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So... two weekends ago, I replaced the drier/accumulator (a real pain in the rear, those spring clips) in my 98SE Vulcan because I had the compressor off to change the clutch. Last weekend, I took it into the shop for a leak test and recharge. When I picked up the car, the AC was FREEZING COLD for the entire day that I drove it.

Over the next few days, the AC got less and less cold. That tells me that the freon leaked out. So, I took it in this past Saturday so that they could find the leaks. Next thing I know, I get a call estimating about $1,500 in work that needs to be done... they told me that the condensor cooling fins are all bent to heck, and as a result, the condensor heats up too much, which increases the system pressure and causes leaks. They told me that I'd have to replace the condensor, compressor, the manifold tube assmebly, and the orifice tube line (about $600 in parts at O'Reilly inc. freon, recharge kit, and refrigerant oil).

What they told makes good physical sense (I have a degree in physics), but what doens't seem to jive is that the entire system was blowing cold before all the freon apparently leaked out.. Another shop told me that this seemed pretty strange, but then again, they may have been just trying to get me to take my car to them so they could "find" less so that I'd have the work done. At the same time, the tech did say that all it sounded like was a simple leak somewhere.

The AC repair history is:

Aug 2003: DIY replacement of compressor clutch.
Mar 2004: DIY replacement of drier/accumulator.

So, what do y'all think (besides "his Taurus must be a real POS...")? Also, do you HAVE to replace the drier if you take off the evaporator, compressor, and/or condensor? I mean, couldn't you just stopper the ends of the lines and be okay, or does the little amount of dirty, humid air getting inside fry it anyhow?

Thanks in advance,
Sean Douglas
Norman, OK
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Okay... the new shop called back and advised that the ONLY thing that they could fine wrong was that the pressure-sensor 0-ring on the drier/accumulator was torn... it must've have slipped out and gotten caught on the threads when I turned it onto the drier/accumulator during replacement. Fixed, leak tested, recharged, out the door, $63.00. A far cry from $1,500.00. He also advised that some of the condensor fins were beat up, but that I still had most of the fins in good shape.

The thing is... it's hard for me to castigate the place that gave me the high estimate. I also have an F-150 that was having oil-pressure problems, and a different shop advised it was the oil pump... an $800 repair. I took it to the high-AC-estimate place, and they found that it was merely oil that hadn't been changed for a long time (that's another story about a different bad shop altogether) -- gummed up inside the motor. An engine flush and oil/filter change later, I was out-the-door for about $100, and I've not had a problem since.

The moral of this story is that on any given day, any given shop could try to scam you, intentionally or not. If possible, when you are facing an expensive repair estimate, get a second opinion from a shop that has a good reputation. This forum is also an excellent place to check with.

Thanks, all...
Sean Douglas
Norman, OK
[email protected]
 

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Originally posted by neo2112ok@Mar 30 2004, 02:07 PM
The moral of this story is that on any given day, any given shop could try to scam you, intentionally or not. If possible, when you are facing an expensive repair estimate, get a second opinion from a shop that has a good reputation. This forum is also an excellent place to check with.
That's very sound advice. I've been working on or around automobiles my entire life, professionally and as a hobby. My career is in the medical field though. I look at auto repair and medicine the same way: Hope for the best, plan for the worst, and get a second opinion.
 

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I do part time A/C work in the summer and when ever a system is opened to the atmosphere, always change the accumulator. Over it's lifetime is is only designed to absorb a very small amount of moisture.

And you can get a radiator fin comb from a local parts place for around $5.00 and fix the condenser fins yourself.
 
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