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2001 PT Cruiser A/C leakage

PTpia on Tue July 19, 2011 10:57 PM User is offline

Year: 2001
Make: Chrysler
Model: PT Cruiser
Engine Size: 2.4
Refrigerant Type: R134A
Country of Origin: United States

I hope someone can help me out here since my wife's 2001 PT Cruiser is driving me absolutely crazy.
It has an A/C leak that I just can't find and it loses it's charge after 2 - 3 days. When it is charged, I get a 45 - 50 degree temp drop, so I know the system works OK. I installed a new compressor (the old one started rattling) earlier this year, but this leakage problem existed before I put on the new compressor. I found that the low & high side schrader valves were leaking very slightly (using soapy water), so those have been changed. I've used a Robinaire sniffer, a UV light (w/ glasses) and soapy water to try and find leaks, with no success. And, here's the part that really bugs me: the system will work great for a couple days with outlet temps cold and steady. Then, we park it for a few hours, come out and then it won't cool hardly at all, so it really seems to lose it's charge in a matter of hours rather than days. When I pulled a vacuum on it (when I changed the compressor), it held 25 inches of vacuum overnight (about 8 - 9 hours), so I thought that it was sealed tight. I was wrong.
To lose it's charge that quickly must mean a huge leak, right? Well, I can't find it.
Any ideas? I'm seriously considering selling this car because of this, be my wife does like it a lot.
Thanks in advance.

mk378 on Tue July 19, 2011 11:02 PM User is offline

Major leak points are compressor shaft seal, condenser connections, and evaporator. To try to detect evaporator leak, sniff the drain tube and the vents inside the car. Another evaporator check is to run the system and let condensate water drip on a paper towel. Then hit the towel with UV light to check for dye coming off the evaporator.

PTpia on Tue July 19, 2011 11:16 PM User is offline

Thanks for the reply. I tried to sniff the evaporator drain tube, but this car has a short 90 degree hard rubber drain tube that prevented me from putting the sensor end more than about 1" in. The outlet vents aren't setting it off (and I managed to get the entire sensor line all the way in, so the end had to be close to the evaporator) and the drain water seems to be free of dye, but that was on my garage floor and not on a paper towel. I will try the towel method tomorrow.

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