Swapping car air-con -- more trouble than worth?

The air-conditioning system in my friend’s car is broken. She’s had it fixed a couple of times but it’s just broken again.

Is it worth swapping the whole system for one from a scrapped car of the same model? (Can’t remember what car it is – something quite common. If it’s going to make a difference what model then I’ll find out and post back.)

The car itself isn’t worth much. Just a few hundred thousand NT.

Thanks for any tips.

I think she needs a new mechanic. Can you explain what the problem is, and what’s been replaced so far?
I know a really good a/c specialist in the Fengchia area if you need another option. I don’t really recommend buying used a/c parts beyond the compressor. You can often get a good one from a scrapyard, about the same price as a refurb for a low mileage unit. Beyond that I don’t think it’s worthwhile. Especially the evaporator unit. It’s such a pita to swap that it’s worth putting a new one in. Basically, any work on the system requires it to be recharged and setup from scratch, that’s usually a good chunk of the total price right there. It just isn’t worth putting in crap parts that are just going to fail again. False economy.
Most people pay through the nose for this stuff because they go to a regular shop which then farms the work out to a specialist. Go direct to a decent shop and spend that saving on new parts.
Or worse, they get a shop that has no clue what they’re doing replace the whole system part by part, and pay for freon and setup each time.

Give me a call if you need directions to that shop.

Thanks Redwagon.

[quote=“redwagon”]Can you explain what the problem is, and what’s been replaced so far?[/quote]She’s working now. I’ll contact her later and post anything I find out. But I’m not optimistic. I know nothing about aircon systems and neither does she. And even if the mechanic bothered to explain to her what work he did, she probably won’t know the English translation. I think that as you say, getting the car to a decent shop would be the thing to do. She’s in Taoyuan, though, not Taichung.

Very roughly how much would it be to do a major overhaul, replacing quite a few parts? 10,000? 100,000? I have no idea.

It really depends on what needs replacing. Suggest she go find a shop that specializes in car electrics and a/c for a quote. Bad time of year to be negotiating over a/c…

You can replace the plumbing with scrapyard parts, but I’d go refurbished or new on the compressor, and especially the evaporator.

Find someone who knows what he’s doing…It could be something as simple as a faulty wire. Does the compressor turn on (change in idle speed) and does is make a buzzing noise?

You can also put a test “dye” into the system and see if there are any leaks.

Without more info dude, it’s hard to say.

Thanks, guys.

Well, it seems that my assistance is not needed, as my friend’s dad is going to take her somewhere to get a quote. I wash my hands of it.

But I’ll bear the comments in mind for next time someone’s car air-con is on the blink.

[quote=“MJB”]You can replace the plumbing with scrapyard parts[/quote]TBH, I wouldn’t even bother. Those pipes can get pretty clogged up over time and you risk dislodging some crud and have that trash the compressor or plug up something else. False economy I think, especially if the parts are more than a year or so old. These pipes and hoses are so simple that there are dozens of third-party vendors making them, they are priced accordingly. If your car is some rare import then go scavenging for savings.

You have to pull the entire dashboard and facia out to get to the evaporator, which in the UK costs about £500 to replace in labour costs alone. (2 blokes for five hours each)

The refrigerant should be cheap enough here, if he’s charging more than NT$1k to refill then get a household a/c bloke to do it. I had an 18k BTU arconditioner recharged with NT$600. I think it was either R134a or Fanta. Can’t remember.

I have fixed holes and leaks with Araldite in the past. It does end up making a bit of a bubble, but eventually it hardens. Got the last kilogramme of R12 in Ireland, I was told. A steal at £70.

The condensor either works or it doesn’t. So a used one will be OK until it falls over. All the other parts from other old knackered cars are probably knackered. There’s nothing that expensive about them, but I only know UK prices. Bound to be cheaper here. The labour is the biggie fixing car aircon in the UK because mechanics charge more than doctors.

And most people who claim to fix aircon at home haven’t a baldy, even the main dealers. They’ve never done it. New cars only need the gas topped up every couple of years and by the time a car’s old enough for the a/c system to be like a colander, you’d be mad to take it to a main dealer. So they’ve never touch a/c in their lives and they send them to specialists. I think redwagon just said that.

[quote=“Lord Lucan”]I think it was either R134a or Fanta. Can’t remember.[/quote]:lol: :bravo:

when I exchanged my old wrech for a new one, I had the evaporator and another part changed, as they were full of crud.

It did the trick all right.