Question about 1998 Toyota Sienna

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2000 Toyota Sienna air condition problem

After 4 years of having this van, we put $950 into repairing the compressor of the air conditioner. It worked for about a year, then we started to have additional problems with Freon leaking out. We hessitated to put any more money into it so we continually have to have it charged with freon, eventhough it leaks out by the next summer. Again, we have to make the decision of what to do. The mechanic says he found the hole in the condensor and would like to replace that along with the dryer. I asked him if he thought this would solve our problem and he said we may end up with another leak because of increased pressure. The cost for this repair would be $550. I'd pay the money if I knew that we would not have any more problems. So, is this a default in this particular model and is it fixable??

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Well, if the mechanic is right and the only current leak is the condensor, I'd go ahead with it... The dryer is a normal item to replace in your case, because the system was leaking for so long... Only a drop of moisture in an A/C system can cause more harm than you could imagine. The dryer takes care of any moisture that could seep in but after the system has been open for a while a new dryer is needed because the dessicant (drying agent) becomes saturated and cannot absorb any more moisture. "Increased pressure" will not cause a problem unless you have another slow leak somewhere else than the condensor. If you really want to find out your odds on this, find a knowledgeable A/C technician with a good ultrasonic leak tester (many good service garages have this tool, which can detect a slow leak as little as 1/8 OZ a year), but you have to be sure the tech knows how to use the tool because without knowledge/experience it is quite useless. If there are no other leaks, go ahead, and even if there is another smaller leak, fixing it at the same time while the system is being serviced for the condensor is the way to go. Instead of having another bill for hundreds of dollars later for a 2$ o-ring or a loose fitting, they probably will charge you only a couple of dollars for the added work. A lot of the labour charge on A/C work is spent on emptying the system, vacumming it for 30 minutes after the work is done to remove all traces of moisture, and refilling the system. Better do it all at once, and save the labour part of things.

Posted on Aug 15, 2008

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