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Old 07-06-2008, 05:44 PM   #1
VT808
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Default 2000 Saturn LS 4cyl AC Evaporator - HELP

I took my car in to repair the AC (blowing hot air) and was told by the AC repair guy that their was a leak coming out of the air vents (inside car) which meant that the evaporator needed to be replaced. He told me that this was the hardest part to get to and that the labor cost would exceed the cost for the part. I''''m pretty good with cars and was wondering how hard is it to get to the evaporator? If anyone with instructions or pictures on how to do this or where I can find instructions on how to do it please let me know.

PS. If anyone knows where I can buy a "CHEAPER" evaporator from that would help me out a lot. I called Saturn and was told the part alone was almost $500.00. Thanks

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Old 07-06-2008, 09:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS 4cyl AC Evaporator - HELP

1-Since evaporator coils aren't replaced regularly there's no competition to reduce the prices for cheaper replacements, if they exist at all. You can shop around online using Google or even for used parts advertised here on this site.

2-How much do you trust this repair shop? Its rare for an evaporator coil to develop a crack or leak anywhere in its coil. How did the shop determine that its the evap coil? I ask because there are several ways to determine if its the evap coil but only one sure way - dye in the HVAC box and on the coils. Any other way is just second guessing and an expensive way to find out if it isn't.

Have you read this; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80107 ? This may help if you want to find out for yourself along with or without a uv light. Its been said that Saturn has put in dye from the factory to enable easier leak detection in the event of a/c failure due to plumbing problems. Dye will glow a bright greenish-yellow when exposed to uv light but a good pair of eyes will do just as well to see dye wherever it leaks out. A good pair of eyes, some basic information, maybe a uv light, and time well spent will have you finding the source of the leak in very little time. The more you do for yourself the more you save especially if you remove and replace parts, leaving the rest of the evacuation, leak testing, and recharging to a shop unless you know someone with access and knowledge of refrigeration equipment.

If it is the evaporator coil it won't be so easy as most of the dash console has to come out to access the HVAC box that most likely means disconnecting both a/c lines and coolant lines for the heater. Not a weekend job.

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Old 07-07-2008, 07:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS 4cyl AC Evaporator - HELP

Hello,
Thanks for the reply. The AC repair guy is a retired AC technician that does AC repairs on the side for extra cash. He hooked up the AC valves on my car to his recharging unit (AC) and pumped coolant into it to check for leaks using this electronic device with a probe at the end of it. He checked around the engine and around the front by the radiator and didn't detect any leaks. Then he went into the car and turned on the AC and put his probe next to the vent and it went off, meaning that the leak was coming from the vent, which he figured it was a leak from the AC "evaporator".

On a side note I read around on this forum people having water leaks on the drivers and passengers side of the car. I had the same problem on the drivers side fixed this by pinching the evaporator hose on the engine side to get to drain out water. This happened like 3-4 times where I find wet floor mats on the drivers side of my car due to the evaporator hose being clogged and fixed it just by pinching it a few times.

If I were to use a florescent light where would I shine it to trouble shoot for leaks. Also anyone with step by step guide would on how to remove and replace the evaporator please let me know
Thanks again

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Old 07-07-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS 4cyl AC Evaporator - HELP

Your description of repair work doesn't seem right as there are two coils within the HVAC enclosure (heating, ventilation, and airconditioning); the heater coil and a separate evaporator coil for the a/c system. A water leak (plain water?) may be from a/c condensation that normally drains away through a drain hose near the middle/front of the firewall onto the roadway during the hot summer season. Sometimes the drain hose clogs and this condensation simply builds up within the HVAC enclosure until it runs out onto the floor of the interior. Clearing the clog involves poking the end of the drain hose with a pencil tip enough to allow drainage. Dabbing the wet area inside the car with a napkin will show either plain water from a/c condensation or a stain from anti-freeze. If the fluid is either red or green colored (the two major colors of anti-freeze), this liqiud is from a heater coil leak and most likely from worn o-rings in the two heater hoses. There are altogether four hoses, two for heating and the other two for the a/c system. Are you sure you pinched the right lines?

A uv light can shine anywhere moisture or oil is present, around the HVAC enclosure. Since this is more or less sealed, a leak from the evaporator coil may be from the entry/exit fittings on the firewall side of the engine otherwise its difficult to find any opening other than the various vents for airflow near the floor. Searching for dye may be better done in a darkened garage to enhance the glow against the darkness. Night time may help also.

Your a/c tech is a good one and worth going to for future work.

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Old 07-07-2008, 10:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS 4cyl AC Evaporator - HELP

VT808...you are correct in pinching the drain on the drivers side. That is what I read in your post.

...
OMG this car is easy to work on!

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Old 07-14-2008, 03:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS 4cyl AC Evaporator - HELP

Thank you all for your replies and input on the matter. I know it's not a easy task to remove and replace the evaporator but I was going to try it out to see if I can't fix it. I was wondering if anyone had a picture of he evaporator or detailed information on how to get one of these removed and replaced. Thanks again for all your help.

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