Engine Size: 3.0 V6
Refrigerant Type: r134a
Ambient Temp: any
Country of Origin: United States
A/C has ALWAYS blown super cold since new. Lately it will only blow cold for about 30 minutes then blows ambient air even though compressor still cycling as normal. The next day same thing. First 30 minutes ice cold. Toyota dealer diagnosed as expansion valve problem. $1250 to replace (labor intensive because of the location). Does this sound like the most likely cause or should I get a 2nd opinion. That's a lot of "scratch"!
Make sure the condenser fans are still going strong when it quits. It would be good to measure pressures when it is not working. If you can't do that drive until it is not working then pull over and check the temperature of the pipeline from the evaporator to the compressor. It should be cold. If it's warm yet the compressor and fans are running, I'd tend to agree the expansion valve could be stuck, but pressure readings would be necessary. If icy it may be overcooling and covering the evaporator with ice, which prevents air flow. That results from a control problem.
On most Japanese cars of that era, the evaporator and expansion valve can be serviced without taking the whole dash apart. After taking the glove compartment off of its hinges, the evaporator box can be removed thru that hole. Not sure if that's the case here but even American cars don't bury the TXV so it takes all day to replace it.
If all the dealer is suggesting is to R & R the expansion valve. Please find another dealer for further service. Yes you have to pull the evap. Big deal it's very easy as MK378 stated, couple hours labor tops!!! With a part let's say a high end quote should be $ 250.00 dollars which includes evacuate and recharge. Might also spray the condenser with some water when you notice the system not cooling. If it starts cooling again could be a bad fan clutch.
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