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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
After scrolling these forums for some time, I have a question I can't find an answer to.
We have a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan with no a/c.
I've taken it to a mechanic and he recharged and tested it. No problem with leaks at all. Everything comes back 100%. The recharge gets the a/c up and kicking out icy-cold goodness...for 3 days. I take it back and he tries again. Same thing. Left the shop working but only lasted a week.
He's at a loss. I'm at a loss.
Can someone tell me anything? Or am I looking at $1,000 Chrysler dealership fix just to get the ac working?!?!
Thanks!!!
 

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Is it losing refrigerant? If so then you have a leak. Get some ultra violet leak detector and put it in your system. Check it at night with a black light. I had to replace my condenser about a month ago. I have all the tools to draw it down and service it. The condenser had rotted out at the bottom. If it's not losing refrigerant then it get more complicated. It could be any number of things. When it's not cooling turn the AC on full cold and go watch the compressor clutch. Is it cutting in or not? Is it cutting on and off? If it cuts on and off slowly it's low on refrigerant. If it cuts on and off every second or two it's super-heating and the condenser isn't getting enough air over it. Usually that's the fan behind the radiator not working properly. The 2010 is a good year model. Sometimes there's a leak in side of the compressor and you won't see the ultra-violet goo. Also, if the leak is in the evaporator it can be hard to see (under the dash). I have used to good, more expensive stop leak, a couple of times on small leaks and it has worked well. It's a gamble but, for a cheap leak fix it can buy you a year or two. Don't try to get by with the cheap leak stop. It will not work. I had an old Volvo V70 that had a few issues. I leak stopped it and shimmed the compressor clutch and drove it three more years with ice cold AC. It was still blowing cold when I sold it. Not that I recommend doing that to your van. The only way to really fix it is to actually fix it.
 

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Also, check the cabin filter, if your filter is dirty, your AC will work for an hour or two (depending on number of factors), then the evaporator will freeze solid and you will feel little or no air flowing out. After a few minutes with AC off, air will start flowing again for some time.

If you haven't done yet, replace your cabin filter, it is about time to do it anyways.
 

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I have found hard to find leaks by using compressed air set to 35 PSI and soapy water. Find a good joint to separate and attach a rubber hose to it. This way you can separate the components out, and test them individually. Just make sure to vac the system out for 45 minute when you're done doing this. Thoroughly check the rear A/C lines if you have rear A/C, they are routed under the car, and can be damaged be debris. On a Ford vehicle recently, I wound up having to remove the entire system plumbing and found the tiniest of cracks at a bend near a fitting. The crack was on the dark side of the pipe. That is, I could only see it after I had removed it. Hopefully you don't have to do this, but sometimes its easier and faster just to rip it all out and pressure check everything individually. I have also resorted to replacing every O-ring/gasket a time or two because everything checked out and that was all that was left. Have a good time and let us know what you found
 

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Does "tries same thing" mean he keeps adding refrigerant? If so, find a smarter mechanic or this guys will waste your time and money. For <$100 you could fix yourself. I use Duracool and their Oil Chill w/ uV dye (PAO 68 I think) in all my vehicles, incl 2002 T&C. That oil will mix with PAG oil used w/ your OE R-134A. I bought a uV hippie lamp, but never found a leak with it. When I have had a leaking hose (my M-B), it was obvious from the oil and yellow dye (in visible light).
 

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Once your AC is empty or recovered you should check for leaks using nitrogen. It’s a small molecule that is harder to contain and small leaks will appear more quickly. However, 3 days for to empty out the AC system does not sound like a small leak to me. Most likely it’s in something that is hidden.
 

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I'm actually surprised the mechanic didn't put any leak detection dye in the first place.

When you say they "tested" it, how did they test it?

I'd consider another shop, and one that has some AC experience .
 

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If I ever have to crack open an AC system (auto) I add dye to the refrigerant as a matter of practice. I keep a little bottle in my big tool box. One night I managed to spray myself with it pretty good. That was hip..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Also, check the cabin filter, if your filter is dirty, your AC will work for an hour or two (depending on number of factors), then the evaporator will freeze solid and you will feel little or no air flowing out. After a few minutes with AC off, air will start flowing again for some time.

If you haven't done yet, replace your cabin filter, it is about time to do it anyways.
Thanks but the air flow is fine and if it was freezing solid it should work after sitting in the sun for a whole day. That is not what is happening. Thanks tho
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm actually surprised the mechanic didn't put any leak detection dye in the first place.

When you say they "tested" it, how did they test it?

I'd consider another shop, and one that has some AC experience .
They hooked it up to a tester that tests with air pressure to see if a leak is present or not. It came back that there are no leaks. Called it a recharge. It reinserted the refrigerant after the test and it works for a few days after..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Anyone know how to "reset" the a/c?
I've heard that's possible by holding down certain buttons on the console. nothing I've found on the internet works
 

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I just go once a year to Advance auto and buy a can to refill it for $8 and then it's good for another year til next summer. Better idea.
 
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