Air Conditioning (Car guy advise please)
Well on my day off I took my father's minivan ('93 Grand Voyager, V6) to get the A/C fixed... again. We went through this about a month ago and three weeks later it died for a fifth time. Well this time they claim it's the evaporator, and with parts and labor it will cost just over a grand to fix, in Canadian funds. Does this sound about right? $1000 Canadian seems like an awful lot of money, especially since I paid $400 for the last repair (lines) just a month ago. Are we getting screwed? Please answer quickly if possible, since my mother just okay'ed the repairs, against my judgement. Thanks guys.
Get a second opinion. A/C work is a total PIA, so I can understand a so-so shop needing to replace every single thing to get it to work right, lol. $1000, I can have A/C installed on my truck for less than that.
IMO I would find another mechanic! Not because of the price but because they did not do the job right the first time. They should have been able to find all the leaks the first time and should have rechecked it for leaks after they finished the job. I know an evaporator is a royal pain to replace will take a good mechanic a good part of the day to replace it so the cost is justifiable.
The evaporator is a relatively inexpensive component, its probably just buried in there (vans are notorius) to where they have to put alot of hours into removing and replacing it...(are ya doin this thru the dealer? does seem kinda pricey)
Thanks for the fast responses guys. Yeah, it's through the dealer. They claim it'll be six hours work for one person, so it'll probably take what, twenty minutes? Personally I'd rather get a second opinion as well, but my parents are determined to get it done there. We tried another place for the first few break downs and that just kept refilling the damned thing. I really have to get my own car so thing thing will no longer be my problem... Thanks guys, I'd love to hear any more opinions.
It will take 4-6 hours depending on where it is located. I don't think anything is easy when it comes to working on vans.
Dealers are known to be rip off artists. At least from what I have seen and from what friends who worked at dealers told me.
I just priced an evaporator at the dealership that I bought my truck at. The price I got was US$296 ($375CAN, I think). Now, let's pay the service guy $50CAN per hour, so they say 6 hours...that's $300CAN. I come up with an estimated $675CAN. Now, maybe your evaporator is more expensive than one for my Jimmy...I don't think so!
Can you say screwing?? You don't need to see the Philips head coming to know you're getting a real good screwing!
I'd get three estimates, minimum and then go somewhere else. With something like A/C, you're not in a pay or walk decision, so you can afford to price around. And don't always take the lowest quote. They may be lowballing the quote to get business, any business because they do shoddy work.
Something to think about...
Eli, what you should do when getting the Van's A/C repaired or for any repair for that matter that you are on-site with the mechanic and know exactly what's going on.
If you're not there, its hard to say how many hours they've put on the job. 5-6 hours is a bit hard to believe. They sometimes even charge you time for waiting for items being on-transit waiting to be shipped from another warehouse.
Get to know your mechanic personally - it'll definitely be advantageous to you down the road.
Freon is expensive to come by. Every time you pump freon in and it gets back out into the air, you're paying between $60-$80Cdn for the R134A. And another $60-$80 for the recharge. This price is just the cost alone, who knows how much of a profit they tax ontop of their materials
My old man's in the refrigeration business and I follow him around for the past 14 years, so I kinda know how things work and what the relative price range for each assignment should cost...
Like others have said, shop around. If you know a friend who works on this type of stuff take it to him/her and see what advice you can dig up.
From my expierence, if your vehicle's leaking freon from the evaporator there is not really much sense repairing it since its probably reaching its age and problems are starting to manifest itself...leaks here and leaks there....the connections are starting to go and there's area inside that's just pretty much of a hassle to check for leaks and the guys won't waste their time checking out all the nitty gritty for ya, they'll do what they see and leave what they can't alone and lie to ya and leave you hanging the rest of the way. If it leaks you'll notice it pretty quickly. If its a small leak, within weeks. If its a big leak, within days.
An evaporator may be expensive, but @ least you'll save yourself the trouble of having the run around and gets the job done once and for all w/o any side effects coming back to haunt you.
Watch what they're doing, if you're not there you can't argue on what should/shouldn't be on the bill
Just my 2 cents
An evaporator is a totally passive device, and not likely to "spring a leak". By what method have they become convinced that it is the problem? Leaks occur at fittings and lines, not (usually) in passive components.
A friend had a compressor replaced at a "major" shop and the charge was gone in a few weeks. I assisted in the follow up and discovered a replaced filler valve's tip was being pressed open by the dust cap! The original shop either overlooked this or made it that way to get more work. Either way, it wasn't a passive part that was OK before the original problem.
Let us know what it really turns out to be.
Well we got it back this afternoon. The evaporator was like $400 and the rest was labor. Nice eh? Problems. The cigarette lighter no longer works and the fuse is fine. The radio station presets are screwed up, some set to some hard core rap stations. As well, the engine noise on the passenger side is a lot louder than before. I realize that they had to rip the dash apart but there's no excuse for any of this. What the hell, now I'm ticked...
Yeah, My parents are lucky. My dad is a good friend of a guy who owns one of the biggest auto shops in all of town... So we always get the straight rate. No rip offs.
Vans are usually a real ***** to get repairs done on....
Yeh, my heart goes out to ya. I would say its quite possible for the evaperator to leak. Freaon being circulated around for years and years tends to erode the material away. There is a lot of pressure in the system, high sides can go up to 400-450 psi. low side press (evap) 30~40psi. I'd say evaperator around $400, dryer $120, recharge & freon $120 and anywhere from 4~6 hrs labour @ $60~80 hr, as stated vans can be tough to work on then add yer tax. It's an old system - a lot of money and the $64,000 question will it keep going for a few years? tough call
Dont know about Canada but here they use the Flat Rate Manual. my next door neighbor (female and 80) had her car die in front of one of the local rip,off places, they replaced her distributer, plugs,and wires, flat rated her as if she had brought it in for each item. robbing SOBs
your folks should take it back and demand they fix whatever they screwed up. you should be able to reprog. the radio to get rid of the rap-****. this may be an indication of the level of those who worked on it. my dealer ship never touches my radio.
I'll take the damned thing in myself and complain if my father won't. I suppose the radio could reset itself if the power is disconnected for too long, but I replaced the battery a couple of years ago and I didn't have to touch anything but the clock. Plus, two of the five FM presets were to some lousy rap stations that I had no idea even existed... I am not impressed. The dash will probably have to come apart for the stupid cigarette lighter too. Can't these idiots do anything right the first time?
I'll take two... CPU's
My friend had his AC repaired a year ago. He paid $700 for the hoses, compressor, dryer and freon. They garenteed the work.
6 months and 3 trips back ended up costing him nothing else because they garenteed the work. He now has a new Evaporator, condensor and heater core...all courtesy a good shop.
Your getting screwed!
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