air conditioner cycles between working and not working on 2001 Volvo S60

My 2001 Volvo S60 air conditioner works great for 5 to 15 minutes, pumping plenty of cold air, but then it starts blowing warm, "humid" smelling air. If I turn it off for a few minutes, it will work again, and the cycle will repeat. My Volvo dealer says replace the compressor, but I can't help but believe it is something else. Any ideas?

by in Southern Pines, NC on June 11, 2010
6 answers 5 comments
ANSWER by on June 11, 2010
There's a good chance it is the compressor. I've seen this many times on these Volvos. It's a simple test for a mechanic. They check power to the compressor and it is normal, but the compressor doesn't turn on. Time to replace the compressor, there's no other fix.
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COMMENT by on July 01, 2010
Thanks--I was afraid that's what folks would say. I just don't understand why when it works, it works really well--that makes me think it is "compressing" just fine--and that maybe it's a temperature sensor or some such device that is simply not communicating properly with the compressor. I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and take it in--maybe a different shop than the one I went to the first time. Second opinions don't hurt, do they?
ANSWER by on June 29, 2010
I had the same problem. We took it and spent $1200 to fix it. Got new compressor and a/c dryer and guess what 1 month later the air is gone completely. So I'm guessing it's something entirely different.
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COMMENT by on July 14, 2010
Mine behaved in this manner, it was not the AC system itself, it was controller. I pulled the side panels from the cowl beside the AC control. I found the damper control servos would actuate the dampers to the full cold postion when I moved the temp control to full cold and then after a few seconds the damper control would move back on it's own to allow warm air to mix in with the cold air flow. I have mine at a dealer right now, the are trying a software update for $150. If that doesn't do it they want to replace the control unit for $1300. Update - got my car back after $140 for software update, AC seems to be working great.
COMMENT by on July 24, 2010
I also have the same problem with my a/c working and not working. Is your a/c still blowing cold air after you had your software upgraded?
COMMENT by on August 27, 2010
Mine was doing the same thing. I had the compressor replaced and just got it back this week. It is staying cool, but it seems that I have to keep the blower on high, and air recirculating or it doesn't seem to cool as good as it should. My mechanic did say that in this horrible heat we are having, it may seem like it isn't working right, but no AC can keep up when the temps are 100+. I hope it is just the heat and not something more, but I am glad to know about the controller and software. I would hate to think I would have to spend another $1300.00 for the controller though!
ANSWER by on July 25, 2010
I am having the exact same problem. When I turn the car off for about 10 or 15 minutes and restart it.. air works great.... for about 10 mins.. then blows warm humid air. If I adjust any temp. controls or fan.. that makes it go warm quicker. Did you get the climate control software update? That seemed to work for the other volvo owner.. I suppose that is where I will start.
ANSWER by on December 28, 2010
I had the same problem, it was due to the worn magnetic clutch.
COMMENT by on December 29, 2010
Thanks--ironically that's what a different local shop diagnosed. I still haven't come up with the money to make the repair--too many less "discretionary" issues needing attention first--but I appreciate the concurrence.
ANSWER by on January 15, 2011
check ur wire from compresser to relay its under compresser puly we hadsame prob and it was wire burnt in to and with the elecrical probs these cars have go fig were prob fixing to repllace bcm if anyone has info tht help we appreciate itnot sure its the prob jus serious electrical issues and now hard 2 start
ANSWER by on February 07, 2011
I replaced my alternator and have had no other problems after that with a/c.
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