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Old 02-15-2008, 10:03 AM   #21
d16tr
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Default Re: A/C quit working

A quick little update,

Napa directed me to another little shop. The guy who owns the shop looks like the most honest mechanic (after the guys here in saturnfans) that I ever met in this area. He said it would be hard to check the air pressure when the (ambient) temperature is around 50 but he checked the pressure anyway and the gouge was showing 0 (zero) PSI which was surprising. He said he can find and stop the leak and then we can see if the compressor is faulty or not. I am going to take the car to him when the weather here warms up, probably after mid March. I will be back though and report the progress.

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Old 02-15-2008, 11:00 AM   #22
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Default Re: A/C quit working

Finding a qualified a/c tech can be hard but you found one. To quote a phrase, "prepare for the worst and hope for the best". This is in reference to your a/c tech saying that he'll find and stop the leak before attempting to check on the compressor. Here's a little heads up; the worst case scenario is an a/c line cracked and needs replacement, negating any sealer's effectiveness at stopping a major leak. Sealer is for very small pinhole size leaks that can't be found and also for a stop gap measure when preparing to sell the car and only want the a/c as another selling point. Sealer does more harm than good. By knowing this you'll be more informed if you find that repairs require a bit more money to ensure a trouble-free a/c system repair. A real worst case scenario would be a line crack and a failed/damaged compressor. Look up the replacement costs on a/c parts in places like rockauto.com. Opening the a/c system for repair will require evacuation before refilling the system with oil and refrigerant, adding to overall costs.

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Old 03-17-2008, 04:47 PM   #23
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Default Re: A/C quit working

I'm not really trying to revive the thread but it's probably the best place to come with the follow-up.

Last Thursday I took the car to the honest mechanic that I found a month ago. The temps were in high 60'ies so it was good time to check the pressures etc. He checked for leaks and said most probably there's a leak in the compressor but we need to see what kind of leak it is. He said if the leak is very slow we may not need to do anything (again, a honest man) but just adding some freon every now and then. Well, it's been 4 days and the A/C is still working perfectly.

Will come back with more follow-up, but so far the moral of the story is: "finding a good and honest mechanic is as important as checking the oil every 500 miles". In both cases, failure of doing so may cause you end up in losing a lot of money and/or the whole car.

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Old 04-20-2008, 01:05 AM   #24
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Default Re: A/C quit working

Ok, as promised, I am back with more feedback, it's been 34 days since the last post, and my A/C is still working perfectly. So, I figure the mechanic who first "diagnosed" the "problem" must have drained the refrigerant himself and tried to take advantage of me but, of course it's impossible to prove, and when in doubt taking a second opinion (third, fourth etc.) never hurts.

That's my last post to this thread.

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Old 04-20-2008, 10:50 AM   #25
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Default Re: A/C quit working

Quote:
Originally Posted by d16tr View Post
Ok, as promised, I am back with more feedback, it's been 34 days since the last post, and my A/C is still working perfectly. So, I figure the mechanic who first "diagnosed" the "problem" must have drained the refrigerant himself and tried to take advantage of me but, of course it's impossible to prove, and when in doubt taking a second opinion (third, fourth etc.) never hurts.
I seriously doubt that. I worked on my sister in-laws A/C once. I had to add 2 cans of R-134a to get it working. I expected it to last a month but, it would buy me some time and maybe get enough dye out for me to find the leak. That was two summers ago and the A/C is still ice cold. Leaks can be that slow and you have a pretty wide range of pressures where the A/C will still blow cold.

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Old 04-21-2008, 05:05 PM   #26
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Default Re: A/C quit working

Hey BarnOwl,

I will agree with you as a matter of fact I don't know almost nothing on A/Cs, and a slow leak is very possible, I just didn't know it could take 2 years before an A/C quits because of such a leak.

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:44 PM   #27
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Default Re: A/C quit working

One extra point to the reputation of BarnOwl,

You are right, the A/C quit working again, it's been about 2 months since we added refrigerant.

Now the question is "is it worth buying a new compressor"? or I just need to add refrigerant every 2 months?

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:56 PM   #28
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Default Re: A/C quit working

you may not need a new compressor. you need to get some dye int he system to try and find the leak. it may be as simple as a bad oring on one of the fittings. worst case, the evaporator coil is leaking. my son's '93 has the original r-12 factory charge and is still blowing cold over 200k miles later. better knock on wood!

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Old 04-30-2008, 06:30 PM   #29
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Default Re: A/C quit working

No two cars will leak refrigerant despite the exact same make and model. No two cars travel the same roads so the chances of one leaking faster than the other is totally irrelevant as one car can simply be refilled and never have to be serviced again. Its not surprising that there are vehicles that have never had any a/c service as well as a car seeing the inside of a service bay every other year for a/c repairs. Airconditioning is very subjective and cannot be compared to any other vehicle since no two drivers drive exactly alike, if driving style has anything to do with a/c longevity or if one car has a better reliable a/c system than another. A/C is a/c, period. Because of the idiosyncracies of how it works, there will never be any guarantee that once an a/c system is repaired that it won't fail later since its the nature of the beast to run the gamut from total reliability to leaking like a sieve with very little repair possibilities unless everything is replaced, a very expensive proposition. I waited for this post as its a well known fact that once a system is topped off the reality is that something caused the system to leak out and if not addressed right from the beginning then a never ending pattern begins with repeated refills as being cost effective against a one time repair that should end periodic refills. Your refrigerator never needs topping off and uses the exact same R134a so why should automobiles need topping off? A sealed system means exactly that, sealed and normally should last the life of the car. Unfortunately, there are weaknesses in our vehicle a/c systems that most automobile a/c repair shops readily know of and are best equipped to repair. The little article on a/c basics more or less generalizes what every airconditioning mechanic knows to be able to work on car airconditioning. A leak such as yours is no different from anyone else's, some taking less time to leak while others take longer. Your local expert may be in the best position to determine the extent of any leak with or without dye as this isn't absolutely necessary to a pro. Before dye was invented there were always methods to detect leaks; the definition of a leak in a/c discussion is the amount of refrigerant by the grams leaking out in one year so (arbitrarily speaking) a leak of greater than 500 grams/year would be considered catastrophic but under 20 grams/yr isn't. One ounce is approximately 28grams. Perfectly good systems leak less than this and last for years. Measurement is done with electronic leak detection calibrated to detect in parts per million that's extrapolated as grams/yr. Equipment like this is expensive and just another tool in the a/c techs toolbox, no different from the expensive OBD II scanner/readers. I would bet a good a/c tech can spot where the origin of any leaks are simply by eye and using dye is just assurance that the leak is over THERE, that's all. The elusive leak that takes longer to disable airconditioning can still be found w/o dye but dye does illuminate well and is quicker to pinpoint in the nooks and crannies where a mechanics mirror is needed. Please don't let some member try to convince you that the compresssor failed. Almost anyone can be an armchair quarterback but not a real one on the playing field. Leave this determination to a trusted a/c tech, the one you found.

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Old 04-30-2008, 09:38 PM   #30
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Default Re: A/C quit working

fdryer,

As always, a perfect explanation, makes me think you are a lecturer in a technical school, and if you're not you easily could be, or should be.

I took the car to the guy whom I declared as the trusted one, and he said he believed the compressor was leaking. I will trust him, and see if I can find a used compressor, as he told me he could try using a used one.

Any suggestion about where I can find a good used compressor?

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Old 04-30-2008, 11:02 PM   #31
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Default Re: A/C quit working

Are you for real? I'm just a duck and if I can waddle over to a nice pond I'm in heaven! Of course I can fly but with all them iron birds fouling the air an old duck like me can hardly maintain flight levels. The other ducks make fun of me flappin' needlessly.

If you have the chance to ask your trusted a/c guy, ask where he thinks the leak is on the compressor. I'll leave it up to you to guess where it may leak unless its obvious. Depending on how long you want to hold onto the car may help determine which way you'd like to go; new, used, or rebuilt. In general all three should be exactly alike with the exception of the new one never being used while the other two are judged as dependable enough to do the job for the remainder of the car's useful life. How you perceive your car will help determine which compressor your a/c tech will use. Removal and replacement is pretty much straight forward with some issues to address; replenishing the oil that's removed from the old one with a like amount of new oil and using new O-rings. The compressor clutch must be in new or in serviceable condition also. Finding a used one is easy; just look in the junk yards for them. The trick is to know what to look for, eliminating the bad or questionable ones from a good gamble/bet. No visible damage on the exterior, possibly a completely sealed system that hasn't been touched or selected from a shelf with at least a return for replacement if it doesn't work, and no refrigerant oil deposits around the clutch assembly as there's only one place that can leak from wear - the front shaft seal. The rest of the compressor access covers should be sealed and untouched as evidenced from a lack of worn bolts or screws and free from leaking compressor oil. The fittings should be clean and free of abuse from incorrect wrenching. Any way for any compressor whether new or used showing any evidence of a possible misfit from being completely pressure sealed is not acceptable. A good eye can usually determine whether or not a good used a/c compressor can be re-used especially if you know the history of where it came from. Without becoming anal about a/c, it has to run in an absolutely clean system, free of any air or moisture. As long as a used compressor came out of a relatively clean (internally) system it can be used again. Junk yard compressors are the least costly replacement but a gamble so you need to be aware of the risks. A good junk yard should be able to make good on a defective compressor if you bought a bad one but that's part of the charm to keep costs down as a good used one is no different from a new one. Rebuilts are the next price range up but a big jump in price since they're compared to new. Assess the overall costs for this repair and if its worth it as comfort has no price.

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Old 05-08-2008, 05:08 PM   #32
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Default Re: A/C quit working

More feedback

I bought a used A/C compressor from a local junkyard for $75 which looks in a fair condition. The A/C guy said he put the compressor on vacuum test (I got no idea how it's done) for 1 1/2 hours and looked good. He installed the compressor, changed the serpentine which was long overdue with more than 110,000 miles on it (he bought the belt), changed the oil, rotated the tires, and all this for $175, I call this a deal. I'll get back with feedback to let yall know how's the new A/C doing.

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