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Hot Engine, Cold A/C

Q. I have a 1987 Chevy S-10 Blazer 4x4 Sport with the 2.8L V-6 and an automatic transmission. It has 143,000 miles on it, power steering, air conditioning and cruise control.

My question concerns the A/C. If I'm driving with the air off, the engine temperature is normal. But when I turn on the A/C, the engine temp starts climbing and eventually I'll see smoke from under the hood. By the way, the air does blow cold when turned on.

A. There's two possibilities here, you have a partially clogged radiator, or an A/C cooling fan not working.

Let's look at the first possibility. If your radiator is partially clogged, it may be open enough to keep the engine temperature down, but when you throw in the added heat from the A/C, it's not enough for both. The incoming air comes in through the A/C condenser first, then the radiator. The air temperature is high when it does get to the radiator so it has to be in top shape to get rid of engine heat.

Look in between the radiator and condenser, there could very well be a lot of debris collected in there that you can clean out. Another thing to do is wash the condenser and radiator. Open the hood and from the inside of the engine compartment, hose the core of the radiator. There may be dirt clogging the fins keeping air from going through. Make sure all the air guides are in place to direct the air flow through the condenser and radiator and not around it.

If all this fails to solve the problem, then a reverse power flush with fresh anti-freeze is called for.

The other possibility is an auxiliary cooling fan not working. I can't remember if the 1987 Blazer had one or not, but if it does, you will see it mounted on the front of the A/C condensor. Turn the A/C on and the fan should come on as well. If it doesn't then either the switch or the fan is bad.

If there is no auxiliary cooling fan, then the cooling system flush should fix you up.

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