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View Full Version : odd behavior on a/c and recirculation in 2014 500L



vsigma
05-10-2015, 08:57 PM
Hi,

With the advent of pollen season here in the Northeast.. I have been driving with the recirculation on to minimize issues with allergies and so on.

However, this is where my 500L has an oddball problem, that I was wondering if any one you can also replicate for me.

-turn on manual mode in the temperature control
-turn on a/c and recirculate
-turn ONLY the a/c off.. and recirculate turns off with it?!?

Mind you - I'm used to old traditional sliders for the recirculate/fresh air.. but why on earth would recirc turn off when you just turn off a/c ??!?

Incidentally, it does the same thing in Automatic mode for me as well..

And yes, I've tried to contact Fiat about it.. but they just keep referring me to the manual.. but when you read the manual pages - this is definitely NOT the behavior one would expect, no?

Or am I just smoking crack and not realizing it again!?

Thanks!

carajean
05-10-2015, 10:51 PM
Will test for you tomorrow unless someone in Cali beats me to it. Its 11pm EST here roughly.

X19
05-15-2015, 01:22 PM
Mine does the same thing. Not sure of Fiat's logic here. You can turn recirc on again manually and it takes.

vsigma
05-16-2015, 09:50 AM
Ok.. So I'm not going crazy

But my point is that it should NOT do that.. I'm getting killed here by the pollen with my allergies..

Andree
05-17-2015, 12:55 AM
"-turn ONLY the a/c off.. and recirculate turns off with it?!?"

Yup, that is as it should be. Recirculate will generally run only with a/c on, as the a/c is what removes the humidity and keeps your windows from fogging. It may not be a problem at the moment, but if you do experience window fogging, do please turn the a/c on again. A/C is more than just cooling, it's the humidity remover. And yes, you can run a/c and have your inside temperature set to a toasty warm temp in the winter, and that a/c will remove the moisture.

It's trying to keep you from making the mistake of running recirc without a/c that could cause very dangerous instantaneous obliteration of window clarity.

I've had that happen before, running the heat in the winter, not running the a/c. Get into the car after going to the store. It's slightly fogged inside, so I turn on the heat. Right? BOOM! Instant window blockage. Cannot drive like that. Have to turn on the a/c immediately and wait for it to clear, even if for a few moments, I'm blocking everyone. Too bad. I can't see. My fault.

And yes, it can happen in summer too.

So, that's why that's happening! Now you know!

Andree
05-17-2015, 02:38 PM
I also went into the manual, you'll find the information on the a/c and recirc starting on page 186, Climate Controls, under "Understanding your instrument panel".

I'll paste in some of the parts that would be of benefit:

2. Recirculation Control
Push this control button to change the system between recirculation mode and outside air mode. Recirculation can be used when outside conditions such as smoke, odors, dust, or high humidity are present.

NOTE:
• Continuous use of the Recirculation mode may make the inside air stuffy and window fogging may occur. Extended use of this mode is not recommended.
• The use of the Recirculation mode in cold or damp weather could cause windows to fog on the inside, because of moisture buildup inside the vehicle. Se- lect the outside air position for maximum defogging.
• Recirculation can be used in all modes except for Defrost.
• The A/C can be deselected manually without dis- turbing the mode control selection.

4. A/C Button
Press this button to engage the Air Conditioning. A light will illuminate when the Air Conditioning system is engaged.
MAX A/C
For maximum cooling, use the A/C and recirculation modes at the same time.
ECONOMY MODE
If economy mode is desired, press the A/C button to turn OFF the indicator light and the A/C compressor. Then, move the temperature control to the desired temperature.

NOTE: The air conditioning compressor operates in Mix or Defrost, even if the Air Conditioning (A/C) button is not pressed. This dehumidifies the air to help dry the windshield. To improve fuel economy, use these modes only when necessary.

Air Recirculation
Press and release the Air Recirculation button, so that the LED on the button switch is on, to enter recirculation mode. It is advisable to switch internal air recirculation on while standing in traffic or in tunnels to prevent the introduction of polluted air.
Do not use the function for a long time, particularly if there are many passengers on board, to prevent the windows from misting up.
NOTE: Internal air recirculation makes it possible to reach the required heating or cooling conditions more quickly depending on the mode selected. Do not use the internal air recirculation function on rainy/cold days as it would considerably increase the possibility of the win- dows misting.

----

And in the section where they're talking about the dual control hvac (page 193):

2. Recirculation Control
Press and release to change the current setting. The indicator illuminates when ON.
NOTE:
• When in Defrost mode, the Recirculation button will flash if pressed. This indicates that you can not proceed to this mode due to fogging risk.
• When the Auto indicator is ON and the Recirculation indicator is OFF, the Recirculation is in AUTO mode. If the Recirculation indicator is ON, the Recirculation setting is manual and Recirculation is ON.

-----

Hope this helps!

vsigma
05-21-2015, 10:10 PM
I understand that it's the apparent logic of the car to try and save me from fogging.. However.. I would expect that to happen in Automatic mode.

In manual mode, it should just leave things as it is. If i wanted the recirculation to turn off on it's own.. I would be in auto mode. But I'm in manual mode..and it's rendered the car practically undriveable for me because of the way it pulls in external air once it decides to click off.

Sadly, my miata, which is a convertible, does a better job bblocking pollen from the external world than the 500L

Andree
05-22-2015, 01:59 PM
The Miata has a tiny interior space to clear. The 500L has a vast interior. As soon as you open the rear hatch, there's a huge air exchange, which will inevitably introduce pollens to the interior. Four doors, plenty of headroom, lots of places for pollens to settle.

Best bet in that case is frequent vacuuming. Try to keep the interior as free as possible from build up of pollens.

For the allergies, if they are severe, consult with an allergist. I remember a friend back in high school had such severe and debilitating allergies that she administered her own allergy shots. She didn't want to live in a bubble, she was outdoorsy and was determined to be able to BE in the outdoors, regardless of what nature had in store in terms of pollens, and what her own allergies consisted of.

Don't expect the car to solve an actual health problem. It can't. The filters and such are more of a "helpful" item. They'll help a bit. Like wearing a nose/mouth face mask.

You should be able to handle the pollens with the assistance of a professional allergist. It would make your entire life much easier, in any car, in any place, in any season.

X19
05-22-2015, 02:09 PM
I'm missing something - the recirc goes off automatically under the conditions above, but if I turn it back on in manual mode, it stays on. Don't we just have to remember to turn it back on? I know it's an extra step, but lots of devices have quirks like that.

Andree
05-22-2015, 03:34 PM
I'm missing something - the recirc goes off automatically under the conditions above, but if I turn it back on in manual mode, it stays on. Don't we just have to remember to turn it back on? I know it's an extra step, but lots of devices have quirks like that.

In this case, yes, you can override the vehicle preferences, by just turning it back on.

In the case of the dual zone a/c, you cannot override the preference in defrost mode:
"• When in Defrost mode, the Recirculation button will flash if pressed. This indicates that you can not proceed to this mode due to fogging risk."

When I say it's dangerous, I mean it. I'm talking full vehicle interior fogging, complete loss of detailed vision. No, turning on any front or rear wiper will not help, the condensation is on the INSIDE of the vehicle. You can quickly roll down windows for side viewing, but that doesn't help forward vision. And it will require the a/c on with fresh air to clear it. No recirc mode.

It's important to realize the danger. This coming autumn/winter, give it a shot, while being safely parked, just to see what happens. You will not be able to see out of your vehicle. You cannot see where the road edges are. Or people. All you can see are hazy lights. Everything is a blur. It's like trying to look through a glass of skim milk.

Yes, this could happen in the daytime. During summer. In a high humidity area. All you need is moisture and recirc without the a/c on.

PLEASE be careful with this. I don't close my eyes to drive. Yet the instant fogging pretty much obliterates vision. It really does happen in an instant.

vsigma
05-23-2015, 04:06 AM
The point I am trying to make is that the functionality does not make sense for MANUAL mode.

And at no point am I opening the rear hatch.

All I am comparing with the miata is the fact that with an open air car versus a closed setup of the 500L - that whatever the L is doing with the air even for that short period of switch over is worse than my miata.

not to sound snarky - thanks for the health tip - my issue is with the functionality, and how is it's trying to to do the thinking for me when I don't want it to. And since YOU brought up the extra cabin space point..the car will get cold, and stay colder, and it is just a lot easier to press a button (ac in this case) than to constantly have to change the temp number or ffan speed from a safety perspective..

And for the instant fogging issue that you have.. That's partially derived from where you are in sfo and it's inherent higher humidity than I have here in the nyc area.. If i had the constant higher humidity, I wouldn't have to worry about pollen as much as less of it would be floating around On a regular basis in spring!! The effect that you describe just doesn't happen around here anywhere as quickly in my area.

Andree
05-23-2015, 04:50 PM
The point I am trying to make is that the functionality does not make sense for MANUAL mode.

And at no point am I opening the rear hatch.

All I am comparing with the miata is the fact that with an open air car versus a closed setup of the 500L - that whatever the L is doing with the air even for that short period of switch over is worse than my miata.

not to sound snarky - thanks for the health tip - my issue is with the functionality, and how is it's trying to to do the thinking for me when I don't want it to. And since YOU brought up the extra cabin space point..the car will get cold, and stay colder, and it is just a lot easier to press a button (ac in this case) than to constantly have to change the temp number or ffan speed from a safety perspective..

And for the instant fogging issue that you have.. That's partially derived from where you are in sfo and it's inherent higher humidity than I have here in the nyc area.. If i had the constant higher humidity, I wouldn't have to worry about pollen as much as less of it would be floating around On a regular basis in spring!! The effect that you describe just doesn't happen around here anywhere as quickly in my area.

Wait, are you saying you have less problems with your allergies if the top is down on your Miata? If so, why would you leave the windows up in the 500L and use recirc?

I also wonder if you could be sensitive to something in the 500L? My only trip to the specialty car wash and detail place has the option to spritz some kind of fragrance inside. I passed on that. But if something like that was spritzed in your auto, it could be a cause of problems! You never know you're allergic to something until you have the reaction! And that would mean you wouldn't be able to get away from the source until it fully dissipates or breaks down or whatever.

Sometimes I will completely choke up, with watering eyes and tickle throat and start coughing unable to stop...and just have to haul butt out of wherever I happen to be. This is usually INDOORS rather than outdoors. Don't know what it is. I'm a cougher.

I had just been chatting with my brother about allergies, too. He's a sneezer. When he gets going, I expect the sinus cavities to pop out of his nose, inside out.

Don't mean to be too "mom" here, but I do worry. I freaked out myself when I had that incident of fogging. Allergies are a constant battle for myself. It's part of the reason I'm moving. Since being in this climate, the last 22 years have been nasal congestion and sniffles. I swear. I think it's molds from the oft damp climate.

The night I had the problem with fogging, it was raining. I was wet getting into the car. It probably rains where you are too. And maybe sometime you'll get into the car with wet hair. It could happen then too. Don't mind me being the worry wart. Me flailing my arms around in distress usually just makes me look the fool, but it could help just one person sometime and that's good enough for me. :frantic4yc:

I think the manufacturer will always try to be the most cautious, for liability reasons. They don't know where the cars are going, and if it's a high humidity area or not. So it makes sense to cover everyone. Sort of like going to 50 states emissions and not having cars that won't work in California. Covers everyone if it's for all the states.

Remember the Taketa air bag recall was originally just for the high humidity areas:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/10/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-takata-air-bag-recall/index.htm

The fact that you can override the system probably is registered in the black box thing, so you can't hold the manufacturer liable for any mistakes you, yourself, make. And that the danger is mentioned in several places throughout the manual, which is why Fiat would direct you TO the manual.

Someone somewhere will make the mistake of overriding the system and have the problem and come back against the manufacturer saying it shouldn't be allowed. But like the rest of the things that can be turned off, it's on the user. Whatever that stability thing is that people can turn off. I'll leave mine on. I don't know what it does. But it's supposed to be safer. I like safer.