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Old 06-25-2000, 02:26 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
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Anyone have any experience with Tracerline products for freon (R-12 & R134) leak detection? Any feedback, positive or negative, appreciated. TIA
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Old 06-25-2000, 02:39 AM
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JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
I don't know what product the tech used, he just said "fluorescent dye" was added to my system when he topped it off with r-12. Next day I brought it back, and he found the very small leak - said I could use the system until probably end of summer and he would keep an eye on the r12 level whenever I brought it in for service. The fluid in the sight glass was yellow brown after he added the dye. No problems running it during the last couple of weeks.

87 300E, 65k miles
Smoke Silver
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Old 06-25-2000, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
MB doesn't recommend using anything in A/C system to find leaks! Use of dye will void warranty on their replacement A/C parts(rebuilt compressor) if they inspect them. But in most cases it doesn't seam to hurt the system. Most good shops have electronic leak detectors that will find any leak that dye will show up on, but it takes more diagnostic time.

27 YEARS DEALER M.B. Shopforeman
1986 190E 16V
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Old 06-25-2000, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Well on this one I have a firm contradictory opinion based on industry standards and years of experience.

I have never met an idependent Airconditioning specialist (A/C only type business)that doesn't use flourescent dye. It has taken twenty years of competent use to finally get a few manufacturers to accept the technology. Untill MB puts its label on it they won't recommend it.

At a recent MACS (Mobile Air Conditioning Society) seminar the trainer gave a recent overview of current manufacturers positions on flourescent dye. There are currently a number that have approved its use (Not MB or any other European except maybe Volvo).

I would hate to point out that evaporator sales are improved by the use of electronic leak detectors. I have had about 20 electronic leak detectors. Never have I used one for longer than a year with any confidence. We currently have about four in our shop. We use them for first line diagnostics (big leaks) and for quality control on repairs, but I have never replaced an evaporator that wasn't diagnosed or confirmed with dye.

On BMWs the expansion valve is inside the evap case with the evaporator. Using manufacturer techniques there is no way to decide whether the evap or the expansion valve is the problem and thus both pieces are always replaced.

I have met many techs who have guaranteed good success rates by replacing everything involved. Dye testing is of no use in this diagnostic technique. We have used it for nearly twenty years and have used Tracerline products most of that time. We currently also use it for engine and transmission leaks. It allows you to see through the mess.

I actually think dye testing is a supreme example of the abilities that independent shops can offer to MB repair. It is one of many techniques that are developed for market situations and are consumer (performance)driven. The manufacturers have so many more considerations than efficient car repair. CSI is important and efficiency is often sacrificed where CSI could be risked.

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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Old 06-26-2000, 04:32 PM
Posts: n/a
flourescein is a very strange chemical...The amount in the oil is miniscule...its flouresces with absolutely minute miolecular amounts.
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