How to recharge A/C? Do I have a leak?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by xunkn0vvnx, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. xunkn0vvnx

    xunkn0vvnx New Member

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    In a matter of two weeks my air conditioning system went from ice cold to warm/hot, do you think I have a leak?

    Is there a DIY to recharging my A/C? Any help would be great, thanks!
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Assuming you own a Prius, I suggest that you visit a Toyota dealer for help as your car may have a refrigerant leak that needs to be fixed first. Since the air conditioning system has an electric compressor of unusual design and the lubricating oil used is definitely unusual and expensive, this may be too much for independent air conditioning shops to handle.

    Some posters have complained that road debris hit and punctured the air conditioning condenser located in front of the radiator. This seems to be one likely place for a leak to develop.
     
  3. xunkn0vvnx

    xunkn0vvnx New Member

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    Thank you very much for the tip. I see that you are located in Orange County, can you recommend me a Toyota dealership to take this to? Also how much do you think this repair will cost?
     
  4. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Mine (in Connecticut) quoted $1200. I took a chance and put in some "stop leak" and freon for $75 at the local gas station. That was in 2005 and the AC still works (as of last summer) with no further leaking.

    JeffD
     
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The cost will depend upon the reason for the leak. As Jeff indicated, the cost could get into four digits.

    I am located in south OC and Rancho Santa Margarita Toyota is closest to my home. They've done an excellent job on various warranted repairs and SSCs. I haven't used Tustin Toyota yet but they might be worth trying out.

    If you are located further north, I think that Longo in El Monte would be good and have heard that the Marina del Rey dealership also does good work. I don't know north OC Toyota dealers.
     
  6. xunkn0vvnx

    xunkn0vvnx New Member

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    Thanks jeffd, what brand stop leak and type of freon did u use? Also what valve did you use to recharge? Did u refill the oil at all?
     
  7. tasker109

    tasker109 New Member

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    our air conditioner just did the same thing. the 2008 is still under full warranty. they told us the compressor locked up and they replaced it. i dont know what the cost would have been, but im sure glad its under warranty.
     
  8. xunkn0vvnx

    xunkn0vvnx New Member

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    I just got the car back from the dealer and they told me the condenser had a small hole in it.

    Result: I paid $150 to just get the thing checked and now they're charging me $840 to replace the condenser!

    Should I just take a gamble and use a cheap $10 repair of stop leak? How much more damage can stop leak cause to my car?
     
  9. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    The condenser is the weak point, due to its construction and location. There are threads here about condenser damage and the resulting cost

    I don't think a can of stop leak will help with an actual hole. See if you can find a salvage condenser first.

    I made a protective grille out of that Gutter Guard stuff you can get from a Big Box. It really does help

    http://i653.photobucket.com/albums/...s Stuff/FrontofPriusaftergutterguardcopy2.jpg

    I got the black Gutter Guard. It blends in so well, you really do have to be very close to the car to notice it. Some folks have made fancy guards out of aluminum mesh material, looks very slick
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I'd primarily be concerned about damaging the air conditioning compressor, which uses a non-traditional design. However, Jeff indicated success with that stop leak method.

    If you choose to use the stop leak, the repair will cost more than $10. You'll have to pay labor time for the system to be evacuated and for the cost of HFC-134a refrigerant to be installed. The system might need additional ND-OIL 11 compressor oil to be added as well.
     
  11. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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  12. xunkn0vvnx

    xunkn0vvnx New Member

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    I was charged $150 at power toyota cerritos just to have it checked.

    Now they are charging me $840 to replace the condenser. Total cost is going tobe $990 for the whole ordeal. Are these prices fair? Should they have charged $150 even though they failed to recharge the system?
     
  13. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    $150 is kinda pricey for diagnosis, but it's spent money now, and the replacement price is reasonable. If you went somewhere else I bet the total cost would be greater, but now that you know what needs to be done you might try calling around. Of course they must use only the correct Toyota fluids to avoid damaging the compressor.
     
  14. allargon

    allargon Member

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    My dealer charged me $162 in Round Rock to diagnose the problem. The total repair bill was around $1100. I declined to get it fixed. In the Bay Area, you can easily get by w/o air conditioning. Here in Central TX, it's almost a necessity.

    The assistant service manager at Round Rock/Classic Toyota tried to make me feel better by saying it's pretty common. Moreover, it happened to another customer's brand new Tundra when the new Tundra's first came on the market. Reading that it's #1) not covered by warranty and #2) fairly common means I will be looking away from Toyota for my next car purchase. :mad: (GM couldn't put decent alternators, struts, motor mounts or steering columns into their cars to save their lives. However, they did make rock solid and ice cold air conditioners.)
     
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