Air not working

  • 2012 FORD F-350
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • 50,000 MILES

The air is out, it worked pretty well when I put Freon in it but after three months it would be down again. The mechanic has told me that the compressor needed to be replaced so they replaced it, now he tells me the condenser needs to be replaced as well as the air is still not working. Is it likely they misdiagnosed the compressor and only the condenser needed replacing?

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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 AT 10:54 AM

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There are dozens of places refrigerant can leak out. We can almost always find them with an electronic leak detector. Then we look for verification in the form of oil residue at that point. The problem is too many of us stop looking once we find the first leak. There could be more.

The compressor and condenser are pretty close together, but not so close that a leak from one should be easily confused with a leak from the other one. Many mechanics add a dye to the system when they recharge it after repairing a leak. That works even better than looking for oil stains, but a black light is needed to find where that dye is leaking out. The only place that dye might not be so effective is with a leak in the evaporator in the dash. That unit is buried where we can't get at it to check for leaks.

To add to the misery, Ford has even more places to leak, and those are real common. Those are the quick-connect fittings they use so the vehicles will go together faster on the assembly line. They have an o-ring that is prone to leaking. Replacing those parts rarely solves the problem. You just have to keep recharging the system, but those leaks are small enough that you typically should get two years between recharges. If your mechanic found one of those connections on the condenser, and it is leaking, I would ignore it but explain that simply adding refrigerant when needed can be expected. That is a lot less expensive than replacing the condenser.

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Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 AT 12:17 PM

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