Automotive

Maintenance: help me finally fix this AC problem

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  • Jul 1st, 2013 11:02 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 24, 2002
890 posts
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Toronto

Maintenance: help me finally fix this AC problem

Got a 2001 Acura 1.7 EL with 297K. Car runs like a dream except AC gave out 3 years ago. Now my wife drives it for 100+ km per day and I really need AC fixed.

Last year I took it to Acura. Spent 120$ to test it. They told me it needed a new compressor. They quoted me 1200$ for aftermarket part or 2000$+ for original.

I took the car to my mechanic of 10+ years (Chi from 360 auto). He got an original compressor from wreckers, charged up the system and AC ran for 3 weeks (350$!)

It stopped working. Went back to Chi. He checked system and told me I got a leak somewhere. To prove it he vacuumed out the system and refilled again (free of charge!!). It ran for 2 days.

According to Chi it could be anything and can take days (if ever to find the leak). Wife is on my case and I need it fixed.

Anyone got a dependable analysis place I can take the car to? It seams dealer was 50% right and for my mechanic it's a lot of work with little pay (he's also way overloaded these days)

Help!!!
13 replies
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Nov 24, 2012
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It's possible the used compressor crapped out. First find the leak, its a pretty simple dye test than go from there.
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May 10, 2005
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Solsearchin1 wrote:
Jun 26th, 2013 11:49 pm
It's possible the used compressor crapped out. First find the leak, its a pretty simple dye test than go from there.
Exactly, insert dye into the system when he charges it and any leaks will show up within minutes.
The problem with "used" parts is they will not guarantee that they will work. The A/C system is very regualted. If there is a leak at all, it must, by law be evacuated of it's refrigerant and repaired before it can be charged again. Your mechanic should know that.
To repair the A/C is not cheap and if you want it to work, you will need to pay whatever the cost. If the compressor is fixed it could be the condenser and if that is fixed the lines or seals could be gone. The fact that it has been empty and none functioning for 3 years tells me that your whole system needs and overhaul and that can be up to a couple grand. If you go cheap, well, you can already see what it has cost you and you have nothing to show for it.
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leonk wrote:
Jun 26th, 2013 11:05 pm
Got a 2001 Acura 1.7 EL with 297K. Car runs like a dream except AC gave out 3 years ago. Now my wife drives it for 100+ km per day and I really need AC fixed.

Last year I took it to Acura. Spent 120$ to test it. They told me it needed a new compressor. They quoted me 1200$ for aftermarket part or 2000$+ for original.

I took the car to my mechanic of 10+ years (Chi from 360 auto). He got an original compressor from wreckers, charged up the system and AC ran for 3 weeks (350$!)

It stopped working. Went back to Chi. He checked system and told me I got a leak somewhere. To prove it he vacuumed out the system and refilled again (free of charge!!). It ran for 2 days.

According to Chi it could be anything and can take days (if ever to find the leak). Wife is on my case and I need it fixed.

Anyone got a dependable analysis place I can take the car to? It seams dealer was 50% right and

Help!!!
Further to what Pete-Coach said ...just to confirm, did he actually add fluorescent leak detection dye to the refrigerant & and use an ultraviolet light to try and pin-point exactly where the leak might be ?
leonk wrote:
Jun 26th, 2013 11:05 pm
for my mechanic it's a lot of work with little pay (he's also way overloaded these days)
Time shouldn't be an issue...it is what it is. He'll simply charge you for as long ( hours ) as it takes him to find and fix the leak...just like any other job.

Now, if he doesn't have the proper equipment or expertise to do a proper AC diagnosis or repair - that's another issue.

But whatever shop you go to, just make sure they guarantee their diagnosis and that their quote is guaranteed to restore your AC.
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Feb 26, 2004
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Gilman Auto in Scarborough.

They deal with everything Honda related.
Deal Guru
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Be prepared to spend a lot of money as it may require an evaporator coil. Tell the wife to learn to drive without a/c (windows rolled).
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There is NO 100% full proof way to get an old A/C system fixed with an expectation of 2+ years of operation.

I'd say it is like 50-50 whether a fixed A/C system will develop another problem that will cost more money to fix.

Fixing a car A/C is definitely a money hole scenario.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 24, 2002
890 posts
66 upvotes
Toronto
Here's a quick update:

After some online research I discovered Maxwell automotive in Mississauga. It seems the place is known for their AC diagnostics. So I took the car in (50$ for analysis vs 120$ at the dealership). According to the place, the rebuild compressor is shot!!! They showed me 100psi pressure in the system (I.e. no leak) and they can detect voltage going to compressor but it doesn't turn on!! Darn it!!! What a waste of 500$+ last year!!

So Sean (owner) calls around and finds something amazing for me. According to Sean, a local Honda dealer has the complete 2001 Civic A/C kit still shrink wrapped in the box and just wants it gone!! 400$ for the entire kit!! OEM!! (This typically costs 2,500$+)

But Sean needs the car for the whole day to replace the ENTIRE system + charge it up. Only thing that will be reused of old system is the button on the dash!!!

Cost: 1200$ + tax (400$ parts, 650$ labor, 150$ charge)

What do you guys think?? He said he can do 850$ compressor only but for 350$ to get everything else done as well seems like a steal.
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May 2, 2007
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Your getting a $2500 brand new in the box for $400 and still asking if it's a good deal?

Damn son jump on it.
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That's about 40% of the car value but hey, if it's going to keep the wife happy, I guess it's well worth it.
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Feb 26, 2004
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Buy the kit yourself and have someone else install it. Otherwise just get a new car with working A/C.

$800 labour cost is ridiculous.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 24, 2002
890 posts
66 upvotes
Toronto
Labour is 650$. Shop rate is 95$/hr which is less than the 120+ most shops charge today (dealerships)

I know it sounds crazy but it is a very big job from what I hear. He's giving me his loaner car for the day as it will take all day! He wants me there before 9am to complete in a single day (he closes at 6!!)
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leonk wrote:
Jul 1st, 2013 10:47 am
Labour is $650. Shop rate is 95$/hr which is less than the 120+ most shops charge today (dealerships)

I know it sounds crazy but it is a very big job from what I hear.
He's giving me his loaner car for the day as it will take all day! He wants me there before 9am to complete in a single day (he closes at 6!!)
+1

Labour of $650 is perfectly reasonable. It could be much worse.

i.e. - see an AC repair quote on a MB below ( from an MB tech ) ....just for the evaporator .....20 hours !
[INDENT]" If the vehicle has an issue with losing freon and causing this problem and the shop/mechanic has traced it to the evaporator core the cost for repair on this can run around $280.00 for the part and 20 hours labor to have it replaced.

The 20 hours labor is due to having to remove the dash from the vehicle and the heater box to be able to replace this evaporator core
."[/INDENT]
http://www.justanswer.com/mercedes/4xqg ... jkinh.html



Or, a Range Rover.....again, just for the evaporator.........30 hours !!!
[INDENT]" I recently worked on a very expensive Range Rover with about 40k on the odometer. They, the very large British Motors dealer, had just replaced the Evaporator Core ( a 30 hour job, not covered by warranty and was $3500 ) "[/INDENT]
http://repairpal.com/evaporator-core-423
" The placebo effect is the most powerful supplement of all "
" The pain of discipline weighs ounces, the pain of neglect weighs tons "
" The best training in the world can't overcome a lousy diet "
TRAIN HARD !!!!

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