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Old 05-31-2010, 09:04 PM   #1
SteveA
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Default Auto A/C repair suggestions

I'm in need of A/C work on our 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I took it to the dealer.. Wow,the repair quote was off the charts.

Any one have any recommendations? Seems it needs the "exchanger" replaced, and it's behind the dash. Most of the estimate was labor.

Thanks in advance,

PS... I'm looking for a repair here at the lake.

And, FLL, I already thought of and rejected a battery operated fan and a bag of ice.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:38 AM   #2
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Could be it is just a leak somewhere in the ac system and does not really need a new component. VIP-Laconia is good at finding ac leaks using a leak finder dye and a black light. Could be something much easier to fix like a new washer or compression ferrule where the components are attached to the high pressure stainless steel tubing.

Lakes Region Auto, just beyond the Lakes Region Community College, on Rt 106 in Laconia was a Jeep dealer for years and years until last summer, so they know Jeeps. They have Jeep-Chrysler certified mechanics and have lowered their rates as a non-dealer.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:04 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Could be it is just a leak somewhere in the ac system and does not really need a new component. VIP-Laconia is good at finding ac leaks using a leak finder dye and a black light. Could be something much easier to fix like a new washer or compression ferrule where the components are attached to the high pressure stainless steel tubing.

Lakes Region Auto, just beyond the Lakes Region Community College, on Rt 106 in Laconia was a Jeep dealer for years and years until last summer, so they know Jeeps. They have Jeep-Chrysler certified mechanics and have lowered their rates as a non-dealer.
Thanks, I bought the car from Lakes Region,and I saw that they had opened as an independant, but I wents buy there yesterday and the building is vacant. Too bad, I liked the folks there.

VIP is a good suggestion, Thanks!

PS... I said "exchanger" in my orginal post.. should have said "evaporator", they said they put a camera into the system and the "evaporator" was full of pine needles and was leaking so it needed to be replaced. All the labor (7+ hours @ $89.00 per/hr) is to remove and replace the dashboard.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:23 PM   #4
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Hi Steve,

I figured I'd chime in since I've done this job on an older (ZJ chassis) Grand Cherokee, and I've got this newfangled account here... Might as well use it.

A couple points... If you can find a reputable shop that will do it in 7 hours (and will guarantee you'll only be billed for 7 hours work), take them up on the offer! Replacing the evaporator (or heater core) is a very intensive job!

The evaporator is inside an airbox that is bolted to the firewall of the vehicle (the big piece of metal separating the cabin from the engine compartment). Access to it requires the majority of the dashboard and dash components to be removed from the vehicle, an A/C refrigerant evacuation and refill, and even the coolant system will have to be partially drained, refilled, and purged of air. In addition, there are several servos, cables and doors that are associated with the automatic climate control system that all have to be removed and reinstalled... Correctly.

In short, it's one of the biggest PITA automotive repair jobs one can untertake. Lots of disassembly, lots of bleeding knuckles, and lots of potential for things not going back together right (leading to dash rattles, HVAC control issues, etc.), requiring another tear-apart to satisfy the customer.

Many shops simply refuse to do evaporator/heater core replacements!

There is one potential "quick fix"... If the evaporator only has a pinhole leak, and a competent tech is able to finagle access to it while installed in the vehicle, a dab of JB Weld will seal the hole. That said, if you have a leak one place, another is bound to crop up elsewhere soon, and make your band-aid repair useless.

I'd expect to spend somewhere between $700-1000 in parts/labor by the time you're said and done... And expect a few newfound dash rattles, as the whole shebang never goes back together perfectly.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:21 AM   #5
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I agree I hate to say it but this is a job I'd probably spend the money on and have it done correctly (or at least under a decent warranty.) Or live without the A/C if that's an option. As far as new shakes and rattles you will have a hard time proving them and getting someone to take the dash apart again because you insist a noise is driving you crazy. This is a P.I.T.A. fix for sure.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:46 AM   #6
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Default Jeep ac problems

Hi, My names Kevin. I own a repair shop in Franklin, MA. But we spend a lot of time in the Lakes region. I saw this thread, I never read them, so I figured it was fate to give you some info. I'm assuming your leak is not a very big leak b/c usually when the evaporator leaks it's a slow leak in most cases. I am not a big fan of sealers or additives, but I have had very good luck with an air conditioner sealer for evaporator and condensor leaks. Basically put it in along with filling up the system and it plugs the leak, very similar to the way a radiator sealer does it. The only thing is I can't thing of the name of the specific sealer. If you want to call me at work today I can look at the name of it and tell you what brand to get. There are some very inexpensive ones that do not work, but this one really works well. 508-528-2592
Good luck, Kevin
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:19 AM   #7
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Default Wow!

Thanks all!

I love this forum, ask a question, get some answers. Even if you don't like them.

Kevin, I will give you a call.

In early may, when we had the cars' annual state inspection we had Midas recharge the A/C. We noticed that it seemed to help, but still wasn't as cold as usual and is getting warmer. We then took it to Jeep, and they discovered the leak and the "junk" in the evaporator.
BostonWhaler, you are right on the money with the estimate.. over $1,000 w/ a 12 month 12,000 mile warranty.

As going without the A/C is not an option, I think I'll try to find someone to do the sealant method, before giving in to the "big bill".

Thanks again.
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:23 AM   #8
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Steve, if you are handy you can buy R-134A w/sealant at Walmart and it works pretty well on small leaks. It comes as a kit so that you have the hose and can together. Just be slow with the gas so as to not over fill the system, an easy way is to use a thermometer and keep checking it as you go.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by robmac View Post
Steve, if you are handy you can buy R-134A w/sealant at Walmart and it works pretty well on small leaks. It comes as a kit so that you have the hose and can together. Just be slow with the gas so as to not over fill the system, an easy way is to use a thermometer and keep checking it as you go.
Thanks RobMac, but what is the exact opposite of "handy"?
In general, I'm not allowed around any project that requires "handy"

Maybe I can find a handy person. KevinVolley had a similar suggestion and even contacted me with a name of a product to try.

Thx.
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