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  #1  
Old 05-19-2006, 08:30 PM
Zerohour3k's Avatar
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Price check (sorta)

Okay. I finally broke down and had dye put in my A/C System.. mostly because I wanted working AC for this summer. My mechanic found out the leak was coming from the front seals of my compressor (The compressor works, but leaks heavily).. thus, it'll need a new one. He said with the cost of the new compressor, plus the R-12 and new pressure switches, etc.. it'd be "cheaper" for me to convert to 134a.. and gave me a estimate of $1,000. This seemed a bit high to me, since I know a new compressor is only 300-400 tops. (My car is gray market.. and the AC system was aftermarket. The compressor is a Volvo). Is this a fair deal? Or should I tell him to keep it R-12, and ask why he wanted so much? I know R-12 costs more, but $1,000 to convert it just doesn't seem worth it, to me.

Aside from that.. my 300D runs incredibly hot on the highway (110C). I asked him about it, and he found a ton of cold spots on the radiator. Turns out my radiator is pretty much shot (understandable for a 22 year old car). He quoted me $325 for the radiator, and 1.35 hours labor. The guy seems like a nice mechanic.. but these figures just seem a bit high to me. Maybe I'm just cheap..
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2006, 08:36 PM
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radiator

replacing a radiator would be a great DIY project. Its an easy beginners
project if your a beginner of course. Dieselgiant has a great DIY on the AC.
The AC compressor is cheap.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2006, 08:37 PM
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Firstly, don't let him convert it to R-134. All the jerkoffs use R-134 now and they make a case to "convert". However, the R-12 is just slightly more costly than the R-134 so there is no good reason to do it. However, your mechanic may not have the gauges or be setup to install R-12, so he tries to convince you to "convert".

Take the vehicle elsewhere to a shop that can and will use R-12. See if they have it on the premises. I'll bet your mechanic does not.

With regard to the cost, you usually have additional parts such as the drier, expansion valve, and possibly the manifold hose in addition to the compressor. The total is typically around $550. Labor is at least 4 hours to do the job properly. 5-6 is not unreasonable. Most of them won't do the job properly and won't flush the system correctly. They want to keep the time down........you know........

Then, you get to do it all over again.........within two years. This is surely the case if you convert to R-134. I spent way too much money on a/c for the W123 when it was converted to R-134 and it failed within two years. Don't you do the same.
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2006, 09:33 PM
Craig
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I would get pricing for replacing the compressor and recharging with R-12. The cost difference shouldn't be that great. I also spent $1000+ on a 134a conversion about 4 years ago. My system still works fine, but if I was to do it again, I would stick with the R-12 for better performance.

The radiator cost sounds reasonable to me, unless you want to do it yourself.
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  #5  
Old 05-19-2006, 09:50 PM
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I had the radiator replaced with the recommended BEHR radiator, with the reinforced hose neck (the original one didn't come with one) back in 1999, and R12. The charge for the radiator, at the MB dealer in San Rafael Calif. was $332. The air conditioning still blows cold. When it works, which isnt every time. Maybe I need a monovalve now, not gotten to it yet...

Someone here mentioned, if I recall correctly, that the R134 air conditioning isn't quite effective as the OEM set up.

As a matter of fact, many parts - catalytic converters, mufflers, replacement batteries, and the like are often best done with the MB parts from the dealer or a good MB parts outfit like fastlane or www.epsparts.com

A professional fix with genuine MB parts gives the best result and peace of mind, in my opinion.

But there may be a better and cheaper way. I don't know for certain

GOOD LUCK.
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2006, 10:34 PM
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~$95 to replace the radiator isn't out of the question, but it's so easy save that cash for yourself. Consider the upper and lower hoses while you're in there along with the ATF lines (if your car is an auto). Flush it, toss in a new thermo, and add the correct Xerex coolant. Motor on at cooler temps. Also check the fan clutch.

Don't go for 134A, you have to change the oil over which means a total flush of the system, potentially new hoses, the nylog o-rings are a must too. If you don't, the system will die. R12 isn't that expensive, I picked up 30lbs for $425 only... that's about $14.17 by my math a full pound of 134A at the auto stores (at $10 per 12oz can) is $19.20 per pound. I got $1.20 per ounce for the 134A versus 88 for the R12.

I wouldn't recommend AC work if you're not handy with a wrench, but it's a good place to learn so you can really get to know your vehicle. It's not that difficult, just time consuming. Study up on it, read, read, read, ask questions, read more, etc.
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2006, 10:47 PM
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Few A/C shops take the time to convert properly. The existing condenser is a series flow type (assuming the aftermarket conversion used a series flow which was the only type made back then) and 134A is inefficient with that.
Converting to 134A should include replacing the condenser with a parallel flow type and removing the oil completely from the system especially the pump and replacing the evaporator or at least removing it to do the flush necessary to clean the system. Many shops are eager to do a quick conversion and after throwing lots of $$ at it you will be unhappy with the results.
R12 is the way to go, find another shop that has it and isn't pushing 134A!
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:55 PM
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I'm suprised no one has a 134A direct swap kit for these vehicles. i.e. new condensor, hoses, etc.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2006, 12:08 AM
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Thanks for the advice, guys!

Yeah.. I was sorta wondering why he couldn't just replace the compressor (~$200 + new pressure switch + R12 fill).. which would only cost me like 400.. and instead, made a big deal of replacing all the fittings, dryer (which I just replaced no more than a year ago).. compressor.. and god knows what else.

They do R12 there.. but the guy admitted to me that he's a fan of 134a. I'll probably go back and just have him replace the compressor, instead. As for my radiator? I don't want to go fiddling around with my oil cooler lines.. so I'll probably just let him do that, too.
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Old 05-20-2006, 12:15 AM
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If you replace the compressor you need to replace the rec/dryer every time.
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  #11  
Old 05-20-2006, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyL
If you replace the compressor you need to replace the rec/dryer every time.
Even if the Rec/dryer is only 1 year old? If I must, then I must. I mean, the part is cheap anyway. The compressor isn't siezed or dead.. it just leaks at the seals. Since I want to charge it with R12, they can't legally do it with a leaky system. Thus, the compressor is getting replaced.
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  #12  
Old 05-20-2006, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerohour3k
Thanks for the advice, guys!

Yeah.. I was sorta wondering why he couldn't just replace the compressor (~$200 + new pressure switch + R12 fill).. which would only cost me like 400.. and instead, made a big deal of replacing all the fittings, dryer (which I just replaced no more than a year ago).. compressor.. and god knows what else.

They do R12 there.. but the guy admitted to me that he's a fan of 134a. I'll probably go back and just have him replace the compressor, instead. As for my radiator? I don't want to go fiddling around with my oil cooler lines.. so I'll probably just let him do that, too.
Don't worry about your oil cooler lines, they can remain in place while the radiator is removed, its the transmission cooler lines that go into the radiator (provided you have an automatic trans) and they come off easy (you should have a couple of small plugs to close off the lines so the fluid doesn't all run out of the transmission while they are disconnected from the radiator)
I said earlier "replacing the evaporator" when I walked away think about it still I realized I meant CLEANING the evaporator because they get plugged up with dust and, if you've often had a dog in the car, hair. The expansion valve should be replaced to assure a great working AC. Some will say its not necessary but if you put a lot of new stuff in a system and the old valve has a tiny piece of anything to plug it up you just wasted a bunch of $

Always insist on a new dryer if its been up to atmosphere it will be contaminated.

A proper 134a conversion is going to cool you ALMOST as well as R12 but will cost more due to the need for a parallel flow condenser and wind up costing more even though the gas costs less, but realize there is a possibility that lubricating oils are incompatible (regardless of what they say you don't want to mix the oils! or you'll have a problem brewing with short compressor life.

I had an Indy I know (I worked there part time) replace my expansion valve, added a new dryer and replaced the pressure and suction lines on my '85 300TD. My old compressor was fine so thankfully I didn't have that expense. It ran me nearly $1000 including R12 (hoses are expensive and I got off easy!). The system has been holding gas perfectly almost a year later and we just gave it a workout on a trip to LA recently and I'm glad it was done properly because it will really chill you!
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  #13  
Old 05-20-2006, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit Man X
I'm suprised no one has a 134A direct swap kit for these vehicles. i.e. new condensor, hoses, etc.
Its probably covered here:
http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/search.php?searchid=735119
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  #14  
Old 05-20-2006, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerohour3k
Thanks for the advice, guys!

Yeah.. I was sorta wondering why he couldn't just replace the compressor (~$200 + new pressure switch + R12 fill).. which would only cost me like 400.. and instead, made a big deal of replacing all the fittings, dryer (which I just replaced no more than a year ago).. compressor.. and god knows what else.

They do R12 there.. but the guy admitted to me that he's a fan of 134a. I'll probably go back and just have him replace the compressor, instead. As for my radiator? I don't want to go fiddling around with my oil cooler lines.. so I'll probably just let him do that, too.


You have to do dryer as Jimmy said, it's maybe $20 anyway. Do those lil schrader valves too, again cheap.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldiehard


Slick, I'll have to read around. Eventually R12 will be too costly I forsee, then it may be time to swap on over.
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'85 300SD 245k
'87 300SDL 251k
'90 300SEL 326k

Six others from BMW, GM, and Ford.

Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty.
[/IMG]
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