AC problem turns out to be evaporator core. Amazing - parts are about $200 but Labor is $1000.

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Archieinaustin, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. Archieinaustin

    Archieinaustin Junior Member

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    Is that par?
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    You can shop around
     
  3. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The evaporator core went in at the factory, then had most of the rest of the instrument panel built around it, so yes, the labor is no joke.

    If you're handy and want to trade some of your own effort for $$$, you could see how much of the instrument panel you can disassemble yourself and still successfully drive the car to the shop. You can find instructions for the disassembly at techinfo.toyota.com ($15 to get in, but that's less than $1000).

    -Chap
     
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  4. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    A/C problem in Austin, Texas in August? Yeah, they know they've got the ball securely in their court! ;)
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    is that a dealer, a/c shoppe or local mech?
     
  6. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Yes par at the dealer. Thats nutty letting the dealer do that at $140 an hour. Get another estimate all good ac shops are pretty versed in prius.

    Btw, evap's get leaks from not getting maintained. They get gunked up and rot out. In the future have the evap cleaned. The dealer charges $100 but if you handy you can do it yourself. Use a can of pressurized microbial cleaner that has a special hose that connects to the condensate drip hose under the car. The foamy contents are injected up the tube...it fills the ecoil box and cleans it and drips back out as liquid. Makes the car smell great. Then go to Home Depot and buy a can of coil cleaner and hose down the condenser in front of the rad. Clean condenser is much more efficient.

    Kool It at amazon. for the evap under the dash.
     
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  7. Teen

    Teen New Member

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    What was the problem with your ac? I only ask because I have an issue with my ac and I'm wondering if this is the issue.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    It is leaking refrigerant. An ac shop will fill the system up and then with a refrigerant sniffer go around to all the joints and pipping and see where the gas is leaking out. If your really really unlucky it will be the evap coil box under the dash. They just stick the sniffer under the dash and if it alarms you lose. Personally I would sell/dump/burn the car before I would spend $1500 on an 2005 Prius ac repair.
     
  9. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    The independent AC shops do charge less than the stealership - at least that's been my experience. I was gona suggest going without AC until I noticed the op is in Austin, and it is summer. After being there in summer I remembered it felt like being inside a car with rolled-up windows & 10 Great Danes panting on me ...

    .
     
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  10. Surfinbird

    Surfinbird Junior Member

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    Ugh. After replacing the condenser for a leak, I've been diagnosed with the evaporator leak @ $2,300 (with tax). Never had the dealer say they needed maintenance :-(
    Sad to think I need to trade in my 2005 with 117k miles, but I'm thinking I may be looking at worse down the road. Do 2014's or later have this problem too?
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Someone here posted pics of the dash opened up for heater/AC work, it looked like a bomb had gone off.
     
  12. Brian Marx

    Brian Marx New Member

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    I'm dealing with the same problem on my 2006. Got a hit on the evaporator core. Ordered it off of rock auto for 49 bucks. Going to attemp it myself. But I think after this repair, I'll drive it for awhile and dump it. Time for a newer one.
     
  13. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    How on earth ... ? Or are you thinking about the condenser?

    The evaporator's very well protected by the firewall and instrument panel.

    -Chap
     
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah AC part names are not that self-explanatory: condenser is the big radiator up front.

    It raises the pressure, condensing, to sort of "wring out" the accumulated heat.
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The names aren't that bad really, if you've had the picture drawn once.

    The thing that raises the pressure is the thing called the compressor. So far so good. The refrigerant is a gas at that point (hard to compress a liquid). The high pressure gas gets condensed to a high pressure liquid in the thing called the condenser. To condense, it has to give up the amount of latent heat that makes the difference between liquid and gas form at that temperature and pressure. That gets carried away by the outside air through the grille.

    Then that high-pressure liquid needs to turn to a low-pressure liquid, by passing through a valve that holds back its flow into a larger, expanded space (bigger tubing) on the far side. That's called the expansion valve.

    Now the liquid droplets in a suddenly lower-pressure space are also colder (because temperature and pressure work like that), and being colder than the air in the car, they can now pick up heat from the cabin air, enough to equal the latent heat and evaporate the liquid back into a gas. And the thing that happens in is called the evaporator....

    So, yeah, the terms are a little jargon-y maybe, but they're pretty directly named after what they do.

    -Chap

    Edit: now, if you're driving a Prime, and it's winter, and the system is heat-pumping, the evaporator and condenser technically switch roles. But people don't generally switch what they call them. That way lies madness. :) I guess with heat pumps, you hear more "indoor coil" and "outdoor coil".
     
    #15 ChapmanF, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  16. josephlee

    josephlee Junior Member

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    Shop diagnosed 2005 prius ac problem as bad evaporator. I could not afford the approximate $1300 cost so I purchased a new denso evaporator for $110 which was an exact duplicated of the one in my car. Had to take the entire dash apart to do the replace. However the diagnosis was bad. The evaporator in the car was good. The real problem was o-rings on the ac freon tubes that connect the evaporator to the rest of the system. The freon tubes exit the cabin and go into the engine compartment. About 3 inches in front of the firewall they join the rest of the system with an o-ring connection. The o-rings are about $20 and after about 10 years they become less flexible and take a "set" shape. Once this happens they leak. You can see evidence of the leas as oil residue will be on the aluminum freon lines. It is difficult to see the freon lines at the firewall without removing the tray that holds the windshield wiper assembly. However the removal is easy, takes 12 minutes then lines are visible. You might be able to see from under the car. SO, I don't think there is anything wrong with your evaporator.
     
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  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Congrats on the successful diagnosis! diy out of necessity ... & a loathing to pay ridiculous service garage prices. Welcome to my world.

    .
     
  18. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Was it difficult to remove and replace the O-rings? Any photos?

    I hope you did not disassemble the dashboard...
     
  19. stockdaddy

    stockdaddy Member

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    Other than a complete engine or transmission failure, I would say a AC is the worst problem to deal with.

    I don't see how you can buy a window ac unit new for $100 yet it costs so much for the car ac.
     
  20. josephlee

    josephlee Junior Member

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    O-ring replace requires a $20 tool to remove the plastic collars that lock the aluminum freon tubes together. Google "freon line disconnect tool". There are many youtube videos on this subject. I didn't have the tool but managed with a paperclip and pliers.
    Once plastic collars are off pull the lines apart, take off the o-rings, lube new o-rings with SPECIAL HYBRID freon/ac oil. Push lines back together (by hand), put the plastic collars back on. A LOT easier than taking the dash apart which I did. (That took me 4 days) j.
    Forgot: you'll need to charge the system. Take it to a dealer that KNOWS about prius/hybrid ac charging oil. Also, once you have clear visibility to the freon lines you should be able to see the leak as oily deposits on the freon lines. On my car it was the return line (big one) that was leaking at the o-ring. Replace all the o-rings (4 of them, 2 on each line) Buy at Toyota dealer. Don't disconnect freon lines if there is pressure in the lines.
     
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