March 20, 2009

Volvo Air Conditioning Problems and Fixes

Air Conditioning Volvo diagnose, fix, recharge, DIY!

Helpful Volvo AC-related questions and answers found here, drawn primarily from threads from my Volvo Forum.

If you have a question about your Volvo’s air conditioning, please become an MVS member (free!) and post it to the correct area of the Volvo Forum. If you want to contribute your AC-related fix or experience, please go to the relevant forum and click the NEW TOPIC button and write what you know.

The Volvo Repair Database has a section dedicated to this stuff: AC and other climate control problems/fixes.

Recent AC Library Additions (June 2014)

Recent AC Library Additions (June 2013)


AC Compressor Cycling? AC Air Not Cold?

It’s probably the level of refridgerant — R134a — or it’s the clutch. If it’s the refrigerant level, you need a can or two of 134a and a guage, and it’s something you can do at home fairly easily. Read below for instructions on recharging your Volvo’s AC. If it’s not the refrigerant level, it’s probably the clutch. Read below for how to add a shim to the clutch, which also is something you can do at home.

Shim the AC Clutch

When the AC clutch doesn’t meet the belt correctly you’ll have similar symptoms to low refrigerant charge… warm air, revs dropping every 10 or 20 seconds, etc.. Here’s how to shim the AC clutch on an S60. Here’s how to shim the AC clutch on an 850, V70/XC70 up to 2000, S70, or C70.

2001+ V70 Low Pressure Port Location

Do not use the high pressure port that is right up front above the radiator. That’s the high side for shops with pro AC refill equipment. Instead, move a couple items out of the way and use the AC low port.

How to Recharge Volvo S80 Air Conditioner System

Per VADIS, the A/C system should be recharged on the high side. Finding this to be not only odd, but dangerous, I recharged my sytem on the low side (port is underneath the power steering reservoir). Per other posts I read, it’s impossible to overcharge, since the DIY kits available at local parts stores do not allow for overcharging-they simply stop transfering refrigerant when the maximum system pressure is reached. … [more]

How To Recharge Volvo 850 Air Conditioning System

A good forum thread on compressor cycling, recharging and pressure… [more]

Another good How To on recharging the refrigerant yourself.

“Cool Zone #390 complete recharge kit” I bought from autozone $48 bucks, it has 3 cans of refrigerant they each have the charge…” [more] Warning: please be very careful. Recharging AC isn’t for the inexperienced.

How AC Recharge Kits Attach

Volvo 850 AC-Related Capacities

From Haynes 850 manual: Coolant Capacity: turbo: 7.6 quarts non-turbo: 6.4 quarts type: r-134a Refridgerant Capacity: cold climates: 20 ounces hot climates: 26 ounce. 850 High Side AC discharge hose is 1/2 inch in diameter.

Volvo 850 Low Pressure Line

Low port on an 850:

It is located on the passenger side of the engine compartment near the radiator and is marked with a 70NM [more]

Replacing the AC’s Evaporator

The best photo documentation on how to get to the Volvo 850, S70 and V70 evaporator, period: Changing an Evaporator Core – in Pictures

“The only special tool I needed besides a bunch or Torx bits was the spring coupler set. I got mine from snap-on part number: ACT118B The description says its for Fords but it works for the Volvo A/C line/evaporator connection. You MUST use this tool (not necessarily this specific set from snap-on) to disconnect the evaporator from the A/C lines otherwise you will most likely damage the A/C lines…” [Volvo Evaporator Replacement: Step-by-Step guide with photos]

Flashing AC and RECIRC Lights


The leds on A/C and RECIRCULATE did flash for 20 sec. I know it tells that there is a problem with the A/C. Does anyone knows what triggers the flashing of the leds?


The manual reads the A/C unit is faulty. Symtoms on my 1997 S70 was either there was a qucik fan blow, everything stopped then the two lights flashed for 20 secs or nothing happened the two lights just flashed, no A/C and no fan. I took it to the dealer for a very expensive repair close to 700 dollars and the fix was a fan motor drawing excessive current. So if you are a DIY, check the fan first or the eletronic part that controls it for any burned or failed components. I would do it if this happens again as I strongly beleieve it was the electronics that was likely faulty. By the way my A/C is a ECC unit. [more]


Well went into the dealer that sells this stuff and a sales rep added duracool to my system and the temp went from 60 to 40F. Took him 5 minutes and the job was done. The kit comes with 2 cans and the adapter hose to do the job. Now i have 1 can left over for next year incase i do miss out. [more]

Flashing AC and RECIRC Lights


Can it be an electrical problem?


Spent close to $1000 australian to fix and it was the fan motor drawing too much current tripping the guard circuit. They did not explain why but I guess replacing the fan is the way they went about to fix it. [more]

My 1993 850 AC Story

A comment by Jan in Phoenix

I just responded to flashing rec/ac lights in the forum as that was my starting point for no ac. My code came back (Haynes manual) as “Passenger’s side interior temperature inlet fan seized” After bypassing the control panel and connected to another (not sure what – sun roof and locks?) the heater fan motor came on full force, like it used to. However, if the car is turned off, the fan motor still goes full force. Suggesting to others with a/c knowledge that the control panel switch which is supposed to be gradual low to high was bad.

Went to wrecking yards for the control panel. $195 to $175 was the price. I asked the last guy what was my recourse if it didn’t fix the problem. This guy was nice enough to come out and try for ourselves his control panel and low and behold I would have thrown away $175 if he hadn’t. Because it did the same thing as mine.

The same thing as mine is: no fan and a tiny bit of coolness but if you put your ear close, yes, the fan works on real low or else we would not have any coolness, not even a tiny bit. Correct?

Not the Heater fan motor, not the control panel! The wrecking guy said his belief wasthe bushings are going on the fan motor. Now how can that be when it goes full force when bypassed? Well 12 volts is 12 volts thinking. Testing the plug that goes into the fan motor tested once at 5 volts and again at 7 volts. Testing the plug we bypassed to tested at 12.5 volts. So, maybe the guy is right. But, back to my dilemma again – if bushings are going out – I buy a used fan motor and again that not being the problem.Couldn’t it be one of the sensors (there’s 3 altogether, I think) or the fan motor resistor. How do I test those before buying the whole fan motor, plusremoving the motor involves removing air bag. Ugh!

But, one more thing – going back to the fault code. “Passenger’s side interior temperature inlet fan seized” We know the passenger and driver each have their own manual control. Does this code mean there is another one or two fans other than the heater motor fan, which is the ac motor fan also? Do tell, somebody.

That’s my story up to now except for demographics – I live in Phoenix and the past week has been 4 days of record breaking 109 and 110 degree days. I think I may die before figuring this out.

Official MVS Forum 850/S70/V70/XC70 AC Thread

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Tags 850, ac, AC shim, air conditioning, compressor, evaporator, recharging ac, S70, S80, V70, V70X, XC70
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