Gimme My AC…Please!
by Pat Goss
Air conditioning problems can be difficult to diagnose and often very expensive to repair, and one of the real big problems is when you have a slow leak of the refrigerant out of the system. It may take weeks or months for it to go away. Well, the cure for that is dye, such as we have here. This comes from TracerLine, and this dye gets injected into the air conditioning system. You drive the car for a couple hundred miles or so and it goes back to the shop. Then the technician uses a black light such as we have here, and the black light is moved along the various components in the air conditioning system. When we come to the spot where the leak is, the dye glows just as we see right here. Now we know exactly where our refrigerant leak is. These kits are even available for do-it-yourself so you could do your own diagnostic work if you have an air conditioning leak.
But suppose you find the leak or the technician finds the leak and it happens to be in one of the hoses? Maybe it’s in a pure aluminum line one of those lines that’s made up of aluminum and rubber. Well historically the only thing you could do with one of these aluminum pieces was replace it, and they can be outrageously expensive - anywhere from $100 to sometimes $200 or $300.
Now there’s something brand new that you can get to repair the aluminum portions of these lines. Now this is not do-it-yourself because the kit is too expensive, but it comes from Dorman Products and it contains various components like here we have a hose with aluminum tabs on it. We have stock pieces of aluminum tubing, and it comes with a cutter, a scribe, and a whole selection of different adaptors and fittings to match most of the popular ends to these lines.
But here’s the big thing, they include a special tool. This tool has different dyes that go into it and it squeezes the fittings onto the hoses and onto the aluminum, so that you have a high pressure air tight seal. Now this one single tool could save you, many times, hundreds of dollars; so it’s something you should look for.
If you have a question or comment, write to me or send me a DVD video of your question and you might see yourself on TV.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.