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Cant find this ac system leak- better methods?

pippo on Fri June 01, 2012 9:05 AM User is offline

Man, Ive been adding some refrigerant to get the ac keeping cool, but it lasts for only a month, and goes "warm" again, indicating for sure there has to be a leak. Now, if the refrigerant lasts for a month befotre leaking down to "threshold" level (obviously, not leaking out ALL the R134a), is that considered a "slow" leak" ?

On a "slow" leak, does soap bubbles work? Ive inspected very closely with uv mini lamp (tiny pin head size bulb on a "rat tail" flexible wand), and find no traces of fluorescent dye. Have not checked evaporator yet, though- I will though very soon now.

So, question: what percent chance do YOU have in finding such leaks that leak out over a month to below threshold levels? 50% 90%? Kind of a poll here.......And, do soap or UV work?

THanks

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GM Tech on Fri June 01, 2012 9:29 AM User is offline

Make and model and year may help--there are known leak locations based on these.....I can't see your car/truck from here..

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The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

TRB on Fri June 01, 2012 10:11 AM User is offlineView users profile

With a good electronic leak detector. Odds of finding the leak are pretty good. AS GM Tech mentioned. Knowing the vehicle will also provide know leak areas to check thoroughly.

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Dougflas on Fri June 01, 2012 3:52 PM User is offline

Juice her up, remove the vee belt, place a shower cap or plastic bag around compressor especially the front clutch/seal area. The next morning, stick your leak detector in there and if it goes off, your seal is leaking. Works every time.

pippo on Fri June 01, 2012 8:22 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: Dougflas
Juice her up, remove the vee belt, place a shower cap or plastic bag around compressor especially the front clutch/seal area. The next morning, stick your leak detector in there and if it goes off, your seal is leaking. Works every time.

Geez, doug, that a cool method! Thing is- I have to buy one of those elec detectors. may be a good investment, even for a diy. I take it if a leak in that hard to get to clutch area the dye method is a poor method as its hard to "pek" in there??

Thnaks

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pippo on Fri June 01, 2012 8:24 PM User is offline

Oh, guys, its a honda civic EX, 2001. Worked on it a while ago. Comp is suspect, as that the only thing i replaced back then.

Oh, How effective is it to evac, get vac down to 29.9, then watch the guages?

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pippo on Fri June 01, 2012 8:25 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: GM Tech
Make and model and year may help--there are known leak locations based on these.....I can't see your car/truck from here..

Thnaks, GM, as always. Info is posted above. Sory I omited it, but my question was also a generic one, for other vehicles.......

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mk378 on Fri June 01, 2012 8:29 PM User is offline

You can take the clutch plate off, to see if there is any dye in the seal area.

pippo on Fri June 01, 2012 8:33 PM User is offline

want to be prepared- if it is the comp, isnt it just a huge o ring seal in there? Should I be able to remove the end to replace that o ring seal? Or is that a bad/unproductive idea?

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mk378 on Fri June 01, 2012 8:38 PM User is offline

The drive shaft has a rotating shaft seal same concept as an oil seal on a crankshaft, only more precise. The sections of the case have big o-rings, should those leak the "belly" of the unit will usually get covered with oil and dye.

Also check the relief valve on the back of the compressor (take the heat shield off).

Don't assume that the 10 year old stuff can't leak because you never touched it. Check the whole system.

Edited: Fri June 01, 2012 at 8:40 PM by mk378

pippo on Fri June 01, 2012 9:03 PM User is offline

OK, MK. Will do. I will advise within a few days.........

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pippo on Mon June 04, 2012 6:32 PM User is offline

OK, wanted to repotrt back with progress- I, at this point, checked the compressor for any dye stains, and leakage /drizzling of oil, and found nothing. So, before I take apart the dash/glove box section, in your opinion, being that I found NO visible signs of leakage on the comp does that rule out the comp ? (I didnt have an elec leak detector available).....

Just wanting to get some feedback as I hate to tackle that glove box/dash to inspect evap......

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Edited: Mon June 04, 2012 at 6:33 PM by pippo

mk378 on Mon June 04, 2012 6:38 PM User is offline

You have a 2001, the evaporator does not come out through the glove box, it is in the heater box. The 2000 model was the last one made with a separate evaporator box. Have you checked all the joints under the hood? Sometimes a leaking evaporator will put dye in the drain tube.

pippo on Mon June 04, 2012 6:52 PM User is offline

Thanks, MK. Good tip on the drain tube. I will check that , but to answer your other question- yes, I checked all the joints under hood. Every single one that I could find, and dry as a bone and no dye. Even looked at the condenser fins from the front grill. Now, do you ythink this linkhere (for 2002-2003) would be accurate for dismantling my 2001?

http://www.handa-accessories.com/civic/03civac.pdf or is this better:

http://www.justanswer.com/honda/1brvb-access-replace-evaporator-2001.html

It says to dismantle the glove box. But do have to take the whole dash off IF I choose to gamble that its the evap?

Thanks, Man.



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Edited: Mon June 04, 2012 at 6:55 PM by pippo

pippo on Tue June 05, 2012 7:23 PM User is offline

People,

Evaporator is now NOT suspect- the culprit is almost 100% convinced its the black barrier hose- low pressure line!! Sheesh- go figure- a Honda! 11 yrs old and the "barrier" hose fails???

Swollen, with specs of dye. I checked all the joints, but never thought of the hose as suspect!! Man. nOW, EVER SEEN THIS BEFORE, PEOPLE? i CAN SEE ON A 20 YR OLD CAR, BUT NOT 11YRS OLD hONDA QUALITY.

aNYWAY, is a "discharge" line the same terminology as the low pressure line going from comp to evap?

Thanks

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pippo on Tue June 05, 2012 7:24 PM User is offline

Now, I gotta struggle with my big hands, getting behind the engine to unscrew the line. Anything I should dismantle?

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