AC not working...again

sue36June 5, 2008

The AC on my 1998 Ford Emplorer (175k miles) stopped working during a hot spell last fall. I took it be to fixed this past week. They did a "leak check" and after determiningg it would "take a charge" they charged it (I think it was about $120). Now, about 5-7 days later, it's not working again. I'm guessing there must be a leak?

Is it reasonable for me to ask for a refund since they said it would hold a charge and it didn't? Also, any ideas on what could be wrong with it? Our normal mechanic doesn't do AC, so I'll have to find someone. Thanks.

Ohm just remembered...when it stopped working it seemed like it just stopped, it didn't slowly stop cooling better. The AC in this thing used to crank, even on the lowest setting it would be freezing cold.

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jemdandy

I think that the chance of you getting a refund is slim. The mechanic said "It will take a charge". I interpert this to mean the system was low on refrigerant and would take a charge. He said nothing about if it was leaking or how fast it would leak.

If the system was low on refrigerant, this implies there is a leak. A suspect leak point is the shaft seals of the compressor. An air conditioner specialist should have equipment to detect leaks, and I would not expect every general auto repair shop to have such equipment.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 6:16PM
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sue36

Thanks. I'll have to find an AC specialist.

Are AC repairs generally pricey?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 9:47PM
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john_g

AC specialist? Maybe. Really you simply need to find a good shop, with a good technician and they should be able to repair this just fine.

It's possible the shop you visited actually did exactly what they are supposed to do. Inspect and test the system for a major leak, which would require an immeadiate repair. If no leak is discovered during the testing, then they have several accepted options. Many shops will simply put in some leak detector dye, (it shows up under a UV light, and you need those yellow glasses) and they expect to see the car back in two weeks to a month in order to locate the leak and repair it.

I teach a longer method of initial testing, which finds more leaks on the first visit, but takes the technician more time and therefore the shop needs to charge more for the initial testing. That method includes using electronic leak detection, right after the car has been charged, and then repeated after the car has sat idle in the sun about a half an hour later. It also includes using leak detection dye which can require the car to be operated for as much as an hour in order for the dye (leak) to be visible. If BOTH of those fail to show the leak, then we resort to the "bring it back in two weeks" method. Even then, there are cars that the leak is still not detectable. Don't ignore the possiblity that something else has failed, such as the lines that run underneath the body to the rear AC if your Explorer uses that.

It's also quite possible the reason the AC isn't working today has nothing at all to do with the refrigerant charge. Compressors can fail, switches can fail, wires break, in fact the fuel injection computer actually has control of the AC compressor clutch circuit, and there could be a problem there that has the computer deciding to block AC operation.

The bottom line, IMO avoid the $29.95 AC check. If the shop isn't charging $65.00 or more for the initial check, and that is NOT an evacuation and re-charge then they are cutting corners trying to be cheap. An evacuation and recharge should approach $200 when it's done correctly.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 8:11AM
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sue36

Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 11:31PM
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