I'm back ...am I being ripped off?

goldensmomJune 20, 2005

Okay 92 Camry is in the shop getting new timing belt & water pump. Figured the responses from you great people on here I was doing ok in the pricing area. I just called them to remind them to check the AC as I haven't had it since the end of last summer. Started blowing luke warm then hot then nothing. They told me they have to convert the old system to new and I asked why can't they just put the old freon in and check for leaks he said the old freon R-12? is 150.00 a lb....sounds like a sure rip off to me. Now I just got a call and my compressor rings have oil on them so that is where the leak is and I need a new compressor...total 350.00....is this a dealer rip off? Haven't had major work for the 13 years I've have it so I shouldn't complain about 700.00 so far in one visit. Just want opinions to be reassured I'm not being taken for a ride.

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You must be able to deal with people you can trust. And the automotive field has hurt itself down thru the years by using too much low-life. And these same people could be running the dealerships - AKA "stealer-ships".. As for the dealers charging $100 per hour - they should curb their expenses better - government can help by being less restrictive and absolute..
The manufacturers can help by designing cars to be more service friendly..
And the car owners can also help by accepting that their complex vehicles do need service, and that quality service is not cheap..

Consumers have also created part of the problem by expecting something for nothing. This is not morally right, IMO...

IMO,well over 90% of mechanics are honest as anyone. But it is more than just honesty - it is communications - and here many fall flat on their faces..
I probably have a lot of trouble here.

Freon-12, thanks to the environmentalists and our government is a very expensive commodity- and nigh obsolete.

It does behoove the public to know why.

The prices quoted are reasonable , IMO, to restore the AC system..

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 11:27AM
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If you are getting a reasonable warranty on this repair, $350 to replace the compressor and get the a/c working again with R12 does not sound too bad to me. R12 is expensive, compressors aren't cheap, and replacing them isn't always easy. But again, make sure that this repair carries a warranty (at least 3 mo./3,000 miles) and that you're getting either a new or rebuilt/remanufactured compressor, not a "used" compressor.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 11:43AM
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Thanks earthworm...this dealership charges 52.00 an hr vs. the small shop I use to use charged 58.00 so the hourly rate is fine with me. I knew R12 was going to be expensive but Wow not that expensive!!! Hopefully this baby will run another 13 years as this is all maintenance vs "ASAP needed"...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 11:46AM
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Cowboyind...no I'm not getting R12...they wouldn't do it ...said I had to get it retrofit to new which is included in the 350.00...said something about I'm saving 100.00 by doing it this way??? ... I agree I better get a good warranty. Not only on AC but my belt & water pump...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 3:38PM
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An honest mechanic is worth his or her weight in gold....I had the same one for 7 years. He specialized in dubs and Audis and really knew his stuff...haven't seen him since I bought my new car and I can honestly say I miss him...cuz he was a great guy, too!
That said, I found him by way of referral...my best friend's father recommended him. I'd ask around and see what you can come up with...good luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 4:31PM
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With the a/c I wish you all the luck in the world because you'll probably need it. With a/c work it seems there is always one more thing that has to be replaced to make it work right. In my case I ended up spending $850.00 on a Ford a/c and it still didn't work. I ended up having to go to small claims court to get my money back and that wasn't easy, five times before 3 judges. The mecanic will tell you anything but apparently a/c leaks are almost impossibe to find and repair. In Md. all you need to go into business is a sign which is part of the problem. Even with home a/c it's the same thing, replace parts, freon and charge big bucks. With a car that old you may want to consider trading on a newer one with a/c that works.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 4:55PM
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I've had decent luck with used compressors, but I wouldn't pay more than $50-$75 for one.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 7:36PM
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R12 is expensive because it has been designated as harmful to the ozone layer, and is not made anymore. What Freon 12 exists today is stock left over before the ban. When this stock is gone, there is no more.

Unfortunately, extensive changes are required to convert a Freon 12 system to another refrigerant.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 12:26AM
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$350 is not bad "IF" they are actually doing the work they say. do you know what compressor rings are? sounds like muffler bearings to me.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 8:28AM
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welcome to that gray area where you have a car that is 13 years old, still provides great transportation but has very little resdiual value left. How much is too much to spend to keep the car working properly? Are you throwing good money after bad?

The numbers you quote seem reasonable for the work. I hope it pans out for you.

My luck with a/c systems has been similar to skagmobile's - much time and money into it and it works for a short period before it needs more work. I chose to roll the windows down.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 8:40AM
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I don't think you're being ripped off, but there may be cheeper options. A few years ago I had my r12 ac repaired. People were talking about the high cost of r12 then too. It only cost me $20 or so more than it would have cost for the r134a. They saved mine, and refilled with recycled r12. I think the stuff is still made and used everywhere but here. You know, the USA has to pay more to save the planet. Everyone else gets to do whatever the hec they want. Find a shop that does a lot of work with r12 and maybe it won't cost so much.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 8:05PM
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Most systems can be converted to R134a with no changes (other than changing the high/low pressure ports to the proper size for R134a).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 3:01PM
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**Most systems can be converted to R134a with no changes (other than changing the high/low pressure ports to the proper size for R134a).**

I haven't done it myself, but I was under the impression there was more too it than sucking out the r12, changing the fittings, and refill with 134a. They work at different pressures, and the oil used in the r12 system doesn't like 134a. Do it half arsed and you're liable to end up wondering why your ac isn't blowing very cold even though everything seems to be working.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 10:46PM
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I used to go to mechanics who had a machine that removed the freon from old cars in a nearby junkyard,that would be the cheaper recycled method of refilling with freon.$350.00 seems very reasonable for a compressor and changing over to the new refrigerant,which I believe is propylene glycol based.Just don't expect it to be as cold as the old system.My 2 year old car blows fairly cold air,but my 94 pickup with the freon based system gets the cab meatlocker cold!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 1:21PM
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Here's a couple other options I've come across. Ikor "HotShot" (R414b), and freeze12.

Here is a link that might be useful: freeze12

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 7:10PM
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Apparently, the mineral oil used with R12 doesn't mix with R134a and additionally provides a sealing effect on non-barrier type hoses so that the R134a doesn't leak through them.

On some cars the clutch cycling pressure switch may need to be adjusted for R134a.

I had my 1988 Ford Mustang 5.0 converted to R134a. Besides changing the fittings and installing a Smart VOV (which was my idea, my mechanic had never used them before), everything else is all original. The Smart VOV is a replacement orifice tube that self-adjusts for operating pressures and provides performance similar to a TXV system. It's supposed to provide colder air at idle with and reduce the load on the compressor. It was $20 at NAPA so it wasn't a big expense. I have no idea how much it helped compared to a standard orifice, but my mechanic was impressed.

Anyway, all of that was about 4 years ago and the AC still works fine.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 5:52PM
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You're going to suffer from decreased cooling performance if you switch from R-12 to R-134a....I'd just put R-12 back in there and be done with it, espescially since a proper conversion to R-134a will probably cost more than just putting R-12 back in.

R-12 on eBay is currently selling for $400 for 30 pounds. That's $13.33 per pound . You're getting ripped off...bad.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 6:47PM
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I don't know. The AC in my Mustang works just as well as any other car out there that came from the factory with R134a.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 11:57PM
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Two of my friends back in HS who had their cars converted had terrible systems after conversion....cooled acceptably if it was below 85-ish degrees outside...after that, kiss it goodbye. Of course this is Texas....

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 12:49AM
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I think the Smart VOV may be making a difference, then..as even on the record-setting 95+ degree days here (Virginia) it continues to cool acceptably.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 12:05PM
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