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So I was brushing snow off my car, not sure why, but I decided to look through the bottom front grill. Noticed a stone chip on the bottom metal border of the AC Condenser. On the top grille area, I do see some minor cosmetic indications of a stone making impact with the AC Condenser fins near the top. A couple of small pebbles are sitting on the metal tray underneath the AC Condenser. I don't think anything is wrong with my AC Condenser but I won't have the chance to try the AC until it is warmer. I have also read that stone damage to the AC Condenser is not cover by warranty... Anyways I was wondering if any of you guys are aware of any damage from stone/rock/pebble contact with your AC Condenser.
 

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So I was brushing snow off my car, not sure why, but I decided to look through the bottom front grill. Noticed a stone chip on the bottom metal border of the AC Condenser. On the top grille area, I do see some minor cosmetic indications of a stone making impact with the AC Condenser fins near the top. A couple of small pebbles are sitting on the metal tray underneath the AC Condenser. I don't think anything is wrong with my AC Condenser but I won't have the chance to try the AC until it is warmer. I have also read that stone damage to the AC Condenser is not cover by warranty... Anyways I was wondering if any of you guys are aware of any damage from stone/rock/pebble contact with your AC Condenser.
I have a 2006 Odyssey that had a stone blow through the condenser. I still havent fixed it. It turns out Honda 'fessed up to a design flaw and covered it under warranty and also made available a kit to better protect the condenser. Unfortunately, I was out of warranty by that point. A new condenser is about $84 plus installation, and I'll get around to it someday (it's been four years).

With my Insight, I had a rock go THROUGH my front license plate. Fortunately, there was no other damage. I wonder if there is a way to better protect the condenser. I'm open to suggestions.
 

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With my Insight, I had a rock go THROUGH my front license plate. Fortunately, there was no other damage. I wonder if there is a way to better protect the condenser. I'm open to suggestions.
On my 2007 Civic, my brother who had a 2006 Civic had both gone through condensers due to road debris. Had learned to zip tie inexpensive gutter guard material to provide a finer mesh to screen out larger debris. Not sure if this is the same vulnerability on the Insight. Here's the post from 8thCivic

https://www.8thcivic.com/forums/diy...r-guard-lower-grille-protect-c-condenser.html

On the 2006-08 Civic, the lower grill was wide open - quarter diameter debris could probably get through. Ok, definitely nickels. Having the gutter guard in place would stop dime size , but still let through smaller pebbles. The openings in the Insight I'd hope aren't that large given how my Civics from that generation were brought in for condenser replacements - and if the gaps are smaller it might prevent something that would actually damage the condenser functionally.
 
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On my 2007 Civic, my brother who had a 2006 Civic had both gone through condensers due to road debris. Had learned to zip tie inexpensive gutter guard material to provide a finer mesh to screen out larger debris. Not sure if this is the same vulnerability on the Insight. Here's the post from 8thCivic

https://www.8thcivic.com/forums/diy...r-guard-lower-grille-protect-c-condenser.html
This lack of condenser protection has continued, and is a topic on Accord and Civic forums as well. As an add to the link you provided, I found this CivicX thread on 'Modifying Condenser Intake' where a forum member attached the mesh from the front of the grille (but still behind the horizontal bars of front grille) rather than removing the grille itself. I was going to give this a try as an easier version of the DIY gutter guard approach.

@andrew28 - based on the damage you saw when inspecting, would you suggest adding mesh to both the 'green' and 'red' circled areas in the picture you posted? I originally planned to do just the bottom area for the condenser, but your comment about stone impact near top fins makes me wonder if that area needs a layer of protection as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This lack of condenser protection has continued, and is a topic on Accord and Civic forums as well. As an add to the link you provided, I found this CivicX thread on 'Modifying Condenser Intake' where a forum member attached the mesh from the front of the grille (but still behind the horizontal bars of front grille) rather than removing the grille itself. I was going to give this a try as an easier version of the DIY gutter guard approach.

@andrew28 - based on the damage you saw when inspecting, would you suggest adding mesh to both the 'green' and 'red' circled areas in the picture you posted? I originally planned to do just the bottom area for the condenser, but your comment about stone impact near top fins makes me wonder if that area needs a layer of protection as well.
I'm going to take a look at it again tomorrow when I get the chance. I think whatever we do in the end it really depends on your luck. I have owned multiple cars and never experienced damage severe enough to replace the AC condenser...




^I saw this picture in one of the posts from the forum link you posted. This guy protected his AC condenser but a rock still found a way to damage his Civic via the headlights. :smile_big:
 

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I took a look at my Insight tonight. The lower section looks like is has < 0.5" pass-through. The upper section (radiator) is way larger. I feel the lower section is more at risk but seems better protected. I may buy metal mesh and protect both. I'm nearly 15K miles in with no issues, and my commute does not involve highway traffic (country roads). I'm wondering if it's worth the effort for me. All I see in both sections is dead bugs plastered to the condenser and radiator.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@andrew28 - based on the damage you saw when inspecting, would you suggest adding mesh to both the 'green' and 'red' circled areas in the picture you posted? I originally planned to do just the bottom area for the condenser, but your comment about stone impact near top fins makes me wonder if that area needs a layer of protection as well.



It seems to me the Insight has the safest bottom grille out of the 3 cars.


Pictures of my Insight's AC Condenser behind the top grill



Pictures of my Insight's AC Condenser behind the bottom grill




Based on the pictures, I had more rocks/pebbles come through behind the top grille than the bottom grille.
 

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Related to earlier discussion of vulnerable air conditioning condenser on the Insight, several law firms are collecting info for air conditioning failures on the GenX Civic.
  • A/C failure is the top complaint for 2016-2019 Civics on CarComplaints.com, averaging ~$1k in repair costs outside of warranty due to Honda's refusal to cover condenser repairs under warranty, despite widespread issues.
  • Reports allege a design defect in the condenser and compressor, to include one lawsuit claiming the GenX Civic was 'negligently designed and manufactured by Honda in that the air conditioning condenser is placed in a position that is highly vulnerable to contact from rocks, pebbles, and other normal road debris during ordinary driving on paved roadways.
  • Despite the clear vulnerability and exposure of the condenser to such contact from debris, Honda allegedly failed to design the Civics in a manner that would provide protection to the condenser, such as with a simple guard or grill, or with materials that could withstand the ongoing debris contact.'


The following video also calls out known issues with Honda's "new" R-1234yF system, flagged by at least one Honda Technician. The air conditioning system is only covered for 2 yr/24k miles, and the Insight uses R-1234yf refrigerant, similar to that of the Civic.

The Insight's grille protects the condenser slightly better than the Civic, but I think this issue is something to watch out for on our cars:

https://youtu.be/hLMx4GkBMIw?t=321
 

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Wait, the AC is only covered for 2 years 24k miles?? It isn't covered under the 3/36 warranty??
The overall air conditioning system is covered by the Federal Emissions Warranty for 3 yr/36k miles (Base Warranty, pg 17), but the refrigerant is only covered for 2 yr/24k miles (Base Warranty, pg 9).

Base Warranty Manual - https://owners.honda.com/Documentum...Basebook_AWL07531_Petrol_Hybrid_PHEV__SIS.pdf

Many GenX Civic owners are reporting via CivicX forum and CarComplaints.com that their A/C is failing around 3 yrs/36k miles, just outside of warranty. And any damage-related issues (like chips/leaks in condenser) are not covered, since Honda says it failed for 'external' reasons.
 

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The overall air conditioning system is covered by the Federal Emissions Warranty for 3 yr/36k miles (Base Warranty, pg 17), but the refrigerant is only covered for 2 yr/24k miles (Base Warranty, pg 9).

Base Warranty Manual - https://owners.honda.com/Documentum...Basebook_AWL07531_Petrol_Hybrid_PHEV__SIS.pdf

Many GenX Civic owners are reporting via CivicX forum and CarComplaints.com that their A/C is failing around 3 yrs/36k miles, just outside of warranty. And any damage-related issues (like chips/leaks in condenser) are not covered, since Honda says it failed for 'external' reasons.
Barring any leaks (which should be covered under warranty) as long as they are not from "external sources" that refrigerant should last a very long time right?? I mean with our system being electrically driven - there are no seals aside from the housing and hose seals that could go bad. Ugh - this is starting to hurt my head..
 

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Apparently the Civic issue was so bad that the coverage is now extended for condenser and o-ring to TEN years / unlimited mileage, via TSB 19-091. However, there is still a loophole where Honda can claim external damage source rather than component failure. But I kinda want that free extended coverage to apply to the Insight too...

TSB 19-091 (updated) - https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2019/MC-10163797-0001.pdf
Honda Internal Email - https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2019/MC-10163799-0001.pdf
CivicX Discussion - https://www.civicx.com/threads/new-ac-condenser-leaking-tsb-19-091.40000/
 

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Well... First properly warm day off the year in Chicago and the AC in my 2019 Insight is dead as a doornail.

I tried setting it to Lo and recirculating for my 25 minute commute home and it just blew consistently hot air.

Visually, I can see that the condenser has taken at least a few solid hits. I ordered a R-1234YF dye charge kit online, but I'm guessing I'll see that green glow in at least one spot on the condenser.
 

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Well... First properly warm day off the year in Chicago and the AC in my 2019 Insight is dead as a doornail.

I tried setting it to Lo and recirculating for my 25 minute commute home and it just blew consistently hot air.

Visually, I can see that the condenser has taken at least a few solid hits. I ordered a R-1234YF dye charge kit online, but I'm guessing I'll see that green glow in at least one spot on the condenser.
Do NOT put that in your system!! This system is COMPLETELY different than anything else out there! It uses the oil in the special fluid to cool the coils on the AC system. The system is smart enough that it will read the impedance values of the oil and will disable your AC system electrically.. If it doesn't it will cause even more damage.. Take it in - have it looked at! I found this out while dealing with my AC on my older Civic Hybrid..
 

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Do NOT put that in your system!! This system is COMPLETELY different than anything else out there! It uses the oil in the special fluid to cool the coils on the AC system. The system is smart enough that it will read the impedance values of the oil and will disable your AC system electrically.. If it doesn't it will cause even more damage.. Take it in - have it looked at! I found this out while dealing with my AC on my older Civic Hybrid..
I ended up going the pro route on it and now there's two people scratching their heads on this. System had no pressure, totally dry... So the pro put the dye in and now it's just circulating in there. No leaks were found anywhere after about four hours of intermittent run time. Guess we'll have to wait and see where it ends up next time it dies.
 

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I ended up going the pro route on it and now there's two people scratching their heads on this. System had no pressure, totally dry... So the pro put the dye in and now it's just circulating in there. No leaks were found anywhere after about four hours of intermittent run time. Guess we'll have to wait and see where it ends up next time it dies.
Just curious (and a little confused)... but did the A/C ever work? Or was this the first time used? If reservoir was dry before and the dye isn't leaking anywhere now, was the A/C never filled at factory?
 

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Just curious (and a little confused)... but did the A/C ever work? Or was this the first time used? If reservoir was dry before and the dye isn't leaking anywhere now, was the A/C never filled at factory?
It worked fine until fairly recently, and it's still working fine now after a couple weeks of fairly regular use... Still haven't spotted any dye leaks. I'll keep checking periodically, because I'm sure if it'll pop up somewhere :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Apparently the Civic issue was so bad that the coverage is now extended for condenser and o-ring to TEN years / unlimited mileage, via TSB 19-091. However, there is still a loophole where Honda can claim external damage source rather than component failure. But I kinda want that free extended coverage to apply to the Insight too...

TSB 19-091 (updated) - https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2019/MC-10163797-0001.pdf
Honda Internal Email - https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2019/MC-10163799-0001.pdf
CivicX Discussion - NEW AC CONDENSER LEAKING TSB 19-091
Honda sent a notice to dealerships telling them to diagnose Civic AC compressors properly since majority of the ones being returned to them for analysis aren't even leaking...
 

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I'm wondering if it'd be beneficial to add a mesh netting over the grille? I'm thinking a plastic mesh that allows for plenty of airflow but small enough to block stones from entering the area...
 

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I'm wondering if it'd be beneficial to add a mesh netting over the grille? I'm thinking a plastic mesh that allows for plenty of airflow but small enough to block stones from entering the area...
If you end up proceeding, there are a couple links/suggestions that reapply learnings from the Civic in posts # 7 and # 8 above in the thread.
 
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