one knows the idiosyncrasies of your car better than you.  It’s for this reason I highly recommend that you consider personally road testing your vehicle with the Service Manager so you can demonstrate the concern you are experiencing.  This way, before anyone exits the car, it is perfectly clear what you are referring to.  The Service Manager then can provide you with his/her recommendation regarding the concern.

I look forward to reading the additional information about your situation.

Sincerely,
Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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