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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Discussion Starter #1
My search-fu is weak - this has got to have been addressed before, so my apologies if this is a dupe.

Today I noticed on the way home from work, with the A/C on, I could "see" the air coming out of the dash vents! Reminded me of when you're out in the cold and you can see your own breath when you exhale.

It didn't have an odor or anything - I don't suspect any kind of leak - I've seen it happen before but not often.

It kinda came and went as I drove - didn't matter speed or RPMs - I just wonder if it's happening as I pass through various areas in town with differing humidity levels? Has anyone else seen this or had this happen to them?

I don't think there's anything wrong, but I'd sure like to know what's causing it. :hmm:
 

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Might need a new heater core, mine did the same thing in a different car. Turn it on defrost and see if it does it, that's how I found out mine was bad. Freaked me out when all of sudden what looks like smoke fills up your windshield.
 

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There are a few things that can cause a smoke effect when driving the car, or running it like that.


First, if your in one area that has low humidity, then all of a sudden drop quickly into another area with high humidity, your ac will cause the moisture in the air to freeze before the water ever collects on anything. I have seen that happen before in a few cars, kinda like the fog effect you get when you open a freezer door.

The other one, is something on your engine smokes and your car sucks it up and blows it into the cabin, but, usualy, you will notice loads of smoke coming from the engine bay.

The last one could be a SLOWLY leaking heater core, there is a chance a DROP of coolant comes out at times, and boils off, possibly leaving no smell, but smoke.
 

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There are a few things that can cause a smoke effect when driving the car, or running it like that.


First, if your in one area that has low humidity, then all of a sudden drop quickly into another area with high humidity, your ac will cause the moisture in the air to freeze before the water ever collects on anything. I have seen that happen before in a few cars, kinda like the fog effect you get when you open a freezer door.

The other one, is something on your engine smokes and your car sucks it up and blows it into the cabin, but, usualy, you will notice loads of smoke coming from the engine bay.

The last one could be a SLOWLY leaking heater core, there is a chance a DROP of coolant comes out at times, and boils off, possibly leaving no smell, but smoke.

Mine is doing the same thing...turns out the evap is shot.
 

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Likely you're losing your 134A charge. Ice crystals are formed when the charge is at some level between properly charged and too low to cool. Most people who have a leak will at some point notice the ice crystals a short time before it stops cooling altogether.

As mentioned, leaking evaporators are common on our cars.
 

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and they're soo much fun to replace... on the plus side, I've got the whole dash and HVAC removal deal down to about 4 hours including reassembly... always fun doing the same thing three times in a row.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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18,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I seem to recall it doing this same thing occasionally back when it was new - and as mentioned, it's not continuous - seems mostly to occur when it's been dry, but then rains and the humidity is high.

Sooo... if it's an evap leak that's one of the components requiring dash removal to replace?

Perhaps I'll just keep adding R134a as necessary until the weather breaks if that's the case.

Ugh. I really don't wanna pull the dash right now.
 

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My car is doing the exact same thing right now. Scared the crap outta me. All of the sudden it looks like my vents are blowing smoke. So here I am trying to smell it. No smell, no odor, no residue. Kinda sucks if its the EVAP. I too will just keep adding refrigerant, it still blows ice ice cold, so it works for me.
 

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Mine did this two+ years ago before it lost all coolant charge. At that point, I had it recharged, and it has been fine for the last couple of years. I just noticed that it's starting to do it again, so I figure I'll be due for a charge sometime soon. Unless the mechanic says something else is going on, I'm OK with a recharge every two years or so.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
Joined
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18,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, now I'm buying into the evap leak. Had to add a can of R134a yesterday to get things chilly again. Ugh.

Think I'm going to just limp through summer and once fall is here, I'll tackle the whole dash removal and such. I wonder if the local shops will charge any less for a AC evacuation once the hot weather passes? Wishful thinking, right?
 

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...Think I'm going to just limp through summer and once fall is here, I'll tackle the whole dash removal and such. I wonder if the local shops will charge any less for a AC evacuation once the hot weather passes? Wishful thinking, right?
On the other hand, if they work on it when the weather's cool, if it doesn't work very well, you'll not know it until hot weather - 6 months later - when it's too late to take it back and complain.
 
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