PRIME AC refrigerant O-ring leaks

Discussion in 'Prime Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by lech auto air conditionin, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. lech auto air conditionin

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    We may have a pattern problem on the Prius prime with the seals on the air conditioning fittings.
    Something I’ve noticed on the last dozen Prius prime performing air conditioning service I’ve noticed say the excessive amount of refrigerant oil leakage around the fittings.

    Now asking owners of Prius primes get a good flashlight look up under your grill and look for what you see in my video with oil buildup at the O-ring fittings. So owners can have this fixed before their vehicle falls out of warranty.










    any technicians out there at other shops who may see this post and have a Prius prime role in To your shop do a visual inspection for your customer and look at the condenser fittings for dust and dirt oil buildup.
     
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  2. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Posted on both Facebook Prius Prime Groups.
     
  3. lech auto air conditionin

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    I have five Prius is in my family you could say I’m a little biased and favoritism towards Prius
     
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  4. Mavi

    Mavi Active Member

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    Thanks will keep an eye out on this!
     
  5. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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  6. lech auto air conditionin

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    On Toyotas new quick connect fittings I have a few videos out body shops having a lot of problems breaking those clips trying to reuse them.
    I’ve had a few body shops technicians unknowingly did not properly seat the fittings and completely blew out and wasted the charge of R1234YF they had to call me back again to fill it up because it did not blow off when I filled it up it blew off when the customer drove away a few days later.
    Of course the owners of the shops were not happy because they have to call me up to do a diagnosis of a new cooling problem which is a minimum hour labor charge.
    Then I have to give them the bad news that they did not purchase the new little bag of O-rings and clips attempted to use the old one that usually cracks anyway after one use.
    Body Shop usually has to takeoff the front bumper sometimes headlights front grill to get access to install the new clip and oring. This is all lost labor and time repay the technician for his time plus labor lost on the job they should’ve been on in the first place so it turns into a three time loss on their part.
    Then they called me up to come out and recharge the R1234YF which will be another $400-$600 depending on the vehicle I’m working on.
    All because of a little O-ring in plastic clip
     
  7. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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  8. lech auto air conditionin

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    My dad taught me never to reuse the Orings or gaskets. For $.25 for two or three dollars is your reputation worth that loss.
    Is redoing the work over again for free worth it

    If something leaks like coolant Leak from a O-ring or gasket and burns out an engine or like refrigerant Leak that causes a burns out of a compressor was that $.25 O-ring worth it

    Common sense in using the gray matter between the ears isn’t so common in the automotive market. Especially in fast paced speedy repair shops with bonus programs and incentive goals to meet.
    But when you ask them they sure will have a lot of excuses
     
  9. lech auto air conditionin

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    Refrigerant recharging a PP
     
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  10. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Here's from one Facebook PP owner on this subject. Capture1.JPG
     
  11. lech auto air conditionin

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    He is very correct !
    And I can tell you for a FACT!!! High volume fast moving franchise shops are not going to take the time required to do a proper recovery. They have a bonus $$$ to make.

    As for performing a long deep vacuum that the HVAC technician In the Facebook page was talking about. 99.9% of all automotive shops do not even on the equipment to read a deep vacuum and monitor it.

    ( it cost money it takes extra time you have to hire a more knowledgeable technician that cost Owner more money dollars per hour so that procedure can be skipped the customer will never know the damage that happens takes a long time to happen By leaving moisture and a small percentage of air in the system.) shop owners do not like buying tools they don’t deemed necessary if it cuts into their profits and takes a longer time to perform a procedure.

    The majority of shops own equipment that is over five years old and some even have equipment over 10 years old that should never ever be used on a Prius just do its Inaccuracy right out of the factory the day it was made on a scale that has an accuracy of +\- 2 or 3 ounces. On a normal Prius with a small refrigerant charge of 420 g to 480 g this is devastating on air conditioning performance.

    Luckily for the Prius prime it’s extremely large refrigerant system 1060 g with a large accumulator so if it gets overcharged or under charged by one or 2 ounces (28.5g to 57g) it won’t be the end of the world or so devastating to the air conditioning system but still won’t be good.

    Did you see the complexity of that accumulator assembly and how many individual components how many joints and fittings there are always at every connection do you really think someone’s going to tear under the bumper and the fender liner out from your car to do a throw visual inspection looking for leaks getting their refrigerant leak detector out for their UV light they don’t even have a straight visual access to all the fittings from underneath the car.

    There is a reason that I pay up to $500 plus for a UV dye leak detection light.
    Why I purchased and settled on three different leak detectors that start at plus $500 to just under $1000 to pinpoint refrigerant leaks. Something about shopping as well never even think of doing because it cuts into their profits they’re fragile and their entry-level technicians often break them.
    If you go into 100 air conditioning chops we might get lucky and find only one who knows to use high-pressure dry nitrogen as a secondary form of findings refrigerant leaks because it cost more money it takes more time and you have to have a higher paid more skilled TECH WITH TRAINING, not learning by breaking things and missed diagnosing and charging the customer for parts that were not bad in the first place.

    As for all of the ultrasonic leak detector if you mentioned it to a shop you might find one or two just heard of them but actually never placed their hands on one That wouldn’t know how to use it if you gave it to them.

    As for measuring and testing under deep packing down at 500 or below microns if you mention that to one of the shop owners they would say (“WHAT’s THAT ??? )

    As for the vacuum pump that has rated down to 3 µm 12 CFM’s that cost a little over $3000 when they first came out and that’s just for a vacuum only pump not a whole (recovery, recycle, recharge machine).
    Thank God now the price has fallen to just over $2000 so they’re more reasonably priced. To perform a faster deeper vacuum on air-conditioning systems to ensure an aid in moisture removal contamination.

    When it comes to banging the customers car out the door as fast as possible because there’s more cars to do and make money a lot of procedures get skipped fast diagnosis and a lot of equipment or training never gets obtained.

    The owners of shops and managers and shops or any other is involved in the money train have lots of excuses and reasoning for these choices. But that’s all they are excuses. Wind

    And one of the saddest most pathetic excuse of all old technicians have been in the trade 20 or 30 or 40 years plus who refused to change and educate themselves and rely on their old knowledge like a Neanderthal.
     
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  12. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Post from today's Prius Prime Facebook Group: Untitled20.png
     
  13. Dael

    Dael Member

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    Remember, pulling vacuum for longer than needed will will boil off the system lubrication. Would you think this applies to this situation? (edit: of course it does lech auto AC popped his off immediately when desired result reached) I worked with some fellows who bragged how they left a A/C unit on vacuum all night to make sure it was clean and thought it was not necessarily a good idea considering above caution.

     
    #13 Dael, Dec 7, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
  14. Dael

    Dael Member

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    showing a lot of residue around the O'ring connection areas on my 2020 car. Probably not a recall issue since not safety related?
     
  15. Dael

    Dael Member

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    thanks for doing this! I was hanging on nails waiting on the "leaks" and ester dust on the connectors. Is this a common thing throughout the industry? I looked at mine, just over a year old and there is the sticky dust, like you, I cleaned it off, will inspect later.
     
    #15 Dael, Dec 8, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
  16. lech auto air conditionin

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    Old fairy wise tales and myths. Falls under the urban legends leaving the system under a vacuum too deep or too long will boil off the lubricant.

    This is when you read articles you trust from people who don’t even know what they don’t even know. Or put into the category know just enough to be dangerous.

    Leaving the vacuum pump and trying to dry deep vacuum on automotive refrigeration lubricants is not going to boil them off.

    The temperatures at which we are putting the lubricants under a vacuum and the lack of the ability to draw a deep vacuum with automotive vacuum pumps is like saying if I drink too many glasses of water out of Lake Erie I’m going to empty it.

    The poorly designed in less expensive automotive vacuum pumps used in large refrigerant recovery recycle recharge machines come as close to boiling off the oil as me shooting at the moon with a BB gun.

    We do not use molecular vacuum pumps in the automotive industry wher you start getting down to seven to the 10th power of a micron.
    We nowadays only use rotary vane to stage at best vacuum pumps that are only capable of getting down to 20 µm when new with Brandon oil in good condition measured right at the port out of the pump. And if you left it on a bottle of oil for the next 10 years it would do nothing through a set of gauges and hoses pulling a vacuum to remove oil.

    Once you add the poorly designed refrigerant charging manifold and rubber hoses to that vacuum pump specially given within an hour or less time most shops would leave it on you would be hitting the lotto if you were even capable of getting the system down below 500 to 300 µm on anybody’s old set of refrigerant gages or recharge recovery recycle machine.

    Even I own a 12 CFM vacuum pump that is capable of going down to 3 µm measured at the pump.
    I often leave it on vehicles overnight especially if they’re my family or friends or special classic vehicles and I get lucky when I could get down to around 200 µm and sometimes as low as 100 µm on a vehicle due to limitations of the rubber hoses that are in the vehicle moisture contamination that it has absorbed and built up in the oil and in the rubber itself.

    With all the wishes and hopes that I would like to achieve a ideal 3 µm is unobtainable in the systems even though my pump Capable all the stacked up added losses in the system would never let you achieve such a low level of vacuum.

    Now to achieve this fantasy myth of boiling off the oil using a vacuum pump this is what I would have to do.

    1: I would use something like my 12 CFM 3 micron rated vacuum pump as the first step clean out the vacuum to get somewhere down well below 100 µm which I can do when I leave it on for one or two days and I have done it because I have the equipment to measure it.

    2: then if I took the vehicle to Arizona desert parked it in the middle of a blacktop parking lot on a record-breaking hot summer day of 115°F plus. Also start the engine so I could develop under hood engine temperatures approaching 300°F leave the windows rolled up so the interior temperature of the dash where the evaporator is located can reach in excess of 160° plus on a black car with black interior with no window tint so the infrared radiation 100% can get through the glass to heat up the black vinyl interior from the 1960s.

    3: Now I would turn on my molecular vacuum pump so I could pull a vacuum down below one 100th of a single micron.

    4: Oh yeah did I forget to mention let’s talk that this needs to be petroleum based mineral oil from Old Cars that used to use R 12. So we’re getting into the region of volatile hydrocarbons that you can crack off the same way you split crude oil into gasoline and kerosene and diesel and other byproducts by using temperature and vacuum.

    5: OK now you are allowed to say we will do damage and boil off the oil under the circumstances.

    6: and I don’t know many automotive shops who even know what a molecular vacuum pump is nevertheless to spend several thousand dollars on the vacuum pump itself and another couple thousand dollars for the VFD drive and the controller to operate it . Except me because I’m crazy.

    This is not even to mention how many different kind of vacuum pumps there are that can even pull vacuums even lower than this.

    Unfortunately an automotive industry especially when it comes to air-conditioning if you ask them to use nitrogen they usually don’t even have a clue what it is used for nevertheless even owns some or know what to do with it.
     
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  17. lech auto air conditionin

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    Yes you are correct they probably will not make this a recall they’ll do like Honda did and Cherie did when they had these condenser or O-ring leak issues they may be nice and make it a extended warranty issue where they extend how many years and how many miles to replace under warranty.

    But how many customers enter with Burt compressors or paying for elite checks at private garage is out of their own pocket before they ever take this action. Other manufactures had denied any problems for as long as they could so they don’t have to lose money paying for warranties and then by the time they admitted fault most of the vehicles were so old they were by second or third owners or way out of the warranty claim and a few that were in they just took those as a loss but they just buy time until the numbers are few. It’s all about math and saving money.

    The oil is just oil it’s not a dust the dust is just a collection of road dust and debris that collect on the sticky oil.

    Best course of action like you say clean it off thoroughly if you’re not going to have it taken care of immediately.

    But at the first sign that you notice your air-conditioning is not working so well have it fixed because replacing a burnt out compressor is well above beyond your normal price on a Prius prime.
     
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  18. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Is there anything car owners can do if they have the issue of dust around fittings to accelerate/make Toyota aware? i.e report on a website. I thought only safety related issues could be reported in a website like NHTSA.gov
     
  19. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    The HNBR o-rings used in current auto air conditioning systems are like any other plastic polymer. It comes to "who and how the cake was baked." They can last for days or tens of years.

    Although all elastomers look smooth and the same on the to the eye, the internal structure and the bonds between the atoms as well as other factors determine their life.

    The kinetic molecular theory provide guidance that all the bonds and polymer chains are in vibrational motion and this constant motion works to break the bonds apart. The longevity of the elastomer is dependent on how log the bonds hold together.

    The basic chain of polymers are similar to a bundle of strings. The Shore durometer of an elastomer is determined on the bonds that hold one string to another where they intersect. The stronger the intersecting bond; the harder the durometer.

    Natural rubber is a natural polymer consisting of long strands or chains of polymers like strings. It is exceptionally unstable having hardened and cracked at low temperatures and melted at higher ones.

    It was Charles Goodyear who discovered the process of vulcanization. Basically, sulfur molecules bonded the strings where they intersected each other.

    Consequently, a large batch of faulty o-rings leads to a large installed base and possibly a large number of failures.

    Such is the science of runner and other elastic materials.
     
  20. lech auto air conditionin

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    Yes unfortunately it has nothing to do with safety.

    The only thing you can do is get it in writing before you have an issue to make your dealership aware so at a later date if they deny it and then a year later you find out you’re out of refrigerant or very low and burnt up a compressor do you have something in writing that they denied about a refrigerant leak.
     
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