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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Have a 2005 Cruiser Touring edition, manual trans, 135,000 miles.

This has been a good car for me. Only maintenance/repair done so far besides oil changes is this:

New headgasket at 30k (repaired under warranty -- oil leak)
Sparkplugs changed at 30k, 60k (at 60k, platinum tip plugs and new wires)
Transmission output seal on manual trans replaced several times under 70k warranty for minor seepage (it still seeps but doesn't drip)
Timing belt/water pump at 100k
Front engine main seal at 110k (popped out, mechanic thought engine was shot due to crank end play, but it's been fine since -- thankful for Allpar advice)
That's it -- even still has original battery, brakes have never needed replacement...
Has averaged 29 MPG in rural highway driving.

So now...

1. Yesterday noticed that A/C stopped working when car is at idle. Works again when we start moving. Cooling fan is not always running when A/C is on. But car is not overheating. When cold, started and turned on AC. Cooling fan came on but seemed weak. Came home and it doesn't turn on at all with A/C on, and then the air starts coming out warm -- as well as repeated cycling from compressor. From searching the forums it's not clear to me if the cooling fan is always supposed to be on when the A/C is on. Can someone advise me on this? Freon problem or bad cooling fan?

2. An increasing whining/whirring sound from front end, from reading the forums, perhaps a front bearing. Not noticeable on rougher pavement surfaces or dirt roads. Should I wait until it gets louder and more obvious? Do these things slowly go out? I ask because I need to make a 1500 mile trip soon.

3. A slight moaning/groaning from the steering rack, but only ocassionally, usually after driving for a while. Fluid is fine and looks clean and steering feel is normal. Anything to worry about?

4. A strange wear pattern on rear passenger side tire -- it is wearing on the far outside edge. However, ride and handling seem unaffected.

5. Some crunchy sounds from front suspension. Everything is still original under there and looks fine, but in cold weather especially it sounds, well, crunchy. Guessing it is the typical bushing problems that I read about.

Any advice? All of these normal wear?

Thanks, Stephen
 

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If the A/C was operating at a stop with no cooling fan running and no air blowing through the radiator/condenser, the high side A/C could have blown some of the refrigerant charge out of the safety valve. This lost refrigerant would mean that the system now won't be working as well as it should be as the pressures will be lower with the reduced refrigerant charge.
Get the fans diagnosed and repaired first and then charge the A/C refrigerant to the proper amount. The cooling fans may have an intermittent or high-resistance (bad connection) in a connector or wiring harness that is giving insufficient fan operation and condenser cooling.
The front end whirr might be a wheel bearing or saw-tooth wear on the tire tread. Sometimes a left/right deflection of the steering wheel on a smooth road may change the noise as the bearing loads and unloads.
Run you hand across the tread and feel for ridges. If the worn rear tire used to be on the front, but got rotated to the back, that may mean that the tire on the front is also wearing funny.
You may want to check front end components for wear and have an alignment done. Tie rod ends, sway bar bushings and the control arm bushings should be checked and replaced as necessary before the alignment. If the rear tire has always been on the back of the car, get a 4-wheel alignment check.
At this age and mileage, any service work has to be considered maintenance. If it has been a good car for you, have it assessed and estimated for repairs. Do the priority work first. Consider the costs and risks involved if you think that transferring to another ride is the right answer.
 

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My Dad had the same symptoms with an 05 AC. Turns out he didn't have a functioning fan for about a year. (I'm serious!!)
My 01 had a defective connector where the radiator fan plugs into the harness (144k miles) which was crazy intermittent.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just an update, thanks for the advice....

Replaced cooling fan assembly with one from Rock Auto for about $87. It was easy to replace and it fixed the problem. Strange though, the old one would still turn on.

Also while the grill was off I pressure-washed the condensor/radiator assembly within an inch of its life with a small electric pressure washer I have. Doing this vastly improved the efficiency of the A/C. Now it is very cold.

Had a mechanic check wheel bearings. He thought they were still fine, blamed the front noise to the Hankook Optimo H727 tires are getting noisier with age.

Bushings may have some wear but they are also all still intact.

So we are cruising on!

Stephen
 
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