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Old 07-02-2001, 11:08 PM
Beatle Juice
Posts: n/a
Have a refrigerant leak on a 93 300E. I have not been able to locate the leak visually with dyes or with refrigerant detectors. The only place left is the evaporator and I was wondering if there is a sure fire way to find a leak there or is it just a matter of elimination. I have been told by the dealership it would cost around $2000.00 to have it replaced. So I want to be very sure of where the leak is before I dive into this job. Thanks....
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Old 07-02-2001, 11:31 PM
Posts: n/a
Leak Tester

Brother of Tne Benz, Beattle juice
The most accurate leak test for refrigirant from the evaporator is using an electronic type.
My 1987 300E had its evap core replaced last week by an independant that I use for specialty M/B service. The cost for this plus additional rebuilding of the Automatic Climate Control Housing was $2700.00.
Had my dealer performed similair work it would have been $3800.00.
My independent perform so much more than the dealer.
All of the vacuum elements were replaced, plus:
Blower motor assembly
All the seals and gaskets
Expansion valve(comes with OE Evap)
I purchased a cheaper evap from the "Fast Lane" for 1/3 the cost of the OE source. The less expensive one looked like a large transmission cooler and it didn't come with the expansion valve or the seals and gaskets.
I returned it to Prince Phillp.
You only get what you pay for.
Be certain what you're quote includes.
My total rebuilding of the air conditioning system totalled $4100.00.
You may wind up with repair order shock.
Happy Trails Beep Beep from The Spiderman in Houston!!!
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Old 07-03-2001, 10:06 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,513
I had the dreaded leaky a/c system on my 1987 300TDT when purchased 1.5 years ago. It would leak down from completely full (and frosty cold!) to worthless in 7-8 weeks. It was leaking roughly 1lb/month of refrigerant.

I purchased a decent used sniffer off ebay. Had small leaks in the condenser and expansion valve. Didn't verify it, but strongly suspect the majority of the leakage was in the evaporator.

So I was looking at a repair cost on the same order as the Donald's.

I decided to try out the dreaded cryo-chem. I figured it'd be an interesting experiment. If it trashes out the system, I'd just send the car in and have everything replaced - got the money in the bank

Here's what I did. Purchased the cryo-chem kit, a new dryer, refrigerant oil, and R-12 (I'm 609 certified). Rented a vacuum pump from my local rent-all place.

Had the remaining freon recovered at my local service shop, then opened the system, added oil, and replaced the dryer. Pulled a vacuum for one hour, then followed the cryo-chem instructions for filling the system.

I did this work approximately 1 November 2000. The a/c worked fine all winter and spring. I checked it when road trip season approached, about 1 April 2001. It was down just a bit, so I added about 10oz R-12 to top up the system.

Since that time it appears to not be leaking at all - no bubbles in the sight glass, a/c outperforming MBs specifications, etc.

I'm not quite ready to call it a success yet - it hasn't even been a year. I'm still waiting for the cryo-chem sealant to clog the system, or some such terrible thing. However, it hasn't happened yet.

Here's the interesting part. My a/c works as well as Donald's. (Better, actually - I'm still runinng R-12.) I spent $275 to repair it, and about three hours of my own labor on a Saturday.

I've found a thread or two on cryo-chem here in Mercedesshop. One of the experts has used it - I *think* it was Benzmac, but don't quote me on that. Success was mixed - sometimes worked, sometimes not. So far, it looks pretty good on my 124 wagon. We'll see how it performs over time.
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Old 07-03-2001, 06:44 PM
Posts: n/a

Brother of The Benz, jcyun
What a joy it is to read of someone's success in doing what everyone thinks can't work.
As noted, a week prior to the interior demoltion, I had the compressor replaced.
It was then we noted cold air being discharged from the intake in front of the wipers.
Considerring the labor to replace the vacuum elements, I wasn't going to leave anything else in there that might fail later on.
So comes the new evaporator assembly.
As it turns out, there was traces of oil on the coils.
I had considerred returning to R-12, but R-134A with the new compressor cooled the front seat excellently, too cold on my left fingers grasping the steering wheel and the nozzle aimed at them.
R-12 is superior to R-134A, R-22 is superior to, oh you get the picture.
I'm on your side, I hope it continues to perform for you.
Happy Trails Beep Beep from The Spiderman in Houston!!!
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Old 07-03-2001, 07:00 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,513
Ah, fair enough Donald. So far all my vacuum elements work just fine, so no other motive to remove the dash was in place. Keep your fingers crossed.

I figure if it works for a year, and then I have to replace the entire a/c system, I still put it off for a year and can't complain. Removing the dash makes me nervous - a competent, experienced tech is a must!
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Old 07-03-2001, 11:46 PM
Posts: n/a
You and Me Babe

Brother of The Benz, jcyuhn
I play the same game, prolong the pain, if there is nothing to loose and everything to gain.
One year and $4100.00. $350.00 per month to save or at least most of it.
I am very fortunate in having an independant that services only BMW and M/B automobiles.
He and his son have a one bay and office in a business center. They have been in this location for over twenty years. The waiting list is LONG for minor service, but instantly for major work.
The place looks like a M/B Dealership; there are M/Bs park all over the center.
Gheo and Larry are their names and thus far thier quality and price is better than my dealer.
They did the A/C rebuild for me.
Happy Trails Beep Beep from The Spiderman in Houston!!!
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