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  #1  
Old 06-08-2002, 05:11 PM
Ashman's Avatar
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BAD NEWS! AC Evaporator leaking!!

Well just found out yesterday, I have a leaking evaporator. At the expense of the repair, I probably wont be repairing it anytime soon, but I will however recharge the AC and hope it lasts for the summer.

The way we found out is I wanted to check the shifter busings, the AC wasn't getting very cold anymore (I just recharged it in feb/march of this year), and have my mech check the tighness of all the suspension bolts to make sure they were tight, since I have put some mileage on the car since the suspension repairs. When he had it on the lift, we noticed some green oil on the side of the tranny area by the shifter linkage. Instantly my mech goes oh no. looks like the evaporator is leaking.

I might try to DIY this repair, I have no problems dismantling the interior or putting it back together, its the evaporator part I'm worried about.

Apart from the parts cost (+/- $300), I figure if I can do it myself I should save quite a bit of money on labor.

Anyone think DIY on this is possible, or is it one of those best left to the technician kind of jobs.

I really do not feel up to shelling out a couple of grand in labor to fix it if I can DIY it, not that I don't trust my mech, we all know I trust him completely, but that amount of labor is hard to have to deal with financially.

Alon
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Last edited by Ashman; 06-08-2002 at 05:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2002, 06:01 PM
Mike Murrell's Avatar
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I'd get a second opinion. Green oil? It could very well be the evaporator, then again......

Gauges might help. Has the system been pressure tested with A/C gauges? Depending on where the leak is, the gauges might confirm a faulty evaporator.

I studied up on this process last night for a 126 car. It's documented on the CD-Rom for that car. May be for yours as well.
Looks like an absolute mess to deal with. I wonder just how many techs have actally done one or should I say SEVERAL of these.

Hope it turns out otherwise.
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2002, 08:38 PM
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Alon, you can do it!

I am a DIY'er and I did it whit the help of the manuals and some imagination. It took me about a while but, I just took my time and everything when just fine. If you do not have the time or the patience, PAY somebody to do it. Trust me!
After replacing the evaporator, receiver drier, the expansion valve and a few things under the dash that were old (i.e. vent vacuum controllers?). I just took the car in for an evac and freon charge. You may want to change to r-134 while you are at it!
BTW buy the cooper evaporator!
Do a search, you will see my name in a few those postings.
Good luck either way.
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  #4  
Old 06-08-2002, 09:06 PM
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i have seen an evaporator job in progress and it was an absolute mess! if i were to do it i'm sure it would take many weeks and i'd be missing and at the same time have many screws and nuts left over...
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2002, 01:57 AM
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oka few points to consider here.

1. The car was already R134A Converted when I bought it

2. In Feb/march it was low, and I evacuated and recharged it.

3. 3 months later, it is not blowing very cold.

4. only green oil I can think of is for the AC system. Never seen green oil anywhere else except the mineral oil a rolls uses for the braking system.

5. I looked up the instructions, and it is a whole ton of work to do. once the car is apart, its not too hard, but getting the whole damn car apart is the problem.

With all that in mind, ina couple of weeks, I'm going to evacuate it and recharge it again. IT should last for the summer. The evaporator must have been leaking before back in feb/march because the freon was low then, and my mech and I thought there might be a leak but we evacuated and refilled anyway, as it seemed like the most sensible thing to do.

So all I am going to do is recharge it, and go from there. I'll pay my mech to do it, I have no problems with it, but its one of those things he didn't seem to eager to have to do. He had just done two other W124's in the last two weeks, and I saw them apart, and they were literally apart.

I think there might be somethign I can use to try to seal it, but I'd rather not mess with any kinds of sealants, I don't want to screw up the whole system, or cause any other damage.

Other than the ac evaporator, the car is in perfect mechanical condition, in fact I'd say the condition mechanically is about 95% at least. the 5% being the AC evaporator.

Part cost is nothing, labor is where I'm going to get killed.

Who knows, maybe I can doit at my mechs shop with him, and save some on labor, I'm sure he'd let me.

In anycase, I'm not too worried about it. If I had the time to DIY it and not drive the car for a few weeks while doing it, I'd be all for it, but I really don't feel like taking apart the whole dash and all, though it would be fun to poke around in there.

Alon
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2002, 12:45 PM
LarryBible
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Alon,

This is a HUGE job. Only you know whether or not you want to tackle it. As far as time spent, it probably rivals an overhaul, or at least a valve job for time spent.

I'm sure that it goes without saying, but you want to BE SURE the evaporator is leaking before going to all this trouble. The best way to do that is put in a can of r134 UV dye. Then after a day or so, use a UV light to look for a leak. If the leak is indeed the evaporator, it will be difficult to get at with the UV light, but you might get lucky.

Another thing, if this system is already changed over, and the leak is small enough to hold a charge for a few months, then just recharge when it is low. R134 is cheap. You will need to take into account that you are apparently losing oil with the leak IF your tech is correct in his suspicion.

If it is a slow leak, it would be worth purchasing a set of r134 guages and a can tapper.

Best of luck,
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2002, 01:03 PM
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Back to what Larry said about adding dye.

The drain water will likely contain traces of this dye if the evaporator is leaking. That will be easy to get to. It will be laying on the ground under your car. Park car on concrete garage floor after having added dye and run for awhile. Back car out of garage after you have a puddle underneath and use special light to examine drain water. Use the search facility for the type of light used to locate dye.
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2002, 02:26 PM
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I don't want to be the party pooper but,

keep adding r134 AND oil. Otherwise, your compressor $$$$ is going to go next! The Nippo's are pretty weak to begin with, heat will destroy your compressor and since the auxiliary fans are activated by freon pressure (and engine temperature, of course), proper level of freon is crucial for your compressor. Since the last recharge lasted four months but it was not summer. I would keep an eye on it and do it as soon as possible! Sorry and good luck!
P.S. This was a HUGE job but, I must like pain because I am looking into doing another huge job myself: a valve job. I am gathering information and leaving a couple of weeks free (nights and weekends). More to come...
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2002, 07:46 PM
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I hear everyone talking about how it is such a huge job , on a technician level ( no) . On a DIYer level (yes). It is a 15hr job book time. Make sure to ck all actuators and add oil to the system when fixing the leak. Save yourself the trouble and get a ACM evaporator , it comes with e-valve and they last forever. I have used them for 6 years now . I did a couple 124's last week , evaporators are coming out now that its getting hot.I would advise nayone to let their techs do it though, it wont take a couple weeks .
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  #10  
Old 06-09-2002, 09:13 PM
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My only concern is the expense of the job. I'm not concerned about parts prices. With my car, open all the windows, open the sunroof, its 95% like a convertible, so I could forgo using the AC altogether.

I would tackle it myself, I've had most of the dash apart before anyway, but I don't have the patience nor the allowance of downtime of the car for the amount of time it would take me, plus I'd be weary of breaking something on accident.

Just last night I had the center concole all apart, while wiring in my new hands free cell phone kit, that included most of the dash too, apart form the gauge cluster, I had the glove box, console, and all completely out of the car. Reinstallation wasn't bad, some of the nuts were tricky to get to though.

I'm going to recharge it in a week or two, and see how it does. I might see about adding a small amount of the dye as suggested to see what happens. I will most likely end up paying my mech to do it, but not at this point in time.

Thanks for all the advice. I realy don't see it as being too torublesome with the CD manual description and pictures, but I think to do this job I would need to have paper and other manuals besides the MB cdrom to really tackle it as the mb cdroms are somewhat vague.

Alon
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  #11  
Old 06-09-2002, 09:53 PM
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This job really needs to be done through a professional, It is a big job. Not onlly do you need to take out the entire dash, It also requires to dissmantle the evaperator box. Could end up costing more money if you try it your self and break something, or forget to plug wire back toghether properly. Just some thought would like to share with you. Good luck!
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  #12  
Old 06-09-2002, 10:59 PM
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leaking evaporator and THE LAW

Big Goverment has its head in the tent on this one. It is against Federal law to add freon (of any kind) to a system that is known to ber leaking. The only legal method is to add enough refrigerant to find theleak, evacuate AND RECOVER all the refrigerant, and fix the leak.

Now, there ARE refrigerants (not freons), that are ok to use in leaking systems since they do not attack the ozone layer.

I have heard some good reports on CRYOSEAL also. If I had a leaking evaporator, I would try Cryoseal first.
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  #13  
Old 06-09-2002, 11:09 PM
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I don't doubt that I could do it. Like I said I don't have the patience to do it. The main factor here is the cost. People have sold cars because of things like this, but I'm never selling it. hehe

I know all to well about breaking things. My brother and I replaced the heater core in his range rover. only to find out that we made a mistake and ended up breaking the heater box, but the core works fine. LOL

it took 15+ hours to removed and replace it in that car, and that car comes apart quite easily.

I should go to ajunkyard I suspect, and try to find a car with the interior stripped out but with the evaporator still there, just so I can get a look inside and see.

Like I said My mech wasn't too optimistic about doing the job. Not that he can't do it, he can do it, its just the time involved for him to do it that he dreads. ehhe

As far as laws, its their word against mine that I actually knew it was leaking. I've never ever heard of anyone getting busted, or a ticket for leaking freon etc. I would say its not a major leak. Now I'm not saying I condone breaking the law, but many people drive cars that wouldn't even pass a crash test let alone a smog test. You don't see these cars being taken off the roads do you? At least not in california. Police have much more important things to worry about. Remember we have no annual inspections here in california, just the occasional smog check, which is based upont he car and year. some cars its once every 2 years, some its once a year, and some its twice a year. It all depends. OTher than that, we have no inspections that ensure cars must be operational 100% etc.

I'll look into that sealant, but I am weary as I don't want to damage any other area's of the system. But if it works, great, if not, I will still be looking at doing the evapoorator.

Thanks all for the advice. If I could spend a few days working ont he car form am to pm, I could proably do it myself, but I don't know if I want to tackle something like this. I consider my self an average DIY person, but I can tackle large jobs if I tried. I just never have the confidence to tackle those larger jobs.

Alon
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  #14  
Old 06-09-2002, 11:19 PM
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After reading up about cryoseal. I might give it a try. It looks to be something that may just work, and one of the distributors specializes in mercedes benz and BMW parts and tools. so it may just be worth it to try it, unless price is ridiculous. If it does work as claimed, I would think the price would be somewhat expensive for a product, but if it saves several hundred $$ then itmight be worth it. Sounds like it will also stay int he system and seal other leaks as they appear.

But I am still weary of using any kind of sealant. My father once put bars stop leak in the radiator of my moms old rabbit, and on a trip to san fran, the raditor became completely clogged up and plugged.

Alon
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  #15  
Old 06-09-2002, 11:25 PM
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Alon, pay a pro to do it!

It is worth it!
However, all I wanted to do was to point out that it can be done by a DIY'er.
Good luck!
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