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2001 PT Air Conditioner

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12 Apr 2010, 01:05 pm
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Default 2001 PT Air Conditioner

Ever since I bought my 2001 PT Cruiser (2003 used), I have had to recharge the air-conditioner every summer. I have had all the expensive leak tests & repairs, but the problem persists - recharge every summer. A couple of years back a mechanic told me that the 2001 A/C was poorly designed. That I needed a new A/C unit. And that it was expensive since the A/C unit is buried in the engine compartment. That the entire engine compartment needed to be disassembled to get at it & replace it. Any knowledge/experience out there on this situation? Any truth to both statements 1.) defect 2001 A/C, and A/C buried in engine compartment, and, therefore, expensive (labor) to replace?
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Old 12 Apr 2010, 02:45 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

Whoever told you that probably wants the job of replacing it so he can take a vacation to the Bahamas.

Everything is access through the right fender. Once the inner cover is taken off he can easily change whatever he wants to. The only time consuming job on the PT is the timing belt. As far as he telling you that it was poorly designed, my 2001 and thousands of others are the same design and have been running for 10 years. The high pressure sensor and the recycling valve are the only tow things that might give people problems.

Are you running the A/C in the winter months? That's the only way to keep all the rubber fittings lubricated. You can't just shut the A/C off for the winter and leave it.
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Old 13 Apr 2010, 07:50 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

Thanks for reply & insight. That's me - turn-off in September and on in June. I never heard about running the AC in winter. So, this year/time I should do that "blue dye" test to find all the leaks, have them fixed, and then recharge with freon? Then run the A/C a couple times a month in winter? Good to know that I do not have to replace the entire AC unit. Thanks.
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Old 13 Apr 2010, 08:14 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

DonGee,

Yes, you should find all the leaks and run the A/C a couple times in the "off" season. If it's been re-charged every summer and runs OK, it's a pretty good chance you don't have to replace the compressor but get it to a good shop to diagnose what's happening.
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Old 13 Apr 2010, 08:16 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

The air conditioner in winter still conditions the air to the passenger compartment. When I worked as a parts counterman in a GM dealership in Michigan, I don't remember how many compressors that went bad in the winter because people would NOT run them in the wintertime.
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Old 02 May 2010, 01:36 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

I have to recharge my 2001 A/C every summer since i bought it in 2007.
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Old 08 May 2010, 06:54 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

As a wrap-up to my AC question/problem. My problem of having to recharge the AC every summer was due to a defective/corroded AC evaporator core & AC drier. Total replacement parts cost: $420.00. Labor to replace: $550.00! Big problem here is design/placement of the AC unit – they had to take the entire dashboard off to make repairs. Six hour job! Plus recharge @
$187.00, the total “fix” was over $1,250.00.
What’s one to do? I love the PT, and it’s paid for. Gotta keep it going at 110,000 miles.
P.S. Regarding the comment about running the AC in the winter, I was told that the AC runs, in the winter, when the defrost is on.
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Old 08 May 2010, 07:11 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

DonGee,

Sorry you had to put out that kind of money on your A/C. It's not just the PT that has the evaporator inside the dash. Many, many cars have the same set-up and the same procedure has to be done if it has to be replaced. My wife's new car has it inside the dash.My Corvette doesn't but that's 23 years old and I had to put out $1200 to switch it over from R19 to R134a. Parts and labor are expensive.
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Old 08 May 2010, 11:25 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

Quote:
Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
DonGee,

Sorry you had to put out that kind of money on your A/C. It's not just the PT that has the evaporator inside the dash. Many, many cars have the same set-up and the same procedure has to be done if it has to be replaced. My wife's new car has it inside the dash.My Corvette doesn't but that's 23 years old and I had to put out $1200 to switch it over from R19 to R134a. Parts and labor are expensive.
Most cars and light trucks are set up this way. Really, it's nearly all of them. The $1,000 to $1,500 range seems to be about normal for evaporator replacement in a regular mass-produced car. Replacing one on a Rolls Royce or a Bimmer is likely to cost more.

It's usually a good idea to replace the heater core at the same time unless it is obviously in good shape. The heater core is usually next to the AC evaporator and adds only a parts cost, since it usually has to come out also. Even in arid areas like Phoenix, the heater core can go bad. That happened to my 1996 Dodge Diesel, and I replaced the AC evaporator at the same time. (I worked my way thru college as an AMC and Jeep mechanic, tire guy, electrician, and jack-of-all-trades, so the job was kinda fun.)

So why did the 2001's evaporator go bad? Maybe it had a tiny thin spot from the factory. Maybe sometime along the way, the previous owner recharged it without evacuating and holding vacuum to boil out moisture from the air that can get in. Water, even a tiny amount, tends to settle in the evaporator and condenser, and can slowly and inexorably corrode from the inside out. And maybe it's just plain bad luck.

The heater core in my truck went bad because the ground wire was loose. Electrolytic action caused the coolant--which I kept in very good condition--to slowly remove the copper out of the brass and make a pinhole. When I replaced the core, I made sure it was well-grounded. I doubt that would occur with an AC evaporator.
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Old 11 May 2010, 08:19 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Air Conditioner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzn01 View Post
I have to recharge my 2001 A/C every summer since i bought it in 2007.
My A/C went last year. Used Red Tech 12a from Canadian Tire to charge it. They sell drier, o-ring rejuvenatory, oil and refrigerant plus hose with meter & valve adaptor and oil tester. One of the cans has dye in it. Can't remember which one. Found my leak & plan to replace the o-ring this year as the charge has finally got to the point that the a/c is not kicking in. The 12a works fine and is supposed to be completely ozone friendly.
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