A/C condenser failure

Kneale Brownson knotnook at traverse.com
Mon Jul 7 11:43:13 EDT 2003

Anyone had a condenser leak in a 200q20v A/C system?

I took my nonfunctioning A/C into a shop today for a diagnosis.  No
freon.  So the guy put some dye in and a load of R12, we started the engine
and got good cooling for maybe 15 minutes and then the compressor started
cycling every few seconds.  With the engine shut off we could hear a loud
leak.  Didn't hear it while putting in the freon, probably at about 70 PSI
(tech said).  The light showed the dye leaked out of the condensor right
where the vibration damper is bolted on.

So I guess I'm pricing a new condensor to go with the new radiator (plastic
neck broke off Friday), new hoses and aux. radiator I was planning to
replace anyway when I had the front off the car for the timing belt and to
replace the hydraulic pump.  Tech suggested I should get a new
receiver/dryer too.  Anything else?  The light didn't show up any dye
leaking anywhere else on the system.  The condenser must have had a slow
leak last fall when the A/C quit blowing cold, eh?

The shop charged me $200, including $125 for two pounds of freon and the
dye, $75 for their time.

Oh, yeah, I did the copper pipe/epoxy fix on the radiator neck.  The tech
said he'd never seen that work.  I was really careful to clean/rough up the
remaining plastic neck and the ID of the copper, and I coated both the
inside of the pipe and the plastic with the epoxy.  I also let the epoxy
set for a full 24 hours before hooking up the hose again.  I made the
mistake of soldering a hunk of 10-gauge copper wire around the pipe near
the hose end to serve as a ridge.  Made the pipe too big to go into the
hose, so I had to cut it down on the lathe.  I'd use 14-gauge next time.

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