View Full Version : air conditioner problem?

02-24-2008, 11:42 PM
My wife and I have been cruising around the south west in our 2003 sprinter with our dirt bikes and sun screen. we left at the end of Jan trying to escape another miserable midwest winter.We have had a fantastic time and are now headed for Florida to visit friends and have a few beers. The weather is getting warmer and I need to use the A/C but it doesn't work very well. The clutch seems to be engaging but no cool air. I read somewhere here about a fitting that might leak and cause it to loose freon but I can't seem to find the info using the search engine. I will be taking it to an auto A/C shop sometime in the next few days and would like all the info I can get... Thanks
PS The sprinter has been running great all month and we have been getting about 22 mpg average even in the mountains and on the interstate. Considering the load we are hauling that's fantastic...:bounce:

02-25-2008, 12:37 AM
Unless there's an obvious leak you usually have to suspect the condenser. It's position infront of the intercooler and radiator makes it pretty susceptible to damage from road debris, and the mounts themselves aren't as well designed as they could be. It's not impossible to take a direct hit from a stone straight into your condenser.

Mine holds pressure quite well inspite of frequent use. I think the system's design capacity is about 800 (forget the unit mgs or mls), and I lost about 150 in eighteen months. You should expect a ten percent loss per annum, so I was bang on the money when 650 were vacuumed out last time.

Ask whoever looks at it for you to put a UV dye in when they do the work. Most pros would do this anyway - it helps further down the line. If it is the condenser, don't buy from the dealer. As an example you can get a genuine Hella condenser for about £150 in the UK (less than half the dealer price here).

The heater control panel can fail: red light shows on but no power leaves the switch. Replacement only option (£200 for that one). Doesn't look like that with yours if the pulley can be seen rotating through switch operation though.

Can be a pain to diagnose, but if nothing else stands out... the condenser.


02-25-2008, 01:17 AM
Are you talking about this post...


...only thing is the post is for a dual A/C (front and rear) with single compressor.

Only thing you can do is what Simon suggested and that is to have the A/C tech pump in some UV dye. The A/C tech will use the sniffer system first, but it doesn't work very well on very slow and small leaks. If he/she doesn't find anything with the sniffer, they'll insert the dye and get you on your way. If it's low again, you can either go back to the same A/C tech (which you probably have to anyways) or buy a uvlight to see if you can double check on where the leak is coming from before going back to the tech.

Another thing you could do is to use one of these things in this post...


...that you purchase from Walmart or any auto store to check and maybe top off your refrigerant levels. Of course it's illegal to top off your system with refrigerant if you know you have a leak, but since you don't know for sure...:professor:

02-25-2008, 03:31 AM
sikwan, that's the post I was thinking of and your correct it is a dual a/c where mine is only a single. I will try and find a good A/C mechanic tomorrow and post the results here. Thanks for the help.....

04-06-2009, 03:10 AM
Hey Yellowmike,
What ever happened to your a/c problem? I am now having the same problem, so I will check for a condenser or coolant line damage like Mean in Green says. Update us please.

04-06-2009, 03:57 AM
I was on the road at the time and tried to fix it myself with the "store bought" freon and couldn't get it to cool.. When I got home I took it to my local mechanic and he added some Freon and it has been working fine ever since. It was down far enough that the easy way wouldn't fix it so I had to hire a profesional and get it done right. It may have a small leak but I'll have it checked every year from now on.
Have you had yours to a mechanic yet??

04-06-2009, 08:02 AM
Thanks for the quick reply yellowmike,
My dad is a retired mechanic. I'll run by his house tomorrow & put the gauges on it. The clutch on the compressor is still engaged so I think that must mean that my freon level is not low enough to shut down my compressor? Funny that the only vent that seems to be blowing somewhat cold air is just one of the two fresh air vents. Go figure. I'm sure that it must be low on freon because the low side coolant line is barely cool to the touch & usually it is super cold with the a/c on.

04-06-2009, 03:57 PM
The independent shop owner/tech I take my vehicles to for AC service says all auto AC compressors use a shaft seal that normally leaks a little, so the system should be recharged every two years or it'll eventually leak down to where it won't have enough freon to cool properly. That's even if there aren't leaks anywhere else.

Also, he says regular service is good because winter temps can lower the internal pressure below atmospheric, so moisture can be drawn in through that seal. Regular service is removal of any remaining freon, evacuation to dry it out and check for leaks, and recharging.

04-07-2009, 02:39 AM
Thanks Talkinghorse,
Makes sense to me.