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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a leak somewhere on the '05 OBXT, and I cant find any trace of using Dye and UV in the engine compartment - I even removed the front grill to inspect the Condenser coil for damage and get a better look for leaks.
I charged the system using the highly controversial method of DIY and a R134 with dye, compressor was working once it had adequate pressure. In 36 hrs, system is back to 0.
Previously it took from ownership -Feb, until now to slowly leak down, So I thought it was an o-ring. but after that quick of a leak off there is zero sign of dye anywhere (I'm using a darkened garage and I can see the dye clear as day where the low pressure hook-up is).

My only other thought is that based on disassembling the glove box area and seeing no cabin filter, there must be a mess of debris in the evaporator and corroded a hole.

So does anyone have any ideas to DIY from here?
 

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You may be right that there is a leak at the evaporator, but I sure would NOT recommend that you remove it yet. Before you commit to that, you need to buy or rent a sniffer - I have one of these and they work great.

Electronic Freon and Halogen Leak Detector

You can download the manual and read up on the tool: ... http://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/92000-92999/92514.pdf

A total leak down in 36 hours is a major leak, and this thing will definitely pinpoint it. It has seven sensitivity settings, so you can adjust for ambient conditions and the leak rate.

If you have to, you can drill a small hole in the evaporator housing close to the coil and stick the probe inside. That way you will 100% know that there is a problem. Can you imagine how you would feel if you spent many hours sweating and swearing, and found that the coil was OK?

Since your filter was missing, you need to flush the coil with Frigi-Clean. It's a great product, but shop around since prices are wildly variable. Of course, if you have to replace it, then you won't have to buy the cleaner. The cleaner is an expanding foam that you inject into that little hole you drilled....

BTW, did you check for dye dripping out from the evaporator drain tube?

I can send you the blower motor and evaporator removal pages (pdf format) from a 2007 service manual if you like - I don't know if there are any differences, but I suspect there are not.

Good luck.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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John's suggestion for the sniff detector is probably the way to go.

In this regard, there might be another way to approach the evaporator. It's the first large element in the HVAC duct after the fan. The fan is relatively easy to remove -- it's on the bottom of the intake duct, below where that cabin filter opening is. With the fan (and its squirrel-cage blower) out, there should be a sizable opening in the bottom of the intake duct. While I admit I haven't tried this, I suspect that there would be enough room for a light and an inspection mirror. This might provide a sufficient view of the incoming side of the evaporator to see if it appears clogged, and, maybe, if there's a sign of the leak-detector. Might be worth trying beforehand -- no major dis-assembly, cutting or drilling.

By the way, I believe early 2005s were a transition -- not all vehicles came with the cabin filter. There was a mod kit available to update cars that didn't have it from the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
John, I would definitely be up for the manual, since we have an extra car, there is no pressure to complete this in a timely manner.
I charged the system enough after I posted to get the compressor to cycle and set the AC to high/max recirc. No doubt its the evap coil. I could smell the refrigerant stronglyfrom the vents. That being the case, I will check the drain tube for dye and report back.
John if you are able, PM me for email - Thanks
 

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John, I would definitely be up for the manual, since we have an extra car, there is no pressure to complete this in a timely manner.
I charged the system enough after I posted to get the compressor to cycle and set the AC to high/max recirc. No doubt its the evap coil. I could smell the refrigerant stronglyfrom the vents. That being the case, I will check the drain tube for dye and report back.
John if you are able, PM me for email - Thanks
I sent the HVAC section in its entirety to your email address. Lots of luck on this one. Be sure to add that air filter. NAPA sells them at a discount, and if you buy during their periodic filter sales you can save 50% or more off their already low price. Maybe buy one at the regular price, then stock up when they go on sale later....

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much! I was actually at the point where I needed those instructions. I had the blower assembly out and was trying to figure out what to do next. Unfortunately while I was trying to figure out what's next, I spent about an hour disassembling the dash thinking it had to come out to get that huge box out :(
Tomorrow I will put the dash back together (at least I know how easy it comes apart now) and take the xt to my friends shop to have him evac all of the refrigerant, then I think I have about 10 min of pulling the evap coil to see if it is the culprit - it sure did smell like it - but I don't see any dye in the drain tube -meh-
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Evaporator out, and one side of it - the inward side was covered in debris... that was oily. Problem located - parts on the way!

Glad I did a system evac. The system holds about 14 oz of R134, my low pressure side had bled off due to the hole in the evap coil and the imbalance made the compressor not kick on. Based on that I figured the system was near empty - but we ended up recovering 10oz of the refigerant.
Parts get here Saturday, I will button it up - taking pictures along the way incase anyone else desires to DIY this or any related projects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So this is the coil, in the red is where there was a buch of oil accumulated and much more debris was on the coil. I wanted to take a picture of it as it was, but the friend, who was letting me use his evac equip took it and wiped it down after I handed it to him.
 

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Great picture. Those deposits (debris etc) are similar to what we often see on the cabin filter (where there is one). A coating of that over the inlet side of the evaporator could cut the air flow significantly, leading to icing and poor AC performance. (Seen this often on room air conditioners.) Cabin air filters are often marketed for their health benefits but are primarily to prevent this type of build up on the evaporator.

taking pictures along the way incase anyone else desires to DIY this or any related projects.
Hope you will write up a step-by-step, with the pictures, and post in the DIY sub-forum here. I'm sure it will be highly appreciated!
 

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So this is the coil, in the red is where there was a buch of oil accumulated and much more debris was on the coil. I wanted to take a picture of it as it was, but the friend, who was letting me use his evac equip took it and wiped it down after I handed it to him.
So is there a crack in the housing where you circled it? I'm having a little trouble understanding where the oil came from... normally you would see a leak at a threaded connection, or a stress crack failure at a fitting or weld.

Have you tried pressurizing it with shop air and doing a bubble leak test?

John Davies
Spokane WA
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Have you tried pressurizing it with shop air and doing a bubble leak test?

John Davies
Spokane WA
No, We didn't do any official tests to find the leak. I will once I get it back. I left if at my friends shop while waiting on parts. The area I circled was where the oil was, and it was enough oil that when the coil came out it was dripping off. That was what I wanted to photograph, but like I said, my friend wiped it off before I was able to get a picture.
I can only assume for now that there is a pinhole or a crack where one of the transfer tubes attaches to the body
 

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You may be right that there is a leak at the evaporator, but I sure would NOT recommend that you remove it yet. Before you commit to that, you need to buy or rent a sniffer - I have one of these and they work great.

Electronic Freon and Halogen Leak Detector

You can download the manual and read up on the tool: ... http://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/92000-92999/92514.pdf

A total leak down in 36 hours is a major leak, and this thing will definitely pinpoint it. It has seven sensitivity settings, so you can adjust for ambient conditions and the leak rate.

If you have to, you can drill a small hole in the evaporator housing close to the coil and stick the probe inside. That way you will 100% know that there is a problem. Can you imagine how you would feel if you spent many hours sweating and swearing, and found that the coil was OK?

Since your filter was missing, you need to flush the coil with Frigi-Clean. It's a great product, but shop around since prices are wildly variable. Of course, if you have to replace it, then you won't have to buy the cleaner. The cleaner is an expanding foam that you inject into that little hole you drilled....

BTW, did you check for dye dripping out from the evaporator drain tube?

I can send you the blower motor and evaporator removal pages (pdf format) from a 2007 service manual if you like - I don't know if there are any differences, but I suspect there are not.

Good luck.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
Do you still have the PDF for replacing the evaporator? If you can email it to me that would be awesome. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In case you don't have it yet, I will email what John sent me. I am a few days away from a detail photo/narrrative of the complete job which will also detail essentially dash console break down.
In the end it was my Evap coil, Suby is cooling very well now!
 
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