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2002-2006 Honda CRV AC Black Death Repair

There are a lot of cars with a reputation for quart-million-mile reliability, aside from “that one thing”. Toyota pickups rust really easy, the Chevy 6.5L diesel has the PMD that overheats, and for a lot of Honda models, it’s the air conditioning. Owners and specialist mechanics call it “Black Death” because is describes the color of what they vacuum out of your AC lines when the system stops working. It affects many Hondas from the 2000’s, but from our experience, it seems like the CR-V compact SUV is most at risk.

The AC compressor is a pretty well-established item at this point, they all kinda work the same, and when cars get older, they all seem to fail in the same way too. The clutch might wear out, which keeps you from being able to turn the compressor on. Leaks can develop over time, and if one of those causes the system to run dry, it might even make the compressor lock up entirely. What’s unique about Honda compressors from this era is that, while the internals of the compressor can start to come apart, the compressor itself can stay running for a little while, pushing that debris through the rest of your AC system.

When you install a new A/C compressor on any car, you need to change the drier and flush the AC lines thoroughly. The drier acts as a filter for your AC system; in addition to catching contaminants, it also captures any moisture in your AC lines, hence the name. Moisture in your AC lines can freeze, creating a blockage that keeps refrigerant from cycling. On most cars, replacing the filter and flushing the rest of the lines is enough to get your AC working like new after a compressor replacement.

Because the compressors on these Honda and Acura models disintegrate slowly, they send more debris and shrapnel through the rest of your AC system, and into the smaller passages of your condenser where they can be harder to flush out. By the time your AC fully stops working, the compressor could have even pushed some of this into the evaporator under your dashboard, which is even more labor-intensive to replace. Because of this, replacing the compressor by itself is not enough, and doing that without any of the supporting work just means your new compressor will fail that much faster because there’s still bits of your old compressor cycling through the lines and into the new part.

This is an issue on many Honda models, but we see it most on the CRV. That could just be because the Civic has always been seen as a semi-disposable economy car, or the automatic transmission fails on the Odyssey before the AC does. The CR-V is also a little more practical than an Accord, with the cargo space and all-wheel-drive, so that might keep them in service a little longer. The popularity of SUVs in general also makes older models more in-demand, and today the CRV outsells both the Civic and Accord. If you need to replace the AC on your CR-V, we have a few different options available.

1) Replace the compressor by itself: this is not advised, but we still have the parts available. The compressor has a one year, unlimited mileage warranty, but only if you have proof that the drier was replaced and the system was flushed. If you don’t get a drier from us, just make sure you have a receipt for the drier, either from a different auto parts source or from your mechanic, ready to go in the event of a warranty claim

2) Order one of our 5-piece kits; these include the compressor with clutch, drier, expansion valve (another part that’s easy to gum up, and it’s relatively easy/inexpensive to replace it along with everything else), new oil for the compressor, and an O-ring seal kit to stop any other leaks in the system. Kits that include all 5 of these parts have a two year warranty, versus one year for the compressor by itself

3) Order one of our master AC kits; these include the core 5 parts in the kit above, as well as the condenser, evaporator, and AC lines. This is a much more involved installation process, but it’s also the best way to ensure the long-term reliability of your Honda. It has the same two year warranty, and as more people become aware of this issue, having receipts for the entire AC system being replaced will likely improve the resale value of your car as well.

Year Compressor 5-Piece Kit Master AC Kit
1997-2001 Order Here! Order Here! Order Here!
2002-2006 Order Here! Order Here! Order Here!
2007-2011 Order Here! Order Here! Order Here!
2012-2014 Order Here! Order Here! Order Here!
2015-2016 Order Here! Order Here! Order Here!

For more help getting the correct AC parts for any vehicle, contact us for knowledgeable assistance. Air conditioning is one of our main product lines, where we have the largest catalog and the most expertise. In addition to name brands like Denso, Sanden, Four Seasons and more, we also have our own quality aftermarket parts that fit and perform identically, at a much lower price and with the same warranty. We are the inventors of the complete AC repair kit, and we have them available for any car you can think of, with fast & free shipping from within the US and a knowledgeable, professional customer service team ready to help!

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